A trucker’s job can be a lonely job.

It entails a lot of long hours, days, and weeks on the road — away from family and loved ones. It is vital, therefore, to “count the cost,” so to speak, before signing up for the trucking business, considering how it might affect or impact your family or put some strain on your home life if not carefully planned out.

Therefore, when you first create your work schedule, carefully consider your family commitments. With a little bit of foresight and advanced planning, you’ll be able to make ends meet while also being able to be physically and emotionally available to your family.

1.) REQUEST FAMILY MEMBERS OR CLOSE FRIENDS TO HELP YOU

There’s a popular saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” While we know that the primary responsibility for raising children rests on the parents’ shoulders, there’s some truth to that old saying. Your close family members or friends can help look after your kids while you’re away. It’s not the ideal setup, but it’s doable, especially for short-term assignments or projects.

2.) CHOOSE JOBS WITH PREDICTABLE SCHEDULES

As a truck driver, you have several options when it comes to schedules and routes. So when planning which assignments to accept, choose dedicated trucking routes where you drive the same route for one company week in and week out. This will usually give you a fixed or set pay. The advantage or benefit of this is that you get to have a more or less fixed schedule which you can then plan family activities around. This means you will usually be home most nights to help your spouse with some housework or your kids with their homework.

3.) MARK IMPORTANT DATES ON YOUR CALENDAR

When planning your schedule, it would also be extremely helpful to mark off special days on your calendar. A good free online calendar you can use for this purpose is Google Calendar. You can use a special color for this category, such as purple. This is where you will mark all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant days in your family’s life. (To save time doing this year after year, make this a recurring event so it automatically gets added to your calendar on the same date with each passing year.) In this way, you will know how to plan your work schedule more intelligently, since you’ll know when you need to be home. Or if you can’t be home for some reason, you can arrange to call, text, or send a card, along with a gift perhaps, to let them know that you’re thinking of them. It would also be helpful to get the input of family members when creating this calendar to ensure that you don’t forget anything important.

4.) KEEP IN TOUCH USING A SMARTPHONE

One of the blessings of living in the 21st century is the availability of high-speed communication. Unlike many years ago, you can now easily and cheaply get in touch with family and friends using the Internet and mobile technology. With apps like Facetime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or Google Hangouts, you can call (with video or audio), text, or chat in real-time with almost anyone, anytime, and anywhere. If this is not always possible, you can always record a video or audio and send it to your loved ones. So make sure you utilize this very inexpensive way to keep in touch with family.

5.) CONSIDER BECOMING AN OWNER-OPERATOR

One of the perks of being an owner-operator is being able to subcontract work to carriers since you own your own truck. In addition, you have the flexibility to get over-the-road jobs when necessary. So you actually have the best of both worlds when you’re an owner-operator. You can choose to scale back on your driving hours by subcontracting the work to others, or you can choose to drive to boost your income a little bit by picking up more over-the-road jobs.

Do you have any more helpful tips? Let us know how you balance trucking and family life in the comments below.