2014 US Trucking Guide – A Career in Heavy-Hauler Trucking
The term “heavy hauler” always refers to drivers of a large freight truck in general, and also drivers of special oversized loads. This kind of profession always requires drivers to be able to handle rigs that are very bulky and weighty. Because of this, heavy haulers pay a lot better than any other type of driving jobs, with some of the drivers even making six-figure incomes. But due to the risk that is involved, drivers simply can’t enter the heavy hauling profession without any kind of special training, or preparation.
First, they need to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Since tractor units usually involve hauling heavy pieces of machinery and take an amount of skill, it is not enough to simply get a regular driver’s license. As explained by the US Department of Transportation, the process of getting a CDL includes verification that the driver has a clean driving record, and that he is sufficiently skilled enough to drive a large vehicle. He has no weakening health conditions that will make him unfit to drive. In order to get a CDL, he needs to contact the motor vehicle agency in his state. This process varies from state to state, but it always involves a driving training program as well as a state-administered test with driving and written parts.
The next thing that the driver needs to do is to get a tractor unit. The easiest way of doing this is to hire an employee for a freight firm. For owner-operators, this usually means buying a truck, which can cost over $100,000. If the driver happens to have a good credit history, then he can use a financial firm to give him a loan for the truck. Financial firms, such as PACCAR financial, Trust Alliance Capital, and the Associates Truck Lending specialize in this.
Lastly, the driver should be able to market his services. If he is working as an employee, then he does not need to worry about this. And if he is an owner-operator, he must also think about marketing and advertising before purchasing an expensive tractor unit. The driver should also focus on local advertisements, such as newspapers or telephone books, and try to get his work through a network of personal and professional contacts. A lot of these agent companies connect truck owner-operators with their potential customers as well.
Job Qualifications for Heavy-Haul Drivers
Heavy haul drivers are defined as truck drivers who operate vehicles that are capable of carrying 26,000 pounds, or more. Heavy-haul drivers are also responsible for transporting their load from one destination to another, by a specific deadline.
Some heavy-haul drivers buy and own their own trucks and are self-employed, while other drivers work for big hauling companies. In some cases, heavy-haul drivers also work with another driver. They share their duties of driving so that the truck can be operated for 24 hours a day.
Heavy-haul drivers are away from their homes for a long period of time. The work of a heavy-haul driver can be tough in harsh weather, such as snow or storms. Heavy-haul drivers must also possess a CDL that is issued by their state in order to be able to operate an 18-wheeler or a large truck. CDL courses are offered by technical schools, community colleges, and trucking schools, which are also known as diesel institutes.