The trucking industry is an essential aspect of our global and domestic supply chain. Without trucks – or industrial trucking drivers – everyday production, manufacturing, and deliveries would be much more complicated and inefficient.
Truck drivers not only deliver essential everyday necessities such as food, medical supplies, gas, water (and so much more), but also operate heavy machinery such as vacuum trucks and hydro vac trucks that are essential to many industries. Trucking drivers must continue to do their jobs for society to continue functioning. This qualifies industrial trucking drivers as essential workers.
Recognizing Trucking’s Essential Workers
While professional truck drivers, as well as other operators in the machinery and transportation industry, have always performed essential jobs, the importance of their work has been brought to light by the Covid-19 pandemic. Working on the frontline, and behind the scenes of other more recognizable frontline workers such as nurses and restaurant workers, truck drivers played a huge role in keeping the world and economy running. Since the start of the pandemic and lockdowns in 2020, over 3.5 million truck drivers continued to do their jobs in America alone.
Looking beyond the pandemic, truck drivers will only continue to become more essential. Today, approximately 70% of America’s freight travels by truck. This means the majority of e-commerce purchases are delivered to us by industrial truck drivers. According to the Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 4th Quarter 2021 report by the US Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division, e-commerce sales increased 50% during the pandemic. These numbers are expected to continue growing steadily as e-commerce continues to boom. The stark increase in demand for everything from medical and cleaning supplies to food and clothing, has caused a surge of trucks on the road. While this is a good sign for the trucking industry, the labour shortage being faced by this industry is putting even more pressure on current commercial truck drivers. Drivers have been faced with extended hours and distances, with many feeling under pressure to maintain the supply chain and deliver essential goods.
Top 6 must-have traits of a great truck driver
1. Proper licensing and training
The most important step towards becoming a great truck driver is getting the proper education, licensing, and training. This includes receiving a full Class AZ/DZ truck license or any other licenses or training required for operating heavy machinery. Some companies may even require additional driver training programs to be completed.
2. Safety and responsibility
The best truck drivers always put safety first. This includes not only practising safe driving habits while on the road but performing regular upkeep on vehicles and following safety protocols when loading and unloading the truck.
3. Communication and customer service skills
While many people don’t realize this, experience in customer service is an excellent quality to have as a truck driver. Truck driving may not be considered a customer-service related job but being able to provide good service to your customers when delivering product is a trait most companies find desirable. In addition, being able to effectively communicate with your manager, dispatcher, customer, or fellow truck driver is an essential part of the job.
4. Mechanical knowledge
Having mechanical knowledge as a truck driver can be extremely helpful on the road. Knowing how to take care of minor maintenance issues can save time and ensure your truck is complying with all necessary safety standards while on the road.
Most truck drivers spend hours alone on the road. This makes having a sense of independence extremely crucial, especially if you’re facing extended hours or unexpected challenges while on the road. A great truck driver can problem-solve on their own and remain patient and calm when they encounter these kinds of situations.
Driving any vehicle requires patience. When driving is your full-time job, you must become comfortable being stuck in traffic, getting cut-off by other drivers, or having your schedule delayed by a mechanical issue or blown tire. No matter what happens on the road, it is crucial to remain patient. It is always better to be a safe driver than to speed or practice dangerous driving habits to stick to your schedule.
Benefits of becoming an industrial truck driver
While it’s no surprise that trucking can be a stressful and time-consuming job, there are many benefits that come with choosing this career path. Some reasons to consider becoming a professional truck driver include:
1. Essential work and job security
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that being a professional trucking driver is one of the most essential jobs out there. Despite lockdowns or economic crisis, truck drivers will always be needed to deliver essential goods. This, coupled with the industry’s on-going shortage of truck drivers, means professional truck drivers are in high demand. This makes it easier to land a job as a truck driver – and once you’ve landed it, you’ll have job security.
2. Great pay and benefits
Industrial truck drivers benefit from great salaries and benefits. With a few years of experience or additional training, additional opportunities can open up for truck drivers with greater independence and salaries. Truck drivers who are employed by trucking companies enjoy a full range of standard benefits such as health, dental, vision, and life insurance – these benefits are also offered for family members.
3. Growth opportunities
For those that are looking to go beyond trucking, there is a lot of growth opportunity in the trucking industry. Whether you’re looking to start and end your career as a truck driver or expand into leadership positions, the opportunities are vast.
4. Opportunities for women
If you’re a female who is considering becoming a truck driver, we have good news. Over the last few years, the industry has adapted to become more welcoming and supportive of female drivers. From 2018 to 2019, the number of female drivers increased by almost 30%. According to the CEO of FreightWaves, women now account for a quarter of some fleets. The industry is no longer geared solely towards men.
5. Become part of a team
Many trucking, industrial and manufacturing companies embrace the spirit of teamwork. No matter what trucking path you choose to take (AZ/DZ truck driver, vacuum truck driver, hydro vac driver etc.), you will have a team to support you.
Working with TEAM Group
Industrial truck driving may not be the flashiest career out there, but it’s a great option for those who prioritize independence and love being on the road. With good benefits, pay, and countless other perks offered by TEAM, working as an industrial truck driver can be a great choice for anyone looking for a stable and rewarding career.
At TEAM Group, we support a variety of truck driver and labourer positions, such as:
- AZ/DZ Drivers
- Vac Truck Drivers
- HydroVac Operators
- Liquid Vacuum Truck Driver
- Super Sucker Hydro Vac Driver
- Vacuum Truck & HydroVac Operator
As an industrial cleaning and facility management company, we have 40 years of experience. Our industry support services make it easy for our customers to focus on running their business and our employees to focus on their healthy, safety and growth.
Our culture is based on the safety, training, and growth of our employees. If you have a teachable attitude and willingness to work hard, the sky is the limit for you with TEAM.
If you’re interested in becoming and industrial truck driver with TEAM, check out our job opportunities here.