Career Change At 50 To Truck Driver

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Anthony G.'s Comment
member avatar

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

Hi Doug

I made a major life change at 58 years old. I owned 2 small automotive repair shop in Canton Ohio for the better part of 35 years. Got tired of the grind, sold everything, business, buildings, property, equipment, and enrolled in truck driving school. I just finished my second week actually and I am currently looking at companies to start out with. I've always wanted to get my CDL and drive and figured now was the time. My kid are grown and out of the house with successful careers. My wife and I have been married 38 years and like you, we talked about the separation and feel we can adapt also. My plan is close is the same as yours, find a company to start out with and get a year under my belt and reevaluate

Good luck to you and anyone else who has made the change!

Tony

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.

Howard H. "Double H"'s Comment
member avatar

Doug, So I am in the same position today. I am 50 years old, been framing, building residential homes for 30+ years now. Had the L4L5S1 fusion 12 months ago yesterday. Married with a wonderful woman, we both think this could work for us. But still I am unsure.... So how did it turn out for you? Who did you start with? Was is all youd hope it would be? At this moment Stevens trucking is offering me a position. I have reached out several other companies waiting for a reply. I will have CDL in hand, with all endorsements by months end. Still up in the air. Any help, advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Howard H.

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

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I doubt you will get an answer from the OP. He has not posted anything in more than four years.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Doug, So I am in the same position today. I am 50 years old, been framing, building residential homes for 30+ years now. Had the L4L5S1 fusion 12 months ago yesterday. Married with a wonderful woman, we both think this could work for us. But still I am unsure.... So how did it turn out for you? Who did you start with? Was is all youd hope it would be? At this moment Stevens trucking is offering me a position. I have reached out several other companies waiting for a reply. I will have CDL in hand, with all endorsements by months end. Still up in the air. Any help, advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Howard H.

double-quotes-start.png

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

double-quotes-end.png

Since no one else has stepped up to help you out I will.

I was Army for 15 years, software developer for 17 years. Finally got tired of working for Chinese masters and sort of fell into trucking. I started at 54yo and completely out of my element. Unlike others here who harp on going OTR for a year, I did a lateral transfer from a short stint at FedEx Express to FedEx Freight. I had a six-week training program to qualify me for my CDL and then-on to work for FedEx doing home everynight runs or local deliveries.

I've done local now for 5 years. I volunteer to do the occasional 500 mile run somewhere and back to up my income for the week but that's not my main job.

My point is, it doesn't matter where you came from or how old you are, there is a place for you in this industry.

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.

Dane P.'s Comment
member avatar

Rock hauling ( For you you're gonna need a respirator ) I threw rock hauling out there Because even at 50 it's hard to understand all the different types of trucking that are out there there's wood chips there's palettes there's Hey there's tons of crap. Hell there's even trucks hauling trucks. Take a look around your nearest city...I just realized this post is older than you 🤣🤣

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.

double-quotes-start.png

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.

double-quotes-end.png

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.

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.
David D.'s Comment
member avatar

My dad about a year ago did the same thing. He is about that age, same amount of time at current career, and married with same priorities in mind. He loooves driving compared to the typical grind of a day job. He has found his schedule seems to be more fluid and he has more freedom. There are small things he does that makes his life seem more normal like he parks at planet fitness gyms for workouts, showers, and relax while he gets a massage. If I get a massage where I park there is a good chance I'm getting arrested for it rofl-3.gif There are things you can do to truly see the sights, relax and enjoy the career vs just sitting behind the wheel for 14 hours and having back pain. Get out of the truck every couple hours and walk around. Relax and remember to slow down (I need to take my own advice) while also sitting back and think about how your living your childhood dream of driving a big toy while getting paid a decent income. If you ask me the real problem you're going to have is finding the right work style you enjoy combined with the amount of money you expect to make.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

Rock hauling ( For you you're gonna need a respirator ) I threw rock hauling out there Because even at 50 it's hard to understand all the different types of trucking that are out there there's wood chips there's palettes there's Hey there's tons of crap. Hell there's even trucks hauling trucks. Take a look around your nearest city...I just realized this post is older than you 🤣🤣

double-quotes-start.png

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

double-quotes-end.png

Dane D.,

Welcome to Trucking Truth~!!!

Start a thread and tell us more; that's good info you should share more openly, besides in a very old one. What is it YOU do? We used to haul asphalt, now .. just boxes in boxes.

Thanks for stopping in.

~ Anne & Tom ~

ps: Huntin' Doug hasn't been back, in a long while. If you are looking for threads related to 'Older Truckers,' here's a link:

Older Truck Drivers ~ Advice and Info re: Older Drivers

My dad about a year ago did the same thing. He is about that age, same amount of time at current career, and married with same priorities in mind. He loooves driving compared to the typical grind of a day job. He has found his schedule seems to be more fluid and he has more freedom. There are small things he does that makes his life seem more normal like he parks at planet fitness gyms for workouts, showers, and relax while he gets a massage. If I get a massage where I park there is a good chance I'm getting arrested for it rofl-3.gif There are things you can do to truly see the sights, relax and enjoy the career vs just sitting behind the wheel for 14 hours and having back pain. Get out of the truck every couple hours and walk around. Relax and remember to slow down (I need to take my own advice) while also sitting back and think about how your living your childhood dream of driving a big toy while getting paid a decent income. If you ask me the real problem you're going to have is finding the right work style you enjoy combined with the amount of money you expect to make.

David D.,

Being in Ohio, as we (you also) are; it's not hard at ALL, to find one's niche in trucking. My other half (Tom) has done a myriad of many, in his 19 years driving. Some were better than others, for sure.

He's done the grit and grist of the quarries; even hauling asphalt has its dangers.

There's a place for everyone, should they choose this profession. (IMHO, of course!)

Be safe, y'all .. enjoy the Holiday Time weekend, if you're off. Drivers, be extra safe for the idiots.

~ Anne & Tom ~

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.

Daniel C.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m 57 and diving in otr trucking with cdl school ..been a sales guy my whole career and just fried and burnt out..great health and ready to grab 13 years in a seat and retire at 70 with a smile on my face..see ya on the road

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

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.

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