Independent contractor drivers can include limousine drivers, pizza delivery drivers and construction drivers, among others. Many independent contractor drivers are long-haul, big-rig drivers. All these independent contractor drivers must manage their own money and pay quarterly taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Not All About Driving
A big part of being an independent contractor driver is preparation. You're independent, so often you do not have a company or a boss giving you maps and the best routes. You must also factor in taxes, financing for your truck or vehicle, paying tolls, maintenance costs and other issues. You interact with a lot of people, such as shippers, police and other drivers, so you must have good communication skills. You must also fill out paperwork to get paid. Sometimes the job includes loading and unloading the goods you deliver. You must also find companies or clients with which to work.
Being a driver, whether as an independent contractor or as an employee, requires excellent driving skills. One day, you might be dealing with narrow bridges, low overpasses and crowded city streets, and the next day you might be driving down a steep mountain in a hailstorm. Some drivers might deal with all these in a matter of hours in the same day.
To drive 18-wheeler trucks in most states, you must be at least 21 years old, have a commercial driver's license and pass physical fitness tests, which include hearing, vision, drug, and sometimes a lifting-strength test. You must also pass academic-oriented tests. If you are in a truck driver school, the school helps prepare you for testing. Requirements differ for other independent driver jobs. Pizza delivery drivers can be younger than 18, for example.
If you drive a big rig, you must check your truck before leaving on a trip. Examine the engine and brakes, among other things. The driving involves shifting many gears; you might be dealing with as many as 18, as big rigs do not operate on automatic transmissions like many cars do. The time on the road can be boring for some people; others enjoy the solace. Some drive with spouses or friends.
You might be an independent contractor driving large sums of money. In this case, you likely have a partner and must have self-defense and gun training. You must have a gun license to carry a gun.
If you are a long-range, big-rig driver, you must follow laws regarding break times. For example, if you drive 11 hours out of state, you must have 10 hours of rest. At the end of the day, find a place to stay. You will likely sleep in your truck, but use showers at a truck stop. Keep a logbook to ensure you are following rules. Some drivers use smartphones or laptops instead of logging their hours in a journal.