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Starting Your Truck Driving Career

So you have your CDL and you are ready to start driving. Not so fast. Landing your first trucking job requires care, consideration, and planning. But by doing this you will ensure a long and profitable career in the trucking industry.

In many ways, the pathway to finding the perfect job begins before you get your CDL Company sponsored CDL schools can provide an easy pathway to enter the trucking market. Though each program is structured differently, you can expect to sign an agreement with the company stating that you will work for them once your CDL is complete for a specified time period. Some of the programs are free and some will require you to pay back the tuition once you start working.

You will still be able to find employment if you decide to attend a private CDL school as well. This is because there are many companies that hire inexperienced drivers with just a CDL. In fact, many of these companies even offer tuition reimbursement programs. Here is a sampling of private companies that are hiring inexperienced drivers: Maverick Transportation, May Trucking Company, Shaffer Trucking, and Tyson Foods.

To maximize your chances of getting hired you must be keenly aware of the requirements to become a truck driver. You should have a clean driving record in order to get hired. Speeding tickets and accidents will not necessarily disqualify you, but it might make it harder to get hired and some companies will not consider you at all. Your criminal history will also be scrutinized and any felonies on your record will more than likely disqualify you from having a trucking career. Other than that, patience, a good attitude, and persistence will go a long way to securing employment.

Once you have landed your first job, you can expect to be doing over-the-road (OTR) jobs with a trainer for 1 to 3 months. OTR jobs are a great way to see the country. You can expect to travel over 600 miles in your truck. The typical working period for OTR jobs is 28 days on the road and 5 days at home. While you are training you will be compensated. However, your compensation will be at a lower level. Once you are done with the introductory period, you can expect to make approximately 55,000 dollars a year.

You will receive a base salary as a truck driver but you should also keep in mind that many companies pay based on performance. This means that the better you do on key performance metrics, the more you will get paid. Some typical performance metrics in the industry include safety, fuel management, and service. You will also receive benefits as a driver. Many companies provide health insurance, 401(k) programs, and paid vacations. Some companies even provide discounts on my items such as cell phones and restaurants. You might even be allowed to bring a loved one on the road with you.

After driving for a couple of years, you may become interested in becoming an owner operator or leasing your truck. You should be well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of operating your own truck before you embark on this journey. As an owner operator, the responsibility of the truck belongs to you. This means that if the truck breaks down, the repair costs are yours. Also keep in mind that while the truck is not operating, you will not be making any money. You will also have to worry about licensing, insurance, and fuel costs. The primary advantage to owning your own truck is having the freedom to make decisions for yourself and deciding how much time you want to spend on the road. Many companies offer programs and financing options to help you become an owner operator.

The outlook in the truck industry is promising. Freight transportation continues to rely on trucking to move products in the United States. In fact, 68.5 percent of all domestic shipments are moved by the trucking industry. In 2013, overall growth for the industry reached to 1.2 percent. Some of the factors driving growth include relatively low fuel prices and a drastically improved stock market. Safe truck drivers are in high demand as well and some companies are reaching out to drivers before they have obtained their license. Different regions of the country have more opportunities than others. In general, Florida and the northernmost portion of the northeast are the toughest places to secure a trucking job. Overall, you should have no problems finding a job in this exciting industry!