Experience gained on the road is one of the most important pieces to advancing your driving career. Your value to prospective employers and your options increase as you reach milestones such as two, three, and five years of safe driving; but there are many other things a driver can do to keep their career on the right road.
Follow these tips from the pros to advance in your career as a professional truck driver!
Keep a Good Record
Guard you CDL license like it’s your livelihood⏤because it is. To earn more money, get the best runs, and make the most of your career, keep a clean CDL. This means no tickets or accidents (personal vehicles included), no log book violations or other motor carrier related citations. Make sure endorsements and medical certifications are kept up to date. Some states automatically suspend your license if your auto insurance company reports that you have dropped coverage. Be proactive, don’t let that happen.
Trucking companies want employees they can trust not to do things that are harmful to the company. This could be driving aggressively, arguing with customers, or just generally not being a good representation of the company. They want drivers they don’t have to worry about. Always behave like a professional, it will pay off in the long-run.
The more flexible you are with home time, the type of equipment you can operate, and endorsements you hold, the better. Drivers often miss a range of niche driving careers open to CDL holders. Flatbeds, refrigerated fleets, heavy equipment hauling, rigging, furniture moving, and passenger carrying are just a few. These types of jobs often pay more than dry box freight, but also require experience in a particular field or the ability to learn those skills.
Be On Time
For many customers, on-time pickups and deliveries are vital to their businesses. Some contracts between shippers and carriers allow for fines to be levied for late arrivals. Occasionally, being late it is unavoidable. Just make sure it isn’t because of something you did or didn’t do, and keep your dispatcher and/or customer aware of any problems so there are no surprises.
Stay Ahead of the Game
Staying up to date on industry news and opportunities so you can advocate for yourself. Talk to other drivers about their companies. What kind of pay and benefits are offered? How do they treat their employees? Do your online research too. Keep track of firms you might want to work with when the time is right. You should soon find a situation that meets your goals.
Before making a job change, keep in mind that turnover rates are very high in the business and trucking outfits favor candidates with a stable work history. If possible, stay at each job throughout your career for at least two years. As you hit those experience milestones, consider the new opportunities available to you but keep to your long-range game plan on track. Make sure the timing is right before you start a new opportunity.
If you are considering a driving career, your first step should be a good truck driving school, and as with any profession, you’ll go farther knowing where you want to be in the future rather than just waiting to see what happens. Contact us today if you’re ready to get started!