The first quarter of 2020 has been a busy one at J & M Tank Lines. While most companies are showing a slow-down in operations, we remain steady with more growth on the horizon. These first few months have allowed J & M to recognize the newest inductees to the J & M Million Mile Club, for those drivers who hit one million safe miles in 2018, and a company-wide Managers Meeting, allowing for terminal and shop managers to meet with corporate personnel to discuss current operations and team-building.

J & M Tank Lines Million Mile Club

In 2018, 11 of J & M’s Professional Drivers reached one million safe miles driven, which takes roughly nine years to accomplish pending no accidents or violations occur in that time. One driver was recognized for reaching two million safe miles driven, serving J & M for roughly 17 years. A formal dinner was hosted in Birmingham, Al for those from Alabama and another in Atlanta, Ga for those from Georgia. This dinner allowed million milers and their wives to be recognized for their achievements by J & M’s executive management and leadership.

The following professional drivers were recognized for reaching one million miles:

  • Charles Caesar – Sylacauga
  • Reginald Cureton – Sylacauga
  • Jerry McDonald – Sylacauga
  • Howard Melton – Sylacauga
  • Theodis Minor – Sylacauga
  • Stanley Jones – Sylacauga
  • Thomas Gartrell – Holly Springs
  • James Prettyman – Holly Springs
  • Kenneth Powell – Americus
  • Darrien Henderson – Calera
  • Charles Shavers – Calera

The following professional driver was recognized for reaching two million miles:

– Michael Yearby – Americus

Managers Meeting

The end of February brought a combined teambuilding and training session for all J & M corporate staff as well as terminal and shop managers. Over two days, terminal personnel, corporate personnel and executive management met to discuss each terminal’s needs and growth opportunities as well as an overview of J & M’s expectations for 2020.

This meeting provided these employees the opportunity to interact with those they rarely see face to face. These interpersonal relationships are crucial to the functions of J&M and provide time to find solutions and spark new ideas in a positive team environment.

J & M Tank Lines is blessed with a strong group of driven employees, that are working to help move the trucking industry forward. Our elite force of drivers, paired with motivated management and support staff, allows J & M Tank Lines to remain an industry leader.

We would like to congratulate, again, our 2018 Million Mile Club inductees for their dedication to safety, J & M Tank Lines and the trucking industry. Thank you to all of our J & M family for your continued service, we are looking forward to a great 2020!

New programs are developing in the trucking industry to test the abilities of drivers under the age of 21, in hope of opening a new market of professional truck drivers. It is currently legal for drivers as young as 18 years old to hold a CDL and travel intrastate, however they are not able to cross state lines or transport materials originated from another state.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched an Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program in order to test whether drivers under 21 years of age are as safe as those over 21 years of age. This study has the potential to open laws and regulations to allow professional truck drivers under the age of 21, to travel interstate with commodities from various origins.

This pilot program will hold two driver groups:

  1. Study Group – Drivers aged 18, 19 and 20 currently enlisted in a branch of The United States Military with one of seven specific military occupations. These drivers must be eligible to operate in intrastate commerce.
  2. Control Group – Drivers aged 21, 22, 23 and 24 currently enlisted in The United States Military with one of seven specific military occupations. These drivers must be eligible to operate in interstate commerce.

While drivers will age out of the pilot program upon turning 21 years old, carriers may continue to employ these drivers.

J & M Tank Lines is one of 23 motor carriers accepted into this pilot program and one of few which specializes in Dry-Bulk commodities with operations in the Southeastern United States.

Military occupations that are currently eligible are:

  • Army
    • 88M – Motor Transport Operator
    • 92F – Petroleum Supply Specialist
  • Air Force
    • 2T1 – Vehicle Operations
    • 2F0 – Fueler
    • 3E2 – Pavement and Construction Equipment Operator
  • Marine Corps
    • 3531 – Motor Vehicle Operator
  • Navy
    • EO – Equipment Operator

The FMCSA states that drivers must meet all requirements, except for age, for operating a CMV in interstate commerce. Drivers are not allowed to transport passengers or hazardous materials, nor operate special configuration vehicles; such as double or triple trailer combination or cargo tank vehicles.

