PAM 21618 February Blog

New CDL Drivers: Tips for Earning More Weekly Pay

Whether you’re a new CDL driver or you’re just starting to look at CDL schools, PAM Transport can put you on the right road to financial success. If you’re in CDL school, you’re probably learning specific skills to master a big rig, as well as how to keep yourself and others safe on the road. But what they may not cover are the lesser-known best practices for getting more miles on the road each week to put more weekly pay in your wallet.

Below are just a few rookie mistakes for CDL drivers to avoid that can eat into your weekly take-home pay. These pro-tips from experienced PAM drivers and managers can help you put more dough in your wallet each week!

Use Driving Breaks to Your Advantage

One of the biggest mistakes new CDL drivers make when they start their first truck driving job is to skip taking a break when they’re tired. Taking a break gives you the opportunity to rest, which means you’re refreshed enough to drive more miles once you hit the road again.

When you get your CDL and you start your two-week paid driver training at PAM, your Driver Mentor will show you how to become more efficient with your breaks so you can keep more of your take-home pay.

According to Driver Mentor, Vicki Fowler, it is important to pre-plan your trips and breaks, and to keep in communication with your driver manager. Sometimes, due to the customer’s load scheduling, you may be able to get to your destination early. In these situations, a driver should communicate with their Driver Manager for possible load assignment updates. Being proactive with your Driver Manager can help you earn more miles and increase your paycheck each week.

Avoid Freight Mistakes & Hassles

Some transportation companies make their CDL drivers responsible for loading and unloading their truck freight. All PAM routes are no-touch freight, which means PAM drivers don’t have to worry about loading and unloading the freight. But drivers should always double-check all their freight documentation to avoid overage, shortage and damage (OSD).

Overage means there are more items on the truck than there are listed for the entire load or a particular stop. Of course, shortage means exactly the opposite; which may not be evident until once the load is emptied out. Damage is self-explanatory, but it can be avoided. Avoiding OSD saves you time, which means you can spend that time putting more miles and earnings into your weekly paycheck.

The first way to prevent OSD is to properly inspect the trailer before moving with it. Holes in the roof can lead to wet-freight claims, and bad or broken structural and safety components can lead to major accidents and truck-freight spills.

Don’t take for granted that the trailer was fine the last time you checked it. Photos will always be requested to help document any cargo claim, so put your phone camera to good use and get several photos from different angles, with and without flash.

You also need to avoid situations that put your freight at risk for theft, such as following PAM recommended routes that avoid high-theft areas. Plan your breaks in advance, so you’re not forced to stop at a sketchy-looking location. Always count your live loads and unloads, unless you are not allowed on the dock, and the load is sealed by the shipper.

Most of all, never discuss your load when you’re traveling. You never know if the person you’re talking to is a thief in disguise!

Put More Pay in Your Pocket by Pre-Planning

When it comes to planning your first trip, you’ll want to start with these vital trucking tools:

  • Notebook
  • Calculator
  • Current truck road atlas, or roadside guide or app such as Trucker Path

This list may seem overly simple, but they can help you stay safe on the road and keep you on time, which means you can more quickly get another load and earn more pay. A calculator or driver app can help you determine your average truck driving speed.

Experienced PAM CDL drivers average 47 mph to 50 mph per trip. That may seem a bit slow, but you have to take road conditions into consideration, such as inner-city traffic challenges, construction, interstate congestion, inclement weather, auto accidents, driving breaks and other potential factors that can impact average speed.

PAM Per Diem Program Helps Drivers Increase Their Tax Benefits

Did you know that PAM’s Per Diem Program helps company CDL drivers keep more of their weekly pay in their pocket and less going to Uncle Sam?

Thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, company drivers can no longer claim per diem on Federal income tax returns. So you can no longer deduct the daily meals allowance of $66, like you could in the past. Our Per Diem Program was designed to give this lost benefit back to truck drivers and could also qualify them for additional tax credits when they file their tax returns.

Bottom line: If you drive for PAM Transport, this program will help you pay less in taxes, because you deserve to keep more money in your pocket.

How PAM Helps New CDL Truck Drivers Earn More Pay

PAM Transport goes the extra mile to train our new CDL drivers on the dos and don’ts for earning more pay. We also offer numerous performance bonus opportunities and annual pay raises with no raise caps. You can also refer another driver to PAM and win thousands in cash in our PAM driver referral contest!

Got a CDL, but no experience? No problem. PAM has a Driver Mentor ready to help you learn the skills it takes to become a successful truck driver. You could be in your new truck driving solo after just two weeks of paid training.

We would love to tell you a little more about our paid training and all the other offers that make PAM the premier trucking company for both new and experienced drivers across the country. Give us a call at (866) 401-2496, or SEE AVAILABLE JOBS by clicking below.

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