Are There Trucking Consultants For Rookies?

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Big White's Comment
member avatar

I have scoured the Internet in search of the right path to take. I have a lot to offer the industry, and this is a career change for me. My objective is like most of you, to earn a decent living, and enjoy doing it. As a rookie that is about to go to a CDL course, I have quickly learned that MOST carriers have a meat hook waiting for you, as it is all about getting a piece of meat behind that wheel. They do not care about your goals, etc., as there are thousands of drivers to take your place. As with most of us in the mid life term, we have paid our dues so to speak, not that this "really" matters to the employers, or your competitive drivers out there.

Realizing that I will probably see a lot of negative reponses to this, such as "welcome to the real world, or welcome to the truckers world", etc., please know that I am not looking for that. But....all feedback is better than none. I have various alternate routes to take in this new career, which is why I am shooting a shotgun approach in asking if there are consultants that exist out there, for the serious minded professional who wants to get started on the right footing.

As with anything in life, most goals start with the amount of cash flow you would like to see, or better yet, NEED, on an annual basis. Even though I have enough management in my background to achieve the title of Operations Manager, Project Manager, or perhaps Terminal Mgr., I do not know enough about this industry to just dive right in those positions, and nor would I believe that a carrier or other Logistics related company would bring me onboard unless I had the right experience. So I am looking at driving first. Following the driver's experience (which may take some time), I might be looking at becoming an O/O, or perhaps starting an asset based 3PL provider with brokerage offered.

There are several routes to take, but because I am just starting out as a "rookie", I don't want to end up being in a sling with the wrong carrier in the beginning! The carrier recruiters seem to be mostly car salesman with a direct aim in obtaining their commissions, and will tell you anything you like to hear. They ARE the Front Line in this industry, and for a guy like me, with high ambitions to succeed, they sure make the industry look bad, while giving me a negative impression of the overall industry.

I really should have titled this, "Which is the best carrier to start with", but my goals are more in depth than that. I am not 21 years old anymore, so my current path needs to aim a little more direct, with faster results. This is why I am asking if there are consultants that exist out there for the rookie. I know they exist for the larger firms, but I haven't reached out to them as of yet. Thought I would get feedback here first.

Outside of my thinking of acquiring a consultant, I have the same OLD question of "WHICH IS THE BEST CARRIER TO START WITH??" I have assembled a MS Excel spreadsheet, which some of you might find useful in your carrier comparisons, and in this spreadsheet, I have included the conveyed (CPM, Bonuses, Accessorials, etc.) from the recruiter, or perhaps the carrier website. Then I add in my expenses, state and federal taxes, insurance, etc., and I can see the end results a bit more clearly. It may not be perfect, as there are always factors that will change. I cover just the basics, which somewhat levels the playing field. As for mileage, most will tell you anywhere between 1200-2500 weekly, so all I did, to keep the results fair, is I used 1700 miles weekly in my CPM calculator. Boy is there a HUGE spread between these guys!

I get the feeling that because this industry is so competitive, nobody or their brother wants to tell you where the money is. I would rather not head the direction of earning .23 CPM for a year. Swift conveys .37 right after your training with them. Then there are some carriers with a higher CPM offering, but then you learn that they are only Team Driver oriented. I AM a Team player, but don't really think that Team Driving is my thing. I happen to have a cat, and giving her up is hard to do, even for this Marine, lol. She helped me through some tough times, and for those who have been in High Tempo environments, you might relate. So if anyone is willing to help me find the highest available CPM offering out there, and don't wish to express that here, please feel free in contacting me. I have not read the terms on this site, and Brett, if I am doing wrong, my apologies sir. You can reach out to me at colarguns at hot mail dot com.

I am just tired of hearing all the lies from recruiters, and would like to hear from the "experienced" drivers out there. Why is this so important? I will tell you. I am about to be homeless due to losing pretty much everything I had, long story. Next month I will be living in a Veteran Homeless Center. Part of their offering is free CDL training, and not really sure if the carriers will work with this school or not. Their name is "Advanced Trucking Institute", and are located in Asheville, NC. I need to crawl out of this hole I am in, and I am simply reaching out for the best direction to take, with the highest "rookie" year compensation. Thanks!

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

I would start with these...

