Advice Needed

Topic 23284 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Retired Jersey Cop 's Comment
member avatar

Hello All,

I have been a member here for a couple of years. I am a retired Police Sergeant from NJ, still considering trucking as a second career. I am 46 and looking to work for 15 - 20 years, health permitting. I already have my Class A CDL with all endorsements, including HazMat. I have no experience. (I did drive for a local company as a yard kockey fpr the most part when I received my CDL in 2007.

Looking for advice as whether or not this career is with starting? Half the people I ask, say no and half the people I ask, say yes. It seems there a lot of inconsistency with opinions on this career (as with any career).

Also, looking for advice on how to properly vet the various trucking companies. What to ask, etc??

I'm looking to run OTR and would like to avoid the northeast, specifically North Jersey and New York City.

Also, would prefer to haul drop & hook and/or no touch freight...

Any advice and company recommendations would be appreciated...

Thank you...

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.

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

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well for starters I highly recommend reading our Truck Driver's Career Guide and my book (it's free here on the website) Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving.

Those two items will help you understand the industry, how to choose a school, how to choose a company, and how to survive your first year on the road.

Unfortunately you're going to have a hard time finding a company that doesn't run New York and New Jersey when you live in New Jersey. There are a ton of companies that won't require you to go into NYC though. That's not hard to find.

Trucking is a very tough job and lifestyle. It's also a performance based job. There are a ton of people who take a shot at trucking that either don't have what it takes or aren't willing to do what it takes to thrive in this industry. That's why you hear so much crying and complaining all the time. Those people either don't get it or can't handle it but they're also not the type of people to shoulder the responsibility for their own poor performance. So they either blame their company or the industry as a whole.

Read through those materials I suggested and then come back here with more questions. You'll have plenty of them and we'll be happy to answer them all.

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

I totally agree with Brett about reading all the information he linked for you, but I want to address a few concerns that I see as problematic for you. I could be way off base here, but I have done this long enough to recognize a few warning signs that I think you need to consider.

You've been toying with this idea of being a driver for over a decade now. You have obviously been exposed to all sorts of information concerning this career or you wouldn't make statements like this...

Looking for advice as whether or not this career is worth starting? Half the people I ask, say no and half the people I ask, say yes. It seems there a lot of inconsistency with opinions on this career (as with any career).

I remember another retired police officer who was in here who quit his new truck driving career during the training phase. He was in here for a brief time, and then blasted the industry because he didn't think the training was done in a way that he deemed professional. He had trained other officers over the years, and he wanted to compare this career to his former career. You simply cannot do that and survive the initial baptism into trucking. I have a gut feeling you have never made the leap because you have set your own unrealistic expectations about how this should all play out. It's pretty telling when you say you are...

looking for advice on how to properly vet the various trucking companies.

I've been teaching new rookies for years now that these companies have nothing to prove to you. The burden of proof is always on the driver, or on the rookie who is wanting to become a professional driver. These really large trucking companies that you see slandered online all the time are the best of the best at this business and they have been silently enduring the never ending nonsense that spews out of the mouths of the wannabes who couldn't cut it when they tried to pursue this career. All the trash talk you hear about trucking and trucking companies is total garbage. The folks who produce all this drivel about trucking are the very folks who didn't make the cut, and brother there are hordes of them!

I think your biggest problem is that you have kept this decision on the back burner for so long that you have had way too much time to expose yourself to all the foolishness that is out there, and it has crippled your decision making process. I consider myself an authority on getting started in trucking because I had a really rough go of it at the start. It is where I learned how you go from totally rejected and ignorant wannabe trucker to a professional who is highly respected by his peers in a very competitive environment. You are on the lookout for a boogie man around every corner. You are convinced that trucking is going to screw you over, just like you have read it has done to so many others before you. That is a terrible way to start this career. If you think there are real problems with the trucking career, you are sure to find them as you try to get established. That is why that other officer I mentioned earlier quit so early on. He was looking for this career to square up with his preconceived ideas, and that is something it will never do.

The only people who survive the usual rough start to this career are the ones who are Totally Committed to the process. They are not distracted by the difficulties or the seeming inconsistencies. They are focused on the prize, and they do whatever it takes to get to the point where they are productive members of the community of professional truck drivers. They are driven by a desire to be productive, and they understand the whole concept of performance driven results. Not many people realize how competitive trucking is and they often don't succeed at it because of their misconceptions about how important it is to be working for just the right company.

The only way you will settle your dilemma is to dive right into the water. You don't need to waste a lot of time analyzing different trucking companies, and putting them under some microscope as if you're going to uncover something that nobody else has discovered about them. People do this all the time. Some of them think they have found some sinister secret about them while others think they've found a super secret golden egg that nobody else knows about. It is ridiculous how people carry on in their search for the right trucking company. It is a total waste of precious time that paralyzes the person doing all the research.

By the way, the fact that you already have your CDL may not mean a thing to anybody that you want to work for. What you need is a current training certificate indicating 160 hours of training. That certificate will carry more weight for you when applying as a person with no experience than that ten year old CDL. If you want to become a truck driver, then "Just Do It." Ditch the research and trust me when I tell you that the most important thing for you to do is get yourself committed to making it happen. Those are the people who succeed at this. They hang on just as if they were riding a bull in a contest to see who can endure the ride.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

@Old School

Amen, I agree completely.

