types of truck drivers

 

The saying “everything gets moved on a truck” isn’t much of an exaggeration. Dry goods, farm animals, propane, ready-mix concrete, and just about anything else you can think of gets loaded onto a truck trailer at one point or another.  

Over time, people have figured out the best way to haul these different kinds of freight, and there are now specializations for each one. Each of these specializations have different CDL requirements and afford different home time for the driver. Here are the 13 main types of truck driver hauls along with the CDL needed for each one. 

The 3 Types of CDL

types of truck drivers

 

Before you get any type of trucking job, you’ll first need a CDL. Here are the three classes of CDL and what you can drive with each.  

CDL A

This is your standard CDL that lets you drive a semi-truck with a trailer in tow. Here’s the official definition from the FMCSA of what CDL A holders can drive, 

“Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater. “

This means that anyone with a CDL A can drive a truck with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds and a trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds. CDL A drivers can drive any CMV, including class B and C vehicles, provided they have the appropriate endorsements.  

CDL B

A Class B CDL is a restricted license as you are not allowed to drive large tractors that tow 10,000 pounds or more. This eliminates the ability to drive your standard 53’ trailer. So, what can you drive with a CDL B? Think of dump trucks, delivery trucks, and city buses. Two huge benefits to CDL B jobs are that most positions will be local, and the age requirement is 18 since you won’t be moving freight between state lines.  

CDL C

A Class C is the most unique type of CDL and for good reason. Besides being able to drive a shuttle bus or limo, there’s very little someone can do with a CDL C without the necessary endorsements. Even with those endorsements, most drivers consider it better to just go ahead and get your CDL B or A instead.   

The 3 Types of Runs

 

OTR, local, and regional are the three main types of trucking runs you’ll encounter as a driver. Here are the differences between each one.  

OTR

OTR stands for “Over the Road”. OTR drivers go all across the country and are usually out for a few weeks at a time. This type of trucking is for someone who really loves the trucker life and doesn’t mind being away from home for long periods of time. Because of the nature of this work, OTR drivers, especially the more experienced ones, tend to make more than regional or local drivers. 

Local

As the name suggests, local drivers stay close to home and are usually off on the weekends. A few tradeoffs are that local drivers on average make less than regional or OTR drivers, and the work may be more physically demanding (think delivery and final mile jobs). But if you’re a driver with a family and are looking for steady pay and a set schedule, local jobs are hard to beat.  

Regional

Regional trucking is the midway point between OTR and local. Regional drivers will run routes across a specified region, usually a few states covering 1,000 miles. This means that regional drivers are home every few days. Just like with local jobs, there’s also a level of predictability with regional work, since you’ll likely have a set route you run.  

13 Types of Trucking Hauls

 

Auto Hauling  

Auto haulers are some of the most recognizable trucks on the road. As you could guess, auto haulers are responsible for transporting new and remarketed vehicles from manufacturing plants, ports, railheads and auctions to retail dealerships and auction sites. These jobs can be local, regional, or OTR and require a CDL A.  

Building Products  

Building products hauling is often a local position where drivers deliver roofing and other building products to customer’s homes and job sites.  

This type of work is for drivers who don’t mind splitting time between driving and doing manual labor like unloading and loading building products and working in the warehouse. The good news is that these positions are usually local and only require a CDL B.

Concert Trucking  

Concert truckers haul stage and lighting equipment, instruments, and anything else needed for concerts and shows. Drivers will go on tour with bands or acts for a few months at a time to support an entire tour or a leg of it.  

Concert trucking jobs pay very well, and you build a level of camaraderie with other drivers you’re on tour with, but they’re definitely not for someone who needs a lot of home time. 

Dry Van  

Dry Van trucking is what you think about when you hear “semi-truck”. Dry van truckers haul a 53’ trailer filled with pallets or loose cargo. “Dry Van” can also mean a straight truck or PUP trailers, though that’s not what we usually think of with Dry Van. These jobs are usually OTR or Regional and require a CDL A. 

Final Mile  

Final mile is any time that all-important last step of the logistics chain is completed, when the product goes from the warehouse to the customer’s front door. Final mile drivers can drive anything from a straight truck down to a sprinter van. This means that to drive for some carriers, you won’t even need a CDL, and at most will need a CDL B.   

The biggest benefits to final mile driving are the home time and consistent shifts, since these positions are typically local. The downside is that final mile driving is fast-paced, with a lot being expected of these drivers. 

Flatbed  

Flatbed drivers are some of the most in-demand drivers in the trucking industry today. Why? Flatbed driving is a highly skilled position that not every trucker can do. Many times, these drivers carry oversized loads and need to know how to secure them properly and how to drive very carefully to avoid mishaps or accidents.  

Because of this, flatbed jobs tend to pay better than most CDL jobs. These positions are typically reserved for CDL A drivers but can be local, regional, or OTR.  

Hazmat  

Hazmat drivers haul any type of hazardous materials from one place to another. A hazardous material is anything that could harm a person, animal, or the environment when it mixes with other things like air, fire, water, or other chemicals.  

Because of this, these drivers need to have a special endorsement before they can start hauling hazmat. Like flatbed driving, hazmat jobs are in-demand right now, so it’s a great time to get your endorsement. These jobs can be local, regional, or OTR and typically require a CDL A.  

Livestock  

Livestock hauling is defined as hauling any freight that’s alive. While we usually think of cows, pigs, and chickens, livestock hauling encompasses everything from horses to bees.  

