Month: September 2019

Hiring Military Veterans to Solve the Driver Shortage

hiring-military-veterans-to-solve-the-trucker-shortage

There’s been concern in the trucking industry about the current driver shortage and its effect on business and the economy; both now and in the future with good reason.  At the end of the second quarter of 2018, the shortage ballooned to a driver shortfall of nearly 300,000. With the current high number of retirements and the low number of incoming applicants, that number is only expected to grow.  

It may be a boon to truckers who can be more selective with the companies they choose to drive for, and the loads they choose to haul. Many companies are offering sign-on bonuses and other perks to attract drivers. 

Aside from bonuses, trucking companies are looking for other ways to obtain more drivers such as trying to attract more women and recent high school graduates to the profession.  There’s also a push by trucking companies to hire military veterans to fill seats, regardless of their field of expertise while in the military.

Here’s why it’s a great idea:

The military lifestyle is a regimented one.  Although the trucker lifestyle has a reputation for being carefree, it is in fact, a very structured and detail-driven profession.  Rules need to be followed, safety procedures have to be adhered to, and deadlines need to be met. This type of structure may take some getting used to for civilians who are new to the field but it may be a natural fit for military veterans.  While both jobs are regimented, they also allow significant independence.  

Time on the road.  There can be substantial  time away from home and family for extended time periods.  This isn’t easy for everyone but it is something that veterans have had experience with at some point so it may come a little easier.  Fortunately, times away from home as a trucker are usually a week at a time instead of a year deployment.  

Veterans have high safety standards.  Military members are taught from Day One of Basic Training how to live up to high standards, a trait that’s highly desired by trucking companies.  Both industries have a strong commitment to safety. In the military, safety is most important for military members’ wellbeing as well as for civilians.  Drivers also follow strict safety standards for themselves and anyone else sharing the road with them.  

Veterans may have a head start.  Many military veterans have their CDLs and/or experience driving large vehicles, and are familiar with the maintenance.  If not, there is an exemption for the road test called the “Military CDL Skills Waiver” which allows veterans who have operated certain heavy machinery to skip the road test portion of the CDL test.  To see who qualifies, visit FMCSA.  If CDL training is still required, it may be shortened depending on military experience.  Other programs for military veterans can be found here.       

For trucking companies, the benefits of hiring veterans is clear.  Aside from getting dedicated, hard-working employees, it’s a chance to pay back individuals who have done so much for the protection and freedom of our country.  Military personnel have qualities like independence, discipline, organization, dedication, and courage, trucking companies are more than eager to hire them.  

The similarities between the military and trucking industries can make the transition for veterans from a military job to a civilian job much easier.  If you’re a military veteran looking to start a career in the trucking industry, Trucker Search is the place to start. You can post your resume or search our vast database of companies looking for drivers to join their teams.  Visit Trucker Search and begin your new career today.

 

Sources:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-01/how-a-trucking-shortage-is-fueling-u-s-inflation-quicktake

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/commercial-drivers-license/military-skills-test-waiver-program

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/commercial-drivers-license/military-driver-programs

What is Per Diem Pay?

what-is-per-diem

Per diem pay is a benefit that truck drivers may receive that allows them to recoup expenses from being on the road, like meals, without having to wait until tax season to file a claim.  “Per diem” means “per day” and the allowable 2019 per diem amount according to the IRS is $66, up from $63.

Benefits of Per Diem Pay 

Aside from getting a reimbursement right away for daily expenses that come along with being on the road for extended periods, there are other benefits to receiving per diem pay.  While the main benefit is receiving the payment right away, per diem pay reduces the amount of gross income the driver reports which means it might increase eligibility for public assistance or student loans because claimed income is less.  Companies who pay their drivers per diem pay are the ones who are responsible for dealing with taxes properly so the driver doesn’t have to.

Disadvantages of Per Diem Pay

There are few disadvantages to receiving per diem pay.  Because per diem pay decreases taxable income, less money is paid into Social Security and Medicare as well as into unemployment security. The amount of eligible unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits will be less if there’s ever a need to use them.  Per diem pay is also not eligible for 401K employer matches but it’s easy to make arrangements to invest some of your extra take-home pay into retirement accounts.  

Tax Code Changes

The per diem deduction used to be a benefit that all truckers could claim. However, changes in the tax code in the 2018 tax year stripped eligibility for drivers who worked for trucking companies.  It repealed the individual miscellaneous itemized deductions for unreimbursed business expenses. Drivers are able to use the standardized deduction rates ($12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for married filing jointly) but whether or not this makes up for the loss of per diem deduction depends on the specifics for each taxpayer.  For many, however, the tax change was costly.  

By losing their per diem deduction, most company drivers paid more in taxes starting in the 2018 tax year.  Before the tax changes, many truckers were deducting nearly $15,000, several thousand more than the new standardized deduction.  Even with the lowering of tax rates, the change made the amount of taxable income higher, resulting in higher taxes. In many cases, company drivers didn’t merely lose their refund but rather ended up having a several thousand dollar tax bill.  Drivers should consult with a tax advisor to see how the changes affected their taxes.  

Who Can Still Benefit?

Fortunately, companies can still offer a per diem pay benefit to their drivers and many still do.  Those drivers who are owner/operators are still eligible for the deduction and can still claim 80% of the per diem rate from their taxes.

Whether you’re an owner/operator or you’re just looking for a great company to drive for, Trucker Search can help you with your search.  Go to TruckerSearch.com today and post your resume or search the extensive database of companies who need drivers like you. 

