Understanding Per Diem Pay in the Trucking Industry - Oct 28, 2020

As a truck driver or student looking to get a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, understanding per diem pay is crucial. It’ll help you maximize your tax benefits, save money, and improve your finances long-term. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Per Diem Pay?  

Per diem is Latin for per day, and it refers to a daily allowance for expenses you can be reimbursed for. There are regulations around what can be included, but some common costs include meals and incidental expenses. When reading about per diem pay, keep in mind that many of the regulations were changed in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For example, the laws outline a new revenue procedure that allows taxpayers to substantiate actual allowable expenses as long as they have records to prove the deductions.

How Does Per Diem Pay Work?

If a trucking company has a per diem allowance, you’ll generally pay for meals or lodging, and they’ll reimburse you in the next paycheck. Since you covered these costs originally, the money given to you by your employer for these specific expenses is considered non-taxable income. As a result, your adjusted gross income will appear lower for tax purposes, allowing you to collect a larger refund.

How Can You Qualify?

Truck drivers need to meet certain conditions to avoid undue taxes on per diem pay. For example, there is a maximum allowance that you can’t exceed. If you spend more than $63 in a day, the amount that surpasses the allowance will be taxed.

Additionally, you need a residential address, and you have to be away from the home for longer periods than a regular workday. For example, if you drive all day but sleep at your house every night, you won’t qualify for per diem pay. Finally, keep track and submit pay receipts for relevant expenses, like meals. Credit card bills will also work.   

If you’re looking to become a truck driver, contact Hamrick School. Serving Akron and Clevaland, OH, our CDL programs will help you begin a lucrative career and improve your financial future. Call (330) 239-2229 to learn about our class schedule.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

How to Be Successful in Truck Driving School - Oct 20, 2020

Becoming a truck driver offers a variety of benefits, from job security, medical insurance, and lucrative pay to getting to explore the country while getting paid. However, you’ll need to succeed in truck driving school before you can join the industry. Here are some tips for thriving as you work to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

3 Tips for Flourishing in Truck Driving School

1. Talk to Instructors Regularly

The instructors in truck driving school are there to help you succeed. Ask them questions when you’re struggling to grasp the material and find out about their experiences in the industry. This is good practice for learning to network, and they can connect you with career opportunities and give you invaluable advice. They’ve helped countless individuals ace the CDL test, so ask them about what to expect and how to prepare. 

2. Have the Right Attitude

Truck driving school requires hard work, and you need a positive attitude to succeed. Avoid self-doubt and negative thought patterns by making a conscious effort to focus on what you enjoy, avoiding the morning news, and thinking about the person you want to be. Also, keep your eye on what you want to accomplish. You’re working to get a CDL, which will allow you to grow in a lucrative career. Before beginning the program, write down your goals and where you see yourself in a few years.

3. Manage Your Time Effectively

This skill will help you during the CDL program and throughout your career. If you work to manage your time properly, you’ll be able to get everything done, including attending classes, finishing homework, and taking part in hands-on training. Keep a detailed calendar that includes test dates, study sessions, and class times.

Additionally, stay distraction-free by putting your smartphone away during sessions and while studying. Finally, start assignments early so you have plenty of time to work on them and get feedback from instructors.

If you’re looking to get a CDL and become a truck driver, we’re here to help. We provide small class sizes, hands-on training, and career placement services. To speak to an admissions officer about our programs, call (330) 239-2229.

OH Reg. #2057

ODPS License #1439-2369

4 Reasons to Thank a Truck Driver - Sep 14, 2020

With trucker appreciation this week (September 13-19, 2020), it’s the perfect time to thank drivers across the country. These seven days are dedicated to showing gratitude to the people who are responsible for transporting essential items, from toilet paper and medical equipment to food and beverages. Here are a few more reasons why truck drivers deserve recognition.

Why Appreciate Truck Drivers?

1. COVID-19

The pandemic has made the work truck drivers do more important than ever. They help individuals, hospitals, and businesses get the items they need to stay safe, from masks and medical equipment to hand sanitizer and soap. And they risk their lives doing it. While many Americans were sheltering in place, truckers were on the road, making stops in public areas and doing what needs to get done to keep the country running.

2. Disaster Situations

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, truckers are there when a disaster happens. Whether it’s an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, they’re some of the first people to arrive, bringing essential items like medical aid, food, generators, and clothing. In some situations, truck drivers have been asked to evacuate people from dangerous areas, putting their life on the line for others.

