Profile For TZ

TZ's Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 4 months ago

TZ's Bio

Former trucker: tanker & dry van, NYC metro

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Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Miss the trucking life: advice on what to do next...diesel mechanic?

Apologies for what seems like a repost. I asked the same question a year & a half ago. I will read responses there, feel free to delete if needed.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Miss the trucking life: advice on what to do next...diesel mechanic?

Have any drivers considered becoming a diesel mechanic to make use of their CDL A that they might not be using?

Me: started CDL School at 44, worked briefly with 2 trucking companies: tanker & dry van, found myself in an “office” job w/ a major logistics company (unable to move into into a driving position w/ same company due to a rare ability of being able to type), unable to return to trucking due to (insert random reason here).

I’m considering yet another career change to diesel mechanic and I’m looking for advice, opinions, and knowledge of any current & former truck drivers willing to offer it.

Trucking was good to me when I was a driver, I was fortunate to find a local position after not getting my 1st tanker job and miss making decent money weekly for delivering beer, chips, & other perishable consumer goods. While I don’t miss traversing the NYC tri-state area driving a truck I do miss trucking as a whole (if that makes any sense).

Currently I manage drivers daily but they aren’t CDL qualified & have given advice including referring many of them here when they learn that I was a truck driver not so long ago. I’m feeling underutilized at my current company and seeking help before I make any rash decisions. I’m wondering if age discrimination is a reason that I haven’t been able to progress here or if it’s my imagination.

While I worked in healthcare as an intake patient representative before I did trucking I find that to return to that field, I am required to get a 4 year college degree in health information technology (which is absurd for a job I have over 10 years experience doing). The ROI of that degree compared to the money to be made doesn’t make financial sense to pursue that path.

Thank you for reading.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Train as a Diesel Mechanic or just let my CDL A go?

Yup! I'm hoping to start training at CRST May 7th. And if they decide to keep me around, team driving is the most attractive thing there (for me) so far. From all I've learned about OTR driving, I really have to get busy in my first year learning all that I can. And while sharing a closet that drives on highways with a complete stranger isn't very appealing, the thought of a chance at... *Ahem...* 10 months of "extended training" seems really appealing to me. Well, that, and the fact that team drivers seem to really get some miles in (which equals more opportunities for me to learn from.)

There's some definite advantages to team driving. As for the other person, we don't even have to get along (though, that would certainly make things more pleasant) as long as they are safe and we can both get the job done. And you're the first person I've read from that doesn't mind the idea of team driving to get started. A HUGE plus (if my humble opinion were to count for anything.)

When I was training in Coraopolis, PA for tanker, I met a team that was looking to try something different. By the end of the week's worth of advanced training for experienced drivers (2 weeks for in-experienced), they both quit & went back to dry van because the older driver didn't want to drive stick for the final test (even though team drivers would be issued automatics); the younger guy didn't care either way.

They mentioned that being a tanker team is too much work compared to the 99% drop & hook freight that they did as a van team. I came away from that experience w/ the impression that team driving is a positive learning experience despite some advice stating otherwise. In fact, some members of the class I was in tried to change to team driving but Schneider Bulk said no.

You learn more by making mistakes as a solo driver but it's less painful if you can learn from your team mate that you hopefully do not dislike & hopefully his idea of BO/cleanliness meets your idea because in the summer heat, some people just stink BO wise despite what they say about washing daily...

If not for the having had some experience first, I most likely would NOT be so gung ho about being a team driver. It's difficult sorting out good & bad opinions on TT or other websites when you are a newbie driver.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Help a new guy figure something out


Do you drive for UPS, TZ? If so, I may have a couple of questions for ya.

Nope, I don't drive for UPS. I'm just observant & have talked to several drivers (package & freight) in multiple facilities that I have worked in. Info from management, HR, & drivers all seem to be consistent with what I've heard but I'll answer what I can if you want to ask.

Usually UPS drivers that I've met at truck stops or on deliveries don't seem to know much about current hiring practices or they will know what it was like back in the day. Going by them alone, you would think you need 5+ years OTR experience before UPS would consider you but that's no longer the case in NJ at least. It looks like UPS is losing drivers to non-union competitors.

Fedex CDL drivers supposedly start at $24/hour.

It's possible the next union bid will increase starting CDL wages to $24/hour on the Freight side to match Fedex, but it ultimately depends on the collective bargaining process. I don't know if it's the same union in each facility or if they are different depending on location or subsidiary.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Help a new guy figure something out

Depending on your job at UPS, the way to become a CDL driver is by being a dockworker on the UPS Freight side (LTL, Longhaul-overnight between hubs) & getting trained as a yard jockey, full time dockworker w/ CDL & moving up to full time driver or being a feeder driver (UPS Package side).

From what I've been told, the way to become a feeder (CDL driver going from hub to hub, day cab position, overnights in a hotel if necessary) is by being a package delivery driver first if you work for Brown.

It also depends on when the union bids on the next contract; if there's an open spot as a driver (there should be, seems less people want to drive for UPS that already work for UPS) & your level of seniority in your current position. Your union shop steward would have more info on this.

On the Freight side, 2 drivers were just hired w/ 1 year of OTR experience each, both got LTL jobs w/ UPS-Freight starting at $17/hour. Takes 4-5 years to max out at $35/hour. Feeder & Longhaul get paid per mile & I don't know the current rate but its competitive w/ other LTL companies.

The above has been my experience in Northern NJ, it's possible it's different depending on what region you live/work in.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Train as a Diesel Mechanic or just let my CDL A go?

Is it worth becoming a diesel mechanic since I already have my CDL A or should I just let it go (downgrade my license back to regular)?

