First Truck Driving Job

Topic 16956 | Page 1

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Rookie D's Comment
member avatar

So, I am currently enrolled in class, and will be done by December 15th. Of course I have been looking at different companies, but I kinda wanted some input. Ideally, I want to work for a company with a good 401k employer match, good starting pay, and a pet policy. Hometime isn't overly important, but if I could get home weekly, that would be a plus. Growing a beard would be another awesome plus. Right now I just have my permit, with my hazmat , air brakes, and combo endorsements. Gotta redo tankers, and my threat assessment for hazmat is not a concern.

So, I am looking for input for a good starting company to look into. I'm open to dry, flatbed, hazmat, anything. Just not doubles and triples.

Thanks for any help and guidance you guys can provide.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave's Comment
member avatar

Take a look at Wil-Trans/Jim Palmer. I stated here w/no experience or training on 9/30. I've since obtained a permit, went out for training for 3 weeks, passed CDL and am now back out w/my trainer for the next stage of training.

Everyone here has been amazing, patient, kind & helpful.

There is a company review & training review on this website. Give recruiting a call. They will answer any questions you might have.

Good luck

Dave

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.

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Robert. There are numerous companies willing and able to train and hire an entry level driver. It really depends on what you want; type of freight and type of job. These links might help with your research and decision:

And this:

Trucking Company Reviews

I also suggest investing some time to read and study these links as well:

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
So, I am looking for input for a good starting company to look into. I'm open to dry, flatbed, hazmat , anything. Just not doubles and triples.

Hello Robert, and welcome to the forum!

One of the things that all newly licensed truck drivers struggle with is that seemingly extremely important decision of which company to start with. I always try to do my best to help relieve folks of that pressure, but I fear that most of what I say falls on deaf ears. Unfortunately the internet's trucking reviews are rife with inexplicable moanings, groanings, and loud lamentations of how badly various truck drivers have been treated by their employers. Please, don't allow yourself to be swayed by that nonsense. It clouds the decision making process with so much unnecessary clutter, and provides you with no useful information to base your decision on.

Allow me to give you a personal example of my experience as an entry level, newly licensed rookie, who thought he had found just the perfect starting company to work for. But first we have got to establish a very important truth about getting started and succeeding in this career.

One of the first things that you need to really understand about trucking is that this whole career is performance based. A simple way to understand this is to think about the way a truck driver gets paid. We get paid by the mile. In other words, we get paid for how much we get done. The funny thing about this business is that the guys who are getting a lot done gain the attention of their dispatchers, and therefore end up getting the best loads given to them. They end up getting special treatment simply because their performance endears them to their dispatcher and makes them more valuable. If you stick with this career and become successful at it you will develop all your own little strategies to help you get more done than the other guys. All of that brings into focus another little unknown secret that will help you succeed at this career, and that is how you are actually in competition with the other drivers to be considered as one of the "go to guys" who are depended upon heavily, and therefore kept very busy turning those wheels. The whole industry is based on performance. From the top level executives right on down to the lowly truck driver, we all get paid based on how much freight we can move efficiently and profitably. A dispatcher who has a truck driver on his "board" who understands these realities of the business has a real treasure on his hands, and he will do just about anything for that driver. You see, that dispatcher gets more pay for moving more freight, just like that truck driver does. This is a team effort, with all the members of the team not only working together, but also competing with each other.

Now, back to choosing that first company. When I started this whole thing, I was doing it for a second career. It was something I didn't have to do, but wanted to do because the whole lifestyle of adventure appealed to me. I knew that I wanted to do flat-bed, and I labored over the many choices available to me, and finally settled on what I considered to be one of the best companies I could find. I was pumped, and couldn't wait for orientation. Once I made the long bus ride to that initial orientation, It turned out that I had a small hernia that I was unaware of and I got sent back home to have surgery, and then six weeks of recovery. After that I returned, somewhat weakened and still in a state of recovery, only to be rejected again and told that they didn't consider me "strong enough" for the job! Then after taking some more time to recover and calling them back I was told they wouldn't even consider me again. My point in telling you all this seemingly unnecessary information is to try to convey a very important truth about getting started in this career. Far more important than where you start, is how you start. The name on the doors of your truck is way less important to your success than the name you establish for yourself behind the wheel of that truck.

Continued...

