People across the United States consistently seek what the Declaration of Independence defines as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In today’s economy, the aspect of liberty, or freedom, is highlighted as one of the most important ones among social media mantras of “be your boss!” Working as an independent driver is just one way to achieve this self-employed status that even provides the opportunity to be paid to see new places. However, the great opportunities in front of truck drivers come with risks and personal costs.
1. The State of the Truck Driver in America
When the rise of e-commerce wed with the initial quarantine that began the past two-plus years of a global pandemic, owner-operators and contracted truck drivers became highly favored in the public eye. However, as the initial shock of the situation faded, so did much of the heightened appreciation for background essential workers. Regardless, the demand for this line of work has not increased.
Experienced drivers today are retiring faster than fleet managers can find new talent. Many trucking companies are offering substantial bonuses and offer to cover all certification processes required to drive in exchange for a one-year commitment with the company. According to Indeed, the average base salary of a truck driver is $77,255 as of March 14, 2022. In a year that began with sky-high truckload rates, this industry will continue to be highly necessary and filled with opportunities.
2. The Risks of Operating a Truck in the US
When an individual has pursued a truck driver job, some job factors are made clear on the front end. This line of work can be lonely as drivers work alone and may spend long days or weeks away from home. However, financial risks are also associated with operating as an independent driver. FreightWaves shared in September 2020 that a commercial truck’s average annual operating cost is $210,000. Discovering the total operating expenses for a commercial vehicle include the diesel, driver salary, truck insurance, trailer financing, permits, licenses, tolls, and the preventative and accidental maintenance of a truck always on the go.
As the intense demand for goods has no end in sight, the daily and annual operating costs will likely increase. Even individuals who work a truck driver job for an established trucking fleet may struggle with fair wages, transparency, and proper customer support. While a contractor driver does not have to find loads to haul, they are equally less in control over their schedule and thus their available time for personal commitments.
3. How Truck Drivers Can Rise Above the Challenges
Although the challenges are present, independent drivers can control trucking fuel costs and operating expenses. One of the most vital aspects an owner-operator can do is ensure they accept suitable, high-quality loads. A high-quality load may involve working in a preferred lane or with credit-checked shippers and brokers to minimize confusing payment windows. Experienced truck drivers understand that a traditional payment window can leave an invoice open for 90 days.
These extended payment windows limit the cash flow for a truck driver who has renewing permits or preventive maintenance to consider on top of the regular daily miles.
By teaming with a back-office partner, truck drivers can move into modern payment methods such as automating accounts receivable or freight factoring to maximize their working capital. A freight factoring company with a fee-lite, transparent cost structure will always give drivers the knowledge of what they’re getting for what they give up in pursuing payment.
Restore the Inspiration of the American Truck Driver Job With BasicBlock
As an unstable economy encourages more individuals to look for employment and income streams outside of a traditional nine-to-five office job, more are considering the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” phrase in the Declaration of Independence. Can the pursuit of happiness be done from behind the wheel? For many, it can, especially when partnering with a company dedicated to paying truckers faster. Join other truck drivers finding liberty by partnering with a secure, affordable factoring solution and start with BasicBlock today.