Trucking—What is it?
All across the nation there are products that need to get from manufacturer, or grower as the case may be, to the markets where they are readily available to consumers. Your supermarket is filled to capacity with merchandise that more than likely came off a truck. Just look at the produce section. Unless you live on the West Coast or in a southern, citrus-bearing state, you probably have never seen an orange or banana tree. Yet there is the fruit in your grocery store waiting to go home with you. Trucking company jobs have made that and more possible for you.
Trucking Company Jobs
When it comes to becoming a truck driver, you will have a few choices in the type of driving you do. Over the road (OTR) jobs are the most prevalent and are the beginning point for most school graduates. There are regional trucking jobs. There is also the owner/operator (O/O) option. Each one is a little different and appeals to a different sort of person.
OTR jobs, as stated above, are the common starting point for most drivers. In fact it is nearly impossible to get any other type of position unless you have first held an OTR trucking job.
Over the road means exactly what it says: you will be driving over the road to transport goods from one place to another. Generally speaking, you can expect the following:
- To drive for at least two weeks before you receive any home time. Many companies expect that you will be out on the road for three weeks or more at a time, in which time you will earn one day of home time per seven days out.
- To have to keep your truck in good working condition and ensure that it meets the minimum Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards. That means you will check your truck periodically using at least a 108-point pre-trip inspection that you learned in school. This is very important because all tickets are on you. Trucking companies will not pay if you receive a fine for incorrect tread depth or a similar infraction.
- To adhere to the DOT hours of service law. This means no more than ten hours of service in fourteen. At the end of your ten hours, an eight-hour break is mandatory. To keep track of this you are required by law to carry a logbook.
- To keep appointment times for delivery and pick up. On top of that, the driver must be responsible for the load. In other words, if you are late or the cargo is damaged, the receiver can refuse the load, which you then becomes your responsibility. Trucking company jobs will not tolerate this occurrence very often.
- To deal with high volumes of traffic and difficult docks, not to mention cranky vendors and highway patrol officers.
Once you have earned your wings, so to speak, you could apply for a regional Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) trucking job. Regional means you will have a set running area, such as the East Coast, Midwest, etc. Usually this will consist of three to five states close to your home terminal. You will not have the same exact loads each time; after awhile they will probably rotate. This is not to be confused with a dedicated run.
This is an honor usually only bestowed upon the best of the best. You could land a CDL-trucking job of this nature fresh out of school, but it is unlikely. Dedicated runs give you a set load or loads that you run all the time. You will quickly get a routine down and be home more often than your friends who have OTR trucking jobs. You will be assured of the amount of money you can make each week and have some family time. The downside is some drivers get bored with these runs because they are the same all the time.
What You Can Expect
Compensation on the outset looks very lucrative; and in a sense, it is. The possibility for making at least a thousand dollars per week fresh out of school is very possible. Nevertheless, what does earning that money entail? Driving seven days a week for ten hours a day. You do the math. Trucking company jobs are good money, but more than that, it is a lifestyle. This lifestyle takes a special person to live it.
- Start-out wages for a trucking company job is in the range of $0.32 per mile. With safety and on-time bonuses as a common addition.
- Owner/operators of course own their equipment and have all the additional cost of operation. Their base pay is generally at least $1.19 per mile; many times they will also receive a fuel surcharge to offset the high costs. Each company will have various bonus benefits that they offer their O/O.
- Local CDL trucking jobs are even rarer than dedicated runs. They do exist, however, and pay in different manners. Very seldom will they pay by the mile; normally it is by the load, hour, or commission of sales. These are coveted positions, as the driver is able to be home every night.
Trucking company jobs have changed the way we do business and the ability of a common person to make a good wage. The need for this service is not diminishing. In fact the growth rate according to the national labor statistics is 38% over the next eight years, and drivers are becoming hard to find. It is a great time to look into this potentially lucrative career.