The Great Recruiting Lie by Trucking Companies

The Great Lie from every trucking company is that they value their drivers. While not entirely untrue but it is also not actually actually as the websites and the recruiters are implying.

Please understand, companies do value their drivers. They also value dispatchers, maintenance, safety/compliance and accounting personnel. And like every industry, some companies that do a better job then other others at caring. There are some companies who specialize in hiring new/trainee/driving school graduates. Other, these companies have less generous pay and benefits packages and also offer less home time (per month) or require more time spent running in a team truck when you want to run solo. As these companies hire 100s of drivers each year – you may appear to be less important to them then you would like. But even in these driver mills, the longer you are with the company, normally the better you will be treated.

As your experience grows, the more opportunities and often more respect will be available to you. This could include being higher up to get a new truck, more pay, the option to get preferred loads/routes. And the longer you are with the same company, the more opportunity to receive company awards (safe driver, etc) which will be your acknowledgement you are not just a number.

There are also many companies that will only hire you if you have multiple years of experience. These companies may be smaller and you may have the opportunity to develop a relationship with your dispatches and other co-workers. This is give you the impression that you are more then just a number, even if you are.

For all trucking companies, the driver is an important part. But trucking companies are a team environment. In college sports a solo event is wrestling, however, it is still a team event that requires multiple people to win individual matches for the team to take the trophy. Baseball, basketball, volleyball and football need the coordinated efforts of numerous people at the same time.

Trucking is no different. Even a small company may have a person that handles load scheduling, paying the bills, processing load paperwork to get paid by shipper and paying the drivers. As the company grows, the more specialized each department will be. When a company hits 100s or 1,000s trucks, the departments will multiple employees. Additionally, there will be other departments such as Safety/Compliance, Payroll, Maintenance/Fleet Management and Personnel.

It is not a Great Lie that companies do value their drivers. It could be more about the driver not being as important as they think they are. Nearly every company will state “you are more then a number”. Sorry, no matter what, you really are a number. An employee number. A truck number. A load number.

You are part of the total process to provide quality service. Dispatch receive the load and determine which driver/truck should move it. The driver must pick up and deliver it as required. Billing must process the paperwork and collect payment. Payroll will disperse your cut, while accounts payable will pay for fuel, insurance, truck payments and other company expenses. Are you important as a driver? Of course you are. But so is dispatch, accounting, sales and the maintenance department.

Many times drivers take the Great Lie meaning they are the most important person in the company. Thus what is important to them is important to everyone. Get over yourself. You are one member of the team. And need to understand that. That is not to say that you should allow yourself to be pissed on or treated like garbage. But you must understand the bigger picture of a large trucking company. The newer you are to the company (less seniority) and the larger the company – the less the boss is likely to know your name.

If you think you are going to find the perfect trucking company – give up now, there are NONE. That is correct, no perfect company to work for. Every company has issues. You must find the one that has issues somewhere you don’t care about, or care about the least. If you are young in good health and with no kids, the health plan may not be as important. If you want to haul long haul, look for a company that specializes in long haul rather then work for a company that does a lot of local work. If you want to be an Owner/Operator with the opportunity to lease-purchase, then how the company drivers are paid should not be as important to you. Each company functions slightly differently but they all also operate the same. All trucking companies have shippers, consignees, truck maintenance, drivers, dispatchers and other employees – each with their own personality, their own needs and their own priorities.

If you research where you will work with great care and select a company that meets your needs and desires, then focus on being a team player for that company, very likely you will have a great time and you will feel like you are an important part of the team – and you are. When that company no longer meets your needs (pay package, routes, types or loads, etc.) carefully review other companies for a new position.

Happy Trucking – John

So, You Want to Be an Owner/Operator? Not so fast.

Richard Stephens
March 9, 2014

I have been following a soon-to-be Owner/Operator on Twitter for the past couple of months. They (a husband and wife team) have been tweeting all of the aspects of their progress, from getting licenses to buying their rig. It would seem that all of the paperwork required would scare most drivers into just driving for a company. When they finally found the right truck, you could just “hear” the excitement in their posts. The pictures they posted of that shiny new rig made you feel like doing a fist pump and shouting, “score!”

