I'm Quitting Trucking

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Jim W.'s Comment
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I'm writing this to help those that are considering trucking. Don't start. Find something else to do. I finished my first year of trucking this month and you're treated like ****. Always fighting to get paid properly. You only get paid to move freight so all that time spent waiting on loads, being routed in to terminals where they detain you till some dumb ass thing is done by corporate, getting lost, dealing with terminals that look that are disgusting pits, scaling your rig to get the weights legal, DOT inspections, , loads getting canceled on you, getting your 60 day inspections on the truck and the maintenance, fixing the broken ass trailers you pick up, getting papers signed and driving around finding where the hell there's an empty, putting chains on, and the list goes on way more than this! ALL unpaid. The sacrifices of being away from home and your family is huge. And the money isn't there, it sucks. In my first year I averaged $1000/week running as a team driver. The benefits suck. I'm going back to my Office job where I work 40 hours/week, get nice benefits, home every night for hours, home 2 consecutive days a week and I don't mean that bull**** of telling me I'll be home for 2 days but it's only 38 hours which is what the trucking companies do to you. And I make more money in the office job. I only did this job because I wasn't able to relocate and find a job in my current field. Companies have enough local candidates that they wouldn't talk to me. But I've moved now and I'll go back to the office. I love it when companies tell you they can do such-n-such like its a big deal and I tell them it's pathetic and did way better in the office. If you've got a college degree don't start. My teammate was some guy from Hati and for him this was the best thing ever! Well of course it is, when you have nothing and nothing to compare this too.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Well for one, it's more than a little silly to tell people what to do or not to do with their lives, especially when you're giving everyone the same advice. You didn't say certain people should avoid it or certain people might enjoy it. You're telling everyone to stay away from it. Well sharing your opinion about something is fine and finding out that trucking isn't for you is also fine. But I've been in the industry you just ripped for 25 years in one capacity or another and I've loved it. It's been the foundation of my financial life, taught me a gigantic percentage of what I know about this country and the people in it, and gave me many of the best memories of my life. Best career I've ever had. If I had listened to advice from someone like you I would have missed out on so much in my life it's nearly impossible to imagine. So I'm afraid telling everyone to stay away from trucking is a big fail on your part and it almost completely ruins your credibility as someone who came here with helpful information. This is obviously more self-serving. You needed to vent your frustrations and that's fine also but there's a huge difference between the rantings of frustration versus level-headed advice. But we might be able to scrape up something helpful for our visitors. We'll give it a shot.

I also have to ask you if you did any research at all before entering the industry because almost 100% of your complaints are about common, everyday things in trucking that you should have known about before getting started in the industry in the first place. So not only did you not do the proper research for yourself but now you're clouding the minds of those who are with maniacal rantings instead of well thought out advice. Another fail.

You also complained about making $1,000/week as a rookie. That's quite a bit above what most rookies average and even in 2016 that's a pretty decent salary especially for your first year in a profession that requires at most a few months of training and a few thousand dollars for schooling. So I can't see $1,000/week as something to complain about. Can you think of any other industry that only requires a few months of time and a few thousand dollars of investment and allows you to make $1,000/week your first year?

On the same subject of pay you of course hit on one of the things that drives many new drivers to madness and straight out of this industry. You're getting paid by the amount of freight you can move but you feel like you're being swindled because you're not being paid specifically for all of the time you're putting in. It's common for people who have never been paid based upon their productivity to get upset and say exactly the things you were saying because you're missing the big picture. Is making $1,000/week really being swindled? Because that's the big picture. That's how you have to look at it. You look at the work you put in, you look at what they paid you to do that work, and you ask yourself if it was worth it or not. To you it was not worth it and I have no problem with that. To me it was worth it.

But you shouldn't evaluate a job that pays you based upon your productivity as if you're doing a job that's paying you for your time. You shouldn't do that with commission-based or salary-based positions either because people who get paid commission or salary also put in a lot of time and do a lot of duties that they're not specifically being paid for. It's incentive-based pay as opposed to time-based pay and you weren't able to get your head around that. If you wanted to say that trucking wasn't worth it for $50,000 a year then I'd be fine with that opinion. If you're going to say trucking isn't worth it because they're not paying you for all of the time you put in then I would say you missed the boat on how productivity-based pay works.

And statements like this demonstrate that you didn't understand the idea that trucking is far more of a lifestyle than it is a job:

that bull**** of telling me I'll be home for 2 days but it's only 38 hours

To even nitpick over a few hours like that again shows you weren't able to get your head around one of the critical components to being a trucker - it's a lifestyle, not a job. Trucking doesn't run on a 9 to 5 clock like an office does and you should have known that going in. It doesn't conform to anyone's preferences for rigid time frames or predictable schedules. Trucking is a job where you do whatever it takes to get the job done and quite honestly only a small percentage of people wake up and go after life with such vigor. Most people wake up wondering how little they can get away with doing each day. A real trucker gets up wondering how much he can get done that day. It's two different mindsets which again shows the difference between someone who is used to being paid for their time versus being paid for how much work they get done.

