LTL Trucking - My Linehaul Job

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6 string rhythm's Comment
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Also, I do get paid extra for each drop and hook I do. So, to break a whole set up, I get 4 drops. To hook a whole set, I get 4 hooks. Each instance of a hook and drop I get paid a flat dollar amount. They add up.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

This will probably be my last post until I'm done with my runs this week. Just wanted to let followers know that I will be focusing on some more instructional material soon enough. Being brand new on the job, I'm still soaking everything in. It'll be a steady process of becoming more and more comfortable with my job. But I'm already at a point where I can probably post a tutorial on hooking and breaking down a double set of pup trailers.

The past few weeks have been more of a diary of my experiences but I will be getting back to some more informational material. Another topic I'd like to address will be clock management. Running linehaul , it can be more of a balancing act to manage the 11, 14, and 30 minute time frames we have to work with. Unlike driving OTR , our pre-determined routes are carefully planned so that drivers will not get stuck on the road, as well as move freight with efficiency. Keep in mind we are running with day cabs. If we're not at a terminal or hotel, and run out of time, somebody has to come get us. Not a situation any linehaul driver wants to have happen.

This past week I actually had to leave some hours on the table because I knew I wouldn't be able to make a run and return back to my terminal. Being new, I am still slow in hooking up and breaking down sets, as well as becoming familiar with terminals I've never been to.

So far, I've been averaging around 350-400 miles per day. I should get to a point where I can cover 500-550, if not more depending on where I am dispatched to. The low days are usually when I am dispatched to short distances and my clock gets eaten up by having to break and build sets of doubles , and running around an unfamiliar terminal like a chicken with it's head cut off. Eventually I'll have static numbers when I get my bid run. Right now, keep in mind I am a wild driver, which means I work a 5 day work week and never know where I'm going to be dispatched from day to day. I've had a low day of 250 miles (because I knew I couldn't make another run and get back to a terminal before my clock ran out), and highs of 480.

I was told to expect to be out for the full 5 days, but this past week I only had to layover at a hotel once. It was nice coming home almost daily! Just a little glimpse into what it will be like for our family once I am home every night with my bid run.

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Week 3 in the books. Stayed out the full 5 days for the first time (I can hear the OTR drivers playing the world's smallest violin). Perhaps it's because my only driving experience has been with linehaul at an LTL company, but I really missed my family by the end of my 5 days, and couldn't imagine being out for a month at a time. It would be very difficult to go OTR at this point after being spoiled. I'm biding my time until I get my home daily bid run. Hopefully only about 6 months till that happens.

Went way up north this week, within an hour from Montreal, Canada. Upstate NY is very beautiful, as is Vermont. Most of my runs so far have been around New England. I'm starting to become familiar with the interstates up there. Nice to get the familiarity before the winter weather hits.

Anybody know how well they keep the roads plowed in the upper NE?

About The Wall - no, not Pink Floyd. Seems like a lot of linehaul drivers talk about the 5am wall. Mine comes earlier. Usually lasts for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour and can start anywhere from as early as 10:30pm up to 2am. It hasn't gotten bad enough for me to pull over for a quick siesta yet, but I'm not ruling that out in the future. I've been making it my top priority to get my rest before every shift, shooting for 7 hours sleep. Some days the sleep is more sound then others. My worst experience was my last day this past week. Housekeeping knocked on my door, really couldn't get back to sleep after that. Probably got close to 3-4 hours total, spaced throughout the whole time I was supposed to be sleeping. It made for a rough trip that night, but I got through it. I'd have to say that if I had my choice, and eventually I will, I'd drive strictly days. I'd rather deal with traffic than low visibility and fighting the body's natural urge to sleep. I wouldn't mind a little night driving, just not exclusively nights. I do get to drive a bit during the day when I come to the end of my shift, and I find that I really enjoy my job more when I can see things around me, e.g. scenery. The only plus I can see for night driving is low to no traffic. But, it's part of the job, and I have to accept it for now - possibly for a few years. I still feel blessed and think I have the best truck driving job I could've asked for.

As I mentioned before, I will eventually get to more tutorial-based posting, e.g. how to hook and unhook a set of doubles. It might be some time until I can get to that and some other topics I've thought about. If anybody is regularly following this thread, and has any ideas for topics about linehaul and LTL, feel free to ask or suggest.

Until next week.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for keeping the updates coming, buddy ! :)

I have a question. How would you compare what you are doing to a Regional run. Both seem to stay out for a week or so and get back for the weekend , when possible.

I know you researched all the jobs extensively.

I'm still torn on what job I should pick as my "first".

As with you, I need to be back at the Farm weekly - roughly . I always have chores to do with horses ;)

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for keeping the updates coming, buddy ! :)

I have a question. How would you compare what you are doing to a Regional run. Both seem to stay out for a week or so and get back for the weekend , when possible.

I know you researched all the jobs extensively.

I'm still torn on what job I should pick as my "first".

As with you, I need to be back at the Farm weekly - roughly . I always have chores to do with horses ;)

You're welcome ;)

Interesting point you bring up, I was thinking about this the other day. When I first started explaining my gig to another linehaul driver from a different company, he actually said it sounds like I'm doing more of a regional linehaul run. I suppose he's right. The only difference being that I will eventually get my daily runs, probably in about 6 months. I still can possibly get home every day, or a few days a week, even while being 'classified' as a bag driver. Last week I was only out for one day out of 5.

