Long haul trucking, also known as over the road trucking, involves living on the road for weeks at a time. As a long haul truck driver, you may spend upward of 3 weeks or more on the road. A large percentage of new truck drivers start in long haul trucking. You have to start somewhere, often at the bottom of the barrell.
1.) Long Haul Trucking Lifestyle
Becoming a long haul truck driver is easy. Remaining as a OTR truck driver is the hard part. It’s not easy spending weeks on the road, especially if you have a family, a spouse or children. While some of you may provide for your family at all cost, living on the road can take a toll on your relationship. I’ve seen it happen many times before. If you’re a single, want to travel the country, then this is right down your alley.
The transition of being away from home can be tough for many, especially younger adults. You may have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you likely still have friends from school. From the day you become a long haul truck driver, your life changes. Factor in the part of growing up and losing your friends as you age, your lifestyle can take a complete 360.
2.) Long Haul Trucking Income
As a long haul driver, you can make a pretty solid income in your first year. It all depends on you. If you don’t mind driving and taking loads when available, you can come close to $40,000 or more in your first year. Of course, we’re only estimating a year’s salary but it’s very possible. More than likely, you’ll be driving for a company that pays you per mile. Truck driver pay per mile can vary depending on the company you drive for.
As an over the road truck driver, you can expect to make up to $50,000-$55,000 your second year driving. It’s important tht you get the experience behind the wheel. Some trucking companies will increase your pay once you’ve been with the company for a year.
3.) Things Every Truck Driver Should Carry
As you start your career on the road long haul trucking or begin your new job, there’s several things that you need to make sure you have with you at all times. Here’s the thing, you never know when you’re going to run into trouble on the road. Being prepared is going to save you time and money. As a long haul trucker, you run a higher risk of running into issues due to all the miles you’ll be driving. So it’s better to be prepared, safe over being sorry.
- Water (A week’s worth)
- Food (A week’s worth)
- Extra Clothing
- Fuel and Diesel
- Battery Charger
- Tool Set with common tools for repairs
- Black Tape
- Extra Battery
- Emergency Kit
- Extra Chains
4.) Benefits Of Driving For A Company
There’s a lot of benefits driving for the company. Ask any owner operator, they’ll tell you. Below, you’ll see some of the perks when driving for a company.
No Expenses For Parts And Maintenance – Parts and maintenance for a semi truck can get expensive real quick. The good news for you, as a company truck driver, you’ll never have to pay out of pocket to fix your truck nor for routine maintenance. Think about if you had to buy new tires for your truck, you could be looking at tens of thousands. The company handles all expenses unless you’re at fault. (Only certain situations, doing something you shouldn’t had been doing.)
No Expenses For Fuel – Fuel is the leading expense for trucking companies. Even though diesel prices are falling at the publication of this article, fuel is still expensive. A driver can easily average a few thousand dollars in diesel cost per day. But as a company driver, you won’t have to worry about that. Pull out your company card and fill her up.
Health Insurance And Retirement – No one can deny the importance of having health insurance, not only for yourself but for your family also. While it’s easier to find health insurance after Obamacare, most trucking companies provide health insurance options. Obamacare has changed the insurance landscape but depending on who you drive for, health insurance could be an option.
Retirement is another benefit to company driving. There’s a wide range of retirement options among trucking companies and it’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement. The more you prepare now, the better off you’ll be. If you have 401K or other types of company matching programs, be sure to consider them.
No Bills On The Road – If you’re a single long haul truck driver, you can take the advantage of not having bills. You don’t have to pay insurance on the truck, no rent if you stay in the truck and no utilities. Open a bank account and let the money pile up. If you’re a good driver and responsible, the company will likely let you take the truck home. I’ve even had a few that allowed me to use the truck for personal use. Even if you have a spouse and kids, you can still save money in a lot of areas as a company driver.
5.) Cons Of Driving For a Company
The only downfall that I found in being a company long haul truck driver is the time away from home and crazy work schedules. We’re already discussed that you’ll like be on the road weeks at a time. It can be tough. The last thing I want to do is scare you away, but you need to consider what your life will be like living on the road for weeks at a time.
As a long haul driver, you’ll be on the clock of the company. Hours and miles can very from one day to the next. If you enjoy driving, this may not be an issue. Downtime is another negative part of the trucking industry for all drivers. When the truck isn’t moving, you’re not getting paid. Sometimes, you may spend an hour or two at the loading docks. It happens, so be prepared.
6.) Long Haul Driving Career
There’s a lot of other jobs out there, but truck driver jobs are in high demand. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the open roads but the income is great, even for new truck drivers. Some experienced truck drivers are making upward of $80,000 and more. There’s a lot of money to be made not only in long haul trucking but trucking in general.
Some of you may have a local driving job starting out, more power to you. But if you leave with anything from this article, leave with this. Learn everything you can, be a safe driver and work your tail off. If you do, you’ll have a great rewarding career/ Eventually, the right people will notice.
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