How to: Find a Job after CDL School

Let’s dig in!

First of all, congratulations on getting your CDL. You have made a wise choice in earning great money (if you choose a good company) and being a pirate of the concrete sea as we affectionately call it. Within this article, I plan to give you the most informative look at what to ask and not to glance over when working for a company when you are new as a driver. There are many things to ask, and many things to know.

Brand new and ready to roll!

Ok, so you have your license. If you went through a privately funded school they probably had companies come in the last week of school to talk to you about working for them and their requirements. The cool part about this is they let you know upfront what your chances are of getting hired. The downside to these presentations, is they make it shiny and new and sound wonderful! What they don’t say, is how long you are out before you get the home time? How much home time is earned while you are out? What are their requirements for requesting home time? Is there emergency home time if needed? 

Those are all things you need to be asking. When you are a new driver you haven’t learned the lingo quite yet. Like CPM, what is that all about? Well, that is your pay structure, Cents Per Mile (CPM). If you are an OTR (Over The Road) driver this is definitely going to tell you what you need to know about how you get paid and how many miles you need to run in a week to make good money. Here is where we get into the tricky side of things: Ready: Let’s go—–>

1. Will you have to pay anything for your fuel?

2. Do they require you to take a specific route and are you charged if you go out of route?

3. When are paydays?

4. Do they have the freight to keep you running to make the money they promised coming in the door?

5. What are their expectations of you?

Do not hesitate to know your worth even being new in the industry. You are going to have to take your lumps the first year. You are new. That is to be expected. It is not very likely you are going to get a HOME EVERY NIGHT job no matter what they may entice you with. You have to prove you can handle that truck and everything it entails to be able to get those jobs. They give the to the more experienced drivers. 

All this, just for if you went to a privately funded school. Let’s move on.

What if you went to a school that IS a trucking company?

Here we go. This one is going to entail some pieces and some detective work on your part. First things first. There are plenty of companies out there that have their schools attached to them. If you choose to do this because it is the only way you can get your school funded that is fine. So let’s roll into what they don’t always make really clear when they offer to train you AND give you a job afterward.

First and foremost they are going to make the contract that you sign seem inconsequential. It isn’t. Read it and know your rights and know what you can expect of them and they of you. Do not just sign it because you feel that you have no options. Now the truth is, if you want them to train you, you don’t. But KNOW what you are getting yourself in for. 

Ask what they are going to give you CPM-wise just starting. Some of them give you a lower CPM to cover and offset the cost of school, and some of them just simply won’t pay you more than that because you are new. But KNOW what they are paying you and WHY. Ask questions. It doesn’t hurt.

Make sure you know what they are asking of you when it comes to your contract and when you are done paying for school. Ask them if you get a CPM hike after so long, and how you will know when school is paid off. 

Being new in the field sometimes you don’t know what to ask, so ask it all. Don’t hesitate. You are now rolling 84 feet of steel power down our freeways and are responsible for the motoring public, so KNOW what they expect of you.

Learn Fast

Do not get taken advantage of. Please, it is easily done. My husband has been in this industry for over 15 years. He was taken advantage of when he took me to train me with a company. I will NEVER have anything nice to say about that company. They left us hanging more times than I can count, and didn’t give us clarity on when and how my training should be completed. Know when to say when and know your voice. Learn fast what you can change and what you can’t. Learn the lingo as quickly as you can. Make sure you are always learning. This industry is changing so quickly and is so regulated that we need to not be afraid to know what we are worth to keep America moving.

2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your insight into your experiences with trucking companies. My uncle is a truck driver and I never understood the trials it takes to become one or be one after getting the job. I always just thought it was as easy as getting a driver’s license so thank you for enlightening me on that fact. I want to learn more. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *