Truck driver training can mean low wages for the trainee. It’s something you need to be aware of if you’re entertaining getting into a professional driving career.
My intention is not to scare new drivers away from the industry but rather to help them succeed by understanding the trucking industry. If you are pursuing a career in trucking, be aware of what you’re getting into.
Today, obtaining a CDL can be an expensive proposition. Driving schools are quite pricey and often don’t guarantee employment upon completion of the course.
A viable alternative to the private truck driving school is to be trained and then hired by one of the mega carriers, what’s know as paid CDL training.
But a student driver needs to be aware of the facts.
Mega Carriers and Student Driver Training Wages
Mega carriers are often publicly traded companies which hate to loose one thin dime on anything they do. As a result of this, many mega carriers will now train a driver, hire them and then bill them for their training while using the driver to drive one of their trucks and make them even more money, all at the same time.(called free CDL training!)
Starting wages for new drivers can be low and training fees imposed can be quite high. I’ve read about one carrier who tacks on a 19% interest rate on top of the training fee. This essentially puts a driver thousands of dollars into debt. A driver can work for peanuts sometimes for years, in order to repay the carrier.
So when researching for a trucking company to start off your driving career, do the research. Get lots of detail about the training program and the associated costs. Get this information from the trucking company in writing.
Training time often can run into a few months. Be sure you’re still going to earn enough money during the training period to pay your bills.
It’s common practice during the training for the company to run you as a team driver with a driver trainer. While this is common practice in the industry, if this team driving is going to involve cross-country travel, be sure you are being paid something for your time. Remember, the company is benefiting from the time you are spending on the road, driving.
Get the Training Wages Schedule in Writing
Be sure that you obtain in writing from the carrier:
- the pay schedule
- the mileage rate of pay
- the method of how they determine the paid miles driven
- how they pay for time loading, unloading and waiting time between loads or during breakdowns and maintenance stops
Most of the most mega carriers pay poorly, but they are an initial stepping stone toward better paying jobs for you in the future. But, think of the process as a ‘means to an end’ for a rewarding career in driving.
Where would you like to go to next?