Newbies: How to Decide if Trucking is Right for You
One of the best ways to find out if trucking is right for you is to talk to someone who has been doing it for years. He may talk about downsides such as the long hours alone, the awful weather, the bad food, and time away from home. But, he may also tell you about the good things of the trucking industry, such as the sense of adventure, meeting new people, and seeing new sights along the route.
It sounds intriguing, but you need to know more. So, here are answers to a few of the questions you may be asking:
Do I need a CDL and what are the requirements?
In the trucking industry, you are required to obtain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) if you plan to operate any of the following:
- A vehicle with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 26,001 pounds or more.
- A combination vehicle with a combined GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more and the towed vehicle is over 10,000 pounds.
- Vehicles that carry 16 or more passengers, driver included.
- Vehicles that carry hazardous materials.
Exceptions to the above CDL requirements include military, farming, snow and ice removal vehicles, or emergency response vehicles. According to guidelines issued by FMCSA, there are three different classifications of CDLs depending on the vehicle.
To obtain a CDL you must be 18 years old and each state has different testing standards. You can learn more on the FMCSA website.
Can I choose where I want to drive?
In most cases, drivers just out of school are assigned the long-haul routes to help them gain experience. If you want to choose where you drive, consider applying to a regional trucking company that operates in that particular area. However, each company has different policies, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What are the other requirements besides being a good driver?
As a trucker, you’ll need to learn and adhere to an extensive list of federal regulations. It may seem overwhelming, but remember, the regulations in the trucking industry are in place to help improve driver and highway safety.
You’ll also be expected to do the following:
- Perform some degree of maintenance on equipment.
- Learn how to use the company’s software.
- Understand how to use an ELD.
- Know how to manage oversize loads and make sure permits are correct and in the proper form (paper or electronic).
- Understand the physics of how loads must be loaded and hauled (tankers differ from trailers).
Another key point to mention, whether you are a company driver or an owner-operator, you’ll have to maintain accurate records. That means you’ll need to keep up with all those little receipts and other paperwork that accumulate each day along the route.
Sounds like a lot, right? Unfortunately, there’s more. The process can become quite time-consuming and leave you wishing for an easier way to get this aspect of your job done. TruckingOffice can assist with that and more.
How TruckingOffice Makes a Driver’s Job Easier
As with any new job, you’ll find the initial period of adjustment as a trucker to be a challenge. Our Trucking Management Software will help you rise to that challenge. With TruckingOffice, you’ll feel confident that your reports are always accurate and on time. Check it out for yourself with this 30-day free trial.