New to the trucking life? Here are some useful tips that will come in handy when you’re on the job.
If you’re new to trucking, or undertaking training to be certified as a qualified commercial motor vehicle driver, then this read is for you.
Truck driving is a relatively easy job.
However, it’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice. You will be required to spend time away from your loved ones for a long time. Some loading assignments require you to stay on the road for weeks.
The job requires your 100% focus and attention, all day, for most days of the year (excluding paid time off and holidays).
But of course, the job also comes with its perks. The pay is really good, and you can eventually gain enough experience to start your own trucking business. Alternatively, you will be recommended by contractors and companies in accordance with your performance, giving you a long and fruitful career.
While every job comes with its own pros and cons, the cons of this job should be considered carefully.
The following tips will help you find the answers you’re looking for, as you navigate through this new chapter of your life as a new truck driver.
1. Your training is not customary. It’s useful in real life
It’s important to pay attention in your CDL training. The methods and mechanisms you learn in your training will be useful in real-life situations. Even the troubleshooting and vehicle fix workshops are necessary to help you get familiar with the vehicle and the job.
2. Be prepared to drive for 10-11 hours a day
From a layman’s perspective, truck driving might seem like a dream. The long drives across picturesque landscapes, traveling from one state to another, and exploring different kinds of local cuisine may all seem appealing.
But here’s what you need to remember.
Driving alone for 10-11 hours a day will tire you out. It even gets boring after the first few trips because you’re on your own in the middle of nowhere with nothing to support you but your truck.
A study even shows that truck drivers are more prone to stress and anxiety due to a variety of reasons, including work and the distance away from home and family.
3. Be flexible & patient
You will be required to travel interstate and even across borders for some loading orders. The IRP trip permits are testimony to that. You have to be open to driving for days, and you’ll need to budget your trips accordingly.
You will have to stay at remote motels, or no motels at all (if you can’t find parking for your truck), and just function with a few essential items for an entire trip.
A typical day for a truck driver looks something like this.
- Waking up + freshening up
- Coordinating with the back-office staff to get details of the load assignment
- Inspecting the vehicle
- Grabbing a quick breakfast at a nearby travel center (that has parking available for heavy trucks)
- Driving for a few hours until lunchtime
- Lunch at a travel center + re-fueling + quick repairs
- Driving for a few more hours until the shipment is delivered (before the deadline)
- Confirming the load details with the back office coordinator
This was a single-day trip. If the loading is to be shipped to a far-off location, then just include a lot more driving for days, and uncomfortable sleep in the schedule.
And let’s not forget how all of this has an impact on your physical and mental health.
4. Pay/salary will get better with experience
You’re not going to be at the top of the pay scale right off the bat. It takes time and experience to understand the gravity of the job and the responsibilities.
It’s the same for any job in the world.
And once you gain enough expertise, you will be paid well.
Truck driving is a promising career with good pay and a variety of benefits. So, if you’re patient and consistent, and learn the job well, you will be rewarded in the long term.
5. Regulatory compliance is very important
Getting the CDL training and license is not enough. You need IFTA fuel permits, IRP trip permits, credentials, and other paperwork as you pass through each state.
Each state has its regulatory obligations. And you need to familiarize yourself with these mandates and comply.
Speaking of regulatory obligations.
If you’re an owner-operator who’s new to the trucking industry, you will need more than just highway compliance to stay in the good books.
You will also need to comply with the IRS.
When you drive a heavy vehicle that weighs 55,000 pounds or more (be it for agricultural or commercial purposes), your vehicle will be taxed by the IRS.
Every self-employed truck driver and trucking business needs to file a 2290 HVUT form to report the vehicle information.
The weight of your vehicle, month of first use, and mileage utility information will be considered to tax your trucking business.
With EZ2290, you can easily manage your HVUT filings and stay compliant.
EZ2290 is trusted by 10,000+ trucking businesses in the U.S. because it enables:
- Quick and easy bulk data import
- Real-time TIN matching
- Dynamic form completion
- Automatic HVUT tax calculations
- Secure & encrypted eFile transmissions
- Free 2290 VIN Corrections
- Free Re-file for rejected returns
- Online options to pay your HVUT with convenience
- Priority 2290 tax support
Create Your Free Account & File Your Form 2290
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