Truck driving isn’t what it used to be. These days, truck drivers are well-protected by labor laws and safety is now a priority. On top of that, truck driver pay has increased substantially over the last decade or so. And it’s all down to growing demand for their services. Right now, there are something like 3 million truck drivers in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this to rise by a further 100,000 over the next ten years. Currently, experienced truck drivers are earning up to $80,000 annually. And with so much interest in the industry, this figure is set to rise.
In other words, there’s an opportunity here to make a great living. But how do you get into the industry if you’re interested? It turns out that most companies are looking for a particular set of skills and values. Once you know them, you’ll be well on your way to having a career as a truck driver. Here’s what the insiders want from driving candidates.
Sobriety And Safety
Most of the top employers are looking for drivers that don’t take risks and have an excellent safety record on the road. That means that you’ll need a clean driving license and no DWIs or DUIs for more than five years. Unfortunately, if you do have a DUI, you’re unlikely to be able to find work in the sector.
Preparation For The Role
You may never have driven a truck in your life, and that’s okay. But employers want to see that you’ve done some preparation for the role. This could mean driving a van and clocking up hours on the road. Or it could mean preparing for your all your written exams, like your air brake and license tests. Click here for more info on Air brake test and license practice questions.
Experience Is Important
The amount that you’ll get paid when you start work will depend on your level of experience. Drivers who have not driven for several years won’t get paid as much as drivers who have driven recently. That means that if you’re returning to the profession, don’t expect the same level of salary as before. In the trucking business, wages increase gradually the longer you stay in work. Salaries can start from as little as $30,000 per year and then rise each year by about $5,000.
You’ll also need to show your employer that you understand how the industry works. In the trucking business, you’re paid by the mile. So that means that you only make money while you’re moving. Getting in and out of depots quickly is essential.
Be Honest About Convictions
Unlike having a DUI, it’s still possible to get a trucking job with a felony. But it can make it more difficult. Right now, employers have a duty under Federal law to do a background check. So be upfront with any criminal convictions that you have. Some companies, like J. B. Hunt, accept drivers whose felons were committed more than ten years ago. Others make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Don’t let a criminal conviction deter you from finding work in this important industry.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.