With livestock hauling positions, there’s more to it than just the driving. Drivers must completely sanitize trailers after every load, or they could infect the livestock in their next load. All this extra work does pay off though. Livestock hauling is considered a specialty position, so drivers are well compensated for their work. Livestock hauling can be local, regional, or OTR and typically requires a CDL A.  

Ready Mix  

Ready mix drivers work with concrete and spend most of their days outside. The main job of a ready mix driver is to deliver concrete or cement to a job site. In most cases, drivers will be responsible for loading and unloading, so this is a labor-intensive job, but don’t let that scare you away. 

Ready mix jobs typically pay well. This is particularly true considering that many positions are local and only ask for a CDL B license. One drawback is that this line of work is highly seasonal and dependent on weather. 

Reefer  

Refrigerated (or reefer) drivers haul a specialized trailer that keeps cargo at a certain temperature, like frozen food, produce, and medicine. Reefer jobs can be CDL B, but typically require a CDL A. They can also be local, regional, or OTR.  

Tanker  

Tanker drivers haul gasses or liquids. These positions are seen as more dangerous and skilled than your average CDL position, so the pay reflects that. If you’re driving a tanker, there’s a good chance you’ll be hauling hazmat, so it’s a good idea to get your necessary endorsements before looking into this kind of work.  

Tanker drivers are needed for all sorts of runs, so as long as you have your CDL A and the necessary endorsements and experience, you’ll be able to find local, regional, and OTR work as a tanker driver.

Team Driving  

Team driving is when two drivers share a cab and driving duties. Some special types of hauling require team drivers, usually when cargo is time sensitive or very valuable. But team drivers are more common with owner operators. Many times, a husband-and-wife team will be partners on the road, each taking a share of the driving.  

The biggest advantage of team driving is that you’re able to cover much more ground than you would as a solo driver, since team drivers can switch off between driving and sleeping. Just make sure you get along with your co-pilot, otherwise team driving can be more of a headache than it’s worth. Most team driving positions will be for CDL A drivers running OTR or regional.  

Waste Management  

Waste Management truck driver jobs can be a great fit for new and experienced drivers alike. They’re also good for drivers who like to stay on the move throughout the day. One thing to keep in mind is that these jobs require a lot of physical labor. Waste management jobs are typically local and only require a CDL B. 

Interested in any of these positions? Drive My Way has hundreds of open CDL positions with industry leading carriers in many of these categories. Make a free, secure profile below and find your next CDL job.  

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6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

There are three options when getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL): the CDL A, the CDL B or the CDL C. Each class has its own training requirements and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to explore for each type. Your lifestyle and career plans dictate which license will be the best fit for you. The Class A CDL is the most widely obtained CDL, as it allows you to drive the most vehicles. On top of that, there are 6 types of additional endorsements you can get for it as well as 7 restrictions that can be placed on it.

The Basics of a Class A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Association defines CDL A trucks as, “Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater.”

6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

commuter bus passenger endorsement

Once you have your CDL A license, you can get additional endorsements to allow you drive more specialty vehicles. These endorsements require extra written and sometimes, skills testing to obtain the endorsements. As of February 2022, there are additional requirements for drivers looking to obtain their Hazmat, Passenger, or School Bus endorsement. You can find more information about this below.

1. (H) Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)

A HAZMAT endorsement opens the doors to hauling hazardous materials over the road. These jobs are often higher paying and there is usually a larger pool of jobs available. Once you have your CDL A, you can obtain a HAZMAT endorsement passing the required TSA background checks, written test, and medical exam by a DOT doctor. In many cases, having your HAZMAT license is a requirement for getting the X endorsement which will be described shortly.

2. (N) Tanker Vehicle

The tanker endorsement allows a driver to haul a tank or “tanker” full of liquid or gaseous materials. These jobs are often higher paying and usually are local or regional runs, so you’d have more home time than some other jobs. This endorsement does require an additional written test. A tanker truck driver needs to be able to adjust to having his cargo constantly moving around if the tank is not full. Dealing with the “surge” caused by the movement of the liquid in the tank while driving takes some practice and skill development.

3. (P) Passenger Transport

Passenger transport endorsement is pretty straightforward. It allows a licensed driver to drive a vehicle which carries more than 16 passengers, like a city commuter bus. This endorsement requires an added written and skills test to obtain. These jobs are great for people who want to drive a set schedule and be home every night, or for seeing the country driving for travel companies across country. One thing is certain, you will interact with passengers all day long, so this is not the job for someone who likes being alone. This endorsement is usually required to subsequently obtain the “S” endorsement to drive children in a school bus. Usually these two endorsements go hand-in-hand.

4. (S) School Bus/Passenger Transport

School bus endorsements are required to drive children in school busses. Like the “P” endorsement just discussed, this also requires an additional written and driving skills test. But for the “S” endorsement, there are also background checks, criminal history checks, physical fitness tests, and they usually require more frequent supplemental training and testing when the school bus rules change. And these drivers should have a little more patience and certainly must be able to tolerate driving boisterous children.

5. (T) Double/Triples

Double or triple trailers require their own endorsement. The “T” endorsement allows drivers to tow more than one trailer on the back of their truck. This endorsement requires an additional written test as well. The “T” endorsement is especially valuable, as it allows drivers to haul two or even three-times the amount of freight, while driving the same amount of time over the road as with a single trailer. These are often higher-paying trucking jobs, due to the added skills and driving ability the driver needs to have.

