Dedicated Or Regional Out Of School In The Tampa Area?

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Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

Old School im certainly not disagreeing with you guys. You have far more experience in this industry than I do. I've only been driving a little over four years. But I did want to offer him a different perspective on things since most of the responses have been similar. Yes going local is risky. There's no doubt about it. Heck I lost my job with OD because of my inexperience and eagerness to prove myself. Luckily my area has a very rich job market so getting back in a seat wasn't difficult. His area may not be like that and that's another thing he needs to take into account. All I wish is to add some content and information for him to ponder. My route may not be the best thing for him, but I feel like he should at least be aware of that route in case it is.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

It's all good Heavy C.

I try my best to lay out sound logical reasoning for the methods we recommend. It's so easy for people to misunderstand how things work out here, simply because there's so much misinformation available to people doing research. I was really just hammering away at the well established truths that I know will help people make a good solid approach to success as a professional driver.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Yes going local is risky. There's no doubt about it. Heck I lost my job with OD because of my inexperience and eagerness to prove myself

You left out that little tidbit the first time, eh?

As you know, that's exactly what we're talking about. New drivers don't have the skills to avoid getting in trouble early in their career doing local work and often times this is exactly what happens. They pay up front to go to a private school and land a job with a carrier that has no vested interest in that driver's career because the driver paid for the schooling themselves. Then they get in a minor fender bender and get fired right away.

We've seen that happen numerous times to people who tried that career path. It's a terribly risky way to go and it rarely works out. Heck, the failure rate for new drivers making it to their one year mark in this industry is incredibly high even when they take the safest path. To encourage someone to be aware of the "opportunity" in taking the riskiest path when that path didn't even work for you and rarely works for anyone isn't really helping them.

That's kind of like saying, "Well most people use a parachute when they jump from a plane but not everyone does. It is an option. I tried without a parachute and wound up in the hospital and almost died, but I didn't die, so you can try it too but be aware of the risk."

Yeah, that's not really helping that person.

I totally get where you're coming from Heavy C but sometimes it's best to give someone who is brand new to something a very clear path to follow. They don't always need to know every bad opportunity or risky path out there.

I'm brand new in the world of alpine climbing and I'm training under a fitness coach and a professional climber. They never present me with bad opportunities just so I'm aware of them. No one has said to me, "Hey Brett, there are people that go straight to the biggest mountains in the world without proper fitness or climbing experience, and most of them die doing it, but we just wanted you to know it's an option."

I've told them about some long term objectives I have and they've told me to put in the hard work and develop my skills on smaller objectives first for a few years and you'll be able to work your way up to those bigger objectives someday. I'm aware of the fact that some people ignorantly aim way too high too early and get themselves killed in the process. The stories are out there all over the place. My coaches never talk about that though. They only want me to focus on taking the most prudent path to such dangerous objectives.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Dominick...lots of information to think about. Once you have read through all of the information provided by Old School and Brett I highly suggest reading this diary link:

Local Food Service as a Rookie

Our friend Rob has recorded his life as a local Food Service driver. It's one of the best diaries TT has. This chronicle will provide you a candid view into Rob's world and offer a realistic perspective on the extremes he faces each and every day.

Good luck Dominick!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh, let me throw this out there also. Going regional right away is fine too. Regional generally means getting home on weekends, OTR normally means only getting home every 3 - 4 weeks. Regional and OTR are pretty much the same except regional will normally keep you in a more limited part of the country. You're still spending most of your time on Interstates and in larger warehouses, though, so it's less demanding than local work.

Many of the paid training programs offer regional positions straight out of school.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

Why do I feel like this site has changed. I thought this was supposed to be a place to gather information about the industry as a whole to help possible drivers make the best decision for themselves. Risky or not. I didn't think it was dedicated to getting people into just OTR work. The local side of the business is a huge part of trucking. OTR brings stuff A to B then the local guys go B to C. To ignore it or completely dismiss it as a viable option isn't right. Many many people go right into it and do just fine. I know countless drivers in my area and even in my own company that have never once gone OTR. Ive met many throughout the Northeast that have taken the same path. And you say local companies don't have a vested interest? Why because they didn't pay for school? They also have fewer trucks than the national carriers so putting someone in the seat is much more risky for them because they only have so many trucks and usually have a smaller work force to select from. If a new guy screws up and wrecks a truck it's far more costly to them then say Swift or Prime. Not only will prime have another truck ready to go in one of their many terminals but if they fire that person, they've likely got 30 more guys right behind him getting training. Where as the local company likely is down a truck for a while and may not have many spares.