3. Weeks Away From Family

While trucking is essential to the economy and the everyday lives of Americans, it isn’t always easy for drivers. They spend days, weeks, and sometimes even months away from loved ones, including family members and friends. To ensure that the economy and life in America continue to run smoothly, they often have to miss out on special occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, and graduations. They’re devoted to their work, and for this, it’s crucial to thank them.

4. Always at Work

Truck drivers keep the economy running and transport items, even under challenging circumstances. Heavy rain, snowfall, or the heat of the summer doesn’t stop truckers from doing their jobs. Once they’re on the road, they rarely take breaks and work hard until they’ve reached their destination.

If you’re looking to get your commercial driver’s license and begin a career in trucking, we’ll help you get there. With small class sizes, on-hands training, and expert teachers, you’ll gain the skills you need to succeed. Call (330) 239-2229 to speak to an admissions officer.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

3 Ways COVID-19 Will Impact Trucking in the Long-Term - Sep 1, 2020

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every area of the American economy, including the transportation industry. The question that remains is how long the effects will last. Will the pandemic have permanent reverberations on trucking? This overview will run through some of the primary ways truck drivers may be impacted long-term. 

How Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Truckers in the Future

1. Virtual Onboarding

When a driver starts with a new company, the onboarding can take a few days and is generally done in-person. With the pandemic, parts of the process have moved online. For example, many truckers are filling out the paperwork virtually and watching training videos over the web.

These changes have made the onboarding process quicker and more efficient. While there will always be in-person aspects, truck drivers will begin the orientation with half of the work already done.

2. Adjustments in Operations

Back-office jobs in the trucking industry have become remote, and this trend may continue after the pandemic. While offices will eventually come back, a larger percentage of employees will work virtually, which will allow transportation companies to save on expenses related to commercial space.

Additionally, as more and more workers move toward remote work during the pandemic, this may become a trend well after COVID-19. As a result, there will be fewer commuters and less traffic for truck drivers.

Shopping habits are changing, as well, and more consumers are buying items online. Because of this trend, job opportunities are opening up in last-mile parcel delivery.

3. More Trucks

With gasoline prices dropping due to the pandemic, there will be more money to spend on buying trucks and paying drivers. Also, larger vehicles in the industry will become more popular, as they’ll be more affordable to drive.

Additionally, there’s a U.S. infrastructure bill worth $2 trillion in the works, according to The Washington Post. The legislation, which is supposed to help with the economic losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, will include funding for large scale projects in health care, communications, and transportation. The bill will mean more jobs in trucking, as drivers will be needed to transport the necessary materials.

Our trucking program will allow you to begin a career in a lucrative and thriving industry. We’ll help you weather the changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that you maximize your earning potential. Call (330) 239-2229 to learn about our class schedule.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369

A Guide to Planning a Trucking Route Efficiently - Aug 4, 2020

As a truck driver, your most important job is to deliver your load on time. In order to do that, however, you need to plan your route meticulously and avoid common route-planning challenges. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Some Common Route-Planning Challenges?

The Wrong Equipment

It’s common to have a job that you’re simply not equipped to handle. For example, your truck may not be able to deliver cool products if you don’t have a refrigerated compartment. It could also be difficult to access particular warehouses or areas that require you to drive through narrow streets. Finally, you may not speak the same language as the customer, which can make communication challenging.

Capacity Constraints

Since every truck has constraints in terms of weight and volume, drivers need to decide how many customers to serve in one trip. It can be difficult to save costs while overloading the truck.

Hazards & Traffic

Natural disasters, weather, construction, and old roads can all lead to dangerous situations for drivers. Being aware of these issues when planning your routes is crucial to staying safe. Additionally, drivers often encounter bottlenecks in metropolitan areas, leading to idling and poor fuel efficiency. 

How Can You Plan Your Route Efficiently?

Keep a laminated atlas in your truck so you always have a physical map to reference. While there are plenty of routing apps and tools on smartphones, having a paper option will ensure that you know where you’re going even when there’s no service. Replace the atlas every year to ensure it’s fully updated. You can deduct the expense on your taxes.

In addition to a physical map, there are a number of trucking apps to consider. While Google Maps® or Waze® are perfectly good options, applications made for truck drivers offer information on gas prices, truck stops, parking, weigh stations, and toll roads.

Finally, when planning a route, always include a back-up option. This will allow you to switch in case the road you’re driving on has major traffic or construction work on it.

If you’re looking to become a professional truck driver, we have the resources you need to enter this lucrative career. To speak to a member of our team about our programs and the 2020 class schedule, call (330) 239-2229.

  • OH Reg. #2057
  • ODPS License #1439-2369