Should I Accept An LTL Offer Straight Out Of School?

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Rob L.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm a recent cdl grad with no experience. I have a job offer to be a line haul team driver with a small company. The offer is .17 cpm for me, running 4000-6000 miles a week between Blythe and Abilene. One week I'll make $750 and the next week $1050 and . I'll be home 2 days a week. Is this a fair deal for a recent cdl grad?

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.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

Is line haul what you want to do? Is it hauling the type of trailer you want to pull or the type of cargo you want to move? Does it have any benefits? Rider / pet policy? Medical? dental? eye care? retirement? paid vacation? Paid holidays? Ancillary pay? These are all questions you need to consider. Do they offer training? Are they transporting a specialty or specific product? Does the company have national accounts to pay for fuel, maintenance, or repair costs?

Do you think you would prefer to be with a larger company that might pay more per mile with less miles but also include benefits?

The best advice I can think of to offer you is if that is your dream job then go for it. If it is not personally I would consider a larger company that has more of the things that you did not mention. There are a lot of them on here to choose from. Shop around for a company you want to work for a long time. I recently have accepted an invite to Orientation at Maverick Transportation (Glass Division) personally they offer quite a few benefits . They are a large company that began predominantly as a flatbed company. I will be home every few weeks after I am assigned a truck but there is training first even though I already hold a CDL. They are starting at 50 cpm with no experience and 5cpm raise 6 months after solo along with a slew of bonuses and incentive pay as well. Maybe you should look through their website. So you know because I have not been through their orientation yet I am not an employee of theirs and will not get a bonus for referral because of that. My current motivation for telling you comes from the idea that I have had a something real bad pop up in my history I did not know about. Kacey my recruiter worked me right through it without any hesitation it was fantastic. Good Luck whatever you decide. hope to meet one day on the road. Your learning is just beginning. Till then drive safely.

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.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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

Hello Rob, welcome to the forum!

Hey, I don't think this is a good offer, and I'll explain why in just a minute. First though, I am curious how you landed upon this particular job. I'm going to assume you want a job where you are not out on the road for lengthy periods of time, but you didn't really give us much to go by.

We take a certain approach to getting started in this career. That approach has proven to be one of the most effective solid ways to get a trucking career started. We never try to get new inexperienced drivers into a job like this one. I know you are probably just wondering what we thought about the pay scale on this job, but there is going to be way more issues involved than just feeling like you are getting paid enough. One thing you didn't mention is whether you will get a W-2 at the end of the year or a 1099. You need to find that little bit of information out before you jump on board. My personal opinion is that you really want to have a trucking job that provides you with a W-2.

Okay here's my reasons for not thinking this is a good offer. We have seen so many new drivers come through here who tried to short-cut the standard approach to getting started at this career and really messed up their future opportunities by getting started with the wrong type of trucking job. Our approach is that we recommend a new driver get started with one of the major carriers who hire new drivers for an Over The Road driving position. There is a big demand for these jobs, and a decent rookie driver can make $40,000 and possibly more during their first year.

There are some distinct advantages to Over The Road experience. For starters, these large carriers will usually be a little more lenient on you for a few minor incidents. A couple of our members who got their start doing line-haul work ended up having a few minor accidents and scratched a truck a little bit. They got fired. Do you know what happens when you start out at a job like this and then get fired? No one wants to touch you. The reason is that now you are still considered by all the major carriers as having no experience, and if it has been a few months since you attended a truck driving school, most of them will want you to go through school again so that you have a recent training certificate. Very few companies consider a driving job where you are not crossing multiple state lines as real experience.

You will almost always be better off by getting your start as an Over The Road driver. It is the industry standard for establishing your experience. It eases you into the driving career by gently getting you exposed to all the many scenarios that a professional driver will experience. There are legitimate reasons why this just works best. There's occasionally a few drivers who manage to circumvent that traditional method, but by far the most successful method of getting started in this career is to just get in a year of Over The Road driving with one of the large carriers and then if you have good reason to want to be home more often, then that year of experience will open up a ton of opportunities for you.

I'd love for you to jump back in here and maybe give us a little more information. Like maybe what it is that appeals to you about this job, or tell us what your expectations were upon getting your CDL. I think we could help you, but you may have already set yourself on a trajectory that we would probably not recommend. We just don't know what your goals are, or what kind of advice you have been given toward that end. So, if you'd like to engage in more of a conversation, I think we can help you sort this out.

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.

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Rob, Congrats on completing your CDL training. My concern isn’t the money you stated. I think it’s a tad low but not horrible considering you have no experience. My bigger concern is you getting into it without experience. Linehaul as I understand it is usually pulling doubles. IF its a single trailer that would be better. I’ve never run linehaul so I only have picked up things here and there. Also that run is basically back and forth across I-10. I’ve been through there several times on a bike. Very boring. Are you sure that’s what you want to do?? It is nice getting 2 days a week at home. I get 3 most weeks and It comes in handy. Going the same places has its benifits, you learn the route and stopping points, you build a relationship with the customers. That said it can also be boring seeing the same things over and over and over. How do you feel about sharing a confined space with another person 5 days a week??? How much trust of your welfare can you put in someone else’s hands???? These are all things you may want to consider before accepting this offer.

You mention its a small company. How small??? Is it stable???? Small companies tend to be really good or really bad no real in between. I would look into their stability up front. I work for a small company and love it. We are very stable and I know I don’t have to worry about getting paid or worse yet your fuel card getting shut off.

If after looking at everything you feel it suits you then go for it. If you have any reservations in your mind then I would look in another direction.

Best of luck and well wishes

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

Rob L.'s Comment
member avatar

It is a 1099 no w-2.. they don't have benefits. This company has 6 trucks and they will train me. I would get a raise in 6mos then in a year. I'm thinking of just going there for three months for experience. I don't want to go OTR. I would make 48,000 my first year

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Why are you looking at only 3 months???? Most small company or local jobs require at least 1 yr exp if not 2 yrs. It’s mainly an insurance thing. Being 1099 and no benefits this will not help you in any way I can see. Basically just a brief bit of experience before moving on. Any company will still require you to go through their full training period. I get your ultimate goal is not OTR , but you have to get your foundation under you before you can build for your future in whatever arena that is in. I had a plan when I started but it still took me 3 yrs to accomplish my goal.

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.

Tom W.'s Comment
member avatar

34 cents a mile split is great money starting out so if that is your only concern then do not worry about it.

Be sure you can do this. Teaming with an experienced driver should help for those times you get in tight situations. Linehaul though is a lot about routine so so really this might not be such a bad way to start. You should get used to the route pretty quick. You will not learn quite as much as if you were driving otr but I still say go for it.

If I had an opportunity like this back when I first started out I just might have stuck with it till today even.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Keith G.'s Comment
member avatar

Three months won't be enough time for any other company to direct hire you and let you roll without going through a entire training process again. So I would encourage you to commit a year to a company at-least.

I have to ask a few questions to clarify some of my concerns for you. With making on say $48,000 with no benefits everything falls to you. Health Care, dental/vision, etc. Depending on how much your at-home expenditures are can you afford to cover all that without company benefits?

My major concern is that you are not looking at the big picture and seeing just the shiny starting pay without looking at possible implications.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

If you are paid as an independent contractor, that is 1099. As an independent contractor you take home 100% of what the company pays you. That is your sole benefit.

Then you must make quarterly payments to the IRS for your income taxes, which are actually higher than the withholding tax of an employee. Expect to hold onto about 25 -30% of your pay to hand over to Uncle Sam. (The IRS knows - they get a copy of your 1099.) You don't have workmen's comp, you get no health insurance and if you are let go, there's no unemployment insurance.

Unless you know how to handle all this it's a headache and a half. (BTW, this is exactly what owner ops do.)

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.

Keith G.'s Comment
member avatar

If you are paid as an independent contractor, that is 1099. As an independent contractor you take home 100% of what the company pays you. That is your sole benefit.

Then you must make quarterly payments to the IRS for your income taxes, which are actually higher than the withholding tax of an employee. Expect to hold onto about 25 -30% of your pay to hand over to Uncle Sam. (The IRS knows - they get a copy of your 1099.) You don't have workmen's comp, you get no health insurance and if you are let go, there's no unemployment insurance.

Unless you know how to handle all this it's a headache and a half. (BTW, this is exactly what owner ops do.)

Good point Errol. There is a mountain of expenses and items to track as a 1099 employee. The $48,000 sounds great till you cut out say $10,000 for taxes, $3200 for low/mid tier health insurance, and more. $48,000 quickly turns into maybe around $35,000 or less pretty quickly.

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.

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