Category: Employer

America’s Trucker Shortage

americas-trucker-shortage

In the United States, truckers are the glue that binds product with consumer, connects supply with demand.  Without them, our economy would grind to a halt. We depend on truckers for getting us everything we need or want.

This is why the current shortage of trained truck operators in the U.S. is such an alarming problem.  It’s been predicted that if things stay on their current path, the shortage could reach a deficit of 174,000 drivers by 2026.  In 2017, truckers were moving more than 70% of freight in the U.S.

The Cause

The main reason for the shortage in drivers is the imbalance of incoming and outgoing drivers.  As a large number of truck drivers are retiring, a much smaller number of people are entering the field.  It’s been a while coming but the Great Recession slowed the problem as consumers were buying less but it became apparent as the economy grew and the number of drivers did not.

The Deterrent

Being a truck driver can be a hard life.  In the past, traditional family roles had a mother who stayed at home and took care of the house and children while the husband was the main breadwinner, focusing on the job, no matter how many hours it kept him away from home.  Now, couples focus on having a balance between their work and home life with shared responsibilities when it comes to both. This makes a career as a trucker more difficult.

The hours.  Driving a load from one end of the country to the other isn’t for everyone.  The hours are long and exhausting and most people would rather sleep at home in their own beds instead of one in the cab of a truck.

Little family time.  If you want to start a family, life on the road doesn’t leave much time for going to little league games and reading bedtime stories.

The sedentary lifestyle.  Sitting in a truck all day is hard on the body.  When you factor in the lack of healthy fast food options on the road, it can be an unhealthy occupation and lead to serious physical issues.

It’s dangerous.  According to the Department of Labor, on-the-job deaths in the transportation and warehousing industry was at a staggering  825 deaths in 2016, making it one of the top most dangerous jobs, second only to construction which had 991 deaths.

The Result

The shortage is causing shipping rates to rise.  Because companies are paying more for truckers, the cost gets passed onto consumers.  Thanks to Amazon’s 2-day shipping model, consumers expect their orders to arrive within just a couple of days.  With the trucker shortage, freight is taking longer to ship which cuts into sales and is slowing the economy.

The Good News

While the shortage may be bad news for trucking companies, shippers, and consumers, it’s good news for truckers and  people considering a career in the trucking industry. Not only is there an abundance of job opportunities, there are plenty of incentives too.

Better pay.  Carriers are offering better starting salaries.  The current average income for truck drivers is $44,020 but is on the rise, and it’s not unheard of for truck drivers to earn more than $80,000 a year.  To entice more drivers, companies have started offering large sign-on bonuses along with other incentives for meeting fuel economy guidelines, safe driving, etc.  They can really add up but beware, with some companies, their huge bonuses have so many requirements they’re nearly impossible to attain.

Better hours.  Carriers are splitting routes and many retailers are setting up more warehouses around the country so consumers get their goods faster and truckers have shorter routes,  keeping drivers closer to home.

They help drivers get their CDL.  The training course for a Commercial Driver’s License typically costs around $7,000.  More and more companies are footing the bill for the course if you agree to drive for them for a period of time, usually a year.

If you’re a truck driver or thinking of becoming one, the current shortage may be the perfect time for you make good money doing something you love.  With Trucker Search, it’s never been easier for truckers to find jobs. Whether you want to actively search our database of available jobs or you want to post your resume so shippers can find you, TruckerSearch is an invaluable resource that’ll help you get out on the open road reaching your full earning potential.  Call Trucker Search today at (888)254-3712 or go to TruckerSearch.com and get moving!

Sources:  https://www.trucking.org/article/New%20Report%20Says-National-Shortage-of-Truck-Drivers-to-Reach-50,000-This-Year, https://www.trucking.org/News_and_Information_Reports_Industry_Data.aspx, https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0015.pdf, https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag484.htm

 

Reefer Hauling Tips

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Steven Wright once said, It doesn’t matter what temperature a room is, it’s always room temperature.  

If you’re a reefer operator, you have to be a little more precise.

A reefer, or refrigerated truck, is a truck that has a built-in refrigeration system in order to haul temperature sensitive freight safely.  The trailer must be maintained meticulously to keep it running properly so that the food being hauled is kept at safe temperatures. If it is not kept at the right temperature, food can be lost, costing the company thousands of dollars or worse yet, people could get sick and even die, costing your employer million dollars in lawsuits and lost sales due to a damaged reputation.  

