Category: Business

Barking Up the Right Tree: Road Dogs

Dogs are the best friends of men and women alike. In all walks of life, most people’s wellbeing is greatly improved by their furry friends and the steadfast love they show. According to The Washington Post, over 68% of American households own one or more dogs. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that so many people own dogs, but an incredible fact is that 40% of commercial drivers take their pets alongside them in their transport journeys, according to the New York Times!

The Ruff Ruff Road

It’s a well-known fact among drivers that the road can sometimes be rough. Whether it’s a long drive, being away from the family too long, or particularly distressing highway conditions, it can be a lot to deal with daily. Drivers cope with the stressors they face in several ways. Some listen to podcasts or audiobooks, some call their friends and family, others play road games with themselves or their partners, and some have found a unique way of staying entertained and having lovely company by bringing their pets along for the ride. 

Cute Companions

The cutest company that a driver can have is their wonderful pet. Pets are proven to have a relaxing effect on their owners, dogs especially. One example of a driver who has had wonderful experiences driving with her dogs is Diana Stolsworth, a driver from Texas who has driven with her pets almost since she started driving trucks. She has enjoyed every minute of driving with her pups and encourages others to do so, but she makes it clear that it is crucial to take safety precautions for your pets while on the road. Including lighted collars and harnesses to prevent injury or death in high traffic zones like truck stops.

What’s Up Dog?

This leads us to the requirements for taking a dog with you on the road. Much like taking another person with you, there are certain rules you’ve got to follow. Depending on your company, you may not be able to bring your pet along. If you are an individual driver or your company allows for it, some tips to remember are always bring more food for your pet than you think you’ll need, ensure you have things to entertain them with, take them on regular walks, provide water often, and always remember to have some fun. Many employed people don’t get to see their dogs 24/7 like you do, so this is a very special advantage to driving.

Final Thoughts

Pets are the better halves of their owners, with sweet spirits and a can-do attitude, your pet can be a great road companion. If you’re interested in bringing your furry friend along for the ride, you should talk to your employer or check the regulations that apply to you, and then bring your dog along for the ride. With your best friend by your side, the road is guaranteed to be a more interesting and adventurous place where you can make incredible memories with your fur baby!

What industries does the trucking industry serve?

Trucking is the thread that connects nearly all-American industries together. Weaving a web that networks supply to demand and production to distribution is what the trucking industry does best, making the United States a more connected and efficient place. Service is the mission of the trucking industry, whether it’s to serve other industries or the civilians that benefit from their proper and efficient function. It is well known that nearly everything in stores was once on a truck, but the trucking industry services many more industries than big box stores.

Service and Care

Ever since the global transportation system has existed (first on ships, horses, and carriages, then trains, trucks, and airplanes), it has filled a major economic need that exists in the niche between supply and demand which is transportation. In large amounts, and over great distances, goods are often hard to carry from point A to point B without the proper equipment. Agencies dedicated to transport play a major role in transitioning products to their points of sale or distribution.

The painstaking efforts that drivers put in to make sure that goods arrive safely are what make the trucking industry shine, and this care is greatly appreciated by all other industries served by trucking. Drivers are often underappreciated for the incredible work they do daily. They deserve high praise for carrying the American Economy and allowing our country to thrive.

Industries helping Industries

Drivers can work for a trucking company, themselves, or a specific industry other than general trucking, and their careers can range from long haul drives to regional transit. Each of these positions are important to the economy of the nation and individual industries. Some of the most common industries served by the trucking industry include, Transportation & Public Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Services, Manufacturing, Construction, Agriculture, and Mining, according to TheTrucker.com.

The most prevalent industry that trucking helps directly is that related to Transportation and Public Utilities. Drivers with the most diverse set of impacts are those that work in the for-hire side of the industry, which takes jobs from many different businesses and organizations. Private drivers also have a huge impact making up over 45% of the total number of drivers in the United States. Private drivers are usually hired directly by the businesses they represent, while for-hire drivers often work for a larger trucking company or themselves.

