Career Change At 50 To Truck Driver

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
It makes me wonder: If they don't have time to talk to perspective recruits, will they have time when a driver needs something? I get the gut feeling the rest of the operation is the same. I think they just dropped to the bottom of the list.

A lot of people put way too much weight on the performance (or lack thereof) of the company's recruiters. I can not emphasize this enough - it doesn't mean anything at all. Don't read into it. Some recruiters are great and they respond quickly to your every question. Most recruiters are way too busy to do that though. They have a massive pile of applications in front of them and they're trying like mad to sign up as many drivers as possible. It's basically a commission-based sales job. And that's not a bad thing by any means. But just understand that the recruiting department is no reflection whatsoever upon the rest of the company.

Roehl is an excellent company and we've gotten fantastic feedback for years from drivers that have gone to work there. You don't want to start knocking good companies off the list for trivial things like this.

I wrote an article awhile back on this very topic and it's called The Biggest Mistake New Drivers Make When Speaking With Recruiters. Check it out.

Pastor C.'s Comment
member avatar

So, I called Roehl's CDL training number listed on their website. I have some standard questions for them that I can't find answers to on their website. I did the "Press 1 for this", "Press 2 for that". In the end the automated message said "fill out an application... then we will be in touch". The old don't call us, we'll call you.

It makes me wonder: If they don't have time to talk to perspective recruits, will they have time when a driver needs something? I get the gut feeling the rest of the operation is the same. I think they just dropped to the bottom of the list.

It was the same for me with Roehl and Schneider. I just filled out an application and the recruiter called me the next day.

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.
>>--HuntinDoug-->'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett... Good article. You Have a lot of good reads on this site. It's helping me a lot!

I guess I'm a bit "old school" when it comes to dealing with people in a business setting. I like to talk to people, not machines. I'll fill out the Roehl app., then talk to whoever calls.

I've been on the other end of that phone conversation too though. I was an inside sales rep in the building trade for a few years. I fielded a TON of calls. When I hired in, the owner gave me my final interview. He asked me the standard questions. We he was finished he asked me if I had any questions for him. I respectfully said "Yea... Are you ever going to ask, or expect me to lie to a customer?" He didn't like the fact that I asked a question like that... But it was still a valid one, and it happens a LOT in the industry. He answered "of course not". I got the job. And, he held up to his word. Unfortunately, he regularly told my supervisor to "just have them tell the customer anything". So, I did... I told them the truth. I was questioned once or twice about it and had to refer to the interview conversation we had. That was always the end of the issue at hand.

I plan on holding my recruiter(s) accountable to their promises by getting them in writing if possible. I know that sounds like a bit much, but in a sales quota based job like recruiting, most people will tell you anything to get a signature.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Vonda J.'s Comment
member avatar

I have emailed a couple of different recruiters. I know how they operate. The company I work for now has a couple of hectic recruiters. I applied for a new position within the company, that I am very qualified for, last October. My application has been under review since Jan 3 of 2017, without any contact from the recruiter. To me, that's a sign of a bad recruiter, not a bad company. The company is one I have progressed with since 2015, and is a good company to work for. So recruiters are not the best way to gauge a company. I rely on the employees to tell me about the company.

The company I work for right now is in a Government building as a government contractor. I decided to go into trucking a few days ago after he visited me. He was the one that informed me that I can still live out my childhood dream and be like my grandfather. He's helping me with information, just like this website.

I am looking to sign with one of those companies the other person was complaining about and signing a contract to work for them for a time period they specify. I have done this before when I signed on with a security company "Wackenhut" and agreed to work for them for 6 months. I worked a total of 2.5 years with them, but that company didn't meet all of my needs. Many of the people that were there when I started are still there, so I don't buy into the misleading information in the other person's post.

My only concern is finding a company of that sort that will allow my adult, non driving, daughter ride along.

That's all for my rant :)

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It makes me wonder: If they don't have time to talk to perspective recruits, will they have time when a driver needs something? I get the gut feeling the rest of the operation is the same. I think they just dropped to the bottom of the list.

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A lot of people put way too much weight on the performance (or lack thereof) of the company's recruiters. I can not emphasize this enough - it doesn't mean anything at all. Don't read into it. Some recruiters are great and they respond quickly to your every question. Most recruiters are way too busy to do that though. They have a massive pile of applications in front of them and they're trying like mad to sign up as many drivers as possible. It's basically a commission-based sales job. And that's not a bad thing by any means. But just understand that the recruiting department is no reflection whatsoever upon the rest of the company.

Roehl is an excellent company and we've gotten fantastic feedback for years from drivers that have gone to work there. You don't want to start knocking good companies off the list for trivial things like this.

I wrote an article awhile back on this very topic and it's called The Biggest Mistake New Drivers Make When Speaking With Recruiters. Check it out.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar
My only concern is finding a company of that sort that will allow my adult, non driving, daughter ride along.

