No Home Base

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Serenity's Comment
member avatar

I said when I first signed up that I'd been thinking of this change for awhile. I've been thinking about it since. The hardest part is finding new homes for the pets because they are, quite literally, all I have. I was laid off a bit ago, I really don't have anything as it is, I'm not tied to the area I'm in right now, I'm not tied to anything, sans the pets - and I sure don't want to work in a brick and mortar job ever again if I don't have to.

I'm actually ready to tackle this after a long time thinking about it. The last thing that I have to do is figure out what to do with my pets...which is an extremely difficult choice to make, but I would not have a home base where I would return. Once I find them homes, I can go at this.

And that brings up a question: Home base. What do you do? Do you not have to have a home base? Where do they send things to? Do you just get it when you stop by the terminal? Where do you park your car? Did you just have a post office box somewhere, or how did you get mail? And what about insurance for that car if you don't have a home base, per say? What did you do on your days off? Did you rent a car wherever it was that you landed after your last drop off and go from there? Or did you just rent a hotel because you were sick of driving?

I would definitely take advantage of the "stay with us for a full year and your training is free" deals that I see. I have found a few companies that I would not mind working for that have this very thing. They are all in different states than I'm in right now, which, who cares, I don't consider where I'm at right now to be "home" anyway. So, if I go through this training and get the CDL , would it be based on where I came from, even if I don't consider this my 'home', or would I be able to get it from the state I trained in? Would it be based on my DL even if I would not consider myself a "resident" of that state anymore once I started this? How easy would it be to change once I'm done with training, done with my training on the road, and on to solo driving?

What is all involved in the physical? Do I have to be able to lift a certain amount of weight like on some jobs I've had? Do I have to run a mile in a certain amount of time? Or is it just to see that you're not about to keel over any moment? I have found almost everything but that information.

And what about if I'm not in my 20s anymore? Is there a cut off to how old you can be to start this career? Are they picky about age, or does that not even matter?

Thanks in advance.

And...uh...I have some extremely cute pets if anyone was looking for a new family member.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Serenity I started driving in my 50s, so did Old School and PJ. And Errol...well he was early 60s. I think you're safe!

You'll need a permanent address...not necessarily one you are living at. Just remember, you will get mail that might require a response, like the reminder DOT mails when the medical card expires in 90 days.

Here is what you need to know about the physical:

Good luck!

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.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

I use a post box from UPS that my daughter checks periodically. It’s not a P.O. box like with the post office. It is th physical address of the UPS store & my box is my apt number. It worked in F! But you may want to make sure it will work wherever you choose to call “home base”. Here, at Prime Inc., they have a similar set up with mail boxes you can rent for a lot less than the UPS store depending on the size.

As far as home time? You can take that anywhere you like. I have family & friends all over the country so I’ll spend time at each. You just need to make sure you have a secure location to leave your truck at. You can Uber your way around many cities, some have bicycles or scooters on their trucks.

My car will be very well cared for by my daughter. I wish I could unload it but that’s not possible cause I owe more than it’s worth. I know drivers that keep their cars here in Springfield but that cause they train a lot so they come here a lot. You can put your car in storage but then you’ll just be having to make insurance payments for a car to sit parked.

Too tired to answer more right now but please read the material G-Town posted along with some of th diaries that are in the diaries sections to learn about the different processes for the companies you’re interested in joining. Good luck!

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

Serenity, I’ll answer some of your questions with my experiences, they are in some ways relevant. I returned to the U.S. after living abroad for 3.5 yrs, to drive a big truck. In CDL school the hotel where I stayed was used as my ‘home address,’ for the purpose of getting my CDL. In order to work for Schneider, and be based out of Houston (where a rather large signing bonus was offered), I needed to transfer my CDL to Texas. I used a friend’s address, who lives in Austin.

Company mail (insurance info, W-2) is sent to that address in Austin. I don’t have a car, but if I did it would be parked in our employee lot in Houston. Not having a car wasn’t a problem until I created a kidney stone, which required trips to the doctor and the hospital. Über and Lyft helped me with that. I don’t ask for time off much because I get enough time off due to lack of assignments or poorly planned assignments.

