I do not have a CDL and have never driven a commercial vehicle. If that makes you lose interest in this post already, I can’t say I blame you! However, if you have a few minutes and any interest whatsoever in what a greenhorn could have to say, please keep reading. It could save you some headache in the future!
I’ve been recruiting for Nussbaum for a little over two years now. It feels like a long time but I know that’s a drop in the bucket compared to how long many of you have been driving. Thankfully, two years IS enough time to learn what some key components of a successful conversation between recruiter and driver are. If you are in the market for a new driving job or even thinking about the possibility of making a switch, there are some things you need to know!
First, get ready for your phone to blow up (no, not literally). Once you put your name out there as an interested and qualified truck driver, your popularity is going to shoot through the roof. The important thing is being able to sift through the horde of recruiters calling you and establish who has the best offer for you. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done! The best offer might seem like the one with the highest mileage rate, the newest equipment, or the one that guarantees you home every weekend. Who wouldn’t be interested in that? What you need to know though, is that there is almost always more to it than that. That mouthwatering $0.50 per mile rate sounds great, but how does your bottom line look when you only average 1,600 miles per week? Is the flashy, 2018 Peterbilt you’re being promised really what they assign new drivers or is it just a ploy to get you in the door? Does the “home weekends” mean two full days at home or just Saturday morning for a 10-hour break and then back out again? Trust me, there are a lot of ways to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
So what should you be asking? For sake of time, I’ll just list a few. For starters, find out more than just what you can see on the website. Dig into the information they are presenting! For example, if they are advertising a $0.50 per mile rate, find out what that equates to at the end of the week! “What will my average weekly gross pay be?” Don’t bother asking about take home (they are not going to be able to give you a solid answer on this as there are so many variable factors). They SHOULD however be able to give you a realistic expectation of weekly gross earnings and that tells you a lot!
“How will you take care of me if freight dies or if my truck breaks down?” Put them on the spot with this one. If they truly take care of their drivers there should be nothing to hide here. Do they have any sort of guarantee or make-up pay to protect you from the slow weeks? Are they going to provide lodging and breakdown pay when your truck bites the dust or are you left to fend for yourself? The very manner in which the recruiter responds to this will give you some insight as well. Are they quick to brush it off and move on to the next question or do they take the time to fully inform you how they handle tough situations?
“What is your turnover rate?” I’m shocked at how rarely I am asked this. If the recruiter can’t answer this, that’s a red flag. If the turnover rate is high, that’s a red flag. Please, put this question to them and if the answer you get back leaves you feeling uneasy for any reason, consider that! Learn from the drivers who have come before and left (or stayed). Overall, it’s about getting as much clear information as you can from every recruiter you speak with, so you can make most informed decision possible. Consistently asking these questions can help immensely. Good luck!