6. (X) Tanker and Hazardous Materials

Finally, the “X” endorsement allows a driver to haul large loads of any type of liquid or gaseous HAZMAT cargo inside of a tanker. Having this “X” endorsement even further separates these drivers and their skill sets. This endorsement requires an additional written test. If a driver has any plans to be in the gas and oil hauling business, an “X” endorsement will certainly be required.

Note About the H, P and S Endorsements

As of February 2022, the FMCSA has new updated guidelines for drivers looking to obtain their H, P and S endorsements. Here’s what the new rule states,

“FMCSA establishes new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. These individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). FMCSA will submit training certification information to State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs), who may only administer CDL skills tests to applicants for the Class A and B CDL, and/or the P or S endorsements, or knowledge test for the H endorsement, after verifying the certification information is present in the driver’s record.”

In layman’s terms, this means that any driver looking to obtain their H, P, or S endorsement will need to go to the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry and select a training provider in their area. They will then need to reach out to that provider and complete a training program for the CDL upgrade they want.

Once that program is completed, it’ll be noted in the driver’s file and they can then go to their state licensing bureau to take the written skills test and/or road test. Once that’s completed, they’ll be able to receive their endorsement.

Be sure to call your local licensing bureau for more information on what skills and/or road tests you’ll be required to take, as they may vary by state.

7 Types of Class A Restrictions

doubles triples endorsement

Just like obtaining CDL A endorsements lets you legally operate more CMVs, restrictions limit the ones you can operate. The good news is that these restrictions can be lifted once you meet the necessary requirements. Here are the 7 types of CDL A restrictions.

1. (L) Air Brakes Restriction

This restriction is pretty straightforward. If you didn’t pass the air brakes portion of your CDL test, you’ll get an “L” restriction. This means that you won’t be able to operate any semi-truck that uses air brakes, which could be a problem since the majority of trucks do. The good news is that you can take this test as many times as needed to get that “L” lifted.  

2. (Z) Air Brakes Restriction

Just like an “L” restriction, a “Z” prohibits you from driving a truck with air brakes. It just means that instead of failing this portion of the test in a vehicle with air brakes, you passed it in a vehicle with hydraulic brakes. It’s the same process to get this restriction lifted as well; just take the test again in a vehicle with air brakes.  

3. (E) Manual Transmission Restriction

This restriction is placed on a CDL if the driver passed their test but took it in a vehicle with automatic transmission. This isn’t an issue if your current employer uses automatic transmission trucks, but you may want to take your test again in a manual if you plan on moving to a different carrier in the future.  

4. (K) Interstate Travel Restriction

The “K” restriction means that you’re not allowed to travel to other states while driving a CMV. This restriction is placed on drivers who are under 21 as they’re not allowed to haul freight across state lines, although that could be changing soon.

5. (O) Fifth-Wheel Connection Restriction

If you take your CDL test in a vehicle that doesn’t use a fifth-wheel connection, and instead uses a pintle hook or some other type of connection, you’ll get an “O restriction. How do you get this reversed? You guessed it. Just retake the exam with a truck that has a fifth-wheel connection.  

6. (M) Class A Passenger Vehicle Restriction

The “M” restriction is one of those very unique (and confusing) restrictions that you probably won’t run into during your trucking career. It means that you have your CDL A and can drive all CDL A vehicles but took your “P” or “S” endorsement test in a CDL B vehicle. You can drive all CDL B passenger vehicles (typically buses) but can’t drive any very large bus that falls under the Class A weight limits. 

7. (V) Medical Variance Restriction

The “V” restriction is put on your CDL if you have a medical issue that would somehow impact your ability to drive. These variances could include vision impairment or high blood pressure. Unlike the other restrictions, a “V” doesn’t affect your ability to drive certain types of vehicles.  

When it comes to CDL A restrictions, the best advice is to take your CDL A test in the appropriate vehicle so you can avoid getting any of these restrictions placed on your CDL in the first place.

If you’ve just got a new CDL endorsement or restriction lifted and are looking for a new CDL job, let Drive My Way help you out. Make a free, secure profile below and get matched with your next CDL job.

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ltl truckingIn past blogs, we’ve discussed the differences between OTR, Regional, and Local jobs as well as different types of hauls. One thing we haven’t talked about is LTL trucking. Here are the facts around it, so you can decide for yourself if an LTL trucking position is the right move for you.  

What Does LTL Mean?

LTL means “less-than-truckload”. This is a type of shipping service for businesses that need to move small quantities of product that wouldn’t fill up an entire 53” trailer. This differs from traditional TL (truckload) shipping where one customer fills up the entire trailer and the cargo goes to one destination. 

Why do companies do less-than-truckload?

LTL shipping is a huge industry, with the market being worth a whopping $86 million.

Why? Think about it this way. Not every company needs to ship an entire truckload worth of products, but they still need to get what they have from point A to point B. From the carrier’s perspective, it’s not viable to fill up a truck a quarter of the way for one customer. What’s the solution? 

This is where LTL carriers come in. These specialized carriers fill up trucks with product from multiple customers, with each only paying for the portion of the trailer that they use. The logistics of an operation like this are more complicated, but if done right, it’s a great for both the carrier and customer. 

LTL services are not to be confused with parcel services. Parcel services will usually carry items that are less than 150 pounds, while LTL carriers handle shipments between 151 and 15,000 pounds, though these numbers can vary based on each carrier.  

