Newbies - Tips From the Trainer


Welcome! This is your personal online trainer. I will strive to provide insightful and 100% accurate information regarding questions you have about the first few months in the life of a new driver--from driving tips to industry policies. Get in on the action. Email your questions to me.

You ask a lot of questions about your career change into trucking, so I'll separate them to clarify things.

Q I really want to drive truck and am doing all the research I can, trying to decide if I should go with company-paid training or pay my own tuition.

A

Everyone pays for his or her training in one way or another. Whether you pay up front and then have the carrier pay your money back through tuition reimbursement or sign a contract for the carrier to pay off the training through one of their programs, you still are paying for the training in some way. There really are no programs that I know of where a company is paying for the total training of a driver without signing a contract for repayment if the driver fails to meet certain criteria.

 
Q I have a million questions and I'm scared to death, as this is a huge career change considering I spent the last 24 years in a production facility. My children are grown, but still live at home; my mom lives with us as well. The hardest thing will be leaving my house in their hands as none of them do much now to help with the upkeep. But that will all change won't it?

A

If you are the sole bread winner in the home, things could get really stressful for those at home AND yourself pretty quickly. You need to really fill them in on the changes that are on the way.

 
Q If I become a company driver, what can I expect to find in my sleeper? Will I be able to read? Will there be a TV? I worry about what I'm going to do with the off time?

A

The sleepers today in most trucks are VERY comfortable. The TVs and other electronic "goodies" are not provided to the drivers. You have to purchase those on your own.

 
Q Am I a fool to believe anyone follows the new 11/14 rule?

A

Not at all. The rules are very easy to follow. It takes some planning and discipline to make the rules work for you.

 
Q How real are the recruiter's promises of me making $850 plus a week? Any and all advice you can give me is appreciated.

A

Eventually that type of pay will be pretty normal. The problem is that at for the first four to six months or so, you will be in "training mode" and will be making much less than that. I hope you are talking to company recruiters and NOT just school recruiters! The first year is eaten up with the training phase, which will affect the first year's numbers. The first full year of driving will get better as you become more accustomed to and better at doing the whole job.

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