Thinking about starting out your career as a driver? We're confident you won't regret your decision! However, that doesn't mean starting out as a first-year driver is a breeze. It's important to know what you're getting into when you join this business, and we want to help you out!
Keep reading to discover a few things we think you should know about your first year in the trucking business.
Becoming a Driver? Here are 7 Things You Should Know About Your First Year.
1. Training wages aren't the same.
As a first-year driver, you'll most likely (almost guaranteed) be under training wages for a length of time. These wages are lower than company driver wages. But don't fear! It doesn't last forever!
These wages are determined by each company individually, so before you accept employment, be sure to ask your employer for specifics on their training period and wages. Before you know it, it will be over!
2. Trucking is a 24/7, 365 day a year job.
Working some holidays is a reality. However, you will be able to work with dispatch to schedule time off as needed throughout the year. At K & J we pride ourselves on the fact that we've never forced a driver to work on Christmas. We understand that it's no fun to miss out on time with friends and family, but patience and flexibility is key during that first year.
3. Family time will be at a premium.
Life as a first-year professional driver means family time is at a premium. As stated above, good communication with dispatch to schedule time off will ensure you spend the most time with your family. With the prior permission of your company, family members can sometimes ride along in your truck.
If that's not a possibility, make sure to take advantage of all the modern technology that lets us keep loved ones close, like FaceTime.
4. You will need to be flexible.
It is likely as a new driver, you will be training with a co-driver for a period of time. You will need to be flexible in scheduling time off and even the little things like rest breaks, eating, sleeping, etc. as your trainer will want you to get the most out of the experience.
This is the time dig in, ask questions and prepare yourself for the independence you signed up for.
5. Diet and health will require more attention than before.
Something many new drivers fail to realize is the effect that life in a truck has on your diet and health. If you don't make an effort to eat well and exercise when you have the opportunity, it can be easy to let the naturally sedentary lifestyle of trucking get the best of you.
When you start out OTR, make sure you have a plan in place for how you will eat healthy and stay active. Part of that is understanding your company is willing to pay per diem. This can ease the burden of paying for healthier meals over convenient fast food.
6. You will have to adjust your bathroom and sleep schedules.
This is one of those simple things that takes people by surprise. Because of hours of service rules, when you're on the road, you often don't have the flexibility to stop (or sleep) whenever you feel like it.
It is hard to get used to the tight schedule, but don't let it stop you from drinking water and taking care of yourself. Safety on the road starts with taking care of yourself.
7. You will fall in love with the industry
The trucking industry is a tight-knit community. If you join up with a reputable company you will quickly make relationships with other drivers that will last the rest of your life. While the learning curve can be steep at first, you will find that other drivers are generous with information and help.
While it can be isolating to be on the road, it can also be freeing to quiet your mind and focus on the road ahead and nothing else. In fact, it can even be addictive!
Trucking gets in your blood. It is more than just a job, it is a fulfilling career and a way of life.
Over the years we've developed an amazing crew of professional drivers who have been at this job for years. In fact, we have an almost unheard of turnover rate in the industry.
That's why we can confidently say that when it comes to trucking, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
But don't take it from us! If you're thinking about becoming a driver, you should really hear from our drivers. Click below to get to know some of our wonderful K & J drivers.