How To Become A Self-Employed Truck Driver: 8 Practical Tips
Becoming a self-employed truck driver gives you incredible control over your life. You can choose when, where and for how long you work, providing you with the crucial flexibility and work-life balance that many truckers struggle to find. Truck drivers are in high demand at the moment, so it is a great time to enter the industry.
You’ll need to consider all the steps you have to take to become a self-employed truck driver. An appropriate license is essential, along with extra endorsements that could make you a more attractive hire. It is also a good idea to consider if you will rent or buy your own truck or use the trucks provided by your employer.
Get Your CDL
Your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a crucial qualification that allows you to drive commercial vehicles. Because driving a truck requires greater skill, safety awareness and experience, there is a dedicated license qualification in addition to your regular license. You will need to find a qualified provider to help you pass your CDL, and there are trucking schools across the country that can help you launch your career off to a strong start.
Consider Buying Your Own Truck
Many truck drivers own their vehicles, allowing them to make improvements and changes that help make their life on the road easier. Buying a truck is a big purchase, so it may not be achievable for every new self-employed truck driver. Some choose to take gigs where their employer provides the truck until they can save enough for their own vehicle. This will come down to your own preference, so consider the pros and cons of each option carefully.
Look Into Additional Endorsement Options
Endorsements on your CDL can be an excellent way to prove your abilities as a trucker and make yourself more attractive to potential employers. There are endorsements that show you are qualified and capable of specialist work like hauling hazardous materials or liquids. These can be an excellent choice for newly qualified truck drivers to help get a foot in the door and see your trucking gigs start rolling in.
Check Out What Jobs Are Out There
The trucking industry is experiencing significant demand currently, meaning that it is an employee market. There are plenty of ways to find trucking jobs, and it is a good idea to understand the market and the types of work and pay you can expect. If you want to start looking for a job, it’s easy to do via the Adzuna app to see some of the best, latest truck driver roles available.
Get An Accountant
As a self-employed truck driver, you’ll need to understand your taxes and make sure you submit your tax returns correctly and on time. Taxes can be complex, and being self-employed can make them even more so. Getting an accountant to help you with the complexities of self-employed tax can be invaluable to help you keep on top of your finances. Do your homework when choosing an accountant, and find someone with experience working with truck drivers in your position.
Invest In The Right Tools
Having the right tools and equipment for the job is vital. In some cases, the company you’re currently working for will provide tools and equipment, but in others, you will be expected to own the items needed. This includes mechanical tools to make minor fixes to your commercial vehicle, an emergency and first aid kit, a satnav, and the right clothes to ensure your comfort on long journeys.
Find Ways To Stay Entertained
Being a self-employed truck driver means you will spend a lot of time in the cab of your vehicle. It can be solitary work, so it is vital that you find safe ways to keep entertained. Talking with other truckers on your radio is a common practice if you feel the need for social connection while you drive. Other great options include podcasts, radio stations, audiobooks, and music. Just ensure that whatever you choose won’t distract you from the road.
Actively Manage Your Work-Life Balance
A healthy work-life balance is not always the easiest thing for a trucker to achieve, and it is something that requires regular management. It is a good idea to learn how to schedule your work in ways that allows you time for home and other commitments. You should consider which jobs will take you furthest from your life and ensure the pay is right if they will take you away from home for longer periods than you want.
Being a self-employed truck driver can be a truly enriching experience. You get to explore the country, visiting new places and enjoying incredible views from your truck cab. Many people even choose this career as a way to travel and get paid at the same time. You’ll need to make a plan, listing all the things you need to become a trucker, from the license to the truck to a place to find trucking gigs.