Spending your life on the road, but feel you aren’t getting your fair share? Check out these five tips that could help boost your earnings.
Maintain a good driving record
If you are going to be hauling goods across the country, the company you work for needs to know they can trust you with their freight. It’s one thing to get pulled over for speeding; it’s another to drive under the influence or recklessly endanger others. Having a spotless driving record will show companies that you are not only a trustworthy driver, but also serious about the responsibilities that come with the job.
For newer riders: compare 1st year pay
If you are relatively new to the job or starting at a brand new company, it is a good idea to get some information about how much first-year drivers are paid within the firm. Asking what the average salary is for all drivers will give you a distorted figure that doesn’t take into consideration the realities of the lower pay-rate new drivers are subjected to. Make sure you are specific when asking this; there can be a significant gulf between the two.
Want a bigger check? Go OTR
OTR drivers make the most money because they have to dedicate big chunks of their time to their work. Shorthand for “over the road,” OTR means a driver will be spending upwards of 3-4 weeks hauling goods not only across different states, but even up into Canada. This can put some strain on a driver’s personal and family life, so it may not be for everyone. If you can handle the work, though, it is some of the best money you can get as a trucker.
Danger on board
Hauling dangerous goods is another way to make more money, though this comes with a few caveats. First, this type of transport may require specialized training and certifications before you can ever get behind the wheel. Drivers can consider special schools, like North Shore Driving School Ltd., for instance. Schools like this offer courses in handling dangerous goods, and can also get a student up-to-date with state laws and hazardous freight policies. This type of certification could pay off in a major way if you were able to get a job in the North Dakota or Texas oil fields. The premium that hazmat certified drivers can earn there is usually tens of thousands more per year than average CDL’s.
Fellow truckers, your best friends
This may seem obvious, but it may also be the most important tip to read. Other truckers you meet, either on the job or on the road, would typically be the first and best place to go for information about job opportunities. Don’t neglect to tap this resource, especially since they may know of jobs that never get posted publicly.