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How do I get Started in the Trucking Business?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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The trucking industry offers many opportunities for entry-level workers to start earning a reasonable salary quickly. As imported and exported goods become more common, the trucking business continues to thrive and demand more drivers and trucking companies. There are several different ways to get started in the trucking business.

Regardless of whether you want to drive for a company, work as an independent trucker, or start your own trucking company, obtaining a Commercial Driving License (CDL) is usually the first step to getting started in the trucking business. In order to obtain a CDL, drivers will need to pass a driving and written exam and should have a fairly clean driving record. Training courses are offered in order to prepare drivers for CDL testing and help to validate driver credentials when seeking employment.

Driver training courses teach drivers to maneuver large vehicles in highway traffic and in areas crowded with pedestrian traffic. Training also teaches drivers basic operating procedures, traffic laws, and freight compliance regulations. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required to enroll in a driver training school.

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Once you have obtained a CDL, you may begin seeking entry-level employment in the trucking business. Employment may be sought out at various trucking companies that hire starting drivers. Working for a company allows you to get started in the trucking business without starting capital; trucking companies typically provide their drivers with trucks and pay upfront for fuel expenses. Companies also tend to provide insurance and paid time off, but earnings from working for a company tend to be considerably less than the earnings of independent drivers.

For some drivers, a better way to get started in the trucking business is to begin as an independent driver. Independent drivers earn more money and have more schedule flexibility. Getting started as an independent trucker can be costly, since you will need to supply your own truck and cover any initial fuel costs. Independent drivers will also need a business license, an insurance policy, and various permits and registrations, depending on the area that the business will be registered. Working independently requires that you contract your services either directly to the client or to another trucking company.

If you are considering starting a trucking company, it may be more profitable in the long term for you to hire drivers and provide them with the trucks. As the company owner, you will need to be prepared to cover costs for maintaining and repairing the trucks, paying employee salaries and fuel costs, as well as vehicle insurance. It is also useful to own or have access to a tow truck that can provide nationwide roadside assistance for drivers that travel long distances. Before attempting to start your own trucking company, it is advisable that you have some knowledge of the business and established client contacts.

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