Carrier members are required to provide monthly data submissions for each study or control group driver in addition to immediate reporting for accidents, convictions, alcohol or drug related incidents, leaving the company or leaving the pilot program.

For more information about the FMCSA Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program you many visit their website here and for a full list of carrier members, here.

The excitement and joy that spread across J & M Tank Lines’ Professional Driver, Darrien Henderson’s face told J & M Tank Lines’ CEO, Harold Sumerford, Jr. all he needed, to confirm he made the right choice by nominating Henderson for the NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year award.

Sumerford informed Henderson he is one of the eight finalists for the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) 2019-2020 Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year (PTTDY) award, shortly after its public release. Henderson immediately jumped for joy and could not believe it… he is going to Washington D.C. to stand with some the industries best professional drivers, himself included. Of these top eight finalists, one will be named the Grand Champion and awarded the William A. Usher, Sr. Trophy.

August 2019, the NTTC opened its application for the 2019-2020 PTTDY award. It takes a special kind of professional driver to qualify for this award and Sumerford wanted to be sure to nominate one of his drivers for this opportunity.

“It takes an elite driver to make it in the tank world,” said Sumerford. “I believe J & M has the best drivers in the industry and I want to make sure they are recognized for it through programs like the NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year award.”

About the NTTC PTTDY Award

The NTTC created the Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year award to recognize, pay tribute and promote professional tank truck drivers who provide reliable and safe transportation of all dry-bulk and liquid commodities.

The NTTC Safety Committee selects a driver based on his/her ability to operate safely and professionally, demonstrate leadership abilities within his/her company and the candidate’s contributions to the industry and community.

To be eligible for this award, a professional driver must be employed full-time with an NTTC carrier member or fleet associate member for three consecutive years. All applications are reviewed for their accuracy by the NTTC as well as signed by the member company’s CEO, Director of Safety and applicant.

Any NTTC carrier member or fleet associate member is eligible to nominate up to 2 candidates for review. The application consists of questions about the candidate regarding his/her personal and professional experiences, a written statement from the applicant and three letters of recommendation; one from the company and two non-company related. A copy of the applicant’s MVR is also mandatory to ensure a clean and safe driving history.

Of the submitted applicants, eight driver champion finalists are selected, and one grand champion driver is selected from these finalists as the NTTC Driver of the Year Award recipient.

The grand champion receives a tank truck trophy, an honorary jacket, a commemorative ring and two golf shirts. Also, the NTTC will make a $2,500 donation to a safety-related organization in the grand champion’s name.

Henderson posing with a 2019 Kenworth T680 day cab

About J & M Tank Lines’ Candidate:

Upon deciding J & M Tank Lines would submit a candidate for this year’s competition; Sumerford paired with J & M’s Vice President of Safety and Compliance, Dave Edmondson, Jr. to find the right candidate.

Not only did the candidate need to meet the technical qualifications set by the NTTC, but J & M wanted to take it a step further to find a candidate that would represent not only the company, but also someone who sets the example for professional drivers everywhere.

After weeks of an internal review, Henderson was one of five J & M drivers being considered. Following several phone-call interviews, Henderson was excited and eager to be the one to represent J & M Tank Lines on what could turn into a national scale.

“Darrien has earned the right and the privilege to stand among the best tank truck drivers in the country through his desire to be the best, his dedication to safety and his professional character,” said J & M Tank Lines’ President, Peter Sumerford. “He represents himself and our company with the kind of integrity and respect that can be rare to come by.”

Henderson and Edmondson will attend the PTTDY Finalist Interview portion in Washington D.C. on February 17 – 18. Following those interviews, Henderson will be invited back to D.C., with Sumerford and Edmondson to attend the NTTC Annual Conference May 3 -5 where the grand champion will be announced.

“I am just so honored that J & M recognizes the hard work I have put into my job,” said Henderson. “I have been with J & M for almost 10 years and a professional driver for 23. Opportunities like this don’t come often. I am so blessed to be considered for this award.”

Congratulations Darrien on becoming a finalist in this year’s NTTC Professional Tank Truck Driver of the Year competition. Your dedication to the industry, your customers and J & M are profound. Good luck in D.C.!

