Posted by: sandrawright | November 4, 2009

How to Become an Owner-Operator

While this is National Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week, and I promised to provide unique ways to show your appreciation to those in the trucking community each day, today I feel the need to address a pressing issue in the trucking industry–unemployment.

Due to the poor condition of the economy, many truck drivers have been faced with unemployment due to downsizing, mass layoffs and closings. If you fall in this category, rather than being distressed and considering a totally new career path, think about exploring a different option within the trucking industry. Becoming an owner-operator may provide the answer you are looking for, and many added bonuses.

By purchasing your own truck and working for various companies as an independent contractor, it may be easier to find work than simply working for one employer. This option also provides more freedom, as you are free to choose the jobs you want, and work on the schedule of your choice. Some owner-operators make as much as $100,000 per year, and sometimes more. As your business grows, you may want to purchase more trucks and hire a few drivers to increase your bottom line. Many displaced workers are finding that being their own boss is the best option in this economy.

Prior to making the decision to get on the lucrative path to freedom, you will need to make sure you have available funds for the following:

  1. A Truck–This is the most expensive cost you will have, but it is definitely a necessity. While most of us don’t have available funds to purchase a truck in cash, financing a truck is a common option used by many owner-operators. Of course, in order to finance a truck, you must be able to qualify for a loan and have funds available for a down payment. There are also lease-purchase options available for those who may not be able to qualify for a vehicle loan. A lease-purchase program is usually much cheaper than financing a truck, but one must beware that this creates certain limitations. Since the truck is not technically yours until purchase, the lessor has control over the truck, which could create a problem if the lessor has strict limitations on mileage or any other factor that could limit the types of jobs you take on. If neither of these options seems fitting, you may want to consider purchasing a used truck, which would require full payment, but may save costs in the long-run.
  2. Maintenance–The amount spent on maintenance will vary, based on how you chose to purchase your truck: lease, finance, full purchase. Make sure you also have a hefty amount set aside for unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
  3. Fuel
  4. A Trusted Mechanic
  5. Insurance

Now that you have the beginnings of an owner-operator businesses, to get started you must have clients. Jobs won’t just drop out of the sky, so marketing is truly essential, especially in the beginning stages of your operation. Learn more about different trucking career options.

 

As for showing your appreciation for the trucker in your life, how about sharing this advice with the one you love? You never know when it could come in handy.

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Posted by: sandrawright | November 3, 2009

Broadcast Your Appreciation

In celebration of National Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week, the American Trucking Association is sponsoring a video contest so  you can tell truckers and the world how much you appreciate the men and women in the trucking industry. There’s no need to be a professional videographer. Submissions simply need to be 1 to 2 minutes long (produced using a video camera or cell phone), and exhibit your appreciation in a creative fashion.Truck drivers are also welcome to submit videos.

While the original deadline for contest submissions was October 15, the deadline has now been extended to November 7! Click here for contest details.

Posted by: sandrawright | November 2, 2009

Show You Care with a Care Package

Gift Basket

Gift Basket

As you know, this week I will be discussing various ways to show your appreciation to the trucker in your life. How about surprising a truck driver who’s near and dear to your heart with a care package? This gift is both thoughtful and practical.

When considering what to include in your care package, think about what items will make life out on the road a little easier. We all know that many truckers suffer from poor nutrition, stress, occasional loneliness and so on. Keep this in mind when you head off to the store to fill up your package.

Items you may consider including in your care package include the following:

  • Seat pad or back rest to make the drive more comfortable
  • A CD by your trucker’s favorite band or musician
  • An inspirational card
  • Quality reading for break time
  • Healthy snacks

As you can see, the care package doesn’t have to be elaborate. It’s the little gestures in life that truly make a difference and can show the special trucker in your life how much you appreciate him or her.

If you are a trucker, drop a few hints to your loved ones (like sending them a link to this blog), and maybe you’ll receive a special surprise care package every now and then!

Posted by: sandrawright | November 1, 2009

Trucker’s Appreciation Kick-off!

Life Is a Journey, Drive OnToday is the first day of National Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week. Show your appreciation for the trucker in your life by giving them a copy of my book, Life Is a Journey, Drive On.

The book explores what it’s really like to be a part of the trucking industry, which also makes it a great read for those who are considering a career in the trucking industry.

I’d love to hear from those of you who have read the book. Let me know if the information disclosed in the book has changed your outlook on your profession, your future profession or the profession of others.

Happy reading!

Posted by: sandrawright | October 31, 2009

Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week

Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week starts tomorrow! The purpose of this week is to take time to consider all of the sacrifices millions of men and women make each day just so we can enjoy simple conveniences, such as fresh produce and dairy products.

These brave men and women risk their lives driving long hours on sometimes treacherous roads day in and day out.

