While taking a taxi to the airport I got involved in a conversation with the driver about what it was like to be a driver. He told me that he used to be an OTR or over-the-road driver. The most interesting part of the discussion was when he pointed out that virtually everything you have in your home or business got there because it was delivered by a truck. It’s one of those things people completely forget about, but when you step back and think about it it’s a no-brainer.
If you are considering a career as an OTR driver, you can take this piece of knowledge and wake up every morning knowing the importance of your job. It is a responsibility as well. Let’s take a tour through the world of an OTR driver.
First, there are the qualifications. If you don’t like being on the road for long stretches you should consider a different line of work. Though much of the driving will be within the United States, you may be required to drive to Canada or Mexico, which means you will have to learn their Rules of the Road. Finally, you should expect to encounter a “learning curve,” which means you will have to learn a lot through experience. Taking the time to evaluate yourself will help you decide whether it is the right direction for your career.
Expect to be driving everywhere and anywhere for long stretches – generally several weeks at a time. You will have to adjust your lifestyle so if there are delays, such as inclement weather or major accidents, arriving back at home later than expected is not a major problem. If you have a family, this can be the greatest adjustment you will have to make. For you as a driver, it generally requires you to be in decent physical shape (despite what you may see in the movies). You will have to be mentally alert as well.
Before jumping into the cab you will have to go through a training course that will approve you as an OTR driver. The certification, known as a CDL, or Commercial Driver License, is required by law. The good news is that once you get your CDL you can go to work immediately. The training course will challenge you, in part because experienced CDL drivers say that physically learning to drive a truck can be the hardest part of being an OTR trucker.
Driving stretches generally last between 8 and 10 hours a day. You will be alone on the road for those stretches, and getting used to this routine will take some time. Expect some part of those 10 hours to be night driving, which any driver can tell you is much different than driving during the daylight hours. In many ways you are your own boss. You will be expected to create your own driving plan to make sure your deliveries arrive on time. Scheduling time for breaks, time for eating, and being aware of traffic and weather conditions all are part of being a solid OTR driver.
The more experience you rack up as an OTR driver, the better your OTR experience is likely to be. Companies naturally prefer experienced drivers to transport their loads, and that means you can expect to get the better choices of pickups and routes as you add up the hours of OTR experience. Even if you work for a company as an OTR driver, and not as an independent, companies generally follow the same “pecking order” in giving their assignments. Earlier the issue of responsibility was mentioned, and the OTR driver will have the responsibility of delivering products on time to meet company contract agreements. So you can add stress to your list of OTR experiences.
But the total experience of an OTR driver is not all about work. You will be able to explore the entire country and get paid for it, seeing places and meeting people that most people will never come to know. You will be able to stay connected with friends and family if you equip yourself with the right technology, so while you may not be able to physically be at home, you can share what is going on in your lives each and every day. Your family will not have to worry if you are OK. But yes, there is also a work aspect to technology. Expect to be required to have a cell phone or smartphone to be available to communicate with the company, the customer, the dispatcher, and in case of emergency.
The famous trucker stops will become a welcome sight during your OTR travels. Besides having a place to eat other than Mickey D’s or Denny’s, more than a few stops are known to favor truckers as their best diners. You are appreciated, and some people are more aware of your value than others.
Finally, with all the adjustments you will have to make, there is still the time when you will return home. It is likely you will return home – tired and looking forward to not driving. If you have a family, making the best use of your days off is essential to completing the adjustment to OTR driving. Experienced truckers recommend getting into the habit early to make your transition to being an OTR driver much easier in the long haul.
Those are the basics of what it is like to be an OTR driver. As with most things in life, there are benefits and some drawbacks. Finding a balance is key to being a successful, and profitable, OTR driver. Being honest with yourself and your family is the best approach.
Are you one of those individuals above the age of 21 searching for trucking companies that will train and hire? Since you have already decided to drive a truck for a living the first step in the right direction is to acquire a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To earn yourself the CDL you have got to be trained which leaves you with two options among them is self-sponsoring your CDL training which can cost you anywhere between $3,000 – $6,500 and this might not be inclusive of endorsements which are vital in a career. The second option is to seek truck driving companies that have company-sponsored CDL training programs meaning the trucking company gets to cover all the upfront cost associated with the CDL training.
Is The Company Sponsored CDL Training Really Free?
Probably you’re wondering what’s the catch, well nothing is really free in this world and when a company offers you free training and hire you as well they will obviously ask for some assurances. In this case, upon successful completion of the CDL training and exam, you are required to sign an employee agreement which subjects you to work for the company for a period of two years which a standard requirement. This allows the company to re-coup the costs of your CDL training.
