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Truck driver jobs are fast-becoming a go-to sector for people looking to make top wages in the United States. Upwards of 70 percent of all goods and materials such as steel are transported, and flatbed trucking companies are trying to keep up with the workforce demand.
The country has been experiencing a shortage that has helped boost wages for flatbed trucking jobs and other industry areas. Experts expect an ongoing worker shortage and truck driver jobs should see even pay increases. But those interested in a life on the road would be wise to consider ways to make long hauls less stressful in ways that may extend their careers. Consider these five stress-reducing suggestions.
Reduce Stress Through Healthy Eating
Although most non-truckers may not realize it, driving for a living involves a lot of just sitting. The open road definitely has a free spirit effect on people who enjoy truck driver jobs. But it’s also important to properly fuel the body.
Whether you are engaged in 9 to 5 driving shifts, overnights or long hauls, the importance of eating healthy foods cannot be understated. That quick roadside diner, pre-made truck stop meal, or fast food can have a negative effect on your health.
Take the time to organize your in-cab food reserves. Shop at a grocery store and stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins. You may also find that many supermarkets make things like whole rotisserie chickens that are much healthier than a fast-food chicken sandwich.
If you find that storing and preparing healthy meals is not your thing, supermarkets sell pre-mixed salads that include ingredients such as Brussels sprouts, spinach, nuts and other options. Healthy eating can help you reduce weight gain, bad cholesterol and make you feel a whole lot better.
Reduce Stress Through Fitness
The daily limit for flatbed truck driver jobs allows professionals an operating time of 11 hours within 14, after taking 10 hours off. That means you have enough downtime to get in some type of workout. One of the best motivators for following through on a daily exercise routine is to bring gear.
Folding Bicycles: It may come as a surprise, but bicycles are excellent traveling resources. Several companies make folding bikes that can be easily stored in your cab. They fit neatly into sleeper berths and can plop right on the passenger’s seat if necessary. Many truck stops and rest areas have biking trails that can help get your blood pumping and clear your mind.Specific Walking Shoes: Many people who work truck driver jobs have a go-to pair of shoes they wear while operating the rig. Whether you think they are just lucky or help your feet breathe, those are for driving. Transition to a comfortable pair of walking shoes when you pull over. That small ritual will signal walk time and the low-impact cardio has tremendous long-term health benefits.Weights: It might not be practical to bring a full weight set on the road, but a dumbbell or kettle can provide the means to do some curls, lifts and other exercises.
The basic point is that exercise and physical fitness has a direct connection to stress reduction.
Take Steps To Stay Fully Rested
The body and mind function best when they enjoy a complete night’s sleep. The range for individuals may be different, but most of us need around 8 hours. It’s important to structure your time to get an uninterrupted sleep. Beyond being time organized, consider getting a mattress and pillow that are ideally suited to your sleep patterns. Also, a battery-operated fan or heating device can help you keep the can temperature right in your sweet spot. It’s important to be well rested every day.
Stress Exists In The Mind
Although a lot of things contribute to stress, it’s all in your head. Spending time by yourself opens you up to think about a great many things. Some of these may be worries about friends, family, and bills to pay. It’s important to have tools to take your mind off stressful thoughts. Whether that means a simple distraction or a positive focus, these are some things to consider.
Audio Books: Dramatic readings of some of your favorite authors can be great entertainment while you roll down late night highways.Motivational Tapes: Inspirational speakers can help with a positive outlook. Consider famous speeches, wellness talks or religious text readings. If it makes you feel good, go for it..Good Music: Commercial and talk radio tends to be either full of advertisements or tough subject matters. Get organized and bring along some upbeat tunes.
A relaxed mind is a stress-free mind and that will make your travels far more enjoyable.
Invest Time Into Family And Friends
Having family and loved ones waiting at home can be a tremendous boost. The time you spend with them when you return home is very important. But too many drivers find themselves vegging out on the sofa watching TV in an effort to get rested up. As was previously mentioned, it’s important to stay rested on the road.
Spending quality time with friends and family when you are home strengthens those bonds and provides a sense of home. Home might be the open road while you are working to deliver America’s materials and goods, but home is also where the heart is. You are the one that comes and goes, so reach out to your people about when you will return and make plans ahead of time. You will feel so much more fulfilled that you and your clan are tight.
