A truck driver is a key element within the logistics jobs and career arena. They are the ones tasked with actually getting the freight to its destination. They need to be professional and well trained in the proper operation of the vehicle, familiar with the laws and regulations, as well as trust worthy.
After all they are the ones who often deal directly with the client (at the loading docks). The truck driver must report to the receiving/shipping staff, other team members, company staff, truck dispatchers, even management. Many times a customer might only speak with the shipping company via telephone or email, with the only actual human contact being the truck driver.
A few key points to consider are:
- Though they must have a CDL (with proper endorsements) they only really need a high school (or equivalent) diploma.
- Must meet all standards; to include drug and alcohol free, pass the DOT physical, and be physically able to perform all the job requirements.
- They need to maintain all the proper records and electronic logs , take proper care of their vehicle and truck equipment, and operate the vehicle in a safe manner (observe speed limits, wear their seatbelt, observe other safety rules and maintain clean safety records).
- And other all other things requirement either by law or by the company they work for.
Owner operators are considered to be a one of the logistics jobs. Much like the regular truck driver and all federal, state, and local rules do apply to them as well. Owner operators will also be expected to observe any contractual or other company obligations.
But the one big difference is that they actually own their trucks. Now in some case they might be leasing a truck from the company they work for and in other cases they might be completely independent, regardless they have a sense of freedom that a company driver doesn’t have.
If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of being independent owner operator there are numerous associations for you to check out. We don’t directly endorse, sponsor, or encourage involvement with any particular group. But, as an example of some that are available, here are three associates you might find interesting.
- American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO)
- Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) – you can read some more on this topic in one of the articles that I wrote recently: “Learn All About Pros and Cons Of Exclusive OOIDA Membership “.
- America’s Independent Trucker’s Association (AITA)
As you can see the starting pay for a truck driver is not too bad. It is even better for an owner operator. Even after expenses (which are usually covered by the company for a regular driver) things such as truck insurance, fuel, and routine truck maintenance, an owner operator’s average is $49,711.
If truck drivers are the key to the industry, than the truck dispatcher is the door. They are the ones ensuring that their drivers have loads to haul (and aren’t running empty). They also coordinated pick/drop off routes and times. Many consider the dispatcher to be the real backbone of the industry. real backbone of the industry
Now, it is very common for truck dispatchers to have real world experience as a truck driver (and most will say it helps), it not a requirement. They must have a strong understanding of the English language, Spanish in some parts of the US and even French when dealing with parts of Canada. They must be highly organized and able to handle high stress, while multitasking. Some would compare them to a circus juggler, because they must constantly juggle schedules, clients, and drivers while keeping track of everything.
A good thing about being a dispatcher is you work in a centralized location. You spend most of your time inside, usually a private or semi-private office. You get some-what standardized work schedule (depending on the company). Of course the bad side is the high stress level and long hours that sometimes must be put in.
The truck dispatcher’s salary seems to be on par with the truck driver’s. The average being $40,000, this does depend on experience, location, and size of the trucking company.
Like the dispatcher, a fleet manager position is very important and stressful. They are the ones who oversee the fleet. They are responsible for getting the right vehicles, equipment, and the maintenance of all company owned vehicles, trailers, and such.
Attention to detail is one of the key aspects to being a fleet manager. They must maintain proper records, account for all fleet related expenses, and ensure everything is done in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and/or regulations. While doing so they must also perform these duties as cost effectively as possible. That is why a good preventative maintenance schedule is the key.
Often they work with the dispatcher ensuring the shortest routes and route optimizers are used; that the drivers observe all safety rules and regulations, and that they are consuming their fuel wisely, preventing fuel misuse. They can and they should help the company to save from unnecessary expenses. They can also track the fleet vehicle using GPS and other tracking software.
The average salary for a fleet manager is approximately $75,000.
Fleet Safety Manager
Safety is the number one most important consider for any industry. That is why it is so important to have someone who is not only assigned as a fleet safety manager, but is in fact properly trained and certified (as appropriate).
The fleet safety manager as a part of the logistics jobs umbrella, needs to work well with the dispatcher and the fleet manager. Of course in small trucking company they might be one in the same, however as your organization grows the position will need to be split. They do however share many of the duties.
They must maintain all DOT files and ensure all drivers are in compliance. Keep up to date on the driver license expiration/renewal dates, DOT physical requirements, and ensure proper endorsements are maintained. They also should work with the hiring department to screen and interview candidates for all departments including screening thought truck drivers resumes. They also need to develop training programs for both new and seasoned staff.
The fleet safety manager salary is about the same on average at $75,000 per year.