Fuel for Thought
What To Drive ?
Vans have the lowest threshold for qualifying to enter into the world of expediting. It seems that almost daily there is someone on ExpeditersOnline.com forums asking about carriers willing to take on another van. While most vanners will offer their advice to the prospective driver, it seems the overwhelming majority of current vanners will suggest that the ‘Newbie’ get a straight truck and run as a team. They will state facts such as : There are too many vans now, get a straight truck or No one is hiring vans right now, runa team straight truck or something to that effect. While this may be sound advice about the number of vans, suggesting that a person who wants to drive a van go to a straight truck may not be the best solution for them. They will usually need more qualifications, a more expensive vehicle (unless they drive for a fleet owner), more experience in the vehicle, and so on. Also, they may just not want to drive that large of a vehicle and deal with all the regulations. I’m not saying whether they should stick with the van or not, I’m just saying maybe sending a wannabe vanner into a straight truck is not always the best idea.
There is nothing wrong with driving a straight truck, I drive one, but if someone told me there were too many straight trucks and to go with a tractor trailer, I would not. I prefer this size of truck. Also, I drive solo, not as a team. Team straight trucks and team vans work very well for many out here on the road, but it is not the best fit for everyone, especially for someone who wants to drive a van solo.
I have read about many drivers on ExpeditersOnline.com who change vehicle types to find a better fit for themselves. Vanners that went to straight trucks and then on to tractor trailer and vice versa. Tractor trailer drivers who went to van driving and vanners who went directly to tractor trailer.
One thing I haven’t seen as often is a ‘Newbie’ asking about who is putting on straight trucks and being told to go get a tractor.
There is a lot of sage advice to be found in the EO forums. Most everyone wants to see others succeed, which is the basis for steering potential vanners in another direction, but if they are not wanting, willing or qualified to step up in vehicle size, you may as well tell them to just do anything else they are actually qualified to do. And many do tell them that but so many of the newcomers cannot take blunt facts without being insulted.
Whenever I run across someone out here asking questions about expediting, if they say they are wanting to drive a van, I tell them to call all the carriers they are interested in first to see if any even want another van. I’ll tell them to read on EO, and keep asking drivers questions anywhere they can find them and to attend an EO workshop and The Expedite Expo.
See you down the road,
It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously.
- Logan Pearsall Smith