Tag Archives: trucking companies

Job Diversity Leading Attraction to get into Transportation

Have you ever been attracted to a job where the money was attractive and once in the industry you found it felt like a dead end? Once you started down that path you saw that everyone ended up doing the same job and there was very little career building areas to move around. When that happens boredom sets in and it is just a matter of time before you feel stuck and unfulfilled. This happens in many manufacturing environments where employees focus on a high hourly wage and benefits hoping longevity will see them through to retirement. We have all seen the writing on the wall when that happens and a plant closes down after a many years in operation.

TTSAO Conference 2018

I recently attended an interview session for people in the trucking industry asking them various questions about what they thought of the transportation industry as they have evolved in their careers. As we completed a number of the interviews I began to see two common themes throughout no matter who I talked with. The two themes were people in the industry and the different career paths available to those in the industry. It really came down to options. The questions for the interviews were created by a separate group so it wasn’t as though I themed the questions or asked them in certain way. I was asked to interview certain people about their career experiences and document the answers. During the course of 28 interviews half of those people mentioned that the opportunities available in the industry through different career paths were the top reasons that people stayed in the industry. Many responded that they started as drivers and over the years have had a number of job titles over their long career with many being with the same employer. I interviewed one person who began her career as a driver, went into dispatch, and is now in safety and operations. Others began in the family business and are now in sales, management, or insurance. Having opportunities to stay in such a diverse industry was the leading reason that transportation was such a lucrative industry to be part of.

The people were the second reason. One quarter of the interviewees said that the people kept them wanting to be involved in the trucking industry. Some said they could pick up the phone and call colleagues in the industry to get information even if that colleague was with a different employer. Others felt the people were genuine in trucking and the type of people that understood what a person can go through allowing them the information needed to solve problems. Others made lifelong friends in the industry that they have not found elsewhere.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

I myself have experienced the same thing in this industry. I was one of those people that started my career not even in the driver’s seat but carrying furniture into houses as I moved people around the Province. That led to a career as a driver for over 25 years, a fleet supervisor, a trainer, author, and now podcaster just to mention a few. It is all due to the knowledge and friendships I have experienced in the trucking industry. I hope you get a chance to experience what myself and so many others have experienced in this industry in the people and opportunities. It will change your life, it did for me!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Trucking for the Right Reasons

There is a certain wonder about life on the road and how people cope. People wonder about truckers in the trucking industry such as where they go, who they see, and how they handle the loneliness. We wonder the same thing about nomads, caravaners, and other people that seem to float from place to place not knowing what the next turn will bear. To some it is romantic and to others it is as scary as walking down a dark street at two in the morning.

I recently read an article from a young person thinking about getting into the trucking industry who currently worked from home and felt they had no social life. He didn’t get out to see people and was becoming bored with his job. This person felt that getting a job as a truck driver would change the loneliness and make their life more exciting. The question is, is that the proper reason to get into the trucking industry?

Another situation that arises is when someone takes a driving trip for vacation decides they like to drive and wants to move into the transportation industry. Driving on vacation and driving for work are two different things. Vacation is great for seeing the sights and enjoying the many great places across the Country. It is not always possible to do that in trucking.

The reasons above are what people tell us many times in conversation as to why they may want to get into the trucking industry. It may be a start but is not enough to begin a career without some more investigation into the lifestyle. If we take the scenarios above we will see that for the first person the reason of getting out of the house may be a first step to looking at the industry, but have they thought about life on the road as a whole. Life on the road is not for everyone and the driving is just one part of the job. Many drivers suffer from loneliness as well so trucking may or may not be the answer.

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In the second scenario a driving holiday is a beautiful way to see the beauty of North America with family and friends. You can stop when you want, drive to important monuments, and take your time enjoying the surroundings. You can do that in a truck as well but you may not have the time or access to go to certain places.

So how do you decide on a job in transportation? The scenarios above may be a good start to thinking about being in trucking but you need to look at the job and lifestyle as a whole. I think the trucking industry has a lot to offer any person whether in a truck or not but is also not for everyone. You do get to see the Country and you can see others on the road, but it can be a drastic change to people coming into the industry without the knowledge of the lifestyle. The best place to start the conversation about trucking is with a carrier or trucking school. An even better place to start is at www.ttsao.com

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Choosing a Carrier Based on Road Check

The first week of June each year is a program called Road Check which is a collaboration between law enforcement and inspection agencies across North America showing the public the importance of road safety by inspecting commercial vehicles for 72 hours straight. This happens every year at the same time and is well promoted to industry and the public. After 72 hours there will be a number of charges laid against non-compliance carriers or drivers and possibly some will be placed out of service. Charges can affect the companies safety rating, the driver’s driving record, and possibly the chance for driver employment for the future so it is important to understand the importance of the program. It’s important to note that inspections can happen at anytime of the year, but during Road Check there is high likely a driver will be inspected. How will Road Check help me find a carrier?