And finally.....

The sacrifices of being away from home and your family is huge.

Yes, they are. And again, isn't this something you should have known going in? You learned the hard way that trucking wasn't for you but it seems like it would have been obvious from the beginning if you had looked into in properly beforehand. So now you're screaming to the Heavens that people should avoid trucking altogether for common aspects of the job that most of them already know before even stepping into a classroom for the first time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I did my research. It's just I was an oddity and it didn't work out for me.

The failure rateand turnover rate out here is tremendous. It's astronomical. They lose more drivers than they gain. Every company.

And it's usually due, as much to false expectations - and much less as to the company actually doing the employee wrong (not directed at YOU HH, just a generalization).

And the turnover is going to be even more marked - in the newbie/training companies, due to the combination of people that just didn't know what they were in for, those that just can't hack the lifestyle, as well as those that DO put their year in and move onto greener pastures.

The first misperception is really, what the original poster highlighted. If you're coming from employment where you punch a clock and get paid for every minute you're on it - then you are in for a rude awakening when it comes to trucking.

Reminds me of when I was doing certification training for forklift & yard mule at the longshoremans union. The TRAINING was free, but you didn't get paid hourly for your TIME WHILE TRAINING. Most guys had a bad attitude and thought it was unfair - like they were doing THE UNION A FAVOR by getting certified to operate equipment. They failed to take into account that these certifications would net them $10-20 an hour MORE than just doing "general labor". Turn it around and look at it as an INVESTMENT OF TIME, to be able to earn more, and putting in the training hours doesn't look so horrible.

EVERY COMPANY doesn't run 100% turn-over. The turnover is due to "greener pasture syndrome" (and it's usually about the same, once you get out of the training company genre of company), people that just can't hack it (accidents, disposition, false expectations, lack of patience, etc.), and folks where the lifestyle (and the sacrifices to home life) just aren't a good match.

Which is not to say that trainers don't "take advantage" of the income when running in a team environment when they don't have to split the "truck miles" with the trainee (company driver trainers - lease drivers get the trainee's pay taken out of their settlements).

It's called PAYING YOUR DUES - and it seems the "luck of the draw" whether or not you get a conscientious trainer, or someone that just wants to rack up the miles.

The original post may be taken as "what's wrong with the trucking industry", and to a degree, some of these things "could be better" (wait times, etc.). Flatbed drivers get Tarp Pay for tarping. NO ONE GETS CHAIN PAY for "chaining up". It's part of the game - and if you have to chain to get where you're going (destination or truck stop), then it's CHAIN OR STOP MOVING.

No one was "promised a rose garden" here. If anyone did ANY READING - they know how difficult the job can be on RELATIONSHIPS.

Conversely - what's interesting is how many people retire from various careers and go out OTR - and LOVE IT.

Trucking ISN'T FOR EVERYONE. But the only way to find out if it's NOT FOR YOU - is to PAY YOUR DUES. Do the year or more to learn the ropes and not be low man on the totem pole. Do your research - not only HERE, but on other forums (though you will find TT to be the most balanced and realistic of both good and bad). Most other forums are WHINE-FESTS.

Rick

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.
Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Tell us how you really feel. LOL

Stevo VWbusman's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like YOU, were your own worst enemy by that rant lol

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Jim, it's too bad this is your first post on Trucking Truth. Your only post here is an example of those who would rather spread their negative feelings, instead of looking for the right answers.

I won't waste my time handing you a tissue and explaining how the trucking business works from a driver's point of view - that's what this web site if all about!

But you held out for your first year then made the right decision for Jim W. Good luck in your new endeavors!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Well for one, it's more than a little silly to tell people what to do or not to do with their lives, especially when you're giving everyone the same advice. You didn't say certain people should avoid it or certain people might enjoy it. You're telling everyone to stay away from it. Well sharing your opinion about something is fine and finding out that trucking isn't for you is also fine. But I've been in the industry you just ripped for 25 years in one capacity or another and I've loved it. It's been the foundation of my financial life, taught me a gigantic percentage of what I know about this country and the people in it, and gave me many of the best memories of my life. Best career I've ever had. If I had listened to advice from someone like you I would have missed out on so much in my life it's nearly impossible to imagine. So I'm afraid telling everyone to stay away from trucking is a big fail on your part and it almost completely ruins your credibility as someone who came here with helpful information. This is obviously more self-serving. You needed to vent your frustrations and that's fine also but there's a huge difference between the rantings of frustration versus level-headed advice. But we might be able to scrape up something helpful for our visitors. We'll give it a shot.

