Over-the-road driver Frankie Faulk answered a few questions about her career on the road in a recent interview with The Trucker.
Q: Where do you call home?
A: Lumberton, North Carolina
Q: How long have you been a truck driver?
A: Two years
Q: How long do you spend on the road at a time?
A: This varies for me since I’m a mother, but typically, no longer than three months. I try my best to make it home for holidays, birthdays, school open houses, first day of school and special occasions. In the summer, I bring one of my children with me and we ride for three months. They love it because it enhances what they’ve learned about different states from their textbooks.
Q: Why did you seek a career as a truck driver?
A: When it was time to take family road trips, I was always ready, and I volunteered to be the designated driver. My family often complimented my driving skills and told me that I was a great driver. Once I got serious about switching careers, I started researching the trucking industry to see if it would be a good fit for someone like me — a woman and mother of three children. I found out that there are so many women and moms in the industry doing what I wanted to do — drive. The reason I chose to drive for Prime is because they celebrate women in the industry.
Q: Will you tell us a little about being a lease operator?
A: Being a lease operator, or independent contractor, is like running your own small business but having the safety net of still being with a company at the same time. To me, being a lease operator is the best of both worlds. You don’t force dispatch, and it comes with more freedom than being a company driver.
Q: What did you look for in a trucking company to lease to?
A: I actually didn’t know much about leasing. Initially, my thought was not to buy a truck but to be a truck driver. However, when I was researching schools for my commercial driver’s license (CDL), Prime was one of my top three choices. I followed Prime on social media, read their reviews on indeed.com, and read their website, which lists all the options they offer. When I was in training at Prime, my trainer talked with me about lease-purchase opportunities. I then weighed the pros and cons and decided that leasing was the best choice for me.
Q: What’s your advice to anyone looking to become a truck driver?
A: For women who want to come on the road, understand you are not alone. We are out here doing it and making it look great! If you have children and they are smaller, I would wait until they are older. If you have a support system at home, that’s definitely a plus. Do your own research about companies, and jot down the pros and cons of your top choices. Go where you feel is best for you. Come with an open mind, be teachable, have patience and LEARN. Don’t stop learning.
Q: More specifically what is your advice for anyone looking to become a lease operator?
A: The trucking industry is constantly evolving and requires a commitment to the craft. As with any business, it has its ups and downs, but the good outweighs the bad. My advice for anyone looking to become a lease operator is to research the options available in the industry — and never be afraid to ask questions. This is one of the most diverse industries that I have worked in. It includes many different people who have been driving for years, and newbies like myself. Everyone will have an opinion, but you have to find the option that works best for you. For me, the multiple short- and long-term leasing options offered by Prime were a good match with my career goals. To find your match, educate yourself on the leasing programs available in the industry and select the option that closely aligns with your career goals.