Road Check is widely publicized in the industry and safety minded companies will go the extra mile to ensure that the equipment going down the road is safe and compliant. Some do mini inspections in their own yard while others will have mechanics look at each piece of equipment and change out anything that looks close to being non-compliant. A company that takes safety to the next level by being serious about safety is protecting their own safety rating and the ratings of their drivers.

Many drivers feel that if something is wrong with the equipment that the company will just pay the fine. That may be true in some cases but if it is part of the job of the driver to catch the default then the driver may be responsible for fine as well. Furthermore no matter who pays the fine the carrier and driver will have the fine added to their commercial vehicle operator record. This can cause problems if a driver is looking for new opportunities in the future as it will show a lack of ability to inspect their vehicle. In addition to the record issue, the delays, road service repair costs, and downtime to the driver are all elements that can’t be taken away after the fact. It is easier to do a good inspection and catch those issues before leaving the yard.

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If you are in the process of looking for employment with a carrier then one of the most important factors to consider is the safety program of that carrier. Many carriers promote safety but don’t totally believe in it. You don’t want to work for those carriers as they are the ones that will leave you helpless during the inspection process. They blame the drivers for many things, don’t maintain their equipment, and ask drivers to bend the rules, you don’t want to work for those companies. You do want to work for a company that takes safety seriously and has a culture that empowers the drivers to put safety over productivity.

Ask that question to the carrier when applying for work. What is the safety rating of the company? What is your safety program like? What does the owner think of safety? These questions and more should all be asked of a carrier before signing on with them. With Road Check you can ask one more questions to test their culture, “What do you do during the week of Road Check to ensure your vehicles are safe on the road?” Hopefully the answer will make you want to apply to the right carrier. Good luck!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Truck Drivers are the Glue to Keeping Trucking in Motion

I hear it everyday from carriers that the people coming into the industry are lacking commitment and don’t seem to have the skills necessary for the job. I see it in my classes that many students are trying to cookie cut their career and find the perfect job from day one. We see it as a whole in the industry that things are in a state of flux and organizations are trying to come up with answers that address the needs of the industry. No easy fix for sure! There is one constant component in the whole equation and that is you, the driver, the student, you’re the glue.

Why are you the glue, that important piece of a very complex puzzle? You are the piece that controls everything. As a driver you are in demand in the industry. There is a major recruiting shortage that is getting worse and drivers are needed badly. As a student you want the best job you can get, but getting that job may be harder than you expected because it is not just about driving a truck. As an industry we have been trying to find the right mix of regulations for both drivers and companies working in the industry and that has made the industry more complex over the years. How you perform as a driver glues all of those issues together. So how does this affect us going forward?

There are many that believe we don’t have a recruiting shortage but lack the necessary driver qualifications in today’s drivers. The industry has changed so much that once it was a dumping ground for people without education, it has now become one of the most regulated and education rich industries in North America. So how do you succeed in an industry that is changing at the speed of sound? The secret is to educate yourself, network, and take your position seriously.

For the most part people looking into the transportation industry have no fondness of being in classes or increasing their education. Many believe if they can drive then they have all that is needed to be successful as a professional driver. In fact the most popular reason that people get into this industry is because they went on a long trip, enjoyed the drive, and thought truck driving might be for them. What changes is when they actually get into the training aspect of the job they realize driving is only one part of the position. There are many different components to the job and driving is only 50 percent at best. Keeping yourself educated is the important aspect of being successful in today’s transportation industry. The other 50 percent of the job duties needed to be successful encompasses everything else that a driver does on a daily basis. Educate yourself regularly through videos, publications, podcasts, or other sources that you come across everyday. Find the ones that are best for you and keep up with the industry.

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Take your career to the next level and secure your position in the changing area of transportation. There is no reason why any person with a valid commercial licence should not be working for a decent carrier unless they choose not to drive. Realize that driving is only a portion of your responsibilities and the industry is changing. Don’t be one of the statistics of this industry, be part of the solution, be the glue that keeps it together.

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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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You’ve Got to Give a Company a Year!