I also have to ask you if you did any research at all before entering the industry because almost 100% of your complaints are about common, everyday things in trucking that you should have known about before getting started in the industry in the first place. So not only did you not do the proper research for yourself but now you're clouding the minds of those who are with maniacal rantings instead of well thought out advice. Another fail.

You also complained about making $1,000/week as a rookie. That's quite a bit above what most rookies average and even in 2016 that's a pretty decent salary especially for your first year in a profession that requires at most a few months of training and a few thousand dollars for schooling. So I can't see $1,000/week as something to complain about. Can you think of any other industry that only requires a few months of time and a few thousand dollars of investment and allows you to make $1,000/week your first year?

On the same subject of pay you of course hit on one of the things that drives many new drivers to madness and straight out of this industry. You're getting paid by the amount of freight you can move but you feel like you're being swindled because you're not being paid specifically for all of the time you're putting in. It's common for people who have never been paid based upon their productivity to get upset and say exactly the things you were saying because you're missing the big picture. Is making $1,000/week really being swindled? Because that's the big picture. That's how you have to look at it. You look at the work you put in, you look at what they paid you to do that work, and you ask yourself if it was worth it or not. To you it was not worth it and I have no problem with that. To me it was worth it.

But you shouldn't evaluate a job that pays you based upon your productivity as if you're doing a job that's paying you for your time. You shouldn't do that with commission-based or salary-based positions either because people who get paid commission or salary also put in a lot of time and do a lot of duties that they're not specifically being paid for. It's incentive-based pay as opposed to time-based pay and you weren't able to get your head around that. If you wanted to say that trucking wasn't worth it for $50,000 a year then I'd be fine with that opinion. If you're going to say trucking isn't worth it because they're not paying you for all of the time you put in then I would say you missed the boat on how productivity-based pay works.

And statements like this demonstrate that you didn't understand the idea that trucking is far more of a lifestyle than it is a job:

that bull**** of telling me I'll be home for 2 days but it's only 38 hours

To even nitpick over a few hours like that again shows you weren't able to get your head around one of the critical components to being a trucker - it's a lifestyle, not a job. Trucking doesn't run on a 9 to 5 clock like an office does and you should have known that going in. It doesn't conform to anyone's preferences for rigid time frames or predictable schedules. Trucking is a job where you do whatever it takes to get the job done and quite honestly only a small percentage of people wake up and go after life with such vigor. Most people wake up wondering how little they can get away with doing each day. A real trucker gets up wondering how much he can get done that day. It's two different mindsets which again shows the difference between someone who is used to being paid for their time versus being paid for how much work they get done.

And finally.....

The sacrifices of being away from home and your family is huge.

Yes, they are. And again, isn't this something you should have known going in? You learned the hard way that trucking wasn't for you but it seems like it would have been obvious from the beginning if you had looked into in properly beforehand. So now you're screaming to the Heavens that people should avoid trucking altogether for common aspects of the job that most of them already know before even stepping into a classroom for the first time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I can't tell if this is a sarcastic rant or serious. If it's sarcasm it's brilliant because it's reality. If he's being serious, it's unfortunately common in today's world of someone who didn't do a bit of research into the profession they were interested in. Hey, I can drive a car, I bet I can drive a big truck too right ?

This is the same kind of individual who would volunteer for the military, go through all the training for a special forces position and then say, ,,,, wait, you mean I'm gonna get shot at and possibly die?

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

For some reason this rant reminds me of when we sent the military over to save Kuwait from Iraq and hearing soldiers complain that they did not join up to fight but for the GI bill. confused.gifconfused.gifconfused.gif

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Basically describing the REALITIES OF TRUCKING.

With respect to the things you "don't get paid for" - this is correct. But if you do any research BEFORE ENTERING THE INDUSTRY - you would have known this already.

Is it (cough cough) "unfair"? Only if you were TOLD you were GOING TO BE PAID FOR IT - and were not.

At $1K a week - you did $50K(+/-) in a year of trucking. Not bad for an ENTRY LEVEL POSITION. Try that @ $15 an hour ($31K a year).

If punching a clock in an office is more suited to your needs and lifestyle - no one will fault you for staying there.

So for newbs - this IS the way it is. Loading docks are not the Marriott. Shipper/receivers suck and will burn up your clock (and you don't get paid for it), and that's just THE WAY IT IS.

Forewarned is forearmed. This is some of the stuff you have to put up with, by deciding to take on this career/lifestyle. And by hearing about it AHEAD OF TIME - you won't be surprised or form FALSE EXPECTATIONS when you get to see it FIRSTHAND.