In 2018, J & M Tank Lines was honored to participate in Wreaths Across America, where a J & M 2018 Kenworth T680 sleeper cab and a new dry van with special wrapping, were dedicated to the cause. Vice President of Maintenance, Billy Lollar, volunteered to drive and deliver the wreaths assigned to J & M. Lollar worked with Andrew Petrofsky to map out routes and deliveries throughout Florida. Over a 7-day period, Lollar was dispatched by Petrofsky to each stop and cemetery location, delivering wreaths for our fallen heroes.

“The impact of it was surreal. How appreciative everyone was at each delivery and receiving the wreaths was heartwarming to see,” said Lollar. “I wasn’t prepared for the personal impact it would have on me, seeing how big of a role J & M was making in honoring these heroes.”

Vice President of Maintenance, Billy Lollar stands with dedicated equipment from 2018.

After such success and appreciation from both parties last year, J & M Tank Lines decided to participate again in 2019. Petrofsky led this year’s participation by opening an opportunity for one of J & M’s military-veteran drivers to make the trip. Veteran drivers had the opportunity to show their interest in the program by submitting an application through their terminal managers.

“The Wreaths Across America program is an incredible way for J & M to not only give back to our community, but also honor the veterans that are part of our J & M family,” said Petrofsky. “We look forward to many more years of participating.”

Left to Right: J & M Tank Lines CEO, Harold Sumerford, Jr., wife, Shannon Sumerford and J & M Tank Lines Vice President, Andrew Petrofsky.

Following an interview process; military-veteran and driver, John Howard, was selected to represent J & M Tank Lines. Howard served in the United States Marine Corps from 1982 to 1986 with the Golf Company, weapons platoon 2/8, 22 Marine Amphibious Unit in Grenada and Beirut, Lebanon. He bravely served his country as a part of the ‘83 Strike on Lebanon where his unit came under heavy fire from Syrian-held territory ending in the death of eight Marines and the injury of two others.

“It was a wonderful experience and I am honored that J & M chose me to represent our company by delivering these wreaths,” said Howard. “Every tombstone has a story to tell and I was proud to share some of my service and honor my fallen brethren.”

J & M Military – Veteran and Professional Driver, John Howard.

Howard was assigned 9 locations in Florida to deliver wreaths. He began his trip in Georgia and went to Mississippi to load the wreaths. Howard then started in North Florida, making his way south over a 7-day period, before returning to Georgia following his last stop on December 14.

“I have great pride in the ability to provide this service for those who have lost their lives defending our freedom,” said J & M Tank Lines CEO, Harold Sumerford, Jr. “Wreaths Across America provides us with a way to thank and remember our service men and women for generations to come.”

Left to Right: J & M Tank Lines President, Peter Sumerford and J & M Tank Lines CEO, Harold Sumerford, Jr.

It is a privilege to have John as a member of the J & M Family along with so many other service members. A special thank you to those who have served this great nation as we remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. For more information about Wreaths Across America or how you can participate, click here.

YOUR FIRST YEAR AS A TRUCK DRIVER IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY

There are a lot of things you will have to learn during your first year, and many drivers remember their first year as the most challenging part of their truck driving careers. Your first year will test you, but experienced drivers encourage first-year truckers to push through. It gets better! Driving a truck is like any other job; you have to pay your dues and gain experience to get where you want to be.

YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE CDL TRAINING FIRST

ou will start your first year with CDL courses and training. CDL training can take a couple of months to complete, and a lot of your time will be spent taking tests and spending time over the road with a driving trainer.

One thing a lot of truck drivers remember about their training is the awkwardness of spending so much time with a complete stranger in such a tight space. Some truck drivers remember liking their driving trainer, but some did not get along at all. Either way, truck drivers remember this experience as a rite of passage toward going solo.

Another thing drivers who have been through CDL training remember is that it doesn’t pay very well at first. You want to make sure that you have a financial plan in place as you get through this part of your first year.

The CDL training experience is very intense, but once you have completed it, you will have the knowledge you need to tackle your first year over the road. You may not make a lot of money your first year as you gain experience, but in the trucking business, more experience means more money.

