Considering Career Change......(yes Another One)

Topic 1651 | Page 1

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Daniel A.'s Comment
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Hi all! I will just jump right into it.

I am 29 years old, and must make a career change. As of now I have worked in the pest control industry for about 9 years. I am tired of it. From customers, to bosses, to coming home with fleas and chemical on me. I live in California and make a mediocre wage (about $40k a year) which is JUST BARELY enough to pay my bills.

My father is an OTR driver, has been for 40 years about. I have always had a fascination with 18 wheelers. So after much discussion with my girlfriend, I have opted to consider a truck driving career. I have ONE (maybe 30, but we will focus on the 1) main concern.

If I am to keep my residence in California, I will have to make my same wage in order to survive. I spoke to a recruiter from CR England, and was informed that I would make the $40k as a team driver. I however do not think I am going to do team driving as I do not have any friends interested in the career. My girlfriend has other career goals, and will also be home with our 1 year old son. So I am wondering if this amount of money is even possible as a trucker.

I am very willing to work hard and be professional, and hope to do OTR for as long as I have to, until I can prove myself and hopefully end up doing some regional work down the line (to be home more often).

Thanks all. I love this forum so far.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Honestly. You're not going to make 40k even if you team drive. You'll most likely hit 40K on your second year but definitely not the first year. You'll be between 31-34k.

You have a son and a wife. You'll want to see them every chance you get so I'm assuming you'll want to take your hometime every month. This will make it even more impossible.

It sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders but you won't make 40K that's a fact.

Also, where in CA are you?

Daniel A.'s Comment
member avatar

Honestly. You're not going to make 40k even if you team drive. You'll most likely hit 40K on your second year but definitely not the first year. You'll be between 31-34k.

You have a son and a wife. You'll want to see them every chance you get so I'm assuming you'll want to take your hometime every month. This will make it even more impossible.

It sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders but you won't make 40K that's a fact.

Also, where in CA are you?

Thanks for the response Daniel, I am currently in Santa Maria (Central Coast), about 3 hours north of LA.

31-34k IS a bit of a pay cut. I expected that to be the case right off the bat. I REALLY want to do the trucking thing, with a passion. My only fear is the money. This is most likely the fear for anyone making a career change of course.

I guess I need to get out there and talk to some drivers at the local truck stop here. As I said, I am more than willing to put in hard work (I have at any job I have ever had), but I fear that there is a cap on the wages as a truck driver. I would not be so worried about it if I lived elsewhere in the states, but California is SO damned expensive.

I do not expect truck driving to buy me a mansion and Ferarris to drive around, but I would like to be able to pay my bills and still afford to treat my family to little things. I will pursue talking to drivers as I see them, and find out if this is a feasible career. Any advice is well accepted.

To all you drivers, THANK YOU for what you do!! You men and ladies are the meat and potatoes of our country as I see it.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah man I grew up in Sac. CA is so expensive!!

Just a warning though, don't let whoever you talk to convince you into leasing. It's not more money and comes with a lot more headaches.

I did want to say. Trucking is a fun job and all but it's really not for the money. Obviously none of us would be doing it if we didnt get paid but this job is a complete lifestyle change. We live this life for the unique lifestyle. If you do it for the money I fear that this job will literally eat you up. We work more than anyone else does and if you consider how much we work we would probably be getting paid 10$ an hour. You can work two jobs and make just as much. So honestly if money is that much of a priority coming into trucking then proceed with caution.

We really don't get paid much. We get paid more with beautiful sights and experiences.

Keep us updated!

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
We really don't get paid much. We get paid more with beautiful sights and experiences.

Welcome aboard Daniel A!

Indeed that statement is right on. We were talking about truck driver salary yesterday on a different thread and I was saying that back in '93 I made $40k. That was my first year in trucking. Today, you're lucky to make that your first year. It's usually more like $32k-$36k, somewhere in there. Well, adjusted for inflation, $40k in today's dollars was worth about $64k in '93. So truck drivers today, when adjusted for inflation, are making about 40% less than they were 20 years ago and that's not likely to get better in the foreseeable future.

