Trucking is a very unique industry and unlike many industries trucking comes with some very unique benefits. First off, the travel. Getting to see parts of the country that some could only dream of.
Depending on what Company you work for you can go cross Canada, run cross border into the US or you could work locally. Trucking comes with a sense of adventure and freedom unlike no other profession out there. There is also flexibility with when you can work, there are some companies that let you set your own schedule, it is also the only industry in the world that lets a driver decide how long or how little they want to stay out for.
As a truck driver you get a sense of independence as you enjoy the freedom of not being trapped in an office cubicle, your office is out the windshield of your truck. The sense of not having someone watching over your shoulder micro-managing every aspect of your job. The sense of pride and satisfaction of having the skills to safely navigate a seventy foot tractor trailer weighing 80, 000 pounds up and down the highways of North America. There are chances to even show off your skills as each province holds their own truck driving championships. It’s a competition where the competitors have to negotiate several hurdles throughout an obstacle course. It also includes a written test and a pretrip inspection.
There are regional competitions and the top three in each class advances to the provincial competition and like in the regionals the top three in each class moves on to the National competition. These competitions are an annual competition.
You will also have an opportunity to see parts of North America that you would not ever see if you were in a office job. From the Maritimes to the Rockies from the North to the South you will have the chance to see some of the amazing scenery that different parts of North America has to offer.
There is also the satisfaction of knowing without you the truck driver the store shelves would be empty, the trucking industry is the lifeline to a country’s economy, without trucking the economy stops. To sum it up, just about everything but a newborn baby arrives by truck.
There is also the potential earnings that can be made as a truck driver. Starting out you can realistically expect to make 45-50 thousand dollars a year , and once you have put in your time and earned the experience you can be earning between 60-70 thousand dollars a year. Those projections could also be higher depending on the type of work and equipment you drive, for example dry van, reefer, flatbed, oversize and specialized types of transportation.
Hauling Dry Van is usually the lowest of the pay bracket, with doing Refrigerated Trailer hauling the second lowest followed by flatbed, tanker with Oversized and Specialized being the highest pay in the trucking Industry. Training for each field also varies with flatbed work taking the most amount of training as it’s the most complicated of all the different operations, as you have to learn to tarp and strap and learn the securement regulations in both the US and Canada.
To go along with the earning power in the trucking industry is the job security that trucking provides. With the Industry screaming about a shortage of qualified truck drivers there has been never been a better time to get into the trucking industry. Tired of working the nine-to-five rat race? In trucking you can have a very flexible schedule as you can stay out as long or as little as you want. Depending on the company you can chose to be gone from anywhere from two months out to a few weeks out to a week out, home a few times a week or home every day.
As a truck driver you have a variety of companies to choose from to work for as well. During any given month the trucking magazines are full of drivers wanted ads. The companies vary from regional to long haul so the choice in what you want to do is in your total control as there is what industry experts and trucking companies call a driver shortage at the moment so any available qualified truck driver is in high demand.
That demand will also get higher as many of the truck drivers are getting close to the retirement age and are planning to retire from driving leaving an even greater need for drivers. There are also potential changes to regulations in the U.S that could lead to worsening the shortage of qualified truck drivers.
Another advantage to becoming a truck driver is the face that no two days are ever the same and it could be from seeing different things along your travels to different challenges each day will bring you. It definitely makes trucking an interesting profession each and every day.
Some truckers get into trucking because of the trucks themselves. There are a lot of beautiful trucks that are going up and down the interstate. For some it’s the smell of the diesel exhaust, there is a saying that once trucking is in your blood that it stays with you forever. It also helps if you are mechanically inclined as there are still some small repairs that a driver can make while on the road to avoid downtime on the road. There is also the pride that some drivers take in their equipment as some will take meticulous care, making sure their equipment is always clean and many of them spend many hours polishing their equipment. Some even enter their trucks into the many show and shines across the country during the summer months. If you’ve never been to a show and shine yet, I would encourage you to check one out and see just how much pride and dedication that many drivers have in their equipment.
If the idea of running solo doesn’t appeal to you, there is always team driving that you can try. There are many companies out there that do hire teams and many hire husband and wife teams. If you’re married it’s a great way to spend time with your spouse and travel the country. The other added plus to having a co-driver is they can assist you with some of the tasks that happen during the everyday occurrences that may happen during your travels. Having a co-driver helps alleviate the loneliness that drivers go through well on the road.
Trucking is also a great way to meet new people in your travels, depending on the size of the carrier that you end up working for there is a great camaraderie amongst your fellow drivers, that camaraderie is even greater the smaller the company that you drive for. Even throughout your travels there are chances to make contacts throughout the industry and it could benefit you in your future in the industry. There is also a great chance to get to meet fellow drivers whether at a shipper or receiver or sitting around in the restaurant at the truck stop, there is always a chance to share stories or even having a chance to listen and learn from older/experience drivers.
Another bonus is the much updated technologies in communications while on the road either with dispatch or with family while on the road. Long gone are the days of having to track down a payphone to contact dispatch. Most carriers now use satellite communications to communicate with their drivers to send load information or various fleet messages. Some carriers even have email set up through the satellite communications so that drivers families can communicate with the drivers on the road within the comfort of their own truck. And now with cell phones, pay phones have become for the most part obsolete, and with ever improving Canadian phone plans it has made communicating by cell phone much easier and efficient.
Also with the growth of technology in the trucking industry the popularity in GPS has exploded in the past few years, and with that there are many different ones available and there are many brands that specialize in Truck GPS. GPS shouldn’t be used to be relied on to find an address, as one should still use a map to plan out your trip, however they can be used as a wonderful resource and be used as a guide for truckers as they travel along their trips.
There is also the bonus of career advancement within the trucking industry. You can start out as a company driver and work your way up to an owner operator, you can move into a dispatch role, you can move into a recruiting position, you can become a trainer and get to share your knowledge with newer drivers, You can move into a job within the safety department. The possibilities are endless on what one can do within the industry.