Tag Archives: TTSAO Carrier Group

Is the Trucking Industry Shutting Down?

There is a lot of homework that goes into choosing the right carrier to work for as a driver and although we often tell truck drivers to research an environment there is only so much a driver can do. You can look at the carrier’s equipment, talk about their maintenance plan, discuss their operating patterns, and look for good company culture. That won’t always tell you the whole story as many companies aren’t going to give you their financial information to review. So how do you know if the transportation industry is something you should pursue?

Someone brand new looking at the industry may be very confused. Job fairs are increasing with carriers looking for multiple drivers to work in their operations showing that there is lots of freight that needs to be transported. On the other hand there have been many stories of late of carriers going out of business on both sides of the border and of all sizes. Is the trucking industry shutting down?

There are many factors that have gone into the latest trucking operations closing from tariffs to operating areas and other factors. Contracts and shipper relationships are a huge factor in a carrier’s success and can be the difference between staying in business or not. Anyone who has been in business will tell you that business relationships and cash flow can make or break a business. Freightwaves has written an article about the latest trucking closure by Timmerman Starlite Trucking and some of the factors that may have been responsible the closure. You can read the article at http://www.freightwaves.com/news/trucking-apocalypse-continues-california-truckload-carrier-latest-victim-regulations-blamed

Company-closed

I honestly don’t think the trucking industry is shutting down, it is doing what it always does in cleaning itself out much like Mother Nature. The strong survive and the weak die off in wildlife and business is no different. There are many factors that have increased expenses for many carriers such as electronic logging devices, increased driver pay, changing regulations, and increased equipment costs. Businesses that don’t evolve with the changing times will be in trouble in an uncertain business climate such as we have today.

Depending on how long you have been in the industry you may have seen this happen in the past. I remember back in the late eighties we went through a similar process and back then we used to say there will only be five trucking companies in Canada. Many will either be bought out or dissolve. I don’t have a crystal ball so can’t tell you which companies will be around in the future, but I can tell you that the trucking industry is not shutting down. It will continue to change as it has always done and companies will start up and go out of business as they have always done. As a driver it is important to do your homework to the best of your ability and look at companies that have longevity and are improving or evolving with the changing times. A carrier with strong customer relationships in freight markets that are stable will be around in the future if they are operating properly. I believe trucking will never go away, but it will change!

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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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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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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.

Whell and brake assembly picture

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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3 Tips to Consider Before You Start Team Driving

There are many opportunities in our industry for people to run as teams and there are also many things to consider before you enter into a team operation as it can be a good and bad experience depending on the people involved. Understanding what team driving is and how it works should be the first step in deciding on being part of a team.

Benefits of Team Driving

I have run team a couple of times throughout my career and both times were with people I knew very well. The benefits of working in a team operation are usually money, camaraderie, and faster turn around times on trips. Team operations usually get paid for every mile of the trip whether driving or sleeping. A single driver may get paid 50 cents per mile for every mile they drive but not when stopped or sleeping. In a team operation one person drives and the other sleeps and both team members would get 25 cents per mile the whole time the truck is rolling.

If you are a husband and wife team and both have an interest in trucking then team driving is very popular. Many feel as though they are on vacation and stay out for long periods of time to enjoy the many amazing places in North America.

Teams usually driver far distances because they can keep driving and the truck doesn’t need to stop. You can drive double the distances in half the time of a single driver operation which is why it is so attractive for new people. If you make more money, turn a trip around faster, and have someone with you on the road that you enjoy then what is the downside to team driving?

What to Consider Before Team Driving

Team driving may sound like an attractive option, but there are also many things to consider before jumping into this type of arrangement. You have to really know who you are driving with while trusting them as a driver and their skills behind the wheel. Here are three things you should consider before team driving.

Safety First

Neglecting safety in any operation is bad but neglecting it in team driving can get you killed. You will be sleeping in a moving vehicle while the other person is driving at highway speeds. Are you comfortable with that and can trust that they can handle situations on the road confidently and safely. There have been many accidents in the history of trucking with team members when things went wrong. The team operations that I have seen successfully operate is where both members have strong driving skills with experience behind the wheel. Both team members need to have a safe driving mindset. Safety first!

