With truck drivers in high demand, the time has never been better to become a truck driver or hone your skills to make more money. If you've been on the road for a few years, you may think that you're making as much money as you can. However, there are ways for truck drivers of all experience and skill levels to make more money and find higher-paying trucking jobs.
Maintain a Clean Driving Record
Speeding tickets in a commercial motor vehicles or other types of moving violations will add points to your record. In order to apply for the highest paying truck driving jobs, you need to have a clean driving record. Focusing on driving safely and efficiently are critical so you can maintain a good driving record. Trucking companies that offer the best pay have their choice of professional drivers and they are looking for ones with clean driving records who have a history of completing their runs on time.
If you work as part of a team, you want to make sure that you're working with a driver who also maintains a clean driving record and adheres to all driving rules. You want to make it a habit to arrive at your destination on time or even a little early.
When you go to apply for a new position, you and your team driver need to be able to show your safety record and your history of meeting deadlines for your delivery.
You might consider running your own driving record to ensure that there isn't anything on it that you aren't aware of. You don't want any nasty surprises if you apply for another position. Also, you might want to keep a list of any missed deadlines and the reasons for it, so you know how to answer any questions about missing scheduled delivery times in an interview.
Consistently Look for New Opportunities
The jobs available for truck drivers today aren't the same jobs that are going to be available next week. When you're looking to make more money, you need to be checking for new trucking job opportunities each day. You should be checking reputable jobs board websites, such as CDLjobs.com, every day to see the newly open positions.
You can start by identifying trucking companies that seem to pay the best and look at those companies' job openings first. After checking with the highest paying companies that you've identified before, you should check out job listings from companies you haven't seen before to see how their pay scale works.
Talking to other truck drivers is also a good way to find quality job opportunities. Another driver might be able to help you with the names of companies that pay well or ones that say they pay well but don't live up to their promises. You can then use that information to pursue their open job listings and compare the pay to the amount you're currently making.
Of course, it isn't all about pay. You might be able to make more money by joining a company that guarantees you a dedicated route with more miles. You can find companies that offer dedicated routes and increase your income by applying to for those types of driving positions.
Get Additional Endorsements
While you're used to driving from here to there with your cargo, you might be able to make more money driving different types of cargo from here to there. Endorsements on your CDL can help you find better-paying jobs. The additional endorsements that you can add to your CDL include:
- (P) Passenger Transport Endorsement
- (S) School Bus/Passenger Transport Combo Endorsement
- (T) Double/Triples Endorsement
- (N) Tank Vehicle Endorsement (Tanker)
- (H) Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HAZMAT)
- (X) Tanker/HAZMAT Combo Endorsement
Unless you want to drive a school bus or work for a bus company or limo business, you probably aren't interested in the first two endorsements. However, the other four endorsements can help improve your viability as a candidate for a higher paying job and open up a host of additional jobs with a better pay scale.
To earn these endorsements, you may need to take a class or participate via some other online learning module, and then take a test to add the endorsement to your CDL. While some of these endorsements can be expensive, you need to consider it an investment in your career.
In fact, you may find that some companies won't hire you without a specific endorsement on your license even if the position itself doesn't require the endorsement. The company wants to know that it can use your driving skills on a variety of routes and trucks.
Consider Becoming an Owner-Operator or Over-The-Road Truck Driver
If you're only driving trucks in your local area or region, you might be able to make more money as an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver. These jobs tend to pay more because you're out on the road for several weeks at a time. You may find as an OTR that you get runs and routes that provide you with more miles per day, which means that you earn more money per week, month, and year.
Another possibility for making more money is to become an owner-operator. There are companies out there who will lease a truck to you and provide you with jobs and runs to cover the costs of the truck. Also, some companies will lease you a truck and allow you to find your own runs and jobs. These runs can provide you with even more net profit; however, when you lease a truck, keep in mind you are now running a business and are responsible for fuel charges, insurance, and other expenses.
There are many opportunities out there for experienced drivers with a clean record to increase their earning potential if you’re willing to put in the work to find them.