How Much Money Do Oversized Loads and Superloads Pay Truck Drivers?

Wide load truck loadGetting assigned to an oversized load is some truck drivers’ dream. After all, with this specialized level of trucking you are going to get substantially more money per mile, or in pay by percentage. Oversized loads do not necessarily require any special equipment, although some do require car escorts. However, they do require experience with handling special permit requirements, pulling heavy loads, and coordinating routes where you can haul oversized loads. As a result, you can expect the salary of someone who hauls oversized loads for a living to be impressive. If you are considering getting into the business of transporting oversized loads either part time or all of the time, learn more about what you need to have in order to make these big bucks.

Transporting Oversized Loads

When you haul an oversized load you are transporting a load that is bigger than usual. This can be a load that is 6 inches wider than the standard load width. Or it can be as much as a quarter of a million pounds in weight, which is referred to as a super load. Some loads are oversized because they exceed per-axle weight limits, even though they do not exceed the overall weight limit. Here are the US definitions of oversize loads:

  • The load is wider than 8 feet 6 inches.
  • Height and length limits are determined according to states, but most states consider anything taller than 13 feet 6 inches to be oversized.
  • The load cannot be broken down to transport in smaller segments, with the exception of a few states that do allow divisible loads to receive oversized permits.

Types of Oversized Loads

  • Heavy duty equipment, i.e. cranes, backhoes, tractors or bulldozers
  • Mobile homes aka pre-built homes
  • Industrial equipment
  • Windmill propellers
  • Aerospace industry parts, i.e. multi-stage rockets
  • Beams for bridges
  • Watercraft, i.e. houseboats or yachts

When transporting oversize loads there is always the need to get a special permit, a task that is typically handled by your dispatcher or trucking company. The permit ensures that your load is not a hazard to road traffic or roadway structures, such as bridges or overhead structures. In the permit instructions you will receive a route that you are allowed to take when delivering your oversize load. You may be required to utilize a pilot car, aka flag car or escort car, that will follow you to help to warn ongoing traffic to slow down and use caution when passing.

Hours-of-Service Rules Don’t Always Apply

As for hours-of-service rules for oversized loads, there is an exception to the 30-minute break for truck drivers hauling oversized loads. The FMCSA has determined it is dangerous for these big loads to sit on the curbs of roadways in order to meet this HOS requirement. Therefore the exception to the rule stands until 2017, at which time it will be readdressed.

Salary for Oversized Loads and Super Loads

Figuring out how much you can earn with oversized and superloads depends a lot on the exact load. After all, most of the time you are going to haul regular sized loads, unless you work for a trucking company that is exclusive to oversize trucking jobs. Here are some of the nation’s average salaries to give you some perspective:

  • CDL truck salary for oversized loads $53,000
  • Oversize pay anywhere from 41 cents to 52 cents per mile

Keep in mind that oversized hauls rarely make up your entire year’s salary. Therefore this average salary will not include the amount of money made on standard sized loads.

Going Bigger with Super Loads

One type of oversized load is referred to as a super load. As the largest size of load possible for tractor-trailers to haul, a super load is over-height, over-width, too long and/or too heavy weighing 250,000 lbs. or more. In order to haul this type of load you have to go through a lot more than you would if you were hauling a regular oversized load. Here are some of the steps to contend with, keeping in mind that every state is different, i.e. a super-sized trucking jobs in Massachusetts are 130,000 lbs. or more, while its 200,000 lbs. or over for trucking jobs in NY:

  • Get a survey for your route.
  • Get an engineering survey of the load.
  • Hire pole cars.
  • Pay police escort cars to travel with you, i.e. some state troopers charge as much as $500 per trip.
  • Get a permit for every state you are traveling through.
  • The amount of time it will take a state to approve your permit request, which could take a week or several months.
  • Find out if there are any utilities involved, i.e. overhanging power lines, etc.
  • Get a shipper’s letter.
  • Complete a bridge analysis, which is not about how many bridges you’ll cross in route, but the amount of weight your trailer can hold based on your axles.
  • Get a sketch or drawing completed of the shipment.

Super loads are going to pay more, but there is a lot more cost involved on the transport side. Whether you are driving for a trucking company that is providing the overhead for the shipment, or you are an owner operator hauling super loads, expect to pay out $30,000 or more just to get the load moving. As you can expect, the payout on super loads is substantial, even in comparison to oversized loads. Therefore this specialized type of oversized load is best suited for the high rolling trucking carriers and companies with the bankroll to cover the logistics’ costs.

How the Trucking Industry can Attract More Millennial Truckers

Millennials written in bold letters on desert road

Twenty-fifteen is the year when truck drivers and big rigs maxed out. For the first time in the history of the trucking industry, the US and several other countries including the UK are experiencing a truck driver shortage of a global magnitude. The Wall Street Journal reports that the trucking industry is running full force at nearly 100 percent utilization of tractor-trailers. This means the trucking jobs are available, but there aren’t enough drivers or rigs to cover them all.

Why the Truck Driver Shortage?

The baby boomer generation is leaving the trucking industry through retirement. The generation set to replace these seasoned truckers is made up of millennials. While there are plenty of bodies to go behind the wheel, millennials are less interested in taking up a career in trucking. Part of this reason is due to differences in hiring and employing millennials in comparison to baby boomers. A greater interest in technology, lack of loyalty, and a challenging work environment are just some of the marks of the millennials. As discussed in OverDrive, millennials simply feel that the trucking industry is behind with the times. In order for the trucking industry to keep up with hiring and retention of truckers, those in charge will have to revamp their employment practices.

Bouncing Back to the Baby Boomers

Let’s back up with facts about baby boomers, which includes 74,000 million people born between 1946 and 1964. The AARP reports that in 2011 the first of the baby boomers hit 65 years of age and retirement. Since then, approximately 10,000 baby boomers have turned 65 each day, and will continue to do so until 2029. As baby boomers were the long-running holders of the largest demographic title, this loss of the workforce hits every industry hard.

