Trucking is a great career option in general. What you really need to know is if a career
in trucking is right for you to decide if you should become a trucker. In other words are you compatible for Life as
a Trucker? That is what I will help you
decide here by telling you what you can expect as a truck driver.
Here are some of the things that you should consider before becoming a truck driver. There are Tens of thousands trucking companies out there so this information is general.
1. Time out - As a new driver you will likely spend from 2 - 3 weeks out before coming in. It really depends on the trucking company. When you first go to a company you will likely go ride with a trainer take turns driving. During this period you will likely stay out the longest period of time before coming home. It could be up to 5 or 6 weeks.
After that you get your own truck as a solo driver or go with another driver as a team. Usually you get from about 2 - 3 days home time when you come in.
Here is something you must understand about home time. The more you come home and the more days you spend at home, the less you end up making per pay period, which means per year.
So some drivers that are disappointed that they don't make what they expect do it to themselves because they want to go home every chance they get. If you are not driving, you are not getting paid.
What does that mean?
It means if you need to be home often, or for long periods, then it may not be worth it for you to become a trucker. That brings us to the second point you should consider.
2. Relationships - Trucking is not the best career for a family person. There are many truckers that have a family and everyone is happy. So here is what you must consider to determine if you might be a happy or miserable as a trucker with a family.
Is your spouse compatible with the trucking lifestyle? Meaning, can he or she be happy with you gone for weeks at a time. Not can he or she deal with it, but can he or she be happy despite you being gone.
Here is what I mean? Both driver and spouse need to be sort of independent. The person at home should be able to take care of things at home. Also neither person should be easily influenced by dumb or negative comments by friends or other haters. Many people assume truck drivers are rebellious renegades who sleep around a do drugs. They just know the movies.
Both people need to be
If there are children involved good parenting skills will be needed so that the kids can best understand and deal with the situation of the driver being gone. So both of you have to be honest about who you are and the condition of the relationship to judge if it will survive the trucking lifestyle.
3. Money Expectations - Most of the advertising that you see will entice you with highest salary or the average. You often don't think about what average means. You just see an attractive salary. The reality is that if average salary is $50,000 then the range is between $25,000 - $75,000. So someone is making the lower end salaries. Those are some of the new drivers and those drivers and many of them got trained at a company with a company sponsored program in their first year. After a year of driving your salary will go up at that company and if it doesn't, you can get a better paying trucking job.
So what you will get paid will be affected by the company you work for, the region you live or work in, the amount of time you go home for, and how you enter the career. How you enter the career means how you go about getting your CDL. That is topic all on it’s on and I have written about that. One of the things that can affect your money expectations and future is your health.
4. Your Health condition – If you already have health problems, then you need to consider first the medications that you take. Any type of medicine that could affect your judgment might keep you from driving. To drive you must take a physical, the doctor must approve your meds. Common sense should go a long way to determine if you might be permitted with your meds or not. Methadone and opiates will disqualify you from trucking.
If you are someone who does not take your health seriously, trucking is not for you. As a successful career, ideally, you want to eat a good diet, avoid the sugar and fast food for the most part and do some exercise. You spend a lot of time sitting. If you are not proactive in keeping your health on track it will derail and cause you problems. Many drivers gain weight and suffer from diabetes, sleep apnea, back problems and COPD. A lot of these problems are a result of poor choices. They like to say trucking causes it but actually it is the poor choices while being a truck driver that causes most of the problems. I lost weight while trucking and stayed in great shape and you can too. It doesn’t happen by accident.
That brings us to getting your CDL.
5. Getting your CDL.
There are 3 main ways to get your CDL.