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Jason K.'s Comment
member avatar

Jason not trying to be evasive, but perhaps your questions are relevant to others seeking similar answers. We try to keep it open on the forum. Hope you understand.

What can I help you with?

Not a problem, I got a little tunnel visioned there with your mention of Wal-mart dedicated? Should I start a new Forum post as not to interrupt the purpose of this one?

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jason wrote:

I got a little tunnel visioned there with your mention of Wal-mart dedicated? Should I start a new Forum post as not to interrupt the purpose of this one?

Your call, but probably best so not to get the two carriers confused. I'm old, I confuse easily.

I'll wait for the question and hope to stay awake long enough to read it...

Zzzzzzzzzz....

Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

For those considering a dedicated regional or local gig, they should read this Rob’s diary ! It’s a well written & detailed account of this rookie’s daily challenges with pictures to boot.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Old School. I appreciate your very well thought out reply. I'm married with three young girls, two of which we just adopted last fall. Being gone OTR for a year is something I simply cannot do. If I was single I think I'd really enjoy it, but I'm simply not in a position to do that.

For that reason, I've been studying all the home daily options. I hear what you're saying about what "home daily" really is, and it does appear that not all that glitters is gold!

Another option is I pay the $5k out of pocket (which I can do) and go to my local CDL school in Killeen, TX. It's 4 weeks and is a certified school. That would open some doors, I'm sure, but in my area there are not a lot of home daily choices. But, it would at least put me one notch above the student population.

What are your thoughts on running LTL with XPO? I see they have many jobs available and it would appear that I'd qualify upon graduating from school.

Love to hear your thoughts on that, Old School, as well as general advice. If you were in my shoes and had to have local to start, what would you do? And, as I mentioned before, we are willing to relocate for the right opportunity.

Thanks, sir!

Jim

CRST runs a lot of XPO loads. You might see if they will pay to train you and then maybe after you get some experience switch over (if they have a XPO dedicated account) and then go from there. The way most companies do it is they really want that year of OTR forst before switching, however like the Moderators said you might land a gig like that right out of school, however it is a lot tougher for a rookie. If you want to know more about LTL or are dead set on that, I highly encourage you to read a thread on here by 6 string rhythm:

LTL Trucking - My Linehaul Job

Follow that link and you will get the answers you seek.

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.

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.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

For those considering a dedicated regional or local gig, they should read this Rob’s diary ! It’s a well written & detailed account of this rookie’s daily challenges with pictures to boot.

Great point Reyn. I agree.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hey Jim, one thing that you didn't really tell us is why you are wanting to get into trucking. I love the fact that you want to have plenty of time with your family. I myself raised three daughters with my wife. Those early years with my family are some of the happiest memories I have. Congratulations on the adoptions! That's really cool in my book.

If you're desire is to earn more money for your new family situation, then while noble, it also needs to have a dose of reality to it. Nobody jumps into trucking and goes right to making 65,000 dollars per year. It is just a tough endeavor to break into. Your whole first year will be a very steep learning curve. I think 50,000 dollars for a rookie's first year earnings would be doing really well, but I have seen a few folks do even better - most will do much worse than that. The thing you have got to realize is how radically different the trucking career is from just going and starting a new job. It is a complete life altering experience, and that is the main reason so many people fail at it. They were completely unprepared for what they just got into.

Another option is I pay the $5k out of pocket (which I can do) and go to my local CDL school in Killeen, TX. It's 4 weeks and is a certified school. That would open some doors, I'm sure, but in my area there are not a lot of home daily choices. But, it would at least put me one notch above the student population.

Jim, I think you really need to think hard about what it is you want out of this new career choice. If your main desire is to make more money, then I want you to realize there have been scores of people who went into trucking for that same reason, and then after falling way short of their goals decided to make a career out of posting diatribes on trucking forums about how unfair the trucking industry is - how it treated them as if they were a piece of "meat in the seat," or even a "slave." People who succeed at this usually want it bad, and they determine to embrace the whole lifestyle of it all. Trucking is very demanding, and the thing it really demands of people is a lot of time. I don't know how else to put it to you, but it is not an ideal career for folks with a young family who are wanting to spend good quality time with those they love. Can you help us understand your desire for a career change? If it is along these lines I would feel I hadn't dealt with you honestly by encouraging you to pursue the very career that I am currently enjoying immensely. It is a lifestyle choice for me, and the people who embrace it after that fashion are generally the ones who do well with it. I can be very honest with you when I tell you that I meet a lot of miserable truckers out here on the road. Most of them don't understand the keys to success at this business and they have been trudging along in a miserable state for years, chasing an elusive dream that they will not find until they come to terms with the realities of what it takes to make a real go at this thing we call Trucking.