The Move Toward Millennials

Back in the day when trucking first became regulated, baby boomers were the biggest demographic. This year marks a shift. According to the Pew Research Center and US Census data, millennials, who are between 18 and 34 in 2015, account for one out of three US workers. In 2015 millennials became the largest demographic in the US workforce at 53.5 million millennials. Understanding the typical workers who will potentially fill the roles of truckers will make or break the ability for trucking companies and logistics teams to manage truck driver job growth.

Differences Between Generations

When comparing the employment expectations of baby boomers and millennials, it’s like comparing peas and watermelons. They might both be green on the outside, i.e. truck drivers, but when it comes to what makes up the two age groups, the differences are striking. For baby boomers, the following are characteristics of their work habits:

  • Company and job loyalty are paramount, with most boomers staying with a single company for 25-plus years until their retirement.
  • Boomers like to have a structured system with feedback and reviews happening like clockwork only a few times per year.
  • They prefer the self-motivated approach of receiving their orders and getting their work done without having someone constantly checking up on them.
  • Boomers want to have a standard professional dress code and look down on workers not following suit, aka millennials wearing flip flops and Hawaiian shirts when driving a big rig.
  • These workers want to have a set number of work hours when they remain in work mode. When they clock out from their work day, they don’t spend time thinking or fretting about work-related issues.
  • Boomers are use to having a status hierarchy and working their way up through the ranks, as they believe that workers should pay their dues so to speak.

Then you have the millennials, who have an entirely different take on these aspects of employment and the workplace:

  • They are big into technology and hyper-connected, preferring to communicate via email or texting rather than in person or by phone.
  • Millennials want to work in fast-paced work environments, and want to chance to learn and improve themselves in the workplace whenever there’s a chance. This means giving them the opportunities to do so, so they aren’t bored and ready to move on.
  • They are entrepreneurial, want to make a difference, and believe they are capable of doing so.
  • Traditional office rules and settings, such as cubicles, suits/dresses, 9 to 5 workdays and staff hierarchy, turn off millennials.
  • Millennials want someone to mentor to them, show them how to improve, and give them consistent reviews on a more frequent basis.
  • This age group wants to work where they want to, which means they are better suited for remote jobs, such as trucking, where the scenery constantly changes.
  • They aren’t working just for the money. They want to work somewhere where they feel valued, part of the greater picture, and are allowed to be creative and productive at the same time.
  • Along those lines, millennials are less likely to work for the same company for more than a few years before moving to a new position elsewhere, mainly because a position or company fails to keep them motivated. This also means that millennials are much less loyal to a company that isn’t offering them more than just a clock-in, clock-out workday.
  • Millennials demand to be involved in organizational strategy and want to give their two cents.
  • Titles, hierarchy and positions mean little to a millennial whom has no interest in playing the game of office politics. Instead they think that everyone should have an equal value and voice.

Applying the Millennial Rules to Hiring Truckers

The goal is to attract new truckers to the trucking industry. To do this, we must target those workers, ages 18 to 34, who are most likely to start their career in trucking now. How is this possible considering the differences in working style between the new generation and the old? Here are some ideas:

  • As self-driving trucks become a way of life, attract millennials by pointing out the tech savvy route trucking is taking. The new rigs won’t be your grand-daddy’s tractor-trailer, but some high-tech computerized machine that involves keeping up with technology. This will combine millennials’ passion for technology with their desire to continually be learning, since technologies will always have room for improvement and adjustment.
  • Give millennial truckers a chance to pick and choose their routes and loads, so they have some say in their trucking jobs, and they aren’t bored with doing the same deliveries day after day.
  • Provide ongoing mentor programs with truckers and different members of the administration of trucking companies, so to involve them with the organizational structure, and to provide them with continued support and learning opportunities
  • Highlight the fact that truckers do not have a 9 to 5, cubicle job, which will attract millennials who are passionate about traveling. Since they see their job as a traveling opportunity, it is much less about the paycheck and more so about the love of the open road.
  • Shorten the amount of time new truckers need to be employed by trucking companies before they are fully vested for benefits, i.e. life insurance. Since millennials are less likely to stick with a company for more than a handful of years, such benefits will not attract them to choose one company over another. Make it easier for millennials to move on from a trucking company, knowing this is part of the generational demand, and accept that shorter careers with a single company are part of the process.

Finding a way to attract millennials and to keep them working trucking jobs is a shoe-in for trucking execs and truck driver recruits interested in filling big rigs and trucking jobs.

How to Spend More Time with Your Spouse as a Trucker

One of the more difficult deals for truck drivers who take OTR trucking jobs is maintaining relationships. If you are a trucker who is trying to keep your romantic relations alive while you are away at work, then you know just how difficult it can be. Both the partner who is staying back at home and the truck driver going over the road for weeks at a time have to put in the time and energy to keep the relationship together. How do you do that?

Step 1: Jumpstart Your Trucking Plans

Start by including your relationship plans in your trucking career goals. As soon as you set out for truck driving schools or are hired by a trucking company, like JB Hunt Transport or US Xpress, put your relationship ideals front and center. Are you interested in spending a weekend a month with your spouse, or do you want to stay home more often? Does the idea of taking OTR trucking jobs sound like it would be too much for your spouse to handle? Opt for regional trucking jobs that keep you with local trucking companies instead. By considering your relationship in your job plan you show your spouse that you are thinking of your relationship first and foremost. This sets the pace for a strong connection between the two of you once you finally hit the road.

Step 2: Communicate Often

Next up, you must communicate with your spouse frequently. The two of you need to be in a place emotionally where you can be communicative more than the average couple. Everyone has a bad day here and there where they don’t want to speak to their spouse. Maybe you are mad about something, or you might be pouting because things didn’t go your way. Well that simply won’t cut it when you are trying to have a long distance relationship with someone. You can’t sulk at the dinner table, hoping your spouse will pick up on your nonverbal clues, because they don’t exist when you are a thousand miles away.

You need to be able to put your personal feelings aside more often than not, for the sake of the relationship. Buck up. Maintain a clear route for talking with your mate. Be receptive. Of course you are tired and working hard on the road. You might even be the sole breadwinner. But here’s the deal. You need to have relationships in your life that make driving those long, lonely hours worth it. Money is great, but money won’t make you happy forever. If you want to develop true and secure love, you’ll need to invest your time and energy in a loving relationship.

