Becoming a commercial truck driver can be very lucrative, but you will need to overcome a few hurdles before you get behind the wheel for the first time. Coming up with a long-term career plan will allow you to avoid some of the most common mistakes that new truck drivers make.
Double-Check the Requirements
The very first step in this process is making sure that you meet all of the requirements. Each state has its own regulations regarding commercial drivers, but you must adhere to the federal laws as well. At the very least, you will need to be at least 21 years of age and have a relatively clean driving record. You must also undergo CDL training and take two separate state tests before you receive your commercial driver’s license.
Find the Right Truck
Choosing the right truck is going to be vital to your success, and you should spend some researching all of the semi truck sales in your area. Your budget is going to be the biggest factor to consider, but you might be able to find a good financing plan if you have decent credit and some type of collateral. If you have any friends who are truck drivers, then you should ask them for suggestions as well. An experienced commercial driver could be an invaluable asset throughout this process.
Owner-Operator or Company Driver?
Many people choose to be owner-operators because they want to have absolute control over their schedules, but that type of work does have a few drawbacks. As an owner-operator, you are basically a small business owner, and that means you won’t have a very good safety net if something goes wrong. Company drivers don’t have as much freedom, but they are usually offered great benefits. You will need to weigh all of the pros and cons of those two positions before you accept any job offer.
Getting the Proper Insurance
Insurance for commercial vehicles is different than insurance for private drivers, and you must make sure that you have the correct coverage. If you are driving for a company, then their company policy will most likely cover your equipment as long as you aren’t the sole owner of the truck. Owner-operators typically need some type of business policy that provides comprehensive coverage.
Once you have started down this career path, you must make sure that you remain physically and mentally healthy. Sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your well-being, and seemingly minor health problems could bring your career to a grinding halt if you aren’t careful.