July 6, 2018No Comments

Don’t Haul Without a 401(k)

Don't Haul Without a 401(k)

Not all employers offer the same benefits to their drivers; if you are looking for a comfortable retirement, then you want to ensure that your prospective company offers a 401(k). What exactly is a 401k and why does it hold the key to your future?

401k might not seem like a need right now, but later on in life it will be.

What is a 401(k) Retirement Plan?

Simply put a 401(k) is a retirement plan that allows you to store money for your later years. A percentage is taken out of your paychecks and helps replace your typical employment income when needed after retirement.

Depending on your employer, they may also opt to match a percentage of your monetary contributions. As 401(k) offerings differ between companies, it is essential to understand precisely what the company you are prospecting is offering.

Employers are not required to match 401(k) contributions, but it has become a common practice within most larger companies. An example of a basic policy would be one that mirrors 50% of your contributions.

Saving a certain amount from your paycheck and your employer also making a contribution will result in a total contribution. It is important to take advantage of this benefit when offered its like free money for retirement!

 

Why Should I Consider a 401(k)?

A 401(k) is a vital company offering and should be carefully considered when seeking a company for employment. It might be better to opt for a lower paying position with a 401(k) than a higher paying position without.

Once you pick the company you wish to work for that offers a 401(k), do more research.

For starters, it is critical to discover when you can begin contributing to a company’s 401(k) offering. You may have to work a certain amount of time before being eligible for a 401k plan.

Some employers require a more extended amount of time like a year before you can participate in the 401k program. The sooner you decide on a 401k the better, you're money will grow allowing you to live comfortably during retirement.

 

What Should I Look Out For With a 401(k)?

401k Savings Plan

Many companies require you to stay with the company for a specific amount of time before you can keep their contributions. Don’t be afraid to ask the company for details about their 401(k) offerings. While some companies will help to maintain your plan for no cost, many will request fees for maintenance.

Remember to keep an eye on the policy that shares what percentage of your contribution a company is will match. Some companies do not match a percentage. However, while a 401(k) plan is better than nothing an employer that offers a higher match percentage is ideal.

At this point, you should see the incredible advantage of working with a company that offers a 401(k) for retirement. While you might be comfortable with your current income, what happens when you retire and your active income drops to nothing? The answer to not only comfortably in your older age but also essential security, comes thanks to your 401(k) contributions.

 

When Can I Take Advantage of a 401(k)?

Now that you know your company selection and current financial contributions can shape the latter half of your life, you might ask when you can begin to access that money. When does retirement start for a hard working individual such as yourself?

Generally, you need to be 59.5 years of age to obtain your contributions without incurring a 10% withdrawal penalty, but if you decide that you need money from your 401k sooner you may do so paying tax on what you withdraw.

If the 401(k) game isn’t new to you, or if you remembered that one of your past companies offered a plan you can opt to move the assets into your new employer’s plan. If your new company has a human resources or finances department, it may be best to speak with them to determine the best course of action for your future.

 

Why Should I Work Towards my Future?

When we work hard at our jobs, many of us keep our eyes on the present to ensure that ourselves, and our families, can live comfortable lives. Still, working with your employer goes beyond merely considering the present day. Every day we work, we need to be conscious of what we will do one day when we are no longer able to drive long hauls or provide the services we have previously.

Finding an employer that offers a 401(k) retirement plan helps to shape your future, allowing you to enjoy your elder years. If you are currently seeking driver opportunities with a company that is keen to look after your future, be sure to checkout Logiflex.

Not only does Logiflex offer drivers disability insurance, life insurance, and pet-friendly vehicles, but also that critical 401(k) retirement plan that we have been discussing. If you are ready for the next step of your life, apply at Logiflex’s website today.

 

July 6, 20181 Comment

Truck Driving and Family Life

 

family truck

 

Truck driving and family life is not an easy thing to navigate. Most people work a job that allows them to come home to their family at the end of the day. Whether it’s in an office, factory, or retail shop, their work location is usually within an hour of their home. For over the road truck drivers, however, this is not the case. The unfortunate reality of life for them is that they must be on the road for weeks at a time, often leaving their families behind without certainty as to when they are going to return. Such life can be stressful for both the truck driver and his wife, creating many difficulties that drivers must face when pursuing a career behind the wheel.

