Start A Trucking Career?

Topic 15393 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Mike S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi folks,

To the point, I have been a in home appliance service tech for 19 years. Up until last year, I owned the company until I shut it down. Revenue was dropping and after laying off my last tech, I decided to get out. At 52, all that time on my knees is showing and dont want to be in a scooter at 80 with no knees.

Always loved the open road. I drive, rarely fly. If I could drive to Hawaii, I would.

Looking at OTR drving as a career change. I have been lurking here and other similar forums for a couple months now, and I am still not sure. I hear great things, bad things, and terrifying things. Elogs , hours of service, tickets, fines, trucks shutting down after reaching the HOS limit and having to tow the last 5 miles, and on and on. Great pay, bad pay, stolen trucks, great companys, bad ones, so much to take in.

Long hours alone, nights days, all kinds of weather, do not bother me. After 19 years of field service and some 800,000 miles of windshield time, I am used to it.

It's a big change. Have sold the house, no longer married [that went with the business], and two kids who are all grown up and moved far away, there is not much holding me down in one place.

So, I am thinking of training at a local vo-tech. $3300 and 10 weeks. Sounds reasonable. OR Company sponsored training. I think the school training would be preferable as would not be tied down to a year or better contract. How is hiring for trainees right out of school?

Of those of you who have come from jobs or careers with lots of human contact to very little, was it worth it?

I have to finish enrollment by July 20th, and need a little advise. Jobs for guys like me are few and far between. Other then welding, this is all I have been doing for the last 30 years, property engineering or appliance service. I love to drive. My last vacation consisted of 18 days, 6300 miles from WI to SD, to MT to WY to CO to UT to NV to CA to AZ up through new mexico, oklahoma, nebraska, iowa and back home. Was awesome! Seen things I have never seen [ mt Rushmore was WAY smaller then I thought], 4 corners, grand canyon and so many other things. I know driving would be a lot different as its a job not a sightseeing trip, but there are so many things left unseen.

Any words of advise or wisdom would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Mike.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Go for it! At 42 I went company sponsored and don't regret it. I love my company. Originally I figured I would do the year and try for a local job... but after a couple months I realized there was no point. Not married. ..no kids...so why go back ? My company is awesome I love my dispatcher. Not non driver there has been disrespectful. Claims.. safety.. payroll.. you name it. Every dept has pleasant people to help us.

I'm a control freak aND this is the closest to being your own boss as you can get... and I'm a company driver not a lease or owner op. Dispatch tells me where to pick up at what time and where to take it. They give me a route and tell.me where to fuel. They dont care what time of day I drive or where I stop... if I take a short break every couple hours or a 2 hour break once during my day. As long as I'm early and safe.. I'm left alone.

As far as the HOS... the elogs tell you how long you can drive and by what time you need to break. Only 9ncr since ingot my license in oct did I violate and that was actually covered by a 2 hour exemption ruke because the highway was shut down. I told dispatch 50 min before i violated i was stuck due to an accident. No problem. It's easy. As far as tickets fines and tows... that is on your trip planning. Drive safely... and you wont get a ticket. Inspect your vehicle thoroughly aND you wont get fined. My company letd me take the vehicle in for repairs pretty much whenever i want...I just ajve to tell them. Some things are majorly important and need to be done on the road... others can wait til i get to a terminal. Plan your day correctly and you wont need to be towed.in bad weather you just message dispatch "shut down due to snow will update later". This covers your butt with the Appt time on the load.

Some people are morons. This industry is performance based and you make what you put into it. With 5 months solo I'm making good money as far as I'm concerned without the stress and aggravation I had at the federal govt. I don't have to unload or load the freighr... if I know I'm going to be late I tell dispatch and they have someone else finish the load... but that takes me communicating with them EARLY so they can plan it. And you will know if you will be late. I usually know 12 hours in advance which gives them Plenty of time. It's when someone is an hour away from the place and says my Appt is in 15 min and I'm not going to make it that ticks my guy off.

I treat my truck like my own. If I see soemthing wrong I report it and make arrangements to get it fixed. We have a "road assist" dept for that. My dispatcher sees those messages and knows I'm taking care of business without asking him "what am I supposed to do?"

Don't listen to morons hahahh

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Mike, it sounds like you've been checking things out, both good and bad. Yes, there's both of those of here, but the thing that will work for you is your A T T I T U D E. There's another post today about ATTITUDE, search for it.

The ones you read about how terrible some company is are mostly written by people who didn't "get it", or think they know better. Then they blame the company for their own fault. So Rainy boils all that down to

Don't listen to morons hahahh

Have you run across these?

(The last one is a slam-bang CDL test preparation program and you can't go wrong studying with it.)

The hiring situation for new truck drivers is much like a vacuum cleaner. If you have a CDL permit (that's the written test that you pass courtesy of the High Road Program), a DOT physical, and have a decent life record (legal stuff and clean with the recreational drug scene) you should be driving a big rig in about three or four months.

Age is not a factor. The above is 90% of your hireability.

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.

