Trucking is a promising career path. Commercial drivers can earn more than $69,000 a year* and it only takes a few weeks to get the necessary training to get started. Many individuals chose to enter the field due to these benefits, including individuals with families. Long-haul trucking (which is most common for entry-level positions, and has the highest earning potential) is as much a lifestyle as it is a career. This will affect not only you, but also your loved ones back home. With a bit of effort on both ends, it is possible to make trucking with a family work for you.
Here are some tips:
1. Take Advantage of Technology
Modern technology has made it easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones even if you are far from home. Make an effort to call at least once each day while you’re out and to video chat with your family a few times a week. This way, you can stay up to date with everything that is happening in their lives.
During fuel stops and other breaks, send photos of interesting truck stops, roadside attractions, or anything else you think they’d like to see from your day. This will remind them that you’re thinking of them while you’re out on the road. However, make sure you never text while driving!
2. Let Your Family Help You Trip Plan
Before starting a haul, it’s important to plan your route. During this process, get your family involved by letting them help pick where you’ll stop. When you’ve made your plan, give them a copy so they have a timeline of where you’ll be at different points of your trip. Each day when you check in, they’ll be able to reference your plan to get an idea of what area you are in. It’s likely your plans will change and you won’t follow the route completely, but your family will still get to feel like they’re a part of your daily life on the road.
3. Spend Time Together When You’re Home
During your home time, there are likely several things you’ll need to do. You will want to make sure you can finish any essential tasks and take some time to relax. In addition to taking time for yourself, make sure you also take advantage of the time you have with your family.
There are sure to be many events or special occasions where you want to be with your family. Be realistic and prioritize the most important of these. Make sure you are realistic and don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Surprising your family by getting home earlier than you thought is going to be better than missing out on something you said you’d be there for. Setting clear expectations for this ahead of time is helpful and when you can’t physically be there, try to call, video chat, or otherwise be involved as much as you can.
4. Consider a Trip With a Loved One
Depending on which motor carrier you work for, you may be able to bring a passenger on the road with you. If one of your family members has time, consider taking them on the road for a short trip. This gives them the opportunity to see what your day-to-day working life is like, and it lets you share a special experience together.
For children, be sure to check your company’s minimum age requirements. You should also consider whether your child is prepared to spend hours at a time in your truck.
When taking passengers on the road, be sure to plan ahead. Choose a route that is short and relatively easy when possible. A route through a busy city or an area with inclement weather is likely to raise your stress levels and may not be a great trip for bringing a family member along.
5. Set Goals With Your Family in Mind
You and your partner/co-parent should be on the same page when it comes to what is best for your family situation. Set clear expectations with each other and discuss your long-term and short-term career goals. If you want to transition into a job with more home time, consider spending one year as a long-haul driver before transitioning to a regional or local job. Alternatively, if you find you love over-the-road (OTR) trucking, be sure your family is on board. Both options are possible for truckers with families so it just depends on your and your family’s preferences.
Earn Your CDL in Tucson
If you are interested in a trucking career, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you earn your license in as little as four weeks. We have trained many students with families and offer job placement assistance to help you find opportunities that align with your needs and goals.
To learn more about becoming a truck driver, contact us today.
*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,710. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,000 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.