 

Uncertainty of Schedule

 

When a driver embarks on a trip across the country, he doesn’t always have a direct route back home. In many cases, he must rely on several backhauls to move from location to location until he eventually gets a shipment that brings him back to his destination. Sometimes, a driver may be able to set up his schedule so that he has a clear route back. This still comes with uncertainty, however, as shipments can be canceled, reconsigned, or significantly delayed. When that happens, there is no guarantee that a driver will be able to find a profitable replacement shipment that will get him where he wants to go.

 

Inclement weather, accidents, and traffic can also contribute to this uncertainty. With the United States being such a massive landmass, it can be hot and sunny in one city while a blizzard is ravaging a location only a few hundred miles away. Drivers can’t expect regular weather patterns if they are driving over the road, so they can’t always accurately predict when they are going to be home. They also have to account for their DOT hours of service. 

 

Loneliness

 

While many truck drivers enjoy the “lone ranger” lifestyle that the open road affords them, the fact remains that it can be stressful to be isolated for such long periods of time. Many drivers report that they miss their families immensely when they are driving, causing them emotional distress and contributing even more to their feelings of loneliness. This one of the most significant difficulties of choosing the independence that comes along with being a truck driver.

 

Drivers can make friends on the road, and they often do. However, this is not quite the same as being at home with a loving family and permanent companions. They can’t expect that they are going to be creating long-lasting bonds when they are always moving in different directions and running on separate schedules. This lack of attachment can cause feelings of isolation and depression. Most people want to connect with others, and it is increasingly difficult to do so when you must continuously be shuttling off to different locations.

 

An Empty Home

 

Drivers aren’t the only ones who are negatively affected by life on the road. Their partners at home can feel just as lonely and stressed out if they are gone for long periods at a time. A driver’s wife at home may experience the same feelings of sadness and isolation while her husband is driving across the country for weeks at a time. This stress on both parties can lead to arguments when he does eventually make it back home.

 

These problems are even worse if a driver has children. Kids want to be around their mother and father frequently, and they can become very disappointed if they find out that their parent will be delayed even longer than expected. Younger children don’t understand that some things are out of their parents’ control, so they may feel neglected or let down even though their father or mother is doing his or her best to get back home in a reasonable amount of time.

 

Solutions

 

While there are many issues that can put a strain on the family life of a driver, there are also ways to work around these. As with any job, there are going to be ups and downs, but it is up to the individual to work through these and focus on the positive aspects of the job. These are some of the things that drivers can do to reduce the stress caused by their position.

 

Set Realistic Expectations

 

A driver should talk with his or her spouse and be honest about the reality of their job. He should not set unrealistic expectations that will only serve to let his partner down. When the partner at home knows that the truck driver will not be back soon, he or she will be more accepting of their absence and able to plan around it. It will take some work, but couples must strive to understand each other and know what to expect in the future.

 

Focus on Scheduling

 

As mentioned, a driver can’t always rely on getting a direct route back home. However, he can be proactive about finding the right loads and taking better routes to increase his chances of a timely return. He should study the markets and try to make consistent contacts with shippers that can give him quality shipments that take him where he needs to go. Problems and delays will inevitably occur, but a driver should stay focused on doing everything he can to reduce the likelihood of these occurrences.

 

Consider Driving as a Team

 

Many couples share the responsibility of driving. Such arrangement works best for families without kids or whose kids are already out of the home. Operating as a team allows the couple to be with each other and get through the job together rather than being apart for weeks or months at a time. If they plan their routes efficiently, it can also be far more profitable than driving solo because of the reduced amount of downtime. Traveling the country is an excellent way for couples to bond.  Moreover, driving together allows them to make money while maintaining a happy and healthy relationship.

July 5, 20182 Comments

The Benefits of Pursuing a Career as OTR Driver

 

Truck in beautiful place

Being a professional truck driver can be hard work.  You may have to travel long distances, fight through inclement weather, and be on the road for weeks at a time. However, this hard work is extremely rewarding, and the freedom provided by the job is perfect for the millions who pursue the career every year. Driving a truck isn’t for everyone, but many people are seizing the opportunity to work on their own schedule and explore the country. Truck drivers are often unique, motivated individuals, and there are many benefits that come with pursuing the profession. Here are some of the truck driver benefits when they get in the industry.