  • Sacrifice a little time everyday to communicate with your spouse. A thoughtful text message, a loving email, or a 30 minute phone call to let them know you are thinking of them is ideal.

While you wouldn’t call your spouse every day when you worked from home, being a trucker puts things in a different light. Without those regular phone calls, you lose those vital connections holding your relationship together.

Step 3: Be Independent

While you need to be open and communicative with your partner back home, you still need to have your independence. You have your job as a trucker, and your mate has their life back home. When you are away from home your partner shouldn’t want or need to talk to you 24/7. No checking in every hour. You have to both live your own lives, as your living situation is more along those lines than that of a traditional married couple.

Some spouses that have truckers for partners will tell you it’s like living as a single person. That is not such a bad thing for many people who prefer to have some independence. Those are the types of people to look for when searching for the ideal spouse as a trucker. You are clearly an independent-minded person given your occupation. So you need to find someone with that same level of drive to be their own person.

Clingy won’t cut it with a truck driver in the picture. This will help you both when trying to make time for one another. Each of you will be stronger and more capable of taking care of yourself. Keep in mind not everyone can handle this level of solitude. However, when you are both strong and independent, you will both want to spend time together solely because it’s important to you. You won’t do it because one or the other is trying to fill a void or because you need someone else so you can be happy with yourself.

Step 3: Go Techie

skype application on phone

These days everyone is linked in to the web. Whether you are on social media or have a smartphone in your pocket at all times, you have a way to stay connected. Use it. Truck stops and rest areas offer Wi-Fi service, so log in and sync up. There are dozens of ways to communicate over the Internet:

  • Skype with each other for video and/or voice communication using your laptop.
  • Get together on a Google Hangout if you have a Gmail account.
  • Use FaceTime if you are an Apple owner. This works best if you have an iPad or Mac, but it is also doable over iPhone.
  • Write a letter a week to one another and send it by email.
  • Make a 30 second video and send it to your spouse via text or email.
  • Start a tradition of taking a photo a day and sending it to one another. Maybe you want to “see” each other first thing in the morning. If you are trying to hold each other accountable for healthy eating, share photos of your meals with each other.
  • Send each other a joke by texting when you first wake up to put a smile on one another’s face. Make it a contest where you try to out-joke each other.
  • Set up a social media account, like on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, that is private and only available to the two of you. Then you can post whenever you have a moment just as people do on social media without distracting your spouse.

Step 4: Bring It All Back

When you make it back into each other’s arms after any period of being away, the feelings of anticipation and reconnected passion are intense. Take advantage of these. Plan special dinners, go to see movies you’ll both enjoy, surprise your spouse with tickets to their favorite sport or entertainment venue. Do things in those precious moments that allow you to seize the day while creating memories that will carry you both through the next trip. At the end of each day, knowing that you have someone back home waiting to love on you makes traveling those long miles all worth it. A final tip: truckers and spouse alike are not alone in this world. Find a group of supportive fellow truckers, and likewise for your spouse back at home. That can make the lonely days much shorter, thanks to the support of like-minded friends.

How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Earn in Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Skyline at night

Living in the City of Angels is a dream come true for truckers who love the celebrity status and sunny disposition of LA. After all, where else other than Tinseltown are you most likely to deliver a truck load of movie props, building supplies or designer clothing for someone famous? Whether you want to find truck driving jobs in Los Angeles, Hollywood or San Fernando Valley, there is one question at the forefront of most truckers’ minds. How much money are truckers in LA earning?

Annual Salaries of Los Angeles Truck Drivers

In general, truck drivers living and working out of Los Angeles are earning a median annual salary of $55,000. This amount ranges from the lower end of $26,198 a year to the upper end of $66,612. This is 7 percent more than the average salaries for truck driving jobs in the US. However, the amount you can earn truly depends on the position you have as a trucker. For example, OTR truck driving jobs in LA are in greater demand, therefore they pay more. Meanwhile Class A truckers in LA are earning less, but they are also spending less time on the road. For truck drivers with families in Los Angeles, having the steady job of being a trucker, while getting the chance for more home time makes a regional trucking job in LA worth the pay cut. Here is a detailed breakdown of how much truck drivers in LA bring home based on their trucking job type:

  • Class A CDL truckers earn anywhere from $23,000 to $44,000
  • Student truck drivers earn $33,000 to $44,000 a year
  • Dedicated truck drivers in LA for trucking companies bring home $50,000 a year
  • OTR truck drivers in Los Angeles earn between $66,000 and $88,000 annually
  • Team drivers based in LA earn $77,000 per driver a year
  • Owner operators in Los Angeles make $291,000 a year

Increasing Your Earning Potentials

How can you achieve the higher earning potentials of, say, Class A truck drivers or student truckers? Start by looking at trucking companies that have a solid reputation and the abilities to keep you moving. The more hours you spend behind the wheel, whether in training or as a regional truck driver in LA, the more you stand to earn.

For instance, look at student truck drivers who are still in truck driving school in LA. The quickest way to receive your CDL is to practice, practice, practice. This means getting behind the wheel as much as possible, even if that means being aggressive during truck driver training classes by requesting driving time as often as possible. The more hours you spend training and working on being a trucker, the greater the chances are that you will be prepared to pass your CDL exam the first time out. If you fail your CDL exam, then you will be months behind on your truck driving career, which means you will earn at the lower end of the annual median of truck drivers in LA.

The faster you get out of truck driver school, the faster you will start earning the big bucks. At that point, the more time you spend behind the wheel of your big rig, the more money you will make. If you constantly take four-day weekends and you slack off when making deliveries, the fewer loads you will have, and the smaller your annual trucking salary will be.

Hourly Wage of Truck Driving Jobs in Los Angeles

Truck drivers in Los Angeles are bringing home an estimated $18.37 per hour. However, the income range per hour is anywhere from $13.78 to $25.00. In Los Angeles truckers report having a moderate level of job satisfaction, which adds to the benefit of living in the City of Angels as a trucker. Also, when it comes to wage add-ons, truckers in LA report that more than half have medical benefits and dental insurance as a trucking benefit. Less than one third of truck drivers do not have any form of health benefits or coverage as related to their truck driving jobs in LA. In terms of income, having a job where you are satisfied and have benefits boosts the status of the position.

