How do you measure career success as a truck driver? For some drivers, a successful truck driving career means earning a comfortable living in a clean, safe truck with weekends off for family time. Other drivers envision a daily, cross-country adventure while getting paid. Some measure driver success by a daytime work schedule that allows them to coach Little League every evening. Every driver defines “success” differently, but not everyone knows how to get there.
At PAM, we define our success by our drivers’ success. So we’ve created a roadmap for all of our drivers that is based on five secrets to a successful truck driving career.
PAM Success Secret No. 1: Do Your Homework
The first step to success in your truck driving career is understanding the demands of the job. Do your online research to get a clear picture of all the requirements for each type of driving position: team, solo, dedicated, local, long haul, or regional. Are you interested in becoming a company driver, or do you want to own and operate your own vehicle? At PAM, our staff is ready and willing to answer questions like these from aspiring drivers. Our drivers choose to work for PAM because they want to partner with a company that offers a clear path to career success.
Never operated a truck before? PAM’s training and mentoring programs can get you on the right path to a new truck driving career. Our staff helps drivers navigate the pros and cons of each type of position. Whether you dream of becoming a first-seat solo driver or running long haul to see the entire country, PAM can help you optimize your skill set to find a successful career.
PAM Success Secret No. 2: Request a Meeting
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to schedule an introduction. With PAM, aspiring drivers can request a call to get detailed information about how a PAM-driver partnership works. The next step is an in-person meeting with your new potential business partner, your Driver Manager (DM).
Your DM will cover the job requirements in full detail, from the mileage you can expect to get each week to home time to driver modes. You’ll learn the expectations for daily, proactive communication with your new business partner, as well as what is expected from you regarding customer service. Your career success will depend heavily on staying in sync with your DM as you develop your driving skill set.
PAM Success Secret No. 3: Get with the Plan
Congratulations! Once you’ve made the cut and joined the PAM family, it’s time to start planning your way to a successful truck driving career. Proactive trip planning involves optimizing your daily hours of services. Every time your DM sends you on a new trip, read the dispatch completely. Make sure you clearly understand the pick-up and delivery appointment requirements, the mileage, and best routes to get you there safely and on time. Don’t hesitate to ask your DM for clarity if you have questions about any portion of the load.
After you’ve successfully established your partnership with your PAM DM, it’s time to work under dispatch. Soon you will make your first pickup and you’ll be on your way to your first run. You’ll have the confidence to enjoy the trip because you’ll have a full grasp of when the load delivers. Per your discussion with your DM, you’ll know when you can expect to be out of the delivery (usually within one hour).
PAM Success Secret No. 4: Stay in Touch
Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to becoming a successful PAM driver. You’ll be expected to set your estimated time of arrival (ETA) for delivery appointments and your projected time of availability (PTA) per your DM’s suggestion (such as one hour later). You will then set the “standard” via Qualcomm (the go-to for trucking telecommunications), which details when you will arrive and when you will be empty. Your DM will proactively work with the planner to assure you are backed up with another load, so you won’t waste time with an empty trailer.
PAM Success Secret No. 5: Cover Your Bases
Finally, it’s time to make sure you’re following all the correct procedures for your first load. This starts with confirming your pre-plan. This quickly assures your support team, including your DM and your Area Load Planner, that you’ve acknowledged the next load and that you agree to the load’s requirements.
Your team will have full confidence you will keep the load assigned to your truck, and that you will be on time. At PAM, on-time customer service is critical, so the earlier you can commit to a load, the more confident your team will be in your ability to meet the customer’s service expectations.
Your Building Blocks for Trucking Driving Career Success
There are hundreds of ways to improve your driving skills, but these five secrets break down the key elements into building blocks you can use to establish a successful truck driving career.
Our PAM managers have spent many decades in transportation management, and we’re confident these secrets will put you in a great position to optimize your success as a driver. Use this advice to be safe and to enjoy your new driving experience at PAM.