Trucking careers offer unlimited opportunities for you – if it is the right career move for you – and we will talk more about that in a minute. But first, let’s take a quick look at a few things it has to offer before we talk about what it will require from you to get it.
More Freedom – that is a big draw for many people who get into trucking in the first place. It was for me too more than two and a half decades ago and counting. While it is true that trucking is heavily regulated and you do have schedules to keep – in between all of it you have immense decision-making capability on your own. The decisions you make determine how much you make, how often you get home, and all other aspects of how your day to day life will be.
Thousands of Opportunities – Actually hundreds of thousands of opportunities because there are more companies than you can count hiring drivers every day, so there is bound to be plenty that will be a good fit for you too! Beyond all that even – there are numerous ways for you to achieve Trucking Business Success on your own terms too. Whether that is starting your own company as a leased owner-operator, or an independent owner-operator with your own authority, becoming a freight broker – maybe even building your own fleet – or any one of the many other options and opportunities available to you in trucking.
All you have to do is find what works best for you right now and go for it!
The opportunity is there if you want it.
A Tiny Home With a Paycheck!
There is and has been for some time a great interest in living in tiny houses and other unconventional homes – such as vans, RV’s and boats – just to name a few. There are many other variants too. There is also a great interest in living a more nomadic lifestyle for some people and traveling around the country.
Why not do it in a way that is not only FREE but that will actually PAY YOU to go do it?
Trucking is that opportunity – if you understand how to go do it and do it right.
When you become an over the road or a long haul truck driver the company that hires you will give you a commercial tractor (truck) to use and live in. It will have a bed (bunk) and it will have plenty of storage for all the things you really need and then some.
There will be space for a TV, refrigerator or cooler, small microwave, coffee maker, etc. Often trucks have inverters preinstalled and multiple DC connections to so you have power for these things. You can also install your own inverter if you need to.
It is possible to carry a porta-potty or what I prefer – what I call a GottaGo Box – which is a setup that uses pine pellets and does not have or require a cassette or tank and won’t ever leak, can be emptied and disposed of almost anywhere and is just as simple and easy as can be.
Beyond that – when you buy fuel at truck stops – which your company is paying for on a fuel card they will provide you – the truck stop gives you benefits for using their facilities. One of the main benefits is free showers. They have rather nice, private shower rooms and clean towels are available to you. They also give you points – in many cases – which can be redeemed for free snacks, food, and other things, which is just a nice little bonus to have.
You get paid weekly based on the loads you delivered and calculated primarily (in most cases) based on the miles you complete for that pay period. Keep in mind that the only things you really need are a cell phone, toiletries, and food – for most people anyway, and if you can set things up that way – think of the money you can make and keep!
You do not need to maintain a house, or pay rent and related expenses, you don’t need to be making car payments for a car you will seldom drive anyway – you have a truck provided by your company – and you can get rid of your car if you choose to do so. If you choose to do so (and yes I realize circumstances do vary as do needs and wants) all that money can be saved and used in other more beneficial ways if you like.
Just saying…. there might be a serious opportunity for you in trucking – if it is the right move for you. So let’s talk about that for a minute.
How to Decide Whether Trucking is the Right Choice or Not
Trucking is a great opportunity – for some people.
But at the same time, it is NOT the right choice for everyone. nothing else is either – there is no one thing that works for everyone equally, and that is why you must always Choose Your Own Course in life if you want to build a better life – or as I like to put it, Choose Your Own Course, Build a Better Life…
Here are a few key things you need to be aware of, evaluate, carefully consider and then make your own decisions;
1. Trucking Requires You to be Gone – In most cases you will be out on the road and away from where ever and whatever you now call home for days to weeks at a time. If you are looking forward to living in your truck as we have been discussing here and find that exciting – then it doesn’t matter in the least. But if you have a family, a spouse, kids, close friends, etc. that you want to be with – then it is going to be a drastic change in life for you all and there will be considerable hardships mostly because of that separation. Do you want to be gone or not? Can you handle it? Can others in your life handle it and are they willing to do so? There are many married truckers and sometimes it works – some times it doesn’t. You have to figure that one out for yourself – but I can tell you if you are single, or have a person in your life willing and able to go out on the road with you – well then, life is a lot simpler and a lot happier for you!
2. Stress – Trucking is not rocket science. Yet it is not going to be as simple or as easy as many people erroneously believe it to be either. It takes skill to operate big trucks in tight spaces and it takes a little training and a lot of practice over time to get good at it. Even then it will always require care and vigilance to keep trucking safely over the long haul. Trucking is a dangerous occupation. Just keep all that in mind and make sure you can deal with stress and remain calm and stick with it. Some can some can’t and some will and others won’t. That’s the reality in trucking life.
3. Money – Know what you will be making and get a clear picture of how you will manage your money from the beginning. Recruiters are salespeople and they exaggerate. You will most likely NOT be making whatever they tell you immediately out of truck driving school and for the first several months you are a driver. You may very well be averaging something closer to that by the end of your first year or so – maybe – but coming in you will probably make far less than what you might expect. That is especially true of your first 90 to 180 days or so.
If you are living in the truck and have practically no expenses – and you are making informed decisions based on accurate information – then it is no big deal and you will do very well. Yet if you have a ton of bills and expenses and need big paychecks just to pay all that stuff it may be a rude awakening for you. So get accurate information – realistic information – and plan accordingly!
Finally, we must talk about another topic too. Regulatory requirements and risk management.
Not everyone can be a truck driver – and not everyone who can will be able to easily find good trucking jobs either.
As a minimum, you must be able to meet the federal motor carrier safety requirements. To start with that means be over 21 years old (for interstate commerce which is what we are talking about here), be able to speak and read English, be able to pass a DOT physical, and pass a drug test. You will also have a background check ran and your previous employers will be contacted – and very important – you must have an acceptable driving record.
If you have serious violations like following too close, excessive speed, reckless or DUI, etc. then it will be far more difficult for you. Maybe not entirely impossible – but there will be many trucking companies that will not even seriously consider hiring a driver with such a problem. Just be aware of all that and take it into consideration before you invest a ton of time and effort.
If You Choose to Continue Here is What to Do Next
Make informed decisions. That starts with getting information.
If you decide that you are seriously interested in getting into trucking, go to my profile page on Udemy – look at the courses I have there already on trucking and take a few of my courses. Udemy is very affordable and it is a quick and efficient way for you to begin getting information.
Next start looking into truck driving schools in your local area or nearby. Contact the schools you are interested in and ask them about their programs. Find out what financial options are available for you and consider how you will pay for your truck driving school. Some trucking companies have programs – so look for and consider them too – and also consider that most trucking companies have some kind of tuition reimbursement programs too.
Consider what trucking company you want to start with. Do your research and make informed decisions of what options make sense and which you want to avoid. Pick your top three – and research them all in-depth. Call them up and talk to them – just be careful or you may find yourself en route to their next orientation!
Want more help all along the course of your trucking career?
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