Trucking is an amazing way to make a living – a very good living too!
You can get started in trucking as a CDL driver and drive 18 wheelers with just a few short weeks of basic training – and immediately begin earning good money, if you know what you are doing and if you are highly motivated.
How much money can you earn?
That really is the question most people looking into trucking want to know the answer to. The truth is that the actual answer depends very much on you.
You see, trucking is NOT like other jobs. Whether you are a company truck driver, a lease-purchase truck driver, or an independent owner-operator trucker – in all cases YOU very much control how much you earn by the decisions you make.
You can make as little as $35,000 to $48,000 or so your first year – or you can make between $52,000 to $60,000 or more – with a little information and a lot of motivation (and hard work!) if you are driven to do that.
It is even possible to make more than $80,000 in your first year as a truck driver!
That is NOT typical – and most new truckers are not going to get anywhere near that amount their first few years because they simply don’t know how. Typical average training at most companies is not going to teach you what you need to know to do that well.
You are in the right place now if you want to learn all about how you can maximize your trucking career from the very beginning and how you can do far better than most drivers ever will.
Whether you are looking to maximize your time at home – or maximize the money you earn I can help you find ways to achieve more of your goals.
Professional Truck Drivers Wanted – along with our other core trucking sites, Trucking Business Success and Transport Resource Solutions will give you access to everything you need to know, including telling you where you can find all the additional tools, resources, training, products, and services you will ever need to get the most out of your own trucking career.
My name is L.D. Sewell and I am going to share every lesson I have ever learned in trucking over the past two decades – and counting. Lessons learned and information I really wish I could have had when I first started out in trucking, and you can start benefiting immediately from it all.
I started out in trucking after more than 12 years of active duty in the military followed by a few years in real estate sales and property management. I loved real estate (and still do!) but the feast or famine of a highly competitive market and volatile mortgage rates were not something that was ideal for my wife and me and a young son at the time.
So I went into property management – both to learn how to professionally manage properties and to have a more stable and predictable income. That was great and I did learn a ton of things about property management too!
I also learned that I HATE office politics and the petty B.S. that goes hand in hand with it.
So after a while, I started looking for another way to make a good living, one that offered three key things I wanted and needed;
- Good Income
- Medical Benefits
Number one and two were for my family – and number three – that was strictly for me. I wanted it. I needed it and I was determined to get it.
Problem was that one was very hard to come by. The other two could be taken care of by any number of jobs, and I looked into and considers them all – and even tried one for a brief period of time. I took a job with a local cable company first in field collections and then in installs and service.
The money wasn’t bad – and it wasn’t great either. The work was tolerable – but soon enough, it became more than evident there was not much freedom to it.
Somewhere along the line while looking for another option, I came across an ad for a presentation and hiring event on trucking in a neighboring city. So I called the number, signed up for the event, and went to it.
There a couple of guys got up on a stage and gave a presentation on what a job and a career in trucking was like, and they covered all the training requirements, showed a film or two, and gave us some handouts. Another guy came up on stage who had previously retired after more than a couple of decades as a professional truck driver, and he told us all about his experiences and how trucking had been very good to him and his family.
The people putting on this event were recruiting drivers for a couple of different companies or so, and they told us about the hiring criteria, the training, and the starting pay.
Then they invited any of us who felt like we could meet the various requirements and who were interested to go ahead and fill out a short form application (basically a pre-ap and contact form) which I did.
A day or so later I received a call from the motor carrier – trucking company that I had applied to.
Before long I was on my way to orientation and to truck driver training school. This was (and still is) one of the mega carrier trucking companies with thousands of drivers and multiple terminals all over the place.
At that time they operated their own in-house truck driving school – and the nearest location was about five hours away from where I lived. So off I went. They put me up in a local nearby motel – which wasn’t bad – not great either, but it was OK.
Training started almost immediately and our class began with 22 students – as best as I can remember.
There was some introductory and some classroom stuff, then to the trucks we went.
We learned how to maneuver the tractor by itself – starting in an industrial park on a public road. I still remember the instructor pulling over to the curb, putting the 4 ways on – and turning and looking first at me then the other guy in the truck and saying ” Ok who wants to go first?”. A few moments later I was behind the wheel of a tractor for the very first time. We took turns driving around the industrial park and the neighboring area for awhile.
Then we went back to the yard and picked up a trailer – and we started all over again learning how to drive the tractor-trailer combination. We learned all the basics and then practiced, and practiced – and then practiced some more.
Before long a couple of weeks of training was over – and a date and time was scheduled for the practical skills test to get my CDL. I passed easily with no problems – the training I received was better than good, so I had no issues at all.
Next came road training.
That was the next phase of training. Now that I had my CDL it was time to start learning the practical skills and getting some real world experience while actually doing the job, under the supervision of an experienced driver and trainer.
Another couple of weeks and that was over too.
It is funny when you go through training because you tend to want to get it over with so you can get on with getting your own truck and begin to make money – but the reality is looking back after it is done the training seems like it flew by in the blink of an eye!
