The trucking industry plays a crucial role in the American economy, ensuring goods are moved efficiently from one place to another. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by May 2022, there were about 1,984,180 heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in the country, with an average annual wage of $53,090. These numbers highlight the importance of the industry and the opportunities it offers.
However, many new drivers face the challenge of finding a job without experience. This blog aims to help those individuals. We will provide clear guidance, useful tips, and practical steps for those looking to start a career in truck driving without any prior experience.
Starting Out in Trucking: 6 Tips for Beginners
Embarking on a career in trucking as a beginner can be an exciting and life-changing journey. Whether you’re intrigued by the open road, the freedom of the highway, or the potential for a stable and rewarding profession, this guide is here to offer you valuable insights and recommendations to help you kickstart your trucking career with confidence. As a novice driver, you’ll find the road ahead filled with challenges and opportunities. These six essential tips will steer you in the right direction and ensure a smoother start to your exciting adventure in the world of trucking.
Understanding the Industry’s Needs
Breaking into the trucking world without experience might seem tough, but many chances exist. The industry needs new drivers, making it a good time for newcomers. When applying, it’s important to be honest about your background. Many companies don’t mind if you don’t have experience.
Consider getting extra qualifications, like a Class A CDL or other endorsements, to improve your chances. This can open more doors for you. Also, think outside the box. Look for driving jobs in areas like construction or local government. These might not be typical trucking roles, but they count as experience.
And remember, research is key. With so many companies hiring, you’ll want to find one that fits your needs. You can find the perfect trucking job with determination and the right approach.
Leverage Online Job Platforms
Using online job platforms can be a game-changer for those looking to start in the trucking industry. These platforms collaborate with numerous trucking companies across the U.S., making it easier for aspiring drivers to connect with potential employers. When you submit your application on these sites, it reaches a wide range of companies, increasing your chances of getting noticed.
Furthermore, the trucking industry’s current landscape is such that there’s a high driver demand. This demand means many companies will give you a chance, even if you’re new to the field.
By tapping into these platforms and combining them with a proactive approach, like researching companies and understanding their needs, you can significantly boost your chances of landing a job quickly. Remember, the key is to cast a wide net and be persistent in your efforts.
Enhancing Educational Qualifications
Having the right skills can help you stand out, especially if you’re new to the trucking business. There are things you can do to make yourself a more attractive option, even if you don’t have much experience.
One primary step is securing your Class A CDL, which is essential for most trucking roles. But don’t stop there. Adding endorsements to your license, such as tanker, hazmat, or doubles or triples, can significantly widen your job prospects. Some trucking companies might have specific experience requirements for certain roles, but these endorsements show your commitment and versatility
Enhancing your qualifications increases your job opportunities and demonstrates your dedication to the profession to potential employers. These additional qualifications can be your ticket to a promising career in an industry that values skill and expertise.
Honesty is the Best Policy
In trucking, as in many professions, honesty holds immense value. Being open and genuine about your skills and past experiences is crucial when applying for jobs. Many companies in the industry are quite accommodating to newcomers and understand that everyone has to start somewhere. They often prioritize a candidate’s integrity over extensive experience.
However, attempting to embellish or hide facts can backfire. Modern companies conduct thorough background checks, and any discrepancies can quickly come to light. Being caught in a falsehood not only jeopardizes your current application but can also tarnish your reputation in the industry.
Drawing from insights from various industry sources, it’s evident that building trust and maintaining transparency with potential employers can pave the way for a successful and lasting career in trucking.
Choose the Right Trucking Company Through Research
The high demand for drivers means that many candidates receive multiple job offers. While having options is great, picking the right company is essential. Each trucking company has its own culture, policies, and compensation packages. To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to research each company thoroughly. Check out their websites to understand their values and pay structures.
Also, reading reviews and getting feedback from current or former drivers can be very helpful. Talking to people at truck stops or on online forums can give insights into a company’s reputation and work environment. Picking a job is not just about the salary; it’s about finding a place where you’ll be happy and can grow in your career.