Their journey has certainly opened my eyes to all of the paperwork required before you can haul that first load. Yet with all of the hoops they had to jump through and hurdles to bound over, they were missing one critical piece in their quest in becoming a successful O/O: software.

“Software? I don’t need no stinking software to drive a truck!”

There is no doubt that we now live in the digital age. It’s all around you: smart phones, PCs, tablets, GPS devices, etc. You may certainly use a printed map to help navigate. You may certainly use a printed log book to keep track of hours. And, you may certainly use pencil and paper to track your mileage in each state (or province), the roads you traveled, where you got fuel, and any maintenance performed on your rig. However, with all due respect to the “graybeards” still out there driving, this isn’t 1975.

Software has become the accepted standard for replacing pad and paper. Besides needing software to track your driving hours, you need software to track your business. That’s right; as an Owner/Operator you are now a company. You have bills to pay, truck(s) to track, IFTA and DOT maintenance reports to file, loads to find, and money to collect from customers.

So, just how do you find the right software to help your new business? First, ask your fellow truckers. Yup – word of mouth is a great way to find out what works for someone else. Second, ask truck organizations you trust (such as OOIDA) what they recommend. Third, use your favorite search engine to look for software reviews. And finally, call the software company and ask to speak with the developer of the software.

“What?! Talk to the geek that writes the software? That’s unheard of!”

Hear me out. I hate talking to sales people, as they will simply tell you everything you want to hear. I find that if I am “allowed” to speak to the developer, that I can get specific answers to questions, rather than the politically correct, scripted answers. The developer knows what the program can, and more important, cannot do. If you cannot speak with the developer, then don’t buy the software.

The best software doesn’t necessarily have most expensive price.

That’s right. Regardless of what your country’s leadership reports about the economy, we are still in the middle of an economic “down” period. I have noticed that a lot of software companies have actually raised their prices to compensate for fewer sales. The software company that actually cares about YOU, the O/O, will reflect that in their pricing. So, look for a good “bang for your buck.”

Another key factor when looking for the right software is the “nickel and dime” aspect. Every software product has its initial licensing fee. That’s what I call, “the first shoe to drop.” The “second shoe” is, “What are the ongoing costs?” Here are five items that are important to know:

Are there any costs in upgrading to newer versions as they are released?
Are there any monthly costs just to use the software?
Are there any costs to get training for how to use the software?
Are there any costs to get technical support?
Are there any costs in getting help when you need to move the software to another PC?

I always expect to pay an up-front fee to use software. However, I detest monthly fees and fees to get any kind of support. You need to factor these items into consideration before buying the product. And if they won’t help you move the software in the future, then that should raise a huge red flag.

I recently spoke with a trucker who was using an older version of his trucking software when his hard drive crashed. Luckily, he had a backup of his data. When he called the software company to help him get going with his new hard drive, they would not help him because he was on an older version. WOW. Talk about the fastest way to lose a customer.

So, doing a little homework will get you going with the right software. Just don’t forget this critical piece when beginning your O/O journey.

Richard Stephens, owner of ALMSys, Inc., is the author of the “Rig Expense Tracker” trucking software. For more information on Richard and his software, visit his website

Surviving the politics of being a truck driver


You have to understand the politics of being a truck driver

Ok, you have Truck Driver Training School. You have your Commercial Drivers License (CDL). You are ready to start your first job. However, like all schooling, you still have a lot to learn. And Politics is one of the areas you will need to master.


And before you think about Republicans and Democrats. Nope – I am talking about the people who will make your life miserable if you don’t play their games. Now before you take this negatively – it is really no different then any job you have ever had. You may not realize who they are until it is too late.


Here are some of the people you should learn to be nice to.

