Tanker trucks carry liquids. Some tankers are equipped with several panels so that you can carry different types of product in the same truck. To drive an oil tanker, you have to have a Class-A license with a tanker endorsement. If you want to drive a fuel tanker (or other hazardous materials) you will also need a hazmat endorsement. Fuel delivery trucks often move gas from a regional distribution center to area gas stations. Working in a small geographic area means you will probably get paid by the hour with the possibility of overtime pay. You might also be able to get a predictable work week that lets you be home every day.
Local delivery tanker drivers have a critical responsibility to deliver fuel on time. If a local gas station runs out of product, they have to shut down one or more pumps, and they could end up closing for an entire day. That kind of disruption could cost you your job as a driver. Being on time and efficient in this job is second only to safety.
For many people, the idea of driving a fuel tanker is a little intimidating. Thousands of gallons of highly flammable gasoline on the back of your truck might make you nervous. Movies often portray images of tanker trucks exploding with the slightest bump or jostle. The reality is that hauling fuel is statistically no more risky than any other kind of trucking job, and it is a lot safer than driving a passenger vehicle. The job involves some physical work, like climbing ladders, moving hoses, and sitting for long periods of time. The work can be hard on people with bad backs and knee injuries.
It is possible to find fuel hauling jobs right out of trucking school. Some fuel haulers even offer training. Usually, entry level workers drive for common carriers who will haul fuel for any company. Alternately, drivers might do a few years of long-haul driving before they look into fuel hauling. For those who don’t enjoy spending weeks away from home, fuel can provide the option to be home every night, work predictable hours and spend more time with family. Whichever way you come into a fuel hauling job, it is critical to maintain a safe record and build good relationships with your employers and dispatchers.
Experienced drivers often choose to work directly for the large national gas companies that refine and distribute fuel across the country. These jobs tend to be higher-paying, and the hiring requirements are the most stringent.
As with all other kinds of trucking, fuel haulers are generally paid in one of three ways: a portion of revenue, an hourly rate, or a per-mile rate. Be sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of compensation and how to make the most of the one you get.
Revenue-share loads can be very lucrative for established drivers, but when you’re just starting out, it’s hard to get a really well-paying load. Dispatchers usually give the highest-paying jobs to well-liked drivers. As a beginning driver in a revenue share situation, the best thing you can do is be reliable, timely, courteous and SAFE so that you can build a good reputation.
Being paid by the hour makes it easier to handle long wait times to load your truck, and it also makes traffic delays easier to stand. One problem may be if your employer doesn’t pay overtime. Be sure you understand whether you will receive time and a half if you work more than 40 hours in a week. Some jobs also offer a higher pay rate if you work on holidays.
Getting paid by the mile is advantageous for long-haul drivers. As with revenue share, your income will depend on what assignments the dispatchers give you. When you first start out in a pay-by-mile situation, be flexible and reliable, and let your employer know what your mileage goals are.