If you love the open road, don’t mind a long drive, and want to explore more of this country, then truck driving might be for you. The life isn’t always easy, but it’s a rewarding career for the explorer within all of us. It’s also financially rewarding too. Truckers make on average $20 per hour, with lots of room to work your own hours and be your own boss.
As a truck driver, you have the opportunity to explore the country while making a living. Whether you’re transporting goods or operating a tanker, the open road awaits. When it comes to owning a tanker, there are many tanker owner operator jobs available for those looking to take the next step in their career. Many companies offer great benefits including health insurance and retirement plans. Additionally, a tanker owner operator has the potential to earn a higher income than just a standard truck driver. The independence and financial benefits are just a few reasons why becoming a tanker owner operator could be the right career move.
If you’re prepared for the occasional 12-hour day and make sure you keep yourself physically fit, trucking can be a great career even through your midlife.
How Trucking Works
The first thing you need to understand about trucking is that you’re typically paid on delivery, and the hours can be a little hard to gauge. You’re paid either by the hour or by the mile depending on the job.
Transportation factoring is important to understand when you’re first getting started because it gives you the opportunity to receive payment faster and maintain operational costs. You essentially contract your invoice out to another company, who pays you upfront minus a small fee for the transaction.
If you’re an owner-operator, seeking high-paying work is the only way to grow. Worrying about cash flow doesn’t leave a lot of room for scouting new work.
Getting a License
You will need some startup capital because you will need to pay for trucking school and a license. If you want to work for a company, make sure you talk with the outfit first. Sometimes, you can get pre-hired for a job and receive some assistance on the classes you need to take to learn.
Getting a license is fairly straightforward. Find a school near you and pay their fees. You enroll and learn basics about how to shift, how to brake, how to drive in traffic, and you’re ready for your test.
Log Books and Sleep
Truckers have an 11/14 rule that determines how long they can drive. Essentially, the rule comes down to this: you cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 24 hour period, nor can you spend more than 14 hours “on duty” (which includes planning your trip). This is part of the hours of service regulation that dictates how truckers fill out a log book.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours) so you can remain alert on the road. However, these rules can change if you carry a passenger. You must be sure to observe these rules, both for the safety of those on the road and to be sure you’re completing your logbook legally.
A big part of becoming a trucker is finding work, and that becomes more difficult if you decide to go independent. That’s not to discourage you from doing so, but there are some tricks you can use to maximize your job search and find high-paying work:
- Consult trucking specific job boards, like BigTruckDrivingJobs.com.
- Go directly to mid-sized or large companies. Local jobs tend to pay less, but the work may be steady. If that’s the case, you may decide to stay local.
- Wal-Mart and other big companies are almost always hiring.
Logistics is a growing field, and truckers are growing with it. If you long to work your own hours and be your own boss, driving a truck may be just the career for you.