Food Safety is a public safety issue.  In 2017, the FDA launched the Food Safety Modernization Act intended to protect foods from being contaminated on their way from the farm to consumers. The requirements include rules for the cleanliness of vehicles and transportation equipment, required temperatures controls, keeping ready-to-eat foods and non-food items away from raw foods, and keeping out contaminants and allergens.  Also included are guidelines for food safety training and record-keeping which must be detailed and kept for a year. For more on the act, go here.  

As a reefer truck driver, you must take more precautions than with a regular trailer.  Some of the things you must do are:

  • Keep the trailer clean.  It should be washed after every load if you can.  If you’re carrying meat, blood can spread across the floor during transit so be thorough about cleaning.   Odors can stick around too and affect the smell and taste of your next load. Be on the lookout for things that could’ve been left behind from your last load like wood bits or nails from the pallets or screws from other equipment.
  • Do strict regular maintenance.  Breaking down in a reefer truck can result in the loss of your load.  Don’t risk it! Get regular maintenance to ensure your truck and its sensitive load meets their destination safely.  Giving your truck a quick inspection before each trip, looking for any damage or nails in your tires, check tire pressure, etc. may prevent a breakdown as well.  
  • Follow loading guidelines.   Stacking loads appropriately so air flows through the truck will help to keep the food at the correct temperature.  Never overload.
  • Pre-cool your reefer.  If you put cold food in your hot truck, the temperature of the contents will lower before the truck cools to the appropriate temperature.  Better to do it first. Allow plenty of time to do this, especially in the summer.
  • Make the temperature of your trailer the most important thing.  Before you pick up your load, check with the shipper to find the right temperature of the load.  If the temperature is off by even a little when you deliver the load, the receiver may reject it due to food safety concerns.  Bacteria grow at temps between 40°-140° so it’s crucial to get it right. Don’t rely on the trucks thermometer; use a pulp temperature thermometer before, during, and after transit and be sure to record all of your temperature readings.
  • Fill up at the pump first.  Make sure that when you pick up your load, you have a full tank of gas.  Reefers need to be kept running to keep the trailer cool so any stop can affect food temperature.  Some shippers require that you’ve filled up before you take the load.

 

TruckerSearch is a leader in helping reefer drivers find employers and jobs across the country.  You can search our database of thousands of job listings or load your resume and let companies find you.  And if you’re a shipper looking for experienced reefer drivers, we’ve got the database for you! Go to TruckerSearch and begin your search today!

 

 

Why You Should Consider Sticking with Your First Trucking Company After Your First Year

stick-with-your-first-company

You’re a newbie to driving a truck.  You got your CDL and you’ve found a company willing to take a chance on you and give you a shot.  It’s their hope that they’re making a good investment and they’ve found a new, dedicated driver who’s going to build a long and fruitful career with their company.  

For many drivers, that first company is merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  The companies that pay the most money have the ability to hire the most experienced drivers and you, fresh out of truck driving school, are not one of those.  So your plan is to gain some experience with the first trucking company to hire you and then hit the road (get it?).

Those trucking companies that hire entry-level drivers tend to have a high expectation of failure.  In fact, many of them lose 90% of new drivers in the first year. But you’re not one of those either.  You do your job well and understand that there will be bumps in the road (get it?) but you’re gaining experience that will only further your career.

In a sea of quitters, you made it, you prevailed.  Now, a year after you began, you’re considering moving on but should you?  If you leave after a year, you become a newbie all over again at a new company.  Does it make sense to leave a company where you’ve proven yourself only to be back on the bottom rung needing to prove yourself all over again?  

When you started middle school, you were the little guy who didn’t know where anything was or what to do but eventually, you proved yourself and made to 8th grade.  King of the hill. Life was good. Then what happened? You went to a new school with different rules and you didn’t know where anything was. You were a lowly Freshman.   At the bottom again.

That’s what it’s like to go to a new company after a year.  You become a Freshman and have to prove yourself all over again.  Of course, this isn’t to say that not moving to a new company is always the right decision.  After all, what would’ve happened if you stayed in 8th grade?  You would’ve been stunted. And it would’ve been weird for the other kids.

