If you just received your Commercial Driver’s License, you are probably eager to get paid for your first over-the-road truck driving job. But don’t sign the first contract that comes your way.
You should understand each trucking company you apply to work for. Do your own research and understand what will be expected of you.
We recommend reading through our guide about truck driver salary and lifestyle, so you have an idea of what to expect.
You have the right to be fully aware of what you are getting yourself into, especially in a career like truck driving where safety is a concern.
Here are a few sample questions to ask each trucking company:
- What type of equipment will I be working with?
- How much will I be paid?
- How will I be paid? Hourly? Per mile?
- If paid per mile, how are the miles calculated?
- How many miles can I expect (on average) per week?
- What kinds of freight does the company haul? What loads will I have the opportunity to work with?
- What endorsements or other skills are required?
- What is the management structure like at the company, especially regarding dispatchers, fleet managers, and other people the driver will work with?
- What company benefits are offered?
- What are vacation or leave policies?
- What kind of home time can I expect?
The person you will speak to is a truck driving recruiter (more on them in a bit). Do not be afraid to ask for proof in writing if your recruiter’s promises seem too good to be true. A recruiter represents the company, but they don’t have any personal control over your salary, benefits, time-off, or home time.
What are Truck Driving Recruiters?
Simply put, recruiters work to get you hired for companies in need of truck drivers.
Recruiters can and do help truck drivers get jobs. While you benefit from the help, recruiters benefit from landing you your job. That’s right. Recruiters get a commission for finding drivers for companies.
Truck driving recruiters have very little to do with you after you get hired on. In fact, they really do not have anything to do with your job once you have been hired. A recruiter can help you, but you must be knowledgeable about their role to get the most out of them.
Recruiters Are Salespeople
Recruiters are professionals, and their objective is to get truck drivers like you hired. Truck drivers are in high-demand, and truck driving recruiters make a nice commission to get you to sign on the dotted line.
They work hard to get these jobs filled. Once you are hired with the company, the recruiter’s role in your career is over.
When discussing a trucking company with a recruiter, keep in mind the sales part of their job.
If a recruiter promises anything, get it in writing. Some recruiters are less than honest.
Some recruiters may make promises they don’t have the authority to decide. Some recruiters do anything to get you to sign with the company.
Don’t just rely on a handshake. If a truck driver recruiter promises you a dedicated route, get it in writing. If they promise you a specific truck, get it in writing.
On the other hand, some truck driving recruiters are truly there to help you. They honestly look into your questions and get you answers about their company. The most honest recruiters give you documentation to back up their claims.
Each Recruiter has a Unique Personality
While you are caught up with the anxiety of securing a truck driving job, it’s easy to forget that recruiters are people too. They each have unique personalities, and this should affect how you speak with them.
Some of them are incredibly serious and stern. Others are funny and like casual conversation. Their attitude does not determine their experience-level though.
Don’t let the personality of the recruiter reflect on the company as a whole. Some very professional companies end up with jokesters as recruiters. If they provide you with the information you need to make an educated decision, then they should be good to go.
Home Time and OTR ( Long-Haul ) Truck Driving Jobs
The amount of time you are home can vary when you commit to an over-the-road (OTR) truck driving job.
OTR driving jobs tend to offer more money, because you’re driving more miles and driving long distances. The trade-off is in your home time, and each driver has different needs.
If you are promised a certain amount of home time, make sure the details are in your contract. Deliveries and mileage are often unpredictable, so recruiters may feel pressured to make up guarantees. If you have a specific demand for home time, get it in writing.
Overall, Recruiters Are a Positive Asset for You.
Now that you are more knowledgeable about truck driving recruiters and their role, you can be confident when you are speak with them on the phone or in person.
In fact, we even wrote an article about the Top 5 Productivity Apps that will help you organize and manage your discussions with trucking recruiters.
The recruiters should give you a better understanding of the company in question. The information you receive from them will help you make the right decision when choosing which company you want to work with.
Do your research, ask the right questions, get your answers in writing, and you’ll be on the road in no time.