We talk so much about what truckers think and what truckers want, yet we rarely hear from truckers themselves. To alleviate this, we’ve gone straight to the source with Ask A Trucker, a series that examines trucking concerns from the driver's perspective.
Our first subject is Grant. To ensure Grant's anonymity, his full name and employer have been omitted from this interview.
Ramsey MediaWorks: How long have you been a CDL-A driver?
Grant: Since 2005.
RMW: Wow, how many years is that?
Grant: That’s going on 18.
RMW: How long have you been with your current employer?
Grant: Since 2015.
RMW: How many companies have you driven for?
Grant: Uh, hold on. Let me do the math.
RMW: Would it be easier just to say a lot?
Grant: Haha, yes. I’ve worked for several different companies for several different reasons.
RMW: More than ten?
Grant: No, but more than five. I think about seven.
RMW: What do you enjoy the most about trucking?
Grant: That’s hard to say anymore. Back in the day, it was just a fun job to do. Now it’s more about stability, economic stability.
RMW: You don’t worry as much about this or that economic crisis in the trucking world?
Grant: There’s always an ebb and flow, but that affects more owner-operators. That’s why I’m a company driver. I would never be an owner-operator.
RMW: What do you like least about driving?
Grant: Time away from home.
RMW: You’re basically working a Monday-to-Friday schedule, right? More or less?
Grant: That’s the main reason I stick with the company I work for now. I get to be home on the weekends. Back when I first started driving, I would be gone for three or four months at a time.
RMW: Months not weeks?
Grant: Months. And I’d be home for maybe a week and then go out and do it again.
RMW: Was that before modern Hours of Service rules?
RMW: So how many hours would you be driving a week in those days?
RMW: Right now, how satisfied are you with your company?
Grant: Very satisfied with my company.
RMW: You’re never thinking about moving on?
Grant: No, I am vested in this company.
RMW: If you were ever tempted to look for a new job, do you know what your first step would be? Would you go to your phone and just start searching? Would you first talk to fellow drivers?
Grant: Because of the apps I already use, I get sent driver recruitment all the time.
RMW: So you’re already swimming in offers.
Grant: Absolutely, they love drivers.
RMW: If you’re looking at other job offers, what would automatically disqualify a company for you?
Grant: Location. And routes because I won’t run the Pacific Northwest, and I won’t run in the Northeast.
RMW: Why is that?
Grant: Too many regulations, horrible weather.
RMW: Looking for a new job, what would be your highest priority: pay & benefits, schedule, or the work feel/culture?
Grant: Back in the day it was more about pay. Now it’s more about getting home.
RMW: When you say now versus then, it’s because you’re priorities have changed or something with the industry?
Grant: My priorities have changed.
RMW: This is more specific to you but would you be angry if your company mandated automatic transmissions?
Grant: They already do!
RMW: Oh, I thought you drove a manual.
Grant: No, I wish I did. I had way better control over my fuel consumption with a manual. I used to get huge fuel bonuses running a manual transmission.
RMW: Does your company still offer those bonuses?
Grant: They do but they raised the MPG up to 7.2, which is super hard to obtain with an automatic. Especially since we don’t have APUs.
RMW: Do they offer other bonuses that sound good but end up being really hard to get?
Grant: We have quarterly safety bonuses which are pretty easy to get. So it's not all bad like that.