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.
I am having a lot of problems finding a job. I have a misdemeanor charge from a few years ago for possession of marijuana and because of that I have been turned down from everyone I have applied to so far. I am clean now and have had the charge expunged from my record. It doesn't seem to matter though. I don't know whether or not it would show up in a background check if I didn't mention it, but I have a feeling it would. Will anyone be able to hire me? Do you have any advice on what I should do?
This may or may not even be a case of the misdemeanor charge. It possibly could be, but there are many things that can "hang up" the hiring process for new drivers and especially drivers with problems in their histories. There is also the fact that the pool of prospects that the trucking industry has to draw from is full of more and more professionals from other industries. It's just a case of competition and backgrounds. If a company has the choice of someone who is older, educated and has a clean history, they are just easier to hire and clear to go to work.
Criminal pasts CAN trip up people trying to enter the industry. Sometimes it's a case of WHAT a person was charged or convicted of, sometimes it's the number of things and sometimes it could be the amount of time since the problems. There are things that some companies will simply not tolerate for their applicants. Theft, violence and drug crimes are usually enough for some companies to deny employment. This may not seem fair, but there are plenty of companies who have hired people with these things in their past and the companies end up losing a lot of money and wasting energy on people who they gave a chance to.
Another one of the things that can trip up applicants is their work history and their references. If a person has no real history or has been working odd jobs or has worked in jobs where they are considered "self-employed" this can make it so the person is almost un-traceable! Prospective truck drivers must sometimes do a lot of research on themselves to tie up loose ends to cover their "whereabouts" for the last 7-10 years.
There are a lot of people who have already gone through trucking school and have a freshly minted CDL in their hands and are ready to go to work. Far too many people jump into the CDL schools before researching the industry through the right resources. Usually it is wiser to call the trucking companies to see what they require for employment. There are jobs out there for people with problems in their pasts. The search may take a while and you may end up driving for some less-than-stellar companies and even driving smaller "class B" equipment, but put your time in and your options improve greatly!
I am a recent CDL graduate. I am trying to locate a trucking company that will let me be home at least every couple of days. The wife is dead set against me going OTR for long periods. Why is it that local run jobs require a lot more experience? I would think the OTR jobs would want the more experienced.
Many drivers and especially experienced drivers seek after these "home often" and local jobs. There are just so many local jobs out there and the local companies have the benefit of actually having drivers "lined up" to compete for them. It's not so much the case of these OTR companies not wanting experienced drivers. All companies really want the more experienced drivers and some will do a lot to keep them. The turnover in experienced drivers for OTR companies is largely due to the more experienced drivers leaving the OTR companies for these local jobs. Working in the OTR companies is no real picnic for some drivers and especially drivers with families and things that they really miss doing when employed in other fields.
This is all a part of "paying your dues" so to speak. The quickest, most direct way to getting experience is going through training and hiring on with one of the larger trucking companies. This is the way most drivers get their experience. Unfortunately this is VERY rough on most drivers and especially drivers with families who are also forced into the trials and travails of the OTR trucking world. There are a lot of problems in marriages in the career field. Any job where a person is gone from home for weeks at a time and only home a few days a month creates the possibility for problems in relationships.
I suggested to all the people I ever talked to about this industry to find out what their significant other thinks about this BEFORE going any further with their plans to go forward in this industry. Unless the partner at home is willing to take on the responsibility of becoming the sole person in charge of EVERYTHING at home and can support you while taking the knocks that will come, you're better off just skipping this choice of careers! The OTR life can be stressful and things go WRONG with startling frequency! If you are having a horrible day and call home for some support, the person who wasn't happy about the decision to even become a driver basically gives you the "I told you so."
There are quite a few large OTR carriers with many choices of fleets and areas of operation. You can choose some larger OTR companies with local operations that you may eventually qualify for, but these jobs are usually a "first come, first served" affair with the more experienced seniority drivers getting first choice. There are also many companies with dedicated fleets with more frequent home time. You may have to ask for the available fleets! Most companies are going to sell the OTR aspects of their companies FIRST.
Written By: Fozzy