I No Longer Want To Drive A Truck

Topic 21094 | Page 1

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Conservative's Comment
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Just wanted to let you all know what's happening . So I got a job as a security guard. My assignment for the time being is to operate a truck gate at a distribution center with 59 or so docks. This has given me a different and enlightening perspective on what it can mean to drive a truck. I have seen drivers spend 6 hrs plus waiting to get loaded. And some drivers who would have been a quick drop and hook have had to wait for the trailer to be finished. And if the driver is late even through no fault of a their own, they will most likely be shoved to the curb to wait. And even being early does not guarantee quick servicing. Now I'm not saying that every D.C. Is like this ,but I would prefer not to deal with that. Being stuck for hours on end not being able to make much money (except for detention pay) would really get under my skin. I'm not saying I never want to drive a big truck though. Where I am at ltl shippers get serviced in minutes. But that may not be the case everywhere.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Conservative, smart drivers learn to work the waiting game to their advantage. That's why Top Tier drivers always make it a priority to...

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

I've always made it a point to learn the places I go to and have a plan in place for those places where I know there's a high possibility of a delay. You make things happen out here by taking control of your own circumstances, not by letting your customers dictate how your time is managed. I understand that a very small percentage of the drivers you let through that gate understand those principles, and your exposure to the constant negative responses of the many drivers who are influencing you is affecting your objectivity.

I certainly wouldn't want my limited experiences as a security guard to determine my future career decisions. Security guards get paid for just being there, even when there's nothing going on. A good truck driver is proud to be paid for how much he can accomplish. Therefore he learns how to make his visits at certain places work to his advantage.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I pull dry van for CFI. It is rare that I wait more than 2 hours to be loaded, unloaded or for a trailer to be ready. This is because our customers know that after 2 hours they pay detention. We do have some customers that you will wait hours for your load no matter what. They are few and far between.

You are looking at one very small spot of an industry. Sometimes you sit. Trucking companies make their money when the trucks are rolling, not sitting. You will only screw up your hours one time at a shipper/receiver because after that you will know that that one makes you wait. Now you can plan for it. I have one shipper that I have been to twice. I know I will sleep there. They have ample parking and a rest room. However, once you get your door you will be out of there quickly. The loads from there are heavy and they have a scale on site. I'll take aload from there any time. I get a rest, paid detention and the miles for the load. Try to see the big picture in life and not just what's in front of your face.

On a side note, I often get preferential treatment at these places because I'm polite, empathetic and professional.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

Roanpony's Comment
member avatar

For my own small part, I don't blame you for not seeing the appeal of sitting for hours waiting to get loaded or unloaded. That's one of the reasons I prefer flatbed. Not that I don't occasionally have to sit for a while and wait, but warehouses are notorious for it. If driving is really what you want to do, there are other forms of trucking where long waits aren't as common. No matter what, though... trucking isn't an easy way to make a living and I can quite understand why the turnover rate seems so high.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Top Tier Drivers run so hard all the time that they're happy to get a break like that once in a while. When you're turning 3,000 or more miles per week you're putting in a lot of very long days.

As others have mentioned, it's not that common to sit for long periods of time. Savvy drivers definitely learn to make the most of their time, including their down time.

One of the big reasons people leave trucking early on in their career is because of the downtime and delays. Most people are used to getting paid for their time, not for the amount of work they get done, and can not seem to flip that switch in their head. Personally I always preferred to be paid by the mile because I'm ambitious as hell. I know I'm going to work harder and get more done than most people so I don't want to be paid the same as everyone else. I want to be rewarded for being more productive and harder working.

I also saw it as an opportunity to make all the money I wanted to make. Obviously trucking companies make their money by moving as much freight as possible. So if they're paying me by the mile they're hoping I'll want to turn as many miles as possible. So the system is built to favor those who are willing and able to get more work done. The harder working, more productive drivers are not only going to make more than most drivers but they're going to drive better equipment and get special favors a lot more often.

The best thing a worker can do is to be one of the top earners for their company. Companies exist to make money. The more money they make from you the more they're going to favor you.

Keep this in mind, also. These delays are not going to hurt your paycheck any. You're still going to get your miles in for the week. I think a lot of drivers start to believe they're losing money when they're sitting. No, you're not losing money. You're just not making any this moment. But you're still going to get your 3,000 miles in per week if you're a Top Tier Driver so there's no reason to sweat the delays.

Learn to flip that switch in your head and focus on getting work done instead of just putting in time and you'll find a truck driver's salary can add up to some great money. We have plenty of drivers in this forum that made over $45,000 their first year and are making over $65,000 after just two or three years in the industry. You're going to work hard for that money, make no mistake about it. But the money is there to be made for those with the ambition and savvy to do this job.

Not to mention, OTR trucking is a lot more than just a job. It's a lifestyle. You're getting to travel the country in a big rig. You're spending weekends in different places all over the country, you're seeing beautiful scenery all the time, you're meeting tons of interesting people, and you get the opportunity to do a ton of interesting things that most people will never get to do. Trucking is far from a vacation. It's definitely hard work. At least most of the time. But if you play your cards right it is like being on a paid vacation sometimes. People save their whole lives hoping to do some travelling someday. Truckers get paid a great salary to travel all the time.

It's certainly not the job for everyone, but if you're the right type for this job there's nothing in the world like it. A few delays amount to nothing. That's piddly stuff.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Respectfully, if you allow one detour to shut down your journey to success, you may find your rewards greatly delayed.

Remember; if you wait for all the lights to turn green, you’ll never get to the store.

If driving is not for you, better you decide that now than later.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I was going through some old articles and pulled up a real gem by TruckerMike. If you want to get into trucking you have to read this:

What I Learned My First Year As A Truck Driver

Anyone considering this career should read every word of that. Great stuff!

Conservative's Comment
member avatar

Respectfully, if you allow one detour to shut down your journey to success, you may find your rewards greatly delayed.

Remember; if you wait for all the lights to turn green, you’ll never get to the store.

If driving is not for you, better you decide that now than later.

I think I've come to the point where I've decided trucking isn't for me. Or at least not otr. I understand what you all are saying . And it's true that in any career there are going to be times where you have to sacrifice a little to make a lot. As much as I would like to pursue an otr trucking career, I just can't seem to make it work out . Seems every time I've tried to pursue it, some roadblock has been in my way. And besides all that, lately I've been having issues driving at night. So it's probably best that I give up my small ambitions anyway. But I am glad that I took the time to study the industry since it helps me to relate to the drivers I interact with as a guard since I now have some limited knowledge about the things they deal with. I realize that in any job, not everything is going to be all "green lights" , but there always seemed to be too mainy "red lights" when I considered trucking. I will continue to keep reading tt and enjoying the content though. Thanks for everything! :)

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well best of luck to ya in your endeavors. Trucking really isn't for most people, that's for sure. It takes a tremendous amount of ambition and commitment. If you're really not that into the idea then you're almost certainly not going to get far anyhow. It's like climbing a mountain or being in the military or achieving a high level of athletics or so many other things in life that are incredibly challenging and competitive - you have to really want it badly or you're going to get beaten down by the challenges and eaten up by the competition.

Best of luck to you.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you're making the right decision for you.

As a reefer driver I know there is a good chance I will be delayed at customers. Instead of getting upset, I just manage my clock accordingly. I take my 10 at the customer when possible. If they take six hours to load or unload I will ask if I can stay for two more hours on their property. Usually if they have the room they don't mind. It pays to be polite and respectful to the dock workers.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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