What to Expect with Truck Driving Jobs in Los Angeles

Driving a truck in LA can be intimidating for newbies, if you are not familiar with the area. After all, there are more than 80 neighborhoods and districts in Los Angeles city. As the second largest city in the US, and the most populated in the state of California, LA has a lot of ground to cover. For truckers interested in taking trucking jobs in Los Angeles, here are the areas you can expect to deliver to, whether driving a flatbed trailer or taking tanker loads:

  • Greater Hollywood
  • Crescenta Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Los Angeles
  • Northeast Los Angeles
  • East Los Angeles
  • Downtown Los Angeles
  • The Harbor Area
  • Wilshire
  • The Westside

Truck Driving Jobs in Entertainment Industry of LA

The main attraction to LA is the movie and film industry. As a result of Hollywood star struck truckers can hope to score a snapshot or perhaps even meet someone from the rich and famous celebrity track when making deliveries to the LA area. If you are interested in trucking jobs associated with the highlights and landmarks of LA, check for loads in and out of the following places:

  • The Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • The Griffith Observatory
  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • The Capital Records Building
  • The Hollywood Sign
  • Grauman’s Chinese Theatre located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
  • The Getty Center
  • The Getty Villa
  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • The Staples Center
  • The Watts Tower
  • The Hollywood Bowl
  • Battleship USS Iowa
  • Dodger Stadium
  • The Bradbury Building

And the list could stretch on and on. Driving a truck in Los Angeles places you in the center of the action. As you may suspect, one of the top drivers of the economy in LA is the entertainment industry involving everything from music recording to motion pictures to video games to television production. Three of the world’s most prominent film studios are located here: Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Truck drivers interested in hauling flatbed loads to LA movie sets have the best chance as any here in La-la Land. In addition to movie production, truckers with an interest in hauling expensive automobiles and classic cars can score big as auto haulers in LA. Thanks to the bevy of the rich and famous and their passion for expensive sports cars, you have an advantage of this consumer base.

Other Industries Supplying Trucking Jobs in LA

LA isn’t all about bright lights, though. The city’s economy has top ranks by other sophisticated industries. For instance, here are the leading industries besides entertainment that have helped bolster Los Angeles:

  • International trade
  • Aerospace
  • Petroleum
  • Technology
  • Fashion and apparel
  • Tourism
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Law
  • Transportation

As a matter of fact, did you realize that LA is home to the biggest manufacturing center in the entire Western US? Thanks to the port locations of the Harbor Area, which include Los Angeles as contiguous to Long Beach, here you have the fifth-busiest port on the planet. It also serves as the Western Hemisphere’s most important port providing crucial trade access to the entire Pacific Rim. For truck drivers hauling reefer loads of produce, taking oil tanker loads, or driving oversized loads of aerospace equipment, living in LA offers a wealth of trucking job opportunities.

How Much Money Can I Make as an LTL Truck Driver?

Less than truck load

In the world of trucking, you are either an OTR trucker or an LTL driver. Whereas OTR truckers fill their trailers with loads, LTL truckers transport light truck loads or less-than-truckloads. LTL trucking jobs involve shippers with smaller amounts of freight. Drivers of LTL trucks are also more likely to take regional truck driving jobs or line haul work, such as for parcel carriers like FedEx or UPS. Furthermore LTL truckers are also increasing in demand for moving things like intermodal freight. If you are considering taking an LTL trucking job first find out what you can expect to make as an LTL truck driver, as well as what you can expect in terms of job growth for the LTL industry.

The Basics of LTL Truck Drivers

Everyone knows what an OTR trucker does. On the other hand, most OTR drivers never work LTL trucking jobs as this is a different type of logistics and transport. While OTR truckers are used to hauling loads for one or maybe two customers per delivery route, an LTL driver takes on dozens of shipments for different destinations. The benefit for customers in choosing a LTL driver is in sourcing the most cost effective and eco friendly method of transporting a smaller amount of product.

The working environment of a LTL driver is often the same as an OTR truckload driver. Both use dry vans, flatbed trailers or reefer trucks. Sometimes a LTL driver will utilize a pair of pup trailers, at 28 feet each, pulled in tandem. For LTL drivers handling regional trucking jobs or local runs they will almost always pull a day cab truck instead of a sleeper cab. Day cabs are more efficient in terms of allowing for more product weight for hauling, and there is no need to have a sleeper for local runs.

Average Annual Salary of LTL Truckers

Whether you are a regional driver pulling LTL hauls, or you are a line hauler for a company like FedEx, your job differs in one major way from OTR truckers. Local jobs allow you to be at home a lot more frequently than OTR drivers or team truck drivers. For many truckers this is important due to family ties or community commitments. At the same time, you are not going to have the same experience as a truckload driver who hauls goods across the country, often to different cities each week. Instead you will most likely traverse the same routes week after week. For rookie truck drivers, work as a LTL driver can be beneficial since it gives you the miles needed to build confidence before going out on longer trips. So what exactly are LTL drivers bringing home for a paycheck? Here are some current LTL driver salaries:

  • Line haul drivers earn $70,000 a year
  • LTL owner operators earn $210,000 annually
  • Local truck drivers in GA are earning $14 an hour
  • FedEx National LTL line haul drivers are earning a trucker salary of $75,604
  • Conway Freight pays LTL drivers $21.30 an hour

Speaking of Conway Freight, this company is the second largest LTL carrier in the US. By 2015 Conway trucking jobs are projected to see a pay increase of $60 million among 14,000 LTL drivers. The substantial pay increase reflects the impending market need for LTL drivers, as well as the critical driver shortage facing the US.

