After you’ve gotten your trucking license, it’s time to find a trucking company to work for. When searching for trucking jobs, there are certain factors to consider when selecting a trucking company. Company reputation, type of freight hauled, equipment used by the trucking company, pay, and benefits are essential things to consider before signing on with any.

Here are the top ten things to consider when searching for commercial truck driving jobs in the United States.

  1. Pay

In the trucking industry, the pay can range from per mile to hourly. However, the hourly pay option is usually extended to the more experienced drivers. They know how long it will take to get the job done for long-haul routes and are better prepared for contingencies because they’ve been through situations. Ask for pay increases, bonuses, and accessorial pay. These can increase mileage pay from $0.02-$0.10 per mile. Trucking companies may pay practical miles or short route miles. Practical miles, on average, pay 5.5% more than short route miles. These add up and can make a substantial difference to a paycheck.

2. Home Time

The company that you sign on with should be able to get drivers home regularly or as often as required. Some may promise this, but it’s important to research and ask specific questions about freight lanes before making any decisions. You should do your homework before you agree to accept a regional driving job. Ensure that there is an opportunity for home time as it may be difficult if not impossible due to the distance between work and residence, so check this beforehand.

3. Safety

Commercial truck drivers have the difficult responsibility of operating massive machines with tons and tons of force. They need to always be aware not only of themselves but also of other motorists on the roadways.

A professional driver must know how their vehicle will react in certain circumstances- such as rain or snow. If there’s any moisture on a highway, it could cause tire failure due to compromised tread design, resulting in an accident at best; plus, these conditions make driving less safe already. Research to determine if the trucking company takes steps to protect a driver’s safety. Search for a carrier’s federal safety scores at: https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/. Read how the scoring works.

4. Tuition Reimbursement

Carriers will often pay off tuition for new students, but how they do it and what amount is offered varies by company. To maximize your tuition reimbursement, you must find a company with the right type of plan. Some plans offer different payouts based on how many miles or hours worked for them; some give direct payments into an account, and others require travel time, which means more work equals bigger checks.

5. Equipment

As a professional truck driver, your home on wheels is the world. It’s like long stretches of camping, and you want the experience to be as comfortable as possible. So, ensuring everything from seats and air conditioners is working well will help keep things comfortable for long-term truck dwellers. Most truck manufacturers have started paying more attention than before, so inquire about the ages of the trucks. Newer trucks will have more creature comforts and help make your transition into trucking much easier. Making sure the equipment is well taken care of with quality, proactive preventative maintenance schedules should also weigh in heavily on your decision-making process when choosing which model to drive, i.e., as and when you can exercise such choice. Looking at Federal safety scores of the operating conditions of the different types of trucks will give you further perspective.

6. Benefits

You must ask about insurance coverages and provider networks. Retirement plans may also be an issue for some people, so make sure this information has been addressed before making any decisions or committing time into a company’s calendar. And of course, take note if your employer offers paid vacations in order not to have unused leave on hand when they stop offering them – things can change quickly these days.

7. Rider and Pet Policies

Having a rider in your truck is not as straightforward as one might think. Different companies have different rules about whether riders are allowed, what pet they can bring with them (cat vs. dog), and how long the rider can be in the truck. There are rules to be considered regarding the size and type of pet allowed and the nature of the containment that is to be instituted while the vehicle is on the road.

8. Reputation

You can tell a lot about a company’s reputation by how long it’s been in business. The current trucking market means there are more small transportation companies popping up all over, but make sure you do an honest background check on these ventures before taking any job offers so that your future goals aren’t hurt or compromised because they don’t care enough for their employee drivers

An excellent way to evaluate whether or not this new firm has what it takes would be to check its longevity.

9. Freight Lanes

Companies with high customer freight are in the business because of their reputation and ability to deliver reliable service across different industries. These businesses get to operate freight lanes that may pay you more. You will also be able to get home earlier and enjoy off-hours that are more in tune with your routine.

10. Support

Talk to current employees, check out online forums, and go through a company’s website to feel the nature of support they extend to the employees. You want to work for a company that treats its employees right. You don’t want to leave a company and start job hunting again simply because the trucking company’s policies are not what you’d expect from an employer.

When you are training for your commercial driver’s license, many trucking companies will be vying for your skills and time. They will woo you with packages and extras. Research to learn about the best ones for your needs to find a good trucking company and stay with it for a year to get a real-world experience of commercial truck driving.

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Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis from Texas is a 30-year veteran in the trucking industry. He's driven refrigerated, flatbed, tankers, intermodals and more. You can find him as the primary author at America's Driving Force and at industry events.

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