Trucking offers drivers the freedom of the road, job benefits, and high pay. But many drivers are discovering the drawbacks of hidden costs with out-of-pocket expenses that eat away at their earnings. Truckers can navigate around this problem by creating a budget, keeping records of purchases, staying on top of truck upkeep, and better driving practices. To help you stay aware of these expenses so you can plan ahead and save money, Commercial Truck Trader is sharing eight hidden costs of trucking.
1. Truck Licensing and Training
To become a professional truck driver, you will have to obtain your commercial driver’s license, which means you will have to pay to go to trucking school. You may have to pay for further training, licensing, or fees depending on the type of work you’re doing with your truck. And even experienced drivers may want to set aside earnings for driver improvement or training courses to sharpen their skills with the roll out of new trucks or technology in the market.
2. Insurance Costs
As a driver, you will have to consider the costs of insurance premiums for your truck, cargo, business insurance (if you’re an owner-operator), and any personal insurance coverage you may need. Compare policies to get a better idea of prices for premiums, and always put your health and safety first, especially if your company does not offer coverage for health insurance. Drive carefully, follow the rules of the road to keep your premium low, and plan ahead to prevent mishaps that may affect your truck or cargo.
3. Fuel Prices
Truck drivers can expect to pay thousands of dollars each year on fuel, and while gas prices fluctuate, truckers should plan to spend more at the pump. Better driving practices like preventing idling, monitoring your truck’s towing capacity, and optimizing routes for efficiency can help with fuel economy. If you’re refueling frequently on long journeys, consider the most fuel-efficient semi trucks available on the market to cut down on costs.
4. Vehicle Downtime and Maintenance Costs
Another hidden cost that will add up quickly, you should plan to spend thousands of dollars on vehicle downtime and maintenance. To save money in the long run, stay on top of vehicle repairs, keep a regular maintenance schedule, and have your truck inspected by a certified professional. Take care of your tires, oil and fluids, look for vehicle damage when you’re pulled over at truck stops, and consider upfits and new technology that may improve your truck’s longevity and resale value.
5. Tolls and Inspection Fees
Long haul drivers with semi trucks will incur fees from roadside FMCSA inspections, state highway tolls, police stops, and authorities inspecting cargo while you’re on the job. Plan ahead, always know the weight of your truck and cargo, and be aware of all the tolls you will encounter as you plan routes. When it comes to jobs, keep up communication and make sure instructions are clear when handling deliveries so you can efficiently schedule loading and unloading.
6. Coffee and Meal Costs
Coffee and meal costs may seem little, but they add up for drivers that stop for a drink or bite to eat on a daily basis. Avoid fast food or dining out to save money, and instead consider buying groceries that you may be able to keep in your truck. If you have the cab space, get a coffee maker so you’re not spending money every day for a cup of joe. Tally up the costs of coffee and meals so you’re aware of how much you’re spending to help create a budget.
7. Lodging Costs
Hotels and motels can be costly on long trucking trips, so it’s important to plan out your route and schedule your stays far in advance. Consider budget stays at inexpensive inns that are suitable for truckers. Or, buy a sleeper truck, take breaks to rest, and see where you can park your vehicle for the night so you never have to pay for lodging.
8. Trucking Taxes
Vehicle, freight transportation, and even vehicle emission taxes should all be considered when looking out for hidden costs. For owner-operators, properly filing your taxes and staying on top of company expenses could save you a significant amount of money each year. Make yourself familiar with the common tax deductions for trucking business owners that could help you save during tax season.
From maintenance to fuel, the hidden costs with trucking jobs can add up and reduce your earnings. Being aware of these costs, planning ahead, and smarter driving practices can help you save and cut down these expenses. If you’re looking for your next commercial vehicle, be sure to see the nation’s largest inventory of new and used trucks and vans on CommercialTruckTrader.com and our sister site NextTruckOnline.com.