Economic Outlook of LTL Trucking Jobs

The main reason that shippers are moving toward LTL trucking options is due to overall cost. This includes cost of time, as LTL deliveries are much more efficient in comparison to rail transport. When transporting goods by rail, you are at the mercy of the train schedule, which is much more rigid in comparison to a trucker’s schedule. Another cost is in money. When you hire an OTR trucker to move your goods, you are going to have to come up with a minimum amount of freight in order to make it worth the trucking company’s time. For example, you might have to have a minimum of 10,000 pounds of freight in order to get your shipment picked up. For smaller businesses or individuals needing to ship some product, this is not feasible for their bottom line. Enter the logistic line of LTL hauling. While the previous decades have seen a stagnant market for LTL freight, the future is looking bright for truckers hauling LTL:

  • From 2008 to 2013, according to the Journal of Commerce, the LTL freight industry saw 5.1 percent growth.
  • Harsh winter weather in 2014 pushed freight from railways onto truckloads, but due to not enough OTR drivers to make up the extra hauls, intermodal freight is going to LTL drivers. This started a trend expected to continue in the upcoming decades.

  • For the first time ever, in 2014 the publicly traded LTL carriers improved profitability with a 2.2 percent margin increase, beating out other methods of transport, as truckload carriers only increased by 0.4 percent, parcel carriers by 1.6 percent, and Class 1 railroads by 2.0 percent.

Truckers interested in getting into the LTL freight business will experience an increase in the number of LTL trucking jobs available to them. The near future of LTL is this: LTL trucking improves its capacity, such as with intermodal transport for railways and providing streamlined shipment options for customers. The number of truck drivers on the roads, for OTR and LTL, continues to decline as general shipping demands increase. Those truck drivers willing to put in the time behind the wheel will have leverage on earning more than ever with LTL trucking jobs.

How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Earn in Chicago, IL

Chicago skyline

As a trucker searching for truck driving jobs in Chicago, your priority should be on getting your CDL and truck driving training. Once you are prepared to start your career as a trucker, you will have no problem finding a trucking company in Chicago that is hiring truck drivers. Here is the location of the world’s busiest airport at O’Hare International Airport according to takeoffs and landings, which attracts truckers of all haul types for loads and deliveries. As a major hub for business, finance, international trade and transportation, Chicago is also the home to the largest network of US highways. The roads are your moneymakers and you will soon learn to navigate the grid system, as well as the seven interstate highways crossing through the city. So how much money can you expect to earn once you start driving trucks in Chicago? Here’s the scoop on salaries and wages of Chi-Town truckers.

Salaries and Wages in a Nutshell

Whether you currently reside in Chicago, or you are interested in moving to the City of Broad Shoulders as your home base, there is plenty of positives when it comes to how much you can earn as a trucker. For starters:

  • Truck drivers’ annual salaries are 20 percent greater in Chicago compared to the national average.
  • The average truck driver’s annual salary in Chicago is $62,000.

Imagine earning more than $60,000 at a job that does not require hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, or an education lasting for nearly a decade. Keep in mind that with CDL truck drivers you will start out earning almost the same amount as someone with 5, 10 or 15 years’ of experience. This is a major difference in comparison to other industries where newbies start out at the bottom of the wage pool. For truckers this perk means you can jump behind the wheel and earn a living as soon as you get your CDL and finish truck driver school.

Trucking Salaries for Various Types of Drivers

When it comes to determining exactly how much you can expect to earn annually as a trucker in Chicago the key is to break down the wages according to trucker type. For example, as an OTR truck driver in Chicago you can earn approximately $99,000 a year, while an owner operator will bring home around $326,000. Note that as an owner operator you are responsible for all ranges of costs including paying for your tractor trailer, operating expenses and taxes. Here is a breakdown of the wages of various job types for truck drivers in Chicago:

  • Class A truck driver hauling regional loads in Chicago $25,000 to $49,000
  • Student truck driver in training with Chicago trucking companies $37,000 to $49,000
  • Dedicated trucking company drivers $56,000
  • CDL OTR truck driver based in Chicago $74,000 to $99,000
  • Team truck driver in Chicago $86,000

As you can see, the lowest paying truckers are student truckers. However, the key point here is that truckers are paid by trucking companies to attend truck driving school in order to get their CDL and behind the wheel experience. That’s right. You can earn a middle class wage while you are still learning how to become a truck driver. Furthermore, truck driving school costs are typically paid in full by these trucking companies. In exchange, as a student driver you commit to driving for the sponsoring trucking company training you as part of this deal. Imagine bringing home a paycheck that is comparable to most seasoned employees with a four-year college degree when you are still in trucking school. That is one of the many reasons why individuals are searching for trucking jobs in Chicago, the idea that they can earn such a great wage starting out.

Truck Driving Jobs in Chicago

What kind of jobs can you expect to find in Chicago, IL as a truck driver? Start with the large conglomerate of companies hosted here. In Chicago alone there are 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and three Dow 30 companies. Businesses in operation in Chicago include:

  • Aerospace magnate Boeing’s headquarters
  • Sears Holding Corporation
  • Kraft Foods
  • McDonald’s headquarters
  • United Continental Holdings
  • Motorola’s technology spin offs
  • Baxter International
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • General Electric’s Healthcare Financial Services division
  • United Airlines’ headquarters
  • GE Transportation
  • ThyssenKrupp North America
  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • Armour and Company meats

As a result of the extensive number of headquarters and manufacturing locations in the city, Chicago has the third largest labor pool in the US. Having this economic stamina drives the need for truck drivers in the Windy City. After all, there has to a constant flow of products, materials and goods coming in and distributed out of the city, and truckers provide the most economical method for this necessity. As a truck driver living in Chicago, you have a plethora of job options at your disposal. Your main focus will be to decide whether to work for yourself as an owner operator or to work for an employer, which is typically a trucking company.

Trucking Companies in Chicago

One of the most common places to go in search of a job in Chicago is trucking companies. Some of the most popular trucking companies, offering the greatest benefits and wages in Chicago, include:

  • Con-way Freight
  • CR England
  • JB Hunt Transport
  • Averitt Express
  • Bulkmatic Transport

These are also some of the most recognized trucking companies throughout the US. By choosing one of these trucking companies as your employer in Chicago, you stand to profit from great trucker benefits packages. If you are just starting out and interested in how to become a truck driver consider contacting one of these trucking companies. Each of these Chicago companies provide truck driving training school for individuals who want to learn how to get a CDL.

