When we say, “truck driving rock star,” we’re not talking about how to do your best air guitar behind the wheel or hitting those high notes singing in the shower. This blog is all about how you can have a long, successful career as a trucker. (Apologies if we’ve crushed anyone’s rock star dreams!) We talk to lots of truckers and we’ve put together their best advice for new truckers. Even if you’re not new to trucking, you will likely find value in these tips for saving time, building your trucking knowledge and dealing with some of the unforeseen stresses that go with the job.

Check out these tips on how to become a truck driving rock star! Disclaimer: you may not become an actual rock star.

1. Be Prepared 

“It’s not always going to be peaches and cream out here,” says Nashville-based Roni Bender, who drives for Schneider across the Southeastern United States. “We run into bad weather, we have to deal with not being able to find a parking spot sometimes and we may not be able to shower every day. You have to be willing to take yourself outside of your comfort zone. You’re roughing it, but you have to be prepared.”  

Roni told us that she values the tools that Trucker Tools provides for drivers because they help her and others find parking, rest areas and truck stops ahead of time. 

“I appreciate the tools that Trucker Tools and other people have given us because those are the tools that help us find that parking and rest areas to make it easy for us,” said Roni. “I can put in a destination and the app will give me the time I’ll get there. I love that. It just works for me and other drivers. Trucker Tools’ driver app finds me rest areas and truck stops, and can tell me how many parking spaces are available. The app is wonderful.”

“I appreciate the tools that Trucker Tools and other people have given us because those are the tools that help us find that parking and rest areas to make it easy for us,” said Roni. “I can put in a destination and the app will give me the time I’ll get there. I love that. It just works for me and other drivers. Trucker Tools’ driver app finds me rest areas and truck stops, and can tell me how many parking spaces are available. The app is wonderful.”

In the winter months, Sharae Moore, trucker and founder of She Trucking, advises new truckers to keep protective gloves and shoes that are good on ice in their trucks, just in case. She also told us that finding and maintaining a relationship with a mentor is crucial to learning the ins and outs of trucking that aren’t necessarily part of your training at CDL school. 

“Having someone in the industry as your mentor can help you and your career,” Sharae shared. “A mentor can help you become strong and successful in the industry.”

2. Work as a Company Driver for at Least Two Years

“A lot of new drivers right now are thinking they’ll drive for six months and then become owner operators,” says Tamara Spivey, who is an independent owner operator leased to Landstar. “I recommend that you drive for someone else for at least two years first. Being an owner operator is not all of what it seems. You can take lots of courses, but it’s all about the experience you’re going to get yourself. Once you become an owner operator, it’s just totally different. You have to think of all of the things that you never thought of as a company driver. As an owner operator, it’s not that easy. It’s all your responsibility.” 

Jamie Hagan, owner of South Dakota-based Hell Bent Xpress agrees. Jamie started driving when he was 16 and at 21 transitioned to being an owner operator. As an owner operator, Jamie said he didn’t have enough business knowledge to succeed at the time. After a few years running flatbed as an owner op, he became a company driver with Cliff Viessman, Inc., a move he says that was invaluable.

“I wasn’t the best at owning a truck, Jamie said. “I was a good truck driver, just not good at ownership. I didn’t run it like a business. I kind of ran it as a personal thing, and that’s what led to the demise of my first time owning a truck. I ended up becoming a company driver for this tank operation that I’m now leased to. I learned some valuable lessons there. I went to work as a company driver just to get my head wrapped around what I was actually doing.”

“I wasn’t the best at owning a truck, Jamie said. “I was a good truck driver, just not good at ownership. I didn’t run it like a business. I kind of ran it as a personal thing, and that’s what led to the demise of my first time owning a truck. I ended up becoming a company driver for this tank operation that I’m now leased to. I learned some valuable lessons there. I went to work as a company driver just to get my head wrapped around what I was actually doing.”

3. Use Tech To Your Advantage To Build Relationships with Brokers

“The tools for finding loads in the Trucker Tools mobile app are great, especially for owner-operators,” said Gerald Johnson, known as Trucker G on social media. “As an owner-operator with your own authority, it’s imperative to be able to build relationships. Trucker Tools gives you access to brokers and allows you to build those relationships with brokers. If you build a relationship with a broker, the next time that broker is really in need of getting a truck, they’re going to call you up. You don’t have to go search for a load. When a broker gives you a load, they may not have a backhaul for you, so that’s where the driver app comes in. You have to diversify. Trucker Tools’ driver app helps with that. You can’t just rely on one resource.”

With Trucker Tools’ free mobile app, you can quickly search for loads with your favorite brokers with just a few taps on your smart phone. Finding broker loads with the Trucker Tools app is much faster than using load boards and it’s free. When you do a load search in the app, you’re show backhauls for each load, as well, which makes it easy for you to book multiple loads with the broker with whom you want to cultivate an ongoing relationship.  

Are you thinking of launching a new trucking business? If so, check out Level Up Your Trucking Business: Three Mistakes To Avoid When Starting a Trucking Business. To download the Trucker Tools app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/