Freedom

 

As already mentioned, driving a truck allows you a certain amount of freedom that many other careers cannot provide. Your tractor is your office, and you take it with you everywhere that you go. You don’t have to sit down at a desk every day staring at a computer screen for 10 hours straight. Instead, you get to face the open road and drive across the country at your own accord. Sure, you have deadlines to meet and shipments to deliver, but you get to decide how you are going to succeed and what loads work the best for you.

 

Driver having barbecue on a rest area

Driver cooking during his break

Once a truck driver gets behind the wheel, they are in charge of their day. They may  communicate with dispatchers, shippers, and manufacturers throughout the day, but they are ultimately responsible for the route that they take. It can be a liberating feeling to fire up that engine and embark on a cross-country journey. You can choose the music you want to listen to, the food you want to eat, and the route that you want to take.

 

As with any job, truck drivers have expectations that they have to meet. They must do their best to deliver on time and drive safely, keeping the freight intact and looking out for those with whom they share the road. This, however, isn’t a problem for most drivers. They enjoy the challenge of meeting these deadlines, and the better they are at it, the more they will get paid. In this respect, drivers are free to decide their own fate and choose how and when they want to work. Successful truck drivers use this freedom to make profitable decisions while maintaining a steady flow of work.

 

Individuality

 

Driving a truck allows someone to express themselves in ways that many other jobs do not. Owner-operators can pick their tractors and customize their “office” to their liking. Whether this is done through personalized graphics or paint jobs is completely up to the owner of the truck. As they travel across the country, they can make the decisions to change the truck as little or as often as they see fit.

 

Driving a truck allows a person to operate individually without needing to conform to certain standards. Yes, drivers must comply with the laws of the road and the HOS regulations of the industry, (you can read about Personal Conveyance or 14 hour rule extension) but they aren’t necessarily required to dress or act in a certain way as part of their job. They are allowed to maintain their identity and work as individuals with their own personality and ideas. Truck drivers provide a vital service for the economy, but they are able to do so by being themselves rather than latching onto some sort of corporate character.

 

Endless Opportunities

 

Truck driving is a lucrative and smart career choice because it will always be a needed service. No matter what advances are made in technology, there will always be a need for products to be delivered. Even when the economy slows down, people need to eat. As long as this remains constant, there will always be jobs for truck drivers. Manufacturers will always be producing, and they will need trucks to deliver their goods.

 

This ties in with individuality as well, as drivers can choose the opportunities they want to pursue.  If somebody doesn’t want to venture too far from home, they can take on local delivery jobs. On the other hand, if they want to take shipments that send them from one end of the country to the other, there will always be plenty of loads available. As long as Americans keep producing goods, there are going to be opportunities for truckers.

 

Entrepreneurial Spirit

 

People may not regularly think of truck drivers as savvy businessmen, but the most productive drivers are making sound business decisions on a daily basis. They need to have an understanding of the current economy and the rates that they will receive on certain lanes and by offering specialty services. In this way, every individual truck driver is an entrepreneur. There is a lot at stake when taking on a shipment, and the driver must manage his or her risk and evaluate what loads are worth taking and which should be left to someone else.

 

Truck drivers can use their business skills to be highly successful, and they get to do so while living the life that they please. Driving can be a humbling experience, but it can also be extremely educational, with drivers learning how to market themselves on the job. They are involved in every step of the decision, and anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit can succeed in the industry.

 

Constant Travel

 

Driving a truck provides an excellent opportunity to travel across the country and enjoy a constant change of scenery. For those free spirits who just can’t be satisfied by sitting around in one place, trucking is the perfect job. Whether they want to see every major city or simply enjoy cruising the open road through the vast geographical expanses of America, drivers can truly travel to their heart’s desire. On top of this, they are getting paid to be a tourist on their own time! In a world where many people are stuck inside on their computers, truck drivers can experience the picturesque landscapes that millions of people only ever dream of seeing!

