With the economy the way it is, a potential job on the line can be exciting. However, a driver doesn’t want to jump at the first opportunity that presents itself without asking a few questions. Employment doesn’t mean getting the bills paid – in fact, a job hastily signed on to can end up costing a truck driver money in the end if certain things are cleared up at the get go. Here are a few questions to put in front of your recruiter before making that final decision.
What is the Pay Scale in Relation to Route?
Here’s an obvious question, but knowing this in advance can mean the difference between making the mortgage and digging into your savings each month to make up any shortfalls. Drivers calculate pay rates based on miles driven, so an offer of .50 per mile is a great start. However, drivers need to also know what their routes will be like. Long haul routes are where the money is in a rate per mile job, but getting stuck in city traffic that eats time but not miles can be a deal breaker.
What Are the Company’s Major Lanes?
It is also important to know what the major lanes the company expects a driver to keep to. Wheels on the road are great, but using lanes with traditionally expensive fuel and support costs are not. Ask if the company has their own facilities along the lanes to keep costs down instead of getting maintenance, and be aware of any alternatives should weather and traffic patterns make traveling the expected lanes a money drain.
Know the Home Time Policy
Putting hours on the road can be grueling, so days off policies are a significant considerations when looking at a new employer. Your contract says one day off for every five on the road, but how is that calculated? If you are unloading in the morning and heading back to the terminal, does that count as your day off the road? A day off should be exactly that- no time behind the wheel. Be sure to clarify how home time is calculated before signing on.
Is Layover Pay Offered
This can be a tricky one, as unexpected layovers out of a drivers control can be a relative term. Ask if the employer pays for time spent between loads that aren’t within your control, such as road closures, storms, shortage of unloaders, and emergency repairs. Also ask if the company covers layover costs such as meals and lodging. Every penny counts, and it shouldn’t be coming out of your pocket.
What Are the Benefits?
A job that pays .60 a mile may sound great, but if the benefits such as medical and retirement are lousy, that means more money out of your pocket. Take some time to balance out pay versus out of pocket expenses to determine if it adds up to a healthy paycheck. If the balance is right, you’re one step closer to gainful employment. If they don’t, take a breath and take a pass.