February 7, 2017

A Career as a Truck Driver

valerie bourret
by Valérie Bourret

Rumor says they only drive, sit behind the wheel all day, simply go from point A to point B. Yet truck drivers do much more than that! They plan their day, brave traffic and difficult weather conditions, manage stress when the unexpected happens, help clients unload and, above all, keep calm when rushing drivers disappear into their blind spots!

Go Behind the Scenes and Learn About Mathieu Pétrin, Truck Driver at Bourret

What Is Your Professional Background?

I was a farm worker on a large crop farm where I was driving dump trucks. I was then a single-drop deck platform semi-trailer driver for two years. Machinery transportation led me to Bourret, where I have been working for seven years. I worked in every sector of Bourret and held different positions, working early morning or late at night. This year, I am in charge of transportation in Trois-Rivières.

How Do You Prepare Yourself for Departure?

I start by visually inspecting my truck and trailer. I receive my roadmap with the delivery tickets. The trailer is then loaded according to these deliveries, either by sector or according to client appointments. I make sure everything is organized according to my roadmap and I complete my inspection checklist.

What Are the Main Challenges?

Searching for addresses. Even though I have an assigned route to follow, there are always new customers. I even do residential delivery, generally for customers I will only see once. Also, anything regarding the road is a challenge; I drive into town a lot, so sometimes I have to back up on a main boulevard, and in those cases, car driver courtesy is sometimes put to the test! In this work, where stretches of road can become routine, you must always remain vigilant.

How Is Driving in the Summer and Winter?

Conditions are better in summer, that is for sure! In winter, you must remove the snow from your trailer roof to not inconvenience car drivers. When I make deliveries with the tailgate, it is more difficult; the jigger can’t move in the snow. So I have to find methods to back up as close as possible to the customer’s door. In summer, I do not have to think about that sort of thing! Also, this winter, there was a lot of water on the roads, so I had to be careful.

What Types of Materials Do You Carry?

It varies a lot. It could be tires, boxes, steel bars, plastic pipes, small machine units, pallets… I also had to transport motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles. If goods can fit in an enclosed trailer, Bourret will find a way to deliver them!

How Do You Handle Unexpected Events?

Upon delivery, customers sometimes expect to see a flatbed trailer, and I arrive with a closed trailer. Reading the delivery ticket before leaving, I can guess the customer may not have a forklift to carry his freight. I then inform my dispatcher to contact the client so he can prepare for the delivery.

What Is Your Greatest Achievement?

During my years at Bourret, I have carved out my place and gained experience in closed trailer driving. Bourret offered me this opportunity and I seized it!

What Are the Advancement Opportunities?

Since departures happen at any time, a truck driver with seniority can choose his departure hours. The schedule is flexible. It is also possible to do long-distance transportation and to sleep in the truck. Besides the truck driver jobs, you can apply as a lift-truck operator or a dispatcher. I was a dispatcher for eight months, for example.

And You Went Back to Driving Trucks?

Yes! I am crazy about truck driving!

What Qualities Are Essential to Properly Perform Your Work?

It takes vigilance, patience and resourcefulness. You have to know how to look well in front of customers. If you are courteous, some customers will be willing to give you a hand. For example, if I have a pallet to move in the trailer and the customer has a forklift, he might offer to help me and do it. I also have to manage my stress, especially in the afternoon during pickups – some businesses close early, so I have to manage my time well.

What Are the Misconceptions About Your Job?

People think it is easy and requires only driving! But driving, locally or long distance, is demanding! You must also be in good shape, because there is handling to do, boxes to unpile, building stairs to climb, etc.

What Is Your Advice for Someone Who Wants a Career in This Field?

You have to be flexible and ready to work long hours. You would be wrong to imagine that it is easy to adapt or to lighten your schedule, as in reality, even for local transportation, you never know exactly what time you will be back home.

What Do You Like the Most About Your Work?

Its diversity: every day is a different day. Once I leave in the morning to make my deliveries, there is always something unexpected happening! Starting in the morning, I have 15 or 16 clients and I’m on the go! There is never a day without a challenge and I like to perform well. My goal is to leave with a loaded truck in the morning and bring it loaded again in the evening.

What Are the Advantages of Working at Bourret?

We have good benefits and salary. Bourret is a Drummondville company with a great reputation and is always open to suggestions from its employees.

Are You Interested in a Position with Bourret?

If you have the experience and skills to meet the challenges of a truck driver or another position at Transport Bourret, please send us your application now!

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