My New Career

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Noobie1217's Comment
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I will start by saying I'm just wanting to share my experience with other people so maybe it will help them and maybe it will just get things off my chest;) I'm sure not all of my spelling will be great and some of what I say is probably just complaining..who knows.lol... so this first part of the blog I will try to explain what I have done in my past and where I'm at now. I have been in the restaurant industry most of my life, owned a few different concepts over the years, some good and some really bad experiences. After and during my restaurant life I some how fell into the love for sales! I know it was the money, eventually I found myself in insurance sales making well over 100k a year! After 5 years of insurance sales and knocking on over 120 new doors a week I had enough of sales! My families money requirements are at the lowest point in the last 20 years so I figured why not get into truck driving, I was used to be gone 4 days a week already, usually working 15 to 16 hours a day and already driving 2500 miles a week, which became my favorite part of the job, so trucking it is!

October thru November: I have always had a pretty good test taking mind so I just studied on a phone app for the written test and went down and took the written test and past in early October. With not a ton of miles behind the wheel of a semi I decided to go ride with my brother moving grain around north central Kansas for the month of November so I could pass the driving part of the cdl test. I'm so glad I had this experience with him! I quickly found out that grain haulers don't do much backing! When I scheduled my driving test I failed the first time because I had really no clue how to back a semi...lol...I was under the impression it would be much easier than than backing my boat and I was a pro at that, boy was I wrong. I'm very competitive and failing this driving part really took the wind out of my sails! I took a few days to rethink this truck driving opportunity and then through a few friends contacted Don Losson at White Line CDL school in Topeka KS and asked if they could teach me how to back a semi...Don and his wife Vickie are some of the nicest people I have meet and for a very reasonable fee they showed me the basics of backing a semi and gave me enough pointers to past the test. During the test I did have to parrallel park the tractor trailer which to me is silly, but it must be useful somewhere! To be honest I have never even parralell parked my car, so doing it in a semi was a treat! This time I did pass and receive my full CDL Class A license! I do want to again point out that Don and Vickie Losson from White Line CDL school are some of the best people I have meet in the industry so far! They seem very down to earth and very reasonably priced if you are looking for a school to get training! So if you need a good school reach out to them!!!!!

During my time hauling grain with my brother I started to research not only business models of trucking but companies to work with to gain experience....Over my insurance travels I had meet many truck companies and many truck drives so I started calling on people I knew who owned semis operated companies that had semis and so on...I found out that starting as a new driver felt very helpless...Even family members that have multiple trucks are not really willing to help a new driver get experience...I understand to a point that they are using older equipment and cant afford the beating a new driver puts on the equipment, but I really expected more! Over this 8 week period I spoke to about 30 different people in the industry, took pages of notes on different theories and different lines of trucking as well as different types of trucks, I feel like this may be useful later in life if I decide to stay in the transportation business. One common thing I got from most people was that trucking was a crappy business why would you want to get into it..lol...which cracked me up because this was from a bunch of people that had been in trucking there whole lives...most common things said was the pay is not good...the time away from home....equipment problems...traffic....mean shippers and receivers .....and the list went on and on....but this is what I wanted to do so I can't be talked out of it...The next post I will go through hiring on with my first trucking company and how many calls I made and different people I spoke with! Was fricking INSANE!

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.

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.

