Category: Semi Truck

The Truck Parking Problem

the-truck-parking-problem

Everybody hates trying to find a place to park.  During peak hours, spaces are few and far between, nobody can seem to not take up more than one spot, and if parking spaces keep shrinking the way they are, only Smart Cars will be able to fit in them.  Now imagine you’re driving an 18-wheeler.

Parking has been a growing problem in the trucking industry for years.  According to ATRI, lack of parking was the #2 concern for drivers. According to the ATA, there are 300,000 parking spaces for 3 million on the road.  Truck traffic is growing faster than the available parking.  

 

What’s Causing It

It’s a problem with many causes.  Many states have been closing rest stops as a way to cut state spending. Less state funding and zoning for new spaces, more LTL’s and more delivery vans on the road all contribute to the parking problem but most drivers blame the new Hours of Service regulations for exacerbating an already growing problem.  Most drivers are on the road during the day and a couple of hours before the HoS clock ticks 14 hours, they all begin looking for places to park for the night and get a meal, making it harder to find spots. Many will give up driving time if they’ve found a spot. The lack of parking, with drivers needing to use up to two of their 14 hours of driving time affects the carriers’ bottom line.    

The Danger

The real danger of the parking problem is for the safety of drivers.  Drivers who are desperate to find parking before their HoS are up are being left with only poorly-lit vacant lots or remote areas to park that put their safety at risk.

In 2009, driver Jason Rivenburg parked his truck at a gas station because he was too early to make his delivery.  It was there that he was murdered, shot and robbed for the $7 in cash he had in his pocket.  Several years later, Jason’s Law was enacted to make safe parking for truck drivers a top national priority.  

Since its enactment, surveys of drivers have been done, the results of which prompted the DOT to form the National Coalition on Truck Parking to share best practices and get the word out about the urgent need for safe parking.  

 Solutions  

Technology is available to cut down on parking space search times.  There are apps and websites that help drivers find and reserve spots and in the future, they may integrate with ELDs.  

Some shippers offer safe, overnight parking for drivers.  As the parking problem worsens, look for more to be doing this to improve their shipping schedules.  If you have a regular route to a business, ask about using their space or if they have multiple locations, you may be able to make arrangements along the way.    

It’s not that space isn’t available.  Many cities and towns have industrial properties that have shut down that could be converted into safe parking if it weren’t for a lack of funding.  Getting the word out by contacting state representatives to explain the importance of parking for truck drivers could get funding shifted to help. The real solution to the problem will come only by creating more spaces.  

Trucker Search is the only tool you need if you’re a trucker looking for a great company to work for.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the comprehensive database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

Sources:

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/economics/solving-the-truck-parking-problem

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/25/iowa-dot-department-transportation-could-close-highway-rest-areas-driving-travel-interstate-35-80-29/730509002/

https://jasonsbill.wordpress.com/jasons-story-2/

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/infrastructure/truck_parking/workinggroups/index.htmf

https://www.truckersnews.com/apps-help-find-truck-parking/

https://www.loaddelivered.com/blog/addressing-americas-truck-parking-problem/

Cooling Economy Causes Drivers to Lose Their Jobs in September

cooling-economy-causes-drivers-to-lose-their-jobs-in-september

Since the beginning of 2019, the trucking industry has been in a recession.  The rates for shipping freight have dipped to an all-time low and it’s hit the industry hard. Drivers are scraping for jobs and 640 trucking companies went into bankruptcy, 3 times the bankruptcies over previous year.  Roadrunner announced it would cut 10% of its workforce.

What’s going on?  When factories are doing well, retail is booming, and new construction is cropping up everywhere, the trucking industry does well.  It’s simple supply and demand. Last year, the trucking industry was booming and drivers reaped the rewards. To keep up with demand, trucking companies have been increasing their fleets, adding trucks and drivers. In early 2019, they were at capacity, meaning there were enough trucks and drivers to meet the current demand.  What this means, unfortunately, is that rates fall, and with costs not falling too, many trucking companies have been forced into layoffs, or worse―closure.  The cost of fuel has not gone down and neither have insurance costs which have made it difficult for owner/operators and trucking companies to keep going. Even cold storage companies that tend to do well weathering poor economic times have been hit hard with industry leaders slashing their payrolls.

The good news is that although manufacturing is down, retail spending is rising so 2019 isn’t a loss yet.  If consumer confidence can rise for the upcoming holiday buying season, rates may rise too.

