Profile For Space Truckin

Space Truckin's Info

  • Location:
    Tampa, FL

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years ago

Space Truckin's Bio

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Posted:  3 years ago

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Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

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I don't care about insurance

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You don't need to care about Health Insurance, but you are required by Federal Law to have it. ( I do not want to turn this into a debate on the ACA, so please everybody don't.) Also, 40 year old people, Men, Women, weight lifters, fat, skinny are subject to the need for Medical Care. We don't get a choice to be stricken with Cancer or be involved in a horrible accident of some sort. It is also just plain responsible to have Health Insurance at any age. Would you own a home and not have insurance on it? Insurance is to cover the unforseen. Just my $.02

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Yes I would. In fact, I cannot wait to do exactly that (have a home with no insurance, on my own land I paid cash for, that I built with my own two hands). Just because you would like to elect insurance, does not mean I should be compelled by the state (or lender) to do so as well. Different strokes for different folks.

If the state compels it (as per auto and now, medical) insurance, it is straight up legal plunder, exactly as Bastiat described in The Law.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Space, I could write about basic economic forces in a competitive business like trucking (I got my MBA in 1983), almost as much as Old School does about the trucking business in general. Suffice it to say, the industry needs drivers so badly that many companies have their own driving schools and can finance your tuition at good rates. (Swift finances at -> 0% <-) Then they pay all drivers they hire at just enough to keep butts in their driver seats. The ones that last the first year get better rewards (as in higher pay). Yes, there are companies that hire the serious professionals that do have at least a few years experience. (Don't waste your time applying for Walmart's private fleet until you have a few years driving under your belt.)

There's no capitalistic "exploitation of the worker". It's all market forces. If the drivers really feel exploited, these people would quit. But you'll see there's almost 20 million drivers in the USA that do not feel exploited.

Shame on you for spreading the free market fundamentalist propaganda! It's the "market forces" themselves which are exploitative of the worker! Well, I don't suppose they had you reading any Marx in your capitalist indoctrination, er sorry, MBA program!

Now I'm no Marxist, but it just so happens that many of the things he said would come true are doing exactly that right now before our eyes.

People take the jobs because they have no choice! The vast majority can't afford to get off the hamster wheel of just paying money to live (rent/mortgage, taxes, food, etc., etc...). Brett has done it, I plan on doing it, but I know that I am not most people, and it sounds like Brett is not either (and again, bravo to you, Brett).

Now, does that mean I think we should all complain all the time and loudly to our employer, other truckers, and people on the internet every day? No, that just makes everyone miserable, including ourselves, and doesn't really help anything. In that, you guys around here are exactly right, it's just a wise strategy to follow in order to maintain your own sanity and be able to work and do what you need to do to earn a living each day.

But to deny the realities of the economic situation that is unfolding right before our very eyes, is just willful blindness at this point.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/upshot/the-trucking-industry-needs-more-drivers-it-should-try-paying-more.html?_r=0

Of course, the American working class are the most highly propagandized of any working class in any country in the history of the world, but that is another matter. Now I expect the following video to rustle some jimmies, especially around here on a trucking forum, where I suspect many still see everything fully through star spangled glasses. But that does not make it any the less true:

https://youtu.be/H-fuSeA7WBM?list=PLbDMOc_Gidy-czUGXAFhScKG0SsU-WVqt

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Do you drive at night or daytime?

I am constantly flipping my schedule around - I just do whatever makes it most efficient for that week. I don't do dumb stuff like rolling through Atlanta, GA or Chicago in the middle of the day. I'll plan that ahead so that I'm going through those kinds of places at two or three in the morning. There are a lot of different factors that play a part in my decision making, but the one thing I don't do is just decide that I am going to drive at night or at daytime. I try to do what makes it all come out the best for efficient use of my allotted hours.

I realize I'm still new here, but analyzing things from a logical standpoint, this approach seems to make the most sense to me, at least in terms of maximizing your productivity (which is exactly what I intend to do).

OTOH, the freedom is what drew a lot of people to this job I suppose, so there is that...

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Ill talk to you about low pay lol. Out of company training i started at a "measly" lol 33 cpm. HOWEVER within just 2 months of busting my @ss and giving it everything ive got without complaint they bumped me up and additional 6 cpm on my base rate. Why? Within 2 months i was up there on the top of the miles driven in a month list for turning miles like the 10+ year veterans at my company. Yes, i even outdid my former trainer and now codriver haha. My only "advantage" if you can call it that was coming from a family deeply entrenched in trucking for 2 generations. I treat my truck as if i own it. Im very proactive regarding maintenance cost savings and catch minor things early enough so i wont be brokedown somewhere. Face it, im new, im slower to drive, back, drop n hook, slower doing EVERYTHING!

Funny thing is about my short haul regional company.. Doing short haul, i promise youll work harder for the miles because of the increased number of drop n hooks or live loading/unloading. Despite that i still managed to drive almost 3k consistently each week and rarely needed the $900 a week minimum pay committment because i earn more than that.

