Wondering how to find the best paying truck driver jobs during the pandemic and keep safe while at it? Here are the top 7 ways for success.
In 2019, the trucking industry had to deal with one of the most shocking years in history. You were probably hit hard among the record numbers of 2019 trucking company bankruptcies. Then just when industry players thought the bloodbath of 2019 was well behind them.
As the scourge bulldozed across the globe in the first three months of 2020, social distancing and lockdowns went viral. The manufacturing sector hit a snag. Truckers started to feel the pinch.
Then April Happened
April 2019 is on record for being the worst month in recent history for truck driver job losses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor showed about 88,300 truck drivers lost their jobs.
That means the pandemic was largely responsible for wiping out the employment gains made in the transportation sector going back five years.
Are you one of the drivers out in the cold?
Or are you stressed out at work but are too afraid to quit for fear you won’t find another CDL job?
If that is you, then this post is for you.
Then finding a well-paying CDL driver’s job as soon as possible is a top priority this post will help in.
But Really, Are there Any Truck Driver Jobs Available for You Now?
There are reasons to be excited about finding truck driver jobs in 2020.
- Project44 showed in the second week of April that shipments to discount and grocery retailers increased 82% year-over-year
- On April 14, 2020, 40% or 108 of 270 U.S. fleets told The Commercial Carriers Journal that they had not seen a decline in their load volume.
Agricultural-produce markets have seen the highest surges, with markets such as California seeing over 30% surges in late May to hit pre-crisis surge levels
- Manufacturing hubs and states such as Michigan and Ohio are recording rapidly rising inbound tender volumes, which experts suggest will soon translate into increased outbound tender volumes.
- Industry experts continued to see an uptick in both load volume and freight rates across the U.S. since May–every week.
- The American Trucking Research Institute (ATRI) is showing a “return to normal” trucking activity in even the worst-hit states such as New York and New Jersey.
- More truckload volume indicators are showing good news with +5% performance shown as of late May.
- June 2020 updates by DAT show the spot market is looking up as well:
Image: DAT Trendlines
Here are the spot market changes by van, reefer, and flatbed numbers:
- DAT also shows linehaul rates have climbed back to pre-pandemic levels as volumes have increased while capacity has become tighter as of the third week of June 2020.
So it is clear you can find new truck driver jobs now and in the coming days as more states reopen local economies.
Rates are rising as well. So it is certainly smart to predict you’ll get a well-paying truck driver job if you know how and where to look.
7 Ways to Successfully Find Truck Driver Jobs
Here’s your cheat sheet for getting the job you want and need.
1. Do Reach Out
It is tempting to get all gloomy about the current situation and not reach out to both your former employer and other trucking companies looking for drivers.
But truckers are either re-hiring or planning to shortly, according to new data. Out of the 163 fleets, ranging between 10 and 1000 trucks that CCJ Digital surveyed, 39% said they were planning to rehire their previous drivers.
Image: CCJ Digital
Another 46% said they were not sure just yet.
But combine the sector-wide optimism, actual gains the trucking sector made in May, and the empowering PPP Flexibility Act benefits, more trucking companies will be re-hiring soonest.
That means you would be smart to start applying now if you haven’t already.
So, where do you find trucking companies that are hiring now?
2. Use the Best Trucking Job Portal
Technology is your friend.
You’ll want to keep in touch with a wider network of shippers and brokers than you previously had on quick dial.
You’ll also want to know what is happening at most times. Then you’ll need to have the means to find a job from wherever you are, if you are an owner-operator, or to connect your drivers if you are a carrier.
Using one of the best Trucking job platforms can help you here.
With TruckBook, for example, you can do both and more. TruckBook will let you find the driver as well as the owner-operator within minutes.
You can filter the best trucking jobs by location miles, rates, and more. Then you can pick your favorite companies to drive for right from your TruckBook mobile app.
You can also build a lucrative network of industry insiders and customers among the 51000+ strong Truckbook community. That way, you can create a recurring source of finding jobs in these hard times.
3. Look for Carriers with 100 or More Trucks
The CCJ Digital survey showed an interesting twist.
Trucking companies with 100 or more trucks were looking to rehire truck drivers sooner than both larger (67% vs. 32%) and smaller fleets (47% vs. 27%).
The data also indicated the mid-level fleets were looking to retire as soon as late June through July 2020. Apply now.
4. Go Local
Food, parcels, and discount retail deliveries continue to witness a huge spike as many people continue to order their supplies online. So look to small local delivery carriers to get a job quickly.
You can also look to larger players with localized plans.
Take two examples.
Companies such as DHL Express and Amazon Freight are expanding and hiring both truck drivers and making deals with owner operators right now.
5. Follow the Produce
Harvesting season demand in the traditional agricultural-produce market is creating jobs now.
What’s your local produce-shipping season? In Southern Georgia and Florida markets, for example, watermelon and cherries have driven volume up.
The National Cherry Growers indicates the peak cherry season in Pacific Northwest could provide carriers with up to 625 truckloads weekly through to late August. If you are in the region, that can translate into a 16-week-strong season of produce shipping jobs for you.
Now can you take advantage and approach the carriers involved?
6. Lease Out Your Owner-Operated Truck
Large companies are re-opening:
- Sea Intelligence shows ocean carriers using the Transpacific route to the U.S. West Coast have begun reinstating blank sailings.
- Airfreight and spot rates from Hong Kong and China to the U.S. have dropped 50% since mid-May, encouraging more import loads to haul.
Image: Supply Chain Dive
- DAT reported a 15.6% increase in spot load posts in the third week of June 2020.
As volume increases, large freight companies will look to increase capacity. So reach out to your shippers and brokers through TruckBook to gain a piece of the baking pie.
7. Wave your CDL or Specialty License
It is the best time for showing out your commercial truck driving expertise.
Every freight company around wants to get as low an insurance rate as it can go.
Note that average roadside repair costs have increased by 30% year-over-year, according to new research data by the ATA and FleeNet America. Yet no freight company wants to spend a dime more on truck repairs and accident settlements, either.
So if you have proof of safe, responsible driving, be sure to emphasize it in your truck driver job applications. Better yet, if you can upgrade to a CDL Class B or Class C, do it now. You’ll be broadening out your chances of getting a well-paying CDL trucking job across the classes and industries.
How to Keep Safe from COVID-19 Infection for Truck Drivers: 8 Effective Ways
As you go out on the drive to get that well-paying truck driver job, here’s what you need to do to keep safe, on and off the road.
- Exercise the CDC’s COVID-19 best practices for truck drivers to the fullest wherever you are for your and others’ safety.
- That includes the CDC’s recommended precautions if you happen to have a sick family member
- Implement the coronavirus safety procedures provided by your company or employer.
- Avoid close contact (keep a 6-feet distance) between yourself and others at the docks and dispatch or delivery point.
- Use and encourage customers to use digital means to make transactions, and communications.
- Use TruckBook to book loads remotely as well as reserve loading/offloading at the docks.
- Sanitize your truck regularly and keep it well-ventilated.
- Ensure you have and wear the right personal protective equipment when interacting with others.
Over to You
Finding truck driving jobs right now can be a challenge. It doesn’t help seeing other sectors increase layoffs and mandatory leaves.
But the trucking sector has largely proven resilient against the adverse impact of COVID-19. More trucking companies are or are planning to re-hire qualified truck drivers as seen above.
By practicing the seven strategies we have discussed here, you can be well on your way to getting a well-paying truck driver job now. Over to you.
TruckBook is helping thousands of laid-off and previously unemployed truck drivers find and connect with U.S. trucking companies hiring now. Download the IOS or Android mobile app for free to start your job find now.