Category Archives: Signing on with carriers

Use your training time to get job ready as a new driver

As I was surfing some industry blogs the other day and I came across an article that got me thinking about new drivers and preparing themselves for a new career as a professional driver. The article was a comment style article where a person new to the industry was asking which carrier they should sign on with to get their training.

The new driver had the option of getting his licence on his own or signing on with a carrier and have them train the person through their own training program. His dilemma was which carrier to choose. He posted the comment on the website asking for feedback on different carriers and got a whole lot of information. He was looking at some of the big carriers in the United States trying to evaluate the best ones to work for. In one of his last comments he had talked to a carrier and liked what they had to offer. One of his main reasons for choosing that carrier is that he would be close to home for his training allowing him to be home to sleep in his own bed and eat meals at home.

Driver-in-truck

This is a common way that many people new to the industry decide on choosing a school. They look for a school close to their home so they don’t have to drive too far for their training. I have seen this first hand in training programs as an instructor where students want to leave early from class or are in a hurry to get home to finish chores around the house, but could that be hurting their success?

One of the issues we find in the industry is that people are not prepared for the life style change that comes with a job in the transportation as a driver. The training schools tell the students about it, the recruiters remind them about it at the time of hiring, but then the student gets a job and finds it very hard to adjust to being away from home. Part of the problem may be in the mindset of the student. Trucking is not a nine to five position even in the city as a local driver. Students need to prepare their minds for the change of lifestyle that will occur once they start driving for a company. This means adjusting to the job at the beginning by practicing what you will have to do in reality. Of course you want to keep expenses down until you have money coming in but adjusting your schedule so that it begins to feel like it will when you get hired can go along way to success in the industry.

How do you mimic a lifestyle that you don’t know how will work for the future? The biggest adjustment for most students is the time away from home. Let me tell you from experience as much as it is a big adjustment for you, it is an even bigger adjustment for your family. Depending on how you have set up your training schedule changing it up can be the best thing you can do. Try not to set it up to be nine to five everyday. Spend additional hours practicing what you’ve learned. If you can pick a school that is not in your area so that you can get used to staying out over a few days at a time even better. Adjust your time to waking up early or staying up late, practice taking lunches and snacks like you would on the road. Basically you are getting used to your new life. Once you work for a carrier you won’t be going home at noon after a four hour yard shift or have multiple days off in between runs, so get used to the new lifestyle. The faster you and your family adjust to the new industry, the faster and more successful you will be once you start your new career.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Do Your Homework When Searching for a Carrier

I have been in this industry for a long time and I am always amazed at some of the issues I hear going on within the industry like the issue many drivers face called “Bus and Dump.” I was looking through some articles on the industry when I came across this article from Fleet Owner Publication on “Bus and Dump” which is a practice some carriers use in the United States to recruit drivers to their team. I have never heard of the practice in Canada, but apparently this is a practice that has been going on for some time in the U.S. So what is “Bus and Dump?”

 

“Bus and Dump” is the practice of hiring drivers through an online application form on a website with a promise to hire, offering them travel arrangements to attend orientation, and then once they arrive making an excuse to turn them away.

You’re the driver and you want to get a new job in the transportation industry. You fill out an online application and get a message or phone call from the recruiter telling you that you have been accepted for the position. The carrier sends you a bus ticket to arrive in orientation at an arranged date and time and you accept. You head out to the location that is often across the Country and are excited to start with a new company. When you arrive the carrier tells you for some reason that you are no longer required and sets you on your way. You now have to find your own way home with no money or accommodations. You can read the actual article by clicking this website link. https://www.fleetowner.com/driver-management/bus-and-dump-drivers-expose-industrys-dirty-practice

depressed-person

How do you protect yourself against the “Bus and Dump” practice?

The first step is to do your homework on the carrier and make sure they are legitimate. There are plenty of jobs available in the industry for the right candidates so there is no reason to go to carriers that are participating in unethical practices. Know who you are applying to and make sure they are a reputable company. You can do this by following the same format of investigation the carrier uses to hire you.

Investigating a Carrier

  • Only apply to carriers through reputable job websites or carrier specific websites
  • Make sure you understand if you are going for a first time interview or have actually been hired.
  • Research the carrier profile and safety record by adding their name to searches on websites like www.fmcsa.dot.gov or Google and review the information about them.
  • Talk to three references about them from drivers or other people in the industry
  • Have a discussion via phone or video with the person hiring you and find out any pertinent information required, such as dress for the job, equipment required, etc.
  • If traveling far from home have a letter of intent to hire from the carrier in writing. This may come in handy should you have to take legal action at a later date.
  • Be honest about any convictions or other information that may cause issues in the hiring process.
  • Have a your own original copies of all documents such as abstracts, licence, and so on should they be altered by someone else in the process
  • Take enough money for accommodations and travel back home if required.
  • Keep in contact with family or friends about your whereabouts and progress.

You can’t stop a carrier from unscrupulous methods of hiring drivers but you don’t have to participate in the practice. This is why many industry professionals caution new students on accepting the first job that comes along. Do your homework, I can’t say that enough! Reputable carriers don’t participate in such practices as “Bus and Dump” and you shouldn’t either.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Should you work for a carrier based on here-say?

Should you work for a carrier
based on here-say?

I was reading some posts the other day from beginning drivers in the United States talking about the type of carrier they wanted to work for and I found it interesting to view the conversation from someone within the industry. The chat was really about large carriers in the States which will remain nameless, but you would instantly know from social media. The conversation started with who should you work for and quickly went into why you wouldn’t want to work for different companies based on what people thought was important to them.

speeding-truck

The first part of the conversation was by a young person that didn’t want to be employed by a certain carrier because they have been seen on social media having many incidents and are the laughing stock of the industry.

The second part of the conversation started on another large carrier that a person saw many of their trucks drive through their small town so they figured they would get home regularly. When they called the Recruiting department they were told that their lanes didn’t go through that town very often and they would not get home. They were advised to move to another area and the person asked if the carrier would pick up the tab for the move? The carrier responded, “Once you move give us a call.” Needless to say the person wasn’t impressed with the answer.

The third part of the conversation moved to another carrier also large and well known but with a different twist. This carrier I have known for much of my driving career and was always impressed with their trucks. The conversation went to fact that this carrier did inspections on the inside cabs of their trucks and if they found it dirty they would charge the drivers a fine. One person commented that half his fleet would be on death row if they did inspections at his fleet, I thought that was funny. The complaint was that the person that started the company was a retired Colonel from the military and was very strict with their equipment. I believe you can be as strict as you want when you fit the bill for $100,000 piece of equipment, just saying. Like I said before they have a very good looking fleet so that says something.

There was one common denominator in all of these comments and stories, no one that was commenting had ever worked for these carriers. Everything was based on one person’s idea of the company or what they heard or saw on social media. Even the person that talked to the recruiter and wasn’t happy with the answers didn’t talk to another driver from that company. They either took information from social media, thought advertisements offered all the facts, and took advice from others that aren’t in the industry. There was even a comment about someone that drives and stays out for six months at a time and then goes home for a week. If you think that is the norm in trucking you’re wrong! That may be that person’s personal choice which is fine, but you can’t then go and say that all truck drivers stay out for six months on the road.

If you are looking into a job in the trucking industry do your homework but do it from trusted sources. Listen to shows on the trucking industry, read respectable publications from the industry, and ask questions from people with actual experience. As they say in the movies, “Get the facts, just the facts!” If you are looking for quality carriers that hire new drivers check out the TTSAO Carrier Group.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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