At your first company, you exceeded expectations so why not see where it goes?  Companies that hire entry-level drivers aren’t inherently bad companies to work for.  They may very well value those who make it through their rookie year and reward them with some great opportunities.  If you can do the job safely and efficiently, you’ll begin to gain respect. After a year with your first company, they will look at you differently.  They’ll realize that you’re less of a risk and are dependable. They’ll know they can depend on you to do the job efficiently with minimum issues which means you’re maximizing their profitability.  After a year, you’ve worked out all of the kinks, learned all of the procedures and tricks and you can give your employers smooth, on-time deliveries.

Once you’ve proven yourself with a year of dedicated service, you should receive a decent increase in pay as well as the opportunity to earn some hefty bonuses.  Working your way up the ladder and earning a reputation as a good producer can open you up for better jobs whether they are specific jobs within the company or simply be trusted with better routes.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision to stay or go.  Because many people move on after they’ve gained some experience, you may think it’s what you’re supposed to do.  Don’t make that assumption. Weigh all your options but remember you may already be in a position where you are highly valued and can make a successful and profitable career.

To Buy or Not To Buy?

buying-your-own-rig

Buy my own rig?  That is the question.  

For many, the open road is a calling.  For others, it’s a way to earn a good living working for a company, driving their trucks.  But some see it as the potential to own a business and be the boss by buying their very own big rig.

 

What You Should Know

There are many advantages to owning your own truck.  You’re the boss. You choose when you work and which jobs you take.  You negotiate the price, and without a trucking company paying you, when you are the trucking company, more of that money goes to you.  You make all of the decisions, are responsible for all the work, you’re the Big Kahuna.

The disadvantages to being an owner/operator?  You make all of the decisions, are responsible for all the work, you’re the Big Kahuna.  Any problems that arise such as your truck breaking down or deliveries not being made on time, fall on you.  You’re the one that has to rectify and pay for it all. You can’t put it on someone else’s plate.

If you decide that you do want to be the Big Kahuna, you need to be prepared.  You’ll need lots of money to start. Few people have the money to buy a rig outright so most will have to finance it.  Having a large down-payment will make the monthly payments more manageable, which you’ll need because you’ll most likely face a few customers who are slow to pay for your services.  On the other hand, some people recommend little money down because you won’t lose a big down-payment if you can’t keep up with the payments. This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, however, if you have big payments that are difficult to keep up with.  

You’ll also need lots of cash on hand to start―working capital―to pay for oil changes and other maintenance, insurance, unexpected repairs, and fuel.  It’s also wise to employ the services of legal and business advisers and an accountant before you begin your journey to owner/operatorship. It’s better to not only know what you’re getting into ahead of time but to also do things the right way from the start.  Ignorance may be bliss but it can cost you a lot of money in the long run. Professional advice may cost you money on the front end but it’ll save you money on the other side.

Another consideration to make before you take the ownership plunge is the effect it will have on your family.  Being an owner means may mean that you can set your own hours and choose the jobs you take but that doesn’t mean you won’t be away as much or even that you’ll have the financial freedom to be picky about the jobs you take.  You’ve got to pay the bills. Many truck owners like the security of working for larger carriers but that means working on the carrier’s schedule. When your truck and your livelihood are on the line, you may be away more often than if you worked for someone else.  Being away from your family can be difficult and even destructive.

Being the boss may not be for you.  You could be a fantastic truck driver but being an owner/operator involves much more than just driving a truck and being your own boss.  If you’re not prepared for all of the other work involved with running your business like paperwork and tracking down payments, you won’t succeed.  Before taking the plunge, talk to other people who have purchased their own truck. Grill them. Ask for details on the best parts of the job and the worst.  Ask if they have regrets. Is there anything they would’ve done differently?

 

New or Used?

That is another question.  With a new rig, you have the huge expense but you know where it’s been.  Nowhere. Everything is fresh, new working order. Used trucks can provide a great value.  If you can find a well-maintained used rig, it might be more affordable for you. But before you buy, make sure you:

  • See maintenance records, including oil changes.
  • Note the mileage.  Engines should go close to a million miles before they need to be rebuilt.  If that’s soon, it’ll be a huge added cost but will add to the life of the truck.
  • Check the tires.  Does it need new ones?  What is the tread depth?

If you’re thinking of buying a used truck, find a used truck dealer with a good reputation.  You should get a bit of a warranty to take care of immediate problems and to ensure you’re not buying an 18-wheeled lemon.  They may offer a good extended warranty to be sure to ask about it. It can be expensive but if it covers major parts of the vehicle, it may be worth it.


