Should you attend a truck show in Quebec even though you are from Ontario?

ExpoCam 2017 launches tomorrow in Montreal, Quebec. ExpoCam is the sister show to Truck World which happens in Toronto every other year and was here last year. The two shows alternate years from Montreal to Toronto and are generally the largest shows of the year. The flavour of each show ranges from days that are very corporate in nature to a family event on the Saturdays. So should you attend?

If you are interested in truck shows then you should attend. Many however feel that because the show is in Quebec that it is not something that is worth attending if you are from Ontario. Oh sure there will be a few language barriers, but most people speak English as well so that shouldn’t be an issue. Many drivers think carriers in Quebec are not looking for drivers from Ontario, not necessarily true. So should you attend?

The truth is that you may be missing some major opportunities by not attending the show. If you are a new driver this is an important show to attend. In order to know this you have to take a look at how the two Provinces work together and the landscape of the trucking industry in Canada.

Let’s take a look at the carriers themselves. If you look at many of the larger carriers like CAT, SGT, Bison, Challenger and many others they all have locations in Ontario and Quebec among other Provinces. You will also find other carriers that may not have locations in Ontario but operate throughout Ontario and that may give you opportunities that you may not come across in Ontario truck shows. From a carrier standpoint it is is a good idea to visit the show for job opportunities.

If we look at the logistics landscape we find more reasons to attend the show. Toronto to Montreal is a major freight corridor not only between the Provinces, but through to the United States as well. Many carriers have freight that operates throughout the two Provinces in a regional type of operation. I have had many friends over the years that have operated Toronto to Montreal as part of their normal operation with dedicated freight.

If you are in the job market as a driver and have the time and access to visit the show then it would be worth the trip. You will see many vendors and carriers from Ontario which will offer you increased networking opportunities. Many say that the Montreal show has a different flavour than the Toronto show and the plus is that it is in Montreal. Montreal is a beautiful city and has great amenities and attractions for those attending the show. So get your friends together, jump in the car and head off to the show. The show starts on April 20th at Bonaventure Place in Montreal. You can learn all the details on the ExpoCam website at http://www.expocam.ca/# . Get your resume up to speed, plan the show, and have some fun. Enjoy!

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Being Prepared is the Secret to Getting Hired with Carriers

It was spelled out at a recent seminar on getting hired for the trucking industry of BE PREPARED! This recent seminar for new drivers on how to get a job in the industry was focused on what is required to get hired on with the top carriers in the country. The message that came from industry expert Guy Broderick was be prepared and professional.

Guy outlined what he looks for as a top recruiter in the industry when interviewing new applicants for the job. “People show up in dirty clothing, inappropriate shoes, and a lack of requirements like safety vests, gloves, a hammer, and safety boots and expect to do a proper road test. Applicants need to be prepared to do a proper road test and not assume that we have all of that equipment waiting for them, show me you’re prepared.”

On the road test itself Guy mentioned that you can tell the difference when someone has certified training and understands how to do a pre-trip inspection properly and those that don’t. He has had people looking for items like brake fluid on a tractor trailer where it doesn’t even exist. How you perform on a road test shows trainer the mannerisms and mental attitude on the road. Many of the top carriers are becoming very choosy of the type of candidates being chosen for their fleet. Part of that is about safety, but there is also an image factor.

First impressions count and it starts with your resume. Completing your resume properly and paying attention to details such as how you present it to the recruiter are very important. Dressing as if you may get interviewed on the spot is also suggested. “I see so many people come in to fill out an application and are surprised when a member of management comes out of the office to talk with them on the spot”, said Guy. Be prepared from the start.

Highlights of the seminar were be prepared and present yourself with professionalism. Know what you are talking about and know some background information about the company. Be prepared for the road test by bringing your own safety equipment and put your best foot forward.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Memorizing is not doing!

