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Read this story in our 21st issue of the Truckers Newsletter.
Compass Holding teams up with DAT to bring you TruckersEdge powered by DAT!
Women in today’s economy are playing an important role in transportation industry. Even though trucking is still a male-dominant industry, women are holding their own more than ever before. Their numbers may be small compared to male truckers, yet they prove they can handle the job. Women accomplishments and contribution in trucking deserves appreciation and admiration. I mean can you imagine there is almost ¼ million female truckers on the road today, and even more are being trained every month?
And still very few of us connects trucking as a female profession. Because of that we would like to look closely and get a real experience on any obstacles and challenges that women in trucking face with today. Thus we interviewed Delicia who was taking her classes to get a certified driving license in Compass Truck Driving School. We asked her about her experience, the process she went through and how she made this brave decision.
Kristina: So Delicia why did you decide to obtain your CDL?
Delicia: Opportunity for financial security. And also I like to do things that people don’t usually expect me to do.
Kristina: What did you do before?
Delicia: I worked in retail. Went to college for Business and still haven’t gotten my Bachelors because it is very expensive. Now I have to pay off these student loans and you know so.
Kristina: So you find your future career in trucking and are looking for trucking to give you a financial flexibility?
Delicia: Yeah, considering the fact that I don’t have children, I am still kind of young I can see myself planning for the future and setting things up so yeah, financial security within that and you know being a team driver makes it better too because then it means it is more income coming to my household.
Kristina: Delicia tell me about the experience you had so far?
Delicia: I notice when I am driving and practicing on the road so many people wave and thumbs up and it is like they get excited when they see me driving so I guess it really is exciting. A lot of people are not used to women in trucking. Although I have seen women drive and I guess it is just something you don’t really see all the time or you know compared to me it is not that many women drivers out there.
Kristina: What others say to you about your decision to pursue trucking as a professional career?
Delicia: People that I know or people that just see me? Because people that I know are not used to the idea because I guess it is natural as seeing me as a truck driver they say oh I don’t see you doing it. But now that I am doing it people are happier about me, like family and they can see it for me and they wish me a best of luck. As far as people that are out on the street If I tell them I am going to a truck driving school now they are I am happy to hear that, it is not a lot of women out there that drive a truck and else you will be a hot truck driver, yeah you kind of hear quite a few things but I don’t really hear any negativity towards it. When It comes from women is more like “You are not scared to drive that truck” or “I can’t do something like that” or “You have a lot guts to do something like this” so I don’t know it kind of makes me feel like Ok I am doing something that a lot of people won’t think to do and they are kind of missing out because you get to see the world while making money and earning a living. I see a lot of perks to it, I can’t say that it is going to be the happiest goal lucky every day, but I think this is something that I am happy I am getting into.
Kristina: So can you live without a makeup?
Delicia: Can I live without a makeup? Hmmm. I don’t really wear that much make up as is but I guess if I am going to live in the truck I will be more so now. I do think that will be a big life changer as far as just being away and being on the road for so long cause you know I am going to be on the road cross country so I know that I am not going to be able to dress up like I normally do or put on my make up or do my hair. It is going to be ponytails and sweat pants for me.
Kristina: What about a day without a shower?
Delicia: Shower? See now that I don’t know. I think that’s going to be kind of hard. I really can’t see going a day without a shower.
Kristina: What do you enjoy most about driving?
Delicia: Being the big guy on the road or should I say the Big Girl. I do like the fact of being able to drive something that big and be good at it. For me to be in school still that means that I am still learning and I only can get better and I think this far I am doing really well and I like the fact that I can pretty much drive anything.
Kristina: What do you feel will be the hardest part about driving the truck?
Delicia: I think adjusting by living on the road for so long and also I am a little bit afraid of driving through mountains. Only because I have driven through mountains before in a regular car so driving in a truck I think that is going to be pretty intense.
Kristina: Does people see you seriously when you say you want to become a CDL driver and can you show them that you mean business?
Delicia: People wasn’t taking it seriously before when I was just talking about it. It wasn’t really serious until I actually start coming to school and then each and every day I am talking about it and my experience so the more I talk about it, the more people believe in me, because it is something that I am excited about and I am not just talking about it just to prove a point, I am talking about it because this is about to become a part of me and I am thrilled. So yes people are taking it more seriously now than they did before. Cos I have been talking about becoming a truck driver for about a year before actually coming to school, before than I had family members saying you are not going to be no truck driver and just go back to school and I am like NO I am going to a truck driving school.