Truck Driver Training in Chicago

As you train to become a trucker, you will be paid for your time. Unlike college or technical school, you won’t graduate the program with a large amount of debt hanging over your head. Instead, you will be driving for a Chicago trucking company earning more than most college graduates will ever make. The key is to choose a trucking company that best meets your lifestyle needs and personality. For example, if you want to drive over the road and visit other great cities in the US, choose a trucking company focused on OTR hauls. If you prefer to stay close to Chicago so you are home every night or two to be with your family, then look for a regional trucking company that will keep you busy right here in Chi-Town.

Working as a Chicago Truck Driver

Truck drivers enjoy the freedom of the open road. This allows you to live in Chicago, but visit cities throughout the US on a regular basis as part of your job. Depending on the haul type you choose, such as tanker loads, dry van loads or flatbed truck loads, you will haul everything from computer parts to rice. Thanks to the Midwest location of the city of Chicago, along with the strategic Ports of Chicago, you can rest assured that your loads will always be available and most likely interesting.

What Truckers Should Do If You Get in an Accident

Truck about to hit a car

If you are in an accident, whether the accident is deemed to be your fault or the other driver’s fault, be sure to follow certain steps in order to protect yourself and your trucking company. The steps are almost the same whether you own your company or you work for another trucking company. Furthermore, you can also take steps to help prevent causing an accident.

Legal Issues

Truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries, regardless of fault, because of the size of the truck. Thus, it is highly important that you know how to protect you and your company, even if the accident is not your fault. If you are able:

  • Set up your emergency triangles and/or cones. If you can pull off to the edge of the road without destroying possible evidence, then do so. However, if you think the angle of your vehicle and the other vehicle will help in determining fault, don’t move the truck.
  • Contact the police and emergency authorities.
  • Document the accident. No one can tell you enough how important it is to document the accident. This documentation could save you or your company from paying out in a lawsuit or settlement. Your documentation should include pictures taken from all angles and you should write down or record – on a personal device – what you believed happened.
  • Get the insurance information from others involved; and make sure you give your information to other drivers.
  • Do not just sign the accident report. Make sure the police have the facts written down properly before you sign or accept anything. If some of the facts are written down wrong, advise the officer who wrote the report and ask him to make corrections. If the officer refuses to make corrections, document the date and time you requested those corrections; and document the officer’s name and/or badge number.

Even if the accident is not your fault, the others involved, including family in the event of a death, will tell authorities how they perceived the accident. This often includes assigning fault to the truck driver or the trucking company, even if you are not at fault.

The documentation you create and documentation from the police will help investigators determine the real cause of the accident.

After the Accident

Even if you are not hurt, you should go to the hospital or, at the very least, your primary care physician to be checked out. Often, injuries from an accident do not show up for a few days. Let your doctor or the emergency room doctor know you were in an accident and have them check you over completely for injuries or injuries that might manifest later.

Be sure to keep any medical documentation. In the event that the accident was not your fault, you may be able to recover medical bills and other damages from the person at fault. You will need all documentation.

If you work for someone, the company will probably handle submitting damages to the truck and the cargo to the insurance company. If you own the company, you’ll have to do this yourself, so be sure you have all the repair documentation. If you need to get estimates for the insurance company, be sure to get the number of estimates the company requires.

If You Are Sued

If you are sued be sure to provide any requested documentation to your attorney. Always give copies – you or your company should keep the original documents and pictures. Your attorney will determine what must be given to the plaintiff pursuant to statutes.

Never try to fight a lawsuit yourself, especially if you believe the accident was not your fault. And, if your insurance company provides an attorney, you may still want your own attorney. Remember, the insurance company is looking out for its interests, not yours.

How to Prevent Accidents

Some things may seem like common sense to experienced truckers; however, new truckers may need some reminders. If someone is driving erratically, try to stay away from that person. If you must pass that person on the highway, be sure to keep watch so that he or she doesn’t sideswipe you or pull too close in front of you.

Always assume that other drivers are not paying attention. You learn this in truck driving school, however, it always bears repeating. While it’s more difficult the move or stop a big truck, if you are watching others, you have a better chance of avoiding an accident.

Also, know the regulations for driving and breaks. Be sure to take and document all breaks and “sleep time.” Even if an accident is not your fault, if your logs show that you were driving overtime because you did not document a break, the court could make the assumption that you contributed to the accident.

What to Do Before an Accident

In the event that you are so injured in an accident and cannot do anything; or in the event that you die in an accident, you won’t have anyone to represent you at the scene. Be sure to have several numbers for emergency contacts where it can easily be found. Your log book is a good place for those numbers. They should include your personal emergency contact number for a family member or close friend, your boss’s number if you work for a company, and your attorney’s phone number.

Many times, the authorities won’t have time to call everyone so be sure that your emergency contact has the other numbers to call and he or she knows to contact them right away.

If you don’t have one already, put an emergency kit in your truck. It should contain a digital camera, extra batteries and a strong flashlight. Always check the batteries before you head out on a run; and rotate the extra batteries before their expiration date.

Even if you are prepared, you could still be involved in an accident because you can never tell what another person is going to do. But being prepared will help you protect yourself in the event that you do get into an accident.

How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Earn in Atlanta, GA

Living and working in Atlanta as a truck driver comes with many perks. First of all, you stand to bring home a serious paycheck. Secondly, Atlanta isn’t called Hotlanta just because of the weather. Here you will find plenty of hotspots for shopping, sightseeing, exploring nature and supporting the South’s favorite sports teams. See what the buzz is all about by searching for trucking jobs in Atlanta that will allow you to make the big bucks.

Top Trucking Salaries for Atlanta, GA

As of July 2015 the average truck driver salary for truck driving jobs in Atlanta was $64,000. How does this compare with other professions? Other industries paying this annual salary include senior staff accountants, paralegals, physician assistants, physical therapists and school administrators. The major difference between these white collar jobs and truck drivers is the amount of education, training and experience that is required. For white collar professions, there is a minimum of four years of costly college, and these positions do not pay $60,000 to entry level workers. On the other hand, for truck drivers in Atlanta, GA they are capable of earning more than $60,000 within their first year on the road.