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

By the time I finally realized things were not going to work out with the one company that I thought was the "Bees Knees," I had been out of school for so long that most folks wouldn't even consider me anymore! I had to take what ever I could get, and fortunately Western Express out of Nashville, TN hired me as a rookie flat-bed driver. If you do some checking around on trucking company reviews you will find that they are a terrible place to work, at least that is what you will find from your research. I worked there for sixteen months, and would still be there today, had it not been for a really generous offer from Knight Transportation which lured me away to a dedicated flat-bed account that they serve. I learned a lot during my short tenure at Western Express, and I have continued to try and teach those things to new drivers through this web site. You can ignore all those crybaby stories you read about trucking companies. They are composed by the folks who didn't understand how this career works, and the only place they know to place the blame is on their employers. If they understood this career they could have been extremely successful no matter where they started, just as I was.

From the things that you listed as important, I would say that just about any of the major carriers would fit the bill. The most limiting factor you mentioned was that you wanted a "pet policy." I'd say focus on that one thing if that is really important to you, and start narrowing it down from there. Almost all the large carriers offer a 401K plan, with small differences, but most of them are going to be very similar. You also mentioned good starting pay. I understand that, but I don't consider it a deal breaker, and here is why. If you take to heart the things I've been trying to convey to you about how you succeed at this career by being a top performer, you will discover that a really good driver making .32 cents per mile can literally make more money than a not so great driver who is getting paid .42 cents per mile. Your performance will be the main thing that either limits your income or increases it. I started out as a rookie at .27 cents per mile! I made almost fifty thousand dollars my rookie year! Now I got a few raises in that year, but even those were a result of my performance.

Don't stress yourself over where to start. Put all your focus into how you are going to start. Get yourself started off right, and things will all come together for your success at this career. I put precious little emphasis on who I am working for. I consider this job as being very much akin to being self employed, because your success really boils down to how much you put into it. You will be the driving force of your success at this stuff. Find someone who will take you and let you bring your pet along if that is important to you, then take the bull by the horns and learn the ropes. Keep a great attitude and learn to compete with the big players out here. Be prepared to bring your "A" game with you each day and you will discover, as did I, that you can really make a decent living at this all wile enjoying the adventure of it all. It's a great career, and a rewarding lifestyle.

Best of luck, and please, keep us informed of how things are going for you. We really do enjoy hearing back from the folks who drop in here for advice.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Renegade's Comment
member avatar

Robert...Old School speaks the truth brother. I have a few friends in trucking that make a very good living not because of the companies they work for but because of how they work for those companies. I'm getting ready to get on the road myself. Good luck to you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rookie D's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the responses I have already received. I have been in contact with recruiters already, and I have been using the resources on this site. Western Express is one of the companies I've been looking at. I have to check the notes I took, but I wanna say they don't match anything for 401k. Which I'm not liking, but that's not a complete deal breaker. And after checking their website, they're training pay seems to be awfully low. I realize that's not permanent, but I still have bills I am responsible for while I'm training. But I do like the aspect of DIRECTV in all their trucks. To me that says something about quality of life on the road. I do understand about not listening to all the "negative nellies" just because they had a bad experience. And I like the idea of being performance based, because it's all on me. I'm really excited about the new career prospect, I just wanna set myself up for success.

Rookie D's Comment
member avatar

So, been doing applications to try and have options upon completion of school. I currently have a standing offer from PTL (Paschall). I finished my application to Schneider, and I know they're not pet friendly to company drivers. Western Express is next. I will keep you guys posted on what I hear. PTL is offering $.35 a mile once solo, no breed restrictions on pets (pit bull) and 401k matches $.25 on the dollar up to 3%. Not perfect, but it's a start.

Jon Devault 's Comment
member avatar

I would have to suggest Melton for flatbeds, I've been here since August, they started me at $500 a week during training, $0.41 cpm when I got my truck, and I'll be receiving a raise soon. Also, pretty decent miles, I haven't run less than 1800 in a week since I've been here. They match the first 7% on your 401K, excellent insurance, a pretty new fleet with APUs and inverters in every truck, plus all the other benefits you would like. Hometime is 24 hours for every 7 days out, guaranteed home Christmas day if you want. It's a good company, and personally I'm glad I chose them instead of anywhere else.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Jim A.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with the " Don't listen to the negative nellies." When I started with swift I heard all the horror stories about how they do the drivers wrong. Yes they do have some bad drivers who shouldn't be driving a car never mind a truck but thats another story for another day. All I can say is I worked hard and had a great DM. He kept me rolling and I keep driving hard for him. That is the way to be successfull make and keep a good relationship with your manager dispatcher or whatever your company has. Since I am 100% on time pickup and delivery my DM has me planned on the next trip while I'm still on the current one. Then there is the quarterly bonuses that is like free money. Hometime is it super important for you to get home weekly or even more than every other month? If it is you might have a problem making the most out of trucking. My wife goes with me a rider for a month at a time then back home for a month that worked out great for us.

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.

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.
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