Being a truck driver is a very lucrative career. But, it isn’t for everybody. Like anything else, there are a set of pros and cons to understand so you know if it is going to be the right fit for you.
Truck driving is not like a lot of other occupations and has some unique factors that make it difficult for some people. At the same time, some of those unique factors are exactly what makes it an attractive career for others. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, it pays to know exactly what the realities are of truck driving.
In this article, we will go over the pros and cons to give a full picture of what goes into being a truck driver. We’ll start with the cons.
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Con: It’s expensive
Being an owner-operator truck driver is the best way to make a lot of money as a truck driver. However, since you aren’t an employee, the truck is your responsibility. It costs a lot of money to buy a new tractor-trailer and is often more than what you would pay for a house.
Even used trucks cost a fair bit of money so expect to pay a big chunk of your revenue for loan payments since it is unlikely that anybody would have six figures worth of cash for a new truck.
There are also repair and maintenance expenses. You’re responsible for making sure the truck is running as it should to stay safe on the road as well as paying for repairs. Buying your own International truck parts can cut down on the expense if you do have repairs to be done, but it is still going to cost much more to fix a broken truck than your average car. There is also the problem of no income during this downtime while the truck is being repaired.
Con: High risk of an accident
The fact that a truck driver spends the entire day on the road for five or six days per week is going to raise the risk of getting into an accident. This isn’t a guarantee as many truck drivers will never be in one but the risk is definitely there.
There are more distracted drivers on the road these days than at any other time in the past due to the number of people using phones while they drive. This creates a very dangerous environment for everybody on the road. Since a truck is harder to handle than a car, if a distracted driver were to cause an accident it will be far worse with a truck involved.
There is also the matter of weather. Driving in slick conditions due to snow, ice or rain can make it more difficult to avoid an accident since the time required to come to a full stop when braking is much higher.
Finally, fatigue is a big factor that can contribute to you causing an accident as well. Reaction time gets slower when you are tired or bored from the hours spent behind the wheel. It can be very monotonous.
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Pro: It can make a lot of money
Truckers are the lifeline of the economy of the country and it is not easy finding qualified drivers to make sure that products get to the stores. This demand makes the pay very good. If you are an owner-operator then it is not uncommon to make over six figures a year in profit.
It is not easy to make that money, however, as it requires a lot of time behind the wheel and some long-distance hauls with freight. There are also a lot of expenses to pay for out of pocket including fuel, repairs, and even your own health insurance.
However, when you have a year with few repairs or breakdowns, it is generally going to be a boom year in terms of income.
Pro: You are independent
When you are an owner-operator, you literally have no boss. A dispatcher will assign you loads to pick up and drop off, but you are free to say no at any time. If you decide that you want to take a few extra days to spend with the family then you are free to do so. If there are parts of the country where you would rather not drive then you can turn down certain loads.
Of course, if you say no too often then you will be less likely to be considered for the best loads since you may be putting the distributor in a bind by saying no. And you won’t be paid for the time that you are not driving.
However, many people love the freedom of the road without any co-workers or a boss giving them a hard time.
Pro: It isn’t a physical trade
Although sitting for hours per day is not healthy and can create health problems if you don’t counterbalance it with regular exercise, the job is easy physically.
This isn’t a trade like being a plumber or builder that requires a lot of physical effort and endurance. It doesn’t matter if you are in good shape or poor shape as long as your vision is good and you are quick thinking. This means that it is a job that is available to just about anybody who wants to do it.
Pro: Job security
Although times were a bit tough for truck drivers during the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, there are very few times when there is not enough demand for drivers. There is job security as there is far more work available than there are drivers to handle it.
It is very unlikely that there will be a time when you will see trucks sitting idle and drivers without work.
As you can see, it takes a certain type of person to be a truck driver and is not for everybody. However, those that feel like it is a good fit will be rewarded with security and a great income.