Mutualism

There is a term in biology called ‘mutualism’, which is a fancy word for saying a relationship where both organisms benefit. The trucking industry exists in a mutualistic relationship with nearly every other industry in the United States. This mutually beneficial coexistence is what helps the country’s economy remain so strong, and it is why trucking is such an important industry in the survival and growth of the economy.

Final Thoughts

Trucking is an incredibly important industry for several reasons. It brings supplies to the people who need them, it helps other industries distribute their goods, and it connects the United States from coast to coast. Trucking is also making huge steps forward in becoming more environmentally friendly, which will help the economy by reducing fuel costs and creating less strain on other industries!

Choosing between different types of routes

There are pros and cons to each one, more peanuts, less caramel, so it may seem like an impossible choice since both are great options. While you might not like driving as much as candy bars, the difficulty of the decision remains. The benefits of choosing one route over another may be less clear-cut. The best way to decide is to weigh your options objectively to have a good understanding of the different route types available to you.

The Road Being Traveled

When driving, you likely aren’t looking for the road less traveled regardless of the type of route you choose, but that’s not something you have to worry about most of the time when choosing a route as there are many drivers on the road with similar routes that understand the dilemma you are facing now when choosing a specific mode of travel. As far as routes go, there are four major classifications, local, regional, long-haul, and dedicated. Drivers on all these routes are an incredibly crucial component in the proper transportation of goods from pickup to drop off, but there are different conditions and expectations for each route classification that may make one stand out as a better option for you. 

Map It Out

Most routes are classified by their distance from home base. For instance, local routes cover very specific areas where you will likely not venture far enough for overnights and be able to return home each day. Regional routes cover a larger distance and may have you travel in specific parts of the United States, like the East Coast or Midwest. Long Haul drivers experience the furthest traveling distance and can expect to go anywhere in the country, and possibly even to Mexico and Canada.

Dedicated routes are a little different as they can be many distances, though they are often local distances. These routes are determined by their regular hours and continued employment, as many routes can be one-time deals with a particular company. Dedicated routes work quite well for those seeking very stable employment and regular hours.

Finding Your Path

Choosing a route should be dependent on how you feel and what you think you’re capable of when driving. If you really enjoy traveling for long distances and are okay with being away from home for a while, regional or long-haul driving may be a great choice for you as it allows you to see an incredibly vast amount of the country. If you’re a bit more tethered to home and would like to be back in your own bed for the night, or have a family that requires your support, taking on a local route may be more beneficial for you.

Planning and Preparation

Weighing the pros and cons of routes is the best way to discern which option may be the right choice for you. As you consider driving different routes, think about which type would benefit you the most and cause the least amount of stress and the most gain for your time. Trucking is a diverse field with many different jobs available to suit almost anyone, so be sure to do your research and take on routes that are good choices for your well-being.

Building a Stunning Resume

Resumes are underrated. As something most people construct in high school or at the end of college and then fail to update until necessary, the resume does not receive enough credit for how important it can be. When coupled with a well-written cover letter, a great resume can help you secure any job that you’re qualified for. While many employers only seem to glance at your resume, the proof of experience it offers is priceless and there is no better place to show off everything you’ve worked hard to achieve than by presenting a well-made resume.

The Art of the Resume

Many people think it is the embellishment that makes a resume special, but the true beauty of a successful resume is the way it presents the truth and showcases the skills, talents, and experiences in your life that have shaped you into who you are today. While it may be easy to add an extra year of experience or pretend to have experience that you don’t, you shouldn’t do that. Lying on a resume has consequences, sometimes resulting in the loss of a job or pay cuts, not to mention the mistrust your superiors will have because of this dishonesty.

All in all, it is best to avoid lying. Your resume can still be spectacular, even if you feel like you haven’t experienced a lot in life. There are plenty of things that count for experience beyond professions and education. Take an inventory of your skills from all areas of your life thus far, and you are sure to find more than what you’d expect.

Skills In a Resume

The first sections of a resume, be it personal information or past experiences, are straightforward to include all the necessary information. However, the best part of a resume is the section for skills. This is where you can take everything you’ve earned in your career and personal life and craft it to show how you will be a great fit for the job you’re applying for. Maybe you worked in a restaurant for 4 years, then you probably have great customer service and teamwork skills, or perhaps you were in the military and you have acquired perseverance and efficiency.

