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truck driver conversation

"The truck-driving profession has become a more stressful job than ever before," says Bennie Ray, vice president of corporate driver personnel for J.B. Hunt, a national transportation and trucking firm. "Truckers have increased responsibilities, must continually meet greater regulations, get little respect and are often expected to work harder for less money."

Since time spent on the job can be so trying, it is very important for truckers to seek out those prized opportunities at companies that address their needs.

To find such a position, do your best to get the following questions answered, suggests Kelly Anderson, president of Impact Transportation Solutions, a firm that helps trucking companies improve their daily operations.

How Does the Company Measure Time Off?

You want to see that time off doesn't begin until you've unloaded that delivery and made it home. If a company says you get Thursday off, but you have to spend Thursday morning dropping off a load, it could be midday by the time you get home. Beware of companies that still count that as a full day off, cautions Anderson.

"Look for a time-off policy of three complete days [in a row]," Anderson adds.

Are the Trucks Comfortable?

Air-ride suspension is common these days, so a company that doesn't have it in its trucks may be neglectful, says Anderson. Also, look at the size of the sleeper, because the longer your haul, the more important that space will be.

What Does the Compensation Package Include?

Since drivers usually get paid based on cents per mile and miles traveled, the more medical benefits a company provides, the less a monthly prescription will affect your wallet. A net of about $100 per month in coverage, depending on your medical condition, is a reasonable amount, Anderson says. Also, make sure the salary the company is offering correlates to your living expenses.

Is There an Incentive Program?

One of Anderson's clients pays $10,000 to drivers on their 10th anniversary. Others reward good driving records by letting the drivers retrofit their trucks any way they want.

How's Morale?

How do the existing employees feel about working for the company? According to Anderson, the number one reason for driver turnover based on exit interviews is lack of feeling respected and appreciated.

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