And I don't say this to denigrate the trade - or discourage anyone from getting into it. Plenty of folks with a college degree are out of work, and can't find any.

While the OP was a rant/venting of frustrations - it's really not that far off base FACTUALLY. Just sounds like he isn't cut out for it.

Best of luck in the future...

Rick

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Hudsonhawk's Comment
member avatar

He has a point about the pay. I've averaged much less than $1k/week. And if I out in these kind of hours back homeat one or two jobs I would have been clearing alot more money than I am now.

For some reason though be it the toss of the dice or ill luck though I think it works for some people and not for others.

Now believe me this is going to sound like a harangue but in reality it's more of a Jeremiahd or an observation.

Do you believe in signs from destiny, fate or the universe? Since I started this trucking endeavor over six months ago everything that is capable of pointing me away from it has come to pass. I've been living Murphys law for six months if not longer now and it's been a hell of a journey.

Where most people I trained with during my rotation took 3 weeks for their training it took me about 8 weeks before I was able to test. Reasons unknown to me at the time:

A) I'm from California, trainers hate California and most truckers are not from anywhere near the golden state. Sure there are a few but the economy is better in the Western seaboard than the midwest. Plenty of jobs, not many reasons to go into trucking unless you really want to. Which is where I fell in. I really wanted this. B)Trainer didn't want to go back in because he was making money off of me. Instead of 75 hours and then go in and test I did a whopping total of 250 hours. Now by the time I came back everyone I went into rotation with was already on their next phase of training. Now to the next observation.

Team driver training didn't really work out for me. At this point I was already away from home for 3 months and now in debt to the company I was working for. Now it's all ok at this point nothing bad although I was told I'd be home every month I wasn't stressing too much. I get into the second phase and bam I guess I wasn't really trained. Just had my license.

1)First TNT trainer doesn't let me do anything but freeway time. So I leave the company, I got a license I figure I'm good. Company calls me says they can get me another trainer now mind you I already found another job at this point. A night manager at a local grocery store. Not bad for looking for work for 3 days. So of course I say yes I'll go back to trucking.

2) Second trainer is about 24 years old. Dude was a nice guy, but still didn't really know how to teach. At all. Just like the last few instructors there is no real instruction. Just a shrug of the shoulders when you ask questions. I saw it through, but instead of the 30,000 mile requirement I ended up at around 50,000 miles. It's about December by now and I started in June. 6 months awesome. At this point after doing the math compared to my previous job that only paid $22/hr I've done the math. I've lost about $10,000.00 and worked an extra 60 hours a week for the privelage. No big deal I'll keep on trucking and roll on.

So I'm solo, finally I'll be making that $1k a week. Sounds great and I'm looking forward to it. Took about 2 weeks before I hit a patch of ice and had a trailer jacknife. Funny thing is two other company trucks did the exact same thing empty trailers with super single tires about 2 mile markers down the road. OK my bad, I'm a poor driver and made a mistake I get it. Well company wanted me to train again, cool I get it. I damaged a truck. Kept it on the road at least didn't get a ticket and no fines or fees. So I'll train again.

3) My fourth trainer was an older guy. I have alot of respect for him. He taught me alot and put in a little bit of time "bare minimum" to help me with my backing. Not much but enough. I'm hoping.

Well that's where I am now. I just got back from being solo 2nd time and truck is broke down for 6 days now. Cool. I'm not too worried as I know I'm looking for more stable work. After doing the math I've lost aprox $20,000+. And my girlfriend barely knows me, had a miscarriage because of the stress of me being gone and I'm trapped paying off a company debt and haven't been home in almost 2 months.

So yes I think all signs point to the fact that I shouldn't pursue this much further. Once the weather warms up I'm done. Oh I forgot to mention out of all the people to go through my rotation for training there were about 140, out of that 60 got their license about 30 went on to drive for the company. I think maybe 14 or 15 stayed with the company. Most others left or have found other companies. It's ironic I just kept trying to persevere and it's really done more damage to my life than good. But I'm optomistic. I'll find another career. I know it's not for everyone and that's where I fall in I think. I'm worn out and tired.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Hudsonhawk's Comment
member avatar

The ironic thing is I saw all this. I knew what I was dealing with before I got into this. But I am a doer and I don't fail, I can't fail and because of my military experience I'm trained to never give up. Never give ground always push forward.

But facts don't lie. Overturn in this industry is over 100%. And now I know why. It isn't worth it, and unless they pay better or offer better conistency it will never be worth it. Unless you are from an area with a depressed economy and don't have many options this is a horrible career choice. At least the OTR part is. At least for me. It might work for others, but as the statistics show it doesn't work for many. Maybe 1 out of 100 are happy?

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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