People that work truck driving jobs for flatbed trucking companies enjoy a great deal of freedom and make good wages. In order to have a wholesome, long-term career on the open road, it’s important to take steps to reduce stress and enjoy life to the fullest.
For more information about a truck driver job, contact Alco Transportation, a leader in the flatbed industry.
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Truck driver jobs are important to the economy because trucks bring most of the things we need to the places where we need them. The country would have to shut down if trucks stopped running since store shelves would be empty and factories would lack raw materials. We need trucks to keep moving and that means truck drivers have to be prepared to deal with winter driving.
Professional truck drivers face a wide variety of extreme weather conditions in all kinds of geographical locations since they travel all over the country. At high elevations, winter weather can occur at any time of year and good drivers are ready for it. You can be better prepared for whatever is on the road ahead if you know what you have, know where you are going, and know who to contact when things go wrong.
Know What You Have
Whether you are an owner-operator or driving a company truck, you need to be completely familiar with your vehicle and the supplies it holds. A flatbed loaded with steel is going to handle differently than a flatbed with a shipping container. Experience in good driving conditions gives you muscle memory for the quick response that is needed when the road is slick. But don’t be overly confident -- the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that 23 percent of large-truck crashes happen when truck drivers are going too fast for road conditions. You have a wealth of information on their site and it’s a free resource to keep in mind. Having the skills to drive in winter conditions is essential if you are going to be prepared.
Pre-trip inspections and regular maintenance help prevent breakdowns since potential trouble is spotted and fixed. Even if your company provides in-house service shops, it’s a good idea to carry some basic parts and tools with the knowledge to use them if necessary. Along with that basic tool kit, a few other supplies are good to have in a winter emergency:
Food and water for at least three daysWarm clothing and gear for sleeping in the coldSomething to do, like read or play solitaireCell phone and power to keep it charged (battery or solar)FlashlightFire extinguisherFirst Aid kitSand or saltTire chainsWindshield scraper, extra wiper blades, and washer fluidJumper cablesWarning devices and familiarity with laws regarding their placementCash and credit card with a way to keep receiptsAny required recordkeeping your company asks you to maintain
It might seem like overkill, but when a blizzard hits on the prairie and you have to pull over, there won’t a place to get what you need. If you haven't brought it with you, you won't have it.
Know Where You Are Going
Professionals know what to expect and how to deal with the unexpected. Planning a route may be done by your company dispatcher but you need to be familiar with the route, too. Having alerts for weather and traffic updates on your phone, listening to the radio, and using more than one type of map is a good idea. If you don’t have service for your GPS, a paper map gives an overview when the road is closed and you need to know if the detour will handle your rig.
Contacting your dispatcher may provide some good advice if the area is one that company trucks have traveled in the past. You can benefit from someone else’s experience. Nobody wants to back up a two-lane road in bad weather because their truck couldn’t make a sharp turn. Having an idea if you can fit under an overpass is a good idea because exact measurements win over guesstimates when you have to decide on making the attempt. Winter weather often means closed roads, accidents, and detours so having a plan for alternative routes is wise.
Know Who To Contact
Know who to contact when it becomes apparent that you will be delayed. Good communication with the people at both ends of your route keeps everybody on the same page.
Flatbed trucking companies, for instance, are dependent on the truck drivers keeping in touch so they know where the shipments are. One call to the dispatcher might be enough if that dispatcher then makes the necessary contacts on the other end, but companies vary so having a good understanding of yours is important. Truck drivers and dispatchers need to be friendly.
If you do have to be delayed or rerouted, a good understanding of insurance policies and company procedure is another essential to have. Without the proper records and procedures, you may not be reimbursed for a hotel stay or lost wages due to the highways being closed. Reimbursement might take a few months or you might not be able to drive as often as you’d like, so being prepared for winter truck driving by having some savings is a good plan.
While you are contacting people, don’t forget to contact your family. Truckers have families who spend a lot of time worrying while sitting at home watching the weather report. Keeping in touch with your loved ones during winter trips is good for everybody.
Alco Transportation works hard to give its drivers less downtime by using in-house service shops to maintain equipment. Company trucks and owner operators do pick up and delivery service of heavy haul shipments in Michigan and Indiana as well as spread shipments all over the continental US. Truck driver jobs are available for those looking for the opportunity to have more home time, higher revenue, better equipment, etc. with a career that prepares you for the future.