Do Your Homework

Whether you’re buying a used truck or a new one, do the research.  Find out about the individual truck’s history as well as the history of the model of truck.  Look for any problems that people may have experienced with it. Research the dealership as well.  

Also, do your homework on becoming an owner/operator.  Know all of the work involved and exactly how much it will cost you up front and along the way.  Becoming an owner of your own big rig, your own business, can be a lucrative and rewarding endeavor.  Go into it prepared with knowledge, and you’ll increase your chances of success.

Trucker Search helps owner/operators find companies to work for to help your business grow.  Post your resume with your truck details or let carriers all over the country find you. Everything you need is just a click away at TruckerSearch.com.

How to Find (and Keep!) Truck Drivers

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Finding a truck driver isn’t an easy task.  Advertising in newspapers and magazines is expensive and searching most job sites is a nightmare because, despite your search criteria, you have to sift through a deluge of applicants looking for jobs other than driving a truck.  There’s a better solution. Trucker Search is a web-based service that matches companies with truck drivers who are looking for work and no one else. It couldn’t be simpler. Post your available positions for truckers to search themselves or search our database of available truck drivers.  This streamlined service is only for truck drivers and only for companies looking for drivers.

With information such as years of experience, number of tickets, preferred runs, and types of vehicles they can drive, you can find the perfect fit for your company.  You can even view the full resume before you call.

Today’s is a seller’s market in the world of trucking driven by a shortage of drivers so it’s not just a matter of finding a great truck driver, you want to keep them too.  Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to create an environment where your new hire will want to become a seasoned employee.

  1. Pay more.  This may seem obvious, your pay needs to be competitive, and as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.  If you someone who’s good, you’re going to have to pay a decent wage. Additionally, many truckers prefer predictable pay and may want to stay with your company if you’re offering a guaranteed minimum number of miles each week.
  2. Be engaged.  Let your drivers know who they’re working for.  It’s easy for a truck driver to become detached when they’re out on the road alone so you should meet with them regularly and make them feel like they’re part of the company because they are, and a very important one at that.
  3. Offer incentives to do well.  Paying bonuses to the trucker who gets the best fuel mileage or other offers can save the company money.  It will not only encourage your drivers to work harder, a little healthy competition can make them feel like they’re part of something bigger.
  4. Ask for driver input.  Truck drivers will have useful ideas on improving the trucking aspect of your business, and they’ll be a more satisfied employee with the knowledge that their ideas are being heard.
  5. Keep your drivers healthy.  Driving a truck has the tendency to be an unhealthy profession.  Inactivity during hours on the road mixed with the convenience of fast food can wreak havoc on the health of drivers.  Encourage them to make healthy choices with diet and exercise contests, try to start a basketball or softball team, or put a walking path around your facility.  Even putting up a basketball hoop or volleyball court will give them a place to exercise and it will show them that you care about their health.
  6. Keep routes regional.  One reason for the shortage of drivers in the shipping industry may be that many are turned off the the profession because of long trips that will keep them away from home for long stretches of time.  If it’s possible to break up your routes, your drivers may be happier and stay with your company.
  7. Be honest and upfront about the job.  Most turnovers in the trucking industry happen in the first 2 or 3 months, largely because of driver dissatisfaction and that the job didn’t match their expectations.  Don’t tell them it’s a job that will have them home every weekend if it won’t. Being honest will help you find the right driver for the job.

With the right tools, such as Trucker Search, and some key strategies, it is possible to find and retain the right people for your company.  To begin your search for a great candidate, go to truckersearch.com or call (888)254-3712 and we’ll tell you how to get started.

 

CDL Class A Jobs

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Despite the growing economy, companies continue to look for ways to trim back and cut costs where they can, including reductions in their staff.  However, while other industries are tightening their workforce belt, the trucking industry is booming.

With the rise of Amazon, consumer expectations changed.  Consumers became spoiled by the ability to be able to point and click and have an item on their doorstep within two days. In order to keep up, businesses large and small needed to ship products quickly and efficiently or risk losing customers.  All of which means there are more trucks on the road than ever before.

The challenge of these new trends in shipping lies in putting drivers in those trucks.  Many people who take the course to earn their CDL will have job offers before they’ve completed it.  Sure, the potential wages that come with the job make it appealing, but the hours turn some people away.  Many people want families and the hours that go along with trucking jobs are not always conducive to a middle-class family lifestyle.  People want to be involved in their kids’ lives and that’s easier with a Monday through Friday, 9-5 job. Fortunately, the trucking industry is listening. Some are offering schedules that are more flexible and with fewer nights and weekends on the road.  Others are creating more hubs there’s no need for long hauls.