Consider Apprenticeship Programs
Finding an initial footing can be challenging for those new to the trucking world. However, many companies recognize the potential of fresh talent and offer apprenticeship programs tailored for new drivers.
These programs are designed to bridge the gap between formal training and real-world driving. They offer a unique blend of classroom learning and on-the-road training, ensuring newcomers are well-equipped to handle the job demands.
By joining an apprenticeship program, new drivers can learn from seasoned professionals, understand the company’s operations, and familiarize themselves with industry best practices.
Moreover, these programs often lead to full-time positions, providing a seamless transition into the trucking career. Considering such apprenticeship opportunities can be a significant first step for anyone looking to make a mark in the trucking industry.
Stay Determined and Open-Minded
Determining and having an open mindset are invaluable assets in finding the right trucking job. It’s essential to cast a wide net and apply it to various companies, including the industry’s big players. While larger carriers might not be everyone’s top pick, they often come equipped with comprehensive training programs for newcomers.
These programs can provide the foundational skills and experience needed to excel in the field. Moreover, regardless of the company’s size or reputation, every position offers a chance to learn, grow, and step closer to your ideal role in the trucking world. By approaching the job search with tenacity and a willingness to explore all opportunities, you set the stage for a successful and fulfilling career in trucking.
Where Should Inexperienced Truck Drivers Apply?
Inexperienced truck drivers should consider applying to the following types of companies or positions:
Company-Sponsored Training Programs
Many major trucking companies offer training programs for new drivers. These programs often include paid training and a guaranteed job upon successful completion.
Entry-Level Trucking Jobs
Look for job openings that explicitly state they are suitable for new or inexperienced drivers. These positions are designed to provide on-the-job training and support.
Local Delivery Companies
Consider starting with local delivery companies that operate within a smaller radius. This can be a less challenging way to gain experience before venturing into long-haul routes.
Freight Brokers and Dispatch Services
Some freight brokers and dispatch services hire inexperienced drivers. They may connect you with available loads and provide support as you gain experience.
Truck Driving Schools
Some truck driving schools have partnerships with companies that hire their graduates, even if they have no prior experience.
Temporary Driver Agencies
Temporary driver agencies often hire drivers with minimal experience. This can be an excellent way to gain experience and explore different types of driving jobs.
Hiring Inexperienced Truck Drivers: Top 5 U.S. Employers
Below are some leading U.S. firms keen on recruiting truck drivers, even if they lack experience. This roundup isn’t all-inclusive, so conducting further research and checking other sources for additional hiring opportunities is a good idea.
Shaw’s Supermarkets (location: Wells, ME)
Shaw’s Supermarkets offers competitive wages and benefits. The company’s drivers deliver to retail stores throughout New England.
FedEx Freight (West) (Location: Hardin, MT)
FedEx Freight (West) offers drivers bonus opportunities and paid training.
C.R. England (location: Union City, CA)
C.R. England offers top-of-the-line sleeper trucks equipped with automatic transmissions for its drivers.
Universal Logistics (Location: Hayward, CA)
Universal Logistics offers no-touch freight services and operates manual 10-speed trucks.
United Parcel Service (Location: Fremont, CA)
UPS is hiring driver assistants who will work alongside the main drivers.
Viessman Trucking (Location: Brookings, SD)
Viessman Trucking offers part-time positions with home-based daily benefits.
With its vast opportunities, the trucking industry welcomes newcomers with open arms. While starting a career without experience can seem challenging, the right approach and determination make all the difference. The industry’s growing demand for drivers means there’s room for everyone, from seasoned professionals to those just starting.
Aspiring truck drivers can carve out a successful path by leveraging available resources, staying informed, and being proactive. With dedication and the right mindset, the future of trucking is bright and promising. Here’s to a fulfilling and prosperous career in the world of trucking!
James Johnson is a former truck driver who now works as a writer, specializing in the trucking industry. With over 15 years of experience on the road, James has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities faced by truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole. His writing focuses on issues such as safety, regulation, and the latest industry trends. His work has been featured in several trucking publications and he has received recognition for his contributions to the industry. In his free time, James still enjoys being around trucks and often attends truck shows and other industry events.