I'm sorry to the OP to hijack this thread for an obviously pointless argument.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

This has taken an interesting turn. Heavy C...please tell me something...

Are you suggesting a rookie driver go local right from CDL school? Isn't that what you did? And how did that work out for you? You were lucky, it was only a setback.

Had someone truthfully informed you of the added risks involved with local driving, would you have changed your decision? Be honest.

I think (know) this site does a fantastic job of informing newbies of all their options, the pros and cons and the increased risk depending on the type of job. It is foolish and irresponsible to sugar-coat the increased difficulties associated with local operation. We give them the facts...all of them and offer an opinion; "if I were you,I suggest starting with OTR or regional". Everyone is free to make their own decision and we always wish them well...

So yes, I vehemently disagree with your first 4 sentences. Just look around at all of the past and recent success stories on this forum. Tons of them, all following the same proven path.

It's a fact; local driving for a rookie is a far more risky undertaking than most other forms of trucking. Why do you think most local jobs require a minimum of 1 year of experience? Many require 2.

You are living proof of exactly "why" we try to steer entry-level drivers away from local work. It's obvious.

How can you argue with any of that?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

This has taken an interesting turn. Heavy C...please tell me something...

Are you suggesting a rookie driver go local right from CDL school? Isn't that what you did? And how did that work out for you? You were lucky, it was only a setback.

Had someone truthfully informed you of the added risks involved with local driving, would you have changed your decision? Be honest.

I think (know) this site does a fantastic job of informing newbies of all their options, the pros and cons and the increased risk depending on the type of job. It is foolish and irresponsible to sugar-coat the increased difficulties associated with local operation. We give them the facts...all of them and offer an opinion; "if I were you,I suggest starting with OTR or regional". Everyone is free to make their own decision and we always wish them well...

So yes, I vehemently disagree with your first 4 sentences. Just look around at all of the past and recent success stories on this forum. Tons of them, all following the same proven path.

It's a fact; local driving for a rookie is a far more risky undertaking than most other forms of trucking. Why do you think most local jobs require a minimum of 1 year of experience? Many require 2.

You are living proof of exactly "why" we try to steer entry-level drivers away from local work. It's obvious.

How can you argue with any of that?

I can argue any and all of it, but I won't here because I've already ruined this man's post enough. Email or PM me if you wish to further the discussion.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Why do I feel like this site has changed.

I have no idea. It hasn't changed a bit. Go through my book which was written 11 years ago and you'll see I always recommended going OTR or regional straight out of school. Find me anyplace on this website where any moderators have ever suggested going local as a viable option straight out of school. That's never been something we've recommended and we never will because it's simply a bad idea. You of all people should know this because you tried that path and failed. You suffered the same fate that most people suffer - you got in a wreck early on and got canned.

What I find most interesting is that in another recent thread you said that you wish you wouldn't have tried backing the trailer into a tight spot so early in your career because you hit something and got fired for it. Two questions:

1) How do you figure that was a choice you had? That's the job when you're local. You have to do a lot of backing in tight spaces, which is one of the reasons we recommend against it. You're not going to have the opportunity to pick and choose what your job duties are. They give you a job and you do it. If you can't do it they get rid of you.

2) Why weren't you more careful when you were backing up? Having to back the trailer into a tight spot wasn't the cause of your problems. Doing it carelessly was the cause of your problems. If you had gone slowly enough and got out to look when you should have it wouldn't have happened. You shouldn't regret the attempt at making that back, you should regret the carelessness you did it with.

To be honest I think you're looking for some sort of validation for the path you took, which you should recognize in retrospect was the wrong path.