What are the Benefits to LTL Trucking Jobs?

Most LTL trucking jobs are regional or local, which means more home time for drivers. In a time where being with friends and family is becoming more and more important to drivers, LTL jobs shouldn’t be overlooked.  

Many LTL companies also have dedicated customers, so there’s a good chance you’ll have consistency in your route and schedule. 

What are the Cons?

Since LTL trucking involves multiple customers sharing trailer space, it also means multiple drop offs. If you’re working in a big city or congested town, this could mean hours of waiting in traffic, or waiting at different receiver each day. One delay early in the day could mean missing all your other appointments and possibly losing money.  

This is why it’s good for drivers to either look for carriers that pay by the hour or offer generous detention pay. This way, you’re not losing money while waiting at a receiver.

How to Find an LTL Job?

A quick online search will show you companies hiring LTL drivers. But a lot of companies don’t advertise their jobs as “LTL trucking jobs” so you may not be getting a big picture of all the jobs in your area. You may have to look at the job description carefully or reach out to the recruiter or HR person that you’re talking to see if it’s LTL or TL (truckload).  

How Much do LTL Trucking Jobs Pay?

On average, LTL trucking jobs pay around $66,000 per year. This is less than what a traditional OTR driver makes, but on par with local and regional drivers. 

But, like all trucking jobs, the devil is in the details. Pay can be confusing, so make sure to read job descriptions carefully and ask the company representative any and all questions so you can have an accurate picture of what your pay will look like before signing on.  

Do You Need a CDL for LTL Trucking Jobs?

Yes. Since the majority of LTL truckers drive a standard 53” trailer, you’ll need your CDL A. LTL jobs aren’t to be confused with delivery positions that usually only require a CDL B.  

LTL trucking jobs have their pros and cons just like any position in trucking. It all comes down to your individual needs relating to pay, home time, and benefits. If you’re looking for an LTL position, Drive My Way has you covered. Create a free profile and join the thousands of drivers finding their next CDL job.  

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horse transportThis past May, 16 million people tuned in to watch one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. Rich Strike, a horse who the day before, wasn’t even slated to race, did the unthinkable and won the 148th annual Kentucky Derby in a miraculous come from behind victory. Moments like these are what make horse racing such an unpredictable and exciting sport.  

While we only see the end product on the track, there are countless people working behind the scenes to make these races possible, including the people who transport the horses from place to place. They’re called horse transport truck drivers, and they’re the engine that makes the horse racing industry go.  

What is a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

A horse transport truck driver is a driver who transports horses from place to place. This could be from training facility, to racetrack, farm, or anywhere else they need to go. These positions are typically either Regional or OTR due to the amount of distance between these places. 

How do you Become a Horse Transport Truck Driver?

You’ll of course need to have your CDL A before becoming a horse transport truck driver. Aside from that, you’ll also need to learn how to load, unload, and handle the challenges of transporting large animals like horses. Luckily, most carriers that specialize in this work will train you on that. 

What is Being a Horse Transport Truck Driver Like?

We were able to talk with Bill, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Sallee Horse Vans. Bill talked to us about what it’s like to be a horse transport truck driver and why he enjoys it. 

How long have you been a driver with Sallee?

“I’ve worked as a horse transport driver with Sallee for 5 years.”

What does your average day look like?

“I start by checking in with dispatch, getting the trailer ready (bedding down) for the number of horses we’re planning to load. Then I drive to the farm, racetrack, or training facility. Next, we load the horses and start the trip to our final destination.”

What made you choose working with Sallee over other OTR jobs?

 “I like working as a horse transport driver because it’s something different other than bumping a dock.”

What’s one thing a driver who’s thinking about working in transporting horses should know?

“There’s never a dull day in this job. The horses will challenge you daily, and you’ll always be learning something new about the job, the horses, and yourself.”

What do you enjoy the most about working with Sallee?

 “I really enjoy the people I work with at Sallee. It’s like one big family.”

Just like with any OTR position, horse transport drivers will need to be comfortable spending extended time on the road. It’s not unusual for drivers to be out on the road for over three weeks at a time, especially during peak racing season.  

Also, be prepared for a lot of east coast driving. Since the majority of horse racing takes place in the eastern half of the country, that’s where horse transport truckers do the majority of their driving.  

How Much Do Horse Transport Truck Drivers Make?

Since horse transporting is a specialization in the trucking industry, these drivers tend to make more than your traditional OTR driver. The exact numbers depend on which company you drive for but can reach more than $100,000 annually. 

Why do horse transport drivers get paid so much? There are literally millions of dollars on the line when they get behind the wheel. This isn’t cattle or sheep you’ll be hauling. They’re thoroughbred race horses. 

This is also why horse transporting is usually a team driver job. Since the cargo is so valuable, it’s seen as a worthy investment to have an extra driver in the cab in case something goes wrong on the road or there’s an issue with one of the horses.  

Another reason these jobs are done in teams is to beat tight deadlines. The FMCSA states that one truck driver can driver for a maximum of 11 hours before needing a ten-hour break. Driving in teams means that while one driver sleeps and gets their 10 hours in, the other can drive their 11. Aside from stopping for gas and other necessities, team drivers (in theory) never need to stop.  

Horse transport jobs pay well, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s for drivers who enjoy working with animals and love being out on the road more often than they’re at home. If you check both of those boxes, then you might have a future as a horse transport driver.  