Things that may not count for on-the-job experiences may still be able to be counted as skills. Skills that may not be occupation related include time management and a strong sense of responsibility from taking care of members of your family. Most employers want to see that you will be able to excel at the job they are offering, and there is more than one way to show that you have the skills and experience to complete the job perfectly.

Let’s Resume

If you’ll pardon the pun, a great idea for making a solid resume is to find a template online and contact your employer directly, or view their website, to see which of your skills and experiences you should highlight the most. Resumes can teach your potential employer a lot about you, so it is a good idea to take time to prepare it. The art of resume building is not a secret science that only some people have access to, you can build a great resume and if you need help there are countless resources online.

18 Wheels that Keep the World Turning

With over 3.5 million drivers on the road, as of 2019 (according to census.gov), the American Trucking Industry is a huge community represented by diverse people from across the nation and the globe! People from all walks of life have become a part of the transportation industry, making this a unifying career field. Drivers across the nation work hard every day to ensure that goods are transported to their destinations safely and timely. This is truly what keeps the American economy going.

The Big Engine That Could

Trucks are big, not only in size and mass, but in economic impact as well. Oftentimes trucks carry thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars worth of goods. This much value in a single route is a big responsibility, but every day there are drivers across the nation making this transport possible. This requires honesty, integrity, and a dedication to one’s career. Drivers have a truly inspiring work ethic.

 Diesel engines may not always be the most efficient, sometimes they break down, but most drivers know how to address any issues and resolve them as quickly and safely as possible.. In the industry, it is never really a case of whether the truck is up for the job or not, but rather the driver because the driver is the most important player in the system. Without dedicated drivers, trade would be at a standstill.

Transportation Nation

The American economy relies on trade across the nation. America is huge, spanning 2,800 miles from coast to coast according to mapsofworld.com. When time sensitive deliveries are in order (especially with produce and other food items), there is always a rush to make sure none of the goods spoil. So, how do goods made on the West Coast arrive so quickly on the East coast and vice versa? Drivers make it possible through taking on loads and tirelessly making journeys to get the goods to their destinations on time! 

A Valiant Effort

Drivers face many challenges daily: hazards of the road, health issues, and difficulties in transport all make it hard on drivers to do their best work, but even then, they do an amazing job of keeping America running. Drivers may see many dangers from traffic incidents, slick roads, high winds, drunk drivers, cargo thieves, and people with malicious intent. They may also suffer through negative health conditions and stress associated with the career..  Drivers are met with adversity nearly every day of their career., Instead of being afraid and refusing to act, they meet these challenges head on and continue making it possible for people across the nation to acquire what they need, shop at their favorite stores, and receive important packages on time.

Thank You Drivers!

Drivers are some of America’s most important citizens, and while they sometimes go underrecognized, they deserve our thanks for the great work they do. Without the 3.5 million drivers in the United States, the nation would be brought to its knees. So today, thank a driver, and if you drive trucks or have ever driven, thank you for your service. You are truly a special person for making the sacrifice to keep America going strong!

Trucking Maintenance Issues

trucking-maintenance-issues

Regular truck maintenance can save time, money, and even a life.  It’s important for the safety of anyone who shares the road that a truck is in good working order, of course, and a truck that is regularly maintained will reduce operational costs.  As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is particularly true for big rigs. It’s significantly cheaper to perform preventative maintenance than it is to have a truck unexpectedly out of commission for costly repairs.  If equipment failure caused an accident, there may also be medical costs, legal expenses, and property damage. Downtime costs a carrier an average of $448-$760 per day, per vehicle and those downtimes can cause expense all the way down the supply chain.

Common Equipment Problems That Cause Accidents

Brakes

According to FMCSA, 29% of accidents caused by truck equipment failure is due to brakes.  A qualified brake inspector needs to check them regularly for air leaks, and that there are no broken parts.  When a fully-loaded truck weighing as much as 80,000 lbs. needs to stop quickly, it needs considerable room and properly-working brakes.  The time to find out that the brakes are bad is not when the truck is rolling along a busy road at 70 MPH.

