Whether you are just starting out as a truck driver or looking to change companies, it’s important you know exactly what you are getting into. Getting to know the company you’ll be driving for will ensure you’re making a decision you won’t regret later.
One way to look before you leap is to ask the right questions and do the right research so you know what to expect and if it’s the right fit for you.
Check out these nine questions you should ask your potential employer or researching on your own before you agree to work for the trucking company:
1) What is your pay rate? Try to get an idea what the overall pay plan is. Some of this is based on experience, but many trucking companies pay drivers per mile. Find out if there are other opportunities for pay, such as additional deliveries or helping with unloading. Also, find out if they pay based on practical or shortest miles.
2) How old is your company? This question is more than a history lesson.
Make sure to research the company, find out what they’ve done to grow and survive through the years. Try to get a feel for their reputation and integrity by asking other drivers you may know, this is a great way to find out what frustrations may crop up down the line.
3) Benefits? Seems easy enough. Just make sure you know what they offer in terms of a retirement package, health and dental.
4) Electronic or paper logs? Find out if the company allows electronic logs. It’s not always embraced but most drivers love them because of how efficiently information can be put in. So find out if the company still used paper-based or e-logs.
5) What about time off? When you’re trying to get a job, it’s hard to ask about when you’ll get time off. But it is a concern. Find out what the company’s home time policy is or what the general expectations are.
6) How is idle time handled? Breakdowns, layovers and detention time are a part of the job, so most companies pay for any driving delays. Be sure to find out specifically what the policies are.
7) What is the safety record? Research to see how the company does with regard to Compliance Safety and Accountability standards. Check out how they rate on the website (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/), which will help you find out the companies’ safety scores and if they get a lot of safety alerts or investigations – obviously, a red flag.
8) Do they allow local runs? Some companies have local and regional jobs, which can make for more consistent time at home. If the company does, see how they are attained: To more experienced drivers? Ones with a solid record? Just see what it takes to get these runs.
9) How old are their trucks? If a company has newer trucks, it’s not only a sign they work to stay ahead of regulations but it could pay off in reliability for you. New trucks have better features, newer technology and generally less downtime.
Other questions may concern you in particular and more may even come up as you research the company. The key is to try to get a good view of the company you will be working for, and what the lifestyle will be like. The last thing anyone wants to do is jump into a situation they’ll regret. Do your research and ask the right questions now so you’re not sorry later.
And when you get on the road with your new company, always remember that North Dixie Truck and Trailer, Inc. is your best call for 24-hour emergency truck repair (1-800-440-9523), parts (419-222-8785) and maintenance (419-221-3750). For whatever your trucking needs are, be sure to make NDI your first and last stop.
(Sources: NDI, Gordon Trucking Inc.)