For all the drivers running up and down the road day after day, are you getting tired of all the negative talk and information that is broadcast every day on the CB Radio and at the truck stops? Sometimes life can get a little depressing listening to someone who always talks about the wrong things in their lives or with the company they work for. Then, when we turn on the radio, all we hear is about all the evil in the world or all the crooked politicians in Washington.
Maybe it is time to talk a little about the good things in our industry. Sometimes they are hard to find, but several things are happening now for someone who is willing to change, work hard and desires to make good money. The implementation of the ELDs was not a good thing, but it is not all bad. Anytime something like this goes into effect, most drivers feel that the companies do not trust them or their reaction is to think that their employers do not think they can do a good job, without being watched over constantly. All this is a typical reaction for someone who is trying to do a good job and feels like they need little supervision, but in the interest of developing a good career, our feelings sometimes need to be put on hold. Let us talk a little about making our jobs better, make more money and build up for our retirements.
Benefits of Being an Entrepreneur
It is difficult to think about staying in a job for twenty years if someone is starting out and is struggling to figure out what it is all about. That is the way it is in the trucking business. One goes through their four or six-week drivers training program, is put in a truck with someone you have never met and start out not knowing where they are going or how to get there.
A person starts out not knowing what is going on, but it does not take long to figure out. The first six months of a driving job can be very confusing, demoralizing, and the hours are arduous for some. However, this is the time someone needs to decide if he or she has a strong desire to stay in the industry. How to go about creating a good income and a profitable career in the trucking industry is what this article is all about.
The next few years should be perfect for the trucking industry, as it is going through several changes, that hopefully lead to better pay and benefits for everyone. It was stated by a few, several years ago that if everyone started to run legal that wages and rates would increase, that is what is happening now with the ELDs.
Most drivers have to go through the learning process, work for a company that does not pay very well and stays away from home longer than the wife will tolerate. If we can keep our long-term plans in mind and not lose sight of what it is a person wants to accomplish, a little suffering is worth it. No-one starts out as president of a company, and everyone works their way up the ladder.
Short-term goals could be to find the type of trucking that you like, could it be refrigerated, flatbed, or just dry van, but find out what it is and learn all about it. In the meantime save as much money as possible, learn as much about the industry as possible, and purchase your truck. Only peoples that have a passion for truck driving should purchase their trucks, as this requires a commitment to make money in the trucking industry.
Become An Owner Operators
The benefits of becoming self-employed are many. As an owner/operator, a person has more control over the operation of their truck, how and where they want to run, type of freight they want to haul, and if take time off when desired. Of course, the objective is to make a good living, so all of this may not be attainable when desired. Sometime a driver may have to take a load that they do not want, but it may get him or her to a place where there is a good paying load.
Yes, an owner/operator is somewhat limited, because of the extra expenses that they are obligated to with operating a business. Most of us know an O/O is committed to:
- Fuel Taxes
- All maintenance which includes tires, oil changes, tools, and all other breakdowns
- Tolls in most cases
- Lumper fees and any other expense that happens to pop up that pertains to the smooth operation of an owner’s business
Keep in mind. Freight rates are going up because the large companies cannot keep drivers and with the improvements in the economy, everyone has too much freight to haul. Some truck manufacturers are reporting they have a surplus of trucks and not enough buyers. One would think a person could get some great offers from these truck dealers on the prices of new and used trucks. Some would think now would be the ideal time to reap the benefits of being an entrepreneur. Work at a company for a while, learn the industry, then if a person is serious about a career in trucking, go out and purchase that truck so you can make more money and have the freedom of being self-employed. For more on being an Owner/Operator read one of my earlier posts Be An Owner/Operator Truck Driver
What Some Can Do
All the smart people in the trucking industry are stating that with autonomous trucks, greenhouse warehouses, drones, and the rise in e-commerce, this will be the end of the trucking industry. The industry has been through changes throughout the years, has had all industries in the world. All of these changes are just going to mean a change in the trucking industry, not the end.