At 6 months im earning 52 cpm. Really darn good for a rookie driver. So yeah its possible to make $. But if you dont have a fantastic attitude and willingness to get anything they ask no matter how assinine it appears done, oooh theyll make you pay. Your dm will be less than accomodating, the load planners wont give you the time of day and generally theyll make your life hell till you give up. Thats the reality in this business and PERFORMANCE IS KING. These companies you are certain want to take advantage of you, took a huge risk in bringing new unproven drivers on board and if you cant produce, they LOSE money. If you can produce, Brett, OS, GTown and everyonne else is correct, theyll bend over backwards for you.

I love trucking.. Take care and do your homework and ditch the attitude. i gotta roll to Toledo then Iowa today. Near Lexington ky now. :-)

OK, point taken. I think I need to have a good attitude. Is that right? LOL

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I also owned a lot of equipment and trucks in my former life, in fact we had a 1500 SF shop and all the tools and I maintained and repaired everything for the most part, myself. Usually overnights, after working all day out on the crew. Because that's what you do when you have your own business. Anyway, yeah as someone with the "owner" mindset I take great care of equipment, I have a lot of appreciation and respect for the costs involved in this business, from trucks, to maintenance, to fuel, to insurance even.

Also very responsible, again as I owned a lot of equipment myself. Drove a lot of trucks and trailers with equipment, for 20 years (backing is no problem for me, incidentally, lol)! Never an accident in all that time.

Thanks for your feedback on short haul. Let me ask you guys with the experience: what do I want to try and work toward to make the most money? Sounds like OTR? I'm fine with that, as I said I have no ties.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

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Yes I have read those numbers everywhere, they are somewhat discouraging (to me at least).

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Well......... Kinda hard to reply to that one. Those are pretty much the numbers. You say you've seen them "Everywhere". You may be looking at the wrong industry if those numbers are discouraging to you. Everyone has different priorities. In my case, I'm 56 years old. I have ZERO DOLLARS saved for retirement. Health Insurance is VERY EXPENSIVE, especially if you are buying an individual policy on the open market. At my age, and older, yes, I will continue to get older, Health Insurance is a huge expense. I have chosen to work for a MEGA CARRIER, in order to take advantage of Group Insurance with the Company picking up a huge chunk of the tab. Also, the opportunity to contribute to a 401K plan with a Company match. Those happen to be a very big priority to ME. Your priorities may be completely different. I currently clear $500 - $600 per week after all deductions. To some people that may seem ridiculously low pay, and I understand that. I currently am able to "save" about $1000.00 of that. I have no rent, utilities, cable bill,etc. It works for ME! Ive made considerably more money over the years but was NEVER able to bank a Grand a month! I am happy with what I do. I am very much a loner. The job fits me well. 2 years from now I may completely change my mind, I don't know. What I do know is that I will give this job 2 years of my life, regardless. With the same Company by the way. Then and ONLY then will I have enough insight into this Industry to make an informed and intelligent decision on which direction I should take. I am learning quickly that you do not learn this business quickly or overnight! It takes lots of patience and a willingness to learn. 70-80 hour weeks can wear on you at times. Some people are cut out for it and MANY aren't. I believe I may be one of those that is! I'll get back to you in 2 years and let you know!

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I think you said it all where you said "everyone has different priorities" so let me back up a bit and say what I probably should have said right off the bat, because my situation is different than yours.

I don't care about insurance, I don't have a family at home, I have some other money saved up already but need more, I am only 40 and I am very physically fit, I do full compound heavy barbell weight program and run for miles 3x per week. I haven't been to the Dr. in over 25 years and I am healthy as a horse. I am prepared to give this 100% dedication and live completely at the company's whims for the next 2 years or more, picking up every load available, doing whatever I can to be dedicated to the customer and the company and working as hard as I can to learn the trade and the network of roads and shippers across this whole country. And I'm a quick learner, not to brag but very bright, talented, and personable who has succeeded at everything I have ever set out to do.

Like you however I do also see the utility in "living on the road." I am excited about cutting out all those expenses. I have no ties. I will sell off the few remaining things I own in order to be completely dedicated to my new road life. I am actually excited about cooking my own food in a crock pot, and the challenges of tiny living in a 4x8 (or whatever) truck cab. I am actually looking forward to it, I think it will be fun, kind of like camping. :) I'm not going to spend money eating out, that costs too much money and it's hard to eat healthy that way. I also eat very healthy. Going off on a bit of a tangent here.

Anyway, point being, I have no attachments and willing to give this my all, take it as it comes, and be completely dedicated to this life. If I do all those things, I am hoping to get into the "exceptional" area and make maybe $40k in first year and then $50k (or more) in subsequent years. Unless I screw up, in which case that's on me and I would accept making less.

I am not worried about the hours, at all. I would work when it's available, and when I can't due to hours or whatever I would be very happy picking up a book or getting on my phone and continuing on my research of farming and butchering and stuff that I will need to know for the future. I mean, that's what I do now already. It would be the same on the road, not a minute wasted. Sounds like a perfect life to me.

