Most people go to truck driving school because they want to get a good job and earn a better living. For this reason, truck driver training can be a great choice for many people. That’s also why job placement assistance is such a big part of CDL training at SAGE. Not all schools provide comprehensive trucking job employment assistance, but we view it as a critical part of the services we provide.
Deciding which trucking companies to drive for is an important decision. But there is also another aspect of the job search. Choosing the wrong company can cost you more money than you think. That’s because there is a financial cost to the driver who changes jobs. For those who change jobs frequently, the cost is even higher.
While you are in school, ask a lot of questions about different trucking companies. We’ve talked about these kinds of questions in other Blog posts. We recommend you do this so you make the most educated decision about a job.
Studies have shown that changing jobs will cost a driver a significant sum of money when they change from one carrier to another. In fact, over a 30 year career, the average driver can lose over $100,000 in wages and benefits if they change jobs frequently.
Here are some of the costs that a driver will incur by changing jobs:
1.Immediate loss of income. Even if there is just a short break between one job and another job, there is a loss of income to the driver. Over the long-term, these gaps in income add up and place a financial burden on the driver.
2.Health/medical insurance loss. If you have health insurance through your employer, coverage is usually lost if you leave your job. This may mean that your level of coverage could be reduced, or that you lose coverage altogether. And it also means you will have to wait until the waiting period at your new company expires. This may mean going without coverage for medical needs and incurring unpaid medical bills.
3.Losing bonus payments. Many companies provide various bonuses for either signing on or meeting certain benchmarks in driving operations (safety, fuel mileage, on-time, etc.). Leave a company, and any bonuses you would have earned may be lost.
4.401(k) loss. Most companies offer a 401(k) retirement fund that includes a company match to the amount the driver saves. But these plans have “vesting” rules that determine when and how much of the investment the employee can keep. Sometimes vesting will occur over a period of years, so if you leave before being fully vested, you can lose much of the money you would be entitled to. In addition, your new company will have waiting period rules, which restricts your participation in the 401(k) until you have been with the company for the required period of time (for example, 3 to 6 months).
5.Loss of cash flow. Losing income is one thing. But a related problem is loss of family cash flow. You count on cash coming into your household on a regular basis to pay your regular bills. Having a break in the cash flow may mean some bills have to go unpaid, and a driver can quickly get behind since income may have stopped, but your regular bills have not.
6.Driver reputation. Keep in mind that every time you change jobs, it could hurt your reputation. Many companies are wary about hiring drivers that are “job hoppers.” That’s because they assume that if you changed jobs 4 times in the last 6 years, you will probably do it again. In other words, companies are reluctant to hire and invest in a driver who has demonstrated very little loyalty to other employers.
The bottom line is that it may seem like changing jobs because you don’t like your dispatcher, or you think a half cent per mile more is worth it. It might be if the differences are significant. But keep in mind that often the benefits of changing trucking companies makes sense, but there are numerous hard and soft costs to changing jobs in trucking. Often the one hurt by the job change is the driver, so take the time to think about how to find the best trucking companies that you can stick with for the long haul.