Being a hotshot trucker, or any kind of trucker for that matter means you will be away from home more often. Before going into the trucking business, it is important to talk with your family. Let them know it will take you away from them sometimes, and it might create a strain on family life.
As you start planning your truck driver schedule, you have to consider your family commitments and other obligations to your loved ones. By thinking ahead a bit, you will be able to make ends meet while being there (both physically and emotionally) to support your family.
1.) Work as an Owner-Operator
Becoming an owner-operator means owning your own truck and subcontracting to carriers. This gives you another level of flexibility. While many choose to become owner-operators so they can pick up over the road trucking jobs and make the most money possible, that is not all there is to it.
As an owner-operator, you have the ability to balance your truck driver schedule. For instance, you could work over-the-road jobs some of the time at local, or regional jobs at different points during the year. That way you could stay home when you are needed while taking over-the-road jobs in order to boost your income at other times.
2.) Choose Assignments with Predictable Schedules
Truck drivers have several options in terms of job assignments. You can choose dedicated trucking routes that involve driving the same route for the same company, week after week. You are often paid straight pay, or a set amount each week since you drive a set route.
For your family, the benefit of a dedicated driving job is that you get a predictable truck driver schedule. Chances are, you will be home most nights. This allows you to have regular home time and to be around the house to help with dinner time and if any kiddos need help with homework.
3.) Ask Other Family Members
You know the old saying, “It takes a village.” There is a reason that is an old saying. Close family members and friends may be willing to help babysit your children while you are on the road.
Or, you might be able to trade services, such as lawn care or laundry, with friends in exchange for childcare while you are away taking a dedicated, local, or regional job.
4.) Use Technology
When you are away, you can stay connected with your family with the use of technology. Most smartphones have FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype. This can give you instant video communication with your loved ones for little to no cost. You can also record videos or audio to share with one another, as well as using texts and emails to keep in touch.
5.) Keep Important Dates on a Calendar
Write all important dates (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, important events, holidays, etc.) down or plug them into your smartphone’s calendar. This way you know the days you need to be home. Or even if you cannot be there, you can always call or send a message to let that family member or significant other you are thinking of them. Better yet, have flowers, candy, or balloons sent to their intended.
Regardless of whether or not you take any of the advice listed above, make sure to get the rest of your family involved in planning your truck driver schedule. This will ensure that everyone will be on board and that their needs will be met, guaranteeing the best results.
Do you have any helpful tips? Let us know how you balance trucking and family life in the comments below.