YOU WILL HAVE TO ADJUST TO A LOT OF LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Most truckers spend their first year over the road for weeks on end. This is another trial a driver must endure to gain the experience they need to become a safe and reliable trucker. You can expect to encounter physical and psychological changes as you adjust to this new lifestyle.

Being out on the road for weeks at a time is a difficult adjustment, especially if you are in a relationship or have a family. It is crucial that you discuss how you are going to deal with the distance between you and your loved ones. Drivers who have made it through the first year suggest that you get a good cell phone plan so that you can keep in touch with friends and family as much as possible. A quick FaceTime with a friend will do a lot to help alleviate the loneliness of traveling by yourself for a long time.

You also get minimal downtime in your first year. You will probably struggle to adjust to erratic sleep patterns. Sometimes you will be able to get a good night’s sleep, but other times you will have to plan naps strategically throughout your day. It is crucial that you plan a daily schedule with rests and work breaks.

These lifestyle changes require a bit of adjustment, but eventually, you will get better at planning your daily sleep schedule, and you will find ways to keep in touch with friends and family.

YOU WILL LEARN TO MAKE SAFE DRIVING A PRIORITY

Many first-year drivers are prone to accidents out on the road. You need to do everything you can to avoid them because an accident will result in a stain on your DAC report and your CVOR. Experienced truckers advise that you focus on safe driving instead of worrying about logging the most miles in your first year. A clear driving record is the most important thing to a truck driver because it means better loads and better pay as you progress in your career.

During your first year, you still have a long way to go to prove yourself as a reliable truck driver, which results in lower pay and undesirable loads, unfavorable locations, and tight delivery/pickup schedules. Just keep in mind that as long as you continue to keep a clean driving record and show yourself to be someone to count on, you will eventually get the kind of loads you want to the places you want to go.

YOU WILL COME TO EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

According to experienced truck drivers, you learn to look for a silver lining in all things when you are out on the road. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In other words, don’t let yourself blow your top when someone cuts you off. The unexpected is going to happen when you are out for long periods during your first year: DOT checks, breakdowns, traffic jams, and bad weather.  Just keep in mind that everything that happens to you is a learning experience, and the more you advance, the more you will be prepared for in the future.

YOU WILL REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NEVER REALLY ALONE

Many first-year drivers aren’t prepared for how much their every move is monitored. Someone is always watching you. The Department of Transportation and law enforcement will be keeping an eye on you while you are on the road, and your employer will probably be keeping track of your speed, RPM, location, idle time, and sleep time. You are under a great deal of scrutiny, but you get used to it, and you may even come to appreciate that you aren’t entirely alone out there.

YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT IT GETS BETTER!

Everything gets easier after the first year. You will have a better understanding of how your truck works, how to navigate tricky areas, and you will have adjusted to the lifestyle. Just keep in mind that after you get through the trials and tribulations of the first year, you will find yourself in a very profitable career.

At J&M Tank Lines, we hire drivers with 18 months of experience, and we offer more benefits and more home time than many other trucking companies. We know that your first year out there is challenging, but it gets better, especially if you become a member of our trucking family.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BECOME PART OF THE J&M TANKLINES FAMILY

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.

Are you trying to decide whether you want to drive for a trucking company or invest in your own truck? Many truck drivers struggle with this decision. We help you navigate the different questions you might have and explain why we think driving for a company like J&M  can offer more freedom than driving your own truck. 

OWNER-OPERATOR OR COMPANY DRIVER: WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

As an owner-operator, you get to pick your own rig, who your clients will be, and you are the one who decides how much of your profits go into maintaining your business and how much will go into your salary and investments. It seems like you have a lot more freedom and a lot more money in your pocket driving for yourself compared to being a company driver, but this might not be the case for most truckers.  

There are a lot of upfront expenses and operation costs that come with owning and operating your own truck. You can expect to spend $6,000 to $15,000 upfront in addition to the cost of your truck and equipment. After that, the costs for operating your truck include insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs, permits, registration, and transportation claims. Many owner-operators have a very slim profit margin, and they are afforded very little time at home in order to maintain that margin.

