Do you like to get your hands dirty? Have you always wanted to drive a dump truck, operate a wrecking ball or steer a crane? Check out these technical driver jobs--and don't forget your hard hat.
What do construction drivers do?
Construction drivers operate vehicles involved in the construction industry, such as forklifts, dump trucks, mixer trucks, asphalt rollers, crew buses and fuel trucks. While not driving, drivers may be expected to perform maintenance on their vehicles such as cleaning the interior and exterior, filling the gas tank or taking the vehicle to get scheduled repairs. Employers might require sales receipts for gas purchases and repairs, as well as mileage reports when driving to various sites. Heavy lifting is usually involved despite the fact that the trucks do most of the transporting. It is important to inform your supervisor of any problems with the vehicles or machinery to ensure the safety of everyone at the site.
What are the working conditions?
Construction drivers typically work outdoors on construction sites. This is definitely not a job where a suit and tie are required, so be prepared to get dirty. Bad weather can often shut down work because vehicles are not operated in heavy rain or snow, so if you're paid by the job, this can mean a dip in your paycheck. Sometimes, drivers have to commute long hours or relocate for weeks at a time if a job is out of town. Some companies pay for hotel stay during these jobs, but others require you to furnish living arrangements on your own dollar, so you may have to settle for the place without the Olympic-sized swimming pool and hot tub.
Although the machines do a lot of the work, there is still a lot of heavy lifting on job sites, so start pumping some iron and invest in some good bubble bath in which to soak those poor muscles. To avoid achiness the morning after a long work day, remember: Lift with your knees, not your back. You can thank us later.
Employees in this field should be able to easily adapt to different weather environments, working conditions and job requirements. While you were hired as a driver, you may be asked to help with various manual labor tasks on the job site as well. Additionally, some drivers only interact with their coworkers and supervisors, others interact with the public at their homes or with other companies. Regardless of your specific duties, construction drivers should have excellent communication skills--you wouldn't want to nearly steam roll your boss because you failed to communicate to everyone to clear the way. That may not fare well on your next employee evaluation.
What skills do I need and how can I get promoted?
Most employers in this industry want their applicants to be at least 18 years old with a valid state driver's license. There is normally no experience necessary, and training is done on-the-job, but a high school diploma is preferred. You may be required to pass a written and practical driving test before you're permitted to operate any machinery alone. You should have great communication skills and be able to work well with customers when necessary. Safety is the number one priority around the construction site, and carelessness is not easily overlooked. Make sure you're aware of all safety procedures and policies before you start your work day.
Opportunities for advancement in this field include technical supervisor, the person who oversees the operation of all vehicles and machinery and whom other drivers report to. With the right amount of experience and schooling, other promotions may include engineer, engineering supervisor, operations and manufacturing specialist, field supervisor or manager, shop supervisor or manager and many more.
Show me the money!
Wages vary depending on job description and location, so c heck out our wage calculator to determine pay in this field in your neck of the woods. Many employers in this industry offer retirement and pension plans, as well as incentive plans to motivate and reward employees for a job well done.