A Word Or Two Or Maybe A Half Dozen About Things I Have Noticed.....

Topic 1035 | Page 1

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guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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This is not a new issue. Its been around a long time but I think I want to address these issues directly.

The first is about "Being Enslaved To a Company". I think I understand this but people are incorrect in using it. Mostly people decide to go to a private school so they will not own anyone any money so they decide to pay for schooling themselves or get grants or loans and go to a private school then go looking for a job. That good. That is one way to do it.

Almost all the companies people start out at are all the same down to the small details. There really is no difference. The main difference is the driver. That makes all the difference. Attitude and the willingness to work allows you to be successful at ANY company.

Lets get back on topic. Weather or not you attend a private school or a company sponsored school you will have to pay money to go to said school Right? Right. So you go to a private school then you have to look for a job. OR you go to a company school and if you pass you have a job already. Seems pretty cut and dried at this point.

The thing most people get hung up on is "If I go through a company school I am "enslaved" to them for a year". This statement could not be further from the truth. Its not the company that you are borrowing money from. Its the same financial institutions you are borrowing from weather its a private school or a company one. You can get the same grants and loans to cover the schooling in both cases.

If you go to a private school you have to pay up front. If you go to a company school and you leave the company early you have to pay. There really is no difference except when you pay. At least with a company school if you pass you get a job with that company afterwards versus having to look for your own job afterwards except with a company school you have the opportunity of not having to pay for the schooling at all if you stay with them up to a year. Pretty good deal I think.

Oh I get the reasons why people go to private schools over company schools. I truly do so there is no reason to to rehash the reason but when people think they are locked in or "enslaved" to a company for the schooling its simple not true. Really the same options exist for moving on to a different company at any time.

The second think is Forced Dispatch. This is probably more of an issue than the first for me. Almost without fail most new people come on this site and state something to the effect "Trucking has always been a dream of mine. I love to drive/travel and see the country." Pretty much how the first post goes every single time. Then a few days/weeks later those same exact people come back and start asking about "no forced dispatch' or "Companies that do not run in this area or that area" Huh?wtf.gif Either you want to drive a truck and experience the trucking lifestyle or you don't. So what if you have to go to New York? You will not have to go down into the 5 Boroughs simple cause your truck is to long for most areas but so what if you have to? Its an experience just like any other so why not go into it wholeheartedly and take it for what it is?

Often times trucking is romanticized into something its not. Its not Smokey and the Bandit nor is it BJ and the Bear and its not Anyway But Loose staring Clint Eastwood.

If you look at it like a job often times you will not be able to support a stay at home family. SOmebody at home will also have to work.Don't get me wrong. The money can be good but its not good enough that you can be the sole bread winner of the family and everyone else in your house gets to do nothing. Oh it can happen but you will not have much money left over to do much with. Its a tough and lonely job most times.

Now if you look at it as a lifestyle,which it is, then there should be no problem where you drive as long as you are driving. Most experienced drivers will tell you that it does not matter what area of the country you are in that every place has its problems. Most people are scared of the NE without ever have been there but what they fail to realize is that you can name ANY major metropolitan area and the traffic is all the same at certain times of the day depending on when you hit certain cities. Dallas traffic at rush hour is worst most times than LA california. Kansas City can be worse than Chicago.

So if you are getting into trucking for the money and a job then there are a lot better ways and easier ways of making money. If it's traveling and seeing the country and the experience of driving a truck then it should not be an issue where you drive.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Kevin B.'s Comment
member avatar

Great post Guy. I dony know why people are afraid of the N.E. actually when I get into trucking I look forward to conquering N.Y.C. I also understand that some companies give a bonus for going into the concrete jungle they call N.Y.C. I cant wait to get into the lifestyle...

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

If you go to a private school you have to pay up front. .

double-quotes-end.png

thats not true. If you have good/decent credit you can go to a bank or lending institution and get a loan for the full amount or partial. Sometimes you need a co-signer. Or you can put something up as collateral such as a newer car/pickup. Also if you qualify you can get help from the state you live in or the federal govt.

also a lot of schools give you a chance to get pre-hire letters before you complete the school. Fill out the forms and a recruiter will call you for a short interview and then say 'when you graduate you can work for us'. Thats better than the companies that have driving schools and make you sign a contract where you are at their mercy for about a year. Plus you can drive for better outfits by going to private schools- who wants to drive for Swift CRST or CR England, when you can drive for Schneider, Werner or some local company.

All loans/grants and the like are all done BEFORE you start school regardless if its a company school or a private school. Funding has to be secure before starting in either case. True you have more options of more companies but this does not 'enslave' you to a company which is what this post is about. Not the amount of options you ave or don't have.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with you Guy. I think a lot of people getting started and trying to get information about the industry are wrapped up in things that shouldn't matter. As a new guy my self I kind of see what their logic is but people don't seem to look far enough for info. Its easy to come into it thinking of it as a job. Realizing that its far more than that you will start to see things more clearly.

