Unlocking The Six-Figure Earning Potential In Trucking: An Andrew Winkler Perspective
In the world of professional trucking, the prospects of achieving a six-figure earning potential in trucking might seem daunting, if not downright impossible. However, in a riveting dialogue, trucking industry expert Andrew Winkler sheds light on practical strategies to catapult your earnings beyond the coveted six-figure mark. Winkler is the only person to win the Best Fleets to Drive for Program with two different companies.
Here are the top takeaways from his insightful discussion on a recent episode of the Driven Too Far podcast.
1. Broaden your Focus: Gross Pay over Cents-per-Mile
The first key to unlocking six-figure earning potential in trucking is focusing on gross pay instead of the cents per mile. It’s not just about the mileage; it’s about the holistic view of your income. This includes bonuses, incentive programs, and other forms of compensation that your company might offer.
Truck drivers often get fixated on the cents-per-mile rate, allowing themselves to be swayed by flashy marketing strategies that promise elevated pay rates. Winkler urges drivers to focus on their total gross pay instead, which will account for all the little extras that add up significantly over time.
2. Make the Most of Incentive Programs
Incentive programs aren’t just corporate gimmicks; they’re lucrative opportunities to boost your earnings. These programs, which might be paid monthly, quarterly, or on another schedule, can significantly augment your income if leveraged effectively.
Winkler emphasizes that these incentives aren’t giveaways; they’re rewards for the top-performing drivers, the ones who maximize their safety scores and hit the quarterly fuel bonuses. If you haven’t taken advantage of these programs yet, you might be leaving money on the table.
3. Learn from the Veterans
The trucking world is teeming with veterans who’ve cracked the code to financial success. One such driver, Dan, caught Winkler’s attention when he consistently hit high earnings. His secret? Making the most of his available hours of service and building a strong relationship with dispatch.
Dan’s strategy included staying out on the road for two weeks at a time and requesting short loads to maximize his income when he found himself nearing the home terminal mid-week. Dan’s tale is a perfect example of how commitment to the job, strategic planning, and a proactive approach can lead to substantial earnings.
4. Foster Robust Professional Relationships
Finally, building strong relationships with various departments within your company – from operations to safety to maintenance – can play a crucial role in boosting your earnings. According to Winkler, the drivers who can be relied upon and who have proven their commitment to the company are often the ones that land the best loads.
In summary, making a six-figure income in the trucking industry might not be a cakewalk, but with the right approach and strategies, it’s a goal within reach. Andrew Winkler’s insights provide a practical roadmap to elevate your earnings, ensuring that you’re not just driving miles but also driving your success.
5. Embrace the Role of a Mentor
Stepping into a mentorship role isn’t just a service to new drivers in your company – it can also serve as a pathway to increased earnings. According to Winkler, the top performers who show consistency, reliability, and exceptional safety standards often get asked to take on mentorship roles.
While living with a stranger in an eight-by-eight-foot cab might not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who can handle it are greatly valued and needed in the industry. Acting as a mentor not only positions you as a valued team member, but it can also lead to financial rewards, including bonuses and increased respect within the company.
6. Load Selection Matters
Just as in real estate, location matters in trucking–or, more accurately, the destination does. Load selection plays a significant role in determining your pay. By strategically selecting loads of the right length of haul, you can ensure that you maximize your pay.
Balancing long-haul routes with shorter, more frequent loads can often lead to higher earnings than focusing exclusively on one type. This is where your relationship with operations can play a vital role. Understanding how to choose the right loads and manage your hours can lead to increased earnings.
7. Always Strive for Improvement
One of the most important lessons from Winkler is the importance of a growth mindset. In his words, “don’t be so rigid in your thought process of how this all needs to work”. There’s always room for improvement, whether that’s in your hours of service, your load selections, or your relationships with your dispatchers and operators.
No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, there’s always something new to learn. Whether it’s a new route optimization strategy, an overlooked incentive program, or a fresh perspective from a fellow driver, staying open to new ideas and continuous learning is key to hitting the six-figure mark.
It’s clear from Andrew Winkler’s insights that achieving a six-figure earning potential in trucking is not merely about driving more miles. It’s about strategic decision-making, maximizing incentive programs, continuous learning, building relationships, and, most importantly, having the right mindset. By putting these strategies into practice, truckers can turn their odometer into a tool for financial success.