Young peoples that are starting out in the trucking industry have an opportunity to start now work their way up and learn about all this new technology. It is going to take at least ten years before all of this can be put into place, this gives everyone the chance to study and learn about the new inventions and about how trucking will be in the future. For some time, someone is going to have to operate these autonomous trucks to make sure they stay on the road and later on someone will need to watch them on a computer, in the comfort of the persons home to see to it that the tractor goes to where it is supposed to go.
Amazon has received a patent for its floating warehouse. A large blip warehouse is floating 40,000 feet above the earth. Amazons plan is for drones to shuttle freight from the blip to people or storage facilities here on earth. A floating warehouse may sound a little extraordinary to some, but look at all Amazon has accomplished so far, and many people thought they were bizarre at that time. The point here is someone has to operate these drones, much the same as someone has to watch the autonomous trucks. We do not want drones crashing all over the place!
More and more trucking will become owner/operator based. Amazon, the greenhouse warehouses, e-commerce, and all the others will require trucks to haul their products. There will be the need for more of these type of deliveries other than over the road drivers. The need for more local delivery O/Os will not be the end of over the road O/Os. There will not be as many needed. People will decide if they like produce grown in a greenhouse or if meat produced in a lab if as tasteful or nutritious as the produce we grow in California or the beef grown in Texas.
If you are someone starting in the industry, now should be a good time to work your way up and become an owner/operator, as there will always be a need for good O/Os. Decide what you would want to do, get your own authority while it is feasible, get in on the ground floor of making local deliveries, so you can be in a position to make a good salary. Or, a person can learn as much as possible about autonomous trucks and drones, in order to be in a situation to sit at home operating your drone or self-driving truck.
Obtain Your Own Authority
If you like and decide to stay in the transportation industry it is advisable to get your own authority. Having your authority gives a person the opportunity to work with brokers directly and to work out rates more to their satisfaction. When a driver is leased to a particular carrier then he or she must take the rate they pay their contractors. When the driver has their authority they have the freedom to choose if they want a particular load or not and which brokers they feel comfortable with.
It is not advisable to go through the process of getting your authority if you are not serious about staying in the business. Permanent Authority by itself is now $300.00, but there are other expenses involved. Also, keep in mind that one needs to have their own tractor, trailer, and insurance. It is a good idea to have some money set aside for operation and emergencies as a driver does not get paid right away for some loads.
The thoughtful approach, if one is starting in the business and still in driving school would be to:
1. Finish their school
2. Go to work for a company that has a training program
3. Work for at least a year in the sector of trucking that you like (refer, flatbed, or dry van). It does take a least a year or longer to get used to all the different types of weather and roads throughout our country.
4. Save plenty of money for your tractor and purchase that tractor
5. Work as an owner/operator with a good carrier and when ready, go ahead purchase a trailer and get that authority
One of the main things is to do extensive research on all the things we have covered. I know all this sounds confusing and complicated but there are several companies that will guide you through the process of obtaining your authority and get you started being an independent Owner/Operator. One such company is DAT Truckers Edge. They have everything that an Owner/Operator needs to stay in business and they do it all for very reasonable fees. They have been serving Owner/Operators since 1978.
DAT has come a long way from the Dail A Truck days at Jubitz Truck Stop in Portland OR, in 1978! Many new benefits from discount Fuel Cards, Fuel Tax Reporting to obtaining your own Trucking Authority.
ATruckerLifestyle.com partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at http://www.truckersedge.com/377389 or entering “promo846” during sign up. This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only.
For a person to obtain his or her authority, it takes a reasonable sum of money and time. We are in no way promoting this as it depends on the person, how much they want to work, how much money they want to make and if they want to stay in the trucking industry. However, if a person is thinking about making a career in the industry than this is an excellent way to be profitable. Being an Owner/Operator in this current environment may seem daunting to some, but many think that now is the time to do it and get their authority at the same time. Staying with a large company at this time would not make a driver much money, and they are at the whim of the company. No say in when they can be home, when they take some time off, how many miles they can run, and one is stuck to a regular salary.
We continually hear drivers complaining about their jobs and the companies where they work. The most substantial benefits of being self-employed are the freedom to conduct business as you see fit. With all the changes going on now, it may be the best time to get into a position to buy that truck and go to work for yourself. Having a truck will give a person more leverage when all these changes come along.
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Thank you for reading about my thoughts on the industry today and please Comment Below.