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When you think about trucking, women are probably one of the last things that come to mind. The truth is, there are plenty of female truckers out there. It’s an industry that you don’t really hear about diversifying, even when the news talks about equality in the workplace. Organizations like Women In Trucking focus on diversifying the workplace through implementing more female-led trucking positions.
Flatbed Trucking Companies and Female Drivers
The main issue that women run into in the trucking industry is the “trucker stigma.” It affects more than just female drivers, but women are bringing an entirely new angle to the name. While some truckers continue to believe that the industry is ruled by men who fit the stereotype, women are showing that trucking is a dignified and hard working profession and you don’t have to have a beard to drive a truck.
Transparency
It’s not just the organizations and foundations that are bent on diversifying the workplace. It’s women who show a true interest in the profession that are changing things nationwide. One of the most long-term male dominated industries is getting a reboot and following transparency expectations that we’re looking at every other industry for. Trucking hasn’t become a target or a poster industry for equality in the workplace—it’s just getting to be that way naturally. Women have always had an interest in trucking, and now that is becoming a reality. Trucking is also one of the few industries that provides equal wage to men and women alike. A rookie trucker is going to make the same salary, no matter their gender. That is a refreshing thing to see in the world today, and it’s not stopping there.
Statistics May Be Off
There are a lot of female truckers out there, but not every business is involved in a foundation or organization. Some just operate as little five person teams, and that also does not include the large number of independent contractors out there. When we look at the statistics of female drivers, one begs to question: is there an unseen trend rising in female truckers?
While statistics aren’t the saving grace of how the trucking industry will be shaped, there are definitely some aspects that are being looked at differently than they were before. Are women more likely to go into trucking in 2018 as opposed to previous years due to the industry changing? Now that more light is being shed upon female truckers, will we see an equal amount of male and female truckers joining and staying within the industry? It’s difficult to say, as only time will tell.
Females Drive Business Growth and Change
Ellen Voi, President and CEO of WIT, brings out some not so startling statistics in favor of women in the trucking industry. Diversity in the workplace isn’t just a necessity that we want to see in the 21st century. It’s a factor that we need for optimal growth and opportunity. Looking at it purely from a business standpoint, not having a diversified workplace in terms of gender is a huge mistake. If you’re going to be the best, you have to employ the best. When it comes to women in the workplace, statistics show a significant growth pattern as more and more women assume leadership positions in otherwise male dominated industries.
Trucking Isn’t a Low Education Industry
It isn’t just on the corporate side. There are a lot of truckers who have been college graduates, doctors, researchers, and more. There’s a calling about it. When you look at where people came from, and what people have become, you learn their stories through remarkable transcendence. Trucking gives a lot of women freedom to hit the road and see the country, while earning their financial independence.
While corporate jobs flourish with proper training (as you would expect in any industry), many women in the trucking industry have started on the ground floor, out on the road with their rig. You hear success stories all the time about cart pushers who became general managers, stock boys who ended up owning the store; when it comes to women in the trucking industry, they’ve worked all over the country in the single cab of their truck, and they’ve earned every stepping stone up the ladder.
Leadership and Partnership
Recently, WIT renewed partnerships with major corporate leaders in the retail industry, including Wal Mart, while continuing to bring forth the issues of women in the workplace not receiving equal pay and benefits. The trucking industry hasn’t just been about showing the world that women can drive a rig; it’s about promoting leadership in a cutting-edge industry that’s always in demand, and has few drivers with the mettle to thrive in their environments.
While many thought that growth at WIT had slowed to a screeching halt, they proved that their message is still going strong. Towards the end of November, they welcomed a new member onto their board of directors, expanding their circle and extending the Women In Trucking network across new aisles. Leaderships skills that focus around expanding your reach aren’t just a good idea; they’re crucial to growth in any industry, and the women of WIT see it clearly.
Driving With Passion
Whether you’re in the corporate sector, or you just love being out on the road, there are plenty of positions available for females in the trucking industry available with us—SteelPro. Look at our job board online to see what positions we’re currently hiring for, and of course we strongly encourage women to apply. Let nothing hold you back from doing the job you’ve always wanted by being a part of the best flatbed trucking company in America.