I still have trouble with the "company slave syndrome". I hate the idea of feeling locked down. I wish I had the ability to go to a private school so I had more options of companies to choose from. But at the end of the day there isn't much of a difference where you go as a rookie. The point is to get experience. If you prepare yourself mentally and go in with the right attitude you can go in and get that experience and have a host of opportunity waiting on the other side. You just have to get over the hill.

The forced dispatch shouldn't be an issue. The idea of going to NYC with a tractor-trailer is scary. But if you can navigate it and come back without harm then you can go anywhere. You should see it as a learning experience. I've been comparing truck driving to a game lately. The objective being to get a load and deliver it. Standing in your way is traffic, weather, HOS , DOT , 4-wheelers, etc. Going to the north east is just a harder level of the game. I see truck driving as an adventure with missions. I don't understand why it matters where you go. That's part of the fun. I kind of understand not wanting a load because it has small miles but I'd rather take the small load and be ready for another one instead of sitting and waiting. Once dispatch sees you as a go-getter th loads will get bigger and better.

I often wonder if people that are really picky, and question the small stuff really have what it takes or if they are the people that can't even make it through training. I think a lot of people think trucking is just a big road trip and are in it for fun. They don't realize that its much much more than that. I think there's a lot of fun to be had, but it comes with a lot of work and sacrifice.

Those are my two cents. I know...big talk from someone who is yet to get behind the wheel. Its coming, and I can't wait!

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

I am not into trucking yet. Right now I am split between three schools/companies. I have been accepted at USA Truck, Celadon, and Swift. Just looking at all the ins and outs of each before I make my choice. However, I have traveled all over this beautiful country of ours. Almost, but not quite, coast to coast. And I have run into and talked to many many truck drivers in my day.

If you are looking into getting into trucking to become rich, then you are looking at the wrong profession. However, depending on how hard you are willing to work, the hours you want to put in (and still stay legal), and just in general how good you are, will have a lot to do with what kind of income you will have.

I have talked to drivers that have taken their families with them most of the year. They made a good enough income their wives didn't have to work. And I would talk to another driver of the same company that is about ready to go out and sign up on food stamps and government assistance.

I have talked to drivers that squeak out around $40,000 a year. And I have talked to others that make over $60,000 a year. Income in the trucking industry seems very wide spread. Or maybe the drivers are bragging. I just took them at their word. They had not reason to lie or brag.

But even with the income, trucking is not just a job. It is a lifestyle without a doubt. EVERY driver I have ever talked to has always said something like "it's in my blood", "you gotta love this job to do it", and many others. But they all mean the same thing. It is a lifestyle. especially OTR drivers.

As guyjax says, it ain't Smokey and the Bandit. Not even close. rofl-2.gif

But on the other side of the coin, you can have a "job" that you dearly love.

As far as conquering NYC. rofl-1.gifrofl-2.gifrofl-3.gif

I have had a bus in NYC more times that I can remember. And I have seen dozens of trucks there. I have never found a driver to say they have conquered NYC. The best you can do in NYC is become one with the city. Go with the flow. If you try and conquer it, it will chew you up and spit you out. The best you can do is exist when driving a large vehicle into Manhatten, Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx. I don't know much about Long Island, I have not been there but once.

Find what you love and stick with it. Be happy. If you don't like what you are doing, you won't do a good job. And if you don't like what you are doing, you will be miserable in doing it. Life is too short to be miserable.

Keep it safe out there, Joe S.

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.

Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
member avatar

Great post Guy. I dony know why people are afraid of the N.E. actually when I get into trucking I look forward to conquering N.Y.C. I also understand that some companies give a bonus for going into the concrete jungle they call N.Y.C. I cant wait to get into the lifestyle...

You say that now. Just wait until you have to mame a right turn, and a tow truck is blocking the turn lane. Or maybe you are going around a car blocking the lane (double/TRIPLE parked) and you hope you don't clip anything.

Now Edison, New Jersey, off of the Raritan Exit, has been easy for me so far. The pickups are in industrial parks, usually straight off the exit. Either turn left or right.