Kristina: Are you looking on taking the trucking seriously and to pursue this as a career for the future?
Delicia: Yeah, I can’t say how long I am planning on staying as a truck driver because I am a women and I am young and I do want a family and I don’t have children now, but I haven’t actually got the experience being on the road either, so I say give me 5 years for sure, but past that if I don’t like it then I will stop or if I find something I figure it is better for me than I will stop, but If I like it a lot then it might just be what I will stick with. Because I was thinking I can go from driving interstate to driving a dedicated route or something local, you know driving for the city, so is different options in it.
Kristina: So this is what you consider as your future goals.
Delicia: Right, yes, that will be my future goal as far as how far will going. Coz I know some people they love it, some people give up their families for it, so I don’t know where I will end up, and I am hoping that I will love it, coz it is a lot of things that I like to do, I like driving, I have always liked the highway, I have always liked traveling, I have always loved money so it is kind of combination of all those things. I don’t know but I think it is a very good opportunity. I think it is a good investment in my future.
Kristina: What will you give as your recommendation to other ladies out there that are considering in getting their CDL in the future?
Delicia: Make sure you make your mind about doing it first and once you do don’t punk out because a lot of people can get inside of the truck and get feel defeated. You know you have to push yourself because I remember the first time I got behind the wheel. You have to stay in control. Stay in control and you got it. And don’t just think about the money that you can make when you are thinking about becoming a truck driver, of course that’s what you are thinking about but don’t be afraid of heights, be like oh I am going to jump of this mountain you know just to push myself if you feel that is something that you can’t do but you are just doing it for the money that probably won’t work out the best because if you are the type of person that gets nervous in situations and if you don’t know how to get out of them that could be bad.
Make your mind up, make sure that is something that you can do and don’t defeat yourself.
We at Compass Truck Driving School would like to congratulate Delicia on her successful completion of the training program and we truly wish you best of luck and success on your future journey.
Check our website www.compassholding.net to find out more about us.
Interested to find out about the latest transportation trends? Please read our semi-monthly news: http://compasstruckers.com/nl/
Compass/Kunigaikščiai Basketball Team Players became champions in the Jubilee, the 10th Chicago Lithuanian Basketball League. Compass Holding had a blast over the weekend watching the game while cheering for Compass Team.
In the finale Compass met Lituanica team, one of the strongest team in the league. When the two teams meet always boils fierce fight, which was not an exception this finale either. Even though Lituanica team started the game pretty successfully, Compass Team was pretty full of determination to catch up with the opponents. Lithuanica Basketball Players failed to stop Compass team offense and just had to accept and greet the Compass Team with a victory – a victory that has been achieved thanks to a strong effort of will, determination and persistence. With the final game Compass Team has finish the season with no losses – won all 19 matches this season and has become the team unbeatable. After the final whistle, the Team took a bath in a champagne spray and close up with a symbolic cigar smoke.
Compass Holding had a great time during the season and is proud to contribute and support an event of this kind. And of course we are proud and thankful to our Champs for the Win! Thanks to everybody that came in and support the Compass Team!
We asked on a truckers forum about the opinions of driving schools and the recuiters that work for them. We wanted to know what students consider to be important when choosing a truck driving school and also what makes them trust one recruiter over another. Here are some of their responses…
“Honestly i trust a recruiter as much as i do a used car salesman. Their job is to get you to their school. But i can tell you one bad point about the recruiter i had at my cdl school. I went to the school and was an out of town student(120+ miles away) and they offered hotel rooms for price for the whole duration of the training. My recruiters exact words was “The cost is $200 for the full 3 weeks of training” but it turns out that the recruiter wasn’t very educated on the subject because when i got there i found out that it was for M-Thurs(i had assumed it was the full week including weekends). I ended up having to pay for a hotel over the weekends. Even though this isn’t directly related to the training it is part of a recruiters job to be well informed on the details, especially the ones that tell me how much it is going to cost me out of pocket. It put a choke hold on my wallet and I had to eat sardines and crackers for the whole last week of training!