Personality

Even the largest truck can seem small after a few days on the road and you will be with your partner 24 hours a day. Not only do you need to get along but you need to work together as a team. If one person has to clean up after the other then the operation will go down hill fast. Like minded personalities is a good start but that will only take you so far before you get tired of that person. This is why husband and wife teams work well because there is a stronger connection to each other. Make sure you get along with the other person.

Personal Time and Expenses

We all need time off, but you want to think about your personal time off. Even though a team operation can turn trips faster they also travel longer distances. If you are the type of person that needs to be home during the week or home often then team driving may not be for you.
If the team operation is owner operator based then expenses are something that should be considered. Two people eating on the road can add up quickly and if the operation is employer / employee based with one person paying expenses it may be costing you more money to operate.

Team operations can be good and bad as it really depends on the people. Spouse based teams seem to do well and many enjoy the road making the most of traveling the Country. Teams that don’t have the experience or haven’t thought through the whole process usually have a lot of trouble so really think through the opportunity before accepting a position in a team. Everything looks good on paper.

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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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Linamar to host TTSAO Carrier Group and General Meetings

May 21, 2019

REMINDER – Last Chance to Register: The TTSAO Carrier Group will be holding a meeting on Thursday May 23, 2019 at Linamar Corporation in Guelph at 700 Woodlawn Road from 8:30am to 9:30am.  The meeting is free of charge to attend and is open to all carriers, for hire and private.  The agenda will include an overview of the new TTSAO auditing and oversight program as well as a proposed marketing initiative for recruiting people into the training industry. 

Following the auditing and overview portion of the meeting the TTSAO Carrier Group will be featuring a session called “How We Do It, A Carrier’s Perspective”. This session will have three for hire and private carriers each presenting on recruiting, interviewing, road testing and on-boarding entry level drivers. In this session carrier representatives will share their thoughts on how they are recruiting, and on-boarding entry level students recently graduated from commercial driver training schools. 

After the 3 presentations the carriers will gather as a panel and there will be an open Q/A moderated by Guy Broderick, Chairman of the TTSAO Carrier Group.  

During the general session an update will also be provided on the recently introduced TTSAO auditing and oversight program which is managed by the TTSAO Insurance Group. This recently implemented auditing process, for both new prospective members and existing TTSAO members, who operate commercial truck driving schools has been launched with success. Lisa Arseneau, Chairperson of the TTSAO Insurance Group, will provide an overview of the program to-date.

The meeting for the TTSAO Carrier Group is for Carriers only is scheduled for 8:30 – 9:30am

The general session will take place from 10 am to noon and is open to anyone in the industry who would like to attend. 

To register please email ttsao@ttsao.com or call 705-280-5577.

For more information contact:

Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbglobalservices.com  or (905) 699 – 8837

Kim Richardson – President, TTSAO – KRTS office – 1-800-771-8171 x 201 or cell – 905-512-0254 or by email at kim@ttsao.com

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Become a top brand in the industry

If you are looking to improve your career for 2019 then becoming a top driver then improving your brand may be the way to do it. There are three areas that defines you as a brand and creates the opportunities that will take you forward in your career. If you want to build your personal brand then you need to focus specifically on these three areas. 

Area 1: Attitude

Attitude is the first and most important item of your personal brand. If this area is not in check you can say goodbye to the rest of the program. I have interviewed hundreds of people on my podcast and classes and attitude always comes up as the main factor in the success of ones career in the transportation industry. Your attitude reflects how you think about the job, your carrier, your customers, and the most important, yourself! Attitude makes you want to try harder, be better, and be thorough in what you do.  That makes you do better inspections, dress appropriately, and look professional in your dealings with others. If your attitude is not up to check this is the first thing you should be working on in 2019. 