Advantages Associated With Company Sponsored CDL Training
Besides the fact that these trucking companies cover your upfront CDL training tuition cost saving you from the burden of expenses they do also hire you almost immediately. You might think going for self-sponsoring is the best way but upon completion, you might end up searching for a job endlessly considering the fact that many companies will ask a one-year experience before they hire a professional driver. These trucking companies will hold your hand and give you the much-needed experience.
In addition to the above advantages, the deal is sweetened by the fact that a trucking driver is set to make between $40,000 to $70,000 per year this is according to a research by the Bureau of labor Statistics.
When choosing what might be the right trucking company for you there are some factors you should take into consideration such as:
- The duration of the contract
- How long have been they into the business
- What type of reputation do they have with their employees
- Where the company operates from
- How often will you be home?
- What’s the pay and the benefits
Now that you know company-sponsored CDL training option is a far and away better, why don’t we look at the below top trucking companies that will train and hire…
1. USA Truck
For over 30 years now the USA Truck has been one of the leading trucking companies by performance and quality of their services. they are also one of the largest over the road carriers They have set very high standards in each of service areas they engage on. Just recently they were awarded Top Pay Carrier Certification by the National Transportation Institute.
They do train new drivers and to show the commitment to their drivers they have offered them very favorable terms of employment such as Longevity bonus, great mileage pay, vacation pay, breakdown, medical, dental, vision and insurance, no-touch freights, detention short haul pay, safety and monthly mileage bonuses adding to 5 cents per mile. Their drivers also get home weekly in areas such as Chicago, IL, Louisville, Memphis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Fremont, OH, Dayton, OH, OH, Columbus, OH, Harrisburg, PA, Marcy, NY, Toledo, OH among others. In addition to the wide array of benefits new graduates who have less than six months experience usually receive $1,000 bonus just for completing their training program.
2. MAVERICK Transportation
Over the last three decades, MAVERICK has established itself as an industry leader and has been termed as one of the leading carriers in the transportation industry. Some of the areas they operate on are Laurinburg, Church Hill, North Little rock, F.T Smith, Burkburnett, Green Bay, AU Gres, Madison among many others areas. They do provide training on a glass, temperature controlled and flatbed divisions. Some of the benefits they offer their students upon completion are paid vacation, 401(k) Retirement plan +match, $38-$45 per mile, weekend guarantee pay, paid life insurance policy, health/dental insurance, among other numerous benefits.
3. Roehl Transport
Another company that provides transportation services and has paid CDL Training program is Roehl. Roehl Transport will pay you before you get you’re a CDL $500 on a weekly basis and your set to make over $50,000 in a year. If you’re looking to become a professional truck driver look no further than Roehl Transport.
Their training takes a duration of 15 months, and you should agree to drive more than 120,000 miles. Some of the locations where they conduct their training on are Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, among others. Apart from the $50,000 annual earning your set to receive a complete premium benefits package which includes life insurance, health/dental insurance, paid holiday and vacations, 401(K) among others.
It’s a company which has been accredited student driver academy located in Lancaster Texas and provide Carrier services in North America. The company has been one of the leading companies offering company sponsored training to students who don’t have a CDL-A or any experience. The best thing about FFE is that you can earn your CDL in three weeks, they have a ratio of 4 to 1 student instructor ratio, you are paid $400 per week, and meals are provided. Upon graduation, you are entitled to paid vacations, 401K, medical/dental vision insurance, weekly payroll, disability insurance among other benefits.
5. Millis Transfer
This is one of the leading fleet services providers that has continued to provide excellent services to its clients since 1936.the company on numerous occasions have been named “Carrier of the year”, and “certified Top Pay Carrier” as you are guaranteed to earn $50,000 a year working as a truck driver. When you successfully complete their training some of the benefits they offer customers are health insurance, 3 weeks’ vacation, flat screen TV and Satellite Radio on trucks, among other benefits. For you to qualify as their driver you need to cover 115,000 miles and finish the 12-week personalized program. Some of the areas where schools are located are Hamilton, Ohio, Cartersville, Georgia, Richfield, Wisconsin, Burleson, Texas, Eden, North Carolina and Central Refrigerated.
