Choosing the Right Trucking Company: A Guide by Bay & Bay

Questions to ask yourself when looking for truck driver jobs in Minnesota and across the U.S

The job market for a qualified truck driver isn’t that much different than anyone else seeking employment. Recently certified drivers need to consider many of the same facets of companies as any other person: culture, distance from home, and expectations.

The one common objective between all trucking companies is that they make money by hauling as much as possible as quickly and efficiently as possible. Truck drivers from every company share the same roads, rest stops, gas stations, laws, and sometimes even the same destination. Many trucking companies are very similar, but when it comes down to the important things, companies can vary greatly. There are a few different factors you should compare from each company before choosing the right one for you.

What do you haul?
What kind of freight would you like to deliver to customers? Whether it’s a dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, or dry bulk rig, the first step to finding the right company is matching up what they transport to what you would like to haul.

How often will I be home?
This answer will vary greatly depending on the company and whether they are a local short haul or national interstate trucking company. There are many different options available to prospective drivers and it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of the company’s options to ensure they fit your needs.

What are the pay and benefits?
This is where you need to decide how valuable you believe your truck driving time is. For instance, you might rather take a job that pays less as long as you’re home every night. When it comes to pay and benefits, the deciding factor becomes a very personal and varied choice.

After getting some of the more technical details out of the way, the next step is to gain an understanding of what the company is like from the inside. Though recruiters will provide you with a lot of the technical information in a professional way, it is important to remember that they are working for the best interest of the company. It’s up to you to talk to other drivers to understand what your job within the company will be. By talking to drivers, you can gain an honest inside perspective.

After comparing notes on all of these factors, you will most likely have your list narrowed down to two or three potential trucking companies, and be comfortable with whichever company you choose. The important thing is to give your new employer at least a year’s worth of your time and effort to in order to prove yourself, get out of the rookie zone, and really understand what the company is about.

If you are interested in the specifics of working as a truck driver for Bay & Bay Transportation, please don’t hesitate to contact our office about employment opportunities.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Class Tips from Bay & Bay

What truck drivers in Minnesota and across U.S can expect on CDL exam

Maybe the biggest rite of passage for employees of Bay & Bay Transportation is the completion of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) class after spending time working with only a Commercial Driver’s Instruction Permit (CDIP). Of course, it’s a long, challenging road to claim those three little initials that allow you to drive a rig; if it wasn’t, everyone would have a CDL! Bay & Bay Transportation, along with the help of dmv.org, has compiled a list of tips to help you on your way to CDL certification. So sit up straight and pay attention because class is now in session!

After obtaining your CDIP, the next step is to study your specific state’s CDL manual. Every question on the test will be taken from information provided in the manual. None of the questions are meant to deceive you, only to test the knowledge you have gained.

Questions on the CDL exam will be more extensive than the questions you were asked on your operator’s driver’s license test. Besides typical topics like operating the truck safely, the exam will also include questions specific to the trucking industry. For example, you will be quizzed on the importance of staying alert and able to drive, skid control and recovery, and communicating with other drivers, including both commuters and other truck drivers.

To be successful when taking your CDL exam, we recommend taking a practice permit test. These tests can be offered by your state DMV or by an outside company. Either type of venue will replicate the exam so that you’ve got an idea of what to expect when it comes time for the real examination.

Theory of driving a rig, however, will only get you so far. Once you’ve obtained your CDIP, be sure to log some miles. When it comes to the driving exam, there are some automatic failures, including but not limited to:

  • Running a red light
  • Getting in an accident
  • Running over a curb
  • Forgetting your turn signal or to check your mirrors
  • Rolling backwards before taking off from a stop

Of course, there are common mistakes that won’t automatically fail you but you’ll want to avoid. They includes things like:

  • Turning too wide
  • Grinding gears
  • Missing the right RPM range to shift

Another important aspect of the driving test is to retain your composure throughout the entire drive. Though it’s normal to be nervous, it’s essential to make sure that you are still in control of the situation. Driving trucks is a high pressure job, like driving in unknown places, stuck in backed-up traffic, and traveling through extreme conditions. That’s why it is so important to log miles once you’ve obtained your CDIP.

Once you’ve passed your CDL class, check out the truck driving jobs we offer at Bay & Bay Transportation. We are hiring truck drivers in Minnesota and across the United States with all levels of experience.