Area 2: Time Management

Once your attitude has been adjusted (sorry I had to say it) then time management is the next crucial area to work on. You can be the best person in the world, but if you are late to all your customer deliveries then you will not make it in this industry. Time management isn’t just about being on time but how well organized you are, how you plan for delays, and how you plan your trips for maximum profits. Time management encompasses everything in the organizational sector of transportation. Being known as a driver that is on-time and organized can increase your brand ten-fold. Work on this area if you want to be a successful in the trucking industry. 

Truck on highway

Area 3: Teamwork

On a truck everything needs to work in conjunction with other components for a truck to run down the road. If the wheel doesn’t roll when you release the brakes you would have a hard time moving the truck. The same thing goes for teamwork in this industry. If the whole company is not working together a carrier will not be very successful. The system works as a whole from the carriers sales force, to the planning committee, dispatch, and the drivers. If the team doesn’t work together, communicate, and deliver on time everyone will be out of business. Many drivers see themselves as independent components to a carrier but they really are a vital part of a team. Take any member out of the team equation and you will have a flat tire so to speak. 

There is a lot going on in today’s transportation industry and one way to stand out is to be known as a professional driver. Drivers have to start working on their personal brands if they want to be in a position to work for the best carriers in the industry. Being the top in your fleet will offer you positions that require the best professional drivers. Over my career trying to be my best has provided work at great carriers, opportunities for advancement, and a career I am very proud of. Oh sure there have been mistakes along the way but at the end my brand is what provided the benefits of a good career. I just had to work on my brand. Focus on the three areas and you will find success as a professional driver in today’s trucking 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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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.

person-on-technology

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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Making our Industry Attractive to Millennials

How do we make our industry attractive to young people? Recruiting events are in high gear this Spring with multiple events happening each month starting in February and continuing into early Summer. Having attended many of these events across the Province I can tell you from first hand experience that the events are well attended with many people looking at the trucking industry. The question, is it enough to attract people to your team?

The argument is still out on whether there is an actual driver shortage or a qualified driver shortage in the industry? The real question is how do we make this job attractive to the next generation? With older generations cool trucks had a lot to do with it, following in your Father’s footsteps, or a love of working with machinery would be a big draw to starting a career in transportation. Those avenues have dried up as of late with fewer people coming in from those areas and more immigrant workers looking for a future in Canada.

There was a recent article in Truck News talking about the image of trucking and what we need to do to attract the younger generation. It talked about demographics and the future of the industry if we don’t do something to make the industry more attractive and soon. You can read the article here – https://www.trucknews.com/human-resources/you-really-have-some-work-to-do/1003090712/

Having Millennials myself there is a difference into what they want and what trucking can offer. Many younger people are looking for that lifestyle balance which is tough in trucking. Older generations have put working in front of many other areas of their lives and the younger generation doesn’t want to do that. By focusing more on lifestyle it is taking them longer to grow up for some and even harder to get into a career. This is why the gaming industry is so attractive, it’s what they do. Add on the pressure of social media where young people can see another person their age make millions by creating a YouTube channel and they find that even more attractive. Who can blame them?

Millennials- how to attract them to your team?

When we turn back to the transportation industry we see exactly the opposite of all of those things. We see long hours at work, we see a lifestyle that doesn’t offer the compensation or the fun of what young people are doing now. it’s also not where their friends are heading. Even though the career steps are there young people don’t see how the hard work is going to better their lives even though we as a different generation have lived it and try to tell them about it. The real question is what are we doing to address those issues and make trucking look sexy? How are we going to offer a work / lifestyle balance, earn a decent income, and offer an opportunity to be a star or do work that is cool? If you can implement those items into your recruiting I believe you will attract young people, I know it is easier said than done!

My suggestions are as follows:

  • We need to get create an industry where the hours are shorter such as a 40 hour work week.
  • Change the compensation and career towards a skilled trade so there is career progression.
  • Show the technology side of the business and the types of jobs needed in the future.
  • Show how cool the work is through it’s independence and travel.
  • Improve the trucking image as a whole to be more attractive to the younger generation.

Do you have those elements in your recruiting campaign? If there is a way of creating them then you will be a front runner for success.

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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