So, you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are ready to hit the road as a professional truck driver – how do you get started? Here are some tips from your friends at Carter Express for finding and choosing your perfect truck driving career home as well as the red flags on companies you might want to avoid.

Evaluating Potential Employers

Once you’ve got your CDL license in hand, the first step is evaluating potential employers. When choosing the right company to work with, consider factors such as the size of the company, the type of freight they carry, and their safety record. Look for a company that aligns with your personal preferences and career goals.

Company Reputation: Start by researching the company’s reputation within the industry. Look for reviews from current and former truck drivers, check their safety record, and consider their standing in the industry.

Type of Freight: Different companies specialize in hauling different types of freight. Whether it’s dry goods, refrigerated goods, hazardous materials, or oversized loads, choose a company that aligns with your preferences and skills.

Pay Structure: Understand how the company pays its drivers. Is it per mile, hourly, or salaried? Also, consider the frequency of pay – weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. At Carter Express, we have several pay packages for our drivers that offer great earning power.

Benefits and Perks: Beyond the base pay, look at the benefits and perks offered. These may include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and bonuses. For example, Carter Express has generous quarterly bonus programs for safety, performance, fuel, idle and referral.

Home Time: For many drivers, how often they can get home is a key deciding factor. Be sure to find out the company’s policy on home time and whether it matches your personal needs. Carter Express ensures that our drivers are home as frequently as nightly, but also guaranteed home two days per week.

Red Flags to Watch For

While there are many great trucking companies out there, it’s also important to be aware of potential red flags:

High Turnover Rates: High driver turnover can be a sign of dissatisfaction among employees. It could indicate issues with management, pay, or working conditions. At Carter Express, we’re proud to say that our turnover rate is 60% less than the industry average.

Lack of Transparency: If a company is not up front about pay, benefits, and expectations, take it as a warning. A good employer should be transparent and open to answering all your questions.

Poor Maintenance Practices: Regular maintenance is crucial for safety on the road. If a company neglects its fleet, it could put your safety at risk. We invest in high-quality Volvos and Freightliners and keep them in tip-top shape at all times.

Pushing Legal Boundaries: Companies that encourage or turn a blind eye toward violations of regulations, like Hours-of-Service rules, are a definite red flag. Safety should always be a top priority.

Earning your CDL license is just the beginning of your exciting career journey. By carefully evaluating potential employers and being aware of red flags, you can steer your career in the right direction. Carter Express wants to help you find your perfect career fit and would be happy to answer your questions – connect with us today!