As an owner-operator, you will also spend a lot of your time off the road focusing on the business side of things: managing your books, getting clients, and answering phone calls and emails. You are also responsible for keeping up with your own maintenance schedule and repairs.

When you calculate all of the costs of maintaining your truck and the time-consuming headache of running your own business, you may end up having a lot less freedom and profitability than if you drove a company truck.

THE PERKS OF BEING A COMPANY DRIVER

We can’t speak for all trucking companies, but when you drive for a trucking company like J&M Tank Lines, you have the benefit of company oversight. You don’t have to worry about the business side of things or keeping up with maintenance on your truck. Our drivers are also covered if something goes wrong out on the road.

Driving for a trucking company removes the headache of complying with repair and maintenance requirements on your own. At J&M, for example, you have the benefit of maintenance crews that help you keep up with your maintenance schedule, and you’re able to get back on the road in another company truck.

J&M allows drivers to focus solely on driving, and they provide the consistency that is not always easy for owner-operators to find on their own. As a company driver, you always have a client, and J&M has a minimum guarantee to make sure drivers are still able to earn a paycheck if something happens to cause a slow-down. Not all trucking companies offer benefits like this minimum guarantee, but J&M does – it’s just another way we make driving for a company more beneficial for the truck driver. We also offer health insurance, 401(k), paid vacations, and performance bonuses.

When you own and operate a truck, it is challenging to find quality time for yourself and for spending time with your family because your time off is spent maintaining your business. When you drive for J&M, your time off is spent more with family and less on if you will have another load after your reset. Once you climb out of your cab, you can leave the job behind and enjoy your life without having to worry about all of the extra work and expense that comes with owning and operating your own truck.

J&M Tank Lines takes pride in their elite tanker drivers, and they make sure their drivers thrive by offering consistency, benefits, and competitive pay. Driving for some other trucking companies may not be better than owning and operating your own truck, but you can definitely count on J&M to handle the logistics and maintenance so you can get on the road!

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BECOME PART OF THE J&M TANKLINES FAMILY

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.

Are you one of the millions of people in the U.S. who are either underemployed or can’t find a job at all? A lot of people think there is a shortage of good paying jobs in America, and you probably hear a lot about the unemployment rate.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a shortage of truck drivers with a good record. The transportation industry is rapidly growing, as are its need for reliable drivers. You may be considering becoming a truck driver, and if you are, you may be wondering if you can make good money driving a truck?

CAN YOU MAKE GOOD MONEY DRIVING A TRUCK?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truckers earn a median annual wage of $43,680, which is more than the median wage for all jobs, and the top 10% of truck drivers make more than $60,000 per year. You may not make a lot when you start out, but after you get that first year or so of driving under your belt, you will have the experience you need to make a dependable living as a truck driver.

Some companies pay more than others, and trucking companies that pay the best want the best drivers. It’s like any other job; if you’re going to advance and make more money, you have to get more experience and have a good work record. Once you gain enough mileage, the right credentials, and if you keep a clean driving record, truck driving can be a very lucrative career path.

The main struggle for most truck drivers is finding the right company to drive for. A lot of companies treat their drivers like they are just numbers. These companies don’t pay very well and often don’t offer any benefits. The goal for most drivers after their first year or so is to find a company that will allow them to earn a good income and to have a life that isn’t entirely over the road.

J&M OFFERS MORE THAN JUST A GOOD PAYCHECK.

Drivers at J&M can earn up to make $80,000 a year. We also offer benefits that many trucking companies don’t: health and dental insurance, 401(k), paid vacations, holidays, and bonuses for performance, referrals, and clean inspections.

We also have a minimum guarantee so that if anything happens to cause a slowdown, our drivers still get a paycheck. For instance, during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 when Houston flooded, a lot of drivers were stuck and not making any money, but our drivers were still getting paid. Our guaranteed weekly minimum acts as a safety net, and it offers consistency that many truck drivers for other companies don’t have.

The main benefit that attracts drivers to our company is more home time. Truck drivers at other companies, especially long-haul drivers, can expect to be out for weeks on end with only a five-day break. At J&M, even our long-haul drivers are only spending a maximum of five days at a time over the road, regional drivers are typically on the road for 2-3 nights a week, and our local drivers are home almost every night.

WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR: BASIC DRIVER QUALIFICATIONS

There are no endorsements required to drive for J&M, but you must have at least 18 months of verifiable tractor-trailer experience, and you must be at least 25-years of age. We have a great team of driver trainers who provide intense hands-on training to help drivers transition into hauling pneumatic tanks.

J&M strives to make sure its drivers make a good paycheck while still getting to spend quality time with their families. It may take a little bit of time and a small investment to get there, but once you do, you can definitely make a great living driving a truck, especially if you drive for J&M Tank Lines.

Learn more about how to become part of the J&M Tank Lines family

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.

BECOME A MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY

Are you an experienced truck driver? Would you like less time on the road and more time with your family without sacrificing your paycheck? At J&M Tank Lines, we understand that the life of a truck driver is not an easy one. It can be a strain on the driver and their family. As a family-oriented company, J&M Tank Lines is different. We are dedicated to the success and fulfillment of everyone who works for us. With over 70 years of industry experience, we understand how much our employees value their time with family, which is why we offer our experienced and elite tanker drivers the opportunity to drive locally and get home more often.

Our drivers become part of our family. Most trucking companies treat their drivers like commodities, and they don’t care about anything but their bottom line. J&M Tank Lines cares about the happiness and fulfillment of the individual behind the wheel of our trucks. We want nothing but the best for the members of our family.

WE WANT THE MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY TO BE THEREFOR THE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE.

We know how important your family is to you because we ourselves are a family-owned company. We want our employees to feel like they can be there for the important things in life without feeling bad for taking the time off. You shouldn’t have to miss weddings, proms, and other significant events because you are worried about the pressure of getting back on the road, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice a paycheck to be there for those things. We work with our employees to make sure they can balance their personal lives with their work lives without losing the income they need to support their families.

Since 85% of our jobs are local, our drivers can get compensated for their hard work while still being there for their families. You’ve done your time over the road in a truck. It’s about time for you to spend more time at home. As one of our local truck drivers, you will be able to live at home and not over the road.

WE WANT THE MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY TO SUCCEED.

At J&M Tank Lines, you are more than just a number. We maintain high standards for who we put behind the wheel, and our drivers represent the best in the industry in the Southeast. We invest a lot in our employees, and no part of our employee family is seen as disposable.

As a family-oriented company, we want to show you that you are appreciated, and we want our family of drivers to be fulfilled. We respect our drivers and their hard work, so we offer them an opportunity to do more than just bump docks; we offer them the ability to advance in their career.

WE WANT THE MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY TO GET HOMESAFE.

We know your family worries about you out there on the road. The most important thing is for our drivers to get home safely. That is why we have made efforts to have an award-winning safety record:

  • First place Tank Truck division in 2018 (Alabama Trucking Association)
  • First Place in the Tanker Division | Lowest Accident Frequency 2016 (Alabama Trucking Association)
  • GMTA Safety Award Grand Champion | All Miles Traveled in 2015

As a tanker driver for J&M Tank Lines, you truly become a member of our family. We genuinely value your safety, your family, and your respect. We offer opportunity, benefits, and consideration for what is most important in your life – That’s not something a lot of other tanker companies can say.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BECOME PART OF THE J&M TANKLINES FAMILY

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.

If you’ve ever considered becoming a truck driver, there’s never been a better time to make the career move. In our growing economy, employment of heavy equipment and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 6 percent from now until 2026. The economy depends on truck drivers to transport freight and keep supply chains moving; as the demand for goods increases, more truck drivers are needed. We have answered some FAQ to give other motorists and those interested in driving, an idea of what goes into the trucking industry and what is required of drivers.

HOW DO I BECOME A TRUCK DRIVER?

To become a commercial truck driver, you’ll need to get a commercial driver’s license through your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Before you can pass the required exam, you’ll probably need to enroll in a truck driving school, which typically takes about 7 weeks. Depending on whether you want a Class A or Class B license, the cost can range from $3,000 to $7,000. Generally, the more time you have to spend training to earn your chosen license, the more you should plan to spend on tuition. You may even qualify for financial aid to help with the cost of truck driving school.  