  1. Dispatcher. I can guarantee that your new employee packet will state that dispatch personnel are your immediate supervisors. As such, like all employment – you are required to treat them accordingly. Makes sense, but I am going to take it a step farther. Dispatchers are often under a lot of unseen pressure. They routinely will have all loads covered and everything will be going smooth when problems will arise. Some of the things that could be a major fire for them are (1) a key customer calling with several hot/unplanned loads, (2) trucks breaking down after already loading important freight that now needs a replacement truck, (3) another driver having a family emergency and now dispatch cover the work. The point is, when dispatch calls and says there is a change of plans – rather then rant and rave, joyfully respond that you will do everything that you can to make their life better. And here is the thing to realize – dispatchers are the people who decide who gets which (better) loads. The company may have a seniority system for assignments – but there is no system that could not be tweaked by the person at the keyboard. Be nice to dispatchers and they will be nice to you.
  2. Dockworkers. Expect these people to be arrogant with you. You should remember that these people are stuck on the dock all day. They are being hassled by their bosses to load/unload faster, move stuff around, and all the normal on the job (political) stuff. When they are driving to and from work – they have to deal with traffic. When they get home – the spouse and kids will raise their blood pressure. As a result – in their effort to feel, shall we say, superior to someone, anyone – you are it. They will berate you, talk down to you, sit on their forklift or behind their desk and look down on you. You are not important and the freight you are hauling is not important. They are important. And if you don’t realize this – piss them off just see how long you will be sitting there. And, hint – if you notice they only load (or unload) part of your load and then go to do something “more important”, you screwed up somewhere. They just showed you how much power they have by wasting your time.
  3. Other Drivers – You may think we are all equal, and you may be. But when another driver needs a favor, do it for them. Even if they don’t ask for help, if you see someone working on something and you have free time and can assist, walk over and offer. Just like every job you have ever had – someday you will need something and your reputation as a team player may be the deciding factor in how you are treated.
  4. Maintenance personnel. I will explain this one with a story from a family member. He turned his truck in for scheduled maintenance. Now, in the past, he was mouthy with the maintenance supervisor. (He actually had stated in so many words that he was a DRIVER this guy was just a mechanic.) So for several hours he kept looking for his truck in the area where they parked units after service. No truck. No truck meant that he could not go back on the board to get a load and make money. And since he was on duty, he was also burning hours. After about 6 hours, he finally found his unit parked around the corner near units the company was decommissioning for sale. When he relayed the story, I am certain he still had not learned the lesson that by talking down to maintenance, they had intentionally cost him time and money. Be nice to the people that fix your truck. Donuts may not hurt either.
  5. Payroll. Sounds simple enough, but often is not. If the person that handles your paperwork wants it a certain way – do it, even if you think it is stupid. Do everything in your power to do things exactly like they want.
  6. Training/Compliance. Again – it makes sense, but at the same time – I will reinforce it. Want to lose a day sitting in the office watching videos? Easy, just ignore any request from training. If they want you to watch a 4 hour video on, for example, HazMat – watch it. They may have a requirement that a certain number of drivers see the training. If you make it harder on them – they might just have dispatch pull you off the board so that you can watch an 8 hour video on Hours of Service and then the next day, watch the HazMat video anyway. Or maybe you don’t like something about how they want your logs completed because you know a better way. It don’t matter what you think you know. Don’t matter what you learned in school. What matters is what the person behind the desk wants.


In ending, it is really just common sense. Be nice to everyone you deal with. Although trucking can be fun because of the time you are basically on your own – you must still play the games of working well with others.

It is not hard, but you must lease the art of surviving the politics of being a truck driver.

Eating on the road

 What you will be Eating on the road

Diet on the road for truck drivers is challenging. In the old days, while far fewer truck stops were available to select from – those that did exist generally operated full service restaurants. There were obviously diners at both ends of the spectrum – really good food and really good service, to the bottom of neither good food or good service. During your trucking career, you will be eating on the road a lot.

The growth of fast food in the America economy has crawled it’s way into trucking and traveling industries. As a result, not only do fast food purveyors dot many freeway intersections, they are not the primary food source food in many truck stops, they are the only source of nutrition.

While there is growing pressure for fast food outlets to provide more healthy servings, there is still going to be a gap between having eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast or two bacon & egg biscuits. A sit down and order from a menu restaurant will always have more options then an order by the number menu on the wall. The larger your selection to option from, the better you can pick food that will satisfy you and provide you with the energy and refreshment to keep you healthy and capable of doing your job. Clearly, the less selection, the more you are settling for something to eat.

The cost of Eating on the road.

Eating in restaurants are seldom cheap, however, when the restaurant has a captive audience then it often becomes even less value in your food purchase. This can be a factor of the cost of doing business in the the location or it could be a simple factor of the restaurant owner realizing you have limited options. In the case of the cost of doing business, rent is often a large operating factor. (Think about airports or large shopping malls where there is high demand for space.) The demand for space at or convenient to major freeway intersections, greatly drives of the cost of buying and developing the land. This means that the businesses located at this locations must either move customers or charge the customers more for services – or both. The result is that while easy to get to while traveling, you are more likely to see more crowds and slower service or higher prices.