Dave

Mark D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for this post Guy, it definitely gives us something to think about for sure. I personally am training with a private school which worked out better for me. I am not at all saying it is any better or worse than a company sponsored school. My Wife and I are in a position that I could pay cash out of pocket for my training. I have 3 pre hire letters from different trucking companies and all 3 will reimburse me for my training on a monthly bases once I am driving for them. So that to me is also a good deal. just an fyi, and thanks again for this post and the info. Mark

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Charles S.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

If you go to a private school you have to pay up front. .

double-quotes-end.png

thats not true. If you have good/decent credit you can go to a bank or lending institution and get a loan for the full amount or partial. Sometimes you need a co-signer. Or you can put something up as collateral such as a newer car/pickup. Also if you qualify you can get help from the state you live in or the federal govt.

also a lot of schools give you a chance to get pre-hire letters before you complete the school. Fill out the forms and a recruiter will call you for a short interview and then say 'when you graduate you can work for us'. Thats better than the companies that have driving schools and make you sign a contract where you are at their mercy for about a year. Plus you can drive for better outfits by going to private schools- who wants to drive for Swift CRST or CR England, when you can drive for Schneider, Werner or some local company.

Hey all,

Figured we hadn't heard from enough guys with little or no experience in trucking so I figured I'd add a couple of thoughts to the list. First of all I had to check and make sure I hadn't accidentally wandered onto The Truckers Report or Ripoff.com. Whats with bashing Swift, CRST, & CR England? They may not be everyone's first choice, but they are legitimate trucking companies that provide CDL training and many drivers have used them to get trained and are still employed there. I believe it was Brett that had said in a blog post that if any of the trucking companies out there were as bad as some people make them out to be they would be out of business very quickly because no one would want to drive for them and they would have a hard time moving freight with no drivers. I am sure there are many drviers that are working for the above said companies that are satisfied and content with their employment situation, not every trucking company is going to be right for everyone. Different companies and training schools offer different things and you need to go with what is right for you since it is your career. And as for being "enslaved" or "chained" to a company, you can leave anytime you want just need to pay the balance for your school dues. Also i am sure there are a few companies that feel "chained" to a few of their whiny drivers that all they ever do is complain.

I know trucking like any other career has its share of people that are just bitter because they feel cheated and taken advantage of. How dare the mean evil company that they work for expect them to haul their load to someplace they don't want to go, I mean come on, the driver is doing the company a FAVOR by working for them.....

On a side note, I have submitted an application and am talking with a company that provides CDL training in Phoenix, and with any luck I will be "enslaved" and "chained down" paying off my training and still happily driving there after.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

James925's Comment
member avatar

Well said Guy! I didn't get to go into NY in my time out there, however delivering to Chris Candies in Pittsburgh PA was my initiation into how narrow a lot of the East Coast cities were. Also the scene of my first (and last) accident. I will curse that place for the rest of my life. How dare Central send a rookie truck driver with two weeks of experience out there! But you live and learn, I got through it.

I truly think people need to think long and hard about what trucking is and isn't. And after you've thought about it, think about it again! And contrary to popular belief, you cannot "sight-see" as much as you would like out there. I used to say when I first started, if I see a place I want to stop, I'll stop and take pictures! (insert sarcastic laugh)I did that maybe a handful of times, the logistics of moving a truck in some of these areas is a challenge, and not to mention you're ALWAYS on a deadline.

So people look at trucking for what it is: a lifestyle choice where you get paid to drive all over the country on a tight deadline and dealing with the unwashed masses. Trucking is not a job where you will have you're hand held, you WILL be thrown to the wolves your first time out. You WILL go to places you have never been, and will have to navigate a 72 foot, 14 foot high truck weighing 80,000 pounds through streets that were never designed for cars bigger than a Prius. You WILL be gone for WEEKS at a time. You WILL be forced to stay calm in stressful situations, and any truck driver will tell you, if you're not stressed out at some point driving, you haven't been driving long enough! A clear day can end in a storm so quickly out there.

Trucking can be a very cool career for the right person. Just make sure you're getting into it after you've discovered all the information you can about it. And stay away from the Truckers Report or rip off report, all of those drivers are nothing but chronic complainers who couldn't stay in their shoes and thought trucking was going to be something completely different.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Ya know...other than the unbelievably steep learning curve in trucking, when you take a job anywhere, you are enslaved to that job for an amount of time, unless you have the funds to quit, and pay the bills til you find another job. Its just not that different. My da always told me, never quit the job you have until you have another one. That holds true in regular jobs, and sometimes in trucking. But its hard to put in applications when you are on the road. The computer age has helped solve that problem to some extent. but you still have to go to the new company, go thru orientation, etc. So theres a amount of time that you will be left with no money coming in. When they say that trucking gets in your blood, its a saying that encircles alot of things. Mainly the personal freedon you find on the road. Your office is your truck, your boss is a voice on the other end of the phone, or Qualcomm. You don't haveto interact with people face to face. You know your job and do it, day in, day out. Thers no way that your boss can walk over and plop a huge pile of paperwork on your desk and say here, so and so got behind, I thought you could help them out. ( thats what I like the best). For those of us who can't stand to be around ignorant people in an office....trucking will be your salvation. Its not for everyone. Some days its ungrateful slavery. But most days, you know how it will go, and you look forward to it. And besides...the view outside your "office" changes everyday !!!

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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