I think I would be very good at route planning. I planned all the routing for my crews when I had my business (it was route work). There is lots to learn of course but I'm a quick study. I don't think you understand what kind of a sponge I am for information. lol

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Brett did pretty much what you are talking about. He now lives like a hermit in the beautiful rolling hillsides of Upstate New York, eating out of his organic garden, and feeding his chickens and dogs off the extra Bibb lettuces that he grows. Heck, you have got to have an appointment if you even want to cross over his property line. He lives a secluded life, just the way he likes it! But to get there he busted his butt driving a truck and learning how things work in this industry so that he could reach his goals. If you want to make the most money you can at this, you will have to go about it in a way that works, and that way is what we specialize in helping people understand.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, good for you Brett man! You must be smarter than me because you saw these trends earlier.

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I do realize of course that I too will need to put in the work to get from where I am to where I want to be. I have no doubts about my abilities to accomplish what I need to do. I just want to know, if I do all that, will the money be there?

More on this in the next post, replying to other guy... because it's related to the point he made... standby...

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

We are not trying to get you to see illusions, we are trying to get your focus on the realities of how this works. If you can't get that you are going to suffer in this business. We see it everyday - miserable drivers who are convinced that they are just "working for the man."

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I want to make as much as I can. At the end of the day. nothing else really matters.

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I'm quoting that one twice, because I seriously want you to think about what you are spouting off in here. I'm certainly not one to let anyone walk over me, but I have got to understand how this business works if I want to make the best efforts at making any money at it.

You spoke earlier about critical thinking and logic. Well, how is it logical for you to take the same approach to making the most money you can, let the company be damned, if that is not acceptable to you when you claim that the company takes that approach toward the employees. If nothing else really matters but that you are making the most money you can, then you have fallen into the same approach that you claim the company takes, and you say it is diametrically opposed to what you think is right and good!

Look, they are going to pay you based on what you can do for them, and if you can muster the skills and talents that keep bringing you to tell us how "special" you are then you are not going to have any problems at this career. The harsh reality in this business is that you "put up, or shut up." I'm just trying to help you see the way it works. If you want to enjoy the benefits of their system of providing good paying jobs for blue collar workers so that you can one day "get off the grid" and live your life just however you please, then you need to understand the basics of getting along inside the framework and structure of their system. There are thousands of drivers out there who are constantly trying to "buck" the system because they think of it as corporate greed. They are the ones who make it hard on themselves.

Brett did pretty much what you are talking about. He now lives like a hermit in the beautiful rolling hillsides of Upstate New York, eating out of his organic garden, and feeding his chickens and dogs off the extra Bibb lettuces that he grows. Heck, you have got to have an appointment if you even want to cross over his property line. He lives a secluded life, just the way he likes it! But to get there he busted his butt driving a truck and learning how things work in this industry so that he could reach his goals. If you want to make the most money you can at this, you will have to go about it in a way that works, and that way is what we specialize in helping people understand.

Like I said, I basically agree that it will be up to me to decide if I want to do this or not, and then as you say "put up or shut up." I am just asking a lot of pointed questions right now, even going off into some philosophical/political tangents as they are related to the discussion, because I am in my research / decision making phase. Once I make that decision, it's all going forward and no looking back. There won't be any more whining, complaining, or asking questions about things at that point, because what would be the point? Just get er done. Contrary to what you may perceive as a result of this initial thread, I am actually very easy going most of time and go with the flow and take the opportunities as they come. And doo doo occurs, you just have to roll with it. I think I am getting a good sense of what will be required (primarily, a good and flexible attitude) and I think I can manage that. I think I am becoming comfortable with what I will need to do and learn.

Incidentally, I at no point said I wouldn't take care of the customer or the company. In my view, that's how you make money. In fact, you succeed and make money by taking care of the customer and the company's needs. I would do that. I would take those loads that popped up at the last minute. I would manage my time and log book well and work all the angles (legally of course). My only question was what is the profit split between drivers and others in the company, and did you think it's a fair split? Then I realized of course it's a bit of an academic point, you either take the job as it is or you don't. No sense getting would up because thee sky is blue, that's just the way things are.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Honestly, you may see yourself as a super trucker or whatever. Bottom line is, you can't jump into this industry and turn 3k miles or more week one. It takes time to learn and be productive. If I got drop n hooks all the time with longer runs I could do it no problem. Did I mention I'm regional and home every week? I'm home now until Monday night or Tuesday morning with the holiday. Otr drivers will get more miles but stay out longer. But either way it takes time to get to where you turn miles safely and efficiently. I'm still learning myself.

I don't think you've read all of my posts. It's OK, I write a lot.