Tires

Another leading cause of truck accidents is tires that are worn or don’t have adequate air pressure.  It’s the driver’s responsibility to check for leaks, tread wear, and damage before going out on the road.  Trucking companies must make sure that their vehicles have tires that have acceptable tread depth and level of wear.  It only takes one bad tire to cause an accident.

Lights.  

Lights not only allow trucks to see when it’s dark or when visibility is low, they’re equally as important to ensure that trucks are seen by other drivers.  Drivers need to make sure lights are in working order prior to each trip.

Who’s Responsible For Maintenance?

The responsibility for truck maintenance falls on both the fleet owner and the driver.  The FMCSA mandates that drivers inspect their vehicles before and after every trip. They must inspect the brakes, tires, horns, lights, and mirrors and sign a safety report stating that the vehicle is safe to drive.

Carriers have scheduled maintenance checks depending on the vehicle’s mileage, age, and type.  It typically involves a brake inspection, tire pressure check and inflation, alignment and steering check, and checking lighting and electrical systems.

As a part of maintenance, trucks should also be prepared for the change in weather conditions.  Winterization means using the right fuel additives, making sure heaters are working, checking the tire treads, and making sure the truck is equipped with snow chains, sand, extra windshield fluid, and other winter driving necessities.  A quality carrier will follow a strict maintenance program with their vehicles for their drivers’ safety. If you’re looking for a great company that cares about drivers, look no further than Trucker Search. On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search current truck driving jobs.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

Sources:

https://www.elementfleet.com/news/media-coverage/the-true-cost-of-vehicle-downtime

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

Truck Drivers: How To Reduce Stress on the Road

Truck-Drivers-How-To-Reduce-Stress-on-the-Road

Traffic, deadlines, bad weather conditions, erratic, unpredictable drivers…life on the open road may sound like a dream to some people but in reality, it can be extremely stressful.  Poor diet options and a sedentary job only add to the stress of driving. If you’re feeling stressed in your job driving a truck, there are some things you can do to reduce that stress and be more relaxed behind the wheel.

  1. Eat healthy foods.  With all of the high-fat, high-sodium, high-calorie fast-food restaurants that line the highways, making healthy food choices can be a challenge.  Try packing healthy snacks from home. Opt for salads from fast food restaurants (they usually have them) or if you don’t have a healthy option, cut your portion size in half and drink water with it instead of soda.  Never supersize!
  2. Exercise.  When you’re under a deadline, fitting in time to exercise can be difficult but try to get out of your truck and go for a short walk whenever you can.  Stretching is also a good way to release stress.  
  3. Be with your family.  Even if you can’t be there physically, Skype with them or talk on the phone and take the time to listen to what’s going on in their lives.  When you do have time at home, be present for your family.
  4. Occupy your mind.  While you’re driving, listen to your favorite music or a podcast about something that interests you.  It’ll help you forget about the traffic for a while and make the time fly.
  5. Get enough good sleep.  It can be difficult to find a quiet spot to park your truck and sleep at truck stops and rest areas.  Trucks are loud and if you or someone around you is driving a reefer, the truck will run all night. Earplugs or a white noise machine may help.  Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, at home or on the road, helps keep you alert on the road, healthy, and reduces stress.
  6. Meditate.  Mediation can be done anywhere and at any time (except while driving!).  Simply sit comfortably and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing and try to push all thoughts out of your mind.  If you prefer to keep your eyes open, pick an object and focus on that. Meditation calms the mind and lowers anxiety and stress levels.
  7. Take time for yourself.  When you’re at home, take time to do something you enjoy.  Your time on the road isn’t for you?it’s for your employer and your family.  While you’re at home, you’ll want to spend time with your family but taking time for yourself is important too.

If you’re looking to start a career behind the wheel of a big rig, Trucker Search can help. Connecting truck drivers and employers is what we do.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can get you that dream job on the open road. Get started today at TruckerSearch.com or call us at (888)254-3712.    