As most on this site will tel you, there is no "best company." But there will be a "Best fit." Whether it is Werner, Schneider, Swift, Knight, Celadon, US Express, Melton, Gypsum, etc. Most companies may start a new driver at a low CPM , but they offer quarterly, or mileage based raises. While others start you higher, but only offer a yearly raise. There are a lot of variables. Every company is a good company, for the right person.

Good luck with your search.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hmm...wonder what ever happened to this guy.

Big White's Comment
member avatar

Hmm...wonder what ever happened to this guy.

If you are referring to me, it's called unemployment, and a host of other variables, that have landed me here. I am not some druggy or otherwise that has lost contact with society, and has no life. I happen to be a good man, and have had a professional background for the most part of my adult life. Life has just thrown me a curve, and I am reaching out for help where I can. Drive safe

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Oops, forgot to separate the links.

How To Choose A School

How To Choose A Company

Brett's Book

And one I forgot

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Thanks Dan. I have looked at pretty much all of this site, and I still continue to do so, as Brett and his team have done a wonderful job on this site. I may not have worded my story all that well, but overall, I have contacted roughly 20-25 carriers, and I can't recall one that wished to be honest about various questions I had. This industry is a bit different than what I am accustomed to. Normally, I would speak with a recruiter (after they have reviewed my credentials), and "if" they liked the resume, they would spend time on the phone, or in person with you, to go over their high points, and to answer (any) questions that you may have. That would include your precise earnings, benefits, policies, growth potential, etc.

In this industry, they don't seem to care about your resume or what your accomplishments are. I get it. They only look at your driver, criminal, or other required record, and tell you the roses smell great with them. My record is spotless. I simply wish to earn a minimum of $45K to start, and I could care less if it is flatbed, van, reefer , or what have you. They could send me to Siberia, and that is fine also. Just not on a team. I just know this number is out there, but to get someone (experienced driver who works there, or has worked there), to tell me that is doable, is like pulling teeth. So all I am doing is reaching out for this information. After all the inquiries I have seen on this forum, as well as many others, I don't think that my request is out of reason. But....I am not even a CDL holder, so my knowledge base is far far away from those who are already behind the wheel.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Kieran L.'s Comment
member avatar

$45k your first year is possible, some have done it, though its not all that common. Most first-year truckers make more like $35k for year one, $45k is realistic for your second year however, and $50-60k a year with a few years experience under your belt. More in certain cases for certain jobs. The one thing that almost no trucking company can do though, is guarantee you'll make a certain amount your first year. Honestly, most of the earning potential lies with you, and your personal work ethic and productivity. You could work your ass off and make $45k your very first year possibly, or you could also make very little money if you have the wrong attitude, are lazy, or unsafe driver, etc.

If your goal is to hit $45k on year one though, you'll probably need to take the highest paying position you can starting out, which I think will probably be flatbedding for one of the higher paying "starter" companies (I'm just talking about companies that are willing to hire new green drivers, they're still fine to work for long-term too!) like maybe Prime's lightweight truck division. There are plenty of options, only you can decide what the best fit for you will be.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Hmm...wonder what ever happened to this guy.

double-quotes-end.png

If you are referring to me, it's called unemployment, and a host of other variables, that have landed me here. I am not some druggy or otherwise that has lost contact with society, and has no life. I happen to be a good man, and have had a professional background for the most part of my adult life. Life has just thrown me a curve, and I am reaching out for help where I can. Drive safe

I noticed your original post was over a month old and thought maybe you'd dropped off. It had nothing to do with you personally.

Brett can certainly delete this post, but I am genuinely interested in helping you. I'm 54yrs old and came to truck driving after military service, corporate work, owning my own businesses and needing to get into a steady income. And no, I'm not retired military so I had no income to fall back on. I have a family to provide for and a very nice house we want to keep.

Sounds like you've got a chip on your shoulder. No problem here, but if you're living in a homeless vet center do you really want to be so picky about your prospects? I paid $5,000 of borrowed money to go to truck driving school. If you're able to go for free, take that opportunity and lower your requirements a little. Recruiters aren't gonna guarantee you $45k/yr for your first year. I took a position that looked to pay $30-35k for the first year and it looks like I'm going to come in closer to $40k.