I was reading some questions lately about drivers looking for jobs and as I went through a few posts I began to notice a disturbing trend. Many of the drivers asking the questions were asking where to go to drive hauling a certain type of trailer. What was comical is that if you went down the list and read every question many were contradicting each other. The drivers may as well just switched companies. The trend I noticed was that the drivers all were fairly new drivers and many of them were looking to change companies after only 6 months of driving time. What these drivers may no realize is how much they are hurting their employment record by moving companies within a year of starting in their career. You’ve got to give a company a year as a new truck driver.

TTSAO Hiring Event 2018

The first two years of your career are critical to success as a new driver and the best thing you can do for your career is learn all you can and work in a stable environment. Forget the money, forget the lanes of operation, forget everything. Drive safely and learn all you can about the job is the best way to have success in the industry.

Why stay for at least a year?

What many new drivers may not realize is that there are many factors that work together from insurance to safety to experience and if you can stay at a company for at least two years before moving to another company it helps your employment record dramatically. Once a driver has two years of experience the insurance companies look at that driver as an experienced driver and they become easier to insure. Two years is also the amount of time that it takes for a driver to learn the basic skills of the job and be self sufficient in their position. When a driver moves from company to company within the two year mark it becomes a red flag to many companies that this driver isn’t stable and it will cause them to question investing in that driver.

What looks better on an employment record? A driver that has been with a company for two years and is now looking for an improved opportunity? Or a driver that has had three jobs in the last two years and is still looking for more opportunities?

This is why it is important for new drivers to investigate companies properly when first getting started in the industry. Start your career with a reputable carrier that will offer the training and help you get the experience required to have a solid career as a driver. Don’t worry about making money, just gain as much experience as you can and stay stable at your job. After two years your options will open dramatically for the new driver and you will have enough knowledge to know what type of job you want in the industry.

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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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Tips for Evaluating Your Trucking Job Contract

Remember the days when you went to apply for a job and the employer had you sit at a desk and fill out a generic one page application? Your young hands shaking as you try to get your printing neat enough for someone else to read and your mind focused enough to remember your social insurance number. Then you reached the part where it asked for your experience and you tried to think of everything you have ever done that remotely related to the job you’re applying for. My first job was like that as I applied to a fast food restaurant where washing the dishes at home became my closest experience to working for a restaurant. I did get the job as a dish washer!

Today things are quite different. You have resumes that have to be provided in a certain format or length with background check information to be verified by the employer. Contracts are now normal and negotiating an employment contract is a regular part of the process for accepting a job. We often think of contracts as something that only happens in business or high level projects but everyday applications such as a truck driver position have to deal with contracts as well. This is important to understand because you could be agreeing to things you don’t understand or be leaving benefits on the table.

This happened to me when I went to work for a global company. I had never really dealt with employment contracts and didn’t understand that contracts were negotiable. I accepted the contract and found out later through discussions that other team members got other benefits because they negotiated them. For me it may have meant another week of vacation each year. Contracts are now a normal part of the process and it is important that you read and understand them to protect you and your benefits. You may not have to get a lawyer involved but you should know what you are signing and agreeing to so I have offered you a few basic tips below.

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Read the Contract

I used to work closely with a company that was mostly owner operator based and management would relate horror stories that owner operators didn’t understand what was expected of them because they didn’t read their contracts and were then surprised when items were taken off their statements that they hadn’t agreed to. The fact was that they had agreed to it and would have known that if they had read their contract. READ EVERY WORD!

Have Someone Else Read Your Contract

Contracts have lots of legalese in them and it can be hard to understand the legal language sometimes. Always have someone else read the contract as well and if you still don’t understand it find a lawyer or paralegal to help you.

Evaluate Every Line Item

It is very hard to read contracts or other important documents on a phone or tablet. If possible always print out or receive a paper copy and go through it line by line. I like to print off a paper copy and highlight all the items to be changed and add notes in the margin of items to be reviewed with the employer. Make a spare copy for marking if you only received one as your primary copy.

Sleep On It

Never feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot. If you are asked to sign it without reading it then run. Most employers will send the contract ahead of time or send it home with you for review. Read the contract and then sleep on it overnight and read it again the next day. If you need longer because you need to get a lawyer to review it then do so and let them know you are having someone else review it. Realize that a contract can be a starting point for negotiations and doesn’t need to be looked at as the end point of an agreement unless you have signed it. Once you sign it you can’t go back and negotiate.

Contracts are becoming a normal part of business and employment processes. Understanding the benefits or issues with your particular contract application is important for success in the future. Ensure you read your contracts and all the best.

