If you are considering to become a truck driver, it is best to do some research about the trade and industry beforehand. As you can imagine, being a truck driver requires a lot of compromise, stamina, and perseverance. You will be spending a lot of time away from home, depending on the type of job and driver you become. Some CDL jobs are local and won’t require you to travel long-haul trips, while a lot of the truck driving jobs out there do.
In this post, we will walk you through all the different facts about the job and the industry, so that you can make an informed decision before committing to the trade and discover that it really is not a great fit for you.
1. Early Risers and Long Hours
In most jobs, you will be required to get up real early, while in others the time of day does not really play a role. You will, however, be expected to be on the road for a certain amount of time in order for you to make your expected mileage. Depending on your preference and the needs of the specific job, you can either drive through the night or through the day.
2. Different Types of Payment
Depending on the freight transportation company you work for, you will either be paid an hourly rate or a rate based on mileage. Delivery CDL driver is not paid when they are not on the road or delivering cargo.
3. Expected Truck Driver Salary
Truck drivers are able to make a decent living, and as the need for more drivers increases over the years, so does the industry grow. In 2015, the average professional truck driver earned about $50,000 per annum. Not too shabby. Salary also depends on experience and may differ slightly from one freight transportation company to the next.
4. General Truck Driver’s Requirements
This will vary from one state to the other, so please ensure you have the correct information and visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles to inquire about your state’s requirements. In general, however, a CDL truck driver must have a valid CDL truck driving license and be 18 years of age or older. In order for you to obtain that license, you need to get your learners by completing the test, go for training (there are a lot of truck driver training schools in the US, and some freight transportation companies will train you in-house), and then complete the final test. You will also need to have a clear drug screening test as well as a clean driving record.
5. Annual Driving Distances
The majority of truck drivers are expected to drive an astonishing 2,500 miles a week, which translates to about 500 miles per day. The work is tough and the road is long and lonely. But, to the majority of truck drivers, this is not a problem as they enjoy being on the open road and discovering the country’s landscapes and towns.
6. Expected Working Hours
Truck drivers are required to work up to 70 hours per week – no more and no less. Once you have spent 70 hours on the job you are required by law to drive any further for that week. By law, you have to take a 34-hour break. This is just to ensure that everyone is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while on the job, that everything is safe and the chances of accidents are minimized. Being a truck driver can put a lot of strain on someone, as you are required to concentrate on the road for hours on end. Taking breaks become vital for your health and sanity, and the safety of the general public.
7. Payment Perks and Facts
As mentioned before, some freight transportation companies will pay an hourly rate while others will pay per mile, but there are even differences between being ‘paid per mile’ and paid for ‘practical miles’. The former refers to payment based on the distance that is shown on the map, which in most cases are not a true reflection of the miles covered during your trip. The latter refers to being paid for each mile driven.
8. Room for Growth
If you should decide to become a truck driver, and you build up some experience, you are able to move around in the field and do different jobs within the industry. If you enjoy driving big vehicles, you can earn a bigger salary if you should decide on driving hazardous cargo or a bigger rig. You are even able to become a truck driver trainer and earn a higher salary. In some companies, employers can even offer you a certain percentage based on the delivery you make.
9. General Duties
Your duties will depend on your job and the freight transportation company you work for. In most cases, however, truck drivers are required to load and unload cargo, depending on the type of truck driving job you have. You will have to run multiple jobs a day, making different drop-offs and pick-ups. Depending on the job description, you may even have to make sure that the truck is functioning properly mechanically. In some cases, you may need to find the best route via a map, and ensure you get the goods at the delivery point on time and in one piece.
10. General Qualities of the Ideal Truck Driver
When freight transportation companies are scouting for the best candidate, they have a certain type of person in mind for the job, even though experience and licenses also count, the average truck driver must have certain qualities to be able to succeed in the job. These include punctuality, being responsible, having a good driving record, being up to speed with basic mechanics on rigs, and being able to communicate effectively to name but a few.
If you are thinking about starting a career as a truck driver, you should consider the points discussed above carefully, and do some more homework to ensure you are ready and that the job requirements and qualities suit you and vice versa. If you need some more information, have a look at this interesting article and infographic on truck driving here. If you do decide to join the trucker’s way of life, welcome aboard, and many safe travels!