Newbies - Starting as a Company Driver
More Things To Consider
Now that you have become familiar with your carrier's pay package, you can start thinking about ways to keep more of your hard-earned dollars. You will need to learn as much as you can about the income taxes pertaining to professional drivers (see financial link). Since your job is to deliver freight, you should consider hiring someone who understands your tax situation and can advise you in your record keeping.
After you have experienced life on the road, you will be able to determine how much money you should take with you for personal expenses (see finances link). Watch your cash advances and have a credit card or debit card to use if you run short of money. Consider the costs you will have for meals, entertainment, snacks, laundry and toiletries. Keep track of these small purchases so you can be aware of where your dollars go when you are on the road.
Some drivers prefer using a beeper to stay connected to their loved ones. Your family can call you and type in a code that could signify the importance of a call. For emergencies, make sure you arrange to have a number or message that will get your attention.
When you begin your career as a professional driver, you may find it difficult adjusting to the time away from home. Your family is probably struggling with the separation also. While it is beneficial to have a way to keep in touch, be sure to set limits on conversations so your telephone bills are kept under control.
Depending upon the age of your children, you can explain to them that you will be driving a truck and may be gone for extended periods of time. Tell them how much you will miss them and how you plan to keep in touch with them. Find ways to stay informed of their activities. Ask them to prepare a calendar of their events for you to take in the truck so you can ask about the recital or the big game when you call home. Don't make promises you might not be able to keep, such as telling them a date you will be home if you are unsure. Children will learn to adapt to your absence, but you must be honest about the time you will be away and the days they will spend alone.
Taking Care Of Things At Home
Preparing for your time away is also important. You should sit down with your spouse and children, and discuss ways to deal with possible situations at home. Think about potential areas that might need your attention before you leave. Can you change the oil in the car and fill the water softener with salt so your family won't have to worry about these things? Check the belts on the lawnmower and make sure the gas can is filled.
There will always be unexpected repairs needing to be taken care of immediately. Have a list of plumbers, electricians, and furnace and appliance repair professionals handy in case the need arises. If your spouse knows who to call and has the number handy, you will be saved from having to deal with the crises from a thousand miles away.
If you have children, you will depend upon a childcare provider more than in the past. For those families fortunate enough to have grandparents or aunts and uncles available, consider yourself blessed. Perhaps you can contact the local chapter of the Red Cross or Girl Scouts for a list of sitters in case of an emergency. Don't forget to contact close neighbors who could meet your child after school if a parent is unavailable.
When a real emergency does arise and your family must contact you immediately, be sure to have a number of ways for them to get in touch with you. If they call your cell phone and you are out of tower range, what will they do? Do you want them to contact your dispatcher so you can receive a message over your satellite, or does the carrier have a policy against this? Find out how your family can notify you in the case of an emergency if your usual means of communication is not effective.
The more prepared you and your loved ones are in coping with the time apart, the fewer surprises there will be. Planning is the key to making things run smoothly, both at home and in the cab of your truck.