The trucking industry is vital to the economy of the United States and the rest of the world. Ground transportation allows goods to be shipped from door to door, using the extensive network of roads in the U.S., a service that cannot be matched by air, rail or water transport.
Whether you're an independent owner-operator, or run another type of trucking business, you will benefit from learning about the leaders in the industry. The following will help to give you a trucking industry overview:
1. Work with a large trucking company to get your goods transported properly.
2. Understand the various regulations governing the trucking industry.
3. Join a trucking association to make contacts and to gain a voice in the trucking world.
Partner with large, established trucking transport companiesEstablished ground transportation companies operate hundreds to thousands of trucks, and travel across North America. Drivers that work for a trucking company do not have to own their own trucks, and benefit from established contracts. By working with an established trucking company, you will benefit from experience and gain peace of mind.
Know the rules of the road before getting into the trucking businessThe trucking industry is governed by both state and federal regulations. Municipalities may also have rules designed to govern trucks, especially with regard to noise. No matter what your role in the trucking industry, you must be familiar with relevant laws to keep your business above board.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a division of the Department of Transportation that works to keep the trucking industry safe. The agency provides access to all federal regulations governing drivers, truck companies and vehicles. Driver Networks details trucking regulations by state, and provides information on scales and weigh stations. You can search their site by route, state or weigh station.
Make your voice louder with the help of a trucking and freight associationA large number of truckers are independent owner-operators. Operating a trucking business on your own has many advantages, but also some disadvantages, such as lack of company health insurance and paid vacation time. Trucking associations exist to lobby for those in the trucking industry, and to allow individuals to participate in insurance programs.
American Trucking Association has been an advocate for the trucking industry for 75 years. The organization conducts research and provides education on issues related to trucking. OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) represents independent drivers and owner-operators on all issues related to trucking. This coalition of small businesses pools membership dues, giving independent drivers some of the advantages that come with working with large trucking companies.
- Many schools operate in the U.S. that will train you to drive trucks. Courses usually last for several weeks, and prepare students for the CDL (commercial driver's license) exam. Freight companies will often pay for training in order to recruit new drivers.