A Recruiting War
One of the few job markets that remains strong in an economic crunch is the one for Class-A CDL professional drivers. Exceptional drivers can name their price, the routes they want to run and the truck they want to drive.
Even mediocre drivers can find a cab with little effort.
My cousin Johnny recently completed trucking school and is now driving for a large carrier. The carrier paid for his training and placed him on a decent trainee salary for a few weeks, and next he’ll upgrade to a per-mile rate. That handsome deal came with a one-year contract. If Johnny leaves the company before a year, he owes about $6,000 in training fees. Within a matter of days of completing his training, another large carrier called Johnny and offered to buy out his contract and
give him 37¢ a mile. It’s a recruiting war out there.
I wanted to know how new truckers felt about the turnover rate in carriers. Kent, a professional driver with one year of experience, said, “Drivers can be worse than kids. They know they can get a job the next day, so the smallest thing sets them off. Every time I think about changing companies, I remind myself that the honeymoon ends quickly, and I’ll probably be right back to where I am, so why not try to make the best of it?”
Even with all the challenges of driving professionally, Johnny and Kent spoke about their new careers with pride. When asked if they’d return to their former jobs, Johnny, who had been a county construction worker, and Kent, a former HVAC installer, agreed. Kent said, “Why would I give up the most romantic, flexible, good paying job I've ever had? Besides, the women love my Harley, and they really dig the fact that I drive a big truck.”
A CDL means options, security and opportunities. Cheers to the next generation of truckers!
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