Final Thoughts And Advice
Well-conducted research is vital for the success of one’s career. It’s of much importance to take your time and think it through before choosing any company offering free CDL training. In the trucking industry where there is never ending driver shortage there are opportunities for a decent job, however, the standards of entry are high and the expectations from your employers are high as well. Remember working in a trucking industry isn’t a simple task and trucking is a lifestyle, not a job. If you’re the right person for this job then go for it since truck driving is an enjoyable and rewarding way of life.
Digital technology has permitted easy communication and thus there is no longer a high need of shipping physical documents and letters, but this cannot be said about products. Manufacturers and wholesalers still need to send products from production warehouses and plants to both consumers and retailers; therefore, truck drivers are always in need. Who knows if the future will change this once and for all, but in the meantime, it appears that truck drivers are here to stay for a long time.
The Pay for Truck Drivers Vary Depending on Task
Due to driving long distance to deliver goods, truck drivers are able to garner a meaningful salary, hence why so many people every year are opting to become this type of professional. As a truck driver, you are either classified as a driver of heavy trucks, freight forwarders, light trucks, or freight trucks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a significant growth in jobs in this field.
It is important to note that heavy truck drivers tend to earn more than light truck drivers, as driving heavy trucks tends to be a more rigorous task, requiring worker to be away from home for long periods of time, from several days to even a week. Some drivers tend to get the same route, while others get more. Employers really take this into consideration and thus pay more.
It does not matter the type of truck driver that you end up wanting to be; you will be required to obtain a special type of license in order to be certified, as well as training, one that goes hand in hand with what the law mandates. There are some employers who have several requirements when it comes to obtaining a higher pay; these include years of experience and one’s age.
It has been estimated that the average pay per hour for this type of professional is between $11.90 and $16.80. Those individuals who have at least four years of experience tend to get paid between $13.30 and $17.80 per hour. Driver of light trucks average between $8.00 and $14.00 an hour. Increments are made to his or her salary even before obtaining five to nine years of experience in the field. As a result, a driver could expect to earn between $11.50 and $17.70 an hour.
Drivers of light delivery trucks have been noted to average between $8.80 and $14.40 an hour. As they gain experience, small increments are made until they reach five to nine years of experience and thus begin garnering up to $17.70 per hour. Many truck drivers like the fact that they can earn more as they obtain experience.
Some States Pay More than Others
Now, depending on the state a truck driver resides can equal more money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that long distance truck drivers in the state of Alaska earn on average $50,050.00 every year, which is definitely a lot compared to others states, like Florida. Second place goes to the state of Nevada, as truck drivers there earn on average $45,650.00 a year. In Massachusetts, truck drivers can expect to make $45,240.00 every year on average. On the other hand, in Texas, truck drivers have been noted to earn $37.220.00 every year on average, which has definitely made a lot of people confused, as Texas employs the largest number of truck drivers in the country. Some experts have stated that things in Texas tend to be cheaper than Alaska, so Texan drivers are not really losing to this particular state. If one stops and thinks about, this makes sense in several levels.
Truck Driver Positions Will Experience a Growth in Number
Economic growth equals to more need of truck drivers, as demand for consumer goods would increase and thus there would be a grand need to send products to different states across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has informed that jobs for drivers of heavy trucks will have an increase of 21% by 2020, which is definitely a high percentage when compared to the statistics of previous years. This particular growth rate is 7% above the national average that is expected for all the jobs in other fields. For new truckers, there is more favorable job prospects due to this strong industry growth.
Although the unemployment rate is up by more than 5% and the economy is still in a slow recovery, some sectors are struggling to find employees. This is the case of road transport in the United States. It has been estimated that this particular field is lacking between 35,000 and 40,000 truckers, and the situation is getting worse, according to statistics from the American Trucking Association (ATA). This makes it the perfect opportunity to take this position into consideration. Contrary to the belief of many, it is not difficult to become a truck driver.
One of the great things about this field is that you can enter it with zero years of experience, but if this is the case, then you can expect to garner a lower pay than those drivers who have been in the field for more than five years. Even so, you can count on increments to occur in your salary every year. There are some companies that pay better than others, especially in Alaska. On average, a truck driver working in this particular state can make up to $50,050.00 every year.
There is no formal education required in order to become this type of professional, but it has been noted that a high school diploma tends to often be preferred by employers, as well as completion of a training course at a truck driving school that is accredited. A CDL (Commercial Driver License) will be required.
If someone who is 21 years of age (minimum age to work as a truck driver crossing state lines) wants to get a commercial driver’s license, the way is to go to a training school. The average truck driver training program costs between $3,000.00 and $8,000.00, according to the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA).