Think about it - you would have your dream job with Old Dominion right now if you would have gone OTR first, got your skills to a higher level, and then went local with Old Dominion like we recommend. Instead you were shortsighted, you went straight for your dream job, got canned, and now you've had to settle for the next best thing which is the main basis for our recommendations:

Don't be shortsighted. Think long term.

Many many people go right into it and do just fine

Again, it's the argument that some people have survived jumping out of a plane without a parachute so why shouldn't others consider doing it?

And you say local companies don't have a vested interest? Why because they didn't pay for school?

Yes, that's exactly why. Paid training programs are investing their money in training new students. So if they fire someone right away they've lost their entire investment. Being a new truck driver is incredibly risky so it's a huge advantage to the driver to have that safety net which will allow for a few minor mistakes without losing your job and having to settle for less in your career, if you still have a career.

So if you can put yourself in a position where a large, successful carrier with a long track record of training new drivers has a vested interest in having you around then you're in the best possible position you can be in.

I'm sorry to the OP to hijack this thread for an obviously pointless argument.

You haven't hijacked the thread and this isn't a pointless argument. It's an incredibly important and helpful debate about the best path for a new driver to take. What's pointless is trying to convince us that the path you took - the one you failed on and now regret - is a viable option that someone should consider. No, it's not something they should consider and you've lived the story we're trying to help others avoid.

I have to admit I'm more than a little surprised you're digging in and trying to defend an indefensible position. On top of that you're suggesting we're not the great website we used to be? I would think you, of all people, would be telling everyone, "Hey, I tried the local thing, I hit the same brick wall these guys are warning you about, I lost my dream job, and now I've had to settle for a job that isn't the job I really want. If I would have followed the path they're recommending I would be in a better position right now."

Maybe it's more important to you to justify your choices, even the bad ones, than it is to help others make the best choices for themselves. Be real about your situation and the mistakes you've made and help others avoid those same mistakes. That's what we do here at TruckingTruth. We give people the safest, most prudent path to success in a risky industry with a high failure rate and we do it based on our own experiences and the mistakes we've made or witnessed over the years.

Be clear about our mission here. Our mission is to use our experience to help people survive their first year of trucking and establish their career on solid footing. We try to help them understand the best options they have available and give them a clear strategy to execute. We want them to think long term.

What we don't want to do is cloud people's thinking with bad options. We don't intend to list all of the choices, good and bad, and let them sort it out for themselves. We're here to support people throughout the decision-making process and the best way to do that is to make sure they make the safest, most prudent choices and give them the best possible for success.

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.

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.

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
Why do I feel like this site has changed.

Nothing has changed Heavy C.

Here's what has happened, and we see it countless times. When we have a member who starts out in a driving job that gets them home daily or every few days, they seem to think that opportunity exists for all new entry level drivers. You admitted it yourself, you have a lot of opportunities in your area, much like Bill (Six String) had in his area. For some reason those of you who get started locally get the idea that we have something against you personally, which is completely way off. We teach, just as we always have, that there is a prudent or safe and effective way to begin this career, and that is the way we recommend to all new drivers - that has never changed. There is no reason for those of you who came into your careers on a different path to feel slighted by us. We completely get it that OTR does not work for everyone. For some of us there is just no way to do it as a career because of our family situation. That is why we teach people to look at the big picture, and just commit to it for one year to establish themselves with a plan that is far more likely to produce success.

I thought this was supposed to be a place to gather information about the industry as a whole to help possible drivers make the best decision for themselves. Risky or not.

Anyone can gather information here about the whole industry, but the purpose of the site is to provide truthful honest advice to help newbies (Total Greenhorn Rookies) learn how to make a good start in trucking. That is what it has always been about. Nothing has changed from that mission. We would never advise folks to take a path that we considered "risky." So you really surprised me with that statement about our purpose being to allow folks to "make the best decision for themselves. Risky or not."

I've got a half a million safe miles logged at this point in my career. I want each of you to have the kind of success I have had in my career. I will always give you the same advice that I would follow myself.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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