Getting Into Expedite
So, you want to be an expediter, do you?
The expedite industry has witnessed a recent infusion of renewed interest in driving opportunities, but driver training programs need additional resources and instructors to handle the influx of such folks who are eager to join the party. This has shown to prove consistent within both independent driver training schools and carriers that have their own training programs.
What Exactly Does This Mean?
Expedite carriers typically will work with drivers who have at least a year's worth of verifiable driving experience in a tractor, specifically for those who wish to stay in an 18-wheeler. But for those who want to drive commercially in a straight truck or cargo van, the required experience is often nothing more than obtaining a commercial Class B or Class C license.
So, in the sense of driving for an expedite company, the probability of finding an opportunity comes down to what type of actual driver training does each individual come equipped with? Most expediters aren't going to train drivers to go out and get their CDL, but rather they'll take what experience you've already achieved, leaving it up to the driver to go about obtaining a commercial license on their own.
This can include going through a local driving school and spending a few months training on rules, regulations, and even some time behind the wheel. But the required experience isn't going to be met through class-time alone. Drivers wanting to get behind the wheel of a big rig will have to gather up their Class A driving experience by going with a carrier who, more than likely, will give them the actual road experience and on-the-job training that expediters covet.
So, What Are Your Options?
Think of it in terms of the old chicken versus the egg adage. What's going to have to come first, in this case, is the driver taking it upon themselves to do their research into what they'd like to do. Take the path of least resistance by studying for a Class B or Class C driving test and then go that route? Or aspire to make the big bucks by driving a big rig but knowing that the work needing to be applied is going to be more time consuming and tedious.
That's not to play lightly with the roles a Sprinter or straight truck driver are accustomed to dealing with, as every driving job has its own hurdles and obstacles to overcome. It's no secret that driving a tractor in the expedite realm is going to be the path to greater pay opportunities, so each driver coming into the industry is going to have to reckon for themselves what their best option will be.
What to Consider
To break it down plainly, the typical options most expedite drivers will have to consider are as follows:
- Obtain a Class C license, with little to no required experience, in order to drive a Sprinter or cargo van for an expedite carrier.
- Obtain a Class B license, but keep in mind that some carriers will require verifiable driving experience while others will take an open approach that allows Class B drivers to come aboard without such experience.
- Obtain a Class A license, in which an expediter will typically require at least one year of verifiable tractor driving experience before allowing a driver to come aboard. This means that an aspiring expedite tractor driver will have to either get their tractor experience at a carrier that has already trained them and employed them. Or receive their Class A training at a certified driving school, and then gather their 18-wheeled experience with a company that will take newbies.
As it stands today, the bar for drivers to get hired has been raised. Just make sure to do your due diligence and look into all options and avenues before you decide to join the truck driving workforce. While it can certainly be rewarding, there is undoubtedly a stronger sense of companies knowing what they want out of their drivers. So, you'd better be sure to know what you want out of yourself before you take that first step into the expedite world.