What Kind of Trucking Job is Best for Me?

What kind of trucking job is best for me? Types of trucking jobs for new drivers

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What Kind of Trucking Job is Best for Me?

There are many different types of trucking jobs available out there especially for experienced drivers. For drivers with less than two years’ experience you simply must pay your dues with one of the larger self‑insured over‑the‑road companies until you get the two years experience required by many companies that are either specialized, regional. or local and pay nearly the same as the over‑the‑road drivers get paid. The key words are insurance and experience. By and large most drivers fresh out of school will end up driving over the road. Here is a description of various types of driving jobs for semi‑drivers:

What Kind of Trucking Job is Best for Me?

Types of Truck Driving Jobs

Over the Road ‑ Driving over the road will mean you will be away from home for weeks at a time. Be prepared to basically live in a truck where you sleep in the truck in your time off and take showers in truck stops. It is important to find a company that offers some perks in the truck if you are going to be an over the road trucker to begin your career which in many cases you will have no choice but to begin as an over the road trucker for the first few years to gain experience. Perks in the truck include:

What Kind of Trucking Job is Best for Me?

There are many different types of trucking jobs available out there especially for experienced drivers. For drivers with less than two years’ experience you simply must pay your dues with one of the larger self‑insured over‑the‑road companies until you get the two years experience required by many companies that are either specialized, regional. or local and pay nearly the same as the over‑the‑road drivers get paid. The key words are insurance and experience. By and large most drivers fresh out of school will end up driving over the road. Here is a description of various types of driving jobs for semi‑drivers:

Over the Road ‑ Driving over the road will mean you will be away from home for weeks at a time. Be prepared to basically live in a truck where you sleep in the truck in your time off and take showers in truck stops. It is important to find a company that offers some perks in the truck if you are going to be an over the road trucker to begin your career which in many cases you will have no choice but to begin as an over the road trucker for the first few years to gain experience. Perks in the truck include:

  • A Refrigerator ‑ a refrigerator can save you money and help you eat healthier as in many cases truck stops only offer fast food in many cases. A refrigerator offers you the ability to stop at a grocery store and buy food which can be stored in the refrigerator. Everyone knows buying food at a grocery store is much cheaper than eating at a restaurant.
  • A Microwave ‑ to go with the refrigerator so you can cook some food in the microwave. Something to go with the microwave is a microwave cookbook.
  • A Bunk Heater, APU or idle policy that allows you to remain comfortable while you are sitting at the dock or on your break. Some companies have Draconian idle policies which do not take the drivers comfort into consideration. If you are going to sleep well, you will want to be comfortable. Imagine getting stuck in Arizona or Texas in the summer and trying to sleep without air conditioning? Or in the winter staying warm? You need to know that some companies will penalize you for your idle time.

In my opinion this is unfair to the driver for the following reason...................if I am going to basically, live in the truck as many over the road drivers do I am going to be comfortable. I want a comfort system where I can set the temperature to a comfortable temperature and the system will maintain the temperature otherwise it affects my sleep and rest time and when that happens, I cannot be an alert and safe driver. That affects my efficiency to perform my job effectively.

Do your homework and be careful of those companies that try to give you the third degree about idle time. It usually comes at orientation and they say the company saves a lot of money because they limit idle time. Really? Having a negative effect on a driver’s performance so they can save money?

People go to jail for leaving pets and children in cars in the heat of summer while they run in the store to buy something but trucking companies and even idle laws expect you as a driver to be inside a vehicle with zero or little comfort to sleep and then have full expectations for you to drive 600 miles the next day. Enough ranting here............later I will have a detailed article concerning this matter and link this to the article. Basically, it is wrong to expect a driver to be uncomfortable. After you have a few years of experience and safe driving under your belt the job picture gets better for local and even regional positions where you will get home more often.

Jobs such as hauling gasoline and diesel fuel to the gas stations and truck stops require you to have a HAZMAT endorsement on your CDL however most of these jobs allow the drivers to get home every day. Freight companies use relay drivers where you will drive 4 to 5 hours out, do a drop and hook, and then return to your home terminal with the new trailer(s). Those drivers typically get home every day. Regional trucking jobs allow the driver to get home during the week and on weekends.

Basic Description of Trucking Jobs with My Opinion About the Job

  • Dry Van ‑ The most of all trucking jobs includes the dry vans which carry goods from place to place all over the world. In the USA and Canada dry vans include 53-foot trailers and 48-foot trailers along with other assorted sizes to include the trailers used by freight companies and used for doubles/triples transport duties. Some dry vans do have heaters for winter operation to prevent freezing of product inside the dry van however most dry vans are not temperature control.
  • Refrigerated Trailers ‑ Refrigerated trailers are used mainly in the transportation of food products and in other products such as chemicals that need to be maintained at a certain temperature. Some refrigerated units are 48 foot and smaller but most are 53 foot and run coast to coast. Refrigerated trailers have a separate power unit usually a diesel-powered motor along with its very own fuel supply so it can run autonomously maintain temperature set point whether it is hooked up to the truck or not. Trailers can maintain frozen foods down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit or keep something warm up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Flatbed Trailers ‑ There are many companies out there that only use flatbed trailers for their service. Some products can only be transported on flatbed trailers while some products can be transports on flatbeds, dry vans, or reefer units. A lot of products transported by flatbed truck need to have a tarp placed over the product before the truck moves. These companies pay tarp pay for the trouble of tarping the load but it can be a very dirty job. The tarp is dirty and sometimes when you have to tarp the load you are outside, and the wind is blowing which makes tarping the load much more difficult.
  • Tanker Trailers ‑ There are dry bulk tankers and wet bulk tankers where the dry bulk tanker moves large amounts of dry products from flour to sugar to cement and other dry products that need to be moved efficiently in a large tank. The same with wet bulk tankers except of course the products are bulk liquids. Some wet bulk tanks have baffles, and some do not but either with or without there will be slosh and when you start or stop a large pulse of liquid will slam the front or rear bulkhead, so it is important that the driver have firm control of the tanker and your foot solidly on the brake when stopped otherwise the truck will roll.

Those are the basics for trucking and those are your chief choices for starting off your career as a truck driver. Of course, there is specialized trucking doing things such as moving heavy equipment or large items, car transporter, truck transporter (or drive‑away), and moving extra-long loads and such. Those positions typically require a driver with experience and a safe driving record. After you gain the experience and have a good driving record then you can pursue the opportunities for other specialized work.

 

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