When you think of truck driving, what comes to mind? The open road, sleeping in a bunk at night, and the freedom to go where you want. Truck drivers often enjoy this lifestyle, but there’s more to being a truck driver than just hitting the open road. From hours of service rules to safety regulations, there’s a lot that goes into being a successful truck driver. This blog post will walk you through everything you need to know about becoming a truck driver and succeeding in this career. So, whether you’re considering becoming a truck driver or are just curious about what it entails, keep reading for all the details.
Truck driving as a profession
If you’re considering becoming a truck driver, it’s important that you understand all there is to know behind this profession before jumping right in. Truck driving as a profession has seen a decline in recent years due to the rise of hiring regulations, causing many individuals looking at truck driving as a career option to be turned away. However, with new regulations being put into place and expected growth over the next decade, individuals looking for a strong career change have started to look towards truck driving.
While some people may enjoy this lifestyle, others do not realize what goes into becoming a successful truck driver.
The first thing you should know about becoming a truck driver is that it’s not for everyone. This profession requires a lot of time spent on the road, and to be successful you will need to enjoy working long hours. In addition to spending much of their days behind the wheel, many truck drivers spend nights in their cabs all alone in parking lots or fast-food restaurants waiting for their next load assignment in the morning.
Though this lifestyle may sound ideal, there’s a lot more going on when it comes to being a truck driver than simply driving around all day and night. Truck drivers are subject to strict hours of service rules. These rules state how much time can pass between restarting your hours after they expire. For example, if your 14-hour clock expires at 2 AM, you cannot restart it until 9 AM. Because of this rule, truck drivers can often find themselves driving around all night with only a few hours of sleep.
On top of the time spent on the road, many safety regulations must be followed when taking load assignments. These include physical exams, which can even require bloodwork, drug screenings at random times, and background checks conducted by federal agencies like the FBI. Truckers are expected to meet these standards as well as pass DOT inspections before they can haul freight across state lines.
When all is said and done, becoming a professional truck driver takes patience and hard work; but for those who enjoy spending time on the open road working with their hands, the benefits of becoming a truck driver far outweigh the cons.
What are the benefits?
Now that you know the basics of what it takes to be a truck driver let’s talk about some of the benefits.
For most drivers, one of the biggest benefits is earning potential. Of course, every company pays differently; but in general, truckers are paid by how many miles they drive and for how long they’re on the clock. Some companies even pay additional bonuses if their trucks reach certain milestones or complete pickups early.
Like any other profession, there are also yearly vacation weeks where drivers can take time off without worrying about deadlines or customer service. Though this may not sound like much, most trucking companies require you to use your vacation time in blocks; it is an important safety net compared to other job opportunities.
In addition to the benefits seen in other professions, truck drivers also have access to discounts from major companies. Many of these discounts are used for necessities such as food and gas, but some trucking companies even offer discount hotel rates or free memberships to major retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco. Of course, all of these perks come with a price.
Working for a company
Working for a company is not a nine-to-five job, and if you’re a night owl, a truck driver may be the perfect role for you. Though most companies require drivers to work from about 5 AM to 10 PM, some companies let their drivers choose their own schedules as long as they meet weekly requirements. In most cases, this choice is made based on customer requests; but in some cases, it can be given out at random or made based on seniority levels.
Working as an owner-operator
Many drivers choose to become independent and work as an owner-operator. Though this comes with more responsibility and a greater upfront cost, it offers superior earnings potential and extra freedom. As an owner-operator, truckers can set their load requests based on demand, which means they can pick up loads that are closest to them rather than having to travel for hours to pick up one load.
Owner-operators make more money because they keep all of the profits from their loads, but no one is around to help if something breaks down or goes wrong. This is why some companies even offer owner-operator bonuses in exchange for loyalty. Working as an owner-operator has its pros and cons, but once you find the carrier right for you, you’ll love your job.
If you want to know how to get more owner-operator loads, this guide is an amazing place to start.
Experience is everything
While some companies do hire drivers with little to no experience, most companies require their truckers to have at least two years of verifiable, professional driving experience. If you meet this requirement, then there are all sorts of schools that can help you get started on the right foot.
Some schools offer classes during the day while others are offered online, but in general, most programs will teach students everything they need to know about preparing for job interviews and taking load requests. Many schools even offer internships that allow potential carriers to work with experienced drivers as an aide or apprentice.