Rookie Solo Driver
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Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago
Hey Dave, Welcome to the forum!
I'm not sure I understood the following statement, so hopefully you can explain your rationale behind it...I'm only making about 14 bucks an hour currently so I obviously can't drive for a company that's only paying 30 cents a mile.
Maybe I'm just not understanding how much overtime you get, but working 40 hours a week at 14 bucks an hour would make your gross pay be $560.00. On the other hand driving 2,500 miles a week, which would be a respectable average for your first six months, at .30 cents per mile would yield $750,00 gross pay. It seems to me that doing what you are doing now would give you an annual gross pay of about thirty thousand, and doing an OTR job at .30 CPM would put and extra ten thousand dollars in your coffers because at a weekly average of 2,500 miles you would earn almost $40,000.
Here's the thing about truck driver pay. If you are a go-getter and understand the principles of "performance based pay" you can do really well at this career. The trucking companies love guys who can "git er done," and they are rewarded well with increased pay and consistently good loads and miles. I started my trucking career at .27 CPM, and grossed nearly 50 grand my rookie year. Now, I did get some raises, and that was solely because they realized real quick that I understood how the game is played. I was reliable, safe, and very productive, all while being agreeable and easy to work with. That is the formula for success out here.
You are correct in the fact that your four months as a dump driver are basically useless when it comes to driving OTR. I know it seems crazy, because in reality there are things about driving construction dump vehicles that are more precariously dangerous than a big rig on the highway, but it is what it is, and trust me having a seventy plus foot long articulating vehicle to maneuver in tight places can get you in a bind real quick.
We generally try to persuade folks to do a minimum of one year as an over the road driver before looking into local work. When you do the local work first it is very hard to find anyone who will consider it as experience. It's not that it isn't real world experience, because some of that local driving is really tough, but it isn't what most of your OTR companies or their insurance companies want to see as beneficial to the job requirements that you are about to get into.
Sometimes, and it often depends heavily on your location, you can get good local jobs right out of a trucking school, but it is very rare. We have a member in here who landed a great job with Old Dominion straight out of school with great pay and he sleeps in his own bed each night, but alas, he is one of only a few who have managed to do that.
If you wanted to try OTR, I think someone will take you, but you will be required to go out with a trainer for probably at least a month.
Thanks a lot old school. My apologies for the confusion when comparing my current pay to the arbitrary 30 cents a mile deal. I was frustrated when typing and just kind of threw that out without thinking too much about it, my fault. I was looking at in a worse case scenario, for instance not getting the miles you're promised etc, etc. I've filled out a few applications to a few companies I was interested in and only one has called me back (Maverick) which I wasn't too keen on driving an automatic but they turned me down during the phone interview anyway, due to me having 3 years of self employment where I didn't file taxes before I went to CDL school back in May, becasue I wasn't really making anything at all. I was just living off of my savings as I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life. Now I'm afraid that will hold me back from getting on with ANY company. The recruiter said "you don't have stability." On one hand i can see that, but on the other hand I've seen various felons get hired but here I am with a perfectly clean MVR record, zero arrests, not legal troubles whatsoever, and becasue I did a little soul searching before going to CDL school I'm not hire-able. Makes sense. So I feel like that will be my ultimate downfall when trying to go OTR.
Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago
So here's a litte brief backstory. I'm 28, married with a 3 month old (our first child). I graduated trucking driving school back in June, immediately started running dump truck and straight truck flatbed for a local landscape company. Did that for 2 months before it got slow and driving was sparse, moved on to a construction company with 9 dump trucks and 6 drivers. Driving is somewhat steady but ridiculously monotonous and sometimes there is no driving at all, like today. I actually haven't driven my dump truck except for 2 times in the last 2 and a half weeks due to a slump in construction projects at our shop. My original plan was to eventually do local LTL work or some type of tanker work however, due to my wife being pregnant while I was in CDL school I chose to stay local which is what got me into the dump truck scene. I've realized lately that I'll never be anything more than a dump truck driver with low pay if I don't make a change and get back on track with my original goal. My question is: with my school, and my 4 months experience driving dump trucks local, should I just suck it up and go OTR for a good 6 months then come back local and get a tractor trailer job in my area? Or stick it out with the dump truck gig and hope that I find a local tractor trailer job at some point? (Which would require extreme luck apparently since everyone local seems to want AT LEAST a year experience) I feel that everyday I'm in that dump truck I'm losing out on experience I could be getting because I'm not hauling a trailer. I was also told on another forum that my current 4 months of experience means basically nothing on a resume in regards to future tractor trailer jobs since obviously, I don't haul a trailer. I figured it'd at-least mean something but that foolishness on my part. If I were to go OTR I'd be very interested in flat bed work because I really enjoyed the flatbed work I did while working at the landscape company. But regardless of that, what companies pay remotely well that actually honor home time and frequently travel through my area? I'm on a major freight lane right off I-35 about 2 miles form the industrial park here in Temple Tx. Anyone know of any companies that frequent this area that could get me home on a regular basis flatbed or not? (Preferably flatbed) I'm only making about 14 bucks an hour currently so I obviously can't drive for a company that's only paying 30 cents a mile. Apologies for the long winded post and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to chime in with some insight. Dave
Posted: 6 years, 9 months ago
I understand OP. I personally struggled with the idea of going to private school, or going through company sponsored training. I ultimately ended up going with private school as I just happened to have a financial situation workout in my favor. I also didn't want to be in debt to a company as far as paying back a school for training in case I left for a different outfit. But in retrospect, for what I paid (4300) I really don't think what I learned was all that great. They taught us the basics, but there were a few things I felt were severely left out, and or just not touched on enough. Where as I would hope going through company paid training you'd get a much more thorough teaching. But I could be wrong on that assumption as well. The only plus to going to private school, is you're a free agent upon graduation. You can wherever, and work for whoever you please without having to pay anyone back. But in reality, if you feel solid about PRIME and you plan on staying there and not just jumping ship early then it really doesn't matter. Best of luck to you driver.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
Maverick has a dedicated Glass division. They are very family orientated and try their best to get you home depending on the division you choose communication and positive understanding attitude go a long way.
