First Year Truck Driver Tips
Your First Year as a New Truck Driver (What to Expect)
There has never been a better time to get your CDL-A license and start a lucrative career in truck driving. The need for truck drivers is at an all time high, due in part to the explosive growth of e-commerce, and this demand has accelerated during the pandemic.
See: “Wanted: 80,000 truck drivers to help fix the supply chain”
There is no doubt about it: Truck drivers are highly sought-after!
How much can I expect to make as a company flatbed driver?
PGT Trucking pays a percentage of every load a driver hauls, and as carriers are charging more for critical services, our company flatbed drivers are reaping the benefits.
Nationally, Heavy and Tractor-trailer truck drivers earned an average salary of $47,130 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PGT trucking flatbed company drivers with one year of tenure, making a minimum of 25% of the line haul, did much better than the industry averages.
In 2020 PGT 1st Year Drivers earned 21% more than the industry average!
Your first year as a truck driver
To prepare you for the road ahead, we’ve outlined what you can expect from your first year as a flatbed company driver. This guidance is based on our 40 years of experience in the flatbed transportation industry.
You will receive mentoring from an expert driver
After completing your initial orientation, most flatbed trucking companies will assign a seasoned driver to be your trainer on the road. This is an opportunity for you to learn from someone who knows the flatbed industry, the customers, and the best practices that will lead to your success at your flatbed trucking job.
While sharing your rig with another person for days on end will not be without its challenges, it is a phenomenal learning experience. Take this opportunity to ask questions and work on your driving skills under the guidance of a seasoned professional driver.
You’ll need to learn how to budget on the road
Reduce the frequency of buying fast food and eating at restaurants. Pack a cooler and prepare your own meals instead.
Inquire about CDL-A discounts for food and lodging.
Set and track your monthly food and travel budget on your phone.
Stock up on toiletries and essentials before hitting the road.
Avoid buying excessive amounts of sodas or expensive coffee products.
There Will Be a Learning Curve
Accept that you will make mistakes in your first year. Whether it’s taking you too long to maneuver your equipment into a space or misunderstanding delivery instructions, you need to understand that these mistakes can happen. It’s important to remain humble, own your mistakes, and view each incident as an opportunity to learn.
You’ll Need To Be a Self Starter
After earning your CDL-A, you still need to earn your reputation as a dependable driver in the business. In your first year, you’re going to want to spend as much time in the seat as possible, as each assignment is an opportunity to improve. To prove that you’re reliable, you’ll need to show your customers and flatbed trucking company that you can:
Deliver and pick up your loads on time;
Maneuver, operate, and maintain your truck;
Effectively communicate with your dispatchers.
Adjust to Life on the Road
Stay in Touch. Keeping in touch with friends and family is essential to maintaining a positive and motivated attitude on the road. With Bluetooth technology and free Wi-Fi at most truck stops, a quick video call with a loved one can be just what you need to get through the last leg of a long journey.
Focus on Your Health. Being a flatbed company driver is both mentally and physically demanding. To ensure your safety and mental clarity on the road, you’ll want to stay healthy.
Stay hydrated and refill your water at every stop.
Eat a healthy diet to feel nourished, instead of sluggish after a meal.
Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.
Take a brisk 15-minute walk twice a day.
Work on your posture. Avoid slouching and adjust yourself in your seat every 30 minutes to relieve your spine.
Start Your First Year with PGT Trucking
PGT Trucking is looking for flatbed drivers with their CDL-A to join our modern and innovative flatbed transportation company. We value our dedicated drivers and reward them with the best equipment, great benefits, and better pay than the industry standards.
Start your trucking career with a company that actively invests in the livelihood of its drivers. Our goal is to keep our team members happy, healthy, and motivated with a fulfilling career on the road.
Browse our available positions at Flatbed Trucking Jobs Near Me.