Have you ever wondered how the life on the roads would be? Full of adventures, new people to meet and miles and miles of journey added to the meter with each passing day. But there is a flip side to this beautiful looking coin too. Fight for the food, crave for the roof and pray for a good weather, all these things are the biggest concerns that such people face each day. Most of the people who love travelling are ready to face all these difficulties with a broad smile and wide arms but the only thing that pull them out of their dreamland are the green leafy things called currency. How to earn when you are on the go is the biggest challenge of all? Where to find a job that can feed their mouth as well as their dream? There are only a few of them who have privilege to do what they love and earn money along with it.
Commercial driving is one such industry which not only feeds your mouth but also your dreams too. If you are a travel enthusiast then this is the industry for you. A commercial driver not only gets the chance to visit the world but also earns a very handsome income. In a county like USA, truck transportation is the backbone of economy. Be it retail, manufacturing, automotive or fmcg, proficient commercial drivers are needed everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the industry is growing at a very fast rate. By 2020, the transportation industry is expected to generate nearly 21% jobs, much higher than any other.
But before entering into the dungeon in search for the treasure it is necessary that you understand the hidden dark spawns too. To enter into this industry as a driver, you need to qualify a series of exams and get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) which permits you to operate heavy vehicles throughout the country. This license is essential for driving any commercial vehicle. Driving without a proper CDL may result into serious fines and jail time also. There are many schools and institutions across different states which train students for commercial driving and help them pass the exams. The exams are conducted by Department of Transportation (DoT). Once you qualify the exam and get your license, you need to find out the suitable job for you. Some drivers prefer freelance driving while other stick to companies for regular jobs. Most of the drivers are paid on the basis of miles driven while some are paid on hourly miles also. But most of the companies calculate the miles from one city to other by connecting dots which seriously reduce the number of miles run, however some companies also pay on the basis of ‘practical miles’ actually driven for the job, so you have to be careful about that before taking on any assignment. Also you need to know if there are any endorsements required for the particular job. For example, to drive any tanker containing hazardous material, you will need to have ‘X endorsement’. These endorsements are also issued by DoT after proper training.
Now the most important thing of all. If you are to become a trucker, you need to know what kind of life they live every day? Their daily routines, experiences, bad and good times. Here are some of the points which will give you a clear idea what it’s like to become a commercial driver:
- Daily schedule:
What’s the daily schedule of a truck driver? The daily schedule of truck drivers changes very frequently and there are no fixed timings. If on the road, they might have to drive during day or night as per their choice and job requirements. However before going for a new job, the day of a truck drivers begin very early (sometimes even before the dawn). This usually begins with truck inspection, morning chores, log checks, weather and safety reports and work messages.
- Types of work:
So what type of work do drivers usually get? This depends on day to day basis. There are different types of jobs such as ‘drop and hook’ where you drop the loaded trailer at the consignee address and load an empty one without waiting for the loaded one to be emptied then there are ‘live load’ and ‘live unload’ where you have to wait for the loading and unloading time. Note here that drivers who get paid by the miles basis do not earn any money during this period however you can use this time to plan out your trip and lookout for fuel stops and night halts.
- Miles to drive:
How many miles can a driver drive during a week? Is there any limit? The answer to this question is yes and no both. There is no such driving miles limit but there is maximum driving hours limit. A driver cannot drive for more than 70 hours in 8 day period and once that is achieved you have to get full 34 hours rest before driving again. Also you cannot drive more than 14 hours a day and must take 10 hours break after that.
- Money to earn:
How much money exactly do a driver earn? This actually depends on the drivers’ experience, his endorsement and accreditations, his CDL training school, past driving history of the driver, and also on the contacts he has with other firms. Usually a driver earns around $35,000 during his initial years and then around $55,000 to $70,000 later on.
- Perks and benefits:
So what are the benefits that a driver gets? There are many perks and benefits that drivers get often. First of all you get to travel! Then there are many others like bonuses for fast delivery, insurance, monthly bonus along with modern technology laden machines and vehicles which make your journey experience even more comfortable. However most of these are company specific and varies from company to company.