This article is step 15 in our multi-step Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a CDL Driver. To read the entire guide follow the link above to be taken to our step by step slideshow.
By now you should be well on your way to finally starting new career as a truck driver. You have narrowed down your choices for companies you want to work for and you have finally selected who the lucky employer is going to be. It is now time for new hire orientation. Are you sure you are prepared to go? Usually, all trucking companies will provide you with their own list of items that they want you to bring with you, but we thought we would cover some of the basics just in case. (This is by no means a complete list as some companies may require further information or documentation):
Classroom & Paperwork
1. CDL – Do we even have to list this? You should always carry with you no matter what, but through the years we have heard stories about drivers be kicked out of orientation because the forgot to bring their CDL. This is one of the most important documents you will need.
2. Social Security Card or Birth Certificate – For tax purposes companies need two forms of ID. Your CDL is one and your Social Security Card or Birth Certificate can be used as another.
3. A Voided Check – If a company offers direct deposit, you will need to make sure to have a voided check with you so that you can provide the proper numbers to the company. If you do not have a checking account many companies have the option of paying you via a Comdata card or some companies can load a Green Dot money card available for purchase at any Walmart. You will need to check in on this.
4. Social Security Numbers and Birth Dates – for spouses and any dependents. This info is typically needed to health insurance purposes if you are going to enroll in coverage and it could be needed for life insurance.
5. Detailed work history – This is probably the most time consuming thing that you will need to get together. Most companies require you to fill out a full 10 year work history in orientation so don’t be that driver that is holding up orientation for others because it is taking you 2 hours to fill out your work history.
6. A Pen and Notebook – You will want to have these things so you can take any notes you may need.
7. Medications – If you are currently taking any medications you will want to bring your supply with you so you do not interrupt your dosages. Ask your recruiter how long you will be away from home at a time so you can properly prepare. In many cases your Dr. can prescribe multiple months of your medication at a time if they know your profession does not allow you to get to the pharmacy frequently.
Getting on the Road
1. Bedding, sheets, pillows – No one wants to experience getting into a truck for the first time and being required to sleep on a mattress that does not have any bedding on it. Make your life more enjoyable by bringing bedding with you or having the funds needed to stop at a department store to buy new ones after you get into your truck.
3. GPS – Even though our phones have GPS these days you might have better luck with a GPS designed for Truck Routes.
4. Headset for your cell phone – It is illegal for any commercial driver to use a cell phone without a hands free device so make sure you can talk hands-free while on the road.
5. Laundry bag and detergent. We have found that having a bag for your dirty laundry and purchasing the Pod type detergent works the best while in a truck.
6. 1 Week’s worth of clothing. Depending upon how often you will be able to do your laundry and how much space you will have for your belongings we recommend bringing as many clothes as you can.
These are pretty much the basics. If you are going through a training program that requires you to stay in the same truck as your trainer then remember that you will be a guest in your trainer’s truck so pack as light as possible. Once you obtain your own truck, you can then make it your own home.