Also on the financial part of the world and this may have been just me and not sure if you guys offer loans but mine did offer the student type loan that was done in house through a 3rd party. I had a cosigner on mine and my recruiter told me to bring this and this from them for the loan and that was all i needed from them. Well my uncle who was my co signer is a driver and i get called into the office on the last week saying i need to call my cosigner and tell them they have paperwork being overnighted to them to fill out and sign and overnight back before i would be able to test out. Well my cosigner at that time was 2,000 miles from home. Even though i got it handled it all goes back to being well informed on everything the student needs to know beforehand.
Keep the recruiters honest and well informed. Maybe even call the recruiters and ask about your own school from time to time to see if they do have all the information and it is right. Also one thing that would help me trust one is if they explained the highs and lows. If all they talk about is sunshine and rainbows it makes me think what are they not talking about. Not saying there is bad parts of your program but everywhere has its low points. Though i know that telling a prospective student about a low point or two may seem like a bad idea but me personally i will be able to trust a recruiter that is willing to share that over one that promises the best school in the world with no flaws.
Also this may be an odd note but for me i would have liked to know about what kind of places are close enough to eat at on lunch. I didnt think to ask when i was looking at the school I went to and it ended up being a 30 min lunch and the choices where bleak, costly, and time consuming. Will give them an idea of what kind of food allowance to bring.
Hope this helps, “
“I was trying to decide between a few different schools. The first school I went to, the building was cold, dark, the ceiling tiles were falling off and I felt it was a very unprofessional atmosphere. They had decent looking trucks, but I was not being treated like a perspective student. It’s not that they were rude or anything like that, they just weren’t very friendly. As I was talking to them trying to get answers to questions, the phone would ring, or somebody would walk in an interrupt us, and they even made fun of a student in front of me. I walked out of there knowing full well I wouldn’t be attending that school.
Another school I had considered but never actually visited them. I saw some of their trucks driving down the road and noticed they only used flatbed and pup trailers and their trucks looked just awful. No thanks!
Finally, I found the right place. Despite the school being located on a dirt / muddy lot and the fact the classrooms were in a double wide trailer, I felt extremely comfortable there. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. I met two instructors right off the bat and then I went into a private office with a recruiter that spent time answering all my questions honestly. After we were done talking, she brought me outside to look at some of their trucks and watched students practicing on the yard. They encouraged me to ask any questions to any of their students. We then returned back to the office when I was greeted by the owner of the school. He told me all bout his history, the qualifications of his instructors, why the school was started, why they stand apart from the rest, and told me he’d really like to have me on board as long as my background cleared, shook my hand, then left. I signed up for them without checking out any other schools and I’m glad I did. They were fantastic!
So I’d say the most important thing for a truck driving schools is to be friendly and patient with those coming in. Encourage them to speak with your current students. Even if they don’t the mere fact that you tell them to do that shows you have absolutely nothing to hide and are a stand up organization. These students are embarking on something that will radically change their lives. Being friendly and patient with them will go a long way, even if you’re based out of a double wide on a dirt lot.”
“As far as things that will attract students:
1) Prompt response from you - when a student tries contacting your school, whether it be phone, snail mail, or email, respond immediately. I’ve heard dozens of people over the years say they were thrilled and impressed by the quick response they received from certain schools or companies. It shows you’re eager to work with people and you’re on top of things. When I ran a contracting business that gave free estimates, I made it a policy to call every customer back within 3 hours of their initial call if I missed it, and give them a free estimate with 24 hours of their call. That earned us a lot of business. If you get back to people quickly, that makes a huge difference! Even without changing anything else, you’ll land more students by simply having super fast response times.
2) Make sure your school, your staff, and your trucks are clean. The instructors should have professional uniforms and be kind and pleasant. The yard trucks doing the backing are likely on a gravel lot so that’s tough. The road trucks are easier. But people care very much about the cleanliness and professionalism of the building, instructors, staff, and equipment. Stay sharp.
3) Like TruckerMike said - encourage them to talk to your students. If you guys are doing a great job of training people and treating them with patience, kindness, and respect, your students will be thrilled to recommend your school to prospective students. Treat your students like gold and make sure prospective students get a chance to speak privately with current students. You might recommend that people come visit your school before class, during lunch, or near the end of the day when your current students will have time to talk. The very best recommendation a prospective student can get is from a current student. Make sure you give them that chance.