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Posted:  3 years ago

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Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

For the most part, the drivers pay is going to fall somewhere in the 25 - 35% of the dollar value of a load. Freight rates are different all the time due to a lot of factors which I don't have the time here to go into, but generally your mileage rate is going to fall into that range, and the better drivers with good solid years of experience behind them will be more near the high end of that range. And just so you know it those better drivers will receive special attention and perks that the lesser ones may not. Here's an example: Just recently I needed to take ten days off for some medical reasons. Normally it would be company policy at my company, and most any trucking company, for me to turn in my truck if I am going to be absent for that long. Then when I'm ready to return they will find me another truck and re-issue me a truck. It is their very expensive asset, and they need it to be moving if it is going to be producing revenues for the company. That is understandable. My driver manager wouldn't even hear of it - he told me to bob-tail the truck home, and to call him when I was ready to come back. He knew it was against company policy, but he also had the authority to make that call because he valued the driver enough to handle it that way. Forget all the bull excrement you've read about these companies not respecting their drivers. They respect the drivers who deserve the respect - this all goes back to what we've been discussing about this being a performance based job. The people in the internet chat rooms and forums who are always screaming about how badly they got treated by the trucking companies were not getting it done - it's as plain and simple as that.

I'm trying to stress the importance of performance to you - that is where most everyone who has problems in this industry falls short, and there are a lot of them.

Now as to your original questions about "how much of the pie am I the driver getting as compared to the company?" Well, after their expenses, which are astronomical (you can verify that one too if you are so inclined), they are getting around three percent, if they are doing well. I am getting somewhere between 25 and 35 percent for my efforts. Did I answer your question? Or did I just incite more curiosity?

(cont'd)

I have no problems whatsoever with the performance aspect. I'm a big boy, I'm smart, and I can hustle. In fact I suppose I prefer it that way, assuming in fact that one will be rewarded for their initiative and hard work. Which it seems you are saying is the case. I'm fine with that.

Yes you answered my question. thank-you-2.gif Thanks again for taking the time!

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Okay, you can do your own research into some of the numbers that I am going to throw out here if you want to verify the veracity of them, but I am just going to try to be close with some generalities. Truck drivers get paid by the mile, or another way to look at it is that they get paid for what they manage to accomplish each week. This is a very efficient system, despite the naysayers who think we should get paid by the hour. You stated that you had employees before. If your experience was like mine then you quickly discovered which ones were worth their wages and which ones weren't. What did you do in those various scenarios? Well, for my part I would try to assist the weaker ones with maybe some extra training or help, but if it was obvious they just weren't going to be good performers then I had to cut my losses with them - I got rid of them. Now the ones that were good, I did everything I could afford to do to keep them.

In the trucking business everybody from the top on down gets paid for performance. Your dispatcher will probably have some sort of base salary with performance bonuses attached. That means the better he can manage his fleet of drivers the more money he can make - he is getting more done - therefore he is getting a slice of the pie. There are layers of management in these companies, and each layer is getting performance pay based on how the layer under his guidance is doing. You may not like the term "trickle down economics," but trucking companies are a book study on it. From the top managers all the way down to the drivers, everybody wants to move more freight, because that is how each of us earns more money. Notice that the driver is at the bottom - always has been, always will be - you'd better be able to live with that, or you are going to be spinning your wheels in this business.

Now you seem to want to make sure that you are getting your fair share of the pie, and I like that - we certainly should be rewarded for our efforts, just as everybody else in this whole chain of command thing should be expecting to be paid for what they are worth also. This is a commodities business, therefore the margins are very thin. You can verify this by looking at some of the publicly traded large trucking companies and you will discover that the ones who are doing well are netting about 3% profits per annum. Now that three percent may be a large number, but 3% is a tough nut to cut. I don't care if it is in the billions, you just took a huge calculated risk to make 3%! You can't get distracted with the total number of dollars - you have got to realize that 3 % is a very small amount of profit. I'm stressing this point because I don't really know you yet, and some folks would just want to say, "well the company I'm working for posted 4 billion in profits, and I only got paid sixty grand - that is highway robbery - I want my share of the money!" If they would focus on what percentage of the value of the load they were receiving they might see it a little differently.

Continued...

Just one nit to pick, not that I disagree with the general gist of your post. And that nit is: "trickle down economics" simply don't trickle down, as has been illustrated in the trends we have seen in the last 30-40 years, as per the facts I posted earlier. And that term doesn't really apply here, if the drivers are in fact making 25-35% of the load pay as you say (although I would venture a stab that there is likely a lot of unnecessary management "fat" built into that, but I suppose that is the way of all companies nowadays -- the days of Henry Ford "rewarding those who do the work" seems to be looooong gone these days...). But anyway, point being, "trickle down economics" is more of a term applied to the broader economy, and not this industry in particular.

In the end, the razor thin (3%) profit margins tell the real story. I mean I could dig into that and maybe they aren't 3% maybe they are not too far from that, I dunno. I suppose I should look into that. At any rate I think it is pretty safe to say that we are not talking about Wall Street bankster (which are further guaranteed by .gov) or oil or pharmaceutical company or Apple type profit margins here, lol. I mean, this is, after all, an actual productive portion of our economy (for as long as that still lasts). A corroborating point that I have been reading is that O-Os don't really seem to do all that much better than company drivers, by the time they are done paying for their truck, their fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and all the rest. Therefore, it looks like company driver it will be, for me...