After about five weeks of school, one has to wait 30 to 60 days for an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This process can discourage a young person looking for work, according to a CVTA spokesman, but it is worth the wait.
Demand for Truck Drivers Has Increased
The more the economy improves, the more demand increases because there is more cargo to be transported and at the same time there are fewer truck drivers. The present issue is that older truckers are retiring at a higher rate than new ones are joining this sector. The average age of the truck drivers is 49 years. But why is it difficult to fill positions and hire more truckers as demand rises?
The reasons vary, but it seems that the main one is due to it being a profession that requires a lot of time. It requires truckers to work outside the home for a long time, and thus, they don’t see their families as they’d like, hence why it is a nicely paid profession. On average, a heavy truck driver can garner more than $40,000.00 a year.
Not Every Company Provides a Truck
Although most vehicles are owned by companies, approximately 85% of companies require truckers to rent them to be hired. It has been note that about 15% of long distance truck drivers have to rent or buy their own vehicle. This is definitely a requirement that needs to be analyzed by a future employee, as there is definitely money involved.
Companies Vary in Offers and Requirements
Although several companies have raised their salaries to attract new truckers to the industry, critics say the problem has more to do with the efficiency of the system. Last year, the West Coast port truckers went on strike against the companies where they worked at. In addition to asking for better wages, they wanted to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors to receive benefits such as health insurance and paid sick days. All the experts in the industry agree on the need for change. Of course, this issue is not affecting every truck driver in the United States. Companies vary when it comes to what they offer and their requirements.
Demand for Truck Drivers Will Continue to Augment at Rapid Pace
Over the years, the demand for commercial transportation in the country has increased at a rapid pace. At the moment, companies are reaching agreements for truckers already in the industry, definitely making it a better field for newcomers.
Ice road truckers can make anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 for the season. Remember the season is normally 2-3 months long, depending on the weather. This salary is for approximately 6 weeks of work. That is a large amount of money to earn, in such a short period of time. Sometimes the salary of a ice road truckers will depend on their driving experience, mechanical skill/knowledge, increased road dangers and the trucking company. Ice road truck drivers with a lot of experience and skill can earn upwards of $120,000 in the 6-8 weeks that they work. That is a full year salary for a regular OTR truck driver.
Ice road truck driving jobs are interesting, dangerous, stressful and very high paying. Most of these jobs are located in Canada and Alaska. Only a very limited number of truck drivers will ever get the chance to experience this type of truck driving. There are many hardships involved in being an ice road trucker. You are away from family for a few months and you put your life in danger every second that you are in that truck on the ice roads.
The roads that you will drive on are only viable for select months of the year, normally between January and March. Of course that also depends on the weather and mother nature. Rest assured that if you do choose this profession and you are one of the few who get hired, the roads are very well maintained and patrolled as best as they can be.
Most of these ice road trucking jobs are available because of the gold mines in the Northern Territories and parts of Alaska. They have to have a way to get fuel, supplies, food, parts and other necessities. Flying them in on an airplane is approximately 3 times the cost of using an ice road trucking company. Some of the parts and equipment that they need, is too large to have flown in and so they need the ice road truckers to survive and maintain their work.
The accommodations vary, depending on the trucking company. There are many out there and they strive to provide the best that they can for each of their drivers. They have food available and sleeping quarters for the few hours that the drivers are not on the road. Ice road truckers don’t need a lot of money, but they will definitely want to have snacks in the truck with them, in case of an emergency. The trucking companies also strive to have their drivers maximize their time on the road, due to the shortness of the season. They need to haul as many loads as possible. Specialty training is provided for those drivers who are new to the ice roads. There may also be full time positions available at the end of the season.
Canadian driving hours allow for 15 hours on the road, each day. 20 miles per hour is the maximum speed that you can travel on the ice roads. Also realize that with the earth’s rotation pattern, during peak season for the ice road truckers, you will be doing most of your driving at night. Rest breaks are of course allowed during that drive time; but beware that stopping spots are widely spread out as it is unsafe for too much weight to be on the ice, idle, at the same time.
Most of the ice road trucking companies in Canada, prefer to hire Canadian citizens, just because it is a much simpler process. But there are companies out there that will hire outside of Canada. It is a well known fact that it isn’t easy to land a job as an ice road trucker. They are a family and very tight knit; so unless you are “referred” by someone or you know someone personally in the business, you may not get the opportunity. But you never know, so please don’t be discouraged.
This career choice is a risky one, so here are just a few things you should know before you send off that application:
1. 70% turnover rate. Not everyone is equipped to take on this type of stressful challenge.
