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Organizing Your Finances While Out on the RoadAs a trucker, it's important to keep your finances in order while out on the road. Regardless of if you're new to the trucking industry, or are a seasoned driver, it's never the wrong time to get your finances going in the right direction. Check out these simple financial planning tips for truckers:
Set Goals & Be Realistic
- Track spending and income. For at least a month or two, keep track of every penny you spend and every penny you make. Be honest and track every expenditure, even if you would really rather not. Take a good look at it; where is there room to save? Are there any opportunities to increase your earning?
- Assess account balances. What do you have in savings? Checking? Do you have any debt - credit card, student loans, mortgage, or vehicle loans?
- Set short-term goals. Keep these goals realistic and measurable. Do you want to pay off some existing debt? Ask yourself if you can put an extra $100 towards it each month. Do you want to build some savings? Can you put even just $10/week into a savings account?
- Set long-term goals. Are you hoping to buy a new car or make a down payment on a house? Think about how you can start saving for those goals as well. Even small amounts of savings will add up to help you meet your goals.
- Use a budgeting app. The internet has so many free budgeting tools, that allow you to see exactly where you're spending your money. One of the best is called "Every Dollar", by Dave Ramsey.
- Take advantage of 401K match options. Consider this - if you make $50k a year, and your employer offers to match 50% your 401k contributions up to 6%, that means that there is up to $1,500 of additional pay available to you.
So, where are some places to find room in your budget?
- Eating out. Of course, so much of your job is on the road, and eating out is the easiest thing to do. But in addition to being rough on your waistline, eating frequent meals in restaurants is rough on your budget. Pack your own snacks and beverages, make your own coffee, and plan to eat meals in your truck more often than you eat out.
- Bad habits. Smoking or other tobacco usage, speeding tickets, or unnecessary entertainment can all eat into your budget.
- Cell phone and other device plans. Are you constantly going over your minutes or data usage and paying hefty overage charges? Or are you regularly not using your plan to its fullest and overpaying?
- Insurance. Regularly assess your insurance coverage (whether home, truck, or otherwise) to make sure you have enough coverage, but you aren't overpaying.
- Preventative maintenance. On you or your truck. Take care of your health and get regular medical and dental checkups to save money in the long run. Same goes for your truck - take good care of it now and avoid costly breakdowns later.
- Pay with cash. Save on interest charges on a personal credit card and make sure you stick to your budget by using cash.
Are you ready to start earning a consistent paycheck as a truck driver? Call HMTT today at 651-528-8994 and discover the tuition assistance program that best fits your situation, so you can get rolling in a new career in the trucking industry. See how easy it is to afford CDL Training at HMTT!
Guidelines from the DOTAs a driver new to the industry, or as someone considering getting a CDL, there are some important things to know about the time you can spend on the road driving. The Department of Transport determines the number of hours truck drivers may accumulate per day and week on the road. The rules are to ensure the safety of the truckers and other road users. There's a limit as to how long a driver may be on the road to ensure they get sufficient rest. The rules can sometimes be a little complicated and confusing. Breaking them down according to categories can help you understand them.
Some of the hours-of-service rule guidelines
- Your last legal reset is when your workweek begins. For example, if you started at 8 a.m. Tuesday, your 168-hour workweek ends on Tuesday at 8 a.m. the following week.
- Every duty period starts after a 10-hour off.
- Truck drivers may not work for more than 60 hours in seven days.
- It is not possible to extend the 14-hour duty period using off duty time for fueling, meals, and breaks.
- Following a 10-hour off duty period, the truck drivers can be on duty for up to 14 hours. But there's a limit of 11 hours driving time.
- A 30-minute break is mandatory within 8 hours after coming on duty.
Some of the penalties for violating hours-of-service rule guidelines
- Depending on the severity of the violation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can levy fines of between $1,000 and $11,000.
- The law enforcement officers can place you on shutdown by the roadside until you accumulate the recommended rest hours.
The right training makes all the difference for a long, successful career! Enroll today and learn all about HOS rules. Call 651-528-8994 or submit the form on this page!
Will the Drive Safe Act Improve Trucking?The Drive Safe Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced to Congress last year. It is supported by both the American Trucking Associations and the International Foodservice Distributors Association. If passed it will have a major impact on the current driver shortage.
The ProblemThe American Trucking Associations estimates that the trucking industry is currently 50,000 drivers short, and that number could potentially reach as high as 175,000 drivers by 2026. This is a major problem for the foodservice distribution industry that relies on these trucks to deliver tens of thousands of products each day. Adding to the issue is the age restrictions currently placed on drivers. You can earn a CDL when you are 18, but drivers are not allowed to cross state lines until they are 21. This causes the industry to lose potential drivers who choose other career paths out of high school.
The Drive Safe ActThe Drive Safe Act will allow drivers to cross state lines at 18, as long as they complete a two part apprenticeship. The drivers will be required to complete 400 hours of on duty time and 240 hours of drive time with an experienced driver in the cab. Additionally, trucks used in the program will be required to have certain safety features such as, an active braking system, a forward facing camera and speed governed at 65 mph or less.