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drop and hookWaiting. It’s one of the biggest frustrations for truck drivers. Every day, drivers lose hours off the clock and money out of their pockets when they’re forced to wait at a shipper or receiver for hours (sometimes days) for a live load. 

While some carriers make up for this by offering detention pay for their drivers, many don’t. This is why many drivers see drop and hooks as the answer to these problems. The question is, are drop and hooks really that much better than live loads? 

What is Drop and Hook?

A drop and hook is when a driver “drops” their trailer at the customer’s yard and gets a new one before driving off.  

Drivers will get an appointment time for these drop offs, meaning they won’t have to wait for any loading or unloading of the trailer like they would with a live load. Aside from taking less time, drop and hooks are no touch, which is always a bonus for drivers.  

What is Live Load?

Live load, sometimes known as “dock bumping” is when a driver backs their trailer up to the warehouse doors and then waits while the workers or jockeys to unload the truck. If a backhaul is scheduled, then the driver will have to wait for the trailer to be loaded back up as well. Just like with drop and hooks, drivers are given windows for when to be at the customer’s facility. 

On average, a live load takes around two hours. It can of course take more or less time depending on how many warehouse workers are on duty, what the cargo is, and how busy the yard is.  

Which is More Common?

drop and hookThis all depends on what you’re running. In general, there will be more live loads in reefer and flatbed hauling than there will be for dry van. This rule is fast and loose, so don’t bank on always having a drop and hook if you’re running dry van. 

Drop and hooks are usually utilized by larger carriers that have a lot of trailers. If you’re running for a smaller carrier, you’ll probably be looking at a lot of live loads. Space is another constraint for drop and hooks, since a lot of facilities simply don’t have the room for trailers to be sitting around waiting to be picked up. 

What are the Pros and Cons?

drop and hookMost drivers will agree that in general, drop and hooks are quicker and therefore better than live loads. This isn’t always the case though. As any experienced driver will tell you, there are a number of things that can go wrong with a shipper or receiver, resulting in you waiting well past your appointment time to get a new trailer. As a driver, these situations are extremely frustrating, since there’s not much you can control aside from getting to your appointment on time. 

Although most drivers prefer drop and hooks, live loads have some benefits as well. One is that you won’t run the risk of getting a worn-down trailer. If you’re doing a lot of drop and hooks, you’ll eventually get saddled with a less than ideal trailer. While not likely, these trailers could have electrical problems like faulty brake lights or tires that lose air. Dealing with these problems will add more time to your trip that could have been saved if you kept your old trailer.  

Drop and hooks also take a bit more skill than your traditional dock bumping. Drivers need to carefully line up their fifth wheel plate with the trailer’s kingpin. This isn’t an expert level maneuver or anything, but it’s something that you wouldn’t have to worry about with a live load.  

There’s also the issue of an overweight trailer. Some shippers may not do their due diligence in making sure a trailer is under the 34,000 tandem axel weight limit. You’ll only realize this when you hit your first weigh station. You’ll then have to go back to the shipper and start the whole process over again, which could add hours onto your trip.  

Which One’s Better?

The logistics chain is a long and messy one. There are hundreds of moving parts that go into getting a product from point A to point B. Any one of those moving parts could go wrong, with the truck driver being the one left waiting for the issue to be resolved, drop and hook or not. 

That being said, with a live load, you’re almost guaranteed to be waiting at least some amount of time. If everything goes right with a drop and hook, you should be leaving your customer’s facility with a new trailer in no time.  

If you’re a truck driver looking for a job with drop and hooks? Drive My Way has you covered. 

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dry van truckingDry Van hauling is without a doubt the most recognizable and common form of trucking. Just about every OTR or Regional trucker has driven dry van at some point in their career. Why? Almost everything gets transported on dry vans. If it’s not alive, won’t spoil, and isn’t oversized, there’s a good chance it’ll be on a dry van. Here are the need-to-know facts about dry van trucking.  

What is a Dry Van?

A Dry Van is a trailer that’s completely enclosed on all sides. They carry packaged goods and beverages, electronics, building materials, raw materials, and more.  

Are There Different Types?

Standard 53”

When we think of a dry van trailer, this is what probably comes to mind. These trailers are usually 53 feet long, though they can be as short as 48. They’re used to transport either pallets or loose cargo. Pallets are more common since it’s the most time and space efficient way to transport goods.  

Pup Trailers

Pup trailers are smaller trailers, usually between 26 and 28 feet that can be attached in doubles or triples. Pups are used to haul multiple smaller loads that need to be dropped in different locations or cargo that needs to be separated from each other.  

Pups are great for maneuvering through tight spaces like city streets. Though this gets more difficult when you’re hauling more than one pup. One thing to remember about pups is that they’re difficult to backup and something only experienced drivers should attempt. The easier (but more time consuming) way is to break them down and back up each pup individually.  

There are also pup trailers that can be pulled by dump trucks. These trailers have a similar design to the dump body and are used to save time by carrying two loads at once.  

Straight Trucks

Straight trucks, though not what we typically think of when we hear “dry van”, fall under that category as well. With straight trucks, the trailer and cab are one. These trucks are common in local hauling and delivery services. Since straight trucks weigh less than 26,000 pounds, only a CDL B is required to drive them.

What Do You Need to Drive Dry Van?

You’ll need your CDL A to drive a dry van trailer. The one exception mentioned above is straight trucks, which only require a CDL B to operate. If you plan on hauling pup trailers, you’ll need your doubles and triples endorsement as well.  