Unfortunately many truck stops now view the restaurant as more then just a source of income, they view it as a guaranteed revenue. They achieve that by leasing out the space as opposed to operating them. Operating a truck stop, means the manager must be aware of competition from new or existing businesses, be concerned with maintaining inventory to sell yet not stocking stuff that won’t sell and thus losing money on it. Hiring, training and maintaining a staff is always a major issue. When a truck stop operator opts to off-load some portions of these responsibilities, the restaurant is generally one of the easiest to do. And by owning or contracting with a franchised fast food, they gain the national advertising and the simplification of management.

A lot of truck drivers are now discovering the value and convenience of pulling into a large grocery stores (or sometimes even small groceries) and visiting their service deli’s. While not all offer made to order sandwiches, many do have premade salads, sandwiches or other selections that can be eaten cold or (if the truck has a microwave) warmed up. In order to get more value for their dollars, many drivers, since so many newer trucks have mini-refrigerators, are buying a selection of lunch meats, bread and other condiments as well as ‘TV dinners’ and preparing meals in the truck. This is not only economical it can be very much more nutritional as you are selecting the food you like and prefer. Many drivers still enjoy at least one meal a day in some form of diner/coffee shop/restaurant venue simply because of the personal interrelations, as truck driving can be a lonely at times lifestyle.

Regardless of your personal options for obtaining food and refreshments while on the road, it is important to consider the cost value you are receiving and also the nutritional value. Proper nutrition is important to maintaining your health and well being and a sick truck driver is not an effect truck driver.

Sometimes it will be truck stop dinners, other times full service and family diners near by, and then of course fast food of many flavors. You will also likely visit a grocery store and buy simple fixings. Regardless of the source – learn to enjoy your meals while eating on the road.

Why use a lease for a commercial truck?

Pros and Cons of a lease for a Commercial Truck

Ok, you have been driving a commercial truck for a couple of years and you like being a professional truck driver. But maybe you want a little more authority on operating the truck. Maybe you are tired of sharing the truck with other drivers in a slip-seat arrangement. Maybe you just want to drive newer equipment then the company is assigning you. Maybe it is a pride of ownership issue or you think that you can make more money then just being a driver.

Being an Owner/Operator is not for everyone but for many it is the way to go. Regardless of your reasons, you now have to decide: Lease or Purchase (with a loan).

With a lease – as compared to a loan to purchase, you generally have a lower (or even no) down payment, your payments will be lower; the leasing company normally assumes a portion of the maintenance and repairs (unless caused by your actions or in actions); you have greater flexibility to upgrade to newer, nicer, different equipment; and at the end of the lease, you can walk away with no additional requirements.

How To Start a Trucking Company – Your Step-By-Step Guide To Starting a Trucking Company

However, with a lease, the equipment is still owned by the leasing company and you are accountable to them for insuring that the truck is maintained (both preventative and demand); you can not make modifications or changes and you might have a limit on where you can take the truck (only certain states, no Canada, etc.). Many leases include the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease period – typically 3 to 5 years, but could be any time frame – however, the total cost of the purchase of unit may be total greater then if you just obtained a loan.

Advantage of a lease for a commercial truck

One hidden advantage of leasing is that you get to drive the unit before you are stuck with it. Sort of like renting cars to get a feel for how much you like a specific model before going to a dealer to purchase one.

You may be required to obtain and pay for special insurance under your lease agreement. The company that you are going to haul freight for might provide insurance, however your lease might require that the insurance on the unit is in your name. This could cost you extra money. It is important to carefully review all fine print to understand your obligations.

Another issue is that when you purchase the truck, you are making an investment in equipment and that equipment is now an asset. When you lease, the lease is an obligation, which is could be a negative affect on your overall financial balance sheet.

Like all decisions you will have to make in your truck driving career, you have to carefully balance the pluses and minuses of each situation. There are long term and short term advantages and disadvantages to leasing and to purchase loans. Don’t let the complexities of leases or purchases keep you out of the game. There are as many advantages as disadvantages to being an owner/operator.