One of the largest problems still in the industry is the pre-trip inspection process. Carriers complain about it, regulatory officials complain about it, and students complain about it. Go to any carrier and many of the violations on their books have to do with maintenance violations that should have been checked during an inspection.

I recently conducted an interview on my radio show of an ex-MTO inspector on how to get through the scales with clean inspections. We began to talk about the issues they were facing when he started as an inspection officer over twenty years ago. It was eye opening to see that we still face those same issues today. At that time wheels separating from vehicles was the hot topic and twenty years later wheels separating from vehicles is still the hot issue. For the most part wheels separating from vehicles should have been noticed in the inspection process.

I conducted some safety training for a client not to long ago on the inspection process. The fleet has long term drivers with fairly new equipment. All the drivers had over ten years experience and when they did the inspections they too were falling into the trap of just saying components and not really inspecting them. In other words they knew what they are suppose to check, but stopped checking.

There are two reasons for this and both come to the same conclusion. For new students the issue may be lack of knowledge and testing process. For older drivers it normally boils down to complacency. Anyone over ten years of experience will fall into the complacency trap. They know the process, but have stopped doing it. That’s the reason the issues that should have been solved twenty years ago are still at the forefront of the industry today. So what can be done?

If you are a new student take your training seriously. Don’t just memorize the process of doing an inspection or driving the truck, learn it!. Know why you are doing something and develop a system for yourself to complete the process properly.

If you are an older driver returning to the industry or are finding that you are becoming complacent with your process then get back the basics. Start doing the process of an inspection everyday and make it a goal to do inspections as thoroughly as possible. This way when on the road you will feel confident when going into an inspection station that you have done everything possible to be safe on the roadway.

This is an industry of continual learning and the biggest problem we have is complacency. There is a lot for a driver to do everyday keeping their trucks in good order and meeting the demands of the road. If you let complacency set in that is when you will find problems that you didn’t see coming. Learn, practice and try to improve everyday and you will be a top driver in the industry.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Enhance Your Career with Additional Training

I recently conducted an interview with a friend of mine who is in the truck training space. We were discussing training programs and got onto the the topic of course selection for new students. He offers some specialized courses that others don’t in the way of truck mechanic courses. I was intrigued by this because there aren’t many schools offering this type of course and it is very valuable to have as a driver. In addition to the mechanics course the heavy equipment course is also something that many drivers should think about when looking at training, here’s why?
As a driver you are alone on the road. You’re dealing with mechanical equipment, inspections, and other required components that can break down at anytime. Having the knowledge to know what you are looking for when dealing with mechanical equipment is important on the road. I certainly am no mechanic but glad I have some of that knowledge while I was on the road. As a driver you will be forced to make decisions on the road about repairs and problems with your truck. There are many little repairs that could be handled on the road if a driver knew what they were looking for. Just the inspection process alone will be more thorough and efficient with someone that knows the components and how they work.

As for the heavy equipment training if you are working for a company that has that type of equipment then it will be a requirement. From a safety standpoint you would hate to run over someone unloading a machine that you are not certified to operate. New students often do not understand that to load a piece of equipment on a float trailer requires the certification for the equipment. With regulations on construction tightening these days just knowing how to operate equipment without the certification are long gone.

Here is the real reason you may want to look into additional training, the job! Isn’t this the reason that you are looking into training in the first place? To get the job? That additional training can set you ahead of the competition. This is especially important in rural areas where companies may have varied work projects and need people who can do more than just drive, but also help with maintenance items, operate other machinery, and work on various projects.

Our industry is changing at a high rate of speed. Carriers and construction businesses are looking at people that can give them the best advantage in a very competitive industry. Getting training in all areas of the industry will certainly benefit any candidate in today’s trucking industry.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Gordon Foods Hosts March 2017 TTSAO Meeting

A big thank you to Gordon Foods Services for hosting the March 2017 TTSAO meeting. Attendees were shown an excellent time with gfs-logoa tour of the facility, food, refreshments, and  raffle prizes.

