It’s estimated that in 2016, there will be 71,500 truck driving jobs available in Ontario. How many of those jobs will be filled? Not nearly enough.
And that’s why new truck drivers are in the driver’s seat. So...
If you’re looking for a career (not a job) that...
- Pays great ($45,000 - $55,000 in the first year);
- Provides benefits to you and your family;
- Gives you the freedom to work independently;
- Offers unlimited job opportunity, anywhere in the country;
- Is challenging, and never routine.
...All without having to have a university education, just a high-school diploma, then you may want to consider becoming a truck driver.
Competition among ontario trucking companies is fierce, and as a result, good drivers often find themselves hired within just a couple of weeks after completing their truck driver training. In some cases, students have job offers before graduating.
Why The Shortage?
So what’s the catch, you ask? If the job is so great, why do so many truck driving jobs go unfilled?
Well, quite simply, being a professional truck driver isn’t for everyone.
Yes, the pay can be great. Yes, you can get a comprehensive benefits package. Yes, you work independently, without a crappy boss looking over your shoulder every minute of every day. BUT…
Most of the high-paying jobs require you to be on the road 5 out of 7 days. It’s not a typical 9-5, home on weekends kind of job. And many people - especially those with families - find the adjustment too difficult to make.
Getting Over The Hump
For those who can stick it out though, being a truck driver can be very rewarding. When I explain it to people, I compare it to becoming a professional athlete.
A professional hockey player can make a great deal of money. But rarely does a player go straight from the amateur levels to the pros. Many hockey players first pay their dues in the minor leagues.
Instead of flying first class on a luxurious jet, they spend many long hours on cramped buses. Many of the spouses live in other cities for the entire season, and really only get to see their hockey-playing husband during the off-season.
Compared to the pros, the minor-leaguer earns very little, and is never guaranteed to make it to the “bigs”.
So with all that, why do they do what they do? They love the game, and love being a hockey player. Or put another way, they love the lifestyle.
And so it is with driving a truck.
The first couple of years, you’ll earn less than you will in the third and fourth years and beyond. Part of that is because you haven’t become proficient at the job. Over time though, you become better and more efficient, earning more money.
Also, as your employer sees your skills improving and you gain more time on the road, opportunities for local routes become available. Or you may be able to train to haul higher-risk loads that pay more.
The point is, new truck drivers, like many first entering a profession, must get over the hump of being a newbie. Once over the hump, you have more options and can earn more money.
Being a truck driver is not a typical job, and requires people who aren’t typical. If you have a spirit of adventure, and are willing to embrace the lifestyle, it can be very rewarding and lucrative.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is become so good at your job that you can’t be ignored by top trucking companies. To be the best, you need to attend a respected Ontario truck driving school that gives you the skills required by top employers. You just can’t get that by spending $1000 at a just-barely-good-enough-to-get-licensed school.
It’s like giving a hockey player skates with dull blades and expecting him to perform like Wayne Gretzky. It just ain’t gonna happen.
Qualities of a Good Truck Driver
I don’t have to tell you that choosing a new career is a big step and requires some serious consideration. So before doing anything else, make sure you have most, if not all of the qualities needed to be a successful truck driver:
- You love road trips. Most of your job will be driving for long stretches along an open highway. You need to really enjoy driving. There’s just no way around it. If you don’t like it now, you’re sure to hate it when piloting an 80,000 pound truck and trailer.
- You’re adventurous. As a truck driver, you’ll meet all sorts of new people, travel to new destinations and drive in all sorts of weather. You need to approach each day with a sense of adventure and wonder to be successful.
- Able to work independently. Many trucking companies pair you up with an experienced driver when you first start a new job. After that, it’s just you, your rig and the open road. You need to be comfortable making decisions for yourself and taking initiative. If you need someone telling you what to do each step of the way, you may not be right for this career.
- Be a good driver. You’d think this would be evident, but many discount schools and trucking companies are just looking to fill a spot and couldn’t care less how good a driver you are. If you want a good truck driving job though, you need a clean driving record and need to keep it that way.
Also, you need to be able to “read” traffic and anticipate what’s going to happen. For example, if there’s a lane closure up ahead, you need to recognize that you’ll need to move over and begin looking for an opening. Waiting until the last second can result in you being stuck in a lane, waiting for an opening. And trust me when I tell you that an opening for a big rig is harder to come by than it is for a passenger car.
- Reliable. Truck driving is all about meeting schedules. That means you need to be able to wake up on time, get on the road quickly and not waste a moment of time. In the age of “just in time delivery”, being a day late could result in the closure of an entire manufacturing plant who’s waiting for you to deliver critical components. In this business, reliable people are rewarded. Those who aren’t, find themselves driven out.
- Be patient. On a crowded highway, with a full trailer behind you, there’s no place for impatience. Being able to keep your cool will keep you, and everyone around you safe, while keeping your wheels firmly planted on the asphalt.
- Play by the rules. I once drove through the monkey exhibit of the African Lion Safari with my wife, daughter and mother-in-law. Now, the signs clearly stated not to feed the critters. So what does my mother-in-law do?
She whips out a giant plastic container crammed full of fruit cut into chunks. Not only did she break the rules, but she did it in a premeditated way.
Well, not only did we attract the largest crowd of monkeys, nearly destroying our car, but when we got to the end of the lane, we were immediately “greeted” by a park patrol officer who gave us a stern warning to stop feeding the animals or we would be banned from the park.
I tell you this story because if you are the type to feed the monkeys and break the rules, then truck driving really isn’t for you. You need to abide by the rules. Lives are at stake if you don’t.
Getting Trained and Licensed
Want to know one of the very best things about becoming a truck driver?
It takes very little time to become trained and begin earning money!
Our AZ license course takes just 8-weeks to complete. And 9 out of 10 graduates get hired within just 2-weeks of completing the course. So, in just 10-weeks, you’re trained, licensed and on your way to earning great money, in a stable new career. And depending on the company, you could even be covered by benefits starting on day one of your employment.
If you have any questions about our course or about being a truck driver, give us a call at (519) 653-1700. We’re happy to speak with you.
Also, you may be interested in watching these interviews we did with three of the industries top employers. You’ll hear what it’s like to work for each company as a new driver, and find out what to expect in the first year on the job.
And finally, if you’re considering the next step … enrolling in a truck driving school, then take a few minutes to watch the video below...