Many dealers have the the option for you to finance your tractor and trailer right on location. This may allow you to pick out your truck and drive it home the that day. However, you do not have to get financing from the dealer, in fact you may not want to do it as you may end up paying a higher price in the long run. The dealer’s leasing company may give you the best deal they have – but it may not be the best deal for you. If you already have an established banking relationship with a local bank or credit union, discuss your plans with a loan officer and see what they can offer you. Your relationship with them might get you a much better deal in the long run.

Shop carefully when you shop for a lease for a commercial truck.

Hours of Service (HOS) Overview

Hours of Service for truck drivers

The Hours of Service regulations for commercial truck drivers was originally in implemented in 1938. The regulations have been regularly tweaked but have had major revisions in 1939, 1962, 2003 and 2011. The HOS specifies such things as the number of hours a driver may drive without both short and long term breaks, how many hours drivers can do other work such as load and unload, paperwork, truck maintenance and other support services.

In general, all drivers of vehicles of vehicles with a combined Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 10,001 pounds or more or hauling cargo requiring HazMat placards are required to comply with HOS regulations. Local delivery drivers, while still subject to driving/duty hours requirements, may be exempt from maintaining log books (if their employer uses time clocks or other methods to monitor their activities. There are also other exemptions for select industries, certain weather events or during certain peak business days for some drivers.

The purpose and enforcement of HOS rules are strictly safety based. Contrary to comments over coffee at the local truck stop that the rules are to prevent drivers from earning money – research has repeatedly proven that the longer a driver is working the more likely they are to be involved in an accident. And the risk increases greatly the longer the driver is on duty.

Hours of Service ~ A Driver’s Guide ~ Driver Handbook (Hours of Service)

Hours of Service are divided into 4 classes of activities:

  • Off Duty: No duties or obligations
  • Sleep Berth: Resting in truck sleeper area
  • Driving: In the driver’s seat and operating the truck
  • On Duty, Not Driving: All official duties not driving

HOS activities can be recorded either with a paper log book or electronically using an Electronic On Board Recorder. Either way, the driver is responsible for accurately recording their duty status. Violations of HOS rules by drivers can result in drivers being fined or being placed out of service (truck and loads now parked and delayed). Companies can also be fined or have other actions taken against for them repeated HOS violations by their employees. One action that can be taken against companies with chronic violations is the requirement that the company install Electronic On Board Recorders in their trucks. Another factor affecting truck drivers is that if they get too many moving violations (traffic tickets), they can have their license suspended by their state’s licensing agency – which would mean they would also lose their job.

The goal of Hours of Service rules

In general, HOS regulations state that drivers must log all time as either Driving or On Duty if they are doing any form of work or if they have any obligations. Drivers may not log time spent waiting to load or unload as Off Duty unless they are actually free to leave the truck and have no responsibilities to be present.

Current HOS rules also state that a driver must get at least a 30 minute break after 8 or less hours of driving. And, the driver is entitled to 8 hours of consecutive hours of rest (either off duty or in sleeper) before beginning a new “day” of up to 11 hours of driving. Also, the driver may not drive (at all) if they have accumulated more then 11 hours of driving or 14 hours of all work activities until they have taken the required rest times and time off duty.

Your compliance with Hours of Service regulations will be followed carefully – so play by the rules and have a safe trip.

The Peterbilt 579 Class 8

Peterbilt 579

The Peterbilt 579 offers a combination of aerodynamic innovation and power-train optimizations to deliver maximum benefit to cost-conscious operators. By designing with aerodynamic performance in mind, the 579 achieves the right combination of fairings, skirts and closeouts to exceed performance requirements.

The 579 can be ordered in a Day Cab or Detachable Sleeper configuration that adds versatility for a longevity of life for high resale value. Built to last, the aluminum cab is solid and durable. An in-mold process embeds color directly into the dash, which creates a long lasting finish the all buts eliminates peeling, scratching and fading. Also, electrical wiring carriages provide support while reducing wear and tear, again increasing the overall durability of the components.

