OTR A Prerequisite?

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Gator F.'s Comment
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I have heard from a lot of folks that OTR is a really bad idea for family. However isn't doing my year or so OTR going to be about the only way to get into the industry before I can get somthing that gets me home more?

That said I have a fairly solid family. My wife gave birth to our son while I was deployed to Afghanistan and I didn't get to see them until he was 8 months old. To top it off this was while we were stationed in Germany away from her family.

My wife is supportive of me going into ddriving even though I am worried it may be unfair to them.

So my original question...is otr unofficially the only gateway in?

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.

Starcar's Comment
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Welcome to TT !!!! and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.... Now...on to your question...there may be a few...very few...exceptions to the OTR rule...but as a general rule, you will need to do your year OTR to get the experience most companies want. After that year, you can apply for local work, and proudly show them that you have been thru all 4 seasons, over all kinds of terrain, and you were driver enough to deal with it all. I'm very glad that you have a strong wife, and she has your back...that is one thing that will make of break a trucking family. Its hard on a driver...buts its twice as hard on the wife at home. If you have any questions, bring here, and toss em out there...we'll be glad to help you all we can.... And theres alot of learning to be had on this site, for before you go to trucking school. But Brett's High Road Training Program ain't for sissies...it will teach you the best there is, but it will try you, also... So cruise around, get comfortable, and again welcome.

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.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Gator F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the advice. I'm presumed this was the case. Yes, trucking truth is amazing!

RedGator's Comment
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OTR requires a very understanding family. Since your military im sure your wife is used to you being away. Also OTR isnt your only option. Regional driving is too and typically gives you that 1yr exp. folks are looking for. Check in to Star out of TN, Schneider and my co. WEL. They all will start you regional which is home every weekend.

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.

Gator F.'s Comment
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Will do, thanks!

Woody's Comment
member avatar

Let me be another to say thank you for your service.

And as far as get you home more often, what are you thinking? Many of the OTR jobs are earning one day home for every seven out. There was NO way I was going to go for that, and I don't think my wife would have either lol. There are companies that offer more flexible home time. Roehl and Knight are probably two of the most flexible. I chose Knight, I live about 60 miles from one of their terminals.

At first I was going to run 14 on 7 off but have decided to try another option first because I would rather not slip seat. I can run 5 and be home 2, run 7 to 10 and be home 2-3, or run 14 and have up to 4 days at home. It all depends on how many days you need to be out get the miles you need.

14/7 sounds like a lot of home time, but it's really just taking it all at once compared to someone running 5 and 2.

Now if your talking about local and being home daily that may be a tougher nut to crack.

Woody

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Woody, I agree, one day off for every 7 out is a bit much and I would not want to put them or myself through that for an extended period of time.

Now the examples you gave would be excellent I think for me. 5 and 2 or 7-10 out with 2 off is very manageable for the family.

The 14 and 7 almost sounds like too much time off for me. That would be like a whole week without pay right? If I leave the military, I will certainly give Roehl a look.

As far as getting home more often, actually the schedules you mentioned are kind of what I meant. I just thought starting out I wouldn't have much of say and would be gone 6 weeks at time until I got experience to have more of a say.

Thanks all! Keep the info coming!

Gator F.'s Comment
member avatar

I meant to say I will look at Roehl and Knight.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Home time is great. But when thinking about taking home time make sure you know exactly why your paychecks are small and you are not getting the miles you could be getting.

Brett and everyone that is already on the road can tell you the same thing but here is how trucking companies work versus home time.

Let's start off with you being home. You get home for four to five days. Great now your rested. Before warned. While you are home the company has freight it needs to cover and they do. Even in your area near your home. They will not even think about getting you a load out till inbare back in the truck. Well it just so happens the good freight in your area is covered and and has been for two days and the only stuff is left is the short runs. Now since you are OTR your DM has to work you into areas that has frwith with miles. That can take three to five days. Now you get a few good runs and suddenly its time to go home again. They start working you back home with short runs so you will be near home when home time comes back around.

Basically it can take as long as a week to get you back into the freight with the good miles and a week to get ya back near the house. For this reason most companies recommend that drivers stay out 4 to 6 weeks so they can maximize the miles they get while out.

Trucking has been this way from the start and will not change now either. I am sure you have heard the drivers that run the hardest get the best loads and make the most money and that also included those drivers willing to stay out a bit longer. Two weeks is not enough time for the load planners to plan good loads for you.

Just try the different options for home time and I am willing to give you a 98% guarantee You will find out what I say is true.

Heck you may luck out and it might be right for you.

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.
Gator F.'s Comment
member avatar

Very informative Guy. Im trackin'...So basically if you work OTR freight, you want to work a solid OTR schedule that keeps you moving.

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.

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