The Effect on TruckingIf the Drive Safe Act passes it will help reduce the driver shortage. It will allow people to obtain their CDL and begin their apprenticeship right out of high school. It will open up higher paying jobs to younger drivers, making a trucking career more appealing to them. It will also make the industry safer through it's new training requirements. To learn more about how this Act will impact your trucking career, contact us today.
Industry Outlook for the New YearThere are many reasons why you should consider a career in the trucking industry. But one of the most important questions to ask is - Will there be work for me after I complete my training and get my CDL A? If you're looking to start a first career or need to find a better paying job - and one where you don't have to worry about being laid off, then continue reading this jobs forecast. Industry analyst shows the trucking industry is expected to do very well in the year 2019.
Not Enough Drivers To Meet The JobsFirst of all, there is a shortage of trained truck drivers to fill the jobs that are available. Shipping products by truck is on the rise. According to Truck.com
"Overall, the trucking industry moves more than 70 percent of the nation's freight by volume...The industry was short about 50,000 drivers in 2017, and that number could rise to 175,000 by 2026..."The truck driver shortage is not new, but maybe the reasons why we need more drivers has changed: -- the current workforce is mostly male over 45 years of age - many are starting to retire early -- some truck drivers decide to change to desk jobs where they are in the office more -- other drivers stop hauling due to health concerns such as diabetes and high blood pressure What does this mean for you? Never has there been a better time to enroll at Heavy Metal Truck Training. This is the first step to a rewarding career that gives you freedom and an excellent income.
Trucking Industry Forecast For 2019The trucking industry is experiencing a period of growth right now. This is due to NAFTA trade agreements that support the movement of goods across the nation - between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Carriers are looking to find enough drivers to move this freight. Here are some statistics according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: -- Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers - Number of Jobs: 1,871,700 for an increase of 108,400 -- Delivery Truck Drivers - Number of Jobs: 1,421,400 for an increase of 55,200 -- Taxi Drivers and Ride-Hailing Drivers - Number of Jobs: 305,100 for an increase of 15,100 These numbers are average, and as the economy continues to improve, it is certain the trucking industry will surpass these statistics. Discover how you can become a part of this growing industry that expects wages to continue to skyrocket by calling HMTT today! 651-528-8994
Following Up with an HMTT GraduateAva left Eastern Europe for the United States with the hope for a better life for her and her child.
It wasn't easyAfter settling in the Minneapolis area, she found it hard to land a good job. The only jobs she could find paid minimum-wage and involved low skill work. This work couldn't come close to letting her be self-sufficient, and they didn't offer her any prospects for the future. She knew she needed a career, but she also needed guidance on how to get one.
A little help from her friendsAva began working with LifeTrack's Employment Services. After speaking with an employment coach, completing an assessment of her talents and skills, and working with mentors, she decided to learn to enter commercial trucking. She enrolled in the Lifetrack's Pathways to Prosperity Commercial Trucking Program. Heavy Metal Truck Training works with Lifetrack, providing class A commercial driver's training to their clients.
Excellent training and hard work paid offAva completed one of HMTT's driver's courses and continued to take financial literacy and employment courses at LifeTrack. After four months of work and study, she obtained her class A commercial driver's license. And, she did it on her first try. Using the employment skills she learned, she landed her first driver's job with DHL at $21 an hour! This is a big step up from the minimum wage jobs she did when she arrived in the United States. Ava is realizing her American dream because of her hard work, determination, and the help she received from LifeTrack and Heavy Metal Truck Training.
Heavy Metal Truck Training is proud of Ava and their training programHeavy Metal Truck Training is happy they could be part of Ava's success story. However, they aren't shocked by it. Many of their students have changed their lives by completing the Heavy Metal training program and earning their commercial driver's license. Heavy Metal offers several courses in commercial truck driving. Our extensive 460-hour commercial truck driving course offers: -- Qualified, trained and patient instructors -- Unlimited road tests -- Complete classroom and lab training -- Financial assistance -- Certificate of completion
Changing lives one mile at a timeMany people find themselves in Ava's position when they have to change careers because of life's circumstances. There is a big demand for commercial truck drivers around the country and completing Heavy Metal Truck Training commercial driving program prepares you for the exciting and growing field of commercial transportation. Are you ready to enter the well-paid career of commercial truck driving? Call HMTT today and we'll get you on the road to your new career! 651-528-8994
Taking Your Pet With You on the RoadBeing a solo OTR truck driver means you might find yourself on the road, and away from home, for weeks at a time. But what if you had a buddy to keep you company during those hours behind the wheel? No, I'm not talking about Team Driving. I'm talkin' about pets! For some truckers, being able to take a pet on the road can make the truck driving way of life even more rewarding. While not every trucking company is pet friendly, many are updating their policies and letting drivers take a pet or two on the road with them!
