Doubts About Driving

Topic 1000 | Page 1

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Kevin B.'s Comment
member avatar

ok peoples, some of you may know that I am trying to determine becoming a trucker. I had a family party tonight and 2 of our guests are truckers. these 2 gentleman heard about me wanting to be a trucker and both of them said no dont do it go to college and get an education.. I told them I was already taking classes at college. I was surprised by their response to this decision I was making, Both of them are local drivers and get paid by the hour. I guess I am just trying to get more feedback. I am almost certain that I want to do this. I would say 90/10.. is it possible that they are just getting old? they are both in their 60's ( not trying to offend people ). they both had a lot of negative feeling towards the industry, not the company they work for. On this forum I have seen a lot of support from people towards other "prospects". I am just confused as why they would try to steer me away???

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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There is a very big difference between local drivers and OTR drivers. Local drivers are more stressed cause they are always in a hurry to get things done during the day and have to deal with incredible traffic all the time.

I don't know weather its just getting old or being jaded by many years of driving but I have rarely heard anything positive from a driver that is up in age and still working.

Seen a few numbers this evening and they said that the average college student ends up with a debt between $30,000 and $50,000 dollars. And all that with the hopes of getting a job in their field which is becoming harder and harder to do.

Not sure what you are going to school for but if its law school or ANYTHING dealing with computers then good luck to you cause you will need it to find a job.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kevin, truck driving can be a really tough job, but it's also very rewarding. There are people in it that just aren't cut out for the job but feel they can't do anything else. I feel for those types because they are miserable at doing the very thing I find very rewarding.

Remember this is more of a lifestyle choice than a career choice. I think that's what makes it so hard on some people. They just thought they chose a job, but really they've chosen something that affects their whole lifestyle, including their relationships with family and friends. These are things which should be considered before jumping into this field. I spent an entire year discussing this with my family before jumping in, and we still feel the strain of it at times. When one person in a family is missing in action in a family unit everyone feels the strain.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Troubador222's Comment
member avatar

Kevin, right now there are lots of changes in the rules that govern how long drivers can drive. Some long time drivers think that these rule changes are the apocalypse. The bottom line is, that while these rule changes are a pain, it is not impossible to do what you have to do to stay legal. The outlook on driving jobs is still better than almost any other job out there right now. I come from a highly technical back ground doing land surveying. That work basically disappeared in 2007 with the property crash. I have no other options to make anything like the money I used to make.Truck driving has given me that opportunity again. The rule changes do not bother me, as I am into about 5 months of driving. it is just more rules added on to many, that I see as being designed to make the occupation safer. As more older truckers leave the industry, who cannot deal with the rule changes, it just means more opportunity for new drivers to move in.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Kevin B.'s Comment
member avatar

Guy, O.S. Troubador, Thanks for your insight into this indusrty. It just solidifies my belief that this is a good choice for me.

Guy no I'm not going to school for law or computers. I am going to school for welding, and that industry is crashing big time. The only way you can get a welding job that pays or get benefits is to go into the union... I'm not against union but it just isn't for me.

Old School and Troubadour222, The lifestyle thing is where me and female life companion are at odds! Although she said she would support me no matter what. I have been with her for 14 years, and I can tell she is not 100% on board with this. We do have a son and he is 9. My son and I have had exstensive conversations about it and he thinks it would be cool if I were to become a trucker. He said he would miss me when I was out, but we could always do face time ( Iphone,Ipad ) so we could still see each other (ahh the love of a child and his electronics).

Scott L.'s Comment
member avatar

My buddy who's driven for nearly 20 yrs told me I was crazy when I wanted to give it a go too. I love the job itself. Being out of the open road and wondering where you'll go next is fun. It's like one big adventure. That said, there definitely are down sides as there are with any job. Being away from home definitely takes an adjustment. My kids are older, but I couldn't imagine doing this if I had little kids. The other thing that bothers me is I can't stay in shape like I was before I got into this. I sprinkle runs in every now and then, but it's so dang hard to eat decent out here. If I could improve those two things, I could see myself doing this job for a long time. As it is, after my one year I'll be looking for a gig that gets me home weekends at least.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kevin B.'s Comment
member avatar

Scott, thats my goal as well, to get a year and then try something that can get me home more often than not. I also heard people saying that roehl is 7 on 7 off. sounds great but how do they make money that way?

Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

From what I've seen it seems like some older drivers will tell you not to start because of the constricting DOT rules. Back in the "good ol days" they were a bit more free with a schedule for resting and such. Once DOT came down with the different clocks and hours of service, those used to the old way were now suffocated by it. Then you have e-logs making it harder to cheat and an economy that makes it tough to be an owner operator. I think that we as a new generation of drivers aren't as bothered by that stuff because we never experienced the "glory days". We will learn the rules now, and not have anything to compare them to but stories. Is it tougher now than it was then? Probably, but we go with how we're taught. At the end DOT will screw us too and we'll be just like them at some point. Also the difference in local and OTR could have a lot to do with it as well.

Best of luck to you

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dutch's Comment
member avatar

Kevin, I know you asked about trucking, but I thought I would give you some additional insight into the welding industry, which might make your decision a little easier to make.

Before I got laid off the first week of May, I was making $18.40 an hour and getting 40hrs a week. When I first went to work for the company in 2008, I was getting 13hrs overtime every single week, and grossing over $1000 a week. That only lasted about a year and a half, and the company started pinching pennies and trying to hold the overtime to a minimum.

The pay scale can differ quite a bit nationwide for welders, but here in Alabama, for non union the pay scale is supposed to start at $12 an hour, and $15 an hour for certified. Union starts at $18, and $21 for union certified.

As for where the good money is, it's in pipe welding on the road. Pipe welders are extremely skilled though, and it can take quite a bit of practice before a welder can learn to weld pipe good enough to become a certified pipe welder. Those jobs are usually union, and start around $25 an hour, but like trucking, you have to live on the road working shutdown jobs, which require six 12hr days, or sometimes seven 12hr days.

Now, if you work local in a shop, the pay and the hours are much lower. I had to be aerospace certified and work for a company building items for the military in order to get the kind of pay I was getting. There are plenty of non certified mig welding jobs available welding mild steel, but instead of starting a guy around $12 to $15, now they are offering $10 to $12 and during the last 5 years have started to drop their benefits packages. Once they start you at $10 to $12, they give cost of living raises that take 5 years to equal $1. Obamacare has further sealed the deal on companies offering their welders medical insurance. Those who hadn't dropped it yet, are almost all forced to drop it now.

Even making the money I was making, it still keeps a guy living paycheck to paycheck, while he wears out his vehicle driving back and forth to work in an extremely hot and sweaty environment. Mig and Stick welding are the worst, and tig like I have been doing is much better, but those exclusive tig jobs are hard to come by no matter what state you live in.

Other high paying welding jobs involve working in the shipyards and on the oil rigs, but you won't get those straight out of school, as they require a higher skill level similar to pipe welding. The reason that companies are so reluctant to offer someone with little experience a job, is because material is very expensive, and when a welder destroys a piece of material it can cost them hundreds of dollars at the minimum. Sometimes much more when a lot of time and labor is involved.

Having a young child gives you things to consider that I don't have to, but I believe if I were you I would at least make that 1 year sacrifice to get my CDL's. If after a year, your family wants you to come home, you could drive local for 5 to 7 years till your boy gets older. You can always go back on the road when the time is right, and if your girl can see the advantages to living on the road and saving that money that you normally spend on rent, utilities, and car payments, she just might make the decision to come along for the ride.

With the current state of social security, I would feel much more secure putting money into savings every week as an OTR driver, than living paycheck to paycheck as a welder waiting for the inevitable to happen 20 years down the road.

My grandfather was a welder for Monsanto and drew a pension for almost 30 years before he died, but the days of companies offering pensions to their employees without advanced college degrees are few and far between. You almost have to work for the county, city, or some government agency to get those kind of benefits nowdays.

The reality to it is, that OTR truck driving pays quite a bit more than welding, even though welding is classified as a skilled trade, and trucking is not. Also, as I pointed out in the other thread, you won't have to worry about contracts ending and becoming unemployed driving a truck for a living.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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