Questions About Entering And Staying In The Trucking Industry.

Topic 20828 | Page 1

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Scott W.'s Comment
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I am looking at becoming an over the road driver. Kids are gone and I love the road and a changing job environment, love challenges. A few questions though if anyone could answer.

1) Can my wife ride along on some trips? She is not planning on being a driver. 2) "Home-time" does not bug me as much as just time off. I am currently in a job that is 24/7, I may go months without an entire day off. This is bad for a number of reasons and is not sustainable. I read that there is one day off for every 2 weeks worked? Does this change with a little seniority? 3) In a couple of years there is another part time business opportunity that should present itself. If I were to enjoy trucking, could I then become an owner operator (buy a truck) and be in a position to better choose my hours?

Thanks

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

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.

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

I am looking at becoming an over the road driver. Kids are gone and I love the road and a changing job environment, love challenges. A few questions though if anyone could answer.

1) Can my wife ride along on some trips? She is not planning on being a driver. 2) "Home-time" does not bug me as much as just time off. I am currently in a job that is 24/7, I may go months without an entire day off. This is bad for a number of reasons and is not sustainable. I read that there is one day off for every 2 weeks worked? Does this change with a little seniority? 3) In a couple of years there is another part time business opportunity that should present itself. If I were to enjoy trucking, could I then become an owner operator (buy a truck) and be in a position to better choose my hours?

Thanks

Almost every company has a different policy concerning riders. Those that allow riders usually require you to have a certain amount of time behind the wheel before they let you. They also usually require you to purchase a separate insurance coverage for the rider. Their website often has this information or you can call and ask.

Companies also offer different time on the road packages ranging from: 3 weeks out with 3 days off, some offer 2 weeks out, some 1 week out and a 34 hour reset at home. Your recruiter will let you know the details of the job you apply for. You can also apply for different jobs within the company (with different time out/home requirements) after you get some experience.

Very few on this site would recommend being an owner operator. Too much risk for too little reward.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

CFI lets you take a rider as soon as you go solo. Just submit a form. As far as time off, that is mostly up to you. As you learn to manage your clock you can arrange your breaks. This is not 100%. Sometimes you have to change things up to get a load done on time. Most OTR companies give you one day of home time for every seven days worked. How you take that depends on the company's policy. At CFI we don't lose the days we build up. For example, I have about 16 days saved up and I'm about to take six days of home time. I'll still have 10 saved up. Home time days are usually unpaid. If you look through our starter pack, that could answer many of your questions.

And of course we are all here to help.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Scott, and welcome aboard our forum!

Trucking is a very unique job and opportunity for the right kind of people, but I always get a little concerned when one of the first questions is about time off. We tell people all the time that choosing this career is really more like choosing a whole new lifestyle than it is about just deciding it will be a job that you might enjoy. I realize that you are totally new to this, and just starting to look into it, and that is often times daunting in itself with all the misinformation readily accessible on the internet. So let me try to break it down for you a little.

I work some crazy hours. Sometimes I am driving through the night, and sleeping during the day. Other times it is just the opposite of that, and then there are times when it just gets all blurred together into driving half the day and really late into the night. But the main thing is, we do what it takes to get the job done. You have to realize there are firm and hard rules that we all have to abide by concerning how much and how long we can drive, and then there is those mandatory break periods of ten hours that we must take. So, we actually get time off every day, but it is usually spent sleeping in our sleeper, away from our home.

I hope I'm not being presumptuous in offering you a few links that might help you get an idea of what our life is like on the road, but if you are interested I will give you three links below that are old archived threads about three different time periods in my career where I took each of my three daughters with me on the road. I think it will give you some ideas of what the lifestyle is like, what you can do with a rider along with you, and how you can still actually enjoy some time off while you are out on the road.

First Trip

Second Trip

Third Trip

It is a lot to read, and I certainly don't want to bore you, but if you'll read those links I think it will help you to better understand how you can manage your time out here both for success and pleasure. I hope you enjoy the read and can gain some insight from it as well.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
If I were to enjoy trucking, could I then become an owner operator (buy a truck) and be in a position to better choose my hours?

Scott, trucking is a brutal business to be in. There is a ton of competition, and as a commodities business it is usually the lowest price that gets the job. It is not at all the type of environment where you want to invest money in the equipment that puts you in the game just so that you can work less than your competitors. That is a recipe for disaster. I would never recommend that you pursue this career under the plan of trying to not have to work as hard as the competition. If you are going to succeed at it, you will be working like crazy as your own boss. Let the big players take those worries, and just be a competent hard working company driver.

There really isn't much of a concept of "seniority" in this business. It is a performance based business. The guys who can prove that they can consistently get things done safely and efficiently, all while being easy to work with, are the ones who experience the perks and privileges of the career. Being at the top of your game is how you get treated with what you may think of as "seniority." Unfortunately there is always someone else wanting to be at the top of the food chain also. It is a very competitive career, even among the company drivers there is the struggle to remain at the top of the productivity levels so that you can get the best loads and home time. Everything is based on performance.

Self employment in this career usually means a lot more sacrifice and time away from family and friends than just settling in to be a competent and solid company employee.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

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.

Scott W.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you very much for your responses, I will follow the links and continue my study of the industry. You guys are a big help!

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