Starting My Journey Soon - Any Feedback??

Topic 14606 | Page 1

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Diesel Only's Comment
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Working for a Budweiser dist. For about a year now... I'm thinking of shifting gears, the job is an honest one and hard work is your bible - No problem with that. But the road is calling my name... The best part of my day at my current job is jumping up in that truck seat and trucking to my next stop(which is unfortunately 10 mins max away haha) the company in my cross-hairs is "Cypress Truck Lines" they offer 'garuanteed home time' which will work perfect considering I have a young family waiting for me at home.. Along with some other perks(Flatbed exp. teaching me how to drive a 10 speed-yes my bud truck is an automatic unfortunately...) Does anybody have any tips/tricks of the trade or advice/information on cypress they'd like to share with me?

Thanks so much! Mike

Old School's Comment
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Hello Diesel Only, and welcome to the forum!

Does anybody have any tips/tricks of the trade or advice/information... they'd like to share with me?

Just curious, did you obtain your class A through your job at Budweiser? For many years that was a very common way that over the road truck drivers got their class A license, by working for a drink distribution company. Now days it is much more uncommon, but I know it can still be done that way.

Here's a few pieces of advice, not specific to Cypress, but more so for the career in general.

It will be so totally different from your present situation that it is going to kind of drive you nuts at first. The biggest adjustment and frustration you are going to experience is being away from your "young family." I love being an over the road flat-bed driver, but I started doing this as a second career after my children were mostly grown. Many of the grown men in this forum have told us of times when they just broke down crying due to the frustrations of being separated from their families, it is so unnatural for us to be separated in today's society that it kind of will slap you in the face a few times and catch you by surprise. It can be done, and many have done it before you, but it is difficult. You'll need to recognize that it may even be more difficult on the folks who are left at home. This will be a major adjustment for your wife and children. Personally, my wife and I threw this idea around, and discussed it for almost a year before I took the plunge.

You've had plenty of practice getting in and out of small areas in a truck by going to convenience stores and liquor stores so that is all good, but let me warn you that you are going to find it a brand new challenge to back up a truck and 53 foot trailer with a sleeper cab that lacks a rear window, has tandem rear axles, and a much longer wheel base than you are accustomed to.

One of the biggest challenges for new over the road drivers is finding, and getting in and out of, their shippers and receivers. You are accustomed to pretty much a regular route and list of customers, a familiarity that helps a lot. As an over the road driver you will be going to new and various places almost every day, and that is usually where new drivers can get themselves into a bind by missing a turn, going in the wrong entrance, or even passing up a place all together. It is not easy to find a place to safely turn one of these gentle giants around, and most of the companies have a policy against making a U-turn.

I have no doubts you can do this, but those are just a few things that came to mind when I thought about your situation. This job is very rewarding for me, but you have to kind of look at it as a lifestyle change, not just a change in jobs. I don't exactly know what Cypress means by "guaranteed home time," but just keep in mind that you were probably making a decent blue collar wage at your present job, and this one you are considering switching to is not paid by the hour, and there are no commissions. You will be paid by the mile, which kind of means that you measure out for yourself how much you are going to make. But you do that while having hindrances to your efforts. There will be places you go to that you will have to wait, maybe even for hours, for them to load or unload you. There will be bad weather at times. There is always the possibility of a break down, severe traffic, or road construction. Sometimes a simple flat tire will hold you up for several hours. You will have Hours of Service restrictions, and sometimes you are just going to be tired and fatigued. Many rookie drivers find their first year's pay frustratingly volatile, but it is because they haven't figured out how to manage their time properly yet, and to be honest with you, it just about takes a full year of being exposed to all the variables of this job to get a grip on how to keep yourself in the money. I'm telling you all this because even something as important as spending some nice home time with your family works against your paycheck in this environment. I actually enjoy the challenge of the performance pay, and once you start to figure it out you will increase your take home pay considerably, but be forewarned that there is a major learning curve during that first year - so be mentally prepared for some struggles.

Okay, as far as what I know about Cypress, I have spoken to several of their drivers, and each of them seemed quite content with his situation there. I used to run into them quite a bit when I would pick up sheetrock loads. You will haul quite a bit of sheetrock for them. One advantage of many of those loads is that they are often pre-loaded and pre-tarped. You just show up at the plant, hook to your trailer, make any necessary adjustments you need to the load securement and roll. I have run across Cypress drivers as far West as California, as far North as Wisconsin, way up east in Connecticut, and of course down in Florida. They run just about everywhere, and if that is something that appeals to you, they can satisfy that itch!

Hey, if you end up making this switch, don't carry all the struggles on your own shoulder. If you get frustrated and need some advice, feel free to air out your problems in this forum - I promise you we have been there and done that - there will always be someone in here who can help lead you in the right direction.

Best of luck to ya!

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.

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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I got my CDL A at a small school with my own dime - took a week vacation and 'got-er-don' ! Haha The bud idea was just something to try instead of regional/OTR - we have been thinking about this change for 3 years .. But this bud job is more about deliveries and not so much about driving.. The pay was good, but just not the field I foreseen myself in...

Thanks so much for the feedback old school!!! This helps me a great deal! I will try this out - maybe get a couple years and then shoot for a local/short haul position. The time away from family sounds hard I can't lie about that. Even though I'll only do a week out at a time and home weekends(so I was 'promised')but even a week out sounds kind of rough.. I will definitely be here on the forum on my downtime, thanks again so much for the feedback!!

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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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