This is all an interesting philosophical / industry discussion (and thanks for indulging me btw) but at the end of the day it's a bit of an academic point. As you so correctly point out I either accept the way things are, or I don't. I'm certainly not going to change the way things are, and I would only aggravate myself (as well as others) by complaining about the way things are. Nobody needs that. And in that I agree with you 100%. It will be up to me to decide whether I want to do this job or not. I am just trying to figure out some realistic numbers from people with real experience. The kinds of info you can't find easily on the internet.

(cont'd)

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

A Week In The Life Of A Flatbed Driver

Great thread Old School! I just wanted to let you know I reached the end. And to bump it for any who may not have read it yet.

You are a good story teller and sound like a great guy, your daughter should be proud of you! It's people like you who made America great once upon a time.

Having said that, the cynic in me can't help but feel right now that modern corporate America shares with you exactly zero of the values you rightfully hold so highly in esteem. But I will stop there as I don't want to pollute your nice thread with any more of my cynicism. I see that you guys are trying to keep a nice place around here. I will save my negativity for back over in my own thread.

Maybe you were right when you said to me that I should get away from such cynical websites and negativity (for my own sanity). There is certainly a lot of wisdom in those words. Although that doesn't mean that my analysis isn't spot on, difficult as it may be to say. But like I said, enough of that for now. I hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend man, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing!

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Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Yes I have read those numbers everywhere, they are somewhat discouraging (to me at least).

OTOH, I plan on being one of those exceptions, because I am exceptional! Not in a special snowflake kind of way, but in a scarily competent, bad arse kind of way. :)

Thanks for the feedback on the mythical Wally World driving jobs I keep hearing about. My understanding is that FedEx (or was it UPS?) are also like that. That's what I might be shooting for longer term as well, but we will see.

Which is why I want to try and make sure I get in with the right company, I don't want to be bamboozled by a recruiter only to find out it was all Bee Ess and then have to change companies because they lied. Because that makes me look bad (instability). And my understanding is that like Army recruiters, they all lie. lol This is another argument in favor of paying my own way through school, btw, although the jury is still out on that one overall...

Sorry guys if I remain negative / cynical in spite of your best efforts, but it's a cold hard world out there and I have no illusions. The interests of corporations, by their inherent nature, are diametrically opposed to my own interests. They want to reduce expenses by paying me as little as they can get away with, and I want to make as much as I can. At the end of the day. nothing else really matters.

In my view, bigger company might give you more opportunity to move laterally, that's a good point, but smaller company might pay you better, especially if the first generation owner is still around and calling the shots, perhaps even driving still. Because they still know what it means to work and they appreciate it and they appreciate what you do and therefore value it / pay you accordingly. I have seen far too many businesses (not in trucking, talking in general / other industries here) where they have gone to the kids, or some investors, or whatever, and they have totally lost sight of the things that got them to where they were in the first place. Just become greedy at some point, it all just becomes about the company making a profit no matter what, and drivers be damned. That's what I'm worried about. I care about these companies exactly as much as they "care" about me, which is to say, exactly zero. How much are you going to pay me? Put all the Bee Ess aside, and that tells me everything I need to know. It's the only thing that matters to me (I don't care about home time).

I suppose I need to start researching some companies, and see what their actual pay rates are...

Some guesstimates on earning potential in Trucking. Year 1 $32,000 - $40,000. Year 2 $40,000 - $50,000 Year 3 $50,000- $60,000. There are exceptions to this, but they have proven to be pretty reliable numbers. For example. Walmart Company Fleet Drivers can make around $80,000 +or- in their first year. But........... You need 30 months of Recent OTR experience and a squeaky clean driving record. Also, I'm sure a good record of longevity with your current Company, great references, etc. Those are coveted jobs in this industry. They can be VERY SELECTIVE with the wages and benefits packages they offer. In many cases it requires moving and taking up residence within 20-30 miles of your assigned DC or Terminal. This can be difficult for many people with families, etc. It is Definitely on my radar a couple of years down the road, as I am currently one of those "Homeless" drivers. All of my worldly possessions are stored with Family in my Hometown. I have no ties to a particular location, so relocating to "Where Ever" would be quite easy for me. I hope this helps!

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Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

In fact if I could do that in reefer or dry van I think I'd be happy as a clam. Maybe I change my mind later if I start withering away from lack of physical activity just sitting and driving all the time. :) We'll see I suppose...

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Just wanted to jump on here a sec to say a few things. Pay or com when you 1st get out here doesn't matter until you figure out how to run your truck properly. Once you've proven yourself the miles and money will come in. I started out with short runs and low miles a few months ago. I'm with Maverick, running flatbed. I've only been here 4 months and my milage has improved dramatically. Here we start at 38 cpm with an automatic 2 cent bonus bringing you to 40. At 6 months we go to 44 and can earn 6 more cpm for performance. I'll be at 50 in November. It's hard work out here, but very rewarding if you do what you're supposed to. I believe Prime is similar but I'm not sure.