Trucking with a dog. Or cat. Or...duck?Many trucking companies are allowing drivers to bring along a 4-legged, furry companion. But what about a duck?! Those in the Twin Cities metro might remember Frank the duck. Back in 2008 Boyd Huppert introduced us to Frank in his Land of 10,000 Stories: Duck in a truck story. Frank rode along with his human, Joe Mansheim, as he delivered construction materials across the Twin Cities. Here's the story, originally aired in 2008: On Monday, Kare11 updated their viewers that Frank the duck died last week, on his 9th birthday. Joe recently welcomed Eddy as his new duck in the truck.
Pet Friendly Trucking CompaniesRiding a long with a feathered friend might be out of the normal, but not out of the question. LTI Trucking Services gave one of their drivers permission to bring his talking parrot along. The bird sat on his shoulder while he rolled down the road! It's important to know that not every trucking company is pet friendly, and some are more friendly than others. Be sure to ask important questions, like what their pet policy is, what breeds are allowed, and if there is a deposit or other requirements. Roehl Transport Inc., H.O. Wolding, US Xpress, and Stevens Transport are just a few of the trucking company HMTT partners with that allows pets. TruckingTruth.com has an updated list of trucking companies that allow pets, but for the most current information, talk to a company recruiter!
If you’re looking to start your trucking career and want to bring a pet along for the journey, your first step is to start here! At HMTT, you'll get the CDL training you need, and we can connect you with pet friendly trucking companies though our job placement and pre-hire program!
Contact us today! 651-528-8994
Percy the cat clings under a semi - and lives to tell the taleIf cats have nine lives, then Paul Robertson's feline friend has eight left. The St. Paul long-haul truck driver recently lost his cat, Percy, while recovering from a bout of food poisoning at a rest area in Ohio. While Robertson was sleeping in the bed of the truck, Percy stepped on the power window switch and escaped. Devastated, Robertson posted about the incident on Facebook. Robertson, 57, created a map to show his location, and his Facebook followers sprung to action. Some shared the post and offered prayers and tips on how to get Percy to come back. Others began calling nearby animal shelters looking for Percy. One friend showed up to help Robertson search the rest area in the rain and lightning, and another created a Go Fund Me account to raise money for a reward. When Percy got out, his words spoke so deeply to all of us, especially ones that have been in that position of losing a beloved pet," said Jennifer Smith, a close friend of Robertson's. It might just be him and his kitty in the truck hauling down the road day after day, but when he logs onto Facebook, they have an entire extended family online, new and old, looking forward to hearing about their day's adventure." By night's fall, there was still no sign of Percy. Robertson left Percy's litter box and food, and a pair of dirty socks outside the truck to lure Percy home. Still, no luck. A winter storm was moving in and Robertson would soon need to move on. He had a load to deliver and a deadline. After more than 24 hours of searching, Robertson regretfully left Percy behind, then posted the saddest Facebook update ever. "I felt hollow and low and terrible," Robertson said. "But I couldn't be days late because my cat went missing." The next 400 miles were the worst stretch of travel Robertson had experienced in his six years of driving semi-truck. But then, the unthinkable happened. Shortly after arriving to his destination, Robertson saw a cat emerge from beneath his semi-truck. It was Percy. Robertson detailed the reunion through - what else – a Facebook update. "This is the feel-good story of 2017," Robertson said. "If ever a moment felt like a gift from God, it was then." Aside from needing a warm bath and a trip to the veterinarian for some medication to heal an eye infection (likely from the dust and salt endured on the long trip), Percy happily reclaimed his co-pilot status after his daring adventure. And Robertson promptly MacGyvered the window switches so that Percy isn't tempted to take a joyride again. -- Article reposted with permission from Aimee Blanchette, Star Tribune Source: StarTribune.com
2016 Community Builder of the YearEach year, Lifetrack presents a Community Builder of the Year award to a local Twin Cities business that demonstrates advocacy, support and dedication toward Lifetrack participants who are looking for employment. This award honors the work of businesses that play an essential role in helping to eliminate economic and employment disparities. Lifetrack has named Heavy Metal Truck Training as its 2016 Community Builder of the Year for its outstanding service to job seekers who aim to pave their way into the high-growth industry of commercial trucking.
The Heart of LifetrackFor Lifetrack, their everyday mission is to develop the strengths of adults and families facing life challenges, and provide a solid foundation for the next generation. For over 20 years, Lifetrack has helped local residents, immigrants, and refugees find meaningful jobs in Minnesota. Heavy Metal Truck Training is a strong advocate for Lifetrack’s employment program, and works closely with the team and new participants to ensure that they succeed throughout their entire truck driver training.
Hiring PartnerBy sustaining strong partnerships with local businesses like Heavy Metal Truck Training, Lifetrack is able to offer job seekers skills-training, networking connections, and support so they can attain better employment and become active participants in our economy.
Career TrainingAs part of Lifetrack's Train-to-Career Program, HMTT provides Minnesota State certified CDL training and job placement assistance to program participants hoping to attain their commercial driver’s license and find employment in the trucking industry. This program is funded by the City of Minneapolis and helps low-income residents enroll in training for living-wage careers in growing industries like trucking. The partnership between HMTT and Lifetrack is one of the most successful working relationships, and Heavy Metal Truck Training is honored to have received this community award. Read the full article here.