You know, the trucking industry is like another world. It's funny, but before I became involved with Trucking Jobs, Inc., I never even really paid trucks all that much mind, except maybe to get scared when one would pass me on the highway. I never knew what trucks were transporting, or even why they ran. I'm sure in my heart of hearts I understood that those trucks were running because I was buying a product, but I never stopped to think about how integral a part of the economy the trucking industry is. I mean, it is a pretty safe assumption to say that most everything I buy has been brought to that store by a truck.
I wonder how many other people go about their day to day lives without ever bothering to make the connection of how their milk got from the dairy farm to the grocery store. All the steps that had to be taken, all the people that had to spend their day just on that milk, it's an utterly (get it?) enormous concept!
So just how does someone break into such a vast industry, and why in the world is it so hard? With the highest turn over rate in the nation, trucking is a highly competitive field. Properly equipping yourself before you even think about signing up for truck driving school is the best way to ensure success.
It is important to know that the trucking industry is overwhelmingly run by insurance companies, who in an effort to increase road safety and to abide by new security trends have hiked up rates for trucking companies to insure, so called "at risk" drivers. The term "at risk", in essence, pertains mostly to the information on your MVR and DAC report. Any person with a felony, a DUI less than five years old, a positive drug test, 3 or more moving violations, any reckless driving violations, or any accident involving a fatality or damage of more than $5,000 should seriously consider not entering the field of trucking.
With the minority of America's drivers consistently employed, and the majority looking for truck driving jobs, it makes the industry highly competitive. Having a clean MVR doesn't necessarily ensure success anymore, especially for new drivers with little to no experience. In order to better stack up against the competition, attending an accredited CDL institution is very important.
Having the word "accredited" attached to a CDL school's brochure is the difference between what trucking insiders call "CDL mills" – those that just take your money and run, and actual learning institutions. A CDL mill will give you all the same tests and give you the same license, but in half the time and with little help after graduation. To a prospective employer, seeing how much time you've been in school could be the difference between you and the next guy, or you and your training time. There's a big difference in learning to drive a truck in six weeks, and learning in six months, and remember, those hard months of training can count as useful months of in truck experience when you're filling out applications.
Another important way to stand out from the competition is to get all of your endorsements, or at least a Haz-Mat. More and more trucking companies are requiring endorsements, especially with the new HOS rules beginning to take effect. Going through the time and trouble now will be worth it later when you're able to maneuver easily from driving jobs to even better trucking jobs.
Knowing your eventual goals for your career is a good way to get your foot in the door with the patience and humility it often takes for young drivers. Tolerating the not so good company for a year seems an easy task when you consider that one year of consistent driving job experience will pay-off when you go to look for truck driving jobs. The best advice I can offer is to take it one day at time, and to have patience to hang in "for the long haul". Trucking can be an exciting and rewarding field, but just like anything, you have to start at the bottom of the ladder in order to climb your way up.