Another issue in the trucking industry is the fact that so many truckers are approaching retirement age, many more than are signing up for jobs on the open road.  According to the Department of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver is 55 with many of them on the verge of retiring.  Trucking companies are taking steps to attract younger drivers by offering to pay for classes so people can earn their CDL and begin working for them.  Many are making a concerted effort to fill those driving seats by targeting women, minorities, and veterans and are increasing starting pay.

The problem of the lack of commercial truck drivers is one that has far-reaching effects.  Fewer shipments mean fewer products in the stores which means demand will be higher. The result?  Higher prices for everyone. Truck drivers are quite simply a very crucial part of the U.S. economy.  

To keep shipments moving, the shipping process needs to be streamlined.  Drivers and employers need an easier way to find one another. That’s where Trucker Search comes in.  Trucker Search is a simple way for drivers and owner-operators to find companies with employment opportunities and it helps employers and recruiters find available  drivers. Through a simple interface, truck drivers can post their resume and wait for offers or actively search through the database of employers in need of them. Conversely, employers can search through resumes of truckers looking for work.  They can modify their search to narrow the results to the perfect candidate. Trucker Search is an effective avenue for employers and recruiters to advertise available positions to a large pool of interested and qualified applicants.

At Trucker Search, connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it gets truckers back on the road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.

What Makes a Great Truck Driver?

what-makes-a-great-truck-driver

Trucking is one of the most in-demand jobs there is, and as long as goods need to get from Point A to Point B, the need for great, dependable drivers will be there.  Truck drivers are so much more than just someone who drives a truck. They’re responsible for customer paperwork, dealing with mechanical issues as they arise, loading and unloading freight, keeping driving logs, and even possibly transporting hazardous materials.  They are a vital link in the chain that brings a product from design to the shelves, and as a company, you don’t want to find a good truck driver, you want to find a great one.

What makes a great truck driver?

1. Reliability

The world runs on deadlines and a great driver will consistently be there to meet them.  If one person in the chain doesn’t show or does their job poorly, everything gets delayed and that one unreliable worker could end up costing you in the long run.  

2.  An Excellent Driving Record

A good driving record is an indicator of professionalism and safety.  

3.  Alertness

A great driver is always alert.  Weather, traffic, and hazardous driving conditions can cause dangers in a matter of seconds, and it’s important to always be aware and to take breaks when fatigue sets in.

4.  Physical fitness

In a profession where a major portion of the work is done sitting down, it’s essential to take the extra steps needed to stay in shape.  A fit driver is more alert and has the stamina needed for long drives, as well as the strength needed for loading and unloading cargo.

5.  Sense of Responsibility

Truck drivers are not only responsible for their truck and their cargo getting safely to their destination, but they are also responsible for the safety of other drivers who share the road along the way.     

6.  Independence

Anything can happen on the road.  A great driver will be able to handle any emergency situation with their truck and their cargo without supervision.

7.  Mechanical Skills.

Although mechanical skills are not a requirement for being able to drive a truck, a basic knowledge of minor repairs such as changing a fuse or a tire can be helpful and make your cargo able to meet its deadline.

8.  Stress Management

Driving a truck, meeting deadlines, and dealing with traffic can be stressful for anyone.  Being able to manage day-to-day stresses while remaining calm and cool is a great asset in a driver.

9.  Good Communication Skills

Throughout the day, a truck driver is in contact with the company, the clients, warehouse workers, and many others.  Good communication skills with a positive attitude go a long way to make any situation better and represent your company with professionalism.

10.  Honesty

Cutting corners can be downright dangerous in the trucking industry.  Great drivers follow all safety rules and regulations and can be trusted with whatever cargo they carry.
At Trucker Search, we know what makes a great driver because we’ve helped so many of them find great companies to work for.  Quite simply, we’re a matchmaker for truckers and companies who need to transport freight. As an employer or recruiter, you can search for drivers who are in a specific location, have certain trailer experience, years of driving experience, etc., and find the right match for your company.  As a driver, you can find a company to work for long-term or short, part-time or full, at a local or nationwide company. With Trucker Search, everybody wins. Go to www.truckersearch.com today and begin your search for a great trucker or a great job today!