That will not be a problem with most Companies. Usually the will require 3-6 months Solo before they will allow a rider. Then they will require that you pay a small amount every month for the additional insurance. Around $30.00 per month i believe. We have a Driver on this forum whose Husband rides with her. Chickie Monster can clue you in on the process with her Company Policy, and others I'm sure. That was a priority for her in choosing a Company. Welcome to the Forum, don't be a stranger!

smile.gif

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.

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

I know this was written over a year ago, but I thought I'd way in on this thread just a little. I love a lot of the information that has already been shared here. And please forgive me, for some reason, I can't make paragraphs(everything will blend together). I'll try to make this as short as possible. I've noticed that exercise helps a world of a lot when it comes to driving. Push ups helped my back (and I started walking a lot... of course though, you get a lot of that on the job). I've never been a push up person, but I finally started doing them, and at first, it was limited to around 5, but over time it became 20 to 25. For some reason, I guess it strengthens certain muscles that give strength to the stability of your back. If you can't do a regular push up, try wall push ups. And what's one thing we use most of all out driving? Our brains. If your circulation, blood flow, oxygen isn't up to par, then you'll get exhausted quicker. When I started exercising, I started feeling great, a little to much energy to tell the truth. And if you do have an injury, don't over think it. The trucking companies know what you can and can't get away with. I injured my knee once, had surgery, and it's now listed as a 10% disability. So, I'm sure every company has a way of measuring whether or not you can do the job at hand or not. As for large companies, I loved the one I worked for. There was never a limit to good safe locations to stop, take a break, fuel, that were designated stops used by the company. About the only thing that bugged me some about it was that they seemed a bit unfriendly. This may have been more because of them having so many drivers that they all become a blur after awhile. Even though, my branch manager was really nice and easy to communicate with. Trust me though, take care of yourself, and it will make for a whole lot better driving experience. Your heart works overtime out there..... oh yeh, and believe me, driving over the road is a whole lot easier on your back than driving local. I've driven local for 21 or so years, and the roads only get worse close to home. Even though, I wish they'd tear that accursed hell of interstate highway 31 up and redo it, if it hasn't been done. I drove a cab over and it was hell. I hit one bump and it shot me up to the ceiling of the truck, hitting my head on it. And I wish I had good information on getting a loan for school.... you may check into the Lending Club.... they're not a bank, it's privately funded by individuals, and if you have a decent credit score, you may be able to get the loan from them.

Over The Road:

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Mike S.'s Comment
member avatar

The stamina part you'll adapt to. Everyone is utterly exhausted pretty much all the time the first few months of their career. After a while you'll adapt to the long days and it won't be a big deal.

Back pain really isn't something you hear much about in trucking. The trucks have several layers of air suspension between you and the road. You have airbags in the suspension, the cab sits on airbags, and the seat itself has an air suspension. You'll still be bouncing around somewhat but it isn't bone-rattling awful unless you're on an exceptionally bad road. If you take care of your back by do some stretching everyday and get a little exercise you should be fine. If you can sit in a regular chair for a few hours at a time you should be fine in a truck.

As far as home time, there are indeed jobs that can get you home at least every weekend straight out of school. There are people that have landed jobs that get you home every night straight out of school but those are pretty rare. You'll normally need at least a few months of OTR experience before a local company will give you a shot. But your long term plan sounds perfectly reasonable.

Go through our Truck Driver's Career Guide from beginning to end and follow all of the links you come across. That will give you a ton of information about what it takes to get your career off to a great start.

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Some of these giant OTR company's have drivers out there that could qualify for food stamps. Many will steer you to company paid schooling sign a contract and say you must stay with them for a year, (there are other ways i would do it ). There are drivers landing local jobs right out of Community college driving schools. Now when the big company guys jump in here , remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

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Gary, you're free to dislike working for the large companies and you can do things however you like. But spare us the snarky B.S., the ridiculous exaggerations, and the insinuation that you're somehow smarter or more honest than the "big company guys" or any guys for that matter, ok? We're trying to help people get their careers underway and understand how the trucking industry works. You're not helping. You say you would do it differently. If you were hurting for money and couldn't get a loan, how do you propose someone should go about getting their career underway? The company schools exist to help people get started in the industry that don't have $3,000-$6,000 lying around that they can use on private tuition. And in case it hadn't dawned on you, most people switch careers because they're in a tough position financially and they're looking to make things better.

HuntinDoug, you'll be doing yourself a great service by ignoring that kind of baloney.

Thank you Brett

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.
TheBigAlabama's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your input Gary. I didn’t take your opinions as being snarky or offensive because I have learned many things shared via social media platforms can be easily misconstrued relevant to one’s tone, attitude and intent. I have lots of friends and family members that driver and I’ve heard a wide range of opinions about the industry. Some have had bad experiences with particular companies but overall it seem to be you get out what you put in. I’m gonna follow this post because I’m in the process of deciding which path into the trucking business is best for me.

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Gary warns:

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Many will steer you to company paid schooling sign a contract and say you must stay with them for a year, (there are other ways i would do it ).

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What is wrong with a little commitment??!!

