It is not a secret that truck driving is a lucrative job. Even when starting a career on the road, one can make $30-35,000 in the first year. Not many jobs offer this kind of money for beginners. Not to mention the fact that to become a truck driver, one needs only a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.
Still, there is always a catch, and with truck driving, it is that it is not for everyone. The truck driving pros and cons are many. One needs to weigh both to see if the trucking lifestyle is for them.
In this post, we will weigh the biggest pros against the biggest cons of trucking, so you can decide whether to pursue this type of career.
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Trucking Pro: High Salary Right Away
As we mentioned before, you can start earning about $35,000 right after leaving CDL school. The salary averages do vary per state, but still, it is a lot of money. Depending on your dedication, if you go into OTR straight away, you may earn $50-$60k in your first year. To become a truck driver, you do not need much. You need just a high school diploma, a personal driver’s license, and a couple more things that we covered in our “how to become a truck driver” post. We recommend checking it out too.
Trucking Con: Getting a CDL Permit Costs from $3,000 to $7,000
Although the entry requirements are few, getting a CDL will cost you a decent amount. Getting a CDL permit requires anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the type of license you want. The majority of the cost goes for the truck driving school. Only a small portion goes for paying for the CDL tests themselves.
The good thing is that there are trucking companies that will pay for your CDL if you opt to pay them back once you complete the training and start driving for them.
Trucking Pro: Travel the States from Coast to Coast while Earning Money
The trucking lifestyle is perfect for people who want to visit each corner of the states, visit each capitol and suburb, and see the countryside and how people live there. Trucking is one of the few jobs that offer such traveling freedom and the ability to make your own decisions.
Trucking Con: This Traveling Lifestyle Requires Exceptional Commitment
The fact that you will be traveling long distances, sometimes even coast to coast, means that you will not be home much. Some trucking jobs, like OTR (Over-the-Road), require being on the road for weeks.
It can be a huge burden for your relationships with your close ones. You won’t be able to plan for private life events and be around all the time, as is the case with a 9 to 5 job.
The silver lining here is that trucking companies do offer to plan out your schedule and notify you of the upcoming hauls. Still, this does not mean that with exceptional planning, you can plan a spontaneous event, because that will solemnly happen.
Trucking Pro: Extreme Job Security
The trucking industry has a shortage of truck drivers and is oversaturated with trucking companies. The demand for truck drivers is extremely high. You are almost guaranteed a job the moment you leave CDL school. The only things that might threaten your job security are drug tests and proper conduct.
As we all had witnessed during these times of the pandemic when every non-essential business closed its doors, truck drivers kept on rolling to keep the shelves, and medical facilities stocked. Even during hard times like this and recessions, truck drivers make money because without trucks rolling, the whole world stops. And truck drivers are thanked for this dedication.
Trucking Con: Social Isolation and Loneliness
If you are an outgoing extrovert, the trucking lifestyle will drive you insane. As mentioned before, a starting career for truck drivers is OTR, which means driving for up to three weeks. Sometimes even driving close to 14 hours per day (still there are strict driving hours regulations).
You will not have anyone to talk to except dispatch, and you won’t be anyone to share a meal with.
Trucking Pro: You Plan Your Route to the Goal
Being alone in the cab has its benefits too. You won’t have someone breathing down your neck while you are doing your job. Except for filling out your logs and inspections, you have all the freedom in the world. Yes, there are deadlines to meet, but how you meet them is your choice. You plan the route, decide when to take a break, and choose when to nap.
Trucking Con: Things Don’t Always Go to Plan
It all went according to plan trucking would have been the perfect job. Sadly, you can face delays during loading/unloading, delays on the road, the GPS giving you a hard time, traffic jams, poor weather, and many other safety hazards that can lead to a horrible day.
The worst perhaps is other drivers. No matter how much you know how to keep distance and have cushion space on each side of the truck, chances are someone will cut in line, not even thinking about the stopping length a 50,000 lbs machine needs should anything go wrong.
When going on the road, you must take specific safety measures into account to make your trip smooth.
Trucking Pro: You Progress Through the Ranks Very Quickly
Trucking is one of the few jobs that has a rapid progression system. You can go from a rookie to earning nearly $100k in a couple of years. However, you need to be exceptional in driving, conduct, and vehicle maintenance; you also need to keep a near perfect accident and perfect drug test record.
Trucking Con: You Will Most Likely Start Driving OTR
Most beginner truck drivers start with the most challenging job type in the industry – OTR driving. Each trucking company gives advantages to employees based on their time in the company. This is true when the haul jobs are being given out too. The older employees can choose the local routes, leaving rookies with OTR jobs.
And, as we mentioned, OTR usually means 2-3 weeks on the road without seeing your family. So yeah, the beginning of a trucking career can be very tough.
Pros and Cons of Trucking -Wrapping Things Up
There you have it – the biggest pros and cons of being a truck driver. Weight them against each other wisely. If you feel that the pros outweigh the cons, then you are cut-out for a career on the road.
While it is true that some people click into the lifestyle straight away, and others adapt to it, the truth that trucking is a high paying job without many prerequisites remains. It doesn’t matter if you think you won’t manage the difficulties that come from it.
The pay is excellent, and you can drive for miles without stressing yourself and overthink things. On the other hand, it is very lonely, and you will probably be away from home a lot.