Sources:

https://www.trustbgw.com/blog/2018/10/02/per-diem-rates-tax-reform/

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p501

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/04/trump-tax-bill-truckers-truck-drivers-deduction/

Husband and Wife Team Drivers

husband-and-wife-team-drivers

Life on the road can be tough.  Sure, there’s the freedom of the open road, independence, and good pay but there is also traffic, bad food, and the monotony of the highway.  Arguably, the hardest part of the life of a truck driver is the loneliness. If you’re a long haul driver, the long days and even longer nights can take a  toll on your mental wellbeing.   

To combat the loneliness that  comes with the solitude on the open road, many drivers bring their dog, children, and even spouses so they have company.  However, more and more frequently, both spouses are earning their CDL and are driving long trucking routes together as a team.  

Advantages of Driving with Your Spouse

 There’s the obvious advantage of driving with a spouse:  money. Hours of Service restrictions mean mandatory rest periods but if there are two eligible drivers, one can rest while the other one drives.  It reduces living expenses as you may not need a house as much as you merely need a home base.  

The limited stopping time makes husband and wife teams particularly attractive to carriers who can cut delivery times sometimes by as much as half which makes them willing to pay the premium for husband and wife driving teams.  Husband and wife teams are in high demand because they can more easily handle the long hours and make deliveries faster.  

Aside from staving off loneliness, having your partner on the road with you can keep you more active.  You may be more inclined to walk or do other activities if you have your spouse with you and making time for some sightseeing and fun while you’re out there can add happiness and relieve stress.

Driving with your spouse is better than team driving with someone you are not married to.  In other teams, there may be conflicts in the sleeping situation or choice in music or driving style.  Usually, spouses are more on the same page than non-related driving teams.   

Having a partner with you can make life on the road easier and even safer.  Your spouse can help you navigate cities, assist with keeping records, communicate with dispatchers while you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.  

Communication is the key to the longevity of any marriage, and communication can be significantly easier when your spouse is in the seat next to you!  Just being away from one another for extended periods can put a strain on even the closest relationships. Driving together as a team may help you and your spouse to remain close.    

 Disadvantages of Driving with Your Spouse

Not all relationships can survive life on the road.  Just because you love your spouse and you’re a great team at home, it doesn’t mean that you’ll make a good team on the road.  Spending all your time with the same person all the time may work for some but may cause arguments and fractures in the relationship for others.  Keep in mind that if one sleeps while the other drives, it could seem like you’re not spending much time together at all. This could be a good or bad thing. 

While having one spouse on the road as the other stays at home to raise children is difficult, having both on the road makes that impossible.  For husband and wife teams with grown children, team driving may be a welcome change but younger teams may have to put off the dream of a having family if that’s something they want, while they’re driving together.

 

For the right couple, team driving can be a lucrative and enjoyable adventure that allows you to see the country together.  Trucker Search is the only tool you need if you’re a driving team looking to work for a great company. On Trucker Search’s website, you and your spouse can post your résumés and search the comprehensive database of driving jobs.  Team drivers are in high demand and Trucker Search is a great resource for any team looking for a great place to work.

 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

Why Driving a Truck is a Great Career

why-driving-a-truck-great-career

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”―Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Many people have a little Jack Kerouac in them, drawn to the open road and wherever it may lead but they never really act on it other than the occasional road trip across a couple of states.  For others, life on the road is not only a big part of life, but also a stable and rewarding career. They are drawn to driving a truck because of its independence and freedom. Truck drivers are not tied to a desk or stuck inside of a factory―the outside world is their office!  

Drivers are an important link in the country’s supply chain.  Whether they’re moving freight from a warehouse to a plane for further transport, from a train to a store, or from a manufacturer to your doorstep, truck drivers keep it all moving.

For owner/operators, there’s a great deal of independence.  They negotiate rates and often set their own hours, running their own business from a truck that they own or lease.  With one truck, you can be a small business owner with control over your career. 

Of course, if you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining and operating your own truck, there are many carriers who are looking for reliable drivers to join their teams.  They do the planning and negotiating and you just drive.    

Drivers can earn excellent wages.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for truck drivers in 2018 was $43,680 a year and owner/operators can more than double that amount.  The recent driver shortage has not only caused carriers to offer sign-on bonuses, but also more flexible hours and shorter routes when possible.  Some carriers will even pay for drivers to earn their CDL with the stipulation that they work for the company upon completion. They need drivers now and many are willing to go the extra mile to find and keep the good ones.

Driving a truck isn’t easy.  The hours are long, the highway can be monotonous, and the lifestyle is often a lonely one.  To the right person, on the other hand, the independence, self-sufficiency, and the feeling of community with other drivers can feel like home.  You may have to load and unload your freight and need to have some basic knowledge of truck mechanics in case of a breakdown.

No matter if you drive for a carrier or drive your own truck, there are regulations to follow.  Hours of Service rules require that drivers work no more than 14 consecutive hours including the loading and unloading of cargo, taking care of paperwork, etc.  Between shifts, drivers must spend 10 hours not working before being eligible to drive again.  

One of the major advantages to being a truck driver is the job security.  With the ATA prediction that the driver shortage could reach 160,000 by 2028, carriers will be eager to retain the drivers they have.  It also has carriers expanding their search for new drivers. Many offer help for veterans who may be looking for a career change and more and more women are joining the trucking industry and finding success.  

Life on the road isn’t for everyone but for the right person, every day can be an adventure.  If driving a truck is the life for you, Trucker Search can help you find a great company to start a career.  Post your resume or search our growing database of companies in search of drivers to join their teams. Start your new career in trucking by visiting Trucker Search today.

 

Sources:  

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

https://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/ATAs%20Driver%20Shortage%20Report%202019%20with%20cover.pdf