LTL Trucking - My Linehaul Job

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6 string rhythm's Comment
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Hello everybody! I know this is mainly an OTR forum, and since I don't think LTL trucking gets enough attention, especially as a potential option for new drivers, I will be posting my experience as a linehaul driver for a major LTL trucking company. To my knowledge, I've seen two other members recently commenting about their LTL jobs. Originally I was planning on going OTR, then an LTL company offered me a linehaul position - very rare for a student driver. Up until yesterday, I was planning on still going OTR. After a recent, very in depth conversation with my wife, we both decided that the linehaul job was too good an offer to pass up on, and that it would be best for our family.

I already took my road test, drug test, and had my interview with the linehaul manager. So, this Monday the 28th, I'll officially be hired and start training. Please, if anybody has any questions or comments along the way, be sure to jump in!

To start, training is 4 weeks long. I'll earn $20.65 an hour, and was told to expect 11-12 hours a day, M-F. I'll go home each day and have Sat & Sun off. Last 3 weeks of training will be all driving. I'll start at .55 cpm after I go solo, should be around the first week of September. It's a Wed-Sun linehaul position, out 5 days, home for two.

More to come...

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Where do I apply? :)

Jay B.'s Comment
member avatar

I wish the forum listed your location of "home" and what company you worked for. I know most of the regulars seem to know each other and know that but it would be easier for us newbs to follow along :)

Grats on the new job! Definitely sounds too good to pass up!

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I wish the forum listed your location of "home" and what company you worked for. I know most of the regulars seem to know each other and know that but it would be easier for us newbs to follow along :)

Grats on the new job! Definitely sounds too good to pass up!

Hi Jay. I'm in PA. I think when you're looking at the website w/ a mobile device, location is not available. I know it would be helpful to know the company I work for, especially since not all LTL companies are the same, but at this time I think I will keep my company anonymous.

I had a very unique opportunity in being able to hire on with a LTL company as a student driver, let alone as a linehaul driver. There's a lot of LTL companies that keep their linehaul positions for the senior drivers. Some do hire from the street, and some hire student drivers. Even within the same company, sometimes each terminal has different hiring needs and almost acts as a separate entity. For example, with the company I'm going with, I might not have been able to get hired at a different terminal location. There also might not have been linehaul positions available.

I'll tell you right now, that if the only position available was a P&D (pickup and delivery), I would've just gone OTR. I want to drive.

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

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.

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.
RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Hmmmm im in PA too. Id really like to know who your going to drive for because this defiantly seems too good too be true.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Hmmmm im in PA too. Id really like to know who your going to drive for because this defiantly seems too good too be true.

PM sent.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I was thinking about it, and perhaps I should have done this with my first introductory post of this thread, i.e. clarify LTL , linehaul , and some other terms from the LTL world for prospective drivers. I remember when I first started researching a trucking career - so much stuff to absorb!!! Websites like Trucking Truth are very helpful, and aside from truckingboards.com, there isn't a whole lot of LTL info available for new drivers.

OTR is the mainstream way for a new trucker to break into the industry, but not the only way. Let me say upfront that whether OTR or LTL, each have their positives and negatives. It's mostly preference. While LTL jobs will generally pay more than OTR jobs, some drivers prefer the lifestyle of OTR more than LTL. LTL jobs are about as close as it can get to a "nine-to-five trucking job," and that's more like a euphemism. I don't know any LTL jobs, whether P&D or linehaul, that are only 8 hour jobs. Usually they are 12-14 hour shifts, and on average can run a lot harder than an OTR job. A driver will usually choose an LTL job because of more frequent hometime, often they pay better, and the driver doesn't care much for the OTR lifestyle. Some OTR or truckload outfits will have regional , even daily runs, but typically if a driver wants a local job, they're taking a hard look at LTL.

Until I get started w/ my actual job and posting my experience, I'll start an in depth description of the LTL world for those interested. I want to be detailed, so the posts will be added as I have time to write. Experienced drivers or those who are also knowledgeable about the LTL world, please feel free to share your experience and knowledge! I've done a lot of research, but have no experience as of yet, since I am about to be a driver in training. My first trucking job w/ my LTL company starts the end of this month.

So, basic definitions. What's LTL? Less-Than-Truckload. In the LTL sector of the trucking industry, you basically have two jobs: linehaul and P&D (pickup and delivery). While these job descriptions could vary from company to company, the basics are the same.

Linehaul

The Schedule: Linehaul jobs consist of driving from terminal to terminal within the company. Usually the same run, day after day, or rather, night after night. Which is another point about linehaul, it is usually a night shift job. The logical explanation for this is because the linehaul drivers move the freight from terminal to terminal in order for the P&D drivers to then distribute that freight to the end user or customer. P&D drivers operate during the day, since that is when most businesses operate. So linehaul runs at night and gets the freight at the terminals for the P&D guys to take during the day to the customer. Now, some day time linehaul shifts do exist, but the majority is night shift. Usually, day shifts are coveted and only available to senior drivers, which brings up another topic to be discussed in the LTL world - seniority, but more on that later. A typical linehaul job will have the driver running hard, right up against their allotted 14 hours (11 hours drive time, 14 total hours of on-duty).

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.

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.

