As someone who may be considering over the road truck driving as a career, there are many questions you should ask yourself before jumping in head first. Thousands of new, inexperienced drivers tackle the obstacle of long haul trucking each year, only to discover it was not what they expected. This is mainly due to the fact that they are missing one key aspect for this trade: over the road trucking is not just a job or career . . . it is a lifestyle.
The large majority of the population enjoys a typical 9-5 job, or at the least, home every evening to enjoy their family and hobbies. Not so with OTR trucking. Many put in their 5-day work week and are eager to cherish the enjoyment of the weekend. Not so with OTR trucking. A huge majority have the pleasure and ability to attend their children’s school play, ball game or birthday parties. Not so with OTR trucking.
Over the road trucking is a demanding and lonely existence. Life on the road is tough. Are you the kind of person who can live in a semi truck for 24 hours a day? There are the few breaks here and there, but you can expect to physically be in the truck for 15-20 hours per day, every day! Will you be able to handle being away from your spouse and kids for weeks at a time? More important, will your spouse and kids be able to handle it?
For a single person, over the road trucking wouldn’t be bad. With fewer bills, many single drivers have saved up a rather impressive amount of cash! For those who are married and with families . . . it is a rough life. A life, I believe, no family should have to live through. Sadly, divorce is highly rated in the world of over the road trucking.
Personally, I have great respect for these OTR drivers. The general population has NO IDEA the demands that are placed on them, and yet, they still pull through as the back bone of this country. But, as a new driver considering the possibility, you must look at what kind of lifestyle you want and enjoy. If living in a truck for weeks or months at a time . . . being away from your family for long periods . . . spending extensive time completely alone . . . if this appeals to you, then go for it!
The main aspect to consider? What about the pay? Are the wages that come with over the road trucking worth it? You will hear about and see in advertisements, the BIG MONEY you can make with OTR truck driving. In reality, you can expect to gross $35,000.00 to $45,000.00 per year. Using a “rough” formula, lets break this down to see what your hourly pay would be:
If you are operating on the 70 hours per week rule, which most do, and you are driving the average of 100,000 miles per year, it would come out as this:
70 hours per week X 52 weeks = 3640 hours per year
$35,000 3640 = $9.62 per hour
$45,000 3640 = $12.36 per hour
This is just a quick “rough” formula to see what your hourly pay could be while living the life of over the road trucking. The figures are actually MUCH WORSE! I break it down even further in my article: Owner Operator: More Loss than Profit.
There are many more considerations to figure when coming up with an accurate picture for actual pay. One company that studied this, ended up with a figure of only $2.45 per hour! Once you read the above article, you’ll understand how this can be. Why live a life over the road, alone and away from home and family, when there are other options which pay the same if not more?
The bottom line? Look at yourself and if it applies, your family. Missing birthdays, anniversaries, ball games, school plays and other activities will become a part of your life. Is this the career you want? Is this your “lifestyle?”
About the Author:
Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the first and original Truth About Trucking. He devotes his time and efforts in assisting new, inexperienced drivers by revealing the scams of the trucking industry. Answering hundreds of emails weekly, he is becoming known as a major advocate for fighting back for our nation’s drivers. Please visit www.truthabouttrucking.com if you are considering a career in over the road trucking.
© 2007 – 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.