Today's sermon is from the book of Old School, chapter 1, verse 1.

Retired Jersey Cop 's Comment
member avatar

Brett: Thank you for the advice. I am reading the material and it has already answered a lot of my questions.

Old School: Thank you for your candor. I originally obtained my CDL as a back-up plan in case I ever lost my police job (Contrary to what people think, it is a very easy job to lose), as my kids were young than. They are now 21 and 18, I am recently divorced and I am able to and looking for a life change. I'm not so much looking for negatives, I just don't want to make a mistake by going with the wrong company. I am told that a lot of these companies recruiters will flat-out lie to you in order to get you (Don't know how true that could be).

I also don't understand a lot of how truckers are paid. Miles vs. down time, etc. It can be very confusing to someone like me where my pay was simple. (Hourly rate then, time-and-a-half for anything over 40 - very simple)

As with any career and being the new guy; I know that you have to prove yourself to your superiors and your co-workers. I understand that. I also understand that as the new guy, you get the sh*t details (runs) and I'm ok with that too. I just want ensure my success and represent whatever company I choose well.

So again, thank you for your candor and I appreciate the information.

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.

Bolt's Comment
member avatar

Good words from Brett and Old School. Truly wise men. As far as choosing a company there are as many variables as there are trucking companies. Look at what's important to you then choose accordingly. Is it pay, home time, type of freight, benefits, certain freight lanes. As earlier mentioned you may have to take a refresher it whole new driving course. If so maybe look into company sponsored schools.

These are the things to look for in a company.

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.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I started at the age of 53 and you need to treat it like you do anything else. Verify as much as you can. If a recruiter says “pay average” ask them what first and second year pay should be.

Also, I once got caught up in the “avg length of haul” thing and was asked; “if you were running all drop/hook loads to distribution centers, would you care about length of haul?” Of course the answer was no, because I can keep running.

I started with Schneider in dry van division and everything the recruiter promised was true. But I asked everything that was important to me. I made sure I fully understood. It helped that Schneider’s info is online and you can print it out. I.e. documented proof.

As a new driver, I didn’t feel like I got lousy loads, but I was committed to running 10,000 miles a month and did it within the first three months.

You’ve survived some difficult stuff. You and your community, are better because of it. You can handle this too.

Good luck!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
BucketHead's Comment
member avatar

Jersey for starters I’d like to say thank you for your service to your community. I considered my self a young buck in the trucking industry but in my 33 years of life and 28 years of wanting to be a long haul trucker. Here is my two cents for a almost four month otr rookie. I drove 10 months local and myself was worried about choosing the right company. I thought oh no there bad there good and so on. Then I found trucking truth. Did trucking truth help me decide who to work for no but they gave me a good idea of what I was getting into. Actually the company I wanted said no with out a year experience. I wound up here at Jb hunt and couldn’t be happier. I quit my local job on my birthday a 1 pm and was pre hired by 5 you know how I chose I put in 5 apps they called back first the rest was blowing me up while on the phone with them what you hear about a company don’t mean anything. There all good companies you just have to prove your self. Work hard have a good attitude and give it all you got all the time. After I got hired here people were oh there good others were there bad either way they pay. I’m happy here never even considered this company for everyone says oh there a starter company. I talked to a driver the other day and he’s been here 14 years never considered anyone else. But that shot in the dark has made me more money I ever thought possible. I’ve worked hard really hard and kept that good attitude. Because there testing you there always watching not in a bad way but there gonna see if your using your clock up or shutting down early every chance you get and not delivering early when you can. In my three months I went from .41 cpm to .55 cpm and a promised pay of900 gross if I turn less than 2000 miles. Great for that week I take home time. I’ve gotten a New fm last one got promoted and now my runs have really gotten longer before they were 300 to 500 miles to now 500 to 1000 and tighter appt. windows now I’m on Walmart store delivery’s they offered a bunch I finally took it bc to be honest I was tired of them asking. It’s not all over the place but for now it’s different and they give me a route turn for turn mileage and there are only three appt windows. And more than ample time to make delivery. So don’t get hung up on what you have heard about a company call them ask questions write it down compare companies on who seems like they may have the options you need for a balanced life like home time options what divisions do they have can you switch if say you don’t like flat bed which is a ton of work before you work strapping tarpin load checks I strapping trapping in the rain snow wind cold hot. Think of it like this did you research police forces before you went to the academy. You just got to go into this head first ready to work and don’t expect anything but to get ready for possibly one af the hardest things you will ever do. It has been for me I bet I wanted to quit 100 times my first assignment and that was just to bob tail and grab an empty then we had to go get loaded and drive 500 miles oh boy was quitting on my mind a lot. So don’t let what you have heard steer your decision. Or decide your fate don’t expect 1000 mike runs and and new trucks and easy appt. times it’s gonna be hard no matter the company. Best of luck to you sir and the best thing you can do for help is study up on here research ask questions. And prepare for the longest job interview in the world I think is how old school and Brett puts it. Sorry I’m all over the place I’ve never been good at putting my thoughts into words. Best of luck!!

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.

Fm:

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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
Sorry I’m all over the place I’ve never been good at putting my thoughts into words.

That was a beautiful run down Buckethead! We're not all writers, but you made your point very well. Thanks, and it's great to hear from you!

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

@Old School

Amen, I agree completely.

Today's sermon is from the book of Old School, chapter 1, verse 1.

Order the paperback!

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More