If I wanted to transfer to another ops center in another state, I’d need to transfer my CDL to the new state; it would be just a matter of following that state’s guidelines.

I am about to take time off for several days, just the 3rd time since June, to go retrieve my W-2, and pick up some stuff I ordered off the internet webs. I’ll be renting a car to do that. The other two times I took off I requested to park my truck in another ops center, located in Louisiana. No problem. Just had to let my driver manager know.

My examples are simply indicative of how it works with Schneider; I’m sure it may go differently with other companies.

Hope this sheds some additional light on your questions!

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.

Driver Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Hopefully Rainy will chime in soon. She lives in her truck and rents a mailbox at Prime in Sprimo.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Hi. I basically live on my truck with my physical address listed as my moms. By law you need a physical address and to get the per diem (the tax laws are changing with regards to this) we needed to "pay some sort of bills" at that address or I wouldnt be entitled to the $17,000 per diem deduction. So i put my moms roku and amazon, netflix in my name and voila im good.

My Mustang GT Premium 5.0 with scoops, glass roof and kicking sound system was in storage at $250 per month plus $150 for insurance. My dad and brother would drive it to keep it running, and of course one hit a deer! After 2.5 years of only driving it a few times, i decided to sell it. :( i loved that car, but it terrified me to drive it. After driving a rig, the mirrors seem so small amd the back window was useless. Selling the car created insurance issues though. In my state if you have no insurance for.more than 10 days, your insurance can go up 60% because you are considered a high risk! i tried to get a "operator liability" policy that would insure me driving any car, but CMV operators are not eligible because the policy would cover any vehicle i drove...so they wont insure CMV drivers. I had my bro put me on his policy for $120 per year and changed my license to his place. This way when i do buy another car, my rates wont skyrocket.

i have friends with cars at the terminals but that makes sense if you go to them or live near them. I know some people who only go to a terminal a couple times a year. Im there at least once a month for repairs or much needed rest. im here now picking up a student and would have loved my car, but oh well. i have friends to all pitched in to buy a jumker to keep at the terminal and they all have keys and use it at different times. Im allowed to park my truck at truck stops or hotels for home time and take home time all over the country. sometimes i just take it at the main terminal and get a jacuzzi suite at the hotel prime owns, nice discount. I never thought i would miss having a tub, but i do. 15 years i had a jacuzzi in my house and rarel

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

.... rarely used it. now i miss tubs. Uber and Lyft are cool for local attractions. DAT trucker app lists hotels with truck parking, however, they are usually lower end places like Super 8 and Motel 6. I have found many Hampton Inn, La Quinta, and Best Western Plus with truck parking. Sometimes it is easier to do laundry in these hotels compared to the truck stops, often cheaper too.

Trucking Path app gives locations of Walmarts for shopping. Check out the reviews because walmarts national policy is no parking, as per the signs. Local managers allow or disallow so check first. Google Earth gives a satellite view to check out the layout, so do that for Walmarts, hotels, and even customers.

For Prime i tansferred my DL to MO and got the permit there, tested and went back home to transfer the CDL. No big deal except NJ is stupid and i wasted a whole day there.

The physical is drug test, bending, duck walk, and some weight lifting on an agility test. climb a few rungs of a ladder. hearing, vision etc. not hard. I was 41 when i came to Prime, so not young....but cute. hahhahaha

im heartbroken over my car...

0865739001522247690.jpg

But Prime allows one pet under 30 pounds, so i have my kitty with me. its a $1000 pet fee of $300 the first payment and $50 per week after that.

0302308001522247812.jpg

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.
Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Serenity, I started trucking as my third career at age 57.

I live in my truck and don't have a residence. My children are spread out in multiple areas and then my parents and sister/family are in another area. I enjoy being able to stop and see various family members and friends while on the road. When I take time off, I rotate between family member locations and either stay with one of them or get a hotel.