4) Job placement is huge. Nobody is going to school just to learn to drive a truck. They need a new career and they’re worried about landing that first job. Show them a list of trucking companies that hire your students. Have a solid pre-hire process in place and get prospective students going on pre-hires right away - before they even commit to your school. If they can get pre-hires through your school, they’ll be far more confident that going to your school will result in a job afterward, and that’s what it’s all about. Even if they’re not thrilled with some other aspects of your school, knowing they’ve got worked lined up after graduating is what it’s all about - and that’s hard to walk away from.
5) Make sure you have a policy in place that accommodates drivers who are struggling. One of the big concerns people have is “What if it takes me a bit longer than most to catch on? Will they fail me? Will I pay all that money and go through the schooling for nothing?” There are a lot of schools that will allow a student to have extra training if they’re struggling. Financially, this can be very hard on a school, but even worse on a student who fails out, loses all that time and money, and has nothing to show for it. Make sure you have a solid plan in place to deal with struggling students, and be up front about it. You don’t have to offer additional training for free, but it has to be reasonably priced. Maybe a short amount of extra time for free, and then unlimited time for a fee if necessary after that. But make sure you have a solid plan in place and articulate that clearly to prospective students. They want to know you genuinely care about training them and getting their careers started - that you’re not just going to take their money and kick em to the curb.
6) Make sure you line up visits from trucking company recruiters. Prospective students love to see that a trucking company thinks highly enough of your training that they will send recruiters to visit with students during the schooling. Try scheduling them out at least a month or so in advance or doing it on a regular schedule so you can tell students what dates certain companies will be coming by.
The main concerns students have are:
1) Will I be treated with kindness, patience, and respect?
2) Does the school really care about helping me get my career started, or do they want to get me out of their hair as soon as they get my money?
3) Will I be able to land a job after graduating?
4) Does the school really know what they are doing? Are they true professionals with top-notch training methods, materials, and equipment?
Hope this helps!”
Here are two different views on a question we asked on the Trucking Truth forum about flatbed training for our students at the Compass Truck Driving School in Chicago. First is our question and then the responses follow:
My team and I run a truck driving school out of Chicago and we are considering adding a specific training course for flatbed training. We are interested in hearing from anyone who drives, or have driven, flatbeds and what your take is on it. Our instructors have experience in flatbed but I want to hear from you guys.
We would like to give our students as many options as possible when it comes to training for a truck driving career. I hear that the flatbed business is quite different from the rest and that the money made doing it can be greater than dry van or reefer driving.
Any thoughts? We would love to hear your stories and opinions.
Thank you and safe driving.
Starcar: “My husband and I are O/O’s, and we are flatbedders. You are right, when you say theres alot of difference in it and box trailers. But it also can be taught, with bookwork, to teach what the weight to tiedown requirements are, and practical hours in the yard learning to properly strap or chain down different loads. We haul everything from equipment, pipe, standing stone, lumber, cardboard, cable coils (both suicide and shotgun loaded), and anything inbetween. We had to learn to strap/chain down, per running weight on the trailer, AND end securement. Tarping is also something that needs to be taight. From the way a tarp should be rolled, where to start tarping, how to roll up the sides, and beavertails and secure them so they don’t sail, and bungee cords, or rubber rope usage. Also whether to strap inside or outside the tarps. Theres alot to it, and it has been changing over the years, so your instructors will have to brush up to keep up.
I’d really like to see a CDL school do training in flatbedding. The only schools I know of that do offer that training, are flatbed company schools. There is a great need for an outside school to train. And it would give your students another option for their trucking adventure.
Women are getting into flatbedding more and more, with the lighter tarps, and learning the “tricks” that only ladies need to know to get a load secured and tarped. There have also been changes in the basic equipment that makes the whole process go faster and easier.
So I’d really like to see your school offer this training. And I’ll help all I can, if you need it. Its so nice to see a school go out of its way, to offer something that will enhance the advancement of the students that come thru their door.
I applaud you !!!! “
Brett Aquila - Admin: I have a bit different perspective on this. From the perspective of running a school and the time and costs involved with training students, I don’t think it would be beneficial to offer specific flatbed training for a couple of reasons:
1) Probably 95% of all new drivers entering the trucking industry will go refrigerated or dry van. Very few start off in flatbedding. Not because the options aren’t out there. They are. There are flatbed companies like TMC that will hire students straight out of school. But getting your career started in trucking and surviving that first year is really, really tough. Starting out flatbed means more physical work, more rules and regulations, and more to be concerned about for a new driver that’s already overwhelmed with learning materials and trying to adapt to life on the road. So as far as the number of students that would benefit from that specific training, it would be very few. The rest of the students would simply be paying more for school and spending more time learning things they’ll likely never use.
