Should I Do It?

Topic 20509 | Page 1

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Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Everyone,

I have been thinking for a long time about driving. I have done some research and the only real option I have to me is a trucking company about an hour away that has a company sponsored training program. Now I say that is my only option because I cannot afford to go 5 to 6 weeks without a paycheck so I will have to keep my current job while I am in training and then can quit it when I go to leave with a trainer so I must go with a company that is somewhat local. My question is this though, doing the math on a company driver making .34 CPM doing the average 2500 miles per week would come out to be about $650 a week net. Now considering taking about 3 days hometime on that 4th week of the month (only getting about 500 miles), that driver would make about $2200 a month (650+650+650+250). That is about what I am making now at my current job. To me, it really doesn't make sense to leave a job that has me home ever night to go OTR and make the same amount of money at the end of the month. I would need to make a lot more than I do now to make it worth it. Does this sound about right? Is that what a driver making .34 CPM can expect to make taking 3 days off every 3 weeks?

Also I know there are other factors to consider that would make the pay higher sometimes such as HAZMAT loads or getting more than 2500 miles at times but I would like to base the decision off the usual amount I would make. Thanks in advance for all your help!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

Just remember that 34cpm is starting pay. You will get pay increases over time. How long have you been with your current job making what you're making now?

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Be sure to ask about the program. "Company sponsored program" does not necessarily mean at that terminal and going home every night.

At prime you go to orientation and get on a trainers truck then drive all over the country with your permit. Would be impossible to work a job.

Different companies do it differently, but many paid you while in training...some pay while you have your permit, some don't.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

The question is; why do you want to be a driver?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Bob, I definitely think that you need to re-think this.

First off, I don't see how you are going to be able to train for 5 to 6 weeks, as you said, and still be able to maintain a job. Truck driving and training both entail long hours. You didn't mention the company you are looking at. Is it an over the road driving job? Because if it is, then you will be training over the road. if it is local, then you may have a chance, but you are going to be so tired from trying to do both, that you will probably be a very unsafe driver while trying to learn just the very basics, and that is not a good plan in anyone's book.

I'll tell you something about the truck driving career that you haven't mentioned, and may not be aware of. It takes a ton of Commitment. It isn't the kind of job or career that folks just easily transition into just because they are hoping they might make a little more money by doing so. We have a current member in here who had spent a good many years in Ecuador with his wife, and basically determined he wanted to come back here and spend a good many years as a truck driver so that he could save for his retirement. He had a plan and he was committed to it. That is a huge commitment to leave your wife and daughter in a foreign country, come here and be separated from them for years while doing something that you hope will allow you to remain together during your retirement years. He has never spoken to me about this, but I can almost assure you that he has had second thoughts about it on more than a few occasions. It is the same way for anyone entering this career, you will need to be "all in" or you will shortly be exiting. The statistics of folks who try this on a whim and then quit are staggering. Only about 5% of the folks who take this plunge ever make it into a full fledged long term career for themselves.

If you are trying to simply base your decision on a balance sheet, you are short changing yourself and the folks who are going to commit to training you. Successful truck drivers are passionate about this career. It is a passion for them, not just a profession. There are far too many drivers out here who do nothing but complain and whine about how bad this job is, and how poorly they are getting paid. It is incredible to a person like myself who approaches every day I'm on the road with passion, curiosity, and unsurpassed zeal for the adventure that lies ahead. I love the challenges it affords, I get great satisfaction from doing well at it while others remain stagnant and disillusioned. It is a very competitive job, and only those who can lay hold of that concept will be the ones who get to turn consistently great miles and take home some really nice pay. I find that most drivers don't even realize that they are competing out here to be at the top of the food chain, and therefore they never find themselves there at the top. They simply think it is a job where they are not being supervised, and they like that concept. But the truth is that there are bean counters, planners, and dispatchers, and even managers that you may never meet, who are watching your every move, and they are assembling and using the data that you are producing to determine if you are going to be one of the chosen few who has the drive, the abilities, and the passion it takes to make this career into a lucrative profession.

My dispatcher once told me that out of every fifteen drivers he has, there will be maybe three, but more than likely just two who really seem to "get it," and therefore do well at it. So, if you are thinking in terms of averaging about 2,500 miles per week, and you don't aspire to be the kind of guy who can easily do 3,000 plus miles per week, then you may not be very happy with the results. This is a job that is based on productivity - hence the mileage pay. Being productive at this is not just the ability to sit and drive for long periods, but it is mostly hinged on the fact that you understand the nuances of how to get things done out here while others are struggling with those same concepts. Guys who are at the top in this profession have little tricks that they incorporate into each day. They know how to change the dynamics that have such an ill effect on others so that they get positive productive results while the others just slog away at it with mediocre results.

I don't know you at all, and you may very well be the type of person who can pull it off, but I wanted to present some really solid facts to you that most folks are completely unaware of as they are looking into transitioning into trucking. We encourage folks to stick with it for one full year. It is a career that simply takes that long to even feel like you are beginning to know what you are doing, and we find that many people think that a year is an extreme amount of time to commit to something. I don't recommend that anyone jump into trucking just because they are hoping they might make a little bit more money than they are at their current job. More than likely they will make a rash decision, during one of the weeks where they didn't get a very good paycheck, that trucking is not going to pay the bills, and then they are gone - another one bites the dust! It happens all the time.

I'm not trying to discourage you, in fact I was hoping to maybe inspire you. This is Trucking Truth, after all.

Over The Road:

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.
Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

Just remember that 34cpm is starting pay. You will get pay increases over time. How long have you been with your current job making what you're making now?

I have been at my current job for 3 years. Also I figure there is some type of increase over time but no mention of it on their website nor did the recruiter mention one. I'm sure a penny or two after 6 months or a year wouldn't be a huge increase in pay though.

Be sure to ask about the program. "Company sponsored program" does not necessarily mean at that terminal and going home every night.

At prime you go to orientation and get on a trainers truck then drive all over the country with your permit. Would be impossible to work a job.

Different companies do it differently, but many paid you while in training...some pay while you have your permit, some don't.

The company training is at the terminal. The school is actually right across the street. You are there for 3 weeks to get your CDL and then go with a trainer for 6 weeks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

Different companies do it differently, but many paid you while in training...some pay while you have your permit, some don't.

Also their is no pay until you go with a trainer which is about $400 a week

Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

The question is; why do you want to be a driver?

It's something I have wanted to do since I was little. My dad has been a driver for over 20 years and I married into a family of drivers. It's in my blood!

Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School for your insightful information. I think there was some misunderstanding though. When I say go to school and work at the same time, I am referring to school during day and work at night. No differnt than someone going to a private school and still working at night. It would only be during the CDL classes phase and I would be 100% commited to my new company when I start actual orientation and OTR training.

Also I am not saying I wouldn't do 3000 miles. If that is available to me I will and can but from what I have found in research, the average miles offered to a driver especially reefer is 2500. With that being the average, I must use that as my judgement amount.

I guess what I'm getting at is $2200 a month average for a driver? At least one paid at .34 CPM? This is the main question because it is lucridious for me to leave my home each night job to drive OTR just to make the same money you know? I am looking for a job that pays me more. That is another reason I am looking at driving. Not to make the same money as I am now just with more expenses.

Thanks again for the responses so far!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

My other posts never made it to the thread that I posted last night and I can't remember what they said exactly so just wanna ask, are my numbers correct? Is that what a driver making .34 CPM can expect to make on a monthly basis? Is there anyone here who happen to make .34 CPM that wouldn't mind sharing what your typical total net pay is monthly? It would be greatly appreciated to help with my decision making.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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