Truck driving doesn’t always seem to be a flashy career or one that offers the typical 9 to 5 workday. Yet, there are numerous misconceptions about what truck driving is and just how valuable it is to the country’s economy. If you are on the edge trying to determine which career path is right for you, take a closer look at some of the key reasons why driving should be one of your top considerations.
We All Depend on Truck Drivers
It’s impossible for the U.S. economy to continue to grow (or even to function) without solid access to truck drivers. In nearly all locations throughout the country, drivers are the backbone of the supply chain. They help companies move raw materials to and from manufacturing plants. They then move those finished products to distribution points thousands of miles apart. And, they also handle the last-mile deliveries getting product from the warehouse to the customer’s front door.
Consider the incredible growth and demand of e-commerce today. Right now, it’s easy to go on eBay or Amazon, find what you need, click a button, and have it delivered to your door (often within just a few days). According to some sources, by 2021, the global e-commerce market will make up $4.5 trillion dollars, that’s double what it was in 2018. Those are packages that need to move from one location to the next.
This doesn’t take into account those trucking jobs that move raw materials or deliver to businesses. It also doesn’t include the food industry, which is also growing at a rapid pace. In short, without these drivers, there’s no way to meet the average consumer’s needs.
In 2017, trucking companies moved 70 percent more in packages and freight – accounting for 7 billion tons of freight across the country. That’s valued at $700 billion.
Driving Is a Lucrative Career
Truck driving is still one of the best jobs to have in the U.S. In the U.S. there are 7.4 million men and women working in the trucking industry according to RTS Financial. And, being a truck driver is the most common job in 29 states.
The average salary of a truck driver in the U.S., as of April of 2019, is $55,000 a year. That’s on the way up as well. Those with experience can command significantly more than this, too.
The Demand for Truck Drivers Is Growing
Perhaps what’s most important for today’s driver is the demand present. There are dozens of reports that indicate the U.S. is facing a significant shortage of truck drivers today. According to American Trucking Associations, one of the industry’s leading trucking groups, says that, in 2017, there was a shortage of about 50,000 drivers in the country.
That may not seem to mean anything to you, but this shortage has changed the industry significantly. For example, many trucking companies have increased their rate of pay to bring in more drivers. They have also begun offering lucrative sign-on bonuses, which can help drivers with experience to get better pay and benefits. Many drivers are also spending more time at home with flexible routes. Some are home every weekend while others are gone for seven days and then home for several. With this type of flexibility, you can expect more people to be interested in driving.
Yet, some are still unsure. Trucking companies now offer closer-to-home routes. Others are paying for driving education to bring more people into the fold. Better health insurance, life insurance, and paid vacations are also present. Help paying for trucks for independent contractors is another opportunity some companies offer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides more insight into the current trucking industry’s growth. It states that between 2016 and 2026, there will be the need for an additional 108,400 heavy and tractor-trailer drivers.
Truckers Have More Flexibility Than Ever Before
Why should you do it? When does a career in trucking work for you? It’s an individual decision to make, of course. And, this is not the type of position to take lightly. It is hard work. It takes a lot of your time. And, for some people, the fact that they are driving for long hours isn’t always the ideal fit.
Yet, for many others, it offers some key incentives and opportunities that make it well worth considering. One of those is the flexibility it offers. With short-term training under your belt, you can begin working with one of the many trucking companies spread out across the country. You choose the type of driving that’s right for you.
- Do you want to be home every night?
- Are you interested in being home on the weekends and driving for five days?
- Perhaps you would rather have a schedule that has you on the road for a week and off for a week.
This type of schedule gives you the ability to work a schedule that fits your needs. You can also choose the type of job you want. While heavy and tractor-trailer type jobs are common, there are other positions for drivers who want smaller trucks.
Truck Driver CDL Jobs Can Help You Take Care of Your Family
One of the key reasons many men and women take on this career path is because it allows them to provide for their family’s needs. As noted, the salary of the average truck driver is on the way up. That means you have more financial stability. Many companies also give you access to the benefits you desire including health insurance, life insurance, disability, and more. You may even have a lucrative retirement account you fund throughout your career.
Also, consider the options you have in who you work for in the industry. Some drivers own their own trucks and contract out their services to various carriers. This option gives you better pay and may give you more control over your schedule. For others who want a simple employee-employer relationship, that’s available as well. This may give you more access to benefits and reduces the need for you to have to pay for your own truck.
CDL Jobs Can Help You Retire Early and See the Road
Let’s clarify a few more things. First, the ATA reports that the 10.5 billion tons of freight that moves across the country each year demands at least 3.6 million trucks (heavy duty, Class 8 trucks) to do so. And, that amounts to more than 3.5 million drivers. These are careers that are not going anywhere. Though companies are trying to use automation to get self-driving cars on the streets, that’s far from something that will occur any time soon.
The result is this. You need a career that allows you to earn well and retire sooner than you thought was possible. You want a career that is important not just to you and the company you work with, but to the country as a whole. Perhaps the thought of being on the road and seeing the country is also something that appeals to you.
In all of these situations, truck driving jobs are the route to take. Take a closer look at how well they can work to fill your needs.
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