 

Become More Marketable to Find Work

If you want to stay on top during the good times as well as slowdowns, you need to make yourself more marketable to trucking companies than other drivers.  You need to stand out from the rest and there are several ways to accomplish this.

Get Endorsements

Endorsements to your CDL show that you have trained to carry various types of loads which will make you more appealing to a trucking company.  Endorsements for double trailers, tankers, hazardous materials, etc. require extra training and certification. Having them makes you more attractive to potential employers and will probably earn you higher pay as well.  If you’re an owner/operator, it’ll open you up to more loads.

Change locations.  

The economy in some areas of the country may be better than others so there may be better prospects in other regions and could affect your salary too.  The 2017 median income for truck drivers in the U.S. was $44,500  but remote areas like Alaska paid $56,250 and there may be more job opportunities for drivers willing to drive in urban areas like New York City.

Continue to get experience.  

Even if earnings are lower than last year, try to stick it out.  Put in those hours where you can. The more experience you have, the greater the chances of keeping your job or finding a new one.

Find the right company.  

Even with trucking companies laying off drivers, you can find a great company to work for.  If you’ve been laid off and need to find a new company, Trucker Search can help. It’s an important tool in the search for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the up-to-date database of companies looking for reliable drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for employment in a good economy or bad. Go to TruckerSearch.com today and start driving tomorrow.  

 

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-truck-drivers-job-loss-september-2019-10

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-trucking-industry-slowdown-trucker-job-loss-2019-7#trucking-is-highly-cyclical-and-were-coming-off-from-a-massive-uptick-in-the-market-1

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm#st

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

Eliminating Deadhead Miles

eliminating-deadhead-miles

Contrary to popular belief, deadhead miles are not when people follow the Grateful Dead around the country.  Deadhead miles, or deadhead trucking, is when a truck is empty on the road after delivering a load. When a truck is traveling without a load, someone is losing money and wasting fuel.

Deadhead miles can be a huge expense for both carriers and owner/operators.  It’s difficult to find accurate statistics on exactly how many deadhead miles trucks are driving because they are generally underreported, but any empty truck is a waste.

Deadheading is a Waste of Money

Every hour that a driver is on the clock driving an empty truck, it eats into profits especially for carriers who pay their employees by the hour.  Some companies that pay per mile will pay for deadhead miles but it’s usually a fraction of the full load pay.  

Deadheading is Bad for the Environment

Driving empty trucks eats up fuel and pumps carbon into the atmosphere for no reason.  It’s estimated that the amount of carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere from empty trucks is anywhere from 59,000,000-97,000,000 tons a year.  If half the number of trucks had a return load, that number could be as low as 29,500,000-48,500,000 tons.  

Deadheading is Dangerous

Trailers that are empty can be more dangerous because they’re more difficult to control and more prone to rollover accidents.  High winds can cause a trailer to sway without the added freight weight.

Reducing Deadhead Miles

Carriers and drivers can make their operations more efficient by tackling deadheading and the only way is to fill the trucks.

Fill trucks with return material.

When a company sends its products out on pallets, those pallets have to be shipped back to the company at some point.  Pallet pooling services handle the logistics of them, renting reusable pallets, and arranging trucks to reduce their deadhead miles.  Of course, the pay isn’t the same as carrying a full load but it can help offset some deadhead miles fuel costs and maybe even turn a profit.  Some carriers make money on deadhead miles by taking bales of recyclable cardboard to where they need to go.    

Find return loads for trucks. 

The best and rather obvious solution to deal with deadhead miles is to find loads for your return trips.  Load boards like Direct Freight’s make this easier than ever before. Simply use the load board to book a load from your original delivery destination.  

If you’re a driver looking for a great company to work for, Trucker Search is the only tool you’ll need.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the comprehensive database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

 

Sources:

https://medium.com/@mbarlin_42335/potential-carbon-savings-of-trucking-deadhead-miles-eb09e230123b

https://www.supplychaindigital.com/warehousing/pallet-pooling-makes-warehousing-sense

Things Truckers Can Do To Avoid a Crash

things-truckers-can-do-to-avoid-an-accident

Being a truck driver can be a lucrative and rewarding career but it can also be a dangerous one.  According to the latest statistics from the Department of Labor, in 2017, 840 truck drivers were killed on the job, up from 786 the previous year.    