The cap on driver's salary is usually around $55k or so and you'll reach that somewhere between years 3 and 5. But that depends a lot on how hard you run and how long you stay out at a time.

Now the biggie - you have a one year old at home. After getting some OTR experience you could probably find a local job that pays decent and gets you home every night. If you were willing to unload trucks you could probably make $50k and be home every night but you're going to unload tons of freight every day - like beer & soda routes, grocery routes, etc.

Overall I would say that moving from where you are into trucking is going to be a move sideways at best. It really isn't going to get you anywhere. You could make a little more than you are now, but that's going to take a few years and in order to have a home life you're going to have to bust your butt unloading all the time.

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.

Daniel A.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel and Brett, Thank you for the responses. I guess i better try a different route, and get my truck fix when I drive through the local ttruck stop. I thank you both for the honest answers. Nice to know that there are people out there that will look out for you.

I may be relocating to Tennessee next year, so cost of living will be much less. Perhaps I can revisit the idea then.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I may be relocating to Tennessee next year, so cost of living will be much less. Perhaps I can revisit the idea then.

Wow, the cost of living sure will be less! And not only that, but Tennessee has no state income tax I believe so that will help a bit too.

Woody's Comment
member avatar
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I may be relocating to Tennessee next year, so cost of living will be much less. Perhaps I can revisit the idea then.

double-quotes-end.png

Wow, the cost of living sure will be less! And not only that, but Tennessee has no state income tax I believe so that will help a bit too.

Yup, no state income tax, although taxes will be higher on other things to make up for it.

When the wife and I travel on vacations we scout out place that we may want to move to in a few years. So far TN is at the top of the list! We enjoy riding motorcycles, it is absolutely beautiful down there!

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Woody your very right.... I have rode my bike all over Tn. and loved every second of it. Daniel A. I understand completely where you are coming from. I lived in Ca. central valley for 30 plus years. At least the central coast is beautiful. After your Gov. made changes he has, I made a decision to retire and relocate. I am in NE Georgia and loving it. I still am amazed at the cost of living difference. I am considering getting into this as a second career. Brett and the other guys hit the nail on the head when they said it's not the money that solely brings people into this career choice. I fully understand the need to pay the bills, been there, done that, and still am. Just remember with a young child and lady in your life that the things you miss out on will never come around again. I raised 4 awesome daughters and as much as I hate to admit it, I lost out on a lot of their lives growing up due to work. You have to way the pro's and con's very carefully for your particular situation. Above all else keep your lady in the decision making process. Communication is the key to success. Best of luck whichever way you decide.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel A.'s Comment
member avatar

I feel I have been misunderstood (my fault due to the way I posed my question). I do not want to get into the business solely for the money. I DO know that the business is tough, and keeps you away from home. As I mentioned, my father is an OTR driver. I just fear that the job will not pay the bills I have currently.

The job that I have now is terrible. I tend to come home angry all the time, and I have begun to let my work ethic falter, due to the immense dislike I have for my it. I have always had the idea of driving a truck in the back of my mind, just never had the opportunity to pursue it.

My girlfriend is incredibly supportive, and just wants me to be happy with my work. I do however question my ability to be away from my son for as long as I would have to be. I do not have any hard feelings for my dad being gone, but then again he and my mother divorced when I was very young.

I spoke to a gentleman today that hauls for GAP Clothing Co. He had a BEAUTIFUL rig! I asked him what he thought I should do if I really wanted to drive a truck. He recommended that I look into going to work for SYSCO FOODS (local delivery of food products to restaurants, etc). Hard work, as Brett said, unloading food and such at every stop, but would keep me close to home, and they have good benefits.

Soul searching. That, I think, is what I need to do for a while. I have been told by a coworker to just go for it (driving), and figure out for myself if it is the career for me. I have also been told to stay away as the career will tear apart my family, etc. Grr! Life is a tricky beast.

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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