If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, then you might be wondering how you can get a great driving route.
This is an important question because you’ll spend most of your working day traveling along this route. The difference between a miserable and pleasant drive will directly affect how much you enjoy your job!
Truck driving is a rewarding career with numerous opportunities, so you need to make the most of it. If you’re willing to put in the work to build up a strong reputation, then you can craft a career that you’ll love doing every day!
Everyone starts at the bottom, so you likely won’t get a perfect gig to start with. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be something to stress over.
We’ll go over what it takes to find a trucking job and route that you love below to help you work toward an enjoyable daily drive.
What Is Your Idea of a Great Job?
Before we get started, you should understand what your idea of a great trucking job entails. There are many different types of trucking jobs available.
For location differences, you can be a local driver, meaning that you’ll drive around your city. There’s also the option of being a regional driver, which can involve routes around your state. On the other end of the spectrum, an OTR (over the road) driver can be sent all across the country.
Then there are variations in the types of truck you drive and cargo that you haul. A few of these include operating a flatbed, dry van, freight hauler, refrigerated freight hauler, and a tanker.
To figure out what your ideal route is, you should determine what type of truck you want to drive and where you’d like to go with it. If you want to see the country, then an OTR dry van is likely a good choice for you. Alternatively, a local tanker is a good choice if you want to see your family at the end of every night.
Additional Certifications and Education
The first thing you should consider is obtaining additional certifications and furthering your trucking education.
The most basic requirement to get into trucking is to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), but other prerequisites exist depending on your goals. For example, if you want to be a tanker driver, then you’ll need to get a special certification for it.
Beyond this, there are two other important certifications to be aware of. This includes one for driving a double or triple trailer and another for HAZMAT loads.
As the name suggests, a double/triple certification will enable you to drive a truck with multiple trailers. Most drivers carry just a single trailer, but having the ability to haul multiple places you in a position of high-demand.
HAZMAT loads involve the transportation of dangerous materials, like gas or oil. This certification is regulated by the federal government, so its requirements are extremely strict. However, earning one will open up your trucking opportunities and can translate to a direct increase in income.
Any form of training or certifications that you earn will make you more desirable as a driver.
Reliability and Reputation
Another major component involves being reliable and building a stellar reputation.
This concept is relevant for any career field, but it’s particularly important for trucking. The reason for this is simple; trucking isn’t for everyone.
Many new drivers are attracted to the job due to the promise of a good paycheck. Unfortunately, many of them fizzle out because they can’t handle the demands of the job.
Those that can handle trucking and prove themselves capable of managing anything thrown their way become extremely valuable to trucking companies. It’s risky to take a chance on a new driver, but assigning a route to a trustworthy driver isn’t.
Furthermore, proving yourself to a trucking company dispatcher can place you in high regard with them. As a result, they may give you favorable routes because they appreciate your hard work and know that you’re a valuable driver.
Building strong relationships through reliability and reputation is vital to finding a route that you enjoy.
Patience Is Key
One last consideration is that patience is key.
It may seem cliche, but it still rings true and isn’t something that you can bypass. When you first start driving, nobody will trust you. As a result, there’s no way that you’re going to get a great gig your first time around.
Picture any other job. Do you get to start as a high ranking executive or do you start at the grunt level? Nobody starts at the top and trucking is no different.
You need to prove yourself and show that you’re flexible enough to handle what a company throws at you. Other drivers may already be working the favorable routes, so you’re going to start with some not-so-great routes.
After putting in your time and showing that you’re a great driver, you’ll become a prime candidate should a good route ever open up.
You can’t expect to land a perfect gig for your first job, but showing that you can handle what you get will lead to better routes down the road!
Truck driving is a lucrative career, but it certainly isn’t for everyone.
If you want to be a driver, then you should figure out what type of trucker you want to be. This can include being a local, regional, or OTR driver. It can also include differences in what type of truck you drive.
Once you have a goal in mind, then it’s time to start working toward it. You can accelerate this by obtaining additional certifications and training, developing reliability and an iron-clad reputation, and being patient.
With enough dedication and hard work, you’ll eventually become a desirable driver that has more say in what and where you drive.