In addition the company also announced a special offer for Full Membered Schools in the TTSAO family. Look for more information in your minutes to follow.  Here are some pictures from the event.

Thank you Gordon Foods Services for a great meeting.  You can learn more about Gordon Foods Services at www.gfs.com

About the TTSAO

The TTSAO envisions that through the co-operation and joint efforts of all schools involved and the industry itself, specific standards and educational programs can be set for drivers that will not only prove more realistic but much more effective than those currently being put into place by various government agencies.

“Striving For Success In Training”

For more information on the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario please email ttsao@ttsao.com or call 1-866-475-9436

Are you leaving money on the table as a truck driver?

We are coming up to tax time. That time of year that has the accounting professionals going at full tilt to get taxes filed for clients. Owner operators have been scrambling to get receipts organized and in order for their accountant. Some people are in good moods and others depressed based on what they think they have to pay as business owners or tax paying citizens. The real question that lingers is this, “Are you leaving money on the table as a truck driver?”

Depending on whether you have good or bad memories of dealing with a revenue agency will depend on how involved you are with your taxes. Maybe you have never thought about your taxes especially as an employee? But you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table if you don’t take taxes seriously. Here is what I mean.

I was training new drivers on logbooks and the importance of keeping records and are in the middle of a discussion about how long the records have to be kept. As per the regulations for logbooks they must be kept for six months for audit purposes with transportation authorities from a company standpoint. I then mentioned that if they are being used for tax purposes they should be kept for seven years. This didn’t cause much reaction until I mentioned the next part.

I then began to talk about the “per diem” program for employees that work out of town and are allowed to claim a certain amount of money for each meal on the road without receipts. The logbooks now become supporting documents for those claims with the revenue agency. The amount a driver can claim may be in the thousands of dollars. You wanted to be a fly in the room that day as quite a few driver’s jaws fell to the ground as they had been throwing out their logbooks and hadn’t claimed their meals. One driver estimated he had lost a claim of around $6000 per year in legitimate meal expenses.

These claims are available to employees and if an owner operator has set up their business properly they are able to claim the meals under the same system. There is a form that has to be signed by your company saying you don’t receive compensation for your meals. You then take that form to your accountant and they can apply that amount to your taxes where you will receive a refund.

If you haven’t been claiming your meals then now is the time to start. If you think of the amount of time a driver spends on the road this is not a small amount of money that could be put back into the pockets of drivers. Many complain drivers don’t make enough money, yet many are leaving that money on the table due to a lack of knowledge of tax laws like the meal expense allowance. You are allowed to go back a certain amount of time so check with your accountant to find out the particulars if you haven’t been claiming up to now. Don’t leave money on the table, it’s your money!
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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

March Break Madness for Truck Drivers

Depending on where you work March Break can look very different. If you are in an office setting with colleagues of middle age your office environment may be pretty empty. People have taken the time off to spend with family, travel on vacation, or catch up with the kids. Schools are closed and everyone is trying to get their adventure started in a warmer climate. March Break is similar to a formal Holiday where people focus on family and personal time.

For truck drivers however, the story looks quite different. Unless a driver has taken time off the environment at March Break is totally opposite. Your office environment isn’t that relaxed empty place as mentioned above. You’re traveling but it isn’t on vacation. Catching up with the kids brings on a whole new meaning as they may have been pushed into the truck with you. As for going towards a warmer climate, you may never reach that destination depending on your delivery location. Truck drivers are a tough bunch so Mother Nature felt she had to add a ton of snow on top of things just to make it interesting. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

As a professional driver how do you deal with the tremendous change that comes at this time each year. Your options may not include taking the week off, calling customers to tell them you can’t deliver, or avoiding Mother Nature and her winter gifts to the community. Drivers have to get the job done so how do you do that?

