Are you interested in starting a career in truck driving? It’s a lucrative career path that offers job security and growth, but not all commercial driving jobs are the same. There are many different types of truck drivers, each with its own benefits and skill requirements. Our driver recruitment experts at Nova Driver Services explain them all.
When looking at different types of commercial truck driving jobs, there are two things to consider- the type of truck you’ll be driving and the distance. Let’s take a look at the different types of commercial trucks you could be driving.
Dry van trucks are where people starting out in the industry begin. “Dry van” is a common nickname for the rectangular trailers hauled by semi-trucks. Chances are you’ve seen these driving on the highway before. This type of truck is a large, single-trailer vehicle containing non-perishable products and dry goods.
You’ve probably seen a flatbed truck on the road before. As the name implies, this type of truck has a flat trailer that is open air. This type of truck is used to carry dry products or machinery that may be too big or awkward to fit in a dry van trailer. Flatbed truck drivers will have to become experts at tying down oddly shaped objects. This type of driver tends to make more due to the awkwardly sized goods they carry.
Freight hauling is a bit of a catch-all job that covers all cargo that isn’t housed under the umbrella of dry van hauling. Freight trucks transport things like liquids, oversized loads, and hazardous goods. Because the goods being hauled by freight trucks are usually more specialized, you may need extra training and certification to land these jobs, but they do tend to pay more!
Tanker truck drivers are highly sought after and some of the best paid. Tanker trucks are used to transport liquids, which can either be hazardous, like oil or non-hazardous, like water. Tanker drivers have to know how to handle their trucks masterfully since the fluid can shift during the trip.
Refrigerated trucks, or refers as they’re often called, are temperature-controlled trailers. They’re used to transport goods that have to remain at a certain temperature, such as frozen items, perishable goods, and medication. Refer drivers have to know how to check and set the temperature of their trailer, so they tend to get paid more than dry haulers.
LTL, or Less-Than-Truckload, is a popular type of commercial driver job. LTL drivers carry smaller than normal shipments. This type of job is usually shorter distances or goods that couldn’t fit in one vehicle. LTL drivers make less, but they can do more loads daily. LTL drivers tend to have to load and unload their own freight.
Auto haulers are trucks specifically designed to carry automobiles. Auto haulers transport cars from one place to another, usually delivering new cars from the factory to dealerships. If you’ve ever seen a truck full of shiny new cars on the road, you’ve seen an auto-hauler. This type of truck can be very heavy, requiring specifically trained drivers. This also means if you’re qualified for it, you’ll make more money than the average commercial driver!
In addition to different types of trucks, commercial drivers can also take on different lengths of routes. The longer the driver, the more money you’ll make usually. Here is a look at the most common types of distance classifications you’ll get to pick from.
If you hear “trucker” and picture someone that spends weeks on the road, you’re probably picturing a long-haul truck driver. As the name implies, long-haul truck drivers make trips that can take weeks. Long-haul truckers usually have special cabs with beds and kitchenettes, almost like a little home on wheels. These types of jobs make more money, but they do require you to be away from home for chunks of time.
Local or regional drivers stay within a certain area. Local drivers typically only work in one city, while regional drivers may work in an entire state/province. How much you get paid depends on the type of load and how far you’re going.
Due to e-commerce, last-mile delivery has exploded in recent years. Last-mile drivers are in high demand these days. This type of truck driver is what Amazon used to deliver your packages from their local facility to your home. Last-mile drivers tend to make multiple stops and usually make smaller deliveries.
Cross-border trucking is when drivers have to cross a country’s border to make a delivery. In North America, cross-border trucking is usually between Canada and the U.S. and the U.S. and Mexico. Cross-border trucking jobs usually require more extensive background checks to ensure you can pass through the border but tend to make more money. Depending on how far across the border you’re going, these jobs can either be long-haul or just day trips.