The United States of America currently has a huge shortage of truckers. The American Trucking Associations – usually referred to as the ATA – estimates that there is a deficit of 80,000 truckers in the country. This means that the US economy requires at least 80,000 more truckers in order to keep running smoothly. A lack of truckers means that product prices rise across the board as companies struggle to get goods into shops at a reasonable cost. Trucks carry 70 percent of all of the freight in the USA, making truck drivers absolutely essential cogs in the economic machine.
This dire shortage means that logistics companies are seeking to incentivize new truckers by offering good terms of employment. Freelance truckers have lots of loads to choose from thanks to this deficit in qualified drivers. With that in mind, you might be thinking of going into trucking yourself. Here are a few tips for people wanting to get into the industry.
Try Hot Shot Trucking First
It is relatively expensive and time consuming to get a commercial heavy goods license in the USA. It usually takes around 7 weeks of training to become fully qualified to drive a truck that weighs over 10,000lb. Before making this commitment, you might want to try out hot shot trucking first. Hot shot truckers carry loads under 10,000lb – usually slung behind a powerful pickup truck. Large pickup trucks are very popular with private users in the USA. Models like the Ford F-450 are perfectly capable of carrying big loads on gooseneck trailers. The best thing about hot shot trucking is that you do not need a commercial driving license in order to do it, so it is a good way of determining whether the trucker’s life is the life for you.
Peruse Load Boards
Freelance truckers get most of their work using load boards. Click here to see an example of the shipping work posted on these load boards by logistics companies and freight brokers. Truckers simply take on the work that suits them best. If you are thinking of becoming a trucker, you should peruse load boards in order to get a feeling for the kind of work that will be available to you once you pass your test and purchase a tractor unit. Check out if there are any local brokers that regularly hire on routes that you will be available to travel.
Owner Operator or Hired Driver?
The dream for many would be truckers is to own a vehicle and take on jobs as or when they please. This is a noble dream indeed but comes with some big costs. Reliable tractor units – the portion of a truck containing the cab and motor – are extremely expensive. Buying an old secondhand unit is cheaper, but usually a worse option in terms of reliability and fuel economy.
Working for a large shipping company as a hired driver, you will not need to buy a tractor. Instead, you use company owned vehicles and invoice any fuel you need to buy.