Lots of men daydream about the open road and living life out of a big rig. But is hauling freight really all it’s cracked up to be, or just highway robbery? Here’s some straight talk on stepping into the trucker lifestyle.
Pay & Demand
Trucking offers pretty sweet compensation, especially for just requiring a commercial driver’s license. According to Indeed.com, new drivers can expect $37,500 per year, while veterans make up to $70,000 or more. With the demand for goods skyrocketing and a shortage of drivers, companies also offer thousands in signing bonuses and benefits like health insurance.
The five highest paying locations according to Indeed for truck drivers are:
Omaha, Nebraska (almost $81K)
Atlanta, GA (almost $81k)
Nashville, TN ($81,800)
Houston, TX (82k+)
and the top location is…
Memphis, TN ($88,300)
The hours can be long – up to 11 per day driving under federal regulations. But all that time on the road means more money in the bank. For go-getters, trucking offers high earning potential without a costly college degree. Just be sure any carrier you are considering working with follows safety standards. Regulations such as FMCSA Rule 395, which regulates driver’s hours of service, are in place to protect truck drivers and others on the road.
Before falling in love with truck life, know it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Projects often mean weeks or months away from home. Living in a tiny sleeper cab can feel isolating. Truck stops don’t offer the most nutritious diet. And sitting for hundreds of miles daily takes an ergonomic toll.
But for men unfazed by tight spaces and funky smells, long hauls have their perks! Explore new locales along your route, chat on the CB radio to pass the time, and belt out songs in roadside solitude. Just be smart if tempted to bring companionship aboard during trips.
Many use trucking as a steppingstone to save cash for other ventures. Some launch their own fleet someday. Others enjoy the work enough to stick with it long-term and may land less taxing routes as they age. Attending a driving school opens additional transportation gigs like bus driving as well.
The key is finding an employer who treats and pays staff fairly. Ask around about companies. Check their safety track record. Make sure you’ll get home frequently enough to nurture relationships that keep you grounded. If you land a dream job hauling gear, you truly care about, even better!
Is Trucking for You?
Before pursuing a commercial driver’s license, reflect honestly on whether the trucker lifestyle suits you. Consider:
How strong is your driving record and patience behind the wheel?
Does time alone or tight quarter living stress you out?
Are you comfortable asserting needs with employers?
Can you prioritize safety over delivery urgency?
Will you miss life at home or need substantial earnings?
If your answers indicate self-reliance, adaptability, and resolve, trucking can be a rewarding path, financially and beyond. With prudent planning, it can pave the way to all sorts of destinations. If doubts creep in, be honest with yourself. There is no shame in letting that big rig dream fade off into the sunset.