I completely get that your experience should be valued, but these companies owe us nothing when we're starting out. They might be getting a great employee, but they're putting up a truck worth over $100k, letting us drive it and they're entrusting their customers' goods with us. Those loads can be worth a lot of money. Also, their reputation is on the line. Do they care about me? Probably not, but how much do we care about them, beyond our earnings? In addition, if you get into training/orientation with 20 people, there's a good chance only one or two of you will last more than a year. That's a lot of money the company has wasted on finding out who will perform and who won't.

You are welcome to private message me and I will certainly understand if you don't want my input. This is a job. Much like many others, it comes with benefits and requirements. If you're the performer you appear to be, there may be great success in this for you and I wish you well.

Good luck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Like Kieran said, $35k to $40k is realistic ....

This industry is unique, in that while a company may Shower you with roses, to get you in the door, they will never give you a straight answer to some questions, because there are so many variables in play, unlike any other industry.

Big White's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

Hmm...wonder what ever happened to this guy.

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

If you are referring to me, it's called unemployment, and a host of other variables, that have landed me here. I am not some druggy or otherwise that has lost contact with society, and has no life. I happen to be a good man, and have had a professional background for the most part of my adult life. Life has just thrown me a curve, and I am reaching out for help where I can. Drive safe

double-quotes-end.png

I noticed your original post was over a month old and thought maybe you'd dropped off. It had nothing to do with you personally.

Brett can certainly delete this post, but I am genuinely interested in helping you. I'm 54yrs old and came to truck driving after military service, corporate work, owning my own businesses and needing to get into a steady income. And no, I'm not retired military so I had no income to fall back on. I have a family to provide for and a very nice house we want to keep.

Sounds like you've got a chip on your shoulder. No problem here, but if you're living in a homeless vet center do you really want to be so picky about your prospects? I paid $5,000 of borrowed money to go to truck driving school. If you're able to go for free, take that opportunity and lower your requirements a little. Recruiters aren't gonna guarantee you $45k/yr for your first year. I took a position that looked to pay $30-35k for the first year and it looks like I'm going to come in closer to $40k.

I completely get that your experience should be valued, but these companies owe us nothing when we're starting out. They might be getting a great employee, but they're putting up a truck worth over $100k, letting us drive it and they're entrusting their customers' goods with us. Those loads can be worth a lot of money. Also, their reputation is on the line. Do they care about me? Probably not, but how much do we care about them, beyond our earnings? In addition, if you get into training/orientation with 20 people, there's a good chance only one or two of you will last more than a year. That's a lot of money the company has wasted on finding out who will perform and who won't.

You are welcome to private message me and I will certainly understand if you don't want my input. This is a job. Much like many others, it comes with benefits and requirements. If you're the performer you appear to be, there may be great success in this for you and I wish you well.

Good luck.

Steve, am unsure where you see the chip on the shoulder. I simply answered your curiosity. Also, I am not picky. Picky is not what got me here today for sure. I am concerned, not picky. As I have seen these numbers advertised, but then to listen to the recruiter tell a different story, just wasn't adding up. Therefore, I started this topic to see if (any) driver would have any positive input. I realize there are numerous links that I could click on that might reveal the same topic or inquiries, but this is mine. You have 3 yrs on me, and your story is close to mine. I appreciate your help, but please know, I have no chip, and learned a "long" time ago, that doesn't work well. Take care, and drive safe

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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

C. S.'s Comment
member avatar
I simply wish to earn a minimum of $45K to start, and I could care less if it is flatbed, van, reefer , or what have you. They could send me to Siberia, and that is fine also. Just not on a team. I just know this number is out there, but to get someone (experienced driver who works there, or has worked there), to tell me that is doable, is like pulling teeth.

This is doable depending on which company you go with and how strong your work ethic is. For example, at Swift your pay would be 39 cpm to start. To make 45k gross your first year (after school and training) you would need to run a little over 115k miles. This is an average of 2200 miles a week. To pull it off you'd need to work hard, prove yourself, sacrifice some hometime and develop a good relationship with your DM. If you're willing to do that I don't see why it couldn't happen. Keep in mind if you go through a company school they'll also usually be deducting tuition payments from your checks.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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