Comparatively, my 'regional' gig is only temporary to an OTR regional gig. And obviously I have the luxury of staying at hotels as opposed to living out of the truck at truckstops or anywhere a driver can find parking to rest for their 10 hours. I have the option to run as long and hard as I'd like, technically speaking. I could go out west if I wanted to, jumping from terminal to terminal under the 'jurisdiction' of Central dispatch. Some guys do this.

The biggest difference between what I'm doing and what any OTR regional gig will offer you is that I'm making more money with my LTL company. In the truckload game, you make more the longer you stay out. While this is true for me as a linehaul driver, since I'm paid by cpm , I start at a much higher rate than any truckload gig would offer at .55 cpm. I also have the potential of easily averaging over 2500 miles a week on a consistent basis, and possibly close to 3k if I wanted to. A lot of regional OTR gigs will have lower miles as a trade-off for getting home more frequently. There are guys at my company that hit close to 2800 miles a week and are home every night (or day). Also consider that you will only be going terminal to terminal, or meet point, rather than dealing with shippers / receivers and customers. You will eventually know your stops and won't need directions anymore. If you like routine, that's a plus. I love boring and 'safe.'

Honestly, based on our conversations and what you just reiterated, if you can get the gig with the company we're both referring to, then I'd take it if I were you. It's a no-brainer. You will get paid more, have fantastic benefits and 401K, and more options for home time. Even if you have to be a long term bag driver if you're not as close to your home terminal you'd be operating out of, it would still be better, in my opinion, than what you'd get with any OTR regional gig. In my eyes, it's an obvious choice for you. If you can get the job, don't squander the opportunity my friend. Like another linehaul driver told me (from a different company than I work for), it's equivalent to hitting the power ball. Get the gig and stay for your whole career - no need to job hop to another company.

If you can't get the gig with the company, there are other LTL companies that I would still jump at as opposed to going truckload regional.

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.

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.

AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Thanks for keeping the updates coming, buddy ! :)

I have a question. How would you compare what you are doing to a Regional run. Both seem to stay out for a week or so and get back for the weekend , when possible.

I know you researched all the jobs extensively.

I'm still torn on what job I should pick as my "first".

As with you, I need to be back at the Farm weekly - roughly . I always have chores to do with horses ;)

double-quotes-end.png

You're welcome ;)

Interesting point you bring up, I was thinking about this the other day. When I first started explaining my gig to another linehaul driver from a different company, he actually said it sounds like I'm doing more of a regional linehaul run. I suppose he's right. The only difference being that I will eventually get my daily runs, probably in about 6 months. I still can possibly get home every day, or a few days a week, even while being 'classified' as a bag driver. Last week I was only out for one day out of 5.

Comparatively, my 'regional' gig is only temporary to an OTR regional gig. And obviously I have the luxury of staying at hotels as opposed to living out of the truck at truckstops or anywhere a driver can find parking to rest for their 10 hours. I have the option to run as long and hard as I'd like, technically speaking. I could go out west if I wanted to, jumping from terminal to terminal under the 'jurisdiction' of Central dispatch. Some guys do this.

The biggest difference between what I'm doing and what any OTR regional gig will offer you is that I'm making more money with my LTL company. In the truckload game, you make more the longer you stay out. While this is true for me as a linehaul driver, since I'm paid by cpm , I start at a much higher rate than any truckload gig would offer at .55 cpm. I also have the potential of easily averaging over 2500 miles a week on a consistent basis, and possibly close to 3k if I wanted to. A lot of regional OTR gigs will have lower miles as a trade-off for getting home more frequently. There are guys at my company that hit close to 2800 miles a week and are home every night (or day). Also consider that you will only be going terminal to terminal, or meet point, rather than dealing with shippers / receivers and customers. You will eventually know your stops and won't need directions anymore. If you like routine, that's a plus. I love boring and 'safe.'

Honestly, based on our conversations and what you just reiterated, if you can get the gig with the company we're both referring to, then I'd take it if I were you. It's a no-brainer. You will get paid more, have fantastic benefits and 401K, and more options for home time. Even if you have to be a long term bag driver if you're not as close to your home terminal you'd be operating out of, it would still be better, in my opinion, than what you'd get with any OTR regional gig. In my eyes, it's an obvious choice for you. If you can get the job, don't squander the opportunity my friend. Like another linehaul driver told me (from a different company than I work for), it's equivalent to hitting the power ball. Get the gig and stay for your whole career - no need to job hop to another company.

If you can't get the gig with the company, there are other LTL companies that I would still jump at as opposed to going truckload regional.

So, if the company in question isn't hiring out of Nashville for Line Haul drivers right now, what would be your top five LTL companies that have the Line Haul offering while I wait for "The Opening" lol

Saia , seems to be a good paying , Southern based outfit ...

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.

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I sent you an email for some important info AJ. I believe I sent this info for you before, not sure if you got it.

Back to your question for other companies. Saia, Estes, Pitt-Ohio are solid LTLs I'd look at. Also Fed Ex Freight or UPSF. Not to bash companies, but I personally would stay away from YRC (Yellow / Roadway). ABF might be worth looking into.

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
AJ D.'s Comment
member avatar

I sent you an email for some important info AJ. I believe I sent this info for you before, not sure if you got it.

Back to your question for other companies. Saia, Estes, Pitt-Ohio are solid LTLs I'd look at. Also Fed Ex Freight or UPSF. Not to bash companies, but I personally would stay away from YRC (Yellow / Roadway). ABF might be worth looking into.

Thanks, buddy.

You're advice is always appreciated :)

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
Chris D.'s Comment
member avatar

What about Old Dominion?

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

What about Old Dominion?

Yes they are LTL also.

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
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