HazMat Endorsement for your CDL

HazMat Endorsement for your CDL

Having a valid HazMat endorsement can open up new truck driving jobs and new loads for both company drivers and owner operators.  Here are the steps to obtain your HazMat endorsement.

Step 1 – Take the test.  Your state will have a test for HazMat endorsement that you must pass.  The test is generally administered through your state department of transportation or motor vehicles.

Step 2 –Make sure your Commercial Drivers License is up to date. You can’t get a HazMat endorsement without your CDL.

Step 3 – Get clearance from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). According to federal law, no state is permitted to issue a HazMat endorsement on a CDL until a threat assessment has been performed for the driver. The application includes questions to prove your identity, legal residence status and a current CDL.

Step 4 – Submit your fingerprints for an FBI background check. Check with your local DMV office on their requirements for background checks in your area.

Step 5 – Pay the HazMat endorsement fees.  In addition to state fees, the TSA fees are an additional $100 to process your checks and paperwork.

Step 6 – Maintain clean record.   You ineligible for a HazMat endorsement for if you’ve been convicted of a serious crime in the past seven years, or been released from prison in the past five years.

Step 7 – Appeal if denied. If you are denied because of the federal investigation, you have 60 days to request an appeal of the ruling.  A denial only keeps you from getting the HazMat endorsement, it does not affect your regular CDL.

The Real Cost of Operating a Truck

The Real Cost of Operating a Truck

When it comes to determining the amount of money it costs to operate a tractor trailer, most people think about the amount of money it costs to fuel the truck. However, this cost is only one aspect of the real cost associated with keeping the truck on the road legally. It has been shown that the average annual cost of operating a tractor trailer for one year is approximately $180,000 per year or $1.38 per mile, depending on the number of miles the truck drives in one year.

The cost of fuel is the number one largest cost associated with driving a tractor trailer. On average, a standard passenger vehicle uses 500 gallons of unleaded fuel per year. A tractor trailer uses up to 20,500 gallons of diesel fuel in the same time period. This translates into a huge expense that must be borne by the owner of that truck.

The second largest expense is the driver’s salary. In general, the owner of a tractor trailer should expect to spend approximately 26% of the total operating costs in drivers’ salary, or $0.36 per mile. In most cases, the driver of a tractor trailer will expect to be paid per mile driven while loaded. This excludes the time drivers spend in loading docks loading or unloading freight, though many will expect some sort of compensation for performing these tasks if the driver is expected to assist with loading or unloading.

Next, owners have to figure in the cost of maintaining the cab and trailer. The cost of this maintenance has been calculated to be 17% of the overall cost of ownership of a tractor trailer, or $30,000 annually. In terms of a per mile cost, this averages out to be approximately $0.24 per mile, based on the number of miles driven yearly.

The next cost category is comprised of repairs and maintenance of the engine and other mechanical components. Issues with airlines, hoses, alternators, wiring, brakes and other engine repairs fall into this category and comprise 10% of the overall cost of operating a tractor trailer. This translates into approximately $10,000 per year or $0.12 per mile.

Insurance is another cost associated with trucking. It has been estimated that 4% of the overall cost to run a tractor trailer is attributable to insurance costs. There are multiple insurance policies required to adequately protect the owner of the truck against liability and will average out to be approximately $6500 per year or $0.05 per mile.

Even though the average cost of a tractor trailer tire is pennies on the dollar in terms of the return on your investment, replacing one will set you back about $250 a piece. This cost can end up substantial if you find yourself replacing more than one or two at a time. To cover these costs, it is wise to budget about 3% of your operating budget to cover tires, or $4,000 per year. This will translate to $0.03 per mile driven.

Lastly, the department of transportation will require that you obtain special permits to operate your tractor trailer and you should expect to have to pay tolls and other miscellaneous costs during the year. This is the smallest segment of your operating budget and should be expected to set you back approximately $0.02 per mile.

As you can see, owning and operating your own tractor trailer can be significantly expensive. However, knowing the true cost of owning a truck will help you manage finances more effectively should you choose to purchase a truck of your own.  Infographic couresty The Truckers Report.

Who are some of the best companies for owner-operators to work for?

Who are some of the best companies for owner-operators to work for?

When you start working as an owner-operator, it’s important to find loads right away to begin bringing in some income. Owner-operators may contract with owner-operator trucking companies to get regular loads and maximize their on-the-road time.

