If you are thinking about gaining your HGV licence, you probably want to know more about the pros and cons of being a truck driver in 2021. This article will explore the main advantages and disadvantages of the truck driving profession – helping you decide whether the road transport industry is the right fit for you.
Haulage might not always get the recognition it deserves, but truck drivers are vital to society - especially with the pandemic increasing the need for regular deliveries to supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies and households. Plus, the perks of being a truck driver are different to any other job.
The highlights differ from one person to the next, but here are five reasons to become a truck driver:1. A lorry driver salary
Your truck driving pay will depend on your experience, qualifications, company, hours and where you are working, but starting driver salaries usually range from £19,000-£24,000. This figure can rise if you are willing to travel further and work longer hours. At the other end of the scale, a driving salary can increase to £40,000 with the relevant experience and training.
2. Shortage of HGV drivers
There is a shortage of 76,000 HGV drivers in the UK, and the RHA claim that the lack of lorry drivers has hit ‘catastrophic proportions.’ But the haulage industry is becoming increasingly important, especially with the outbreak of Covid and the importance of getting regular deliveries to supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies and households. The result is that there are hundreds of companies looking for new and reliable drivers to join their workforce – meaning there is plenty of driving work available.3. Licence to travel
If you are a keen explorer, lorry driving gives you the licence to travel. If you are operating over long-distance journeys, your job will take you all over the country and even into Europe, with each day providing an exciting new view. Truck driving allows you to explore beautiful locations, new cities and places you have never heard about before – which is not something that many other jobs offer.
4. Independent driving
For any lone rangers or people who like their own space, truck driving is a good fit for you. You will have schedules, deadlines and radio communication, but HGV driving gives you a great deal of independence. You are free to choose when you break, where you sleep, where you eat, what you do in the evening, and you won’t have a boss breathing down your neck.5. Getting an HGV licence
If you are keen on getting behind the wheel and becoming a truck driver, getting your licence takes around six to eight weeks. Two months might seem like a long time to some people, but when you compare it to the length of time it will take you to graduate from a university degree, you can start earning money three or four years sooner.
The Government advertise an LGV driving apprenticeship scheme with funding of up to £5,000. Other haulage firms also offer apprenticeships, and these programmes help ease the financial burden of gaining your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). Some companies may even fast-track you onto the road, giving you financial assistance to get the necessary qualifications.
We asked the truck driving community on our Facebook page about the pros of being a truck driver. These were some of the advantages that got mentioned:
“There is no other job like it. You park in different places every night and are out on the road staring out a window getting paid,” said Shayne Bell.
“Just being out on the road with my favourite music blasting away is my favourite part,” said Tim Ward.
“Best bits are seeing mainland Europe and the France toll roads,” said Adam Tee.
Despite the numerous advantages of a truck driving career, there is always another side to the coin and becoming a lorry driver is not for everyone. Here are a few of the less appealing aspects of truck driving:1. Lonely truckers
To some drivers, independence is a plus point, but the job may force you to spend nights or weeks away from home, which can be lonely for some people. However, loved ones are only ever a phone call away, and video calling can make you feel closer to home. Plus, HGV drivers share a unique camaraderie, and you will often bump into friendly faces in truck parks across the country, making great friendships along the way.2. A drivers’ hours
Long hours often come with the territory of truck driving, and you will probably have to get used to tiresome days behind the wheel.
Drivers should not be on the road for more than 56 hours in a week - but this is still far more than the average 9-5 office job. You will have to stay alert to keep yourself, your cargo and other road users safe, but the good news is that you are likely to be paid hourly. So always remember, longer shifts equal more money.3. The trucker diet
The stereotypical trucker diet is associated with fast food and unhealthy eating. You might spend a lot of your evenings in motorway service stations where you will be surrounded and tempted by burgers, sugary snacks and fried goods. However, an increasing number of truck parks offer healthier culinary alternatives for drivers, and you can prepare and pack your meals if you want to keep a closer eye on your calories.
4. Driver fatigue
If you sign-up for long-distance journeys behind the wheel, you will have to spend nights in your cab – which can take some adjusting. Drivers’ hours rules are in place to ensure that you have enough time to rest and recover between journeys, but getting your 40 winks inside the vehicle can be problematic for some. However, modern trucks are becoming increasingly comfortable, and modern additions like fans and earplugs can make your night a lot more relaxing.
If you like the sound of a haulage career, follow this link to find out more about HGV driver jobs: Where to find them, how to apply and what makes a great truck driver CV.
Josh Cousens | SNAP.