June 1, 201812 Comments

DOT hours of service extended by recapturing your hours

Commercial drivers often times refer to DOT hours of service regulations as their 3 clocks. The eleven, fourteen and seventeen hour “clocks” have to do with with the amount of driving and on duty hours allowed daily and over the course of a week.

Read more

May 30, 20189 Comments

How to Extend the 14 Hour Rule Using the Sleeper Berth Provision

How to Extend the 14 Hour Rule Using the Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers and dispatchers alike find the 14 hour rule extension a bit confusing, so people don't use it. The sleeper berth provision is one of the most complex hours of service regulations. Using it correctly, however, offers some significant benefits. We wrote this article, hoping it will help explain the flexibility afforded by the so-called “8 and 2 split”. Read more

May 23, 20189 Comments

Hours of service rules explained

 

ELDs are all the hype these days. Even if you are not part of the industry, you have no doubt heard the chatter. DOT mandated the use of electronic logging devices late last year and caused quite a controversy. To help clear the confusion, we decided to write down a short explanation of the hours of service rules.

Duty status

On-Duty time describes the performance of any work-related tasks. Those include driving, fueling, loading, and unloading, as well as freight and vehicle-related pre and post trip inspections. Off-duty time means resting inside the sleeper berth or outside of the truck (at home or in a motel).

 

14 hour limit

Truckers get a maximum of 14 working hours per shift. The clock starts as soon as the driver goes on duty after his last 10-hour break. Logging rest time in between on-duty periods does not extend the 14-hour rule. In other words, if a driver starts his day at 6 am, his shift needs to end no later than 8 pm, even if he took off a couple of hours for lunch and a nap. Every 14-hour shift must be followed by ten consecutive hours of rest.

 

11-hour driving limit

DOT limits the number of driving hours to 11 per shift. This means even though drivers are allowed 14 working (on-duty) hours per shift, they can only spend 11 of them behind the wheel.

 

30-minute rest break

Drivers can only hit the road if it has been less than 8 hours since their last break (sleeper berth or off-duty) of 30 minutes or more.

 

60/70 hour limit

Whenever you hear talk of a 34-hour restart, it means a driver has accumulated 60 or 70 on duty hours in the last 7 or 8 consecutive days. To reset that clock and get fresh hours drivers to need to go off-duty for a minimum of 34 straight hours.

 

Recognizing the complex challenges of transportation logistics, the DOT provides for ways to circumvent the limitations that hours of service rules sometimes pose. In our next articles, we will discuss the “8/2 hour split” as well as “running on re-cap hours” and how using these techniques can improve productivity for both company drivers and owner-operators.

Personal Conveyance

FMCSA Personal Conveyance is a time that a driver can use to move the truck. It is used when a driver can use the CMV to do something personal. Such a thing can be going to a movie theater or buying groceries.
If you want to read about the new rule, you can read here.

ELD Malfunction Rules

There are occasions when the ELD device could malfunction. For more information what to do about it read here.

© 2018 Logiflex Inc

Blog.

Don’t Haul Without a 401(k)

Don't Haul Without a 401(k) Not all employers offer the same benefits to their drivers; if you are looking for a comfortable retirement, then...

→ Read More

Truck Driving and Family Life

    Truck driving and family life is not an easy thing to navigate. Most people work a job that allows them to come...

→ Read More

The Benefits of Pursuing a Career as OTR Driver

  Being a professional truck driver can be hard work.  You may have to travel long distances, fight through inclement weather, and be on the road...

→ Read More

DOT hours of service extended by recapturing your hours

Commercial drivers often times refer to DOT hours of service regulations as their 3 clocks. The eleven, fourteen and seventeen hour “clocks” have to...

→ Read More

New FMCSA Personal Conveyance Rule

→ Read More

How to Extend the 14 Hour Rule Using the Sleeper Berth Provision

How to Extend the 14 Hour Rule Using the Sleeper Berth Provision Drivers and dispatchers alike find the 14 hour rule extension a bit...

→ Read More

Hours of service rules explained

  ELDs are all the hype these days. Even if you are not part of the industry, you have no doubt heard the chatter....

→ Read More