One of the best things about this life of ours is the ever present reality of choices. When you are thinking about what job to pursue, it is important to take time and introspect. The life of a truck driver is not for the feint of heart. There are a lot of things that are needed to even be allowed to be a truck driver—not to mention all the other demands that the job will ask of you.
We’re not trying to scare you from joining a pretty amazing job. It is better off for everyone if only those that have their priorities straightened out will be the ones to actively pursue the life of a cowboy of the modern road. That said, if you are thinking of being a truck driver, take time to ask yourself these questions:
Do you like driving?
This is a pretty simple but loaded question. Professional and long time truck drivers will tell you that you will need to LOVE driving if you want to be a trucker. A huge chunk of your time, effort, and existence will be on the road and behind the wheel. While it would be ideal to have long unencumbered stretches of road before you, this may not be possible for short haul truckers.
Driving for a living will mean being subject to other people’s time, availability, and actions while on the road! If you cannot handle the long hours of driving and actually enjoy it, trucking may not be a good fit for you.
Why do you want to be a truck driver?
Knowing why you want to be a driver is a pretty good thing to sort out at the very beginning. Understanding your reasons can be the foundation of a good career move. Alternatively speaking, having the wrong sort of motivations can end up with a pretty miserable existence.
Truck drivers often choose to be what they are because it is something that they saw growing up. It could be possible that someone in their family was a trucker as well. If you are solely after the money that a truck driver can earn, you may want to check out your priorities.
Having a pretty big salary will not always equate to happiness; especially, when you are on your 9th straight hour on the road.
Do you want to work for a company or be an independent contractor?
Truck drivers can choose to work for a small or large company. They can also choose to work for themselves and approach clients directly. Knowing which one you want will help guide your path toward what you need to do.
If you want to be an independent contractor, having your own vehicle is a must. Decide early on regarding what sort of truck you would like to drive. When you do, getting the proper certification for it would be the next step.
If you want to work for a company, try to look for trucking companies that train drivers. This will help save you time and such companies often already have their own fleets of trucks so you can just show up to drive.
Would you be willing to miss special occasions?
Being on call for a delivery can often take you away from special occasions that family and friends are celebrating. If you have ever seen a Coca-Cola commercial, you will see that during Christmas they still have people on the road.
A truck driver must be able to live with the fact that there will be deliveries that will coincide with special occasions. Would you be able to live with that fact?
Are you capable of being alone with your thoughts for extended periods?
Truck drivers are not always paired up with partners when on the road. For long haul drivers, the reality of the situation is that they are alone for the entirety of the journey. People who cannot abide by the silence and the solitude would be best looking for more social forms of employment.
A truck driver is not necessarily a loner. However, the job will require you to be by yourself a lot of the time. If this is something that you cannot do, a trucker’s life is not for you.
How much do you want to earn annually?
Depending on who you work for, the salary may be quite big or it can be quite dismal. Setting a clear bar of what you want to earn will help you determine further what your job options are. If you want to earn at least in the high 70’s on an annual basis, long haul jobs should be what you are looking at.
If you are okay with earning around 30-50 thousand on an annual basis, you would be okay with short haul trucking.
How long would you want to work as a truck driver?
Longevity of your craft is something that you must consider before you start doing it. A truck driver’s job is not just a job. It is a full on lifestyle. If you are only thinking of being a truck driver for a few years or so, it would be good for you to stick with companies that have their own fleets.
If you want to be a long lived truck driver, having your own truck would be a better investment for you. Knowing how long you want to continue working in a particular job is a great way to plan your future.
Taking the time to really think about your choices, options, and compatibility to the job you are looking at can save you from a lot of trouble down the road. The life of a truck driver can be completely fulfilling (for the right person). If you are not quite sure if the life of a trucker is one for you, ask yourself the questions that we posted above.
They should, at the very least, provide you with some key ideas on whether or not you would be a good fit for the trucker lifestyle.