Where Do You Find Dry Van Jobs?

Dry van trucking is the most common form of trucking, so there are a lot of jobs out there. Most are OTR and Regional, but there are local dry van jobs as well for drivers who need to be home every night. 

Looking for a dry van job? Drive My Way has hundreds of open positions with carriers looking to hire. Create a free profile below and find your perfect job today. 

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Tax season is right around the corner. It may not be your favorite time of the year, but we want to help make it as painless as possible. Truck driver tax deductions are a great way to save money on taxes. There are three golden rules of filing taxes. 

  1. Find your Form      

  2. Save Money with Truck Driver Tax Deductions

  3. File before April 15

The money you spend for work on the road might increase the money you get back from taxes. So, keep a careful record of any costs you have that are job related. Staying organized might bring you a big payoff in your taxes. Remember, if you have any questions or doubts, ask a professional.

The Trucker’s Report made this list of trusted sources who know trucking. Many tax companies offer a first free conversation that can clear up your concerns. You can also use services like Turbotax or H&R Block to make filing easier. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Find your Form

If you are a company driver, you can no longer claim work-related deductions on your taxes. This is thanks to changes to the tax code made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a few years ago.

If you are an owner operator, the easiest way to report your income is with a 1099 form. The 1099 form is used to report miscellaneous earned income. If you made the leap to become an owner operator, it’s important to stay very organized. This form allows you to carefully itemize the costs of your work and deduct them from your taxes. That’s money back in your wallet!

Step 2: Save Money with Truck Driver Tax Deductions

This is the good stuff. Claiming work-related tax deductions is important. It reduces your adjusted gross income, and that means you pay less in taxes. 

Here’s how it works: John makes $75,000 annually as an owner operator (his “gross income”). He is able to claim deductions for licensing fees and other work expenses that total $6,500. Since John already paid $6,500 for these expenses and wasn’t reimbursed, he can subtract $6,500 from his total income. Now, John only pays taxes on $68,500 (his “adjusted gross income” or AGI).

A lower adjusted gross income means you pay less in taxes. You report your gross income and then calculate your adjusted gross income on your tax forms, but only the adjusted gross income is taxed. 

Now, let’s find those truck driver tax deductions!

Who can claim these deductions?

In general, local drivers can’t claim certain deductions. To claim these deductions you must have a “tax home”—a place the IRS can contact you. Usually this is your home address. A good rule of thumb is that you can’t claim anything your company reimburses you for (you’ve already gotten that money back).

Key Non-Deductible Expenses

We’re all for saving money, but there are a few common costs that are NOT deductible. Drivers are NOT allowed to deduct the following things from their annual income.

  1. Expenses reimbursed by your employer
  2. Clothing that can be adapted for everyday wear
  3. Commuting costs to the company headquarters. However, many companies WILL reimburse for commuting costs to the truck yard. If you’re not sure, ask your company.
  4. Home phone line
  5. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct the time spent working on their equipment
  6. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct the income lost as a result of deadhead/unpaid mileage. But, Owner Operators CAN deduct the expenses incurred to operate the truck during that time such as fuel, tolls and scales. etc.
  7. Owner Operators CANNOT deduct for downtime

The 9 Deductions You Should Consider

1. Cell Phone Plans & Internet fees

cell phone

No driver spends a significant amount of time on the road without using their phone and internet a lot. Luckily, the IRS agrees. Since most drivers use their phone for both personal and professional purposes, you are allowed to deduct 50% of your phone and internet costs. You can also deduct the entire cost of a new phone or laptop that you bought this year. Communication and technology costs add up and now you can show it in your taxes!

2. Medical Exams

Did you see a doctor for a work-related issue? Deduct the out of pocket cost! Normally medical expenses are not tax deductible, but in this case, they are actually considered business expenses. Your health is a top priority, and it’s nice to have that recognized during tax season.

3. Licensing Fees

Any costs that you pay to get and maintain a CDL license can be claimed! 

4. Food on the Road 

Drivers who spend long hours on the road are allowed to deduct food expenses from their taxable income. The IRS understands that you’re spending a lot of time behind the wheel and food costs add up! Drivers are allowed to deduct either a per diem amount (this varies based on where and when you drive) per day from their annual income. The other method is to keep your receipts from each time you buy food. When tax time comes, you’ll be able to deduct 80% of what you paid in meals for the year. Local drivers are not allowed to deduct food costs because you are able to eat at home after your route is complete. 

5. Truck Repairs/Maintenance

Any expenses you paid to repair or maintain your truck that were not reimbursed can be claimed! Cleaning and maintenance costs are also deductible. This could include truck parts, cleaning supplies, etc., but NOT the cost labor if you repair the truck yourself. 

6. Association Dues

Most drivers are required to be part of a union or other collective trucking group. Any required fees to take part in these groups are deductible. If you are part of additional trucking groups, you may still be able to deduct the cost. You can claim this deduction if you can demonstrate that it helps your career or is a regular membership in the trucking industry.

7. Personal Products

Personal products are typically the small purchases (that really add up!) that are necessary on the road. It could include food storage (think a cooler), logbooks, a flashlight, specialized clothing, electronic equipment you need for the road (ex. A GPS), and much more. Keep careful track of all these little expenses because they add to a big total, and you can deduct them on taxes!

8. Fuel & Travel Costs

If you own your own truck, you can claim the exact number of miles you drove on the job. You can also claim vehicle related costs including maintenance (see above), insurance premiums, and loan interest. 