This particular company had another phase on top of that where they paired two trainees up and ran them as one solo driver basically for another week or two. The theory being they could help each other and decrease the chances of problems. The guy I went through this phase of training with was already a good friend of mine by that point – so we had fun and enjoyed it.
There were some funny stories too – and maybe I’ll share them with you someday here on the blog – like the time we took 45,ooo pounds of paper all the way across US 50 through WV instead of going up across I 68 – that was fun (NOT!).
Anyway, after all that – we both decided to run as a team and haul drop and hook loads from Washington State to VA and back. The idea was we would get a better truck and we could make more money (wrong!) – and it was drop and hook.
It took me exactly one trip to realize that I did not (and still do not and will not!) like running as a team. No thanks!
In fact, I hated that so much that I came very close to exiting the trucking industry before I even got started good. Luckily I calmed down and kept driving as a solo driver. Then I finally got my own truck – just me – freedom at last!
I loved it! I woke up and had to pinch myself that I had it so good, and was able to do something I consider to be fun – and actually get paid for it too!
But there were lots of learning experiences, and many of them through that old school of hard knocks too.
Over the years I have driven millions of miles and delivered thousands of loads – all over the country and much of Canada too. I have pulled mostly dry vans, but have also pulled doubles for a couple of years, reefers, a flatbed a few times and I even drove a dump truck for a year.
I stayed with hat mega carrier for several years – first as an OTR or over the road driver, then on a dedicated account pulling doubles. Eventually, that account started having problems and went away, and during that time I left the company and took an entry level dispatcher job at a mid sized carrier in the area.
Over the next several years I moved to safety, recruiting, driver training – and I set up and ran a separate truck driving school, an internal driver training program, and a lease-purchase program which I called an ICA Program – or Independent Contractor Associate program.
I instigated and help set up an internal freight brokerage, and I also helped other freight brokerages with training and consulting information. More carriers, brokers, and owner operators contacted me for help with regulatory issues or looking for information on how to set up their own training programs.
I continued recruiting, hiring, training, and mentoring drivers for the next decade or so, and along the way I started my own publications and training and consulting company – Transport Resource Solutions LLC.
In-person face to face I have trained hundreds of drivers and many more through other instructors and trainers that I trained they have collectively trained thousands more. The number of road tests I have personally conducted myself is in the multiple hundreds. Total online students now number in the thousands on top of that – so far and still counting.
Eventually, I wrote my very first book “Introduction to Professional Truck Driving Careers” and published it on Amazon – and it is still for sale and still sells a few copies every year. I also started teaching online courses on Udemy and eventually a few other platforms too, and still create and publish courses occasionally – many of them on trucking, and other son other topics that I have knowledge of and think can help people.
After many years there I felt I had learned all I could at that company – and it was heading in a direction I did not want to go – so it was time to leave.
Around the same time, my son was graduating college and starting his own career – and his mother and I decided that we were ready to make some drastic moves of our own. So we sold, gave away, donated, tossed, and otherwise got rid of almost everything we owned that wouldn’t fit in a very small storage unit – and we bout a 35′ travel trailer we named “Nora” which we lived in for the next year while we did a major life reset.
I took a local job driving a dump truck for a year – and that was a lot of fun! It didn’t pay much, but we didn’t need much and I really enjoyed that job – though I would not want to do that forever – for a short period of time it was a blast.
Eventually, we bought a little homestead out away from any major town, but still close enough to get the things we need and want – and never too far from the lakes, rivers, and even the Chesapeake Bay.
I chose to go back to that original mega carrier that I had started driving with many years earlier – and they welcome me back with open arms. I took a job on a dedicated account hauling loads to stores – and I get plenty of driving time and exercise – which I love both. Lazy people would not like what I do – but I have never been lazy and I love it. Peace, quiet, good pay, and plenty of time at home – time to write my books, my blog posts, create my courses, and work on our little homestead.
There is of course more to the story, and I will share some of it here and in my other blogs from time to time.
So there you go – now you have a pretty good idea about what my trucking background is – and if you are the really curious type you can always visit any of my other sites and read more there too. Start with www.ldsewell.com and read the about page.
A couple of things I want you to know – I do not claim to know everything, but I do know more than a little about trucking and I will share what I do know and what I think about trucking with you. That includes the good the bad the ugly of trucking and everything in between without the sugar coating.
You can learn a lot in a very short period of time from the information I provide if you want to – and you can learn in hours what it took me – and many other people YEARS to learn!
Having said that – the other thing I want you to know is that you still have to do your own homework and make your own decisions.
There is nothing that is the right thing for everyone – including trucking – real estate – affiliate marketing – homesteading or anything else I talk about.
You have to be the ultimate judge of what is right for you and make your own choices accordingly.
So just please keep that all in mind, take the information I give you then do your own research and make your own decisions. While I can help you – and I will if you want my help – I will not do your work for you. You need to do the work if you want the rewards.
This is just the first article/post for this website and blog and there will be plenty more coming too.
Until next time, take care and be safe!