This post was last updated on July 22nd, 2016
Since you are considering the career earning potential as a professional truck driver, we thought it would be prudent to go in depth about the many different types of trucking services that are available.
When goods need to be safely transported, they are normally handled by trucking services that ensure that they arrive at their destination on-time and without succumbing to damage. Trucking, however, comes in many different forms that will assist both consumers and large businesses alike. While all trucking services are different, they will generally be categorized into their own specialties.
Door-to-door services are seen all throughout the country. Oftentimes, these services occur at the point of origin, or the manufacturer. When an item is purchased online or through a catalog, a trucking company will go to the area where the product is currently located and ship the item to a consumer’s doorstep.
Oftentimes, these goods are picked up from a warehouse and brought to a port wherein the items are shipped overseas and brought to the consumer by another entity.
Business to Business
Business to business transport occurs in the same manner as door-to-door. However, shipment sizes are typically much larger and the truck utilized for the shipment may be larger as well. While door-to-door can use smaller trucks in many cases, tractor trailers are typically used when shipping bulk goods from one destination to another.
Many of the items seen in this industry are:
- Manufactured items
- Dried foods that do not need refrigeration
- Industrial parts and supplies
Heavy Haul or Specialized
Heavy haul or specialized services are often seen with government agencies as well as businesses. These items are either too large to fit onto a regular truck, or they are far too heavy to meet the maximum standards that the normal truck can hold.
These items are typically very expensive and can include:
- Modular homes
There are dozens of heavy haul items that are shipped every day. Before shipping these items, custom quotes are given as well as a fairly long wait period wherein the appropriate equipment is purchased or assembled for the job. Depending on the weight and size of the object, items can take an immense amount of time to ship and the appropriate time must be given for time-sensitive materials.
Temperature controlled shipments are routinely seen with food-based items. When a good has to have a certain temperature to maintain its current quality, it will be put into a truck with the corresponding equipment needed to maintain the proper temperature at all times.
Typically, a backup system is in place so that if the cooling system malfunctions, another will instantly kick on so that the items never spoil. This is a service often seen with farming and manufacturers of food, such as ice cream or meat that needs to stay frozen.
There are special trucks for different refrigeration needs and a plethora of trucking companies that offer these services to their clients.
Every service in the United States will require that the driver of the truck has the appropriate license. These licenses are obtained through standardized testing so that the driver is fully licensed for their respective trucking services. These licenses will fall under the CDL (commercial driver’s license) criteria, but they are also categorized into different license types.
- CDL-A: This license allows the driver to operate trucks classified as heavy trucks and tractor-trailers.
- CDL-B: The class B license allows the driver to operate a standard straight truck like those seen with many door to door services.
Licenses can be obtained quickly, but there is schooling that is involved. Typically, there is a classroom course that consists of a lecture and exams that will demonstrate that the driver has the required knowledge to operate a vehicle. A highway course will follow that will ensure that the driver fully understands their rig and can begin driving without supervision.
While the CDL-A can be obtained in 3 weeks, the CDL-B testing requirements are far less and a driver will be able to obtain their license in a week or two, depending on the school. All applicants must have obtained their CDL permit as well as pass a medical exam. Drug tests are typically administered and a person must be at least 18 years of age before applying for their respective CDL license.
Obtaining Trucking Services
Trucking companies adjust their rates based on a myriad of factors. These factors include:
- Freight type
- Shipping Speed
- Specialty care
While some companies can be called to pick up for small items, others will have a very strict routine of judging the costs of the shipment. This is done through a quoting process wherein you will need to divulge details about the shipment and any special requirements that you may have. Faster shipping will have a hefty fee attached to it, while slower shipping is routinely cheaper. Specialty shipments or heavy loads will need to be priced on a per-shipment basis.