Without Dispatcher Stress How To Be An Independent Driver. Where Should I Start With. Need Advice.

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Aby M.'s Comment
member avatar

These are questions from a guy with only google knowledge. May feel like stupid......but thank you for advices.

Hi people, I'm a 26 years old guy. I'm a nurse presently, and I'm thinking deep about a career change in next 2 years or so. I am completely new to this, I'm studying on my CDL learners manual for class A leraners test. I don't wanna spend life as a company truck driver, but willing to do so for a year or so for gathering experience, and learning the equipments. I have two plans in my head.

Plan A. (lease or own) Once getting a year or two driving experience, I plan about leasing a truck and drive on my own. The questions are, HOW TO GET LOADS AT MY OWN CHOICE. BROKER, DISPATCHER , AND LOADBOARDS....HOW DO THEY WORK. HOW FLEXIBLE IS A LOADBOARD WHEN IT COMES TO SELECTING MY LOADS. WHERE SHOULD I EXPECT LEASE, DIESEL, AND MAINTAINANCE EXPENCES. Basically I just don't wanna be stressed out by dispatchers, or I don't want to pay big money to brokers. In other words, my idea is to pick a load from a loadboard starting from Florida (I live in Miami), deliver it in its destination (texas) at the given time to me, pick another one from around area, deliver it in California. Pick a load from California, deliver in Alabama. Pick some from there to Miami..making a round in the country and getting back home after 3 weeks, take a week off, get next load whenever I need.....repeat.............At my present job, I make about 3500 after all taxes. Is it possible to make something similar or better with my plan A. Eventually I wanna buy a truck on my own. How realistic is plan A.

Plan B. (HAZMAT, Iceroad...only if plan A fails) As a company driver itself. 1. My paln is to do HAZMAT tanker jobs in oil feilds. HOW MUCH DO THEY DRIVE, HOW MUCH THEY MAKE WEEKLY, HOW IS THEIR LIFE STYLE. 2.HAZMAT tanker jobs regional driver, HOW MUCH DO THEY DRIVE, HOW MUCH THEY MAKE WEEKLY, HOW IS THEIR LIFE STYLE. 3. Seasonal ice road trucker, HOW MUCH DO THEY DRIVE, HOW MUCH THEY MAKE WEEKLY OR ANNUALLY, HOW IS THEIR LIFE STYLE. most important IS THIS JOB HIGHLY IN DEMAND ? (ready to move to Alaska or wherever).

Thank you for you time.

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

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.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Aby! Not stupid, perhaps a bit ahead of where you really should begin your education on trucking.

Getting started with the below links is the best place to focus some time and energy. Thinking about plan A (especially) and plan B are premature and dependent upon passing the CLP exam, proper driver schooling, passing the CDL tests, and one-on-one road training. Give these a look...

Give us a shout once you’ve given these a thorough review. Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

This will be my first full time year driving a truck (linehaul) I am on pace to be close to 80k for the gross for the year working only 5 days a week if I worked 6 I would have hit 90k plus.

Quite frankly your plan A seems good on paper but in reality probably wont happen, if that where possible every owner op would be doing it. As a owner or lease driver you will be married to that truck your expenses will be insane and income will just be enough to cover them, industry average is 3-5% profit margin so for every 1 dollar you bring in you will spend 93 to 95 cents on average. Taking a week off let alone a week ever month is just no feasible, you will still have to pay truck and insurance payments.

I also wanted to take a similar path one day but have realized for the most part owning and running your own operation is more trouble than it is worth.

I suggest doing more research before getting your hopes up, you can still making a decent living being a company driver.

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.
Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

Like your thinking and what G Town said. Get your CDL Training with Paid CDL Training Programs. Drive as a company driver for at least two years. During this time you will learn how to drive, manage your clock, freight lanes and costs of owning a truck. You will also find that if dispatch is hassling you, you're doing something wrong. Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Han Solo Cup's Comment
member avatar

Seeing as how you're new to the site, I'll help you narrow down your thread reading. Go read Rainy's stuff... if you're concerned about being hassled, read her threads. She's honest and open about what she's been through and where she is now. She mentions time and again about how she almost never hears from her dispatch because she keeps things moving and keeps producing results. I've read almost every thread out here and hers have made it the most clear to me that you can operate as company driver (Old School's older threads show his progression too) with little hand holding if you learn how to do the job and then produce results; take care of them and they take care of you. Trust me, she's definitely one of my trucking idols.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Ice road trucking?

rofl-3.gif

Those people have in excess of 20 years experience. They're mechanics, flatbedders, and tough as nails.

3 weeks to go from Miami and Cali and back, and then a week off? Don't plan on working much, do you? I'm sorry, I just can't help it. Your plan is so unrealistic for a myriad of reasons. BTW, freight coming out of Miami is snatched up by brokers and it doesn't generally pay well at all. What does Miami offer that California cannot get from it's own shipping ports? Something to consider.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but it sounds like you are wanting to get into trucking for the wrong reasons. Company leases are always in favor of the company and no they generally don't get to choose their loads. Ownership is a completely different can of worms and both LO and OO are incredibly financially risky.

This is a LIFESTYLE, not just a job. We work more hours than most people realize. I generally work close to 70 hours a week. I rarely ever speak to dispatch.. only talk to them if a problem comes up that I can't take care of by myself.

Others have listed excellent links to help you so I'm not going to repeat them, but please read them so you have a better understanding and can make an informed decision.

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.

David D.'s Comment
member avatar

The latest number I have seen for operating a truck in the US $1.02 per mile before you include the driver's 36 cents per mile. That means that you have to run 130,000 miles per year to make it work or 2,500 miles per week or 500 miles per day for a 5 day week before you start making any money. Can and will you do that? Three weeks to California from Miami and back is only about 400 miles a day. I'm betting most folks on here do that before their afternoon break on an average day. This doesn't include all of the paperwork you need to do if you own your own truck. If you can get 2500 miles a week as a company driver you can make $46,800 a year with NO risk to your personal assets. From what you said this is less than you're making now as a nurse. If for some reason you don't get that many miles you still have to make your truck payment. My wife, who's father was a trucker for decades, won't let me buy a truck because some companies will give you just enough work to keep you from going broke when the economy tanks, but you're going to be living on beans and hot dogs. There's a reason that want to lay that risk off on you. This is all about risk management, with financial risk being one of the biggest risks if you own your own truck. Just some food for thought. I'm sure you'll do what you want. But listen to these folks, they made me change my mind about going to a school, and that ain't easy to do.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

David D. No way, if I were to own trucks would I ever even turn on the ignition for $1.02/mile. A minimum of double or triple that and if things go right.. you might actually make a real profit. I'm not sure where you got that number, but to me it's completely SCARY.

David D.'s Comment
member avatar

Oops my bad, I did my math wrong above, where is that calculator when you need it. You would have to drive about 75,000 miles at $2.00 per mile to cover costs. My bad, I'll go stand in the corner.

David D.'s Comment
member avatar

The $1.02 is the average cost of operating a truck without including the driver's salary. I notice my screw up right after I posted it but dinner was hot, of I ate.

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