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Truck driver jobs pay well, and they are in very high demand, so why aren’t more people taking them? In his memoir “The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road,” Finn Murphy demonstrates that truckers have their own world, with its own challenges and customs. Reading about Murphy’s adventures and perils as a long-distance truck driver will inspire some people to take up truck driving and convince others that it is not for them. Most interestingly of all, it defies stereotypes; most people don’t think of truckers as excessively clean and tidy, but Murphy certainly seems to break this stereotype. Enlightening as it is, Murphy’s story represents only one person’s experience. If a journalist were to spend a month at a truck stop, he would certainly end up with many stories about the world of truckers that would surprise readers.
If you are considering a career as a truck driver, then you have probably read the articles about trucker slang and already realize that professional truck drivers are a diverse group of people. Exactly how difficult it actually is to drive a truck for the living and what are the challenges you will face on the job? Here are five common misconceptions about the work of professional truck drivers:
1. Truck Drivers Have Extraordinarily Long Work Days
Driving a multi-ton vehicle at high speeds requires sustained concentration, and it is difficult to drive a truck safely if you are tired. Truck drivers do sometimes drive in the middle of the night, but it does not necessarily mean that they have been behind the wheel all day. They might choose to drive at night because they are naturally nocturnal or because there is less traffic, allowing them to cover more ground in a shift. The Department of Transportation is well aware of the need for truck drivers to get adequate rest and the risks of allowing drivers on the road when they are likely to get tired and distracted. The maximum length of a workday for a truck driver is 14 hours, and the driver must rest at least 10 hours between shifts. Drivers must also take breaks during their shifts; a driver cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours without a break. The maximum number of hours one truck driver can drive in a week is 77 hours.
2. Drivers Are Always Responsible for Maintaining Their Own Trucks
The option exists for truck drivers to be self-employed and to work as independent contractors. If you own your own truck, then you are responsible for its maintenance. Keeping a truck roadworthy can be a big job; a small problem with the truck can be very dangerous. Truck drivers who drive company-owned trucks tend to bear less responsibility for the maintenance of the truck. Big trucking companies have employees whose entire job is truck maintenance and other employees whose entire job is driving.
3. Learning to Drive a Truck Is Prohibitively Expensive
Driving a truck certainly requires a very high level of skill. Simply knowing how to drive a car does not qualify you to transport tons of freight from one side of the United States to the other. Becoming certified to drive a truck requires a considerable amount of training. The good news is that, because qualified truck drivers are in such high demand, some companies will pay for all or part of your training. That said, the training course to become certified to drive a truck is quite rigorous. It involves 160 hours of instruction and hands-on training. The training takes place over a period of several weeks to several months. It includes classroom instruction plus practical training working with parked vehicles. Trainee truck drivers must also spend a certain number of hours driving a truck on the highway, under the supervision of a truck driving instructor. In addition to completing the training course, drivers must pass a physical exam and a drug test.
4. All Truck Drivers Are Men
When most people outside the truck driving industry think of a truck driver, they imagine the driver being male. In reality, 200,000 women work as truck drivers in the United States. Like many other professions previously open only to men, truck driving is seeing more and more participation from women.
5. Truck Drivers Have Higher Rates of Addiction and Substance Abuse Than Most Other Professions
If you have seen too many crime dramas, you are probably familiar with the stereotype of truck stops being a reliable place to score some drugs. There is also an unfortunate stereotype of truck drivers as leading a lonely existence where there is nothing to do but drink. Actually, truck drivers as a group do not have unusually high rates of alcohol and drug abuse. The rates are probably actually lower, because truck drivers must take drug tests so frequently. Trucking companies do everything they can to ensure that drivers are not working while impaired. If they are careful not to let drivers operate trucks when they are too tired, they are even stricter about not letting them drink and drive. Because of mandated periods of rest, truck drivers do not have reason to consume anything stronger than coffee or Red Bull to stay alert during their shifts.
Driving a truck can be a lucrative and fun job. Although it requires you to spend long periods of time away from home, you get to see the world and meet lots of interesting people. To be a successful truck driver, you must have a strong work ethic and consistently drive safely. Within those categories, though, truck drivers encompass people of all different personalities and backgrounds.
Steel Pro is a company dedicated to the transportation and warehouse storage of steel and other metals. Steel Pro is always in need of qualified, reliable drivers. If you are considering learning the profession of truck driving, a job transporting steel could be waiting for you.
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When it comes to truck driving jobs, there are two primary ones that you can take. Either you can work for a carrier fleet as a company driver, or you can own and operate your own rig. There are benefits and downsides to both, so if you’re interested in entering the industry, it’s imperative that you understand the ins and outs of each kind of job. Fortunately, we are going to run through all of the details for you right now.
