Truck driving is an incredibly lucrative field that offers great pay, as well as the freedom of the open road. However, trucking has been hit incredibly hard in 2020 along with many other industries. The low freight rates at the beginning of 2020, along with the fluctuating worldwide circumstances, caused a huge dip in the industry conditions. However, as retail rates increase, truck drivers have become increasingly necessary again. This has led to a massive shortage of truck drivers. Companies need more drivers than they’re finding, which is good news if trucking seems like an interesting career. Those who are still working are demanding higher pay to make up for the increased demand.
Salaries Can Be as Much as $80K
The huge market fluctuations that hit the trucking industry in 2019 and 2020 have left a lot of companies with whiplash. 2019 saw a decrease in manufacturing. As such, many truckers left the industry due to lower wages.
The trucking industry faced a short, sharp increase in trucking demand early in 2020. However, that was quickly followed by a huge crash, leaving 88,300 truckers out of work in April alone.
Now that the market has seen some recovery, many companies are discovering that many of those drivers have either retired or left the industry altogether. Many truck drivers are in their 50s or 60s, so they opted to either retire or choose jobs, like food delivery or construction, that allows them to stay closer to home.
However, that shortage is overlapping with a spike in retail performance. While economic growth amongst retail entities is still low, sales are catching up to last year’s levels, holiday shopping is surging, and overall retail sales grew by two percent in September.
Since they aren’t enough truck drivers to fill the demand, the remaining drivers are seeing a huge pay increase. The shortage is causing companies to increase their per-mile rates and driving annual wages up to $80,000.
Companies Offer Comprehensive Benefits
Aside from the high pay that many truck drivers are currently receiving, there are a lot of other benefits that truck drivers get. Most companies offer comprehensive benefits packages to their drivers.
Once you’re trained, you’ll get health insurance, which often includes vision, dental, and life insurance plans. Plus, the insurance with cover your family, as well.
Even better, trucking companies have competitive retirement plans. For instance, Floyd Blinsky Trucking will 100 percent match up to four percent of your contributions to your 401k. So, you get some extra money to put aside for retirement.
Additionally, some companies will offer bonuses for safe driving, conserving fuel, and referring new drivers.
Minimal Education is Required
Becoming a truck driver essentially only requires you to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This can be done in as little as four to six weeks. Plus, many companies put their drivers through school themselves with payment programs.
While pricing varies by state, courses usually cost between $1,000 and $8,000. Compared to a college education, which takes four years and thousands of dollars each semester, that price is a lot more approachable.
Although different states have different CDL requirements, they don’t require extensive education. You’ll get a mix of classroom and hands-on training throughout those few weeks. After that, you become an entry-level driver, which requires additional on-the-job training.
Typically, you’ll receive 50 hours of classroom instruction about the laws, regulations, and the different types of trucks. An additional 15 hours of laboratory and parked vehicle instruction will further familiarize you with the details of truck driving. 24 hours of vehicle handling will also be required. This will familiarize you with driving around the facility.
Lastly, you’ll need to perform 72 hours of driving on public roadways, amongst actual drivers, to get a feel for the truck’s handling under different conditions. This will allow you to understand how to use your mirrors to understand how to be aware of the vehicles surrounding you. It will also get you comfortable with how a truck handles with different weights.
While this may sound like a lot of material, the key part of driving school is that it gets you behind the wheel. As long as you understand the basics of driving a truck, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick up the skill and ability just by being on the road.
Truck driving is an incredible profession that offers you a consistent change of scenery, as well as a glimpse into the different areas of the country.
There’s a severe shortage of truck drivers on the road currently that’s disproportionate to the growing retail trends. The pay is better than it’s been in years and offers a lucrative opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a long-haul operator.