Become a Truck Driver: Advantages, Disadvantages and How Not to Waste Time and Money

Become a Truck Driver: Advantages, Disadvantages and How Not to Waste Time and Money

Hello, this is Vicki Simons with

There is a huge difference between being academically qualified to drive a truck and being able to survive the lifestyle that trucking demands.

Clearly, you want to make sure you’re cut out to be a trucker before spending the time and money to become one.

The reasons why someone would want to become a truck driver must be balanced with what the job requires, both personally and professionally.

Most of the following advantages and disadvantages of being a truck driver that we cover apply to someone who drives a Class 8 truck regionally or long haul in the USA. Being a long haul professional truck driver is different from many occupations. It’s what we refer to as a “lifestyle occupation.”

These are some advantages of being a professional truck driver:
• relative job stability, because 67 percent of total U.S. freight tonnage was hauled by truck in 2011(1);
• good pay, most often calculated on a per-mile basis, paid on the number of loads you haul, often with annual increases (but capped by the Hours of Service allowed by federal law and other factors);
• opportunity to see the area of the country where you drive (with the exception of places where commercial vehicles are forbidden);
• good employee benefits, which may be provided by a motor carrier after a driver has been with the company for a pre-determined probationary period;
• opportunity to earn bonuses, which may include a safety bonus, fuel bonus or other rewards for longevity of service; and
• a sense of satisfaction that you are providing a valuable service to shippers, consignees and customers.

To the person used to working a standard 40-hour work week and being home every night, the following can be looked upon as disadvantages of being a professional truck driver:

• working up to 70 “hours of service” each week;
• spending days — and sometimes weeks — away from home (including being away from family and having to deal with health and wellness issues on the road);
• living, working, and sleeping in your truck;
• showering in places away from home;
• cooking and eating food in your truck (for those who do it); and
• making your truck your home-away-from-home.

My husband Mike and I have two examples of people who should never have pursued a career in trucking:
• The first person was someone in a previous class at our truck driver training school who was rumored to have tried to pass his CDL road test over 20 times. Clearly, he did not have what it took to even get past the schooling part of his career. He wasted thousands of dollars and a lot of time trying.
• The second person was someone who was training under the “last chance” trainer, who traveled with my trainer for the first trucking company we worked for. Not only did this trucking trainee not like to get his hands dirty, but he was married with a young child at home and didn’t want to be away from home for the periods of time required by the company. He, too, wasted a lot of time and money pursuing a career that wasn’t meant to be.

Here’s a way to prevent spending your time and money in becoming a truck driver if you’re not cut out for the occupation.

If you can travel with another trucker for a little while to see what the occupation and lifestyle are like, you’ll be better informed. If you don’t know a trucker, see if you can strike up friendships with drivers at a truck stop near you.

You have big choices regarding not only your truck driver training school but also the trucking company where you go to work.

If at all possible, fund your own way through truck driving school so that your CDL is not dependent on the company who holds your livelihood in its hands.

When you’re deciding on a trucking company, arm yourself with questions to ask trucking company recruiters to cut through the fluff.

Don’t be among the newbie truck drivers who are exploited by unscrupulous trucking companies.

For more information about becoming a professional truck driver, visit
and specifically the sections on our site on
• Becoming a Truck Driver,
• Truck Driver Training Schools and
• Truck Driving Jobs.

If you decide to become a truck driver, Mike and I wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.