If you’ve gone through truck driver training school and acquired your Commercial Driver License (CDL) and found trucking a good fit for you, take the next big step: looking for your first truck driving job. You may get lucky if you trained at a great school where well-known carriers come to recruit new drivers looking to recruit you. If not, it will be your job to visit with recruiters at different carriers to find suitable employment. Therein lies a hurdle. Some unscrupulous recruiters may promise you great benefits of working with their fleet if you accept a driving position, only to find that the information you got was greatly exaggerated and far from accurate. Sad but true.
So, instead you need to do your homework by asking around to determine a good carrier for you to sign on with. When we said ease into trucking, we meant for you to work for a good fleet that employs company drivers. That’s a low-risk way to cut your teeth and gain experience as you learn without needing to be concerned about expenses other than meals and showers while on the road. Company drivers earn a decent living and enjoy a fair amount of home time.
Many accomplished company drivers enjoy long careers and safe driving records over decades. But if you are looking to become an owner/operator and own your truck and business, being a company driver first will help you build savings so you can purchase or lease a truck and own your business. But the drawback to being an owner/operator is that you must cover all your expenses. That means fuel, plates, insurance premiums, permits, taxes, truck maintenance and repairs, and health insurance premiums; you will very likely need to pay an accountant to manage all the juggling to keep from overlooking an important expense.
You will also need to possess business smarts to weather the storm of ups and downs in the freight market and make sure you have savings accumulated to cover your business in times of lean freight availability. You also need to find your own loads. Make sure you cover all the bases if you really want to engage in such a high-risk endeavor. Truly, as an owner/operator you can earn much more than a company driver. But the owner/operator always carries a big load of stress. Yes, you are your own boss, but that just means there’s no one else to be accountable. You either succeed or fail, and with Great Power comes Great Responsibility.
The good news for company drivers is that company carriers are finally realizing that company drivers are their best assets, thus compensation packages are increasing. We still suggest that you need to start as a company driver to learn the ropes of trucking for real. Later, the choice is yours. Motor safely and be sure to enjoy the highway, rain or shine.