Women in Trucking - One Woman's Journey
Finding a Job
Let's assume you have your CDL. Now you are in the market for a job. This is not as hard as it has been in the past. Right now the job market for a truck driver (experienced or not) is booming. You can decide which company you want to work for. You will be able to accept or decline their proposal instead of the other way around. It is a great feeling, but with this feeling comes responsibility.
You may be able to decide on which company you want to work for, but is it the right company for you? What are the things you are looking for in a trucking company? Do you want to make more money? Do you need benefits? Is the equipment they provide the most important thing to you? Or is it the way they treat their employees? Make a list of the important things you are looking for and rank them. Start with this list and a list of trucking company phone numbers. Then ask each one of them a series of questions and write down the answers to those questions. Then rank the companies according to these answers.
When my husband and I were looking for a company, we put our questions on an Excel spreadsheet and kept track of the answers each company provided. When the tally was completed we chose the company my husband is currently driving for. We chose to stay with that company when I decided to go out because of their wonderful team policy.
Listed below are some of the questions we asked each company. You will come up with more of your own.
- What kind of trucks are you running? What size engines? What transmissions? How old are they? What is your maintenance policy?
- Where is your orientation? Do you pay for my transportation to and from there? How long is your training? How much do I get paid while I am in orientation and training?
- What benefits do you provide? Do you pay for my health, life and disability insurance, or is that my responsibility?
- What is your home time policy? How long do I have to stay out on the road before I can come home? How long can I be home? Is this a guaranteed policy?
- Do you have slip seating? Will I be assigned a truck? Are your trucks equipped with AM/FM radios and CBs, or do I have to provide them?
- Do you have Qualcomm satellite communications? Do you have a paperless logbook system?
- How much do I get paid? Do you have any hold back pay? Do you reimburse me for my education? How often do I get raises? Is there a bonus for mileage or safety?
- Do you have credit cards for major toll highways or tollbooths? Do you have a transponder for weigh stations? Do you pay for lumpers? Do you pay me if I assist in unloading or loading? Do you have layover pay? How long do I have to be laid over before you pay me?
- How many drivers do you have per dispatcher? Is there a policy in place for changing dispatchers if I do not agree with my current dispatcher? Does your company have an open door policy?
These are the questions we asked when we called the recruiter. The most important thing to us was home time, driver relations and equipment. You may have more questions than these or you may not want to ask all these questions. Do what is right for you.
If you are at a truck stop and you see a driver with the company you are thinking of working for, ask him what he thinks of the company. Tell him why you want to know. Drivers are the best recruiters.
Pick the company that is right for you and try not to change companies too often. This will look bad on your record and may make it harder for you to get another job. Give the company you have chosen every opportunity to prove to you that they are the company you want to stay with.
Enjoy your new career. Take care of you.