Differences In Free Time Between The Kinds Of Freight Hauling

Topic 24732 | Page 1

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Flatlander 's Comment
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Hello all, this is my first post and I am excited to get started in trucking. Before I explain in detail what I am asking, let me say from the get go that I understand trucking is a hard job that is not 9 to 5, and that it requires a driver to do whatever it takes time-wise to get the job done. I have always had hard jobs with crazy hours, so I am not asking this question out of laziness or out of lack of commitment.

I am looking to drive for a few years while I build up my bankroll enough to pursue another business venture full-time. I am looking to pursue this venture part-time while driving full time. Ideally I would like to have 2-3 hours per day 4 days per week to dedicate to this part-time online work. These hours would need to be from 2am to 3pm Monday thru Friday.

I would like to know if reefer , dry van , or flatbed would give me greater free time, as well as whether OTR , regional , or local is more suitable. From doing some research it seems flatbed deliveries and pickups are during the day, so that is a possibility. I have read that with reefers, there can be hours of waiting at the receiver, so that too could work. Of course with local you are home every night, but is seems the hours are so long, all you do is work, eat, and sleep during the week. So that doesn't seem to fit.

It may be that there is no solution, and I am cool with that. I will just drive to make the most money I can. Thanks for any help.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Tractor Man's Comment
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These hours would need to be from 2am to 3pm Monday thru Friday.

If only freight was that predictable! Almost impossible OTR. As a rookie, during your first year, you will be trying to find time to eat, sleep, shower, do laundry, plan your next trip, i could go on. Just my .02

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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.

Jeremy's Comment
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In my experience you spend a LOT of time at shippers and receivers backed up to docks with most reefer loads so if i had to guess that would be what your looking for but as tractor said as a rookie learning how to fit life and work into that narrow clock were given as drivers is an adventure in its self but it all comes to you in time its all about proper trip planning and time management

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Flatlander 's Comment
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In my experience you spend a LOT of time at shippers and receivers backed up to docks with most reefer loads so if i had to guess that would be what your looking for

Thanks for the info. So, if trip-planning takes up a lot of time, maybe drive a reefer on a dedicated or regional route so I would have less trip planning as I became familiar with receivers?

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

To be frank I don't think you'll be able to make it work. Even on local/dedicated runs the way your day goes can be utterly unpredictable. If you could do this part time work whenever you wanted *maybe* it would work.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Old School's Comment
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Welcome aboard Flatlander!

You said this in response to Jeremy...

Thanks for the info. So, if trip-planning takes up a lot of time, maybe drive a reefer on a dedicated or regional route so I would have less trip planning as I became familiar with receivers?

I think you misunderstood what he was saying. Trip planning doesn't take a lot of time. He was trying to point out how proper trip planning may allow you to find the time you're looking for. You can't really expect a lot of free time in this career, and you certainly can't dictate when you get to have that free time.

Trucking is a demanding career. It's best pursued by people who are fully vested in being truckers. Every time I see someone pursuing it as a means to another end they usually wash out early on, or some of them realize they love it so much they drop their other aspirations and stick with trucking. I'm not saying you can't accomplish what you're after, but here's how I think you should approach it. Get into trucking with a Commitment that says, "I want this more than anything!" Pursue it wholeheartedly for one full year dedicated to developing yourself into a Top Tier Driver.

At that point you'll have a better feel for how this works, and how you can manage your own time so you can dabble into your other interest. I think it's going to be critical that you focus on learning the trucking career first. I honestly don't think you will find one form of trucking over another that will provide you with more free time. It's generally working 10 - 14 hours and then breaking for ten hours, then we rinse and repeat. As far as the time of day we do this, it gets juggled around all the time.

I know drivers who try to impose a scheduled work regimen on themselves, but they only frustrate themselves and their support staff who are trying to satisfy the needs of the customers. Our hours are dictated by all kinds of forces including things like weather, freight demand, road construction, and completely off the wall stuff like the black bear I saw the other day that got hit by a car causing a chain reaction which delayed me for several hours.

if you want to be a trucker so you can bankroll some other dream, then first be a trucker. The only way you'll do any good with trucking is to commit to it like your life depended on it. Once you start developing your abilities then decide how to manage your time to work on your other desires. That would be the best way to pursue your ideas.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Flatlander 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Flatlander!

if you want to be a trucker so you can bankroll some other dream, then first be a trucker. The only way you'll do any good with trucking is to commit to it like your life depended on it. Once you start developing your abilities then decide how to manage your time to work on your other desires. That would be the best way to pursue your ideas.

Thanks for the welcome old school. Yes, I agree one should not get into this profession and do a half-assed job. I have never worked that way, and I'm not going to start now. As I said, I knew there would be a distinct possiblity that I would not have the time I would like. I am ok with that. By the way, I am giving serious thought to flatbedding. Cheers.

LDRSHIP's Comment
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The first year you don’t have much time for anything. Your inefficient, you make mistakes like getting ‘lost’ and things of that nature. The first year it will be hard to find time to get the sleep you need. After that things tend to “slow down”. You are a lot more efficient with your time and routines. It is far easier to squeeze an hour or 2 into other pursuits. To reintegrate the first year, give or take, you are not going to have time for much of anything else. As you gain experience some things become less time consuming like trip planning.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Old School and LDRSHIP absolutely nailed it in my opinion and I just wanted to reiterate what they said. Dedicate yourself 100% to trucking for that first year. Do not expect to accomplish anything else. As a bonus you may indeed manage to accomplish a little bit along the way, but very little. I think the effort to do so would hurt you more than it would help.

Trucking is absolutely exhausting and the days are very, very long. As a new driver your mind is on 1,000 things at once and you'll feel overwhelmed and out of your comfort zone a fair amount of the time.

Once you have that first year under your belt things will slow down a little bit for you. Your mind won't be racing all the time. You won't have to focus so hard on every detail because some things will become automatic. You won't be overwhelmed by the traffic and weather all the time. You'll have developed systems for navigating, communicating, and trip planning.

After that first year I think you'll find a way to accomplish other things in some small measure. I do in fact believe that trucking can be a fantastic springboard for other goals you may have. For instance, if you play your cards right you can manage to save up a ton of money in a relatively short amount of time by living in the truck and eliminating other expenses like your car, apartment, and utilities.

But like Old School said, people who try to set other goals outside of trucking from day one tend to become completely overwhelmed and frustrated. You can't do everything at once, and most people don't manage to just do trucking that first year, let alone run a side business at the same time.

Focus 100% on trucking first. You can't use trucking as a stepping stone if you never get trucking established properly in the first place, and that task is far more difficult than almost anyone expects. Reading about how hard it is helps, but nothing can truly prepare you for magnitude of the challenges you're going to face that first year.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Here's a question to help clarify things: Do you need your free time to be in one "chunk" - say 2 hours so you can concentrate on your second job, or can you take 15 minutes here and there through the day?

As for daily schedule, I try to start my work day around 3-4am, then knock off about the same in the afternoon. This works for me. You may have fixed appointments for picking up and delivery that you will have to work around. But in Truck Load dry van , many times you can show up any time during the day, or in large "after 2pm" type slots.

Remember, by FMCSA rules, you will have at least 10 hours per day to be Off Duty. (Your daily "shift" will run a maximum 14 hours after you start working, and that leaves 10 hours required before you can do that again.) It is up to you to be rested, refreshed and ready to start the next day. As long as you get your rest in, the balance of that ten hours is yours to squander as you see fit.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

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.