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.
Mike S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey thanks guys. It sure is a lot to take in. I have read the guide, the book and am looking through the high road. My biggest concern is idle time. I don't do well sitting. I would imagine that this is largely dependent on the company. All in all, the career intrigues me. Home time is not of concern. I have a small cabin on a small lake that's now home, and being away for weeks at a time is fine with me. I would rather take the longest most boring trips over short local or regional routes. Say, Vermont to Anchorage.

What is pay like? I have been told by one local recruiter at a local larger company their drivers earn UP TO, [hate that] 50c a mile? See some numbers of 23,30,35,40,50 cents per mile? There are so many differing stories floating out there. Yes, many seem to be written by morons, and complain about everything. Hard to determine the middle ground.

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.

Lyght's Comment
member avatar

What is pay like? I have been told by one local recruiter at a local larger company their drivers earn UP TO, [hate that] 50c a mile? See some numbers of 23,30,35,40,50 cents per mile? There are so many differing stories floating out there. Yes, many seem to be written by morons, and complain about everything. Hard to determine the middle ground.

I'm just about to go in for training, I'm told I'll start out at lowly .25 a mile, my dad whom works at Crete makes I want to say .52 cents a mile but he has been doing it for a few years. So pay really changes a lot from company to company and experience.

Tony's Comment
member avatar

Do it, I'm starting cdl school this Tuesday or Wednesday but I'll be a 4th generation trucker, here's my advice, bite the bullet and pay for school out of pocket, a good one too. Most of the companies that pay for your schooling in exchange for a year or more of service from what I hear are not the best. Don't get me wrong your experience may differ, but I suggest getting your class A on your own and then apply, if your close to an ABF terminal I would reccomend them, my dad worked for them and he says had he not become an OO he would still work for them, I know they will hire rookies, after a year or two OTR a lot of doors will open for.

Just my 2 cents. What ever you do decide on good luck!

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.

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Here's one of the threads I posted my miles and pay...

Rookie pay

Stomper4x4's Comment
member avatar

I drove back in the 90's and now that the kids are grown I'm looking to hit the road again. If it were that horrible I wouldn't be going back. It gets in your blood!

I do have a suggestion about school choice. If you go to a local school, ask them if they have employment agreements with any carriers. I know the truck school in my town gets you conditional offers before you even sign up for the school. Meaning that if you pass everything and get your license, you have a job waiting. When I went to school back in the day, you got your license and just mailed out a pile of applications. Also companies used to come to the school and recruit. I remember Werner being there, the guy went on about how pretty their trucks were the whole time hehe.

I teamed with my wife at the time so we chose a company that offered teams a condo FLD, this was back when most companies stuck teams in cabovers (no thanks).

In my research I've never seen any indication that a truck shut off when HOS was reached. I'm also not sure about "bad" companies. Rather, I think it's about finding a good fit. Yeah you might have to stick out a less than ideal situation for the first year, but then again we all know guys who love their jobs with Swift etc.

The reality is long hours and things being inconsistent. In the old paper log days it was common to be asked to do the impossible (after they told you not to in orientation) so creative logging was the norm. And some companies would run you around NY and NJ a while if you didn't do what they asked. I'm not sure this is possible with elogs , so that might be a positive for elogs rather than a negative. I do think no split logging sucks though. Anyway, if you can handle the unpredictable schedule that's a big thing.

I think DOT has gotten tougher it seems, and fines and liability are a real thing. You're going to have to think safety first and stand up for yourself. No one cares about your safety more than you do. You have to care about yours as well as the motoring public. The risk is too high to let a company make you go over your limits. But that being said, working long hours is the norm, no 8 hour days here :)

Best of luck!

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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
Most of the companies that pay for your schooling in exchange for a year or more of service from what I hear are not the best.

Actually those companies are the largest, most successful companies out there. They're the only ones that really have the resources and driver demand to either own and operate their own schools or finance (sponsor) training for their new drivers.

Mike, one of the things you should ask yourself is if you're looking for something that's simple, ordinary, and low stress like an ordinary job or are you looking for an endless challenge and maybe even some adventure? Because trucking, especially if you're going to be over the road , is certainly far more than your ordinary job. No two days are alike. Nothing is predictable. And although it certainly gets easier after you get a little experience, it's never gets easy.

Because you were doing the same basic work for so long, and presumably you had mastered that job many times over, you may not be looking for something that's so unpredictable and stressful, such a dynamic lifestyle. Then again maybe that's exactly what you need.

I'm the type of person that's endlessly seeking out new challenges and adventures. Most people just aren't that way. Most people would be more comfortable with a life that's steady, predictable, and low-stress.

So I think that's something to consider. Are you ready to get out there and take on some new challenges and adventures or would you be better off looking for something low-stress and simple?

And lastly, keep in mind that taking a shot at trucking is very low risk from a career standpoint. The schooling is short and inexpensive, the commitment is small. You can easily walk away at any time, especially if you've paid for your own schooling and you're not under contract with anyone.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Joseph Giordano's Comment
member avatar

I'm still looking for a truck driving job too, I graduated CDL school in January of this year, I have a Class A CDL, Still undecided which company I want to start out with, I'm Looking for Local, Dedicated or Regional , OTR would probably be to much for me, Any advice?

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.

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More