Starting Out As A New Driver In LTL/linehaul

Topic 20548 | Page 1

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heyjamesguesswhat's Comment
member avatar

Hey all. Currently studying for my permit and have recently applied at FedEx Freight as an apprentice. I'm not interested in driving OTR. I know some of you have always driven LTL , any advice? What other LTL companies take new drivers? I have a solid work history and a spotless MVR , and I've held a DOT card before. Don't know how much that matters though... I see so many mixed reviews on schools, not sure if I want to go that route, especially if I can get an apprentice position somewhere. I'm not desperate for a job, so I can play the waiting game, I just want to get an idea of what my odds are of getting my foot in the door with an LTL company.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Welcome.

Your odds are very good. Are you in the Harrisburg / York / Carlisle area? If so, you will have many options.

I went into LTL linehaul with Old Dominion right out of trucking school. Had I known OD has a program where they take prospective drivers off the street and train them for their CDL , I probably would've gone right to OD without getting my CDL first. But, I went to a really good private school in York and I don't regret that decision. The school cost me 5k, and with how good OD pays, I had it paid off in a matter of a few months - plus OD gives tuition reimbursement.

If you are indeed in the HBG / York / Carlisle area, I'd highly recommend Fed Ex Freight, Old Dominion, or SAIA. I'm not sure if SAIA has their own schooling or not. I'm not basing this suggestion from personal bias, but if I had to choose between Fed Ex Freight or OD, I'd choose OD. There are reasons for that. The terminal in Harrisburg brings tremendous opportunity for linehaul (e.g. daylight linehaul in only a couple years and the ability to gain seniority at a good clip due to continued expansion), and they do hire P&D frequently.

You've got Estes in York. Fed Ex Freight, OD, and Saia in the greater Harrisburg area. I wouldn't bother with UPSF, ABF, YRC, NEMF, or Central Transport. Ward is a smaller outfit that has a terminal in Camp Hill. XPO (formerly Conway-Freight) is out of York, but somewhat of a mystery to me since they changed hands.

The union shops like UPSF, ABF, and YRC will keep you by the phone to start out. You've got a long, uphill road to get a bid run as linehaul driver at those places, and when it's slow, prepare for not working at all. Not sure how their P&D operates. Simply put, OD, Fed Ex Freight, and SAIA will offer much better opportunity for you as a new driver.

One thing to consider with SAIA is that they are just now moving into the northeast with their freight lanes. The current "Harrisburg" terminal is in Mount Joy (Lancaster), and they have plans to expand to Middletown (Harrisburg) with a larger terminal. Now would be a prime time to get your foot in the door with an LTL that is a major player. You'd gain 'instant' seniority since they plan on doing a lot of hiring over the next few years. True, seniority doesn't count in P&D, but at SAIA you can take your hire date and apply that seniority if you'd choose to switch to linehaul from P&D. Apparently, you can seamlessly switch from P&D to linehaul. Most LTLs run separate boards for linehaul and P&D, so if you switch, you lose your seniority.

Hope all this helps. Let me know if you have any questions. There's a Fed Ex Freight driver on here who will chime in, hopefully. There are a few of us LTL drivers here. I try to represent LTL whenever I can. Going linehaual was what I always wanted to do. I love being home every day, and I make enough money that my wife can stay home with the kids. It's the best trucking job I could ever ask for. Here's a thread I started specifically about LTL.

LTL Trucking - My Linehaul Job

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

heyjamesguesswhat's Comment
member avatar

Thanks a lot for the reply 6 string. I'm up near Williamsport. Ward, XPO and FedEx Freight (and ground) have terminals near me. I think Estes and Penske have terminals too, but I haven't heard much about them. I saw on XPO's website that they do have a driver training program, and I think Ward does as well. All require working the dock, but I'm totally fine with that. I've been on the fence about going back to doing courier work since I have contacts in that world, but the pay isn't as good as driving a big truck. The hours are a little easier on the family life though. I farm with my family right now, so I'm used to long days and heavy work. But we're doing some downsizing so its time to figure something else out, and I've always wanted to give pro-driving a shot. Thanks again! I'll keep ya posted.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Well, you gotta work with your location. Ward is a good outfit, just small. Fed Ex Freight is a top notch LTL. I don't know much about XPO. I don't know anything about Penske - I thought they just rented trucks? I think Old Dominion's closest terminal to your location would be Scranton.

I wouldn't look into Fed Ex Ground. Those fleets are run by owner / operators and you'll be a 1099 employee. Go with Fed Ex Freight over Fed Ex Ground.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

One more thing. You'll need your hazmat , doubles / triples, and tank endorsements if you wanna go linehaul. Use the resources here to study and you'll ace the exams.

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

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

I concur with what 6 string said.

With FedEx Freight you'll work the dock till you get through the apprentice program and then after getting kicked-out on runs during the night hours when freight levels dictate it.

Pay is good and you'll get a variety of runs. FedEx Freight also works hard to make sure you get your 40hrs every week when freight levels are low. The union shops could care less and others are a hit or miss.

You can bid for city work when the twice a year bidding opens up and if there is a slot you can work days delivering freight local. Tough work but you'll get plenty of backing practice :)

If 6 string is right about SAIA expanding I'd look into that too. Nothing like getting in on the ground floor. Instant seniority which means road runs and little dock work.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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