Causes

With e-commerce on the rise and the economy doing well, there are more trucking jobs than ever, and it’s expected to rise 6% from now to 2026.  With a shortage of trained truckers to fill those spots and pressure on current drivers to pick up the slack, an increase in accidents is almost inevitable.    

Driver Error

Sometimes speeding seems like the best way for truckers to meet deadlines, especially if they’ve been bogged down in traffic.  Unfortunately, driving recklessly can result in an accident that will slow you down further or keep you from getting to your destination at all.  

Weather Conditions

Mother Nature doesn’t care about your deadlines and is happy to drop a foot of snow at the drop of a hat.  

Poorly Maintained Equipment

Brakes can be worn down, systems can fail, and breaking down on a busy highway can put you and other drivers in danger.

Incorrect Loading

If loads are not secured properly, they could fall off and end up in the road where they will cause an accident.  

Drowsy Driving

Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents on the road.  Long routes, lack of sleep, and strict schedules can cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.  

 

What Truckers Can Do

Fortunately, drivers can take a proactive approach to fight the dangers that come along with the job of driving a truck.  By doing so, they can minimize the occurrence of accidents.

Obey Traffic Laws

By driving the speed limit and obeying other traffic laws, most accidents can be prevented.  Many other drivers don’t understand that big rigs require significantly more stopping distance than they do, nor do they realize that trucks are much less maneuverable than a Honda Civic.  Accidents can be prevented by assuming this,expecting the unexpected, driving defensively, and by always being aware of your surroundings.  

Drive Appropriately for the Weather Conditions

Drive cautiously according to the current weather conditions and be prepared for other drivers who won’t.

Get Enough Sleep

Coffee and energy drinks are a temporary solution to fight fatigue because they usually cause your body to crash later.  The best defense against fatigue is to have a regular sleep schedule with at least 8 hours of sleep a night and to follow the hours of service regulations.  

Maintain Your Equipment

Regular maintenance may prevent breakdowns, tire blowouts, and brake failures, all of which can be deadly on the highways.

Secure Your Load

Be sure to always use proper loading techniques and follow load guidelines including weight restrictions.

 

Other Considerations

It’s not only accidents that pose a risk to truck drivers.  Health risks abound if a trucker isn’t keeping a close check on his or her health.  

Be Physically Healthy

One of the biggest dangers to truckers on the road is the lifestyle.  It’s all too easy to rely on greasy fast food and be sedentary behind the wheel all day.  Unfortunately, these decisions can be deadly for drivers. Fast food is high in cholesterol, sodium, and fat; that and lack of exercise can lead to a myriad of serious health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.  Regular exercise and healthy eating can fight these diseases.

Be Mentally Healthy

Mental health is another important issue for truck drivers.  Deadlines, traffic, and loneliness can cause an abundance of stress and even lead to depression.  Maintaining your physical health also helps with mental health problems. Bringing a spouse or pet along on the road can fight loneliness but if you feel you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to seek professional help.

 

Your career in trucking can be much safer if you are alert, proactive, and take a methodical approach to the job.  It requires diligence to drive safely and just like any other job, if you do it well, you will reap the rewards.

Trucker Search is the only tool you need if you’re a trucker looking for a great company to work for.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the comprehensive database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

 

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm#tab-6

 

  

Is a Career in Trucking for You?

what-does-it-take-to-become-a-truck-driver

Driving a truck is both rewarding and challenging.  As the shipping industry continues to grow, the need for qualified, dependable drivers grows too, providing a path for a lifelong, good-paying career for the right person.  Are you that person?

Before diving into driving a truck, there are some things to think about.

Considerations

There will be stress.  You may envision yourself driving down the highway,wind in your hair, no people to deal with, carefree, but this is not a realistic vision of life on the road.  You’ll be in direct contact with a dispatcher,customers, you’ll have deadlines that must be met without going over your hours of service limit. All while suffering through traffic, getting lost, or having to find a place to unload where there’s little room for a big truck.

There will be loneliness.  Despite dealing with a dispatcher and customers, you will experience loneliness, especially if you drive long hauls.  Many truckers combat this by bringing along their spouse or a dog. Keeping in contact with family via Skype can help those long hours not seem so long. Occupying your mind on the highway by listening to podcasts you enjoy is helpful too.