Thanks CT for your input. It's posts like these that give me hope.

I think 50 cpm sounds pretty good actually, especially if you eventually can start getting 2000+ miles per week. If it takes 6 mos to a year to get there (which seems to be the case) then so be it I suppose. But that's grossing $1k per week which is where I am shooting at minimum (in time, of course). The closer you get to 3k miles per week, even better, although I wouldn't necessarily expect that all the time. And again, all after several months of learning and putting in the time. Sounds reasonable to me.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Great discussion Old School, (and others)!

Yes you are right, my focus right now is making money. Perhaps that will change at some point in the future. You made a really good point about joining a bigger company with many divisions, one where I could move laterally without needing to start all over again and become known at a new outfit. I think you can tell I am highly suspicious of big companies, lol, but I have to give that one to you, it's is a legitimate point.

As far as flatbed vs dry box vs reefer, which are the most common? Or are the differences in numbers not that much to worry about? My sense is to start out in something that is more/most common (dry box?), so that the most potential loads might be available. Until I settle into some niche I might enjoy (which, as you correctly point out, I don't even know what that is yet). Unless those "more common" loads pay less than others, but it seems that you are saying this is not the case.

Same philosophy why I want to obtain all endorsements, TWIC, passport, and any other credential I can get my hands on. Because it opens up the possibilities of more different types of loads being available. It's just numbers, really. So I can keep busy, loaded, and making money as much as possible.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

See, now there I understand the APU thing. Thanks for taking the time to explain. In truth, I think that blog post I read was a bit dated. And as I said, I think I'm starting to come around to understanding how this industry actually works, thanks largely to posts by people like you and Brett and others around this site.

And here's the thing about me: I apply reason and critical thinking, including being aware of and even questioning my own logical biases. I suspect that you will agree with me that the vast vast majority of people out there in this world today do not do this (and in fact are likely completely unfamiliar with the concept of a logical bias in the first place). As you said in one of your posts, you could give someone a mountain of facts, truth, information but if their biases do not allow them to see the truth then there is nothing you can do about it. Lead a horse to water and all that...

And like you said yes there is a lot of information on the internet - almost too much in fact!. That doesn't mean I value it all equally. You can find "evidence" to support almost any belief you care to hold, no matter how extreme, no matter how dis-provable it is by applying simple logic and rationality. Unfortunately critical thinking skills are not taught in our schools any more these days (and maybe they never were).

I also fully understand that "a little knowledge is dangerous" and believe in the 10,000 hours to competency thing. Heck, remember I was the one to post a link to Dunning-Kreuger principle for Chrissakes (btw, have you had a chance to read that yet?)! LOL!

Having said all of that, what I want to know is if I put in all that time and effort, if I cancel my current life and adopt this new one, learn, eat humble pie, gain enough experience to reduce mistakes to the minimum possible, and do all the things one needs to do to be successful, will the pay materialize in the end? It would seem that the answer is yes, based on some of the things I have been reading around this site. Well, at least for the time being, as I see some disturbing trends on the horizon that may affect the industry for better (globalization(?)) or worse (globalization(?), ever growing corporate power, consolidation, etc.). In short, it's starting to appear to me that I can get in still at this time and make the money I expect / need to, over the course of the next few years. After that point, well, I dunno, and it won't matter because I will have the capital to do what I ultimately want to do anyway and drop out of the system altogether.

Finally, I just wanted to say that I am enjoying reading the posts you linked me to. I just finished the one with your story about going over George Washington bridge into NYC with a wide load. Entertaining story, I smiled at a few points. And it was cool that you brought your daughter along for the ride! :) But here is an illustration of exactly what I am talking about: For all your trouble on that run, how much did you get paid? Because I am pretty sure that the company charged the customer a pretty penny on that load, what with all the parameters, wide load, through NYC, closing a bridge, and all the rest. And marked that all up to the customer. So, for your part in it, all your care in securing the load and transporting it, your responsibility, the ticket you received and presumably had to pay out of pocket (only $50 but easily could have been much worse by the sounds of it), how much was your share of the take? Recognizing of course the company owns the equipment, pays the fuel, and must pay the dispatcher, mechanic, and everything else and then make a profit of course. But how much profit did they make out of that load, vs how much did you make, and is that split fair, given the fact that you bore a much greater portion of the responsibility in delivering it safely and undamaged? And therein sort of lie the crux of my argument. Yes you made a rookie mistake not knowing some specifics about the bridge. But these things are bound to happen. And we as drivers are expected to have to roll with the punches. But how often is the company expected to roll with the punches? Not often is what I'm imagining, although I could be wrong.