I paid out of pocket and now maverick reimburses me $100 per week for as long as I work for them. No contract.
They do have a school but there is a waiting list. I did not go this route, I wanted to start making the money.
Call Marshall at the recruiting and give him my name Glenn Minnick. He can answer any of your questions. I can also give you more details of my experience.
Good luck friend.
Thanks a lot Glenn I will give him a call and see what I can find out.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
Dave they call me mpw. First off I just want to say welcome. Second if your expecting your kid soon how is your family support for your wife. With you way on the road it is very much she will be like a single mother and having a strong family support systme will make things easier for her, and you. Your home time your looking at with most company's 1 day home for every 6 or 7 out. Rhoel has a home every other week I would look at if I was In your shoes. I used to work for Swift when I daughter was born over 2 mounths early they let me dh over 500 miles to get home and paid me for them. I think you should look at what is most important for you and your wife. Is it home time? Is it didcated work? What ever it is, talk to the diffenrs company's find out what they offer and go with the one that's fits you the best. Forget about the company name, it's just a name it's about what they offer you. the company that fits me the best, might not be the best for you. Good luck and congratulations.
Thanks a lot mpw. The insight is highly appreciated and you bring up very valid points. Our support system is very strong thankfully but regardless of that I know it will be a struggle.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
I'm not sure about companies that train in Texas but I know that most companies will have regional opportunities that you can get into. My one buddy got a regional position right out of school, granted we went to a private school but there was one guy at the school that was going regional and Schneider was paying for his schooling from the same school I went to. So there are options they just aren't very well advertised. Honestly 1 year otr will fly by too. I'm 8 months into it and I feel like I just started a month ago. There is so much to learn and see that time will get away very easily if you let it.
Thanks Jake, I'll dig a little deeper into certain companies and see what else is available.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
Roehl is one company that comes to mind. Their training is in WI ( I know you were looking for Texas area) BUT it is 3 weeks of paid training to get your CDL. Their OTR training time is also relatively short (14 days I believe). Roehl offers the most options as far as home time. They have various different fleets with home time options such as 7 days on/ 7 days off, 14 on/7 off and a few others. I believe these options are available immediately after training. Their contract is for 75000 miles which is somewhat shorter than other companies. They also have a TON of regional routes that can fit your situation.
Try searching for Roehl and read some of the training diaries. They have a great training program and we have had a lot of people go through their program and be successful!
Best of luck to you and congratulations on the new arrival!
Thanks Chickie, I highly appreciate the heads up. I'll give Roehl a look.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
Quite a few mega's that offer company sponsored training have opportunities (provided your on time & accident free) to upgrade to regional & dedicated positions within the first year.
Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago
Inhale....annnnnd exhale. Ok! Here we go. "Hi,I'm Dave by the way" :)
I'll keep this as brief as possible. After searching for countless hours about 8 months ago and never taking the plunge, I'm back once again. Lurking several forums looking for answers so I figured why not give a shot and make a post, and maybe some of you guys and gals can throw me a bone.
Brief history, I'm 28 years old, married, ex musician, certified personal trainer, clock puncher at a dead-end 9-5 and soon to be first time father. No criminal history, and besides a couple of tickets when I was teenager my MVR is clean.
Just about as far back as I can remember I've wanted to drive a truck, but for some reason or another I never really pursued it. My grandpa was a trucker but sadly passed in an accident before I was born. Perhaps I got too entangled in everyday life and let it fall to the wayside. Being the musician I was and still am, and having the "self-employed" mindset from a young age I traveled around and pursued music and made enough to get by and also did smart things like getting a lot of tattoos in highly visible places like my hands and neck. Nothing "offensive" but even now so many years later I get passed up on "normal career" jobs even though I'm more then qualified. So after working odd jobs and ultimately this dead-end job I'm currently in, I started to revisit the idea of obtaining my CDL while daydreaming as a mill operator during long 12 hours days for little pay. When I say low pay, I mean BARELY breaking 20k for the entire year if I stay at my current place of employment.