In many cases, what happens is that truck drivers’ move between operating a company vehicle to owning their own rig. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that it’s better to get trained by a corporation first before jumping into becoming an owner/operator. Also, some fleets allow you to lease your rig so that you can still get work without having to scrounge for jobs yourself. Here is a breakdown of the differences between these two career options:
Responsibility
Fleet: The nice thing about being a company driver is that you start and end at the truck terminal. Once you leave the keys in the ignition, your responsibilities are over. This is why it’s a perfect starting position as you don’t have to worry about truck maintenance or extra costs.Owner/Operator: Everything is paid for by you, including fuel and other expenses. If anything breaks down, you’re the one that has to fix it. As such, you’ll spend a lot of your downtime working on the truck.
Training
Fleet: Considering that there is a shortage of truck driver jobs in the US, many fleets offer extensive paid training for their new drivers. So, you can earn money when cutting your teeth on the road, which is a huge bonus.
Owner/Operator: Hopefully, you will have a few years of driving under your belt before becoming an owner so that you can see what it’s like. But, if you want to drive for yourself, things like booking jobs and negotiating rates are all up to you to learn on your own.
Expenses
Fleet: With a company job, your paycheck is all your own. Hence, it can go towards all of your home bills and such, rather than having to reinvest it back into your truck. Also, if your rig breaks down or has problems, you don’t have to cover the costs out of your own pocket.Owner/Operator: As we mentioned, you have to pay for everything that goes into the truck, including any repairs or upgrades. This will come out of your pay, so you have to budget for things like that. Nonetheless, owners usually make a lot more than fleet drivers since they are paid for everything, including waiting.
Changing Jobs
Fleet: Since you haven’t put up a huge investment in a truck, you can easily switch between companies as you like, or leave the industry altogether if you decide to go that route. Again, due to driver shortages, you should have your pick of the litter when choosing a carrier fleet.Owner/Operator: if you want to get a new rig or you’re tired of driving altogether, then hopefully you’ve paid everything off, and you can find a buyer. In some cases, you might be able to sell it back to a carrier fleet for a nominal price, but if you still owe money, you’re kind of stuck.
Work Hours
Fleet: When you drive for a fleet, you experience something called forced dispatch. This means that the company sets your route and your deadline regardless of your input or how you feel. Because it’s more cost-effective to have trucks run at all hours of the day, you should plan on being on the road almost as much (if not more) than you’re off of it.Owner/Operator: You choose your own schedule, so you can avoid nights and weekends if you don’t want them. Usually, owners can still make enough money while picking a decent schedule. You can also take time off easily.
Pay Rate
Fleet: One of the most significant downsides is that fleets only pay by mileage. That means that all of your time spent waiting in transit centers or taking breaks is unpaid. Also, you’ll have to take longer trips to earn more money, which means longer hours. Usually, truckers will spend anywhere from 15 to 25 hours waiting per week, all of which is unpaid.Owner/Operator: You negotiate your own rates, so you can get paid for waiting and load times as well as mileage. This is why most drivers switch to ownership because the overall pay rate is much more (although still less than you deserve).
Slip Seating
Fleet: Since it costs more money to clean the trucks between drivers, most of the time you have to pull into a rig that was just vacated by the last guy inside without any inspection or clean up. This can be a hazard if the previous driver was a slob, and if there’s any damage that wasn’t reported, you have to take care of it on your shift.Owner/Operators: You never have to worry about this since you’re the only one driving in your rig.
Comfort
Fleet: Company drivers have to accept whatever option they’re given. Most fleet vehicles are barebones rigs, meaning that you will have to bring some extra equipment with you, such as seat covers, food, and other essentials.Owner/Operators: As you earn more money you can invest into your truck by upgrading things like seats and climate control. Also, you can typically bring passengers with you while you drive, which can make the experience even more enjoyable.
Bottom Line
Fleet: For those who want to earn a paycheck without investing a lot of money, driving for a company is worthwhile. Although you do have to work longer hours and you wind up making less than an owner, it can still be a lucrative career option. This is the best way to start your career, even if you plan on becoming an owner in the future.Owner/Operator: Any truck driver that plans on driving for the long term will most likely become an owner since it offers more freedom. Overall, if you’re settled on truck driving as being your career of choice, being an owner is the best way to go.
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