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Are truck Drivers In Demand? Options For Those Who Stick It Out

There’s no better time like to present to get started as a professional truck driver. With online sales going through the roof and driver shortages there’s a lot of opportunity, but it may not be for everyone. 

A career as a truck driver can be very rewarding, especially considering today’s climate. Not only is it a high demand profession that provides regular pay, but many companies provide a competitive business package including health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and even education reimbursement.

Are Truck Drivers in Demand?

Yes. With increase in online sales, hazardous materials transportation on the rise, motor carriers are always looking to keep safe drivers and reduce their driver turnover rate. There is a projected growth of two percent plus over the next several years.

This short introduction to the truck driving industry helps you understand what a vital role truck drivers play in supplying the country with much-needed supplies. It provides insight into the type of salary you can expect to command from companies looking for drivers, the challenges you’ll face, and the benefits of your newly chosen profession. By the time you’re done reading the guide, you’ll have a basis of understanding about being a truck driver that you didn’t have before.

Why are truck drivers in demand?

Driving a truck is no easy task, which you’ll soon learn while training for the profession. It requires skills and training that most people don’t have currently. The hours can be long, and the job is extremely physical.

A truck driver’s life can be stressful and lonely, especially if they have a family to support. Being away from home for long durations of time can take its toll on drivers. They may not be able to take their spouse or children with them while working, which can be hard emotionally.

It takes a particular type of person to want to drive trucks long-term. Trucking companies look for the best-qualified candidates because they don’t want to lose money recovering from turnover due to employee absenteeism. Training truck drivers that don’t stay with a company for years can be very costly.

Without a fleet of drivers available, trucking companies cannot fulfill contracts and remain in business. That is why trucking jobs are among the highest-paid positions. That and the danger level are more significant because of the truck’s weight with freight, and the length of distance traveled.

semi truck on mountain road

The Pandemic was a game changer

During pandemic conditions, the need for vital supplies such as PPE has grown significantly. Having regular deliveries to replenish empty shelves is imperative for retailers across the nation that depend on the items to drive sales. Without truck drivers, the country would be hurting for the things they need most to keep their households and businesses running without interruption.

With deliveries increasing on a national level, companies need at least twice the workforce they had in the past. Being able to send one driver out and another behind them to replace sold goods is vital. Considering that the amount of time a truck driver can spend driving to a destination can be thousands of miles, it only makes sense to have additional drivers that deliver while they’re returning to the warehouse or supplier they work for currently.

Will driving a truck provide you with an excellent salary?

Yes, it will, especially now that there is a shortage of drivers. According to Business Insider, companies are spending 30 percent more this year to move goods by truck. The need for frequent deliveries has increased as consumer demand for products grows.

Thanks to the surge in online sales and a desire to stockpile household goods such as toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant, retail sales continue to soar. A desperate fight against COVID-19 has communities fighting to keep their stores stocked so that everyone has a chance to stay healthy and safe.

The trucking industry took massive hits last year and at the start of the pandemic, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and declaring bankruptcy. Now, however, the companies that could survive are scrambling to replace the employees they lost. They’re willing to pay significantly more to secure drivers because the retailers they deliver to are paying more to replenish their inventory.

Benefits packages have become more robust, too, as companies compete to hire drivers to fulfill their orders. If you’re looking for a trucking industry job, pay close attention to what a company offers you. There is often room for negotiation, especially if you have several prospective employers wanting to work with you. Plus depending on your situation you could get some tax deductions depending on your situation.

Full-time and part-time positions exist to give drivers a break from driving all the time. If you find that you want to work a few hours a week trucking, there may be a company willing to hire you. Responding to ads for part-time truck drivers could be lucrative indeed.

What are the challenges that truck drivers face?

There are many challenges facing truck drivers today. As frontline workers, they’re exposed to other people often. They cannot shelter-at-home because of the essential nature of the job they work in.

