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Are my expectations of driving for a second career reasonable

Topic 18300 | Page 1

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Partagas's Comment
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Greetings TT'ers. I've been researching this sight, reading everything I can, watching Brett's podcasts, and driving through the High Road materials. I'm moving closer to pulling the trigger on making driving my second career (I'm 54, retired 17 months ago after 33 years in law enforcement). I'm married (30 years in July) with two kids, our son is graduating college this summer and our daughter started college this past fall, so we're fairly new empty nesters. My wife works nearly full time. I am looking at driving truck as my next occupation. My pension provides for allot of our needs, but the rising costs of health insurance have put a strain on those funds so I need to do something gainful to generate $20k or more/year. Also, I have allot of projects done around the house and need to work again. OTR is not a good option for me as I'd like to make it to our 40th anniversary and many more. My wife is OK with regional/home weekly - as much as one can be without actually experiencing it. She's been reading a ton about the driver lifestyle and is interested in riding along with me from time to time.

Driving jobs with extended hometime options interest me, such as Roehl's 7/7 and Schneider's 14/14 or 7/7. I'm also interested in regional with home weekends with the option to work into one of the extended hometime options later. I've spoken with recruiters from Roehl, Schneider, and West Side Transport. Roehl wants you to run full time for at least three months before being eligible for a hometime assignment (I understand they're slipseat positions). I totally get Roehl's stance that drivers need to gain experience "full-time" prior to taking what are essentially part-time positions. Schneider has 14/14, 7/7, and 14/7 positions in my area, but they're really pushing the Dollar General dedicated positions right now and they make them sound great (thanks to TT for pointing out the concerns regarding rookie drivers and the dollar stores). West Side has regional positions covering Minnesota that provide most weekends and some mid-week nights at home.

I'm at a point in my life where there are special days and a couple of weeks each year that I need off for graduations, doctor appointments, a family reunion, etc.. My review of related posts here leads me to believe that it is possible to take this time off if requested well in advance and approved by your dispatcher but that it would be unpaid and may require turning your truck in (if you have an assigned unit). I am concerned about my ability to take some time off during my first year and still maintain a good relationship with my dispatcher/DM. The Schneider recruiter really helped me understand that companies look at each truck and its individual profitability when deciding on schedules and assignments. I believe they consider the driver a truck-related expense and that it's more important to keep the truck moving freight regardless of who's driving it. I get that - it's a huge capital investment that depreciates and has fixed expenses, in addition to lost revenue generating potential, when it's sitting still.

What I'm looking for is the voice(s) of experience to let me know if I'm understanding all of this right and if there's potential or problems with the way I'm thinking about all of this. I'm very interested in driving for a living, but not at the expense of losing my marriage/family over it. If I can have my cake and eat it to, yay for me.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rick Dees's Comment
member avatar

I like you retired from law enforcement after 26 years. I have been doing this about a year. Depending on the company, most otr give you a day off for every 7 days working so in a month you will get 4 days off. I choose to stay out 3 to 4 weeks most of the time and get 3 to 5 days off..as long as you let your dispatcher know at least 2 weeks ahead of time you will usually get home in time..just depends on your company, some are better than others. My wife is with me, if it wasn't for that I would not stay out for weeks at a time. In your situation it sounds like you might want go with a company like Roehl with more hometime options or someone who has you home on the weekends. You might also want to check out Martin,Schneider, Crete, and Swift, they have a lot of hometime options for new drivers depending on where you live. W. O. Wolding is another you might consider..there is a driver on here that speaks highly of them and they have good regional opportunities.

After I get the OTR driving out of my system I will probably work myself into a regional or part time driving job down the road. Good luck to you and glad you made it through all those years..it was getting tougher and tougher out there.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Tim E.'s Comment
member avatar

Partagas, I'm looking alot in the same situation you are! Retired after 32 years for the state of MO., moved to WA with wife who works as nurse to be near family. Retirement isn't the greatest for me either. Bored more than anything. I've been looking at this site awhile myself, trying to convince wife on me trucking after I get ducks in a row! Any way, I've been looking hard at System Transport/ flatbedding, mostly good things I read! Might check it out!!

Partagas's Comment
member avatar

Yeah Rick - it's not a lot of fun for the ones just starting out. New applicants here in MN are half of what they used to be numbers-wise. Hard to fill shifts that way. I'm not missing it, but I do miss the people. Looking forward to new challenges and learning new things. I'm glad to hear of your experience and advice - thanks!

Tim - I hear ya on the boring part. It's funny but the slower pace is starting to wear on me. I never planned to just sit around - I believe you need a purpose to stay healthy and happy and I believe trucking will be a good choice - I love looking at the world through a windshield. Gotta make sure the spouse is behind it, though, so there's always a home to come back to. Especially one in Washington - I love it out there - we have relatives in Yakima and friends out on the Olympic Peninsula so we get out there from time to time.

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