HOW MUCH DO TRUCK DRIVERS EARN?

Some drivers are paid by the hour, while others are paid by the mile. The average driver earns about $45,000 per year, but drivers who are paid by the mile may earn more than hourly drivers, drawing in between $0.27 and $0.40 per mile for approximately 2,000 miles each week.  

Drivers can be paid a variety of ways, the most common is to be paid by the hour, by the mile or by a percentage of the load. The average driver earns about $45,000 per year but depending on how they are paid, some drivers may earn more than others. Another key factor that can go into a driver’s pay is whether they use a company truck or if they own and operate their own. Which routes drivers are open to driving can also play a large role in their yearly income.

HOW LONG DO THEY DRIVE?

Truckers are limited to a total of 11 hours of drive time during each 14-hour period, and they’re required to have 10 or more consecutive hours off between each 14-hour period. The 14-hour window begins when any kind of work starts, even if it’s not actually driving.  

HOW DO THEY STAY AWAKE?

Most truck drivers find that the responsibilities of managing and driving a large truck are more than enough to keep them engaged behind the wheel. That, combined with mandatory limitations on drive time, mean most truckers have no trouble remaining alert while driving. Some drivers also invest in satellite radio, audiobooks or podcasts to listen to on the road to keep them engaged.

WHERE DO TRUCK DRIVERS SLEEP?

Most over-the-road (OTR) semi-trucks have a twin size bed that pulls down from the wall of the cab, so drivers can sleep wherever they can park. Of course, just like a car, a truck can’t run all night during sleep hours. So when it’s too warm or too cold to sleep comfortably without heat or air conditioning, many truckers will stay at a motel to avoid losing any sleep.

Most over-the-road (OTR) drivers have sleeper trucks that have a twin sized bed in the back of the cab, so drivers can sleep wherever they can park. Some trucks even have generators, microwaves, mini-fridges and televisions to help drivers be more comfortable. Some companies also will give drivers a daily stipend they can choose to use on food or a hotel room if they wish.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRUCKING JOBS?

Yes, there are several different options depending on how you want to drive and who you want to work for. First, you can choose between being a solo or a team OTR driver. Team drivers can log more miles because the truck never stops moving (your partner drives while you rest and vice versa), and they split the pay, which can average up to $100,000-$150,000 per year.

Next, you can choose to be a dedicated driver — who drives for a single company and typically spend more time at home — or work as a truck driver trainer once you’ve had a chance to gain some experience. Trainers can earn more than a typical driver, bringing home as much as $60,000 to $80,000 per year.

Finally, if you like the idea of working for yourself, you can become an owner-operator. As the name implies, this option means you own the truck you drive, which puts the responsibility for insurance and maintenance entirely on you.  

Truck driving continues to be a growing career opportunity, and it requires a relatively small investment of time and money to get started. If the freedom of the open road is calling you, maybe it’s time to answer. Visit J & M Tank to learn more about job opportunities and apply online.  


J & M Tank is a family owned trucking company that has been in business since 1948. We have terminals located in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas.  

We have an elite team of tanker drivers at J&M. Our great drivers are what set us apart from other companies – they are why we are known as one of the top transportation companies in the Southeast. People who drive for us know that we are a family company that respects our employees and drivers and that we want them to succeed and thrive within our company.

MEET OUR DRIVERS: JOHNNY CHERGOTAKOS

Johnny started out as a tanker driver and is now a recruiter for J&M Tank Lines. Like Johnny, many of our truck drivers have had the opportunity to advance their careers within our company. He answers some of our questions about what his journey has been like working for J&M Tank Lines.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE J&M TANK LINES?

Johnny started driving for J&M in 2016. Before he started, he compared many different companies and what they had to offer. He found that J&M was the perfect place for him as he was looking to begin a new career.

Johnny says, “It seemed like everything I wanted. When I was doing my research on starting a new career, It seemed like J&M had the best home-time, pay, benefits, just a better package overall. So I chose them, and I’m glad I did. It’s been a great company. I love driving for them.”

WHAT KIND OF HOME TIME DO J&M DRIVERS RECEIVE?