For an address, I use a service from a company called Mail Link Plus. Several companies offer a similar service. They receive mail for you and then send you an email with a scan of the envelop. You then tell them whether you want them to shred/trash it, open/scan/email it, or forward it to some other address. Mail Link offers a choice of numerous cities in the US for the "virtual" address. I chose a Las Vegas address because 1) Nevada is one of the states that have no income tax, 2) my company sends me through Nevada fairly often, so if I have to go to the DMV or something, I can make plans to do so, and 3) I knew someone who really does live in Las Vegas that would me use their address as my "residence" to give to the DMV. (the DMV did accept my virtual address as a mailing address, so that is where they send my driver license, etc. I changed my bank address, credit card, Netflix, etc. to the virtual address, but then also chose paperless as the mailing option with all of them, so very little mail is actually sent to the virtual address. My company (Pride Transport) allows drivers a mailbox in the driver lounge of their SLC terminal , so when I do receive something I actually need in hand (like a driver license), I have it forwarded there.

For my non-trucking clothing, I use a company called DUFL. For $9.95 a month, they'll store all your clothing and sporting equipment, etc. Then if you want some of it (for a vacation or whatever), for $99 they'll FedEx a suitcase full to your hotel or wherever, pick it up when you're finished, laundry/dry-clean everything, and return it for storage.

My company only has the one terminal in SLC, and I know I'll get through there at least every month or two, so I got a small storage unit there at an Extra-Space Storage location that I persuaded to allow me 24 hour access (since we never know what time of day we'll have time to go there). So, I get most of my food and other supplies sent to that storage from Amazon. This saves money and keeps me from having to find a Walmart with truck parking most of the time. I do this even though my company does allow us to receive packages at the terminal, simply because I receive a LOT of packages. If I just got the occasional package and otherwise shopped at Walmart, I might be able to live without the storage unit...but it is worth $90/month to me. I think you'll find that most companies won't let you receive packages anyway. Also, if I happen across a grocery store I can park near when traveling a secondary highway or something, I stop there and fill up the fridge...especially if I'm in the NW where I can get Tillimook products (big fan!).

I don't have a car. I got rid of that so I have no car insurance or maintenance or storage to deal with - the thing would seldom be where I want it when I need 4 wheels anyway. So, if I need a vehicle when I'm off, I rent one. Otherwise, cabs...

As for the physical, if you can fog a mirror, you can drive a truck. Actually, it's a little more than that, but not much. You won't have to run a mile or lift a million pounds or anthing like that. There is the basic DOT physical...your blood pressure will have to be good, and if you have a big neck for your height you might need to be checked for sleep apnea if you haven't already. Then, whatever company you go with will likely have a few simple agility tests you will have to do without your BP increasing much. If you smoke, quit. If you use caffeine, don't do so before your physical. One company made me lift a small weight a couple of times. They will likely make you duck walk underneath a table without touching the ground with your hand, simulating going under a trailer to check fifth-wheel coupling. They might have you climb into something simulating getting into a trailer. Depending upon what type of freight you'll be hauling, they might have you do something simulating your ability to use securement devices. No big deal.

Home base. What do you do? Do you not have to have a home base? Where do they send things to? Do you just get it when you stop by the terminal? Where do you park your car? Did you just have a post office box somewhere, or how did you get mail? And what about insurance for that car if you don't have a home base, per say? What did you do on your days off? Did you rent a car wherever it was that you landed after your last drop off and go from there? Or did you just rent a hotel because you were sick of driving?

What is all involved in the physical? Do I have to be able to lift a certain amount of weight like on some jobs I've had? Do I have to run a mile in a certain amount of time? Or is it just to see that you're not about to keel over any moment? I have found almost everything but that information.

And what about if I'm not in my 20s anymore? Is there a cut off to how old you can be to start this career? Are they picky about age, or does that not even matter?

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.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Wow! You guys are amazing with the information. This is exactly the information I was looking for. Right now I live in CA, (do not get me started on how much I hate this state), and do not actually want my home address to be from this state because of a) taxes and b) all their stupid rules that don't make any sense whatsoever to any person with any type of common sense.

I'm getting started...so let's move on.

If I can change my license over to whatever state I go to for school, that would be great. It seems like it may be possible then?

The reason that I wouldn't have a home base is because this apartment complex that I live in has a rule that if you are away for a certain amount of time, even if you're paying the rent, they consider it "abandonment". I actually brought up the idea of going to school back when I started this account. I'd asked my next door neighbor if she would be willing to feed/water the pets while I was gone and she had no issues with that at all. But the landlord informed me of this insipid rule, and that killed my momentum because I'm not dumping my pets in a shelter and leaving.

As for the car - you bring up some good points. And I'm so glad that some of you talk about living in your truck because I kind of thought that's pretty much what I would do, but never said it out loud unless people wanted to tell me that was a dumb idea. I would just work as much as I could until I felt I absolutely had to have a break. I'm not a workaholic, I just really love to drive, and I love to see the country. I guess I would just sell off the car. It has been paid for several years ago, and it's an older KIA so it's not like I would be giving up something like a Mustang.

I like the idea of that Mail Link Plus. I like the fact that they email you with scans so you can tell them, "just throw that away, thank you". That's fantastic! And they forward! That's amazing. And if I'm understanding correctly, I could, literally, choose any location that they have as my "virtual" address? Is that correct? If so, I'M SOLD!

As for what I own, I could literally fit everything I own, (obviously minus the pets) into the trunk of my Kia Rio, so I'm pretty sure it's going to fit in any truck that I get to drive and live in.

I'm relieved to hear about the no age discrimination thing. After I got laid off, while I'm not "old" per say, as I said, I'm not in my 20s, it's been pretty hard to find another job. Apparently in the corporate world, once you're out of your 20s, you're old and they don't want much of anything to do with you.

At some point, I will want a pet again, so I would like to be able to work with a company that allows pets. Good to know what some of them charge for that. I think it's worth it, honestly.

What overwhelms me and makes me very nervous about trucking:

Driving a gigantic vehicle in a place like NYC. Driving a gigantic, heavy vehicle with a gigantic trailer behind it down a mountain pass, especially when there's snow and ice on the roads.

I don't know jack about vehicles. I've heard names of things, I have a vague idea of what they do, but I've never been in the environment that talks about cars, works on their own cars, discusses car parts, etc. Going over the part that shows what we need to know for the pre-trip inspection is a little overwhelming for me right now. I know I will learn it, but right now I still feel like all I see is dirt and metal parts.

Remembering everything.

Where I know I will be just fine: I don't need constant stimulation from other people, and actually prefer to do things alone, so the solitude is something I'm actually looking forward to. My work ethic, time management and organization skills are actually really good - at least I got something out of corporate America. Plus I will be free whenever and love driving. I've never done these things in a truck, but those are not the things that I am nervous about when it comes to driving. I'm just nervous about the fact that those things are so huge.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

Serenity's Comment
member avatar

OH! Forgot to ask: About that duckwalking thing....In 2004, I broke my right ankle and had a metal plate and pins put in. If you have never broken an ankle...don't. While you may get out of the cast in 6 weeks, recovery takes WAY longer. Even with the exercises and things they told me to do, which I did a lot because I was impatient to start walking normally again, it took what felt like forever to able to actually run. Two years after I broke it, I was at the DMV in Miami. The line was horrendously long, and I realized I had forgotten something in my car. I went to run to the car and realized I couldn't run like I used to.

If they require me to walk under a table without falling over...because of that ankle not being as strong as the left one, I might not pass that. Yes, even after all these years, it still is not as strong as it used to be despite my attempts to make it so. Would that mean I couldn't pass the medical because of that? What if I pass everything else, because I know I will based on what you all have said and the links that were provided. Those are no problems. But duck walking under a table....I might fail there.

Or maybe I don't understand the height of the table/trailers? Or what duck walking is...shed some light for me, please?

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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