Since there are so many trucking companies, you need to do a little research to find out which are the best owner-operator companies in your part of the country. You may wish to sort companies by how much they pay owner-operators. Don’t just look at what they pay per mile. Instead, look at the per-mile pay, if they cover any expenses incurred during trips, and if they reimburse for gas.

You may also want to look at owner-operators looking for drivers if you would rather work for an individual instead of a company. Owner-operators may rent out their truck to an individual driver if you are willing to take on their required routes.

As you look for trucking companies in your city, you may wish to look at nationally-owned companies with locations in your area. Per working owner-operators, some of the best owner-operator companies include Roadrunner Transportation Systems, FTI Trucking, Hillman International, and XPO Express. You may also want to look at companies that offer sign-on bonuses to owner-operators.

What is a lease purchase option for owner operators?

What is a lease purchase option for owner operators?

One option that some new owner operators take is a lease-purchase from a carrier. This is essentially a lease to own program, where the operator leases the truck for a certain period of time, usually about 3 years. You must still make a down-payment, but this is generally much smaller than when buying a new truck on your own.

At the end of the 3 years, the operator can either purchase the truck for what is left over between the price of the truck and what he has paid off in the lease, he can switch the truck for another lease truck or he can sell the truck and keep the difference between the selling price and what he still owes on the truck.

One major problem with the lease-purchase option for owner operators is that the leasing company will often control what loads you take, and besides the basic lease payments made every week, they can often take off money for every mile you drive to pay for maintenance and other costs on the truck.

The advantage of the lease-purchase option is that it allows you to purchase your truck with much less money up-front. But you can find yourself out of control of your own truck and your own business for the first years of being an owner operator, being controlled by the carrier from which you lease the truck. While the lease purchase option might seem like the fast track to success, it is usually better to wait until you have the money for your own down-payment and actually purchase the truck for yourself.

Once you have your own truck, visit our Owner Operator page for companies looking to hire in your home state.

What is the average salary for owner-operators?

What is the average salary for owner-operators?

If you’re interested in becoming an owner-operator, you’re probably wondering how much you can earn in this career path. According to O*Net, the average salary for a tractor-trailer driver in the United States is $38,700 per year. This includes salaries for company drivers and owner-operator trucking salary estimates.

In many cases, owner-operator truck driver salary ranges are higher than company driver salaries. This is because per-mile pay tends to be higher for owner-operators. Many O/Os report earning between $0.60 and $1.00 per mile, with a rough average of $0.85 per mile. Comparing pay rates among different companies in your area can help you find the best option in your city. That’s why we work to give you a list of all the jobs available in your area.

However, you must also keep expenses in mind when you’re considering becoming an owner-operator. As an O/O, you must pay for the upkeep of your truck, travel expenses, gas, tolls, and other expenses. These expenses may lower your take-home pay, so it’s important to include them when you are calculating your income. If you have a loan out on your truck, you may also need to include your weekly or monthly truck payment in your budget. Though there may be many expenses for owner-operators, you may be able to write off some of it as a business expense on your taxes.

How hard is it to get loads as an owner-operator driver?

How hard is it to get loads as an owner-operator driver?

Becoming a business owner can be a big responsibility, since you’re responsible both for the success of your business and for your own personal income. Prior to dedicating yourself to a career as an owner-operator, you may wish to research load options in your area.

If you’re willing to drive a variety of routes and work on the schedule of your clients, you may have an easier time getting loads than a driver who is limited to specific routes and travel periods. Owner-operator trucking companies may post jobs to load boards. Load boards list open routes, the pay rate, and what requirements they have for owner-operators.

You may also go through brokers to get access to load listings and opportunities. This may be a more appealing option for new owner-operators, since brokers can help you find loads that you are qualified for and that fit your driving abilities. Regardless of how many owner-operators looking for drivers there are, you may have to give a significant amount of your owner-operator pay to brokers if you rely on them for your jobs.

Generally speaking, the more experience you get as an owner-operator and the more references you have under your belt, the easier it is to get loads and keep your schedule full. Putting in the work early on can pay off down the road!

Is it hard to find an owner operator job?

Is it hard to find an owner operator job?

Once you own your own truck, the most important part of being an owner operator is of course finding trucking jobs.

There are many trucking companies out there who hire owner operators, it is best to search for one that will best match your requirements. Your requirements may include where you are looking to drive, specific freight your are looking to haul, and financial considerations.  Some owner operator agreements may also include items like benefits and coverage for some operating expenses.