Maybe this does not apply to the trucking industry at all, but my experience in working for some of these corporations the last couple years, since I shuttered my own business of 20 years, has been a real eye opener for me. When I had my business I tried to take as good of care of my employees as I could afford to (and sometimes more than I could afford to) because to me as a small business owner they were my most valuable asset. But that mentality has seemed to go out the window nowadays, with everything just becoming a race to the bottom. This is what unfettered capitalism is, by design. The companies keep making more and more, and we the workers (because we are just another expense that needs to be reduced) keep making less and less, while bearing none the less of the workload nor responsibility, and in some cases our share of the load and responsibility has actually increased. But again, these are general trends applying to the economy and workplace in general, and not to trucking companies specifically, necessarily, although I cannot imagine that they have remained untouched by these larger trends.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Old School,

I actually did read that This is How We Roll thread you started, it's a great thread! And some other threads and logs that you and others have filled out have been very helpful to me! It's those kind of threads (along with hearing the kind of money people can start making once they stick around a while) that have given me hope and excitement about a potential future in trucking!

Also see the case I laid out in my last post directed at Brett, which I think addresses some of your same points.

I am going to check out the other threads you linked, and keep reading around here, but let me ask you this: what am I missing on the APU thing? I mean, I suppose it's fine if companies let you idle, same difference (just less efficient) and so I suppose my disdain is reserved for companies who might disallow idling and also don't have an APU (and/or, an inverter at least, or let you at least bring your own). To me that might suck, but what am I missing? Maybe such companies don't really exist? Or maybe (it's starting to dawn on me, from reading you guys' posts/threads) maybe it's more a matter of: if you are a safe, professional producer then they kind of let you do what you want, take good care of you, and if you are a slug they might be on your case a little more about idling, etc. to the point of driving you to quit, because they know you aren't going to make it anyway?

See I owned a business for 20 years, so I see the owner's perspective. I understand business, and I take care of equipment and customers just like they were my own (i.e., I have more of an "owner" than an "employee" attitude). So again, my perspective is very different from most. Certainly willing to admit I honestly know very little about trucking industry at this point, but that is why I am here, doing my due diligence, and trying to learn.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

Wise words Brett, and taken to heart. As I said I am not necessarily disagreeing with you. I am also smart enough to understand that you hear this all day, every day, for years and I can imagine you are tired of hearing it by now. I am also self aware enough to realize that I am not 99% of people. All due respect (and you are due a lot, by virtue of you taking the time to provide this valuable resource, take the time to respond to people's questions, etc. which I appreciate) but I AM going to be in that 1%. Which means by definition that people like me don't come along every day.

You are right in that I will not be providing a lot of value to a company in the beginning. There is a lot I need to learn. I'll give you that. But like I said I'm a quick study.

However to ignore the fact that there are corporations out there today that advantage of people is naive IMO. In fact it's one of the biggest problems facing our country today. In the last 30 years, productivity, CEO compensation, and corporate profits have all skyrocketed, while wages have remained almost stagnant. Median wage in the US today is $24k per year, making $60k puts you in the top 10% of wage earners right now! Home prices are 5x median income, the highest they have ever been. Yes that is a political/economic problem (a function of the Fed printing money) but who lobbies the Congress to make laws in their favor? These corporations do. Grocery costs are rising, while healthcare and post-secondary education costs have skyrocketed. These are the facts, and this is why an ever growing number of people are getting angry, and that's why we are seeing the popularity of "alternative" political candidates this time around (not that I want to get into a political discussion, but it's germane to the point I am making).

Now, all of that does not necessarily apply to the trucking industry. Not every company, not every owner, and it may or may not apply to some of the companies, especially the bigger ones. It's a criticism of some of the more obvious failings of the system of capitalism itself, and of corporations more generally. But I don't know yet for sure, that's just the sense I get, and so I am going to have to defer to your experience for the time being, and make a leap of faith. And besides, to the extent the companies are making tight margins themselves (if this is indeed true, I just don't know yet) then the trucking companies are not really the problem, and in fact they are just getting caught between the price lowering effects of competition, while trying to maintain expensive fleets, and insurance, and pay the drivers enough to make it worth their while. Truth is, I don't really know exactly where the truth lie right now, as I am somewhat new to this still.

Trucking is actually one of the very few jobs left where a non college degree holder can make some decent (high 5 figure) salaries it seems. Again, recognizing that not everyone will have what it takes to "make it."

Another thing. Do you guys see all the consolidation happening in the industry? Do you know where that ends up once there are only a handful of huge companies left? Look at any of the other industries where this consolidation has happened over the last 30-40 years. It has led us to where we are today, economically, as a country (see figures I have cited above). Although, oddly enough, globalization may have actually benefited the industry, as all these things made overseas still need to be physically transported to American markets, and my understanding is that 80% of that transport still happens by truck.

I suppose your point could be "yes all of that is true, there are underlying trends, but an individuals own attitude is still the most important factor" in which case, while not trying to speak for you nor put words in your mouth, I would agree to split the difference with you and settle on that.

Again, all due respect, great conversation, and thanks for taking the time!

