You have possibly heard the saying, “That if you got it a truck brought it!” Nothing is truer in the world of food. Trucks bring us everything from vegetables to meat and much more. Other than the few foods that people grow themselves the rest come from various places across the country depending on the time of year. Truck drivers operating in the world of food transportation can have very lucrative careers but does that mean you as a new driver should jump into that area of the industry?
The produce industry can be a very demanding part of the industry. What draws people to it are the high rates that it can pay to those wishing to dip their toes into this complex area of the transportation. Many new drivers get a false sense of big money, exotic places, and gleaming trucks because thats what they see from those already in the industry. It is not uncommon for owner operators in the industry to be making upwards of four dollars per mile. Produce comes from exotic locations like Florida and California so that attracts those that don’t like the East Coast of the United States. So you may think that the food industry is for you, but I will caution you to do your homework before settling into this area.
From a driver standpoint those same benefits that draw a driver to this part of the industry can also make it a huge headache. The high rates we talked about are there for a reason. There is a lot of waiting time in this area of the industry depending on what you haul and I am not just talking about hours, but days in some cases. There are many additional expenses in food transportation from fuel for refrigeration units to off-loading expenses, equipment washouts, and other incidentals. As a driver you may not see the rates we are talking about as many independent owner operators work this area. Length of days away from home also are part of being in the produce industry and those interested should be aware home time can vary greatly.
Am I trying to deter you from a life in the food area of the transportation industry? Of course not, I am just warning you to do your homework and investigate this part of the industry rather than just jumping in to get a job. The industry can be very challenging as far as timelines, dealing with distribution personnel, and equipment issues. I always tell people if you are interested in driving in this area of the industry try and find a carrier that focuses their resources on food transportation. That way you will have better equipment and better options when issues arise.
The largest problem in this area is you the driver. Do you have what it takes to be in this part of the industry? Are you dedicated enough to take the necessary care required for this type of freight? Do you have the organizational judgment to be on time and meet tight restrictions on food entering our Country? Do you have the flexibility for life on the road? If you can handle those issues then you may be a good fit to be a driver in the food industry. Only you will know!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com