You’ve heard about the money to be made by becoming a truck driver. And stop at any truck stop and you’ll notice that there are countless trucking job magazines filled with advertisements from trucking companies looking for truck drivers. Many companies are advertising the possibility of making up to $100,000 per year as an owner-operator.
It’s true that you can make a very good living with a trucking job. Why is this? For starters, there is a growing shortage of truck drivers in the USA. With the growth of shipments of goods from overseas, there is an added demand to get these goods to and from ports. This also creates a higher demand for efficiency in domestic manufacturers to get goods shipped to their customers more quickly. There is also a decline in the number of people that are entering the trucking field due to school curriculums pushing college as the only way to secure a good job. This has created an environment in which you can make a very good living in a job that you’ll enjoy.
Driving a semi-truck for a living is a very different lifestyle than an office or factory job. You will be able to travel as much or as little as you like depending on the job you select. You are responsible for keeping your own schedule, and records, and with many companies, you can take your spouse or even your dog on the road with you. That’s the reason that many people opt for trucking as their preferred method of making a living.
There are three major distinctions in the types of trucking jobs that are available.
1 – Owner Operators: An owner-operator is a trucker that owns or leases his own tractor (semi-truck) and is paid to haul goods for a single company that he is contracted to for a set amount per mile. This is typically the highest paying and most popular type of truck driving job because the driver will be building equity in his own truck, and has some control over the profits he or she can make. An owner-operator is usually responsible for paying some or all of his fuel, and repair expenses for his truck.
2 – Company Drivers: A company driver is a trucker that is an employee of the trucking company that he drives for. A company driver may be paid by the hour, a flat rate per week, or by the mile, but will generally not have the same level of control over his income that an owner-operator has, however, he is usually not responsible for purchasing or repairing his own truck.
3 – Independent Truckers: An independent trucker owns his own truck and hauls only the loads that he finds for himself, typically using websites with load boards where he can search and bid on loads himself. He is generally not contracted to any particular company and has all of the risks and responsibilities of running a trucking company himself while driving a truck. Many truckers prefer the Owner-Operator role in order to have a steady supply of loads, and the corporate support from their contracted trucking company.
What will you need to get started?
The most important thing you’ll need is a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) which will granted by the state and give you the right to operate a commercial semi-truck. Standards for a CDL are set by the federal government but are issued by your state licensing bureau. The CDL exam consists of a written and a skill component just like your regular driving exam. Most truckers attend a truck driving school where they will receive training on how to drive a Semi, as well as training on the written portion of the exam. Typically upon your completion of the driving school, you will be able to get your CDL. Many trucking companies run their own training programs for prospective drivers, so you may be able to complete your job search and then get some on the job training instead.
Searching for a Trucking Job:
There are several steps you can take when looking for a truck driving job. You can rely on your driving school to place you in a trucking job, however, finding your own job will give you the greatest choice of schedule, territory, and pay. To search for a trucking job, you may go to truck stops, and pick up a trucking magazine, there will be many advertisements there by companies looking for drivers. You may call some local trucking companies in your area, or you may wish to search for a truck driving job on the internet.
Trucking can be a very rewarding career choice, both financially and emotionally. Having the freedom to travel the country, while making more money than you could with most college degrees has made truck driving a very hot career choice for the new Millennium.
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