Beginning a new career is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. People love or hate their jobs and will freely offer their advice either way. Trucking is no different. The allure of the open road is too much for some people to ignore, but reality doesn’t always meet fantasy.
Like with any career, truckers just starting out trick over several common stumbling blocks. Some of those blocks are due to poor advice and some can be chalked up to an ignorance of the industry.
Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these common beginner traps.
1. Looking for the Perfect Company
If you’re the type of person who conducts hours of research before you make a purchase, take on a new role or travel down a new path, you may be doing yourself a disservice. There is no perfect trucking company.
There are some things that you should look into when you are deciding which company to apply to but there are things that really don’t matter just yet. The things you want to know include:
- What type of freight the company hauls
- How often you will be at home
- If you are permitted to take along a passenger or your pet
- The pay scale
- The benefits package
Other than this handful of information, chances are you will experience basically the same things at the different trucking companies. Don’t spend so much time researching the companies you could potentially work for that you end up missing your opportunity to actually apply.
2. Not Knowing How Training Works
The first thing to know is that there are no federal standards when it comes to training. Learning how to drive a truck is not exactly like learning how to drive a car, but it’s not exactly different either. Confused?
Like when you learned how to drive a car, you will have book work. You will need to study and then pass a test to get your permit. You will then take the driving portion of the test and earn your CDL endorsement.
Once you do this, you will apply for and secure a job and get a trainer. After this, you’ll be on your own with various people checking in on you and evaluating your performance. This is where you gain experience.
Do you see how it is like being able to drive a car, but with subtle differences? Experience is your friend when it comes to trucking, as daunting as that may be. The more exposure you have to the road, the more proficient you become. The more proficient you are, the more money you can potentially make.
3. Forgetting You’re a Rookie
You’re going to make mistakes. Things are going to happen. Don’t forget this when you are given the keys to your first truck and you take off down the road with your haul. Every rookie driver has a story or two to tell that starts with, “Remember that time…”.
Don’t feel as though you have failed. Don’t jump ship because you made a mistake. Remember, you need experience and that experience will include some missteps along the way.
4. Thinking This Is a “Starter Job”
Is there really such a thing as a starter company? Not really. Your trucking job isn’t that tiny house you bought when you just had to get out of your parents’ home. This is a career. The idea that some companies are only good for training is false.
Don’t think of your first job as your starter job. Keep in mind that other trucking companies know this trap well and will advertise all the things they offer that the other companies don’t. They will promise more miles, more pay and more time at home. Don’t believe it. By all means, if you need to move on from the first company you work for, go ahead. Just do it for the right reasons.
5. Foregoing a Commercial Roadside Assistance Plan
If you are involved in a trucking accident or experience a breakdown, semi-truck roadside assistance can get you back on the road or to safety. Because anything can happen on the road, having a plan is absolutely vital for rookies and veterans alike. Call our experienced and helpful team today for more information to discuss your protection needs.