How To Prepare for Winter Driving

how-to-prepare-for-winter-driving

Winter weather is unpredictable.  It can go from clear and sunny to icy and treacherous before you can say, “Winter Wonderland”. Many drivers start routes in a warm, sunny state and end in one covered in snow.  Being prepared can mean the difference between delivering your load on time and sitting in a frozen truck waiting for help.

With some mindfulness and preparedness, you can be ready for anything that Mother Nature throws at you.

Inspect Your Truck

Make sure it’s ready for cold temperatures.  Check your tires’ pressure and treads, oil, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluids.  

Pack Necessities

In freezing temperatures, fuel can begin to freeze in the tank, fuel line, and filter if you’re not using a winter blend fuel.  Be sure to have some fuel additives with anti-gelling agent on board in case your fuel begins to gel. Having an extra blanket, warm clothes, and gloves can keep you warm if you have no heat. It’s also smart to have things that can help if  you’re stuck in snow or ice like sand, a shovel, traction mats, and salt. Some other useful items are a flashlight, a lighter or matches, jumper cables, food, water, and extra windshield washer fluid. Also, always keep your phone charged.  

Adjust Your Driving If The Weather is Bad

Often, winter accidents happen because drivers don’t slow down in icy or snowy weather.  It may be tempting to keep your speed up to make deliveries on time but getting into an accident will really throw off your schedule.  High speed decreases traction when you need it most.

Hang Back

You may need some extra stopping distance in case an accident happens in front of you.  Winter driving means defensive driving.

React Smoothly

Sudden reactions like sudden braking, accelerating, and turning during slick road conditions are dangerous and can cause an accident for you or others on the road.

Pull Over

If you think the weather is too dangerous to drive in, don’t.  Find a safe place to ride out the storm. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Watch For Wind Gusts

High winds can take you by surprise.  Be cautious when driving in open areas and on mountains, especially if you’re hauling an empty trailer.

Check the Weather Often

Know what you’re driving into even if you have all your safety supplies.  Weather can change quickly so check often.

Be Careful on Bridges

As the signs say, bridges freeze first and in many areas, they are not treated with sand or salt.

Winter driving means driving cautiously and being prepared for the worst.  A bad storm can slow you down but if you are prepared and drive carefully, you just may deliver your load safely and on time.  

If you’re a driver looking for a great company to work for, Trucker Search can help.  Post your resume or search our growing database of companies’ driving job postings. Visit Trucker Search today to find out more.

Cooling Economy Causes Drivers to Lose Their Jobs in September

cooling-economy-causes-drivers-to-lose-their-jobs-in-september

Since the beginning of 2019, the trucking industry has been in a recession.  The rates for shipping freight have dipped to an all-time low and it’s hit the industry hard. Drivers are scraping for jobs and 640 trucking companies went into bankruptcy, 3 times the bankruptcies over previous year.  Roadrunner announced it would cut 10% of its workforce.

What’s going on?  When factories are doing well, retail is booming, and new construction is cropping up everywhere, the trucking industry does well.  It’s simple supply and demand. Last year, the trucking industry was booming and drivers reaped the rewards. To keep up with demand, trucking companies have been increasing their fleets, adding trucks and drivers. In early 2019, they were at capacity, meaning there were enough trucks and drivers to meet the current demand.  What this means, unfortunately, is that rates fall, and with costs not falling too, many trucking companies have been forced into layoffs, or worse?closure.  The cost of fuel has not gone down and neither have insurance costs which have made it difficult for owner/operators and trucking companies to keep going. Even cold storage companies that tend to do well weathering poor economic times have been hit hard with industry leaders slashing their payrolls.

The good news is that although manufacturing is down, retail spending is rising so 2019 isn’t a loss yet.  If consumer confidence can rise for the upcoming holiday buying season, rates may rise too.

 

Become More Marketable to Find Work

If you want to stay on top during the good times as well as slowdowns, you need to make yourself more marketable to trucking companies than other drivers.  You need to stand out from the rest and there are several ways to accomplish this.

Get Endorsements

Endorsements to your CDL show that you have trained to carry various types of loads which will make you more appealing to a trucking company.  Endorsements for double trailers, tankers, hazardous materials, etc. require extra training and certification. Having them makes you more attractive to potential employers and will probably earn you higher pay as well.  If you’re an owner/operator, it’ll open you up to more loads.