There are really very few trucking jobs that give you a full weekend at home. There are a few, and they would mostly be line haul jobs. Those are almost always seniority based, so you must get in at ground level and spend sometimes many years getting to where you can win a "bid" for one of those senior positions. Our member "SIx String" managed to do this, but he was in the perfect area of the country to get in and make a decent go of it. Very few are as fortunate as he in that regard. In this industry, home on weekends usually means you will get home sometime mid afternoon on Saturday, and then get back out there on Sunday afternoon, or maybe Sunday night.

I just think you need to evaluate what it is that you are wanting, and then formulate a long term goal of achieving it. We have seen countless folks who wanted to jump right into local positions or home daily trucking jobs and then they have a minor accident, get removed from the position, and then find that no one is willing to hire them. That is the problem with short cutting that year of OTR. It has the slow progression of breaking you into all the many scenarios that you will face as a professional driver of a vehicle weighing in at 80,000 pounds, bending in the middle, and being 75 feet long. These things do not maneuver easily in tight quarters, which is exactly what local and home daily positions require an intense amount of doing. Consequently these jobs are really tough on new drivers, and I don't encourage folks in that direction because I want to see them succeed at this.

Maybe trucking isn't the right choice for you at this time - I can't say that, but I can point you in the path that I know will help you succeed. I have done well at this career, but I took all the same advice that I give to folks in here. I am still an OTR driver because I love the whole lifestyle of it. I would never recommend that you start out in a home daily position, because I realize how much I learned by doing it the way I did. It all set me up for success, and that is what I would want for you also.

Take a look at this article: Prudence Seems To Be Lacking In Some Rookie Truck Drivers. It addresses some of the things we are discussing here.

I've got to get back on the road now. Talk to ya later.

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.

Line Haul:

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.
Jim C.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, guys, thank you for all the fantastic replies. This is so helpful.

Old School, to answer your question as to why I'm getting into trucking... That's a complicated question. I spent 5 years in law enforcement as a cop and detective. Left there to pursue small business 4 years ago and things went south in my business, sadly. Now my police certification is too dated and I've moved to a different state. The path to being a cop would take me a year or so and that's just too long.

My wife is a stay at home mom and I simply need to make at least $50k or so annually to support our family. I do have a bachelor's degree, but it's in applied social sciences and the job market for that field is not hot. I don't have time to go back to school or to pursue any sort of training that'll take more than a month before I'm earning income. Hope that helps to see where I'm coming from.

I'm a big fan of beginning with the end in mind. From what I'm reading and researching it seems like most trucking jobs demand a ton of hours. I fully understand paying due, but I do ask myself if there is light at the end of the tunnel and if I'd be able to find better work/life balance after a year or two of grinding it out.

For example, if I took a job for the first year or two that either had me OTR or regional , or even local with insane hours, then are there positions out there that actually work 40 hours per week and mostly days? I'm trying to get an idea of what career progression looks like after the dues paying period. One or two years of grinding is doable to me if after that I could land something that offered more balance.

Love to hear what you guys think on this...

Thanks!

Jim

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

A local job of only 40hrs is the Unicorn. Many have claimed they have seen it, but not a single person can show it to you. Especially if you still want to make $50k + a year. Trucking always has and always will be the 60+ hr weeks. Many of us put more like 80+ hrs in a week.

As Old School alluded to, trucking is a lifestyle, not a job. I am sure you are used to long hours from law enforcement, but Trucking will demand more from you.

Your best bet is to find a regional job. You will be home weekends. Understand that a weekend is usually somewhere between 34 and 48 hrs. More likely averaging around 40 hrs at home. Like a local job, a regional job will require you to run 'hard'. Exhausting your clock every day. That is the only way you see the kind of money you can make OTR. How much you can make in that first year will greatly depend on how quickly you learn and build your stamina for driving and long days. Trucking is a job of sacrifice. The only career I can compare it to is the military. You will sacrifice so much at a chance to provide a good future for your family. You will miss out on many things. You will miss birthdays, anniversaries, and a slew of other things.

If you have better options to provide for your family they may be a better choice for you while your children are young.

Good Luck!