Welcome Space Truckin!

To start out with, the most important thing to get straight right off the bat is to get this junk out of your head:

double-quotes-start.png

...how much am I going to be taken advantage of by greedy corp...

...which seems like a bit of a scam...

double-quotes-end.png

First of all, what is there to take advantage of with a rookie driver fresh out of school? You will literally be the most dangerous and least productive driver on the American highways at the beginning of your career. You know nothing about being a top professional in this industry early on and you'll be nothing but a liability risk and a burden until they can teach you how things are done out there. So just having the idea in your head that you have something valuable to offer the largest, most successful companies in this industry as a rookie fresh out of school shows you're greatly underestimating the difficulties you're about to face and greatly overestimating the value you provide early on. That's an ominous approach to take in a career that's as difficult, dangerous, and complex as trucking.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

I've really taken it to heart though by whats been said by the more experienced drivers especially Brett the founder of the site is that no matter who you start out with you should stick with them for at least a year hopefully longer. Given this fact I've really tried to pin down who I want to drive for right out of the gate and what I want to haul. For me it's going to be flatbed freight.

BJ Moose

I agree completely with listening to those more experienced. And this website is a wonderful resource! Thanks again to all you more experienced guys (and gals!) who take the time to share your hard won knowledge with us noobs. Because, as noobs, we don't even know what we don't know yet! There is actually a term for this, it's called Dunning-Kruger effect:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

:)

I wanted to ask you (or anyone else, feel free to chime in) about flatbed actually. It seems that a lot of people don't want to mess with it. Maybe they are not physically fit enough to do it, or just don't like to get their hands dirty, or be out in the rain, or sweat, or whatever. None of those issues apply to me.

But what that also tells me is that there should be opportunity there. Does flatbed generally pay better, for those of us who are willing to do that kind of work (which I am)? How much more, and is the increase in pay (if any) worth it?

In my estimation, if they pay barely any more, or the same, why bother? You could just stay in your nice comfy truck hauling boxes of dry freight around and not getting your hands (and clothes) dirty, sweating, etc...

Or is it a matter of having extra job security / loads available because no one wants to do it? lol

Or is it a matter of just wanting to stay physically fit, instead of withering away sitting on your duff 10 hrs a day?

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Pay my own way or "free" company school? And which company has best starting pay?

(cont'd)

At the end of the day, I suppose my cynical analysis comes down to: should I even bother spending 5 weeks going to my own school, if I am going to have to spend some months of mandatory "training" no matter which company I go work for? If that's how it works at every company anyway, then maybe I should just go to one of the companies that run their own school? I suppose several here have made that same determination, and followed that path. It seems it might be the shortest path to making the best possible money, the soonest.

Although I feel pretty confident that I would get a top notch education at PTEC. I'm quite conservative and old school and believe in really knowing the material and being competent and so I might go to their school anyway. I am a big believer in fundamentals, and knowing my stuff. In my experience in life, this is what separates the pros from the wannabees, in any field. Although I am old enough and worldly enough to realize that the majority of companies out there probably don't give a fig where you went to school or what you did, they just want to get you working for them so they can get to know you and see what you are capable of first hand. And if you are a whiner, etc.

I suppose I need to just start digging into the policies of the companies that hire newbs. I am also going to look into job placement from PTEC, and see what companies they work with. Make a list of all of them, start looking on their websites / talking to them, compile a big spreadsheet of data (yes I'm a nerd like that, lol) and then make my decision based on the factors that are important to me. Namely: PAY RATE (first and foremost), how long until raise, what kind / how big cab, what creature comforts are allowed, etc. (as I intend to be a full time OTR driver with no other life for the next 2 years at least).

Oh, speaking of that. I might as well share my dream. :) Yes right now it would seem that it is to become a trucker. Which it is. But I have a yet bigger dream. I want to buy some land out in the country somewhere and start a sustainable, organic farm, for my own sustenance, and to have plenty of room to do all my tinkering, while reducing my cost of living. It's very expensive to live around here, and very crowded. I am tired of the hamster wheel of work work work just to pay rent (or mortgage / car note), taxes, groceries, and then have so little to show for all your effort it at the end of the day / week / year. I'm a student of history and economics and I only see these trends getting worse in my lifetime here in our once great nation, I am very sorry to say.

So my plan is to go on the road full time the next couple years and just bank all that money, and then pay cash for some land, "retire" and then start building a barn, get some livestock, start farming the land, and eventually build my dream house. I've been running some numbers and it's going to cost me some bucks. But right now I don't have any family, so I am not worried about going on the road full time. In fact, it's a plus for me as I will be cutting out my monthly housing expenses. Soon I plan on starting to sell off almost all of my possessions as truthfully we don't own these things but rather they own us. To me right now they are a liability (costing storage, etc.) but this is something I learned only recently (in the last few years). I am really looking forward to a truly free life on the road, with no attachments...

But then I suppose I'm preaching to the choir in that regard, at least around these parts. :) Amirite?

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