Change locations.  

The economy in some areas of the country may be better than others so there may be better prospects in other regions and could affect your salary too.  The 2017 median income for truck drivers in the U.S. was $44,500  but remote areas like Alaska paid $56,250 and there may be more job opportunities for drivers willing to drive in urban areas like New York City.

Continue to get experience.  

Even if earnings are lower than last year, try to stick it out.  Put in those hours where you can. The more experience you have, the greater the chances of keeping your job or finding a new one.

Find the right company.  

Even with trucking companies laying off drivers, you can find a great company to work for.  If you’ve been laid off and need to find a new company, Trucker Search can help. It’s an important tool in the search for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the up-to-date database of companies looking for reliable drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for employment in a good economy or bad. Go to TruckerSearch.com today and start driving tomorrow.  

 

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-truck-drivers-job-loss-september-2019-10

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-trucking-industry-slowdown-trucker-job-loss-2019-7#trucking-is-highly-cyclical-and-were-coming-off-from-a-massive-uptick-in-the-market-1

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm#st

Hiring Military Veterans to Solve the Driver Shortage

hiring-military-veterans-to-solve-the-trucker-shortage

There’s been concern in the trucking industry about the current driver shortage and its effect on business and the economy; both now and in the future with good reason.  At the end of the second quarter of 2018, the shortage ballooned to a driver shortfall of nearly 300,000. With the current high number of retirements and the low number of incoming applicants, that number is only expected to grow.  

It may be a boon to truckers who can be more selective with the companies they choose to drive for, and the loads they choose to haul. Many companies are offering sign-on bonuses and other perks to attract drivers. 

Aside from bonuses, trucking companies are looking for other ways to obtain more drivers such as trying to attract more women and recent high school graduates to the profession.  There’s also a push by trucking companies to hire military veterans to fill seats, regardless of their field of expertise while in the military.

Here’s why it’s a great idea:

The military lifestyle is a regimented one.  Although the trucker lifestyle has a reputation for being carefree, it is in fact, a very structured and detail-driven profession.  Rules need to be followed, safety procedures have to be adhered to, and deadlines need to be met. This type of structure may take some getting used to for civilians who are new to the field but it may be a natural fit for military veterans.  While both jobs are regimented, they also allow significant independence.  

Time on the road.  There can be substantial  time away from home and family for extended time periods.  This isn’t easy for everyone but it is something that veterans have had experience with at some point so it may come a little easier.  Fortunately, times away from home as a trucker are usually a week at a time instead of a year deployment.  

Veterans have high safety standards.  Military members are taught from Day One of Basic Training how to live up to high standards, a trait that’s highly desired by trucking companies.  Both industries have a strong commitment to safety. In the military, safety is most important for military members’ wellbeing as well as for civilians.  Drivers also follow strict safety standards for themselves and anyone else sharing the road with them.  

Veterans may have a head start.  Many military veterans have their CDLs and/or experience driving large vehicles, and are familiar with the maintenance.  If not, there is an exemption for the road test called the “Military CDL Skills Waiver” which allows veterans who have operated certain heavy machinery to skip the road test portion of the CDL test.  To see who qualifies, visit FMCSA.  If CDL training is still required, it may be shortened depending on military experience.  Other programs for military veterans can be found here.       

For trucking companies, the benefits of hiring veterans is clear.  Aside from getting dedicated, hard-working employees, it’s a chance to pay back individuals who have done so much for the protection and freedom of our country.  Military personnel have qualities like independence, discipline, organization, dedication, and courage, trucking companies are more than eager to hire them.  

The similarities between the military and trucking industries can make the transition for veterans from a military job to a civilian job much easier.  If you’re a military veteran looking to start a career in the trucking industry, Trucker Search is the place to start. You can post your resume or search our vast database of companies looking for drivers to join their teams.  Visit Trucker Search and begin your new career today.

 

Sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-01/how-a-trucking-shortage-is-fueling-u-s-inflation-quicktake

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/military-skills-test-waiver-program

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/commercial-drivers-license/military-driver-programs