Some truckers do it for life. Or at least they used to. The industry has changed so much that many of those who were happy seeing their careers out from their lorry window, now find themselves at home, waiting for a call to work. Others decide to change roles within the industry and embrace the change. They might become trainers for a company or they might shift to a desk job. Age and family commitments play a big role in taking such decisions. After all, it’s not easy to be travelling all over the continent when you have young kids and a partner who works.
Then again, company work can severely affect your home life and earnings. That’s why a good number of company drivers end up working for themselves. There’s the chance to earn more money, choose better jobs and decide when you take your holidays.
Aside from such wider considerations, there is, of course, always the actual job to take into consideration. Will you enjoy being stuck at a desk in an office all day? Will you be able to handle your new responsibilities? If you go freelance, do you have it in you to keep driving long distances? Are you responsible enough to run your own business?
When you go freelance, you need to hire an accountant and get insured. You can find good insurance advice at https://www.onesureinsurance.co.uk/hgv-insurance/. Once you have got used to running your own business, you may actually find it’s a lot less stressful than working for a company. You work on your own terms and you choose your own hours. You can extend your business scope by getting qualified with different licences. This allows you more variety in the types of work you do. Many drivers branch out and mix up coach, truck and bus work. In the summer they might take on long trips across the continent. In the winter they might prefer to stay closer to home. The big draw for most freelancers is the amount of control they gain over work and life. Rather than being told what to do, you now choose what to do.
People who go the other way – swapping the cabin for the office – often experience a bit more culture shock. No longer can they sing along to their favourite songs during most of the working day. But many who choose this route end up loving it and don’t want to get back on the road.
Once you have plenty of experience driving different vehicles and lots of knowledge about how the industry works, this knowledge and experience becomes more valuable to companies than your time. It can be used to help the company deal with junior staff more effectively and to make important decisions regarding training, routes, policy and the fleet. Moving from a job on the road to a desk job often means getting a wage hike, and that’s the reason why. You’re now being paid for what’s in your head. If you have experience supervising or training others, you’ll be a prime candidate to move into a management role.
Management can be fun, but it is usually challenging. You’ll find you have to trust other people, as well as guide them, solve problems and find solutions to new problems. You’ll also have to report to senior members about your team’s performance. Some people love these roles, others can’t stand them. Only you can know if it’s right for you. You can take management courses to make things easier on yourself.
If you do find that working with a large team within a large organisation isn’t for you, you might be better off finding something more scaled down. If your branch of the company consists of you, the transport manager and one other person – an operations director – your life is going to be much easier.
Unfortunately, the way the industry is changing, if you want to progress within it, at some point you’ll be faced with the decision to go it alone or move to the office. It’s not a decision to be feared, rather one to look forward to. People on both sides say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done.