The best truck in the world if of no value if the driver is not comfortable and does not find the truck enjoyable to drive. The Peterbilt 579 excels in this area with a cab designed around the driver. With a spacious and ergonomically designed cab, everything is in reach and placed with the driver in mind. Large, easy to read, operation-critical gauges improve the driver’s ability to monitor the truck’s performance. Back-lit switches enhance nighttime visibility.

Peterbilt’s SmartNav system provides integrated truck telematics and infotainment. Providing real-time truck monitoring, truck specific navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio, the SmartNav system maximizes driver efficiency and comfort. The SmartNav features a large, easy to read 7” touch screen and includes a fully integrated audio system with a satellite radio and Ipod, USB and MP3 capabilities.

On the road with the Peterbilt 579

Over the road drivers will be forced to spend time in their mobile home away from the home – the 579’s Sleeper, a generously sized area which holds an 82” mattress, innovative television mount, abundant storage with flexible organization, and LED lighting creating a pleasant ambiance while extending battery life.

Even the headlamps are designed with safety in mind, with best in the industry down-the-road visibility and coverage. Designed with a consistent beam distribution and excellent overall road coverage, the 579’s headlamps reduces eye fatigue. A large single piece windshield aids also aids in visibility.

Available with a Paccar MX-13 or either the Cummins ISX12 or ISX15 engines and coupled with either Fuller or Allison transmissions, the 579 offers the driver smooth operations. The entire drive-line is customizable to maximize the your Peterbilt 579 to best fit your needs and your budget.

See you local Peterbilt dealer today for a test drive of your next truck.

Disclaimer: This information provided based on information provided by and other internet sources. When [if] the opportunity presents itself, we will gladly do hands review of the Peterbilt 579

Your Trucking Career – Flat Bed Trucking

Flat Bed Trucking

So you want to be a truck driver but you want a more challenging job then just pulling dry van freight from dock to dock? Flat bed trucking may be for you. While most flat bed trucking companies will provide training, they generally prefer to hire drivers with 1 or 2 or more years OTR (over the road) driving experience. Some companies are willing to hire recent driving school habits and train the driver from the bottom up so they are trained specifically to the companies standards.

Flat bed freight, like any trucking job, may be solo, team drivers and may be company drivers or owner-operators.

Surviving & Thriving: Becoming a Trucker… from student driver to professional driver

Operating a flatbed is far more physically challenging then the majority of dry freight. While there are times when dry freight or reefer loads can be a workout, the majority of the loads are loaded and unloaded by dockworkers. Of course, those that are doing LTL (less then trailer load) or are doing deliveries to retail locations will receive a more aggressive workout. This compares with nearly every flatbed load where the driver(s) are normally directly involved in supervising the loading of the cargo and then securing the load with a combination of chains and/of straps. When securing a load to a flatbed trailer, the driver has to be aware of federal and state laws requiring a minimum number bindings. However, he/she must also be aware of any requirements the shipper might have. Some shippers have specific requirements on the type of tie downs, the number to be used – and more importantly, where they may be attached to the load.

And then – the tarps! While many loads are not tarped, many are. With sizes not uncommonly 16×24′ or larger and weighing 60lbs each, the driver will receive a full body workout climbing around the loaded trailer and pulling the tarps up and over the precious load. And it is not going to be one tarp – but several as the entire load will have to be protected on all angles. And secure while sitting in a parking lot may look entirely different at highway speeds – so all tarps will be secured with an abundance of rubber tarp straps. One experienced driver once commented that his rule was when he thought he had enough trap straps in place – go back and put on double that amount.

Become A Succesful Truck Owner Operator

Many times, Flat Bed Trucking loads are shipped to a variety of locations. Unlike van loaded freight which can move between the same docks creating a repeating run, flatbed can very easily be shipped to numerous locations – such as a building supply company sending materials to multiple different construction sites.

Because of the less consistency in load destinations, drivers will be come more involved in planning their routes and their schedules for driving, rest and fuel.

Oh, and did I mention that since most flatbed loads are loaded out in the middle of a large open space which is easily in the view of numerous shipping company’s employees and bosses? While much of truck driving is out of the direct view of bosses – loading large, bulk, flatbed cargo is the one time when you will always want to be on your A-Game. Acting or looking like you do not know what you are doing may result in dispatch being informed to not send you back to that specific location. And you normally on get one chance to get it right when loading. Having to spend a couple hours unloading and reloading s shipment is very costly in time – both for the shipper and for the driver as it counts against their log book hours.