In addition to the heightened risk of coronavirus exposure, they also may find it difficult to maintain good health due to the hours worked. Instead of eating healthier foods, they may come to rely on fast foods and convenience foods. If you drive a truck long enough, you may also find exercising difficult because of the amount of time you spend transporting goods from one location to another.

Being away from your family for a long time can be very lonesome. You may find it challenging to get holidays and special occasions off, too. During busy retail seasons, you may go weeks without being at home because of the number of deliveries you’ll need to make.

With all the time away from your family, a cell phone is going to be the best way to stay in touch and have some semblance of trying to make the road feel like home. You’ll want to make sure you don’t run afoul of DOT’s hands free rules and use a bluetooth headset for those long hours chatting.

truck driving on mountain highway

Other Challenges that can make it hard

Staying awake during long drives in the dark can also be difficult. Being able to maintain a sleep schedule that allows you to remain alert while you drive is imperative. You may rest in the cab of your truck or at a hotel, whichever is the most convenient for you.

Keeping healthy when there is nothing but fast-food restaurants and truck stops to choose from can be hard. Learning which foods help you feel your best helps tremendously. Finding a way to get exercise while driving is essential to good health, too.

Another challenge involves reimbursement for expenses such as gas and mileage. It involves keeping accurate records at all times of each trip you take. If you’re not good at recording the information, you may lose out on the money that your company is willing to pay to you for expenses.

There’s also regulatory challenges. Truck drivers have a large amount of DOT rules and roadside inspection that truck drivers must be familiar with as they perform their jobs. Hours of Service rules, DOT placarding requirements (if you haul hazmat) are not even the tip of the iceberg. 

Is there still a truck driver shortage?

The United States bureau of labor statistics job outlook and Canada continue to face a truck driver shortage. The projection is for around 2 percent growth in the industry starting in 2019 and into the 2020’s. Regulations are stringent and limit the amount of time that drivers can be on the road. Many truck driving companies lost workers due to the low wages paid and their drivers’ unpaid work.

Before COVID-19 changed consumer behavior, the trucking industry suffered many blows. Finding reliable and safe drivers to man trucks was nearly impossible. Even the companies that could found that a lack of deliveries caused them to lay their employees off in record numbers.

Now that online sales are booming, the need for drivers is higher than ever. Considering how many packages travel from warehouses to delivery companies every day, it only makes sense that trucking companies beef up their staffing to make sure that they can answer the demand for their services. Advertising truck driving jobs at the height of the coronavirus proves to be challenging but is the best option to find new drivers ready to take on the challenge of truck driving.

Truck driving is an industry with high turnover. You can expect to see shortages continuously throughout the year. However, what that means for you as a truck driver is that you’ll have your choice of jobs.

There is no better time than today to start a career as a truck driver. With companies needing dependable drivers, you can negotiate the type of wages and benefits package that takes outstanding care of you and your family. You may even be able to train for free because some companies take care of the cost of training for you, leaving you with more money in your bank account to work with today.

A Final Note

Now more than ever, truck drivers are in demand. With stores experiencing shortages of vital supplies and households placing more online orders, a truck driver’s role is among the most important in the supply chain. Companies recognize the value of the skilled professionals and are willing to pay more to secure them as employees.

If you’re looking for a career that lets you travel frequently and provides you with the benefits you need to remain healthy mentally and physically, becoming a truck driver can be highly beneficial. Although the job requires strength and fortitude, it also provides excellent job security, especially during pandemic conditions. Being allowed to receive paid training when unemployment rates are at an all-time high is valuable.

Getting to know the different companies you can drive trucks for and what they have to offer you is highly beneficial. It allows you to make an informed decision about the employer that you choose to work for currently because you’ve now answered the question of “Are truck drivers in demand?”. You’re aware of the benefits the company offers and the steps that it takes to protect you from illness and harm.

Truck driving isn’t for everyone, but for the people who are interested in the career, there is no better time than the present to train for a truck driving position.

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