Are you looking for a job and not sure what you want to do right now?
Millions of people have been negatively affected by this current crisis and have found themselves unexpectedly unemployed. Others may still have a job technically – but are furloughed/laid off or otherwise not able to actively work their jobs at the moment. Some are still working but have had hours, pay, and benefits decreased.
All these things cause significant financial and emotional hardships for far too many people and their families.
A lot of people are contemplating their future and what they are going to be doing to earn a living. If you are thinking about what you are going to do – consider starting a career in trucking.
While it is not the right choice for everyone – and nothing else is either – it is a good solution for some. It might be for you too, and if it is the right choice for you it could change your life right now, and it might just be just the solution you have been looking for.
Trucking Opportunities and Options
The trucking industry is huge and there are all kinds of different jobs and business opportunities within the transportation and trucking industries respectively.
One of the best ways to start your new career journey is by becoming a professional truck driver. Even if your ambitions are to work in management – or even own your own truck or you dream of owning a small fleet someday – the things you learn as a driver will be invaluable to you later.
If you need a job and income right now – then you are in luck! Trucking is still hiring and it needs a lot of drivers. That means there are plenty of opportunities for you to choose from. Trucking also doesn’t require months or years of training to get started either. In just a few short weeks you can be through truck driving school, through road training and out on the road in your own truck making good money.
How much money?
In general terms, as of right now you can start anywhere from about $45,000 up to as much as $65,000 or more per year as a new truck driver. The more you know and the better decisions you make the more you earn. Likewise, if you know nothing much and just go with the flow then you will be closer to the bottom of the scale and may make even less than $45,000 – so what you make is determined in large part by you!
That’s one of the things I have always personally loved about trucking – you determine what you make, what kind of equipment you operate, where you run, how much time you will or won’t be gone from home and so many other things – all by the choices you make. Which company you decide to affiliate with, and in what capacity – such as dedicated account vs regional or over the road or long haul type driving.
Even then how good you communicate with other people – and especially your dispatcher and load planner – dramatically affects it all. That’s why getting better information, better training, and support matters!
Your first year in trucking will go by fast – but it is one of the most important years of your career – even if you stay in trucking for decades to come. Your first year sets the stage and builds the foundation for your career. So do everything you can to make the best decisions possible for yourself in trucking, especially as you are just getting started.
There are a few things you need to consider now and the process of becoming a truck driver includes doing the following;
- Gather and evaluate Trucking Career and Trucking Business information
- Determine whether or trucking is the right choice for you now or not – if so continue the list – if not good luck!
- Select a truck driver training school or inhouse company program
- Complete school (typically 4 to 12 weeks depending n the school you choose) and get your CDL
- Select your companies (top 3 of your choice) and apply BEFORE you finish school when possible
- Get hired and complete orientation at your new trucking company
- Begin road training and complete it (usually a couple to a few weeks of on the road real-world training with a trainer)
- Get your own truck assignment and begin your driving career
- Gain experience and learn as much as possible your first year
- Continue to build your career in trucking as you see fit making informed decisions
Beware of the Challenges During Your First Year in Trucking!
Everybody is happy to tell you all about the good things in trucking – but not so many are happy to share accurate and reality-based challenges you are going to encounter.
Here are a few for you to be aware of right off the bat and to help you make better decisions right now. The hard cold truth is that the vast majority of people who try trucking will not make it to the completion of their first year. Many of them won’t even last 90 days – and in less than three months they will quit and be gone.
You see, there are a few big challenges that many simply can’t or don’t want to overcome – and once the reality sets in as to what they have gotten themselves into – they simply stop trying and quit.
1. Time Away From Home – Most new drivers, and a good number of very experienced drivers too, are often gone and out on the road for a week or two at a time before going home. Then when they finally do make it home they are only there a day or two (usually 34 to 48 hours or so) and then right back out they go to do it all over again and again. For some – especially those who have a significant other or family at home – that separation can be too much to take. If you are single – then it shouldn’t be a problem. Either way, you need to be aware of this and carefully consider it – as should anyone else in your life that is going to be affected by your constant absence.
2. Unrealistic Money Expectations – recruiters are salespeople. Most of them give you the BEST CASE scenario and even that may often be inflated and exaggerated. Whatever they tell you is likely to be more than you will actually be making in other words. So don’t count on it! Even when they are close to right – keep in mind even that doesn’t usually turn out to be the case for your first three or four months while you are processing in and learning what you are doing. During that initial 90 days or so your pay may be nothing much more than enough for you to pay for your food and some supplies that you will need to live in the truck on the road – and little if anything else. After that, if you are any good at your job then your pay will begin to go up and it will begin to be more stable and predictable as you become more efficient. The more you know and the faster you learn and develop your skills – the sooner that will be. Most will quit in frustration before they reach that point.
3. Stress and Adjusting to a New Lifestyle – This affects different people in different ways. You will be operating a huge vehicle (tractor/trailer) in tight spaces, heavy traffic, all kinds of inclement weather, and will be facing other challenges – all while you are still learning and adjusting. The days will be long (14 hours plus) often and you will be exhausted from it all – especially after several days on the road. Your home will be the truck and your base camps will be truck stops. Trucking is NOT just a job. it is a LIFESTYLE. A new lifestyle to you, and it will take some time to settle in and adjust to it all too. Some people will hate it and not want to keep doing it. Most who stick with it will eventually adjust and come to actually enjoy it quite a bit. A few (like me!) will love it from day one and think they have died and gone to heaven! Ok – that may be a bit of an exaggeration – but you get the point – some people will immediately love it and the adjustment will not be such a big deal while others will never adjust and they will either quit or be miserable all day every day. Remember too – even if you are one of the ones does love it – you will still get tired, have bad days, and be tested to your limits at times. That’s trucking.
Ready to Get Started in Trucking?
Once you have gathered some information and done some research then it is time to decide. Is trucking the path you want to choose now or not?
If it is, get enough additional information and training to have a better foundation to start with. My name is L.D. Sewell and I have more than 2.5 decades in trucking and counting. I also have multiple trucking-related courses, many of which you can find on Udemy and I have a few books out too as well as a Facebook group and other resources to help you make better decisions in trucking, in business, and in life.
If you are serious and want to do better in trucking I suggest you start by;
Taking some of my Trucking Career and Trucking Business Courses which you can find on Udemy
- Read my books (My first book Introduction to Professional Truck Driving Careers is a bit old and needs to be updated – but the core information is still very valuable to have!) which you can find on Amazon
Join our FREE Trucking Business Success Facebook group
Once you join the group and become a student you will have access to all the help and support you will need to continuously do better as you start to build and grow your own trucking career and or trucking business successfully.