Flat Bed Trucking is not for the meek – but if you like a challenging, never the same routing, it may be just the career for you.

Your Future Truck Driving Job – Part 2

Truck Driving Job

Your Truck Driving Job could have you working with a lot of different types of cargo. This section reviews some common types of the trailers you may use in today’s trucking industry.

Dry Van. Most positions, especially those for entry level drivers will be in the Dry Van Over The Road (OTR) freight business. This is because it is generally the easiest and also it the majority of the freight. Look at any truck stop and you will mostly see the big boxes of van trailers. If look closely, you will notice that some of them Climate Control Units on the top front of the trailer. Those are normally called Reefer Units and will be discussed in a moment. Dry Van Cargo includes household goods as well as business and manufacturing supplies. Dry food goods are also often transported in Van units.

Reefer Vans are used to transport, especially food and medical supplies, that require temperature control. However, Reefer Vans can also be used for loads that could be loaded on Dry Vans. That is one of the appeal for some drivers is the opportunity to get more loads. However, hauling perishable items in a Reefer requires the driver pay more attention the load and react to any equipment problems. These loads are also often more time sensitive requiring faster load delivery. (Note: All freight is time sensitive and needs to be delivered on time.) It is not uncommon for Reefer Vans to pulled by team drivers allowing for long distant runs to be handled with less required down time to comply with Hours Of Service rules.


Flat Bed as the name describes is simply a long flat truck trailer. These are used for machinery, building supplies, bulky items and plus loads that do not fit on standard shipping pallets. These loads may or may not need to be tarped or covered. Many loads do require tarps being placed on them – which can be both hard and dirty work. Loads that are not properly tarped could be damaged and may be rejected by the receiver and result in the company and/or the driver responisble for damages. A version of the Flat Bed is a Drop Deck, which has a portion of the trailed lower then standard trailers allowing for the hauling higher/taller loads.

Curtain Side or Soft Sided trailers are a class of Flat Bed trailers that are used for hauling loads that need to be protected from the weather. These trailers, sort of, have built in tarping that covers the whole trailer. For loading and unloading, the driver moves the soft, flexible sides out of the way. The loads are then loaded and secured like any other flat bed load, secured with chains or straps and then the sides repositioned to protect the load. These are specialty trailers used by truckers and companies that that nearly every load must be covered.


Tanker trailers are used to haul liquids. Although often chemical (hazmat), it can also be many other kinds of fluids. In the local transport business, tankers are used for Gas/Diesel Fuel to service stations. Special endorsements are required for pulling tankers and HazMat loads. HazMat loads, however can be many different things and are also common in Dry Vans.


Bulk Transport trailers are used to move commodities that are neither liquid nor packaged for handling on standard shipping pallets. Some examples could be bulk flour, sugar, etc being shipped from the processing plant to a large commercial baking plant that makes bread, etc. Bulk could also be involved in HazMat chemical shipments used in manufacturing.


Auto Transport, ok this is self explanatory. But there are two types of auto transport. Nearly all auto moving involves moving new cars from regional distribution centers to dealers. However, there are also opportunities for drivers to move cars from city to city such as for people relocating and needing to ship as opposed to driving their cars. Being an auto transport driver means you will spend a lot of time playing monkey climbing around on the trailers to load and unload the cars including securing them for the transport. A recent earning review disclosed that auto transport drivers generally made more money each year – but spend less time actually driving because of the amount time required to load and unload.

CDL – Commercial Driver’s License Exam (CDL Test Preparation)

Dump Trailers are used to generally haul aggregate commodities such as sand, gravel and some manufacturing products. Most dump trailer work is local in support of construction projects, however, there are some Over The Road opportunities in Dump Trailers.

Oversized Loads can be a lot of different things such as large construction equipment, extra large machinery for manufacturing or anything that will not fit on a standard trailer. Everyone, at some time or another, has seen the trucks pulling trailers that look like several trailer attached together and they may have 8, 10, 12 or more axles – far more then the average OTR truck with 5 axles and 18 wheels. These jobs are generally only given to drivers with a lot of experience.


I am sure I have missed something, and I will update from time to time. Regardless of what freight you move and for whom you do it, your Truck Driving Job can be a great career.