Noobie1217's Comment
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Mid November thru 2nd week December 2017 So after getting my cdl class A it was time to find a company to train me! My first pick was an uncle of mine, figured he was close to retiring might be a good place to start, he had 4 trucks going, traveled through the Midwest and I generally looked at him as a success in the industry. To my surprise he was not looking for to train any new drivers and was rather confused why I would want to leave the insurance world for a career in trucking! Best I can tell people is I needed a big change and this seemed like a good fit for me or at least something I always wanted to do and now had the chance to give it a try. My uncle did point me to a few different companies that he respected and believed would be a good place to start. As I read more about trucking and asked people lots of questions I figured out there was many different kinds of trucking or lanes of business. Refrigerated, box vans, tanker, hoppers and flat bed….from everything I read flatbed was the most work! Sounds like just what I’m looking for, so I started researching flat bed companies….this is where my ocd took over and I invested wayyyyy too much time looking into companies!!! I have charts and graphs on different pay scales home time average days worked equipment types and average miles a week and pay for training and orientation. In researching this I ended up into some site called Drivers Pulse, basically somewhere I filled out some information it slapped me in this system and my phone, email and text messages started blowing up…..I started to fill out crazy amounts of applications for different jobs and started speaking to recruiters for about 5 hours a day for 10 days! After all the research I had done I knew the company I wanted to work for was Keim TS, my uncle suggested them Don Losson told me they was a good company and I could not really find anything bad about them on the net. When going to their company website it appeared small family owned business with nice equipment and lots of talk about the importance of family time. These are things that made Keim the first company I applied with! I will say there communication thru the hiring process was not very good and had me worried that they was not actually hiring! Beings I knew I wanted to work at Keim I did not really waste much time the first four days of my job search applying at other companies….then in a panic on the fifth day after not hearing back from them I applied with every company, I would not suggest this unless you want lots of phone calls, emails and text messages. Most of the companies I spoke with told me the same thing, beings I didn’t go to a school and had no over the road driving experience to call them back after I get 6 months over the road and they would love to hire me…..what a crap concept…..we won’t help you now..but let someone else train you then call us and we will put you to work…I have marked these companies in a notebook and would not work for them just because I think that is a horrible business practice.....this is where my attitude started to go down hill a little about the trucking industry….and being the skeptic that I am I started to think about the business concept as a whole, just the dollars spent on recruiting in the industry is shameful! If companies would spend more time taking care of the employee’s they have and less time recruiting new employee’s they would be much better off…I also researched the turnover rate for truck drivers and that number is gross as well, believe I read upwards of 80%….leads me to again say….why not pay the people you have more money and not worry about chasing down new people, if you treat people right, pay them well other people will want to work there…all that money in trainers equipment paperwork ect……such a waste! They say the average cost of training a truck driver is $8234, if your a smaller company training on average 8 drivers a month, that is $65,872 in cost a month or just shy of 800k a year, I believe if you split that money between the working drivers the retention rate would be much better again that is saying they are only training two drivers a week, I'm guessing most are training many more than that... In speaking with several recruiters I did find about 5 companies willing to hire and train me…just to name a few: TMC,Maverick,Swift,C.R.England….my heart was really set on Keim so I kept calling in trying to figure out when I could start…they assured me I had a position and would get back to me with start date…to actually get the start date took 3 weeks….I actually filled out the full application with TMC and Maverick and had start dates with both companies within about 3 days, then decided to give Keim one last call …..I explained I didn’t want to be a pain but needed to start working and I had a couple of places lined up to start at Monday…..and what do you know they gave me a Monday start date!!!!

https://www.ugpti.org/pubs/pdf/SP146.pdf The average cost of turnover per driver for these carriers was $8,234; with a range from $2,243 to $20,729.

ATA - Truckload Turnover Rate Plummets in Fourth Quarter www.trucking.org/article/Truckload-Turnover-Rate-Plummets-in-Fourth-Quarter Mar 29, 2017 - Today, American Trucking Associations said the driver turnover at large truckload fleets sunk 10 percentage points to an annualized rate of 71%, the lowest point

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Noobie, you've given us a lengthy crash course in the absolute worst way to get started in trucking. You made all the classic mistakes thinking that you, a green rookie, know way more about how to do this than well established profitable companies who've been doing this since before you were born! Are you serious? You already know how they should cut their recruiting expenses and put those funds into their payroll?

I tell you one thing in your post that really stood out to me. Your uncle didn't bother to tell you how you need a certificate of training to land a job in this business, and neither did the school that took your money just to show you how to drive in reverse! Yet you went on and on about how nice those people at that school are. They did you a disservice! I hope you realize that by now.

Usually people like you, who already know people in this business, have a really hard time making a start of this. Does that seem odd to you? Have you figured out why that is so? I'm hoping you have, but I can't tell for sure because there seems to be some mixed messages in the things you've posted.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Noobie1217's Comment
member avatar

