For truck drivers who really want to control where they haul to and for whom, being an owner operator may be an aspiration to work towards. For these drivers, they own their own truck and equipment and hire themselves out to carriers for their services, cutting out the middleman. Although there is freedom in being your own boss, there are also many more responsibilities that come with it.
Pros Of Being An Owner Operator
Just like any business, being an owner operator in the trucking business has its rewards. You can choose when and how much you work, where you haul to and who you haul for. All earnings you make are yours, without having someone taking their cut before you get paid. Many enjoy the challenge of running their own business and start with just their own truck then get to the point of running a fleet of trucks and drivers.
Cons Of Being An Owner Operator
While you may get to keep all the profit, as an owner you also have all the expenses. When the truck inevitably breaks down, you not only have to pay to have it fixed, you are not making any money while it is down. There are also accounting, licensing and other parts of running a business that are now your responsibility. Not everybody wants the financial and administrative headaches that can come with ownership and many choose to work for someone else.
Most owner operators spend time as hired or leased drivers before they go out on their own. For many, it is the natural progression of their driving careers, but it is not the choice for everyone.
What crosses most people’s mind when they think of a commercial truck is a semi-trailer on 18-wheels heading hundreds or even thousands of kilometers down the road. For those who want to have the freedom and adventure of driving across country and even into the U.S. while getting paid, long haul domestic and international driving is a dream come true.
Being a long haul driver is not for everyone, in fact it is for a very specific breed of individual. Those who drive long haul, both domestic and internationally, have to have a certain personality as well as the training and licensing to do so. The attributes most long haul drivers share are:
– Self-motivated. These drivers must be able to push themselves and plan their routes without having to be guided or pushed to do so. No one is there to make sure you do your job, so you must be self-motivated.
– Enjoy being alone. Long hauls mean hours upon hours without anyone to talk to or converse with. Most people are fine with this once in awhile but not everyday.
– Love of travel. Long haul drivers often find staying in one place confining and love being on the road and seeing new places. No “homebody” will be comfortable being gone from his home for the majority of the time.
Of course you will need the training and licensing that is needed to drive the truck you will be using. However, there are other considerations as well. If you want to drive internationally into the U.S., you must be at least 21 years of age. There also may be physical and medical testing, including drug testing for some drivers. You also may have to pass a criminal background check as well.
For the right person, being a domestic and international long haul driver can be not just a career, but a lifestyle they love and embrace.
Short haul drivers usually work from one location and deliver out and return the same day. Obviously for those who prefer to be home every night versus out on the road, this may be the better choice. There are many variances in what type of vehicle you would be driving and how far, all depending on the company you work for.
Most short haul drivers will leave early each morning to start their day that may be 10 hours or longer. Depending on your specific job, you may have a specific route where you drop off or pick up each day, or maybe you will just be delivering a full truckload to one destination within a province or area each day.
Most short haul drivers work for local transport operations that hire for FTL or full truckload deliveries. Often a person may have the choice to do both short and long hauls for the same company.
Just like any commercial driving, there are requirements to being a short haul truck driver. You will need special licensing, training and may also have to pass educational and physical requirements for the job. Each employer will have their own standards, however you will need the proper training and licensing for the equipment or truck you will be driving, at a bare minimum.
Short haul driving is a great opportunity for someone who loves the road but just wants to be back in the same place each day. It can also be something people do interspersed with long haul, giving them periods of being at home before setting out again for a stint on the road.
If you have decided to go into truck driving as a profession, you have many options on what schools to go to and how to pay for the schooling. Depending on your situation, you may decide you are going to pay for the schooling yourself and in turn, be able to choose a great outfit to work for either while your in school or after your done. There are also companies that will pay for the schooling for you, which can be enticing for those who do not have the money or funding on their own.
Many trucking companies will offer to pay for your schooling, so don’t jump at the first one who offers a free ride to school. You need to consider several questions before signing up with any company.
– What Expenses Are They Paying? Are they just paying for the school or are they paying for travel to the school and expenses? Make sure you know exactly what you will need to pay out of pocket.