Types of Truck Driver Salaries

When looking at how much a truck driver can make working in Atlanta, you need to break down the actual types of jobs of truckers. This will give you a better perspective on which haul types and trucking jobs in Atlanta pay the most. Here is a list of the most common truck driver positions along with the annual salaries for truckers in Atlanta:

  • Team drivers with a Class A CDL earn about $27,000 yearly
  • Student truck drivers bring home $38,000 to $51,000 annually
  • Regional truck drivers with a Class A CDL make a yearly salary of $51,000
  • Dedicated truck drivers earn a yearly salary of $58,000
  • OTR truck drivers in Atlanta earn $77,000 to $103,000 a year
  • Team truck drivers in Atlanta earn approximately $90,000 a year
  • Owner operators based in Atlanta bring home about $340,000 annually

Dollar bill with clock behind it

If you are planning to stay within Atlanta’s border while working as a trucker, you will earn the least amount of money. However, driving solo can earn you more than $50,000. As for truck drivers who want to drive as a team driver, go for your Class B CDL. You can earn three times more money by being able to pull bigger loads, in comparison to Class A truckers who earn less than student truck drivers. How are student truckers earning so much money while still in training? The key here is to hook up with a trucking company that offers training programs.

Truck Driving Schools in Atlanta

Some of the top trucking companies operating in Atlanta that offer truck driving schools that teach you how to be a truck driver include:

  • Schneider Trucking via Atlanta Technical College
  • JB Hunt offers truck driving training in nearby Buford, GA at Daly’s Truck Driving School
  • CR England provides truck driving school instruction in the metro city of Austell, GA

When choosing to be a student trucker through the guidance of a trucking school, you are guaranteed a trucking job when you are able to pass your CDL exam. Once you have your Class A or Class B CDL you are placed in the driver’s seat, where you will earn average pay for truck drivers in Atlanta. While $38,000 a year is a good salary, $64,000 is outstanding for someone who is working in an entry level job in the ATL.

National Comparison to Trucking Jobs in Atlanta

For truck drivers who work in Atlanta the annual salary you can earn is 25 percent more than the average truckers’ salary for nationwide trucking jobs. Living in the capital city of Georgia also puts you in a prime position for trucking jobs that come out of this global power. Atlanta ranks No. 4 for how many Fortune 500 companies are based here, just behind New York City, Dallas and Houston. As a trucker in Atlanta chances are great that your loads will vary from season to season. Check out this list of the businesses headquartered in Atlanta to get a feel for what type of goods you can expect to haul:

  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • AT&T Mobility
  • Home Depot
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Newell Rubbermaid
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Arby’s
  • RaceTrac Petroleum
  • SunTrust Banks
  • Earthlink
  • First Data
  • Equifax
  • Georgia-Pacific
  • Waffle House

Types of jobs you can expect to see include hauling paper goods and logging jobs for Georgia-Pacific. For the restaurant industry, which includes the Waffle House, Arby’s and Chick-fil-A, truck drivers are in demand to provide everything from marketing materials to foodstuffs. Tanker haulers with a hazmat certification are prime drivers for RaceTrac Petroleum, which is a fueling station company based throughout the Southeast. Truck drivers interested in regional trucking jobs in Atlanta can profit as a document delivery or security transport service for SunTrust Banks, First Data and Equifax. Truckers who want to drive for a trucking company that offers excellent benefits and prestige can apply at UPS and work their way up the ranks. As for the rest of the state, Georgia has ample industries and agriculture exports that ensure truck drivers are constantly rolling.

Interesting Trucking Jobs in Atlanta

As an Atlanta resident you are close to the source of several unique trucking job opportunities. For starters, Atlanta is the home of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC. If you have experience and certification for hauling tanker loads and hazardous material, then you could score a well paying job as a truck driver transporting biochemical waste products. While the automobile manufacturing industry has fizzled in Atlanta in recent years, the film industry remains in full force in Hotlanta. TV stations including The Weather Channel, CNN, and the Cartoon Network. Ever heard of “The Walking Dead?” It is filmed here, as well as the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War.” Imagine getting to haul movie sets to one of the studios filming here; you might earn a spot as a walk-on wily trucker!

Other one of a kind places to haul to in Atlanta include:

  • The world’s largest indoor aquarium at the Georgia Aquarium
  • The World of Coca-Cola Museum
  • The College Football Hall of Fame
  • The Carter Center and Presidential Library
  • The Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Zoo Atlanta
  • Sports venues including the Phillips Arena, Turner Field and the Georgia Dome, home to the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons respectively

Getting a chance to haul sea life to the Georgia Aquarium, or new stadium seats to an Atlanta venue, is part of the thrill of being a truck driver in Atlanta. By choosing trucking jobs in Atlanta you are working around some of the one of a kind, and truly southern, businesses available. Whether you choose to work for a trucking company in Atlanta, or you are a self-made owner operator, you never know what types of items you’ll get to haul with your next load. Everyone from flatbed haulers to auto haulers find work in Atlanta. Best of all, when you are off the road for a few days, there is plenty of excitement happening in Hotlanta. From nationally recognized sports teams to cultural experiences you have a wide range of options to help you wind down from a busy work week making the big bucks with truck driving jobs in Atlanta, GA.

Increase Your Trucking Salary with Extra Credit Courses

trucking-salary-increase-sign

It’s that time of year again, school’s back in session across the US! Whether you are looking into truck driving schools or are a veteran of the road, there is always something to learn as a truck driver. Once you’ve gotten into the routine of being a trucker you may think it’s smooth sailing from there. You have finally earned your CDL, you have a trucking job that’s paying the bills, and your truck driving career is moving along. It’s easy to get comfortable taking the same loads, driving the same routes and working for the same clients. At the same time you need to consider breaking out of your comfort zone. Just as with any profession, you can increase your trucking job options by increasing your knowledge. While time behind the wheel gives you a substantial boost to finding the best paying trucking jobs, it isn’t the only way you can earn more money as a trucker.