I know of 3 ways to obtain your CDL. Paying out of pocket "ha year right", going to community college "not happening" while I work full time and having to drive 30 miles to the nearest CC that trains you, and lastly the most undesirable "company paid program". Obviously my go to option would be the company paid program with the inevitable signing of a contract to work a certain period of time. To be 100% honest, my goal is NOT OTR. But if it's got to be done just to get my CDL and experience to get to my ultimate goal, then so be it. My ultimate goal would be putting my required time OTR, then coming local and possibly getting on at Old Dominion, Estes, or ABF or possibly something regional or dedicated. I'd like to ultimately be home daily, or at least on the weekends. I have a couple of buddies that drive. One drives day cabs for HEB, and the other drives for OD. One got his CDL through gradually training with HEB but it took a LONG time to get to that position, becasue the line is long. The other was able to barrow the money from a family member to get his CDL through a private establishment and lucked into a position at Old Dominion.
So my question is, does this seem like a feasible plan? Sucking it, going OTR to gain the experience and obtain my CDL, and then going straight to regional, dedicated, or LTL work? Even something like tanker work intrigues me. Obviously I would have to obtain my hazmat endorsement. But I guess my real question would be, when in company paid school, if you're in a school that's say a few hours away from your home, are you able to come home on the weekends? When you're on the road with a trainer, are you out the entire 4-6 weeks? Or do you get home time somewhere in there?
When you're finally out there solo, how often can you REALISTICALLY expect to get home time? I've read various opinions on this I just want a ballpark figure, as this is something I want my wife to fully be aware of. I also know of all of the horror stories of the "megas" but I also know you can find the negative is just about anything, so I take everything I read with a grain of salt. Being positive truly is a mindset regardless of the situation. I've found that out the hard way over the years. If anyone knows of any companies that have company paid training in Texas I'd appreciate the heads up. I know FFE is based in Texas if I'm correct (probably not). Thank you all for the opinions and taking the time to read this extremely long post.
Posted: 5 years, 11 months ago
At a crossroads.
Ok, here's the deal. I obtained my Class A last June on the 6th after I completed "training" at an accredited CDL school. I didn't want to go OTR right out of the gate becasue my wife was 8 months pregnant with out first child that we had been trying for, for many years.
I ended up getting a local job running bobtail flatbed and dump truck for a local landscaping company about 2 weeks out of school. That lasted for almost 3 months until the business really slowed, and I was missing work due to there being no deliveries. Got a job offer from another local outfit to run quad axle dump trucks on a Friday morning, but they wanted me to start that following Monday. It was a buck more an hour and more frequent driving. Had a long talk with my boss at the time and he said he totally understood and that it was all business. I left on what I thought were good terms for this new company, ran hard there for a couple of months before they ran into "contract problems" and went almost a month without driving. They threw me out on a ranch doing random manual labor.
Got offered a job pulling 53 ft dry van trailers full time. Had a talk with my boss and left on good terms to pull the dry van shuttle trailers. Things were going great for a month then the hours dramatically fell off due to the warehouse not getting enough orders. I was pulling maybe 3 hours a day then I was sent home. Obviously I couldn't pay the bills like this so I split, and moved to another Landscaping business where I was running dump truck and T/T flatbed hauling sod. Did that for about 3 months then of course, work dramatically decreased to the point I went 2 weeks without work. Never could get a full weeks worth of work there. Couldn't ever get a hold of my boss half the time and I eventually split. That was mid February. I've been looking for local work but there hasn't been #### for job postings around here. Everything is 1 or 2 years experience MINIMUM. (Temple,Tx)
Bit the bullet and applied to System Transport becasue I figure that just going form one ####ty local company to the next is NEVER going to give me a successful truck driving career. So I figured I'd suck it up, go regional so I could get atleast a little bit of time at home each week, and do that for at least a year and THEN maybe I'd have more luck local. So I applied at System Transport and everything was going fine regarding the hiring process, until the jobs came up, but once I explained the reason that it LOOKED like I was a habitual job hopper which I am not, and the fact I had only 2 jobs prior to getting my CDL with no time gaps for 10 years, helped the situation. (2 Jobs in 10 years with no time gaps) I've just had a hell of a time getting on with a local company that is worth a ####. Long story short ALL of the CDL jobs I had came back with "not eligible for rehire" and regardless if they hung me out to dry and made it to where I couldn't pay my bills, on paper it makes ME look bad. So what would happen if I applied to a regional company and just didn't put any of the driving jobs I've had? Would they make me go for a refresher since I've had my license since last June? Or should I lower my standards and look at some of the less desirable companies that are regional that would accept my driving job history? And yes, I know I shot myself in the foot by not just going OTR or regional right after school, and I'm feeling the full effects.