When you start your career in the trucking industry, you’ll be exposed to all kinds of truck drivers. Some are independent contractors, responsible for choosing their own paths, finding their own loads and transporting them. Others are company over-the-road drivers, traveling across the United States to deliver freight to new customers. What else is out there, though? What other options do you have in your career?
Many drivers find themselves interested in becoming a dedicated truck driver. Dedicated drivers operate in a specific area, delivering freight to the same customers each time. Let’s learn more about the benefits of dedicated driving and how you can make it your career.
What are the benefits of being a dedicated truck driver?
Many truck drivers choose dedicated driving due to the benefits of the job. These include:
- More home time. Since your customers aren’t across the country, you may be able to be home multiple times per week or sometimes even daily. Since most truck driving jobs require that you be gone for weeks at a time, this is a huge benefit for those who need to get home more often. Though you will have a more consistent home schedule, it’s possible that you may have tweaks in your schedule if a delivery time changes, bad weather, or traffic delays.
- Repeat customers. Dedicated drivers deliver to the same customers, making it easier to build a relationship with your clientele. For this same reason, it’s especially important to provide the best customer service possible. As you spend more time with your clients, they will begin to associate you as the face of the company, meaning the company’s relationship partly relies on you and your performance.
- Familiar terrain. Once you’ve traveled the same route a few times, you can begin to learn the best ways to navigate and know when traffic jams will arise. While this is a more efficient way to travel, you also run the risk of becoming burned out due to the repetitiveness of the drive. If you’d rather see a new part of the country with each travel, you may be better suited for an over-the-road position than a dedicated driving job.
How do I become a dedicated truck driver?
Your first step to becoming a dedicated truck driver is to earn your CDL, either by going through a company-sponsored program or by paying for a truck driving school. Since dedicated driving is a competitive position, you may opt to choose a program that offers you more hands-on training. Once you have earned your CDL, you can begin your career as a truck driver, but you may not be eligible for most dedicated jobs just yet.
Usually, dedicated truck driving jobs go to those who have at least a year of experience working over-the-road. This allows you to get used to deliveries and understand the importance of safe driving practices. Also, dedicated jobs are usually centered around urban areas, meaning you’ll need plenty of experience navigating narrow and busy city roads.
As you start applying for jobs, make sure you understand the distinction between regional and dedicated truck drivers. Regional truck drivers operate in a specific region, like the Midwest or Northeast, and may have a different customer each time. Dedicated drivers, however, usually operate in a smaller area and deliver to the same set of customers, like a grocery store or a big box retailer.
Are you considering a future as a truck driver?
Apply to Prime’s Student Driver Training Program. You can get your start toward a dedicated driving career and get paid for training with your CDL before you upgrade into your own truck. If you still have questions about the program, reach out to us and a recruiter will get back with you shortly.