It’s all about the basics. Professional drivers have good trip planning skills and check everything from weather patterns to truck stops and have their trip planned out before turning the wheel. That’s just a start, you have to keep monitoring that trip throughout its entirety as weather and traffic patterns can change quickly. Leaving extra time for deliveries is crucial at anytime but especially on weeks like March Break. This is a lot for people to know and control.

This is why professional training is critical for today’s truck driver. There is so much that a driver needs to know to be safe on the road and to deliver their load in a timely manner. Driving isn’t just about the licence anymore as there are many moving parts to the job. March Break doesn’t have to be a week of madness for drivers, but it does require good planning to be safe.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Celebrate the Women of Trucking

Today ( March 8th) is International Women’s Day celebrating women around the world. The focus of Women’s Day is to show the importance of women in our lives. There are marches and protests scheduled for today trying to show strength of women in society and the issues being promoted are equality in the world, the strength of a woman in our daily lives, and the unity of women around the globe.

I celebrate women everyday and work with many of them in my various roles throughout our industry. Many of my colleagues feel the same way as women bring a strength and knowledge that is paramount to success in the workplace. I am happy to say that trucking has been a great place for women equality as we are one of the few industries that have women paid the same as men for driving and there is a big push in the industry to get more women involved in the industry. We have found over the years it is not an issue of women not able to do the job, but that the profession is not attractive to many women outside of the industry. That is something we will have to focus on for both men and women. Maybe that’s what we need, “a women’s touch” as they say to make this industry more attractive. I know that topic has been the centre of many conferences and meetings within our industry over the years.

Over my twenty-five years of driving I have worked with many women drivers many of those have become close friends as well. They certainly have what it takes to get the job done and did it at a level that many men can’t achieve. They were professional, hard working, and dedicated to being the best they can be. Since I have stopped driving and now work in other sectors of the industry I still continue to work with great women in the industry in various roles. Women just want the same opportunities as their male counterparts with the same pay.

In my training programs women have been fabulous at taking in information, much better than many of the men. Women want to learn about the whole industry and how they can be successful after the training where many of the men can’t wait to get out of class and drive the truck. Women take notes and are more engaged when trying to learn the tasks required in the industry therefore they take in the knowledge and retain it better.

How can we celebrate women in the industry going forward? The first step is to realize women can be a great part of any team, that they have all the resources and knowledge that men do. We need to create opportunities for women and make the industry attractive to women. Just treat them as the equals that they are. Happy Women’s Day to all the women in our industry and beyond.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Want equal pay, try trucking!

There are a lot of things about the trucking industry that people feel are behind the times. It has been described as an “old boys club” at times. I have always said in many ways they are a good 10 years behind what is going on in other sectors, and many of our business models are from the old days. This is why it is ironic that transportation is one of the few industries that actually have pay equity. Men and women in driving positions get paid the same for the same type of driving that they do. That means we are the leader at least in something.

Transportation is coming into changing times and in many ways are surpassing many other industries with technology of vehicles. If we could match the benefit of pay equity and reduce the downside of waiting times and time away from home then transportation will be a leader in many regards. Transportation is a good place to work and as it was discussed in a recent conference for the TTSAO (Truck Training School Association of Ontario) that making it attractive to people outside of the industry should be our priority. I have found over my career that you learn to love the industry after you have started in it. We have to get the people in it first and that seems to be the challenge.

With recent changes coming up with electronic logging devices it will even out the playing field and hopefully raise rates for the industry. Let’s hope this also translates in higher rates for drivers. I also believe this will start showing the delays that many drivers experience and help them to earn money for all the time spent on the road.

If you are looking at this industry all I can suggest is get into it. The benefits are that the people are good, and the opportunities for growth are endless for the right person. The added benefit is the pay is the same for both men and women drivers. Start with quality training, get employed by the right carrier, and be willing to learn and grow. That is the secret to a successful career in trucking.

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, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. 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

Striving for Success in Training

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