No, it's not "company paid", it's company financed. You are going to pay it, either through payroll deduction if you stay with said company, or they will follow you and collect on you if they have to.

One year, and getting paid for working, isn't such a big deal. Also, if you want to jump to supposedly greener grass, your record of job hopping may not set too well with the new company you want to work for so badly.

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Nothing wrong with commitment.. Its obvious hes given lots of commitment in his life. When your 50+ years old why lock your self into 1 year contract with an OTR company?. If he decides at 6 months to go home and work local hes free to do so if he doesn't have said contract. The area he lives in has good opportunity for local work.

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.

TheBigAlabama's Comment
member avatar

Thank you so much for posting and sharing this huntindoug! I can relate to this in numerous ways and I’m looking forward to reading more about the topics and questions you’ve proposed. Thanks again!!

Hey folks... Great forum! First post:

So here I am... 50 years old, and in a career I love. I'm a luthier. I have built electric guitars professionally since 2006. But, there are 2 main problems: It's extremely hard to find buyers for instruments that range in cost from $1700 to $6000. And, my biggest problem is I have developed an allergy to wood dust, which has triggered asthma = incessant coughing when exposed to wood dust. This has limited my time in the shop over the past 2 years. This has caused lost sales & income. To date I am about $30K in the red. The only reason I have hung on this long is my wife is an RN with a good job. We decided not to renew our lease on the shop building after Dec. Which means I will need to get a "real" job.

For years I have wondered what an OTR driving job would be like. Ironically, in 1976 my Dad changed careers from law enforcement, to truck driving (O/O) at age 50. He loved it! So, the lifestyle isn't completely foreign to me. I went on runs with him as a kid. So, I am very seriously contemplating going with either Schneider, or Roehl. Here are some of my concerns... Maybe you veterans can help me finalize my decision.

Stamina: I'm currently not used to working 12-14 hour days. I feel like I could get there. But, I'm worried about the shock to my system. Right now I only work 6 or so hours/day due to the asthma thing.

Back Pain: I've heard horror stories about how bad driving is on your back. I had L5S1 surgery back in 2002 (herniated disc). My back is OK, but I am careful not to aggravate it.

The Better Half: I've been married for 27 years... I'd like to keep it that way. My wife & I have talked about the separation part of the job, and both of us feel we can adapt.

The Long Term Plan: My plan is to sign on, and drive OTR for 12-18 months minimum. Then, re-evaluate the OTR lifestyle. If it's going good, then I will continue on. If not, I will take the year+ experience, and seek a local dedicated driving job that get's me home every night.

Let me know what you guy's think... Any advice is helpful. Thanks! Doug

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.

TheBigAlabama's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Gtown for sharing your vast experience and knowledge about the trucking industry and clarifying these statements from others. I may ask you for your opinion on a few things relevant to my process of finding the correct company and CDL school along with other things related to the research process.

Thanks for your input!

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I looked back over everything i said and cant find anything that wasn't 100% accurate. I don't like to argue in person and sure don't like to argue with my terrible grammar and im real slow on these buttons.

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I looked back at all of your previous posts too. You must be in denial? Here are just two examples of your posts that are not accurate and possibly very misleading:

Gary M wrote: "Let us know the answer when you go to the DMV. I say the answer is like the other states our company has dealt with. No you do not need a medical for just the permit. There is nothing for the state to attach the medical to, you are not a cdl holder and you will not need to self certify at that point anyway."

A blanket statement that does not apply for all states!!! Many states require the medical card and self cert. as part of the CDL permit application. You must present them to get past "go". And they are both attached to the permit record electronically and follow it through to either expiration or conversion to a CDL. Your point can mislead a newbie into thinking they can get a permit and drive a CMV without a medical card or self cert. Not happening. This particular post was about the state of Illinois. The individual who originally posted the question about Medical Cards called and confirmed that indeed it is required. Where is the accuracy in your statement?

Gary M wrote: "Seriously? Stable work history? Companies are hiring guys straight out of jail in some cases."

This statement was made hijacking a reply I made to someone thinking about getting into the business. Please for the benefit of us all, name one reputable company that will hire an entry level driver, with zero experience "straight out of jail"? Depending on the type of crime, yes many companies large and small will hire a driver if they have a criminal record. But it depends on many factors and usually reviewed on a case by case basis. Trucking companies are risk averse. There are certain types of crime that automatically disqualify a candidate from working for any company other than a mom and pop organization. And regarding work history; absolutely for a new driver with no experience the hiring company definitely looks at work history, many times looking back 10 years in the past. Why would you post something like this? It's feckless.

You have decades of experience that many of us, including me, could benefit from hearing about. Having survived for 26 years in this business is an incredible accomplishment, that in itself is valuable to share with the forum. However many of your posts are not factual, but opinions or perceived truths that at times are skewed to the negative. If you want to get up on your soap box and take shots at the big TLs, offer radical advice to impressionable newbies, etc., that's cool, just not here. There are many forums that encourage that type of fodder if you need to vent about the trucking establishment. I'd be happy to point you in their direction. Keep it real.

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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