Drive Safe and God Speed

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Rob's Comment
member avatar

I drive local and put in about 48 to 50 hours in a 4 day work week. Most of my job is physical and has already been said it isn't a good idea to start the way I did.

The only close to 40 hour truck driving job I've seen was when I worked at a place called IWCO in Minnesota. They had a box truck driver that worked 12 hour shifts, 36 hours one week. 48 the next. Also had a class a driver that worked 9am to 5pm. That is the only place I've seen 40 hour weeks. The box truck made 17 an hr, semi driver made 19 an hr . Far from 50k.....

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'm a big fan of beginning with the end in mind. From what I'm reading and researching it seems like most trucking jobs demand a ton of hours. I fully understand paying due, but I do ask myself if there is light at the end of the tunnel and if I'd be able to find better work/life balance after a year or two of grinding it out.

For example, if I took a job for the first year or two that either had me OTR or regional , or even local with insane hours, then are there positions out there that actually work 40 hours per week and mostly days? I'm trying to get an idea of what career progression looks like after the dues paying period. One or two years of grinding is doable to me if after that I could land something that offered more balance.

Jim, I hope you realize that I am sincerely trying to give you some helpful information. Most of the time I don't feel as if I am trying to dissuade people from this career, but it keeps sounding like that in my responses to you. I just think you are misunderstanding a few things about the trucking career. I have heard this phrase repeatedly over the years here in our forum about having a period of "paying your dues" as a rookie and then getting better treatment down the road. I personally think that is a huge misconception about trucking. I know it seems that way to many people because it just takes a good bit of time to get oneself established in this career, but it really has nothing to do with paying your dues. If a person jumps in here and really proves to have an understanding of how things work, and puts forth the effort that is required to succeed at this then any decent dispatcher will help them run their wheels off, even as a rookie. The problem is that very few people have the ability to grasp the concepts required to make a good start at this.

The trucking industry is an asset based business. That simply means that they have certain assets (trucks) that they need to utilize to their maximum efficiency so that they are making money. The way those assets are put to their maximum efficiency is to have drivers in them who really get the concepts that make the trucking company profitable. A truck driver has 70 hours of available driving time to him in eight days. The ones who know how to capitalize on making those hours both available and useful are the ones who keep the bottom line in the black and out of the red. What I'm saying is that the experienced drivers really work long hours, get the most done, and are rewarded with some of the best loads. They don't end up having cushy jobs with 40 hour weeks. I am considered the top driver in my fleet. I've been there a good many years. I work about 80 hours a week. That is how I make really good money. That is how they need me to be working so that I am beneficial to their bottom line. I love what I do. It is my chosen lifestyle, and it would take wild horses to drag me away from it.

There are not a lot of people in the world who want to work like this. There is a huge demand for truck drivers, but that demand is for the type who embrace it as a lifestyle and give themselves completely to the cause and the sacrifices that make for success at this. You can rarely be a successful truck driver and work 40 hours a week. I still remember the time I came across a driver from my company at a receiver and he wanted to know how I was doing at my job. When he heard my glowing remarks he was dumbfounded. He complained that he had been working for these guys for eighteen months now and had never had more than an 1,800 mile week! Upon further inquiry I discovered that he refused to work on weekends - he told me that the weekend was his time, and he wasn't about to give that to them. It is physically impossible for them to dispatch him more than what they were because he wanted to go home every Friday afternoon and start back to work Monday morning. It just doesn't work like that, and he was going broke because of his own misconceptions of how this is all supposed to work.

We work nights, days, and any legal time that we can manage to squeeze into our schedule. We maximize our effectiveness and we control our own paychecks. There are no salaries. We get what we earn by being the best we can be. It is a totally performance based industry from top to bottom. Even the folks in the offices are being measured up on how well they can keep their drivers maximizing their hours. I get sometimes an extra six or seven thousand dollars a year in bonus pay. That bonus money is completely based on my performance and ability to get more done, just as is my regular pay. This business is all about being movers and shakers. It has nothing to do with paying your dues and then you will be golden. You have always got to be doing what it takes to keep yourself at the top of the food chain.

If you want to begin with the end in mind then you have got to realize that the end game is all about getting the most done out here. That's the way this game is played. It involves long hours and considerable sacrifice that most are not willing to make. There are some flat bed companies who break up their freight lanes into regions thus allowing their drivers to get home on weekends. You may want to look into that possibility, it may just be the best option for a man in your position. Keep in mind that it won't be a true weekend though. You may only be home for about 34 hours.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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