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.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Linehaul (continued)

The Job: As was previously mentioned, the job of a linehaul driver is to take freight from one terminal to another, typically during the night. Most LTL companies will run their linehaul drivers up against their legal 14 hours of on duty time (only 11 of which can be driving), 5 days a week. Considering the hard running, and night shift schedule, it's no wonder that linehaul jobs pay more than P&D. The night shift schedule alone is enough to make some drivers choose P&D. As far as the actual job, it's relatively simple - just drive. Some LTL companies will have their drivers also work the dock. The company I will be working for doesn't make their linehaul drivers work the dock, which is another reason I took this particular linehaul job.

I've heard it said that a linehaul job is like a factory job for truckers, i.e. it's the same, monotonous job, every shift. For some, this would be overwhelmingly boring. For me, I think it's something I would actually consider a plus. Granted, the allure of OTR for some drivers is a chance to go to new places on a regular basis, but with that comes potential headaches and setbacks. A linehaul driver doesn't have to worry about whether there will be a tight dock to bump, or if there is a low bridge along the route (if the directions are bad), or if they'll have to wait to get that load unloaded, or if they'll have to chase around town for an empty trailer. As the linehaul manager told me during my interview, I won't have to worry about whether or not my double set will fit anywhere, or will be legal on certain roads, I'll follow the company directions and eventually won't even need them anymore. They've done this run, over and over, with other drivers. A linehaul driver will take their trailer(s) to a company terminal, rinse and repeat. No dealing with shippers / receivers, no handling the freight (unless a company requires dock work).

Most linehaul drivers will be home every night, and have 2 days off a week. I'll be starting on more of a regional linehaul gig traveling the northeast, out for 5, home for 2, until I get enough seniority to bid on a different schedule. What this means for me is that I'll "lay over" at hotels for my 10 hour break. I'll be at home during my 34 hour reset. I won't get my "own" company truck assigned, but I will get to sleep in a hotel bed every night, with a shower and toilet readily available. I'll take a duffle bag along for a week's worth of clothing, along w/ perhaps an ice chest w/ food and drinks, possibly a small coffee pot, my lap top, and who knows what else. I'll document that as I learn what I'll need as I do the job. Taking a duffle bag along is why these particular linehaul runs (out 5 days, home for 2) have earned the nickname of a "bag run."

Most LTL companies require a linehaul driver to have hazmat , doubles/triples, and the tank endorsements. A linehaul driver will also probably be pulling sets of doubles and/or triples. These are smaller trailers than a 53', nicknamed "pup trailers." I only learned how to operate a tractor and 53' trailer in CDL school, so I'll be learning how to maneuver w/ a set of doubles during training. There are unique challenges to pulling a set instead of a single trailer. The "crack the whip" effect, the greater instability with turns and wind, the greater chance of mechanical failure etc... Just one more reason why most linehaul drivers are compensated better than an OTR driver.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I think that about completes it for linehaul , as I covered what the schedule would be like, and the job. I'll do the same for P&D , based on my research and chatting w/ experienced drivers. Before moving to P&D, I'd like to comment on a few other concepts from the LTL world.

The Extraboard / flexboard & Seniority

This varies from LTL company to company, but the concept is pretty much the same. Related to the idea of an extraboard is seniority, so we'll cover that as well. Extraboard is usually where drivers who don't have a set schedule are placed. They are typically new drivers, or perhaps they moved from the linehaul side to the P&D side ( and vice versa) within the same company and lost their seniority. Some companies run a single board for both linehaul and P&D drivers, some have separate boards. If a driver wants to move over to P&D, they might lose their seniority and have to start again as a fill-in with linehaul - this would be if a company runs two boards.

Some LTL companies make it really difficult for new company drivers, even if they had years of OTR experience. Unless they changed, YRC (formerly Yellow and Roadway) makes their new drivers stay by the phone, waiting for loads. They are on the extraboard, and until they get enough seniority to bid on a set schedule, they are also on call. Mistakenly, some people think that all LTL companies operate this way, and they never bother looking into an LTL job for fear of being on call for a year or more before they can earn steady income. Sadly, new drivers or those on the extraboard are also the first to get laid off. I'm not saying that YRC is a bad company to work for, I'm just relaying the facts - unless they changed.

For some LTL companies, a driver can't even bid on a linehaul job until they pay their dues as a P&D driver, these companies usually don't hire linehaul drivers off the street. Some LTL companies will hire drivers off the street for a linehaul position, but they will be on the extraboard until they can bid on a set schedule. The linehaul position I accepted is with a company that does hire off the street, but I will be on the extraboard. Thankfully, my LTL company has seen tremendous growth, and is hiring for lack of drivers due to company growth and retirement, not because of driver dissatisfaction and turn-over. I don't have to worry about being laid off, and I don't have to be on call. My home terminal is a breakbulk terminal, which means they are responsible for breaking up and distributing freight for the whole North East within the company. Therefore, they have a high demand for linehaul drivers. I will cover for drivers being on vacation, and take freight where it needs to go. Hence, I'll be out 5 days a week because I could go to Maine for one drop off, where they might need me to then go to New Jersey for another.

Back to seniority, it is gained only when other drivers are hired beneath you. THe more seniority, the greater chance that when you're going up against another driver to bid on a schedule, you'll get that bid. My company uses the seniority system to bid on schedules, but then balances that out with dispatching on a first come, first serve basis. That way, the 'better' or longer runs are given to those who show up at the terminal earliest. With my company, some drivers choose to remain "solo wild," or stay on the extraboard, because they have a greater earning potential, especially on a Wed-Sun schedule.

I should also mention that in the LTL world there are unions. Not every LTL company has a union, but most do.

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

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.

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.

Weatherman's Comment
member avatar

Awesome information. Thank you for taking the time to write this up.

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