What Does a CDL Schedule Look Like? [Life with a CDL]

Life as an Over-the-Road truck driver with a CDL schedule is a pretty exciting one. 

It is mostly about being on the open road and moving inventory from one part of the country to the other. This is why many CDL truck drivers said they would never leave their trucking driving job for a 9 AM to 5 PM carrier in a cubicle. 

Being an over-the-road truck driver or local truck driver is more of a lifestyle than a job. This lifestyle is highly demanding, both on you and your family. It involves many things including a DMV CDL schedule, long hours on the road, and more. 

However, if you value higher pay, flexibility, freedom, as well as following a different path from everyone else in society, then you should explore this career. 

cdl schedule blog graphic

Are you considering a career in the truck driving industry? 

Companies are hiring CDL University’s graduates. Here are some of the things you should know and expect about becoming a professional truck driver:

Days Can Start Very Early

If you’ve received your CDL, it’s likely that you are working to earn as much money as fast as you can. After all, that’s why you earned your certification in the first place. Days can start very early for over-the-road truck drivers and local truck drivers too. 

Many truck drivers like moving with the light. There are also a handful of drivers that like driving through the night. However, there are no fixed starting hours for over-the-road truck drivers, except when they call in to dispatch after coming back from “time off.” You can be called upon to hit the road at any time, mostly early hours of the day. 

The Distance You Cover Will Determine Your Earnings

In this line of work, your earning is determined by how far you drive (at least with most companies). Some companies pay their drivers hourly. However, in most cases, drivers are paid by miles. This is interesting, as your earnings are not affected by how slow or fast you drive.  

Expected Working Duration

You might desire to work for 70 hours in a period of eight days to earn as much money as you can. After working for up to 70 hours, you will not be allowed to drive again. 

Truck drivers can only drive again after taking a complete 34 hours off duty. A truck driver can reach the 70 hours limit by working 14-hour days. However, you cannot drive for over 11 hours in one day. Your hours of services must be concluded with a 10-hour break. 

All Miles Are Not Given the Same Preference

Some companies that pay their truck drivers “practical miles” pay based on the miles the driver covered while on the job. At the same time, paid miles are like drawing a straight line from one point on the map to another (point Y to Z), even though the route from point Y to point Z will not always be straight. 

You Don’t Always Get to Do It Alone

As the truck driver, you will either do live loading and unloading or “drop-n-hooks.” Unloading freight is not your responsibility. You will likely still have to depend on several receiving and shipping departments observing your schedule. 

There are Strategies to Increase Your Earning

Usually, you will not know your exact pay range until the end of the year. According to the salary search tool builder of CareerBuilder, the median national salary is $60,500. Some drivers even earn as high as $75k to $105k. You can increase your earnings significantly if you:

  • Become a trainer
  • Haul hazardous materials or oversized freight
  • Earn a percentage pay of every load you haul

Your “Office” is on the Road

The truck driving business will make you spend a lot of time on the road. Many truck drivers are expected to cover about 125,000 miles in a year. This means they have to cover about 2,500 miles every week, and this boils down to a coverage of 500 miles per day. 

This is a pretty long distance to cover, and it is what you will be dedicating your time to if you pick a career in this field. You will be driving very long distances, spending most of your time on the road. However, the compensation is really worth it. It is even an enjoyable and fun thing for most drivers.

Truck Driving Comes with Some Goodies

Most people have always wished to have a tour around the country. Interestingly, the wish of others is the lifestyle of truck drivers. Truck drivers get to see different parts of the country and enjoy some unique views with a CDL schedule. 

Another fascinating thing about it is that you would mostly be driving modern trucks. These modern trucks come with ergonomically designed, comfortable seats that will help you remain focused on alert while on the road. 

Tips for Maximizing CDL Schedule and Making More Money

Plan Your Trips

One of the best ways to maximize your time to make more money is to plan your trip. Planning your trip is very important, and many truck drivers fail to do this. Rather than planning their trips before starting the day’s work, they just enter the truck and hit the gas pedal, and this can cost them money out of their paycheck. 

  • Before you hit the road, get clear directions from the customer and find out if truck parking is available. 
    • You should always have a paper map as a backup
    • Know the gas stations before time
    • Plan your driving hours every day

Plan Your Routes

Planning your route is another great way to maximize your time and make more money. Before you hit the road, you should consider the routes you need to take. 

Some routes might be longer but they have good roads and minimal traffic. Some shorter routes might be stuffed, and you might spend a lot of time there. Time is very important in this line of business, and you do not want to spend a lot of time in traffic. 

Take Breaks

Driving for 11 hours a day can be exhausting and you need to take breaks. For your safety and mental health, it is important that you take breaks. You should use your break for more productive things such as taking a quick nap, eating, fueling up, and using the bathroom. 

Final Thoughts

The truck driving industry is one of the most profitable. Drivers are well taken care of and the pay is great. However, a lot is required from you as a truck driver. You need to spend a lot of time on the road, consider your CDL schedule, and more. Interested in the transportation industry, but you’re not thrilled about driving a truck for a living? Check out our blog, “Exciting Class A & Class B CDL Jobs You Probably Haven’t Thought Of.”

cdl schedule appointment

Schedule your appointment with our enrollment specialists for free information on our CDL training. CDL University will help prepare you for your CDL test date and your life with a CDL. If becoming an over-the-road truck driver doesn’t sound appealing to you, we help students land local truck driving jobs daily. Whatever you want out of your CDL, we can help you get it with our truck driver training.