A commercial driving license is a pathway to a great career in the trucking industry. But what type of truck driver should you become? While many people envision just one type of driving job, this industry actually offers a range of options that drivers can tailor to their own interests. Here’s a short guide of choices you can make to achieve your career goals.
Many Americans probably think of truck drivers as being out on the lonely highways for long stretches of uninterrupted time. But this is just one type of driving job. Over-the-road truck drivers do the long-haul transportation work that can take them all over the United States. They see the country and make more income, but they also spend weeks away from home.
The opposite end of the spectrum is local drivers. These drivers deliver goods in a very limited radius in urban areas and are likely to be home most nights. Do you want a career in between these two extremes? Then you might want to be a regional driver which offers a mid-size driving range and shorter periods away from home.
Another common misperception is that truck drivers are all out there alone. This option is great for someone who loves to be by themselves, but it isn’t the only choice. Team driving involves multiple drivers who work together and drive while the other takes rest periods. They can travel farther and faster on a run, taking jobs that single drivers can’t do in the same amount of time.
Your team could be anyone, including your spouse or partner, and both parties can make more money by doing bigger jobs together. However, team driving isn’t for everyone, and it requires finding the right partner you can live within a small cab.
Different loads have different impacts on the driver. Goods that can travel in a dry van are generally easy to haul and require little or no loading and unloading by the driver. However, goods that can’t fit into a container must travel on flatbed trailers, and the driver receives a bump in pay to maneuver them.
Specialized cargo needs mean a bigger challenge for drivers along with better pay rates. This may include hazardous materials, tankers, auto haulers, and refrigerated trailers. As you gain experience and training with these materials, you expand the types of loads you can take on as well as your driving opportunities.
Truck driving is a skill, and it can either be used as an employee of a larger company or as an owner-operator. Employee drivers have little or no financial investment to make, and they let the company handle all the administration and finding of loads. This can be a lower-stress lifestyle than owner-operators.
When you own your truck, you are a small business owner—with both the freedom and responsibilities of one. You’ll have to find work, track income and expenses, pay for your own repairs, and work directly with vendors. Although, this may be worth it since you can turn your driving job into a long-term investment in your future.
Which of these options appeals to you? Which are more practical for your financial goals, home life, and career plans? Find out by talking with Ozark Motor Lines recruiter. We provide CDL holders with a wide range of profitable driving choices, so you can tailor your work to your needs. Call us today at 800-264-2033.
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