CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — With thousands of 18 wheelers on the road, jobs in trucking may not seem to be in high demand, but in the lowcountry they are.
It’s a career that movies like Smokey and the Bandit made popular, but what many people may not know is that drivers can make a lot of money and it doesn’t take long to get licensed.
We spoke with independent contractors, Thomas Smith and David Johnson. They own their trucks and run their businesses, but operate under Robin Hood Container Express. They say there is a constant need for new drivers.
Smith began driving after he left the military, 30 years ago.
“Upstate New York, Louisiana, Texas, I’ve been to a lot of places,” he says, adding that drivers have an opportunity to go where others do not. “Travel, see the world. I’ve enjoyed it.”
He recommends that those starting out in the field should consider driving with a company until they’re ready to go at it alone.
“There are plenty of companies out here that will train you, put you in a truck and will pay you anywhere from 50 to 70 thousand dollars a year just to be a company driver.”
He added that when it comes to being an owner/operator, you can make quite a bit more, “It’s a six figure income. Easily.”
It can mean long days and time away from home, but it doesn’t have to. David Johnson began driving about 25 years ago, but eventually decided he wanted to make local trips instead of the usual 5 to 6 hours.
“I figured that I was getting to be a little older and I wanted to see my two boys grow up,” says Johnson.
There are many classes available in the tri-county area where drivers can get licensed. We’re told many of them are a few thousand dollars, but Smith says you can typically make that money back quickly and often times companies will pay for it.