There are also various financial considerations for owner operators.  For example, truck costs, fuel, and load rates are major concern when operating as an owner operator.  Take these factors carefully into account before signing any specific contract.

Like everything with becoming an owner operator, it is important to do your research. Find out as much as you can about a potential company before you sign on.  You may also want to ask other drivers their specific experience with a particular company for further information.

What types of jobs are available for owner operators?

What types of jobs are available for owner operators?

Being an owner-operator may sound like a great career path that can help you find financial freedom, a flexible schedule, and the benefits of business ownership. However, there are multiple types of driving jobs for owner-operators. That’s why we promote a variety of trucking jobs to help you explore your options and find the one that’s best suited for you.

Some owner-operators lease their services out to a major trucking company. If you lease with a company, you sign a contract with them that requires you to complete the loads that they assign to you and meet certain requirements. Other drivers decide to work completely independently, which involves finding your own clients, answering to clients and billing them yourself, and marketing your skills.

You can also drive many different types of trucks as an owner-operator. Flatbed owner-operator jobs may put you in charge of cross-country flatbed travel, while other drivers may be interested in hotshot owner-operator jobs. If you look for box truck owner operator jobs, you may drive a truck with a van body. Class B drivers may be more interested in straight truck owner-operator jobs, since their license may not allow them to drive tractor-trailers. Local owner-operator jobs often permit you to travel in or near your city and return home on a daily basis.

How do I become an owner-operator driver?

How do I become an owner-operator driver?

You’ve looked into what it’s like to be an owner-operator and decided that it’s a career path you’re interested in. But how do you actually become an owner-operator? As long as you already have a commercial driver’s license, you may be ready to make the leap from company driver to owner-operator. If you think this might be a good fit for your trucking career, contact the employers in your area to learn more about getting started.

One of the first things you have to decide is whether you want to lease through a company or own your own truck. If you lease, you may be restricted to the mile limits and driving locations allowed by your leasing company. If you decide to own, you may have to take on the large initial cost of a truck. However, you may be rewarded with more freedom in your career.

After you’ve decided what type of truck you’re going to own or lease, you can look into the next step of becoming an owner-operator. You must get the legal and financial aspects of your business set up. You should contact the Department of Commerce or other business-related agency in your state to find out what registration and insurance requirements exist for owner-operators.

You must then decide who your clients will be. You may seek out owner-operators looking for drivers, since they may outsource their work to available drivers. Another option for owner-operators is finding companies looking for owner-operators. Once you start getting your own loads, you can start working as an owner-operator!

How Can Drivers Prepare for CSA 2010?

How Can Drivers Prepare for CSA 2010?

There are several important ways a driver can prepare for the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010). Operating under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) guidelines, the CSA 2010 is a program that focuses upon large truck and bus safety. CSA 2010 hopes to alleviate problems before crashes occur, thereby keeping roadways safer for all drivers.

Know the CSA 2010 puts the responsibility on you to know and understand any rules. In order to prepare for the CSA 2010, drivers can take the following measures:

1. Learn all you can about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety rules and regulations. Safety rules would include driving only when you are not sleepy and only when you have not been drinking or taking drugs. Maintain a vehicle that is in proper working order and has passed an inspection. Follow all road regulations such as speed limits and only drive within your Hours-of-Service.

2. The FMCSA updates regularly on the CSA 2010 website, so be sure to visit the site often. You will find a plethora of resources to help answer any questions you might have. The CSA website has many documents including fact sheets, explanations and rules.

3. Visit http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/ where you will find your Pre-Employment Program (PSP) record. If any of your information is incorrect, let the FMCSA’s office know so they can make an update.

4. Know and understand what the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (csa 2010 BASICs) are. The FMCSA uses these categories to assess your safety, so brush up if you are unsure about the program. You will find this information at the CSA 2010 website along with the new Safety Measurement System (SMS).

5. The FMCSA offers guidelines for how to drive commercial motor vehicles. This information is listed under the CMV Web-Based Driving Tips. Read and digest this important information to stay safe on the road.

6. Your safety inspection records must be kept on hand. You will want to review the material on a regular basis. The former SafeStat model has changed. Now the CSA looks at all roadside safety violations rather than just out-of-service violations when assessing your performance. This information is also highly important for your employer, and will be asked for if you change to a new job.

7. It’s your responsibility to know and understand your employer’s safety record. The Safety Measurement System offers easy access to online records.