What's Your Haul?
Trucks are certainly not "one size fits all" for shippers. Depending on the products companies are looking to transport, logistics teams may choose amongst various routes and vehicles to plan the safest and most efficient route for their goods. Among the various factors to consider when searching for the best trucking position for you, the haul type plays a big role in the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. Some hauls require extra equipment or special licensing, while others are good for even rookies to start with. Additionally, pay, route length, and home time will vary between different hauls. Before jumping headfirst into job applications, familiarize yourself with the various opportunities amongst the different hauls in the industry.
Not all hauls are going to be suited for the rookie driver. The most common trucking position out there is known as dry vans, and these positions are great for all skill levels from rookie to expert. When you picture a semi-trailer truck on the road, this is usually the standard vehicle that comes to mind. Dry vans are the typical 53-foot trailers attached to a cab in front. The goods filling up the van can vary, but common items include retail products, non-perishable goods, electronics, and more. Basically, any consumer product that does not need to be cooled is typically shipped in a sealed dry van container. Because there is such a variety of cargo that can be transported this way, dry vans are an extremely common driver position. What makes this haul a popular one for rookies is that these positions typically require less specialized skills and no loading/unloading. Routes can vary anywhere from local, regional, or cross-country, and pay usually varies by experience.
Refrigerated freight, also called reefers, are also a common truck that hauls perishable goods. The trailers on refrigerated hauls are temperature controlled. These goods are commonly produce, meats, plants, and even sometimes medications. Similar to dry vans, refrigerated freight does not typically involve the extra task of loading and unloading the cargo and does not require highly specialized training, and some companies may even provide additional training. These trailers are kept at cool to freezing temperatures to keep products safe; these hauls require more time-concerned trips and usually have shorter home-time options. In addition, refrigerated freight drivers sometimes earn slightly more than dry van drivers, since they must learn about controlling the temperature equipment for the containers and work under a stricter time crunch.
Flatbed trucks have an open top trailer, which makes them perfect for hauling goods that cannot fit in the enclosed space of a dry goods van. Companies typically look to hire drivers with at least a year of experience in dry goods, though some are open to recruiting rookie drivers as well. For drivers that do not want to be on the road for weeks, flatbeds may be a better fit than dry vans or refrigerated, since their drives tend to be shorter and on weekdays. Flatbed hauls usually require higher skills since they involve transporting oversized or oddly shaped goods such as construction materials and require drivers to be skilled in tarping (securing tarps to the trailer to protect cargo). Because of these qualifications, flatbed positions usually come with a slightly higher pay than dry van haulers.
Liquid tanker trucks are used for transporting liquid products in a trailer with a sealed tank. Liquids transported in tankers can vary from gas, milk, water and more. Though tanker hauls are commonly seen on the road, these positions require more skill than the hauls mentioned previously. As opposed to dry bulk tankers, which haul tanks filled with products such as sand and grain, liquid tanker drivers must face the challenge of transporting a product that is constantly swishing around within the tank. Drivers must be able to maneuver their vehicles with precision and follow stricter protocols, and these drivers can expect higher pay for their cultivated skill level. Some liquid tankers are required to haul hazardous materials, which makes the job even more complex. HAZMAT haul drivers are required to gain a HAZMAT endorsement through extra training. These drivers are among the highest paid in the industry, but also face the pressure of working with potentially dangerous cargo.
These are only a few of the hauls available to truckers; the variety of equipment, routes, and hauls available is what makes trucking such a fantastic industry for drivers seeking new opportunities. Some other hauls truckers can explore include auto shipping, dump truck, and team driving. Many truckers hold multiple positions throughout their career and learn various hauls before deciding what their ideal match is. Whatever you decide, whether you are a rookie looking for a dry van position, or a HAZMAT endorsed driver, JobsInTrucks has thousands of opportunities with the best trucking companies in the industry - get started and find your next haul here!