Life As A Trucker – What It Really Costs To Live On The Road


Have you ever thought about what it costs to live on the road? We’ve all experienced living out of a suitcase when we travel, but for truckers, that’s their norm.

In their roles, truckers can expect to be away from home for up to 300 days out of the year. It adds up to a lot of work related costs!

There are no official statistics telling us the price tag of life on the road but we can ascertain some of the continuous expenses. On the latest episode of Payday with Leah Shaver, a SiriusXM Road Dog Trucking Radio show, The National Transportation Institute President Leah Shaver got truckers talking about this very topic.

There are a few expenses that come up repeatedly in life as a trucker. They eat three meals per day away from home. They have to do laundry and shower on the road. And if a medical problem occurs on a haul, they have to deal with the added cost of urgent care or an ER visit.

All of that can add up in any environment, but it gets a lot tougher when inflation is running hot.

And that’s exactly what’s happening today. In November, the consumer price index hit 6.8%, it’s fastest rate of growth since 1982. On average, items cost nearly 7% more than they did last year at this time.

But an even bigger concern is the categories of items that are going up in price. Some of the most affected categories, like food, are the same ones that drivers are most exposed to on a haul. It means that instead of going towards reimbursement, a drivers’ per diem risks being completely swallowed up by rising costs.

Inflation isn’t easy for anyone to deal with, but it can be even harder for drivers when they’re trying to keep costs in check on the road. Fortunately, there are a few ways that companies can help drivers combat inflation on the road.

  • Eat Home Cooked Meals – Drivers can do a lot to minimize expenses by buying groceries and preparing meals, before they head out or even in their truck. Companies can encourage this by providing refrigerators and cooking elements, and encouraging drivers to keep food and water stored in their trucks.
  • Reimburse expenses whenever possible – Reimbursing the costs of your truckers’ life on the road will ease the burden of inflation. In turn, you’ll be the kind of company that truckers want to drive for.
  • New Year, New You gifts – This goes a long way towards the health of your drivers’ pocketbook and their vital signs! A recurring theme on Payday with Leah Shaver is that healthier choices also leave more money in drivers’ wallets. Why not pile on the New Year’s resolutions with weight loss programs, health incentives, and health coaching for drivers?

Trucker life is getting more expensive. Your drivers can’t help but feel the effects of inflation. The upside of this is that improving your drivers’ quality of life is a huge opportunity in recruiting and retention.

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On the first Thursday of every month, NTI President & CEO Leah Shaver, aka the Sunshine Girl, goes live on air on SiriusXM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking, to talk with drivers about all things pay. From paycheck questions to working with fleets on resolving issues around compensation, HR and legal, life on the road, and relationships with their employers, Payday on Road Dog Live dives into topics drivers care about most.

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