Johnny found that J&M had a lot of options for drivers and the kind of time they want to spend in a truck over the road. He also discovered that no matter if you are local or long-haul, J&M drivers spend more time at home than drivers for other companies.

He explains, “We run regional, we’ve got some local, we’ve got some long-haul. Our local guys are just that, they’re local; they’re home most nights. Regional guys are typically out 2-3 nights a week. Even our long-haul guys, they might be out maybe 5 days a week. So even our long-haul isn’t out weeks on end with a 5-day break.” 

J&M understands how important time at home with family is. We make sure drivers like Johnny are able to get home as much as possible.

WHY DID YOU STICK AROUND?

As Johnny discovered from the very start, we are a company that shows our employees respect through our candor and by doing whatever we can to make things run smoothly.

He states, “J&M was pretty straight forward and honest from the get-go; everything they said, they lived up to. As long as I did the work and did my job, got my loads there on time, they took care of me. The pay was good, and the operations are awesome. Dispatch is some of the best guys I ever worked with.”

J&M is also a company who cares for the well-being of our drivers. We know that everyone is going to have some hard times in life, and we are there for each other when they do. That’s why drivers like Johnny stick around.

“Rarely did I miss work,” Johnny states, “but if something serious came up, there were no questions asked. They would have my back. I felt like I was part of a family instead of a number. I had no reason to look anywhere else.”

WHAT WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH THE DISPATCHERS AND MAINTENANCE?

As Johnny noticed, we make sure communication channels are always open and that every employee treats each other with respect.

He says, “Working with my dispatchers was like working with a buddy. We always communicated, and communication was really important to me. They’re good guys. They’re trained well. They don’t treat you like a number. They treat you like an individual, the way they should. They treat you like a coworker.”

In addition to communication with dispatchers, drivers are notified when it is time for service on their trucks. Most of the trucks in our fleet are newer models. Even so, they still need maintenance from time to time. Drivers for other trucking companies often butt heads with the people who perform maintenance on their rigs. Johnny’s experience with J&M was much different.

Johnny says, “My maintenance guy made sure to let me know when my truck was due for service way in advance. They are a great crew that gets stuff done really quick.”

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DID YOU GET?

We have excellent driver trainers at J&M. Most of our drivers already have truck driving experience when they join us, but pneumatic tanks present their own unique challenges and require training to get used to.

Johnny remembers his training experience, “I’d never driven pneumatic tanks before, but I’d driven just about everything else. My trainer went over everything pretty textbook and gave me five days of pretty intense hands-on training. And after five days, I felt like I’d been doing it my whole life.”

Johnny also became a driver trainer himself. One of the most rewarding parts of Johnny’s job was, as he says, “getting those guys to not only being able to operate the truck but doing it safely and doing it well. Getting feedback from dispatch saying, hey, that guy you trained is doing a killer job out there.”

From day one, we are dedicated to the success and fulfillment of our drivers, as Johnny experienced as both a driver and a trainer.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SLOW TIMES WHERE YOU DON’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY?

Driving a truck has its ups and downs, but we make sure our drivers feel secure, especially during the low points.

Johnny explains, “Your paycheck’s not a salary; it’s what you get out there and earn. So paychecks may vary, but they stay pretty much in the same range.”

The main concern for drivers and their paychecks is when there is a slow-down, as is the case with some things like cement during December and January, but J&M has a minimum guarantee to act as a safety net and help drivers when things like slow-downs happen.

Johnny says, “Even when it slows down, it’s less customer freight, but you’re still doing a lot of stock transfers. So you’re staying busy. That’s why J&M has its minimum guarantee. We’ve got a safety net there that pays out at most of our terminals, and if anything was to happen, for instance when it flooded in Houston, and all those drivers were just sitting there not getting paid, our drivers were getting paid. That’s the purpose of the safety net.”

We value our drivers and their livelihoods. Johnny’s experience is an example of what we strive for with all of our employees. We want everyone who works for us to feel respected and to be rewarded in their work. Johnny states that working for us is like “being a part of a family,” and that’s just what we are: A great big family.

LEARN MORE ABOUT J&M TANK LINES EXCEPTIONAL DRIVERS

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.