Companies Need Auto Haulers, and They’ll Pay Well To Get Them
By William Pearson
Although the unemployment rate has recently fallen to 4.1%, many people still have difficulty finding a job, especially one that requires minimal training. Fortunately, truck drivers are in high demand, and auto haulers, specifically, get paid well for their work.
The trucking industry is experiencing a severe shortage of drivers. The American Trucking Association projects the shortage to reach 50,000 drivers by the end of 2017, and if current trends continue, the shortage could need 174,000 drivers by the year 2026.
As an aging driver population leads many into retirement, more and more jobs are opening up for truck drivers. The driver shortage has lead Class A Drivers, a leading job board for truck drivers, to create a new “Become a Truck Driver“ section on their website. With step-by-step guides, the new section hopes to connect aspiring drivers with companies to solve this industry problem.
The auto hauling industry, a special niche in the transport industry, has many lucrative and interesting opportunities for candidates looking to expand their skills.
How Much Does Auto Hauling Pay?
Becoming an auto hauler can be a lucrative career choice, and it’s one in serious demand. Because truck drivers are often paid by different methods, exact truck driver salary information can be hard to find.
The Auto Haulers Association of America’s Bill Schroeder says, “A driver with good experience and skills who has a contract to haul new cars for a car maker likely will earn between $75K and $110K a year.”
The Auto Hauling Training Institute located in Orange Park, Florida, estimates that starting salaries for entry-level car haulers is anywhere from $57K to $87K a year. Owner-operators that have their own trucks can earn up to $185,000 a year!
Job opportunities for owner-operators can pay well over $200K gross per year for transporting high-value cars like the Rolls Royce, or Koenigsegg CCXR, valued at $4.8 million, or the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, valued at $4.5 million. Private owners also pay well for safe transport of their vehicles.
However, truck drivers don’t usually start out hauling expensive freight like cars. Once a driver has gained experience and the trust of the carrier, they greatly increase their earning potential.
According to Class A Drivers, entry-level auto haulers are usually required to have one or two years long-haul/OTR driving before they are trusted with hauling high-value cars.
What is It Like to Be an Auto Hauler?
With its valuable cargo, auto hauling is in a class by itself in the transport industry. A driving position can be OTR (over-the-road), regional, or local. Over-the-road drivers travel long distances and do not return home for a week or more while on the road. Truck driving requires a specific personality type that enjoys travel, independence, and the freedom of the road.
The carrier or trucking company may transport anything from used to new vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles, or ATV’s. The driver must then deliver the automobiles to homes, warehouses, auto dealers, auto shows, museums, conventions, or festivals.
Drivers need to be familiar with the route, type of terrain, weather, roads, bridge clearances, and potential hazards. Because the freight is so valuable, drivers must take extra care to keep the vehicles safe. Carriers often use open-air trailers, requiring the driver to pay attention to any minor detail that could scratch or damage the vehicles.
Auto hauling is more than just driving, the job also requires that each vehicle be inspected for damages. The vehicles’ VIN numbers must be checked to match the pickup log, and each vehicle’s dimensions need to be determined for safety regulations.
What Does It Take to Become an Auto Hauler?
The first step to becoming an auto hauler is to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To drive the larger trucks that can haul other automobiles, a Class A license is needed. Getting a license only takes 3-6 weeks of training.
Trucking schools generally cost $3,000-7000, but many trucking companies offer to pay for a driver’s complete training in exchange for a contract to work and pay back the fee. This is called “company-sponsored training,” and it’s a common method to get trained.
After school, a company usually requires a driver to do additional on-the-job training for a few weeks, and then that driver is off on their own. After a year or two, the truck driver can move to hauling vehicles and earning the additional pay that comes along with it.