It can be harmful to relationships.  Being away from loved ones for extended periods can put a strain on relationships.  Because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find drivers who are willing to take longer routes, more companies have been taking steps to be able to offer shorter runs.  If you’re going to drive longer routes, you need to understand how difficult it will be for your spouse and children (and you!) to have you away for extended periods of time.  

There’s an upfront cost.  Training for a CDL can cost between $3,000-$8,000 and take 8 weeks.  Many larger trucking companies will offer to pay your tuition, reimburse you, or offer their own training, if you commit to work for them for a specific amount of time, typically a year.

There’s an age restriction.  Currently, the age for driving a truck across state lines is 21.  The minimum age for obtaining a CDL is 18 but the driver is restricted by federal law to drive only within the state until age 21.  Most companies prefer hiring drivers over age 18 so they don’t have to worry about the restriction. There is a push by trucking companies to get the law changed to allow 18-year-olds to drive across state lines because the age restriction makes finding drivers even more difficult amid the current driver shortage.

There will be good pay.  The salary for truck drivers varies.  According to the American Trucker Association, the median salary for tractor-trailer drivers last year was $53,000 and even as high as $86,000 for experienced drivers in private fleets.  The driver shortage has increased salaries as businesses struggle to find reliable drivers.

The Good News

Aside from the increasingly good pay, there has never been a better time to become a truck driver.  Carriers are always on the lookout for hard-working, reliable drivers to join their fleets and may offer great benefits and bonuses for new-hires or for making quotas.  They may even offer shorter runs so you’re not far from home.

Trucker Search is THE tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé (which is a short form application) as well as search the ever-expanding database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver starting out in the trucking industry.

Sources:

https://www.trucking.org/article/New-Survey-Data-Reveals-Increases-in-Driver-Compensation

https://www.fleetowner.com/driver-management/legislation-would-allow-18-21-year-olds-drive-interstate

What To Expect in Your First Year on the Road

trucker-what-to-expect

You did it!  You made it through driver training and got your CDL.  Congratulations!

You may be asking yourself, now what?

Your first year on the road as a full-fledged truck river can be exciting but also nerve-wracking.  You have many questions and an abundance of nervous anticipation about being on your own, controllingyour own rig.  What will it be like?

Even though you earned your CDL, there’s still plenty to learn in order to become a top-notch driver.  Experience, and lots of it, is what causes good driving habits to develop as well as the skills that employers seek.  Your first year is about sharpening those skills.

Your dream job probably won’t be your first.  Most drivers will start out on the bottom rung.  This usually means that you’ll be taking loads that nobody else wants because seasoned drivers take the first crack at loads.  This is how you pay your dues and eventually, you won’t be on the bottom anymore. Someone newer will come along and it’ll be their turn to take the less favorable loads.  Life as a trucker can be a drastic change.  Remember that even those loads that nobody else wants are going to help you improve your skills and gain valuable experience.  

Odds are that you won’t stay at that first job after your first year.  According to a January 2018 survey by StayMetrics,  only 39.3% made it through a year with their first carrier.  No matter how you feel about the company, make the most of it.  Learn the ropes and develop your skills. Many companies offer added incentives for sticking around after your first year that can make it a good option.  For reasons why it might be a good idea to stay with a company after your first year, check out this article.

Build a good reputation.  Your first year will be tough and many times you will be put to the test.  Endure like the professional you are and you’ll earn a good reputation which will follow you to your next job and beyond.  

Stay in touch.  Life on the road can be difficult, especially on long hauls.  Trucking life may be a lifestyle but it shouldn’t drive your life.  It’s still just your job. Maintaining contact with friends and family while you’re on the road and back home is important.  Hours on the road can be taxing but you’ve got to live your life! While you’re at it, make sure you have a good phone plan with sufficient data so you can Skype with your loved ones!

Hang in there.  Your first year in trucking will most likely be your hardest.  Your inexperience will be a roadblock but it’s a roadblock that you will overcome with perseverance and dedication. You will be rewarded for your hard work with a long-term, satisfying, and lucrative career.

If you’re a trucker just starting out, Trucker Search can help you get the exposure needed to find a great company.  Our web-based system allows truckers to post a résumé and other details that will be seen by thousands of potential employers.  Or search through our vast database of job listings for great drivers like you. Go to Trucker Search today and find your new job!  

Sources:

https://staymetrics.com

https://truckersearch.com/blog/why-you-should-consider-sticking-with-your-first-trucking-company-after-your-first-year/