Winter Reminders for Bay & Bay Transportation Drivers

6 Ways for Minnesota truck drivers to stay safe this season

Over the last few weeks we have seen temperatures drop dramatically with ice and snow beginning to cover the ground. Ready or not, this signals the beginning of the winter driving season. Now more than ever, it is important to have driving safety tips and techniques at the forefront of your mind. Winter conditions are tricky for regular commuters, and typical issues like snow and ice become even more deadly in a big rig truck. Bay & Bay Transportation has compiled a list of reminders and tips to make sure you are prepared for winter driving and all the extra work that accompanies it.

1. Stock up on winter supplies
This applies to both the driver and the truck. Make sure you have winter gear for every occasion, such as heavy boots, hats, gloves, and extra blankets. When it comes to the truck, carry extra washer fluid and plenty of anti-gel for your diesel engine. Carrying your own supplies in sufficient quantities instead of depending on the next rest stop to have some in stock will be your saving grace in the middle of a blizzard. Also, be sure to have and wear reflective clothing and items should you ever need to exit your truck during a storm.

2. Inspect before you leave
Double check not only your truck, but the weather as well. Be sure that all of your product is properly secured and won’t shift; it could be the difference between steering out of a slide or completely losing control in icy conditions. Drive your truck with gentle movements to prevent unexpected shifting. Always remember to check the weather as well. Those clear skies may quickly become stormy and produce blizzard conditions, especially in the northern and mountain states.

 3. Iced windshields = iced roads
An important step to driving safely in the winter is to be aware of your surroundings. If your windshield is beginning to ice over, be extra cautious and aware of slippery spots on the road. In particular, be extra vigilant for black ice, a type of hazard that just looks like water on the road. Black ice is one of the most deadly winter driving challenges a driver can face.

4. Use common sense
Some winter driving tips for regular commuters apply to truck drivers as well. Always keep your lights on. Do not use the cruise control, especially when you know there is a risk of icy conditions. Leave two or three times the typical distance between you and the car in front of you.

5. Plan ahead
Know potential stopping points along your route, such as rest areas which are open year-round and truck stops where you can stop and wait-out nasty winter weather. Use your CB radio to check with other drivers in the area about road conditions and potential accidents ahead. It never hurts to get the advice of a driver more seasoned than you while navigating the wintery roads.

6. Most importantly of all, always wear your seat belt.

Bay & Bay Transportation loves the ambition that our drivers have while out on the road, even during the harsh winter driving season. However, no load is worth your life. If weather conditions have become extreme and driving is no longer safe, please pull over. We would rather you log a few extra hours than risk your life. To all truck drivers, we hope you stay safe out there on the roads this winter.

If you are interested in truck driving jobs in Minnesota, contact Bay and Bay Transportation today. For all other areas, see our Hiring Locations.

Bay & Bay Transportation Honors Military with Wreaths Across America

Wreaths_Across_America_-_Official_Page_2-1The holiday season is a time to gather and celebrate with family, but sadly, sometimes family isn’t around to make it to these festivities. Bay & Bay Transportation has a long history of honoring military men and women and their families. The holidays can prove to be an exceptionally hard time for those whose loved ones have sacrificed their lives for our country, and emotionally difficult for those with loved ones who are currently fighting to keep our country safe. For the second year in a row, Bay & Bay Transportation is proudly donating time and resources to Wreaths Across America, a program that honors our soldiers by decorating the graves of military personnel.

Through the Wreaths Across America program, Bay &Bay Transportation will help deliver over 300,000 wreaths to grave sites. In particular, this Saturday, December 14th, we will help deliver two loads of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, our nation’s most prestigious military resting place. Driver Bruce Stykel and Randy Verwink, along with Vice President of Operations Zack Little, will be at Arlington representing Bay & Bay Transportation in tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

The mission of Wreaths Across America; to Remember, Honor, and Teach, is a powerful one. The program operates and relies strictly on volunteers, a group that Bay & Bay Transportation is gratefully proud to be a part of. Through careful coordination, delivery of wreaths to cemeteries throughout the 50 states will occur on Saturday, December 14th. If you are interested in attending a ceremony, Fort Snelling National Cemetery will be conducting a short ceremony at 11 am this Saturday in Minneapolis. The cemetery is located at 7601 North 34th Avenue South.

Whether deployed or departed, we owe all of our service men and women our deepest thanks for their dedication and sacrifice. To all veterans and active military personnel everywhere, Bay & Bay Transportation humbly thanks you for all that you do, and truly appreciates the honor, sacrifice and commitment to duty you willfully provide everyday in defense of our great nation.