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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 for Truck Drivers. 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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CHET gives a presentation to the Peel Goods Movement Task Force

Hard on the heels of the Conference, I  was involved in giving a presentation to the Peel Goods Movement Task Force last Friday, and I now know that we, as a group (TTSAO) through CHET are accepted as a stakeholder in relation to Training.    A big plus for the Association to be among such an elite level of planners, logicians and academics in transportation. To view the information check out the link below.

https://www.peelregion.ca/pw/transportation/goodsmovement/pdf/goods-movement-strategic-plan-2017-2021.pdf

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What Type of Experience Do You Need as a New Driver?

A friend of mine graduated from a school with a new commercial drivers licence. He has completed training, did well on his test, and is now looking for a position with a company. He has been told by many carriers that he needs at least one year of experience before they will send him over the road to drive across the country. He has a couple of opportunities that would take a chance on hiring him, but he is not sure he is ready to go out on the highway. He says he prefers to stay close to home and has the opportunity to work at a local job picking up garbage for a local waste company. His dilemma is if he accepts the job at the waste company will that experience go towards having one year of driving experience? My answer is yes and no!

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of experience because much of it depends on the equipment, company, and type of work you are involved in. Let’s break it down so you can see how the experience will help or not help my friend.

Getting the job at the waste company will offer him some experience in the industry. He will be around equipment and will be conducting items like pre-trip inspections, city driving experience, and possibly offer advancement in the industry. What he will lack at the waste company depending on the equipment is the experience of driving a tractor trailer as much of the equipment in those types of operations is class “D” Straight truck equipment. He may not be gaining experience that will help him later transition to being an over the road highway driver. Once he moves to another job after a year he may be even more rusty because he hasn’t used those driving skills for a long time. After a year in a straight truck companies will still look at his experience as a new driver so he may not be so far ahead. He would need additional training.

Man driving tractor

If my friend was to go directly to work for someone that operates the type of equipment he was trained on such as a tractor trailer he would be gaining the experience for the equipment he was trained on. He could find a local company if that’s what he chooses and that would be a great way to gather experience for the open road. He would have more options after that year because he would have verifiable experience on over the road equipment.

It is important to gain experience directly after your training for that training to be engraved in your mind and become something that is routine. There are many licenced drivers that have never turned a wheel because they have decided to go in another career direction after training. They may be licenced but they aren’t experienced and are effectively at the starting point again. I am a firm believer in a step type of program for new drivers but it is important that program includes the type of equipment they were trained on. Look for experience in your trained type of equipment and it will work towards that experience marker.

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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 for truck drivers. 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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The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

Many new people coming into the industry are often looking for a fast way to make money quickly. That is understandable as many have been out of work, paying for training, or have other commitments and will often take the first job that is offered to them. In other industries such as manufacturing or office work choosing a job that is not a fit for you won’t impact your safety or the safety of others. In the trucking industry signing on with the wrong carrier may be a life or death decision and that is why professionals in the industry are always urging students to their homework.

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The largest example of this is the Humboldt tragedy that has impacted so many lives from the families that lost loved ones to the driver that made many mistakes and now has to live with the factors of that tragic day his whole life. The case is currently scheduled for sentencing but jail time will happen in some form. This driver had only been on the road for three weeks working for a carrier that only had two trucks and a shaky business history. Items from poor inspection procedures, to not following the law, to lack of training were all contributing factors in this crash. Had this driver had more training and done his homework to find a more compliant carrier to work for then this incident may never have occurred. This is why it is important to investigate the carriers you plan to work for and ensure you are going to work for a company that believes in being safe and compliant on the road.

What does a safe compliant carrier look like?

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Carriers like clothes come in all different types and sizes. If you went into a store and asked the clerk for a jacket they would guide you to shelves and shelves of jackets and ask you to choose one. How would you know which one is good without knowing your preferred brand, style, or trying the jacket on. It’s the same process for looking for a carrier. If you just go to a job fair and say I am looking for a carrier you will see a whole room of them, now what? Only by understanding the location, the cargo type, and other criteria can you begin to focus your efforts on certain carriers.

The second part of your carrier search after the basic criteria of where they operate, home time, and other basic factors is the safety aspect. You want to look at things like ongoing training, vehicle maintenance, and compliance in the industry. If a company won’t talk about those issues then you should run as fast as you can because it may be unsafe for you to work there.

The driver of the Humboldt tragedy is in his thirties. He worked for the company for three weeks before the crash. The company was found to have a number of compliance issues and has been fined and taken out of business. The driver is facing at least ten years in jail and will live with with his forever possibly never driving again. Don’t shortcut your training or the process of looking for the right carrier to work for, your life and the lives of others depend on it!

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 for Truck Drivers. 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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