Random Notes about training orientation and hiring One weird thing that all the companies I applied with requested my tax information from previous 5 years….and pay stubbs from this year…I guess it has something to do with DOT law requirements and beings I was self employed they needed it…..so I did send it to them but felt kinda strange….my w-2 earnings from one of the companies I wrote most of my business with in those years showed over 100k each year so I figured that would be good…then in addition to that I needed to get someone that knew me to write on a piece of paper they knew me and knew I sold insurance the past 5 years…..lol…funny because all of this information can be seen thru the state of Kansas website, but I did as requested and had my start date of Monday December 11th, 2017…..the actual start of my new career!!!!!!! One of the other things to keep in mind all of these companies offered a training pay while I was in training or daily money you would receive until you was qualified to get your own truck…As of now I have not received any pay but I’m sure I will on Monday….the pay is not much and a few of them I’m not sure its even legal..most stated between 60 and 100 perday!!!!! WTF!!! That is in between 7.50 and 12.50 an hour..lol….most restaurant workers earn more an hour starting out and they don’t have to pass any test’s or need special licensing...lol…but it is what it is! Keep in mind I’m sure this money is taxed…so that 5 days orientation pay is 500 bucks….after taxes probably around $325 a week take home…then if your like me you have another 14 to 28 days of over the road training at the same $325 a week…this is where they are all probably breaking the law…you work a minimum of 14 hours a day…at 100 dollars per day that is 7.14 per hour, but you are required to be at work 24 hours a day so that gets you to 4.16 an hour..I’m using the 100 dollars a day method..if you go with the 60 dollars a day places it will be much less…most states the very minimum you can pay is 7.25…lol…crazy but like I said not really in it to get rich…just want to get my life into perspective….and I don’t blame this on any certain company and I’m not upset about it…..just make sure you plan well in advance financially for this….if you know what your bills are and what your minimum you need a month is…you might have to pick up a part time job while you are in training..out of your $325 a week training pay you have travel expenses…like meals and showers….parking and tolls…scales…ect….some of this is reimbursed but the meals and showers are out of your pocket…Most of the companies I spoke with about orientation do provide lunch daily and a room to sleep in through out orientation. A few other expenses to keep in mind! Clothing, beings I’m going into flat bed I needed some extra stuff, work boots that are steel toed, these can be pricey and is very dependant on taste, I’m partial to Ariat boots and spent 250 on mine…gloves…long johns…coveralls and socks! I researched a lot of socks and am trying out Merino wool socks! According to Joe Rogan they are best for cold weather for smell and warmth;) The socks was 8 dollars a pair but I personally would rather have warm feet than 8 bucks so I’m hoping they work well….gloves is another thing I didn’t skimp on I spent 15-25 bucks a pair on a few different types of winter gloves…got 3 different sets altogether….not sure what is going to work the best…I also am not a big fan of fast food or truck stop food so I purchased a bunch of food for my first week out on the road which I will get to on the next update…I owned good long johns fleece pants and a great coat and coveralls but you will need all of this from my understanding for flatbedding!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi. i find it interestimg that coming from an insurance background that you cannot understand some companies do not want to absorb the risks and costs of training a newbie. Many companies cannot get insurance for an inexperienced driver. Also, I have noticed you have some serious expectations---and those expectations are what cause most new drivers to fail.

People do not leave trucking because companies pay them little or treat them so horribly. They leave due to bad attitudes, poor judgement, concentrating on the wrong aspects of trucking, not being able to adjust to the lifestyle (this includes being away from home, changing sleep patterns, not learning to balance work and personal time etc). Most companies treat their drivers very well, and often in different ways. one might pay higher, another might give more bonuses, others might give gifts or more hometime. I assure you, no experienced driver needs to stay at a company that treats him poorly. A safe driver with good service record and a year experience has many many opportunitites.

Trucking is not for everyone. New drivers often do not understand this is not something you learn in a month and then excel. You have to repeatedly perform at the top of your game. You constantly improve your skills daily, and learn new things about the truck and industry. You have to be smart and be able to make decisions. You need to build a relatiionship with dispatch.

Dismiss your expectations. Dismiss your belief that you are entitled to anything which is conveyed in your statements regarding your uncle and others who surprised you.

good luck

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Oh boy...

We could have saved you a lot of trouble had you come in here six months ago with a few questions. But you sure are giving a grand dissertation on how the things we teach here are the best path to get your career started out right.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow...i was typing while you were.

they ask for tax info to prove work history. no company is going to want to hire someone who changes jobs every two.months. trucking takes commitment and determination. Since you made $100,000 on several w2s you should have no problem paying for the boots and other such things you want. keep in mind that anything you bring onto the trainers truck will be kept on your bed. your statement of "i have yet to get paid but start on monday" makes me wonder if you exoected to get paid before even starting training? If so, please rethink yourself.

get the "paid by the hour" thing out of your head. This is a performance based industry, meaning those who manage their time and are repsonsible do great. others who whine and complain and never bother to learn that the making money part relies on YOU the driver, well....they are the ones who quit or hate the job.

i wish you luck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

You have it all figured out, so good luck.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Wow. While that is not the industry standard way of getting into this industry, you did it. Congratulations!

But now that you have landed here at TT, have a seat, and maybe you will learn a few things going from this point, forward. Honestly, it matter not how you got into the industry, what matters most is becoming a SAFE, productive, and dependable driver, for Keim TS. That is where people like, Old School, Rainy, Pack Rat, and the other moderators,and more experienced drivers, here come in.

All the hassle you went through could have easily been avoided, but you persevered, and made it. I hope you stick around, and learn about the industry, in a better light, than you did while entering it.

Stay safe

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Btw....how would you get a part time job while driving 2500 to 3000 miles a week?

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