2. average daily temperature is -37 degrees
3. -50 to -70 degrees is common, especially when there are wind chills involved. When it is that cold outside, you are also at risk for multiple things to go wrong with your truck and you are at risk for hypothermia.
4. There are fractures in the ice, accidents that are unavoidable and white outs that will impact the number of trips that you can complete in the season.
There are over 15 ice road trucking companies in Canada (and Alaska) with potential openings for this seasonal position. Some of them ask that you have applications in by a deadline date, because they do offer some training before the season starts. Make sure you thoroughly read their requirements before filling out and submitting your application. Some of the drivers feel that the reward is worth the risk. A full years salary in 6 weeks time; is amazing. But the risks of driving on the icy roads, at night, are more prominent that the risks of an over the road trucker.
Below is a list of the major ice road trucking companies in Canada:
* Big Bear Trucking (CA) Hay River, NorthWT. Canada
* Heron’s Trucking (CA) Fort Smith, NWT 867-872-2582
* Grimshaw Trukcing (CA) Yellowknife, NorthWT. Canada. 867-873-4548
* Dickson’s Trucking (CA) Yellowknife, NorthWT. Canada 867-873-1754
* Island Valley Oil Ltd (CA) Norman Wells, NWT 867-587-2587
* Expedite North (CA) http://www.grimshaw-trucking.com
* Liard Valley Trucking (CA) Fort Liard, NWT Canada 867-770-4432
* K and D Contracting (CA) NWT Canada X0E 0A0 Phone# 867-978-2792
* Moore Trucking (CA)
* Robinson Enterprises Ltd http://www.westcanbulk.ca
* TLI CHO Landtran Transport Ltd http://www.landtran.com www.tlicholandtran.com
* Northwest Transport www.nwtl.com
There are various CDL training companies and free truck driver training programs availed for no money font. With the current mediocre and the difficulty to acquire some good paying jobs, most people have developed a thought of acquiring some knowledge in the truck driving companies though they have insufficient or totally no money to pay for their schooling. Well, you then have just visited the right site.
What is company-sponsored training?
There are literally some truck driving schools which offer truck driving services and are operated and owned by either a trucking company or some truck driving schools which have their front costs covered by some trucking company. A trucking company is some company which can be in a position to either driver training at their facilities or else is able to pay for some training in some private companies. In return, the trainee offers to sign some contract and work for the company for some given period of time. This duration is around one year.
Different contracts have their differences hence you should be able to research on this. Some companies will be willing to offer the training just for free while others will require some little tuition fee.
Which various companies offer CDL training?
The information given here is of a truck driving truth. We have been able to do some research for you. We have been in a position to call some companies which offer the CDL training and have gathered a lot of information about each company including;
- The length of the contract offered
- The up-front costs required
- The duration of training offered
- Their pay during the training
- Benefits and pay after the training and much more.
Follow our reviews of some of the sponsored programs.
Review of some sponsored companies
High broad training company has some of the good tools and is in a position to help you acquire the required knowledge on the truck driving industry hence preparing you to some great start to truck driving career. In this given company, they not only offer the above mentioned but also have everything done free of charge. No strings attached! When you sign in to this trucking truth, you will access the membership section which entails:
- Some higher road training program
- An article series on the high road
- Friendliest truck forum
- Some email updates
This company aimed at helping people understand trucking industry including anything which come with lifestyle and career for a road trucker. They are in a good position to prepare you for some great start and help you make the right decision on your trucking career.
Things to consider while choosing a truck driving school
The quality of the training
A driver’s skills is as good as the training received. You should get into a school with a state-licensed program which is able to combine some hand-on experience learnt on some road or range with classroom knowledge.
What good is training if at long last you will not be in a position to make some money with it? The best CDL training schools will be in a position to help you secure some good paying job once the training is complete.
The training cost
The payments of a CDL has not always been an option for most individuals. Finding some program which offers the CDL training for free allows the new drivers to get started with no upfront tuition fee.
Length of the school
The steer clear of such schools which promise to offer CDL in some few weeks or so. Learning on how to drive 80,000 lbs truck-trailer requires some time. The reputable driving schools will usually last for some three to four weeks.
You should keep in mind that the best truck driving school of your choice may not just be down the road. As a matter of fact, the closest, cheapest and most convenient school is not always the best. If then this is the case, you should be ready and in a position to travel school as your first road trip on your journey of becoming an excellent truck driver.
Each CDL truck training school have an aim of providing some experience, educating a tomorrow’s truck driver as well as focus on your career success.