A wise person once said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” As trucking professionals who love the industry, we understand the wisdom of those words, and we know why so many drivers make a lifelong career out of driving. But not all driving jobs are the same, and it’s essential to find your best trucking career path.
Right now, there’s a lot of buzz about our industry, including reports of rising wages, improved benefits, and an industry-wide focus on safety, innovation, diversity, and inclusion. It’s turning heads and generating interest in commercial driving, which is great! We’ve also had a lot of driver attrition and turnover in the last couple of years, meaning that drivers in nearly every sector are in high demand. Now is a great time to find your best fit in the trucking industry. Here are some important considerations and questions you can ask yourself to help you decide your next career steps.
1. Choose Your Style
When it comes to driving, no two routes are created equal. There is a wide variety of load types and route lengths, and each comes with potential benefits and drawbacks. Over the Road (OTR) routes will keep you away from home longer, but they offer you the chance to see more of the country. Regional and local routes keep you closer to home, but sometimes the competition for those routes is higher. And while niche markets, such as hazardous materials transport, oversized loads, and others, often offer more pay, they require specialized endorsements, involve more risk, and can be more stressful.
Ask yourself the following question to find the right balance between route length and load type for you:
- How many days per month are you willing to be away from home or your family?
- Do you prefer open-road or city driving?
- Do you want a more “regular” schedule, or are you okay with working for long stretches and then taking several days off?
- What types of loads are you willing to transport?
2. Beat the Stress Factors
All careers can be stressful at times, including trucking. Tight schedules, personality conflicts, low pay, and poor dispatch can all turn the job you love into a task you dread. The safety and quality of your equipment can also contribute to stress. The best way to beat it is to determine what you can accept and find your fit in the industry with a company that works within your acceptable parameters.
If you’re feeling stressed in your current job, ask yourself:
- Is your schedule realistic based on your hours of service and your abilities?
- Are you making a competitive wage compared to other drivers in your area?
- Are the trucks you’re driving safe and well-maintained?
- Do you feel supported by your dispatch team, and are you treated well by your company’s customers?
3. Make Your Best Pay Rate Possible
Trucking is a skilled occupation, and as such, driver pay is based on experience, safety records, specialty endorsements, and more. We’ve seen the reports that driver pay is on the rise, especially since the country has reopened after the pandemic. So now is the time to make sure you’re making a competitive salary. Besides simply asking for a raise based on current market data and your resume, there are many ways you can increase your pay.
If you want to make more in your trucking job, ask yourself the following:
- Are you using all your available hours of service, or are you spending your potential earning time waiting on the next load?
- Are you willing to get endorsements for higher-risk jobs, including tanker, wide load, ice road, etc.?
- Are you willing to move to a higher-paying market?
The answers to the questions above all factor into how you craft your career and will directly contribute to your happiness. If you’re in it for the long haul (pun fully intended), then be sure you’re taking control of your career so that you can create a life that you love.
Fasttrack Your Best Trucking Career Path with F|Staff
F|Staff is the trucker leasing app that has changed the dynamics of transportation industry job searches. This app isn’t a job board, and it isn’t your typical contracting service. With F|Staff, you put yourself in the driver’s seat of your career, choosing the best-fit jobs for you based on your lifestyle, needs, and pay requirements. Here’s how it works:
- After your initial interview and DOT verification process, you’ll gain access to the F|Staff app. When you’re ready to work, you simply log on and see what’s available in your area.
- Choose jobs that interest you, show up on time and ready to work, and do the job.
- Get paid (including Fast Pay for those who qualify) and earn benefits, including medical, dental, life insurance, paid vacation, and more.
You can use F|Staff as often or as little as you like. Some of our drivers use the app to fill available hours of service while they wait on their next OTR job. Others use the app exclusively, building a career that maximizes their work/life balance and allows them to be home for all those important events.
If you need extra help finding your best career fit, the F|Staff team is there for you! We understand that technology is only as good as the people behind it, so there is always a friendly voice on the phone when you need it. We have helped thousands of drivers build successful and satisfying careers by placing them in same-day, contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent positions with top carriers across the country.
To learn more about F|Staff and register to become a driver, fill out our form online.