Preparing to Be an Over the Road Trucker
Over the road, hauling sounds exciting and adventurous, and it can be, however, there is a lot of details one must learn about before taking it on as a career. You learn the highways of many states and see the climates and environments of many places. Most likely you will find most of it quite pleasing and surprisingly you will find many friends in many places if you are truly open to the experience.
Life on the road can be hard but a few simple things can make it easier. Of course, you must obtain your trucking license and decide whether you will become a company man or an independent contractor. It may seem you have more freedom to set your schedule as an independent contractor, but you may find that finding and contracting the jobs takes up some time and your schedule may be determined not by your desires but by the availability of contracts. Self-employment is a world unto itself and requires a commitment to extra duties not all truckers enjoy.
You can make being an independent contractor easier for yourself with a few considerations. The first of these is buying a dependable truck. There are many Freightliner trucks for sale in most any state and you may want to check a few out before making a commitment. Purchasing from a reputable dealer is the best route especially if you are new to the game. Hopefully, you can find a dealer that will offer a limited warranty and has the service department to back it up. If you are a first-time buyer, you may want to find a dealer with in-house financing to make it all a one-stop shopping experience.
Trucking paperwork is another story and if you elect to be independent it means you will be responsible for reporting all income and expenses to IRS which requires accurate recording keeping. Of course, there is required record-keeping for employees of a trucking firm as well, but independent contractors are solely responsible for their taxes and reports to the government. The goal is to earn substantially more as an independent making all the paperwork worth the trouble. Unless you have in-depth experience with bookkeeping and are a good money manager it is a good idea to hire an accountant to set up your bookkeeping system and to check in with them every three months or so to be sure you are on track. Otherwise, you may be unpleasantly surprised by a huge tax bill at the end of the year and not be prepared.
As to the actual experience of driving a big rig, you may find that while you see a lot of the country you don’t get to experience the sights and sounds as closely as you might like. Often you will be flying by at seventy miles per hour when you wish you could stop and smell the roses. You will find that with cell phones and CB radios you can communicate with the friends you meet and loved ones often.