“Whenever someone in the freight sector asks me for career advice, I always turn the question on its head, “What is it that you want to do?”, I ask them with a smile.
For me, the answer has rarely been in doubt. I love what I do. I’ve driven a 44-tonne for the last 20 years. It’s a job that I feel privileged to do. Elevated high up in my seat, I’ve got the best view on the entire road. What could be better than that?
Of course, my job comes with tremendous responsibilities and many challenges. Anyone reading this, for example, will already know that margins are wafer-thin, while truck driving isn’t a job for anyone who wants an easy life. It’s exceptionally demanding, and I think I speak for everyone in the industry in saying that Britain’s truckers aren’t afraid of hard work. I know I’m certainly not.
Therefore, if you’re tempted to ditch the day job and work for yourself, it’s vital that you find a way to make truck driving pay for you. I know this from experience. It got to the point where margins were so tight that I was even thinking of leaving the freight industry altogether – something which I never thought that I would consider.
However, thankfully, I found my niche at Haulage Exchange. How? Well, essentially, a decade or so ago, I ran a few vans out of Lincoln – where I’m still based – using Courier Exchange. The work was fairly lucrative and I decided, therefore, to subscribe to CX’s sister platform, Haulage Exchange. Since joining the platform, I haven’t looked back.
But, that said, I’d be lying if I said it was an easy decision to make. It wasn’t. I was sceptical at first because many people make and break promises in this industry, and to some extent you get used to disappointment.
But the opposite has been true of the Haulage Exchange. If anything it under-promised, and has over-delivered.
When I first joined, I was immediately impressed with the platform’s smart loading matching capability, which sifts through all the loads on the system and only sends me the ones that match my location and availability.
Nowadays, while I still use smart matching, most of my jobs come from contractors calling me. In my opinion, that’s probably the best thing about the Exchange. It doesn’t just provide you with access to world-class companies, it allows you to communicate directly with them and gives you a unique opportunity to forge long lasting relationships, which, I believe, is the secret to bigger earnings.
It’s impossible not to be excited by the number of loads on the system too. During the last five weeks or so, I would say that my profits have increased by around thirty per cent. But there’s a downside too. Lately, I’ve been so busy that I’ve had to turn jobs down. I’ve recently acquired two owner operator licences, however, and I hope to rectify this in the autumn by buying another 44-tonner.
While I live and breathe the haulage sector, it’s really important to have other interests too. My wife and I own a 32-foot yacht and try to get out on it whenever we can. It’s an expensive pastime to be involved in, but it’s one that my day job allows me to pursue because the Exchange has given me the freedom to work for who I want, when I want, and the funds to put the boat on the water.
I’m hoping of course that when you read this, you’ll be swayed by the industry-leading companies that you can rub shoulders with, not to mention the money you can make if you’re prepared to work hard each hour of each day. But, for me, indulging my passion for the open ocean has really helped me focus on who I am and what I want to achieve. Maybe working as your own boss can do the same for you.
So go on – ask yourself what you want from life. You just might surprise yourself.”
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