Currently in my 40's, have a college degree in underwater basket weaving (at least it seems like it), regular jobs are difficult to find and I find dockworker positions aren't my cup of tea (I'd rather do physical manual labor than use a forklift plus part time hours are at odd hours in a day).

Got my CDL A in 2016 w/ all except the doubles-triples/passenger/bus endorsements, tried working as a tanker driver then as dry van hauling foodstuffs & beer in a regional position non OTR in the crazy NJ/NYC Metro area. Total = 3-4 months of "experience"

2017 = worked at brown truck delivery company & as a cab driver in NYC, non CDL

2018 = still not working w/ CDL. Filled out job form on TT & Jim Palmer already stated I needed a year of OTR experience even though I put down 3-4 months of experience on the application form. TMC sent an email stating that they will contact me in 48 hours, CRST sent me a few text messages about a team driving position starting at top pay and 1500 miles long haul 80% no touch drop & hook, 3 weeks out, 3 days home.

The CRST team driving position seems promising as I won't be all alone as a rookie solo driver. I'm sure there's disadvantages as well if you get someone you don't get along this point, I just want experience even if CRST pays .32 cpm starting out.

The diesel mechanic idea is an itch that has been on my mind since first starting out in CDL school, repairing, fixing & diagnosing trucks seems more exciting to me than driving them around the NYC metro area (perhaps if it driving out in PA or outside of this area). Different kinds of trucks, older & newer technologies, the itch just has me considering my career choices.

Was wondering what TT folks thought since my family & friends are in non-trucking fields & don't understand my fascination w/ trucks.

Posted:  7 years, 6 months ago

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Game: funny town names

Welcome, NC

Ninety Six, SC

Hell, MI

Intercourse, PA

I always remember Rising Sun, MD for some reason.

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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After 1 month of training with a "major" truck company for tankers, I don't have a job...where can I go now?

Thank you for all your thoughts, comments, & replies!

I'll check out those companies mentioned above.

Self-doubt will destroy anyone's confidence! That is/was my issue in PA.

I can drive around North NJ/NYC in a car & a day cab with no issues. No problems w/ being 1-4 feet away from curbs, no issues w/ local traffic, no problems (other than nerves) for driving on 1&9 in Jersey City on narrow bridges or with construction, not creating any problems or being a hazard to other drivers. Perhaps it's a day cab vs a sleeper, I don't know for sure. Maybe, I'm just more comfortable being "home" as opposed to being elsewhere.

20+ years of familiarity in a region vs. 1-7 days in an unknown area for driving & testing purposes. Again, I don't know what went wrong exactly as I've had several road tests (north of Trenton, NJ) in the last week and I've been told that I have no issues driving safely to be considered for a job (other than being too "slow" changing lanes = the Schneider way that was drilled into me as a tanker driver).

As for the 30,000 miles of one on one driving w/ an observer, that sounds awesome but I think only Prime has that program. I applied but never heard back from them. I had to track down my assigned recruiter to get an answer & the answer was, perhaps in 6 months w/ more experience. It wasn't a solid NO, it was "not right now" which holds promise but not what I was looking for.

Although I've applied for a few jobs that were given to more experienced drivers, one or two have offered a local/regional job driving nights stating that there's less traffic so it's "safer".

Personally, I think that's crazy as night time is one of the most dangerous times to drive a truck depending on where you are. Big city w/ light pollution, no problem; in the sticks w/ very little light pollution: more difficult to see your surroundings, etc.

The two offers were verbal (on the phone/in person) & not in writing which has me wary - is that normal in the trucking industry?

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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Prime tanker or reefer?

They have a bunch of routes to Newark NJ.. and even though I live in NJ I don't want to be anywhere above Trenton lol.

When I signed up they offered me northeast regional reefer or tanker and I declined.

What's wrong w/ North NJ? smile.gif

Well, a couple of things.

First of all, as a new driver coming out of school you should not be driving a food grade tanker, or any tanker for that matter. It's entirely too dangerous in my opinion.

Having just been trained with Schneider's Bulk division, I'd have to agree w/ Brett's opinion on newbies driving tankers especially food grade smooth bore tankers (no baffles, dealing w/ the surge alone is stressful + add that to safely controlling a truck as an inexperienced driver + driving in the Northeast w/ 4 wheelers).

Posted:  7 years, 7 months ago

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After 1 month of training with a "major" truck company for tankers, I don't have a job...where can I go now?

Things that I've learned from this experience.

1) I am eligible for rehire at Schneider National in 3 months. That's a good thing, if I was as horrible as I thought I was, that option wouldn't be available. Granted, I will most likely reapply to them in a year but it's nice to have options.

2) I was trained properly, I just haven't become accustomed to driving a fully loaded tanker on county roads in the state of PA. I can however drive a tractor w/ an empty trailer in North NJ & on the NJT in a safe manner.

3) Recruiters/HR do not define transportation companies. Bad CS or good CS for that matter, is the fault of the person who is in that position. Like the attitude of a newbie employee in a new industry, having the right one will determine longevity & success in the profession.

4) Going to Sage @ LCTI wasn't a mistake. I've been given a few chances as a result of my attendance at that training facility.

5) Downgrading my CDL to CLP is a costly mistake, one that I'll not be making despite another poster's advice to do so.

6) It takes fully appreciate any experience.

7) Perhaps I'm not cut out to be an OTR driver just yet but I can still drive a truck regionally or locally!

8) Safety has different interpretations at every company. What I learned at Schneider might be considered excessive elsewhere.

9) TT is a great resource. Thank you Brett, Moderators, & TT community for helping.

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