9. Non-Trucking Standard Deductions

In addition to the trucking specific deductions you get to claim as a trucker, don’t forget about the common deductions that aren’t related to your work. These could include things like child tax credits, lifetime learning credits, and child or dependent care among other things. 

Step 3. File before April 15

It’s time. You’ve added costs and finished the paperwork. You’ll know by the time you submit your forms whether you need to send a check or will be getting a refund. You can file your taxes electronically or by mail as long as they are submitted by April 15. 

And with that, kick back and relax! Your taxes are done for another year!

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budgeting tips

The effects of inflation are hitting everyone, especially truck drivers. Along with the price of everything rising, diesel gas prices are at a record high right now. With all this extra strain on driver’s wallets, it’s more important now than ever to find different ways to save money. Here are 5 budgeting tips for truck drivers to save money while on the road. 

1. Keep a Budget

budgeting tips

The first and best budgeting tip is to keep track of your money. You can use an excel sheet, a free smartphone app, or just a good old-fashioned notebook. No matter which way you do it, just make sure that every dollar in and out is planned and tracked. Get started now if you haven’t already, and you can always adjust as you go.

  • Create a separate account just for driving to help streamline budgeting. Bonus, use a credit card that pays a reward on all purchases.
  • Pay all bills and taxes promptly to avoid penalties and late fees.
  • Set up reminders on your phone to go off a few days before each bill is due.
  • Go paperless and use auto-pay options whenever possible.
  • Keep all receipts in a designated place to avoid losing them. Make it a habit to put receipts away as soon as you get them.

2. Plan Efficient Routes

This can go a long way to saving money as a truck driver. Planning the most efficient routes can save you money on both gas and tolls. Using your cruise-control consistently and effectively will save on gas consumption as well.

Cruise-control can also keep you from exceeding the speed limit and racking up unwanted tickets and speeding penalties. Keeping up with all maintenance on your truck is also be a great way to save money as a truck driver. Paying a little here and there for preventative maintenance is always better than waiting until there’s a major issue with your truck.

3. Plan Well & Be Prepared

budgeting tips

As much as possible, avoid buying things at truck stops or convenience stores. For truck drivers, food is often their biggest daily expense. Packing and bringing food with you has two benefits, since you’ll be eating healthier while saving money daily. Plan the laundry you’ll need before you hit the road as well. You can save time and money by not using coin operated machines while on the road.

Having a well-stocked first aid kit and personal care items is much better for your budget than having to buy these things one at a time while on the road. Though emergencies do arise, everything you can buy at home instead of on the road will save money.

4. Participate in Loyalty Programs

This is an often overlooked budgeting tip, but the benefits can really add up if you stick with it. If you do love a certain brand of coffee or slice of pizza on the go, join that company’s loyalty program. It’s usually quite easy to sign-up for them at restaurants, truck stops, gas stations, and even hotels.

Your purchases could turn into a future free cup of coffee, sub sandwich, a shower, or even a night’s stay in a hotel as points accumulate. Additionally, ask any local restaurants, hotels or even insurance companies if they offer CDL discounts. Even a 5% savings a few times per year will help keep money in your bank account.

5. Use Free WiFi

budgeting tips

Whenever possible, use free Wi-Fi when you’re stopped for a break, or for the night. The overage charges that cell phone companies charge can be expensive. Spending a lot of time away from home can help you blow through your monthly data allowance and rack up fees. Using free Wi-Fi at truck stops, restaurants, and coffee stops can shave off time against your monthly data and help avoid overage charges over time. Just look for a sign and ask for the password.

Some of these budgeting tips might seem obvious, but it can’t hurt to check and see if you’re really maximizing the savings that are available to you. Take a look at your last few trips and review your biggest expenses or where you were over budget. Tightening up on your trip preparation routines, personal efficiencies, and budgeting skills can turn into big savings at the end of the year.

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concert trucking

What is Concert Trucking?

Concert trucking is a specialization in the trucking industry. It’s an OTR position where drivers haul stage and lighting equipment, instruments, and anything else needed for concerts and shows. Drivers will go on tour with bands or acts for a few months at a time to support an entire tour or a leg of it. Most tours will need a full team of drivers to work it, so as a concert trucker, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your fellow drivers.

We were able to speak with Cid, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Upstaging. Cid has been with the company since January of 2021. He shared what his day-to-day looks like, what he enjoys about being a concert trucker, and what it takes to do it.

“My average day starts with loading in around 6 am till 10 am, then I go to catering for breakfast or lunch, take a walk, sleep from 1pm to 9pm, load out and continue on to the next show,” shared Cid.

What Skills Does a Concert Trucker Need?

Concert trucking is a great and well-paying job, but there are a number of skills that a concert trucker needs to have to be successful.

The first is comfort with late night driving. While most OTR drivers have some experience with driving at night, for a concert trucker, it’s your bread and butter. That’s because right after a show wraps up, everything needs to get loaded on the trailers and hauled to the next stop. This means starting your route at 11 PM, midnight, or even 2 AM if a show goes that long.

“This is not your average trucking job. We work hard and have plenty of downtime. Each venue is different, and you’ll learn something new every day. You’ll need to adjust your sleep schedule, but once you’re on tour, you get into the rhythm (no pun intended). The camaraderie on these tours is like no other, we are truly one team,” shared Cid.