The next time you see a truck driver, say “thanks.” I’m sure the kind gesture will be greatly appreciated. If you happen to know a truck driver, make time this week to show how much you appreciate the sacrifices the driver makes (next week’s posts will include great ways to show your appreciation to the trucker in your life).

If you are a trucker driver, let me be the first to say, “THANK YOU.” Have a wonderful Truck Drivers Appreciation Week!

Posted by: sandrawright | October 30, 2009

Top Reasons to be a Trucker

  1. Good Pay – Entry-level truck drivers typically have an earning potential of $30,000 to $50,000. When bonuses are included, average salaries rise to $35,000 to $55,000 per year. Pay can be even higher for company drivers, where drivers can earn up to $80,000 to $100,000 a year.
  2. Stability – Everyone depends on truck drivers in some capacity, which makes this job one of the most stable in the country.
  3. Travel – Seeing the American countryside is just a perk of the job.
  4. Sense of Community – There are  more than 3.4 million American truck drivers.
  5. Benefits –  Most companies offer benefits including 401(k), disability and paid vacation.
  6. Be Your Own Boss – If you are a go-getter, you may want to become an owner-operator and develop a relationship with various companies as an independent driver. You can also expand your business by purchasing more trucks and hiring more drivers.
  7. Interesting Stories to Tell – Be the most interesting person at family gatherings when you tell amazing stories about your voyages over the American countryside.
  8. Quick Startup – Once you decide that trucking is the industry you belong in, it doesn’t take long to start your career. Most trucking schools offer programs that can be completed in 4 to 12 weeks.

 

 

Posted by: sandrawright | October 29, 2009

What Do You Think About Less Driving Hours?

According to an Associated Press article, “The Obama administration has agreed to reconsider a rule that allows long-haul truckers to drive for up to 11 hours straight, bowing to safety advocates who say longer hours could lead to greater fatigue and more accidents.”

Share your thoughts: Are you in favor of the new proposed driving limits? How will this impact your deliveries?

Posted by: sandrawright | October 28, 2009

Reduce Stress and Enjoy the Ride

Life on the road can be stressful at times. From the dealing with dispatchers, shipping delays and traffic, sometimes you just need a break. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to take a break when you have a delivery to make. Due to the demanding schedule, many truckers often suffer with stress.

Stress can easily manifest itself as physical pain. Some symptoms of stress are back pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, stiff neck, constipation or diarrhea, weight gain or loss, stomach aches, high blood pressure, shortness of breath.

To help combat stress, try the following tactics:

  • Laugh more
  • Stretch often
  • Count to ten while breathing deeply
  • Keep a journal
  • Talk to others who have similar stressors
  • Take a walk

Find more stress-reducing tactics.

Remember, if problems persists, it’s always a good idea to pay a visit to the doctor.

Posted by: sandrawright | October 27, 2009

Improving Life on the Road

As you know, life on the road can be tough. Long hours, very little sleep, poor nutrition and little time for exercise can lead to a multitude of health problems. These factors can lead to obesity, heart disease and stress—just to name a few.

Obviously, regular exercise can help combat the aforementioned health problems; but for truckers, this is easier said than done. While you may not have time to hit the gym on a regular basis, incorporating a little unconventional exercise in your daily routine doesn’t require a huge time investment, but offers great benefits.

When you’re at the rest stop or filling up, take a moment to take a walk or jog around the premises. Consciously increasing the number of steps you take a day can help increase circulation, reduce stress and burn a few calories. Better yet, purchase an inexpensive pedometer. Set a goal for the number of steps you hope to take each day. This will help you keep track of your exercise, and increase your activity level, if necessary. Getting a little fresh air and increasing your circulation will also help increase energy levels so you no longer have to be dependent on sugary energy drinks and coffee to make it through long trips.

Nutrition also plays a big role in overall health. It can sometimes be difficult to find a healthy and cost-effective meal on the road, but making healthier decisions can have a huge impact on your health and waistline. Whenever possible, choose baked, low-fat items. Healthier items are also more filling and will provide your body with the energy it needs.

Posted by: sandrawright | October 26, 2009

Hiring Rates Expected to Increase

According to a new study, many employers are more willing to hire new workers than they were a few months ago, and experts predict this trend will continue into the New Year.

While the unemployment rate is currently at 9.8 percent, and is expected to rise above 10 percent by the end of 2009 or early 2010, the National Association for Business Economics quarterly survey, which was released today, shows an optimistic outlook for the next six months for those in search of employment.

Not only is this great news if you are currently in search of a trucking position, if you are a seasoned driver, you understand the importance of the overall stability of the economy. As unemployment rates begin to drop, people will begin spending again, which will increase the availability of trucking jobs.

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