Who wouldn’t want to hit the wide open road for a few weeks? All the freedom and glamor, not to mention making tons of money while traveling. But first, you gotta get legal and square a few things away, or the Care Bears will have a holiday with you at the first coop you’re pulled into.
Obviously, you’ll need proper license. If you’re a brand newbie, you’ll need to find a CDL program, pay for it, finish it, pass the written and driving tests, and pay again to actually get the license. If you’re past all that, and just need to renew, it’s easy pie. Your CDL renewal fee in Ohio is $42, which is double that of a regular driver’s license. And that’s assuming you’ve already passed the physical examination, and gotten the “all clear” and a star on your potty chart from an approved medical professional. This is also money paid out of pocket, but don’t worry, you’re going to make tons of money out there on the road.
Got your own truck? Well now, you’re ahead of the game. There are four facilities in the entire state at which you can obtain commercial tags, and it only takes about eleven phone calls and two trips to places State employees have directed you to that don’t exist to find one. It’s fun. It gets you prepared for all those non-existent addresses you’ll be dispatched to, usually in the worst areas of town, to cruise around like a giant target, looking for places that are imaginary, with thousands of dollars of freight behind you. Adventure! Oh yeah, and it costs about two grand for tags. Of course, insurance is required before the state will take your money, and that runs about two grand a month. Don’t worry, it’s glamorous to eat Ramen noodles in a truck stop in Tuscon.
Now that you’re several thousand dollars into it, let’s get on the road. But wait, did you pay your 2290 tax? Because if you own and operate a vehicle with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, you’re required to file a Form 2290 and Schedule 1 for the tax period beginning July 1 and ending June 30. It’s only $550.00. No problem. You’re on your way to the big time.
Awesome. You’re almost ready to roll. Just a quick checklist of things you’ll need in the truck to run legal. You got your ELD? No? Well, you’re gonna need one. Is your truck older than an ’07 model? Well, unless you pay to have the truck retrofitted and CARB compliant, you’re gonna have to stay away from California. You got your C-PAP machine? Because if your BMI is high, your company can force you to have sleep apnea testing. Is your inward facing camera adjusted properly? What? You didn’t know about those? Yeah. Safety first.
Got your speed limiter set? The feds are gunning for a mandated speed setting, they just don’t know which one, and once those bastards get their hive mind set on something, it doesn’t matter what kind of carnage it will cause, it’s perfectly acceptable as long as they call it a “safety device.” I have it on good authority that all professional drivers will be required to have a magic monkey and a mystical chicken foot on board by 2018, in order to reduce highway fatalities. You should probably start looking for those now.
Hey… where ya goin? We’re almost ready to go truckin! Wait… stop running away, clutching your wallet and sobbing like that… there’s no crying allowed in trucking! Get back here! We have to plan your route, so you can avoid having to park for your mandated 10 hours in a city that has a truck ban! Just because you’re delivering the hay forks they carry while protesting trucks in their fair city, doesn’t give you a free pass to park there. It’s OK. We can reserve you a spot a few miles down the road for twenty bucks. Just make sure you’ve got enough left over to pay the lumpers.