Leadership and organization are also needed skills as a concert trucker. In addition to driving, concert truckers (specifically Upstaging drivers) supervise the loading and unloading of equipment in and out of the trailers before and after the shows. These skills come into play when you’re on a time crunch trying to get a trailer loaded so you can hit the road and make it to the next destination on time.

When it comes to concert trucking, drivers need to make sure they’re getting into it for the right reasons. If you just want to meet musicians and hang out on the road, concert trucking isn’t the job for you. It’s fun and rewarding, but also takes a serious, dedicated and experienced driver to do it.

Benefits of Concert Trucking with Upstaging

concert trucking“Salary, plus per diem, plus hotel buyout are a few of the perks of working with Upstaging. They lead the industry in driver pay as well. Plus, being a part of a moving project is very satisfying. These shows can’t make the next destination without us,” shared Cid.

There’s a number of benefits to working as a concert trucker, specifically with Upstaging. Here are just a few of them.

Paid by the Day

No more adding miles and calculating things like detention. Upstaging drivers are paid by the day. In other words, if you’re out on a 3-month tour, you’re getting paid for every day of that tour, even days off.

Designated Truck Parking

Also, there’s no need to worry about truck parking as a concert trucker. You won’t need to be parking overnight at a lot, you’ll be parking in an arena or outdoor venue where spots will already be reserved for drivers.

No Touch Freight

Upstaging drivers don’t load and unload their trailers themselves. Instead, they supervise while the crew does it.

Team Atmosphere

Working as a concert trucker means working with a team. You’ll be forming bonds with other drivers and workers you’re on tour with, which is much different from your typical OTR position. Doing your part to put on a show that thousands of people will enjoy is definitely a perk, and one that Cid enjoys.

“When you’re transporting entertainment for thousands and thousands of fans, it’s nice to be part of team working together to achieve a perfect outcome,” shared Cid. 

Additional Benefits

There’s many more quality-of-life benefits to being an Upstaging driver, including:

  • New Tractor Trailers (None older than 4 years)
  • Built-in Fridge
  • Custom Designed Sleeper for Extra Space
  • Catered Meals
  • 28 days PTO per year
  • Schedule-based hotel allowance

Upstaging is Hiring Drivers Nationwide

Drive for the premier transportation company in entertainment and make over $100,000 Yearly!

class c cdlIn the trucking industry, we hear a lot about Class A and Class B CDLs. What some people may not know is that there’s a third Class of CDL as well, called a Class C. This is the lowest rank of CDL a driver can hold. While it can be a great steppingstone to a CDL A or B, a Class C on its own is very limited. If you’re a Class C driver, the good news is that upgrading your CDL isn’t that difficult.  

What is a Class C CDL?

The FMCSA defines a Class C vehicle as, 

“Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under subpart F of 49 CFR Part 172 or is transporting any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73.”

In layman’s terms, this means that Class C holders can transport passengers and HAZMAT in any vehicle under 26,000 pounds. Most commonly this means school buses and other smaller passenger vehicles, like a shuttle bus or limo. Class C does not cover large city buses, since those on average weigh more than 26,000 pounds. 

Since Class C is the lowest rank of CDL a person can hold, it’s also the most limited in terms of what you can drive with it. CDL B drivers can drive dump trucks, straight trucks, and more in addition to Class C vehicles. CDL A drivers are allowed to drive just about any CMV, as long as they have the necessary endorsements. 

These endorsements are crucial, as there are virtually no jobs available for class C drivers who don’t have their “H”, “P”, or “S” endorsements. This is why many drivers find it advantageous to skip getting their C altogether and jump right into a CDL Class B or A. 

Should I Upgrade My Class C CDL?

The answer to this question really depends on what you plan on doing with your driving career. If you don’t ever see yourself driving larger vehicles, like straight trucks, dump trucks, or even a semi, then your CDL Class C is a fine option.  

If you do have any interest in doing those jobs somewhere down the line, it may be in your best interest to get a CDL A or B license instead of a CDL C. When you think about all the available jobs for CDL A and B drivers right now, it’s worth your consideration to jump up to one of those levels. You can still get all the same endorsements that allow you to drive a school bus or HAZMAT vehicle, you’ll just be able to drive bigger CMVs as well.  

How Do You Upgrade a Class C CDL?

Upgrading your Class C to an A or a B used to be as easy as taking a few exams and retaking your road test in the appropriate vehicle. But, as of February 2022, the FMCSA has changed that. Here’s what the new rule states,

“FMCSA establishes new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. These individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR). FMCSA will submit training certification information to State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs), who may only administer CDL skills tests to applicants for the Class A and B CDL, and/or the P or S endorsements, or knowledge test for the H endorsement, after verifying the certification information is present in the driver’s record.”

In layman’s terms, this means that any driver looking to upgrade their CDL to either an A or B will need to go to the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry and select a training provider in their area. They will then need to reach out to that provider and complete a training program for the CDL upgrade they want.

Once that program is completed, it’ll be noted in the driver’s file and they can then go to their state licensing bureau to take the written skills test and/or road test. Once that’s completed, they’ll be able to receive their upgraded CDL A or B.

Be sure to call your local licensing bureau for more information on what skills and/or road tests you’ll be required to take, as they may vary by state.

While the number of jobs available to Class C CDL holders is more limited than Class A or B, it’s a fine option for those who are only interested in the unique driving jobs mentioned above. But, most drivers might find it worth their time to invest in a Class A or B CDL instead.  

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