These days are anything but normal.
The country and the world are in crisis – and far too many jobs have already gone away as companies have been forced to shut down.
Others have had to scale back operations and the result is a reduction of hours and pay for millions of employees and total elimination of work for millions of others.
Yet the trucking industry remains short tens of thousands of truck drivers.
So long as there is an economy at all – trucks will continue to roll – and to do that they need truck drivers!
That makes it an option for you too if you truly need and want to work.
What You Should Know Before You Start Trucking
Trucking jobs are plentiful and they can offer you great pay and steady work relatively quickly after only just a few weeks of training.
That’s the good news.
The challenges you will face will primarily come down to a few things that are deal breakers for a great number of people;
- Time Away from Home
- Low Initial Pay
- Stress as You Learn Trucking and Adjust to a New Lifestyle
Trucking is More Than Just a Job
It is a different lifestyle – with its own rhythm and cadence, language, and ways of doing things. Even when you are a local driver – it is different from any other kind of job in so many ways.
If you can stick with it long enough to learn the basics and adjust – then you will very likely either come to love trucking (as I do) or you will absolutely hate it, and choose to quit and pursue something else.
But to get to the point where you can even truly tell which one of those two things applies to you – first, you have to survive your first few months in trucking – and many do not.
It isn’t usually that they couldn’t do the work – but rather they chose not to once their stress level reached a certain point – so they just quit.
A pity really, for them.
Many of them were closer than they will ever realize to making the adjustment and having trucking become something that they would have really enjoyed doing – and that would have been very profitable for them and their families over time too.
Pay is a critical concern of course, and it is one so many drivers fail to understand.
Trucking in general pays you based on your own personal production. How many loads you deliver and the miles you run primarily are the determining factors. There are some runs that pay by the pickup, by the stop, and accessorial, or special pay based on the things you need to do – often in addition to mileage pay.
So choosing the right company to begin with – and even then – the right dedicated account or lanes will dramatically affect your pay right out of the gate. Most new drivers have no clue about any of this so they fail to make the best choices available to them.
So how much you make is really up to you – as is how much you don’t make too – if you make bad decisions.
This is another key to Trucking Business Success.
That is – even as a company driver (employee) you are very much in business for yourself…
Let that really sink in.
YOU are in charge of what you make – and the difference can be huge. It can be the difference between making $35000 and making $80,000 plus or more during your first year in trucking.
You have to see it that way and make intelligent decisions that are in alignment with your own situation and goals. If you do then you can and will do far better than other drivers who do not comprehend this simple truth in trucking.
Realities of Long Hours and Long Days
Time away from home can range anywhere from days and weeks at a time to daily 12 to 14 hour long days of hard work.
Most new drivers are going to go over the road, long haul, or regional.
Because that is where trucking needs the most drivers and that is where the vast majority of open driving jobs is.
Yet there are still some niche jobs available on specialized dedicated accounts that can get you home every other day or so and off two full days every week (usually on the weekends or at least partly). But like all things, there is a price to pay for that too.
Such jobs usually require very close tight maneuvering (backing) at retail stores or similar facilities and that can not only be very stressful – but often beyond the initial capabilities of entry-level truck drivers.
Some can do it – but many can not.
Beyond that, there is usually a lot of physical labor where you will be unloading freight yourself – either using lift gates and or ramps along with various carts, rollers, other equipment – and by hand. That can be hard physical labor for long hours every day – though it can also help you get you in better shape and you will lose weight in the process – it is just difficult for many people to adjust to.
Yet this is a way to earn far more money and get home much more often right out of the gate – if you can handle it that is. Do this for your first couple of years until you are considered to be an experienced driver by most carriers and can then go anywhere with much higher mileage rates compared to an entry-level new truck driver with no experience.
Otherwise, the job and work of most truck drivers is more mental than physical – but the time away from home is often measured by the week too.
Take Your Time and Give It Time
All these things will be new and all at the same time of learning to drive that big truck in all kinds of weather too. Stress is going to be almost unbearable at times and may push you to your limit – or well beyond it. Possibly to the point where you do as so many before you have already done – and you will just quit – like they did.
Remember that if you decide to come into trucking.
Give yourself the time you need to adjust and it is going to be a big adjustment too! It will take you probably between 90 to 180 days to begin to get more comfortable, and a full one to two years to truly get it.
With that in mind – you are far better off if you look at your initial 3 to 6 months as just a continuation of basic training, even though most of that after your first few weeks you will be on your own and doing the job alone.
Seeing it that way will help you make the transition, and maybe to a lifetime career as a professional truck driver!
If you want to learn more about Trucking you can check out some of my courses on Udemy.
Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best in all you do in trucking, in business, and in life.
Founder and Owner of Transport Resource Solutions LLC