2) Flatbed companies already train their new drivers with everything they’ll need to know about the laws and techniques involving tarping and securing a load. Covering this in school will be a nice introduction to it, but they’re going to have to cover it all very thoroughly in their company training anyhow.
3) Because there are already flatbed companies that will hire students straight out of school without specific flatbed training, I don’t feel as if specific flatbed training in school is going to actually open up any new doors for people. That would change if you could convince flatbed companies that are not currently hiring students to begin hiring your students based on the training you’ll be giving them. If that were the case, the training would indeed open up new doors to students and would at least be worth considering.
So I don’t think you’re going to add much of any value to their education by teaching a specific niche. There are indeed a lot of areas that most schools are lacking in that will be needed daily for any drivers on the road - usually it’s topics like trip planning, logbooks, and weight transfer - amongst others. So if you wanted to add more value to a student’s education, add more thorough coverage of topics they’ll need to understand out there but aren’t being taught thoroughly enough right now.
I would contact some flatbed recruiting coordinators and ask them their thoughts about hiring students out of school. If they currently do not, find out why, and find out if there’s anything you can do about it. There’s so much to learn when you’re new to trucking and so much that’s left out now that I’d hate to see you add course materials that aren’t really going to effectively help the vast majority of your students. There are a lot of subjects that are lacking the coverage they deserve - I’d rather see those get more focus.
I just finished my CDL schooling last week. We were supposed to have one day at least where we pulled the school flatbed around with some additional weight. But, no such luck. I personally think it would be a help to those out there that are looking to start in flat bed work. There are quite a few from my school that are looking to go that way. The only local options for flatbed training in the Phoenix metro area that I know of are either through Werner or Swift directly. It would also provide a unit of measure for those students attending, because things in school are far easier than they are on the road.
Read this thread at its original location.
Being in the trucking industry with deep involvement in the CDL training school, we are interested in knowing the different routes, no pun intended, that drivers take when they finish up their training. Of course we also like to know where they came from, including their work history, education level and any other interesting background information they might want to share. However, we as a school promise to help them in any way possible with the job placement before and after graduation.
So, Compass Truck Driving School is considering adding flatbed training to the curriculum as an ‘add-on’ course where students who wish to further their knowledge of truck driver training can opt to take that course. Our instructors are already knowledgeable in that field, so I figured…why not? Why not give students the option to learn about what it takes to run flatbed and actually practice doing it before they apply to any flatbed companies? Many of them may change their mind and decide to stick with regular dry van or reefer hauling, but others may realize the income earning potential from it and decide that learning a new skill will pay off in the end.
Some benefits that initially attract new drivers would be the higher income potential and the possibility of more home time than other driving jobs. This being because usually flatbed drivers have shorter routes considering what it is they usually haul.
For now, it is just an idea and we will surely keep you updated if/when we implement this new training course.
Then, maybe passenger endorsement…
On Thursday, May 3 2012 the Compass Holding’s marketing team went to the presentation of Sales Forces products at McCormick Place in Chicago. We have been looking into buying and implementing this software for a long time, but now that Sales Force is moving to the ‘cloud’ we think the time has come. The presentation was started by the former White House IT executive who is now a VP in Sales Force. Once I find his name, I will post it here. But nevertheless the presentation was great. A few presentations from small businesses took place and their experiences with the software were shared. The chairman of Groupon spoke and one of the Vice Presidents of Career Builder also took the stand to tell the audience about the product called Chatter which is part of CloudForce. After the well organized lunch break we attended the session discussing the Sales Cloud for Beginners. Harris Bank and Walgreen’s explained their processes of adopting and using the software. We definitely learned many new things. After the session we met with a few different vendors serving Cloud Force with their software enhancements. As we were talking to people and finding out more about this great tool, the idea of having it and using it throughout Compass began to take shape. We envisioned all of our separate companies using it and having new benefits from it. Beginning with the Truck Sales division, Trailer lease company, the Factoring company as well as our Trucking Insurance company. We also included our Truck driving school in the plans, and it was a great fit. Now in the next phase, we will discuss the realization of this plan, buying the software and implementing it in our business model.