– How do I pay it back? Know how much and for how long you will be repaying the debt for school. Usually they will take a certain amount out each week for the first year or so.
– What will I be paid? Of course, this is the kicker. Finding out how much income you will be guaranteed from the company and for how long is an important consideration.
Choosing A School
Whether you decided to go at it on your own or you are being sponsored, you will want to choose a school that best fits your needs.
Getting started on the right path is important to a successful career in trucking. Take your time and do what is right for you.
A commercial truck driver has delivered most items you see in any store, whether it is groceries or kitchen appliances. The demand for professional drivers has not diminished. There are plenty of opportunities for anyone considering truck driving as a career. Although many think of long haul driving when they think of trucking, there are many different kinds of truck driving positions.
For those looking for adventure, the long haul driver gets their fair share. Long haul drivers may be gone for days or weeks at a time and get to see the country. There are different ways to approach long haul driving. Some are paid employees or for-hire carriers, many lease their vehicles and then there are the owner operators. There is a freedom that many enjoy about the long haul trucking profession, whatever route you choose.
Some people entering the truck driving industry want the freedom of driving with the ability to be home every night with their families. There are companies that hire short haul drivers who may only do deliveries within a certain province or area, making it enticing for those who do not want to be gone for long periods of time.
There is an entire support staff who are also a part of the trucking industry, beyond just the drivers themselves. There are those who maintain the trucks, others who handle cargo and then the many support people who schedule the runs and do the behind-the-scenes operations. Canada has more than 500,000 people working in the trucking industry, making it a large community of people who all are working to make sure that goods are transported to where they need to go.
There are many positions and types of careers in the trucking industry and as people move on or retire, positions are open for those looking to start. Whether you want to drive or be behind the scenes, it is an industry that will be around for the foreseeable future!
If you are considering the option of being a professional truck driver, take the decision seriously. However, it is a tough, demanding job and not a career that should be embarked upon on a whim.
For those who love being a professional truck driver, it is the best job in the world. It takes a certain personality and drive to be a long haul driver. The benefits can outweigh any drawbacks, if you fit the mold.
– Freedom. For those who do not mind being alone and work best without someone staring over their shoulder, this can be a good career choice. You must be self-motivated but for those who prefer to do things their own way, it may be a great fit.
– Travel. Seeing all parts of the country from the cab of a semi is what draws many to the job. Having an adventurous spirit that enjoys a change in scenery on a daily basis is a plus for any truck driver.
Truck driving can be a love it or hate it kind of job. It certainly is not for everyone. Because it does take training and special licensing, it is not something most will want to embark on as a temporary job.
– Long periods alone. For those who do long haul, you will be gone for days and sometimes, weeks at a time. Being alone is hard for some and being away from your family and friends can be tough.
– Long hours. Although you legally have to take a break, it is usually just to sleep and get back on the road.
Before deciding to become a truck driver you should talk to someone who has done it for several years. Then you can decide if truck driving is for you.
Join First Class Training Centre on September 15, 2012, and many other army of truck drivers at the World’s Largest Truck Convoy in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Special Olymics Manitoba athletes.
Location: Oak Bluff at 11am and will travel counterclockwise around the Perimeter Highway (Hwy#101).
The World’s Largest Truck Convoy® is an international project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) working in conjunction with members of the trucking industry.
Last year, Manitoba’s convoy was the third largest in North America in terms of both, money raised and participants. This year their goal is to make the Manitoba convoy the largest in North America.
Tired of being on the road? Want to be home every night and every weekend? Interested in mentoring future drivers? We are hiring and want to talk to you.
First Class Training Centre Inc is currently seeking Class 1 Driving Instructors. This person must have a passion for driving and the desire to share their knowledge and expertise of a professional driving career. We are in need of a reliable invidual who is dedicated to providing a supportive and learning environment.
If you’re a professional driver looking for a career change, First Class Training Centre will train you to become a permitted instructor, and start a new career as a Class 1 Driving Instructor.
Send your resume to one of the following:
Mail: First Class Training Centre, PO Box 98 Stn L Winnipeg, MB R3H 0Z4