Online Schooling for Truckers

Thanks to the popularity and availability of free classes online from reputable instructors and universities, you can learn practically anything from a knowledgeable source. While you may not be interested in learning Mandarin Chinese or world history, there are some courses available for truckers online that are free, convenient and applicable. By offering online access you can read the course information, watch lecture videos and join online discussions from truck stops or your sleeper with your laptop, smartphone or tablet. All you need is Wi-Fi or cellular data.

What to Expect with Online Courses

This type of online schooling works like this:

  • You register ahead of the set start date via the Internet, or you begin on your own schedule if the course is self-guided.
  • The course materials become available on a set date or when you enroll.
  • You have a set number of weeks or months in which to complete the course.
  • During a course, you typically have weekly video lectures ranging in length from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Usually you are given quizzes weekly, along with assignments that are completed on your own and submitted online, if at all.
  • The course is designed with an online forum where you discuss lectures, assignments and related topics with the instructor and other students also taking the course.
  • At the end of the course you complete a final exam by a pre-set date and time.
  • If you achieve a satisfactory final exam score you can receive a certificate of achievement that can be added to your resume.

Note that while the courses themselves are most often free to use, if you want a certificate of achievement from the enrolling school or institution this typically costs money. Many truckers will be satisfied in simply learning the information for their personal and professional use. Being confident and experienced as a trucker can help you strive for higher paying load opportunities, such as with oversized loads and tanker loads, which are equally more stressful for truckers.

Getting Certified with Online Classes

In order to include the certification on your job resume, in a way that can be verified by your future trucking company employer, then you will want to pay for the certification option. Of course, if you do not pass the final exam you won’t be able to get certification even if you do pay, which is motivation to do well in the course. Having these extra certifications can help fill the gaps in your resume when applying to jobs at trucking companies. For example, if you have spent the last 15 years driving flatbed trailers for a regional trucking outfit, and now you are interested in going OTR with trucking jobs in Seattle to Atlanta, then you’ll want to do what you can to show your diverse abilities. Having online coursework completed related to logistics, manufacturing, transportation or geography can benefit you by showing that you have the drive to learn and work on the national scene.

Where to Go for Online Courses

Also referred to as MOOCs, massive online open courses, are available from all types of schools. Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley are some of the big name universities offering online courses. However, individuals who feel they are capable of instructing others on topics can also set up online courses. Clearly these MOOCs are not created equal. In order to ensure you are getting true and reliable instruction, check out these websites offering MOOCs:

  • Coursera
  • iTunesU
  • MIT Open Courses
  • Harvard Extension School
  • Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative
  • Stanford Lagunita
  • Udemy
  • Udacity
  • TeamTreehouse
  • EdX
  • The Canvas Network

Most of the courses offered on these sites come from colleges, universities and technical schools. However, some sites offer the ability for any individual to set up and lead an online course. For example, you or your truck driver team partner could set up a class where you offer an online course for study tips for individuals attending truck driving schools. The key here is to look at the instructor, the syllabus and the student reviews of all courses you take online. This will help you save your time and make the most of your online studies.

Online Courses Geared at Truckers

If you are interested in increasing your marketability as a trucker, then look for classes that will directly benefit you. You’ll need to think outside of the box for this, as MOOCs are information-based, rather than geared at hands-on learning. For example, here are some of the courses you can find through online learning portals:

  • Remove Fear Of Driving Using NLP And Self Hypnosis Techniques And Feel More Confident Behind The Wheel at Udemy
  • The Winter Driver at CourseTalk
  • Introduction to Operations Management via Wharton Business School at Coursera
  • Career Success via the University of California, Irvine at Coursera
  • A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment via Indian School of Business at Coursera
  • Leadership in 21st Century Organizations via the Copenhagen Business School at Coursera
  • Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills via the University of Michigan at Coursera
  • Managing Your Money: MBA Insights for Undergraduates via the University of CA, Irvine at Coursera
  • Enhance Your Career and Employability Skills via the University of London at Coursera

You can pick up all varieties of classes ranging from personal development to business and finance topics. In doing so you increase your confidence and improve your cognitive abilities. What does this mean for your paycheck? You will increase your job skills and boost your leverage when it comes to requesting increased pay rates, better trucking benefits, and more specialized trucking loads.

Truck Driving Training Courses

Another online platform you can pick up that will make your resume shine is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Driver Safety Education Center. Learn about the following topics from the FMCSA itself, as a way to bolster your resume and truck driver training:

  • Unsafe driving
  • Crash indicator
  • Hours-of-service compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Controlled substances/alcohol
  • Hazardous materials compliance
  • Driver fitness

Whether you are interested in picking up new skills, such as hazardous materials compliance, or you want to make sure you are up to date with HOS, the FMCSA resource is highly prized. It is the most updated reference you will find anywhere, ensuring that the information provided through this online trucker training is on the mark. For individuals interested in learning how to get a CDL, these courses are perfect for an introduction to the types of information provided at truck driving schools. You can also use these courses as a way to help you study and prepare for taking the CDL exam or endorsement exam for hazardous materials certification.

Getting Hired by Trucking Companies

When you go to apply for a job at trucking companies, such as Averitt Express, Schneider Trucking or CR England, you want to stand out from the rest of the job applicants. Online coursework can make you look more like a professional. Having certifications from courses, whether online or off, shows that you are interested in learning, growth and your job. It also notes that you are not working for a paycheck, but are interested in committing to a job that will give you a better life. Trucking companies want to hire drivers whom are serious about their jobs. By continuing to learn and increase your skills while working on the road, you show your dedication to improving your job status. This translates into a desire to work hard, while striving for success. This can also mean the difference between getting hired as a rookie with drive to a seasoned veteran whom shows little desire for improvement.

Improving Your Trucking Job with Online Coursework

Whether you are a rookie driver searching for truck driving jobs in Los Angeles, or you are a seasoned trucker hunting jobs in Chicago, it’s never a bad time to improve your prospects. Taking free online courses is a spot-on solution for truckers who have busy schedules and over the road routes. You stand to improve your job status by when getting hired by trucking companies, as well as making your job more satisfying by learning on the go.