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10 Reasons You Should Consider Trucking & 5 Reasons You Should Not

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10 Reasons You Should Consider Trucking

Although there are probably many more reasons to consider trucking as a career, we will examine ten that come to mind right away. And then, we’ll look at five things you should consider before you jump into a trucking classroom or behind the wheel.

#1 — Be Your Own Boss — Independence

If you asked 100 drivers why they got into trucking, more than half would likely say independence or freedom. No more nine to five spent in a cubicle or factory. Just you, your truck, and the open road.

#2 — Make a Good Income

Just as many as say freedom, an equal number are sure to say the money. Before getting into the trucking business, many see the chance to earn a big paycheck as an incentive. The national average to start is $40,000 annually, and some companies pay as much as $93,000. Some specialty drivers handling hazardous material earn more than $100,000 per year.

However, those numbers can be deceiving, particularly for first and second-year truckers with low-paying firms. Many of these pay a portion of the driver’s school or are part of the school’s job placement program. Trucking companies typically pay by the mile, $.28 to $.45. To get $.40 - $.45 per mile, you need to have a clean driving record and experience. 

The trick, many experienced drivers say, is to keep a clean driving record and always look for a better position.

#3 — Excellent Benefits 

Beyond pay is the benefits. Many drivers are happier with a little less pay if the benefits help take care of the family while they’re on the road. Medical, dental, life insurance, retirement, and others. The best trucking firms offer an excellent package of pay, benefits, and personal time. 

#4 — Job Security & Pride

The trucking industry is and will continue to be secure as long as Americans need the shelves filled with products to buy. Truckers moved almost 10 billion tons of products and raw materials in 2018. Trucking is vital to the economy, our country, and its people. However, the trucker can help to secure their job by challenging every violation or traffic ticket. 

#5 — Meet New People

Although most of the old mom and pop diners with friendly people and a bottomless coffee cup have pretty much disappeared from America’s rest stops, you’re still able to meet new people. Extroverts with a friendly smile and a story to tell will attract others with those same qualities.

#6 — The Chance to Own Your Truck 

Many firms offer a rent to own program; however, not every rainbow has a pot of gold. Look carefully at their contract and get a lawyer to look it over as well. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” 

What’s more, nearly ten trucking firms have gone out of business in 2019, so make sure you have a plan B. Having a savings “nest egg” when you have a family is an excellent example. Pay yourself first by putting a percentage of your income in savings.  

#7 — A Feeling of Belonging — Camaraderie

Much like the military, trucking is like a community. Even if you think of yourself as “King of the Road,” there are lots of other kings whose cab or sleeper is their castle, and you can usually turn to them in time of trouble.

#8 — See the Country

Well, sometimes you might see more of it than you want, especially when you just want to get home for a few days. It always seems your next load only takes you further away. Getting to know the dispatchers can help somewhat. If a dispatcher knows you want to get to California for a couple of days, and they see a load going that way, they might swing it your way. 

#9 — Short School or Training Program with OJT

Typically, truck driving school is four to eight weeks with a five-day-a-week program. The national average, however, is seven weeks. After completion, fleet management will likely assign you to an experienced driver for a period of on-the-job-training (OJT). Some might put you in a truck by yourself after you get your commercial driver’s license (CDL), while others will keep you with an experienced driver for a couple of months.   

#10 — The Endless Stories You Will Hear and See

Although you can’t pay the rent with good stories, it’s all part of life’s experiences. When that experienced driver tells you about an expensive ticket for an overweight truck, they’re probably not telling you that to hear themselves talk even though it does make the miles go by quicker. 

"It's true that people only learn from mistakes, but nobody says they have to be your own." - Warren Buffett

You need to heed those stories and weigh every load. Overweight truck tickets cost on average $1.00 a pound overweight. That can add up quickly when your truck is 4,000 pounds over. However, in CA, trucks more than 4,501 pounds over are a misdemeanor. Spread the word to other novice drivers to always weigh their load and challenge every ticket with a traffic ticket attorney.

5 Reasons You Should Not Consider Trucking

Well, as many reasons as there are to enter a trucking career, there are reasons to think about it carefully. The following are five reasons you should consider not going into trucking.

#1 — Government Regulations

The FMCSA has hours of service (HOS) rules that every driver nationwide must follow. You must take a 30 minute break within eight hours of coming on duty, you can only drive eleven hours per day, work no more than 14 hours per day (though that could go up to 17 if the split sleeper rule amendment gets approved), and no more than 60 hours on duty within seven days or 70 hours on duty within eight.

There are many exceptions to these rules and many other government regulations truck drivers must adhere to, but you get the idea.  

#2 — Time Away from Home

You can spend hours at a time in a truck on the road all alone. And, as we pointed to earlier, every load seems to take you further away from home instead of closer. This is particularly true when a driver’s family is “off the beaten path.” Say a driver lives in Florida or Montana. It might be weeks or months before they get back home, and it usually only occurs because they took time off, not because there was a load there or one you need to drop off there. 

#3 — Parking

Free parking has all but disappeared from along the country’s freeways. Even when you spend hundreds for food and fuel, you might still need to pay for a place to park and a shower if you can find a place. You might need to drive through several parking lots to find a place to take your mandatory 30-minute break or risk an HOS violation. 

#4 — Shippers

Shippers can keep you waiting for hours to load or unload. Sure, you could take part of that time as a sleeper berth or off-duty, but you are not getting paid while you sit. Likewise, you probably will not sleep well in your sleeper while waiting to get loaded.

#5 — Traffic Tickets

Resolving traffic tickets, CSA or roadside inspection violations, and others can cost hours away from the driver’s seat.. However, it is imperative to challenge every ticket or violation with a traffic ticket attorney. 

Whatever the fine or penalty, it’s probably nothing compared to the increased income you miss out on with a high-paying firm if a conviction or paid fine shows up on your Pre-Screening Program (PSP) record. 

Trucking Tickets in Woodland, CA

When you have a trucking ticket, a violation, or need representation at a DMV Hearing, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español 661.349.9755.

We work for CDL holders across California. We know you can’t take a day or two off to resolve a violation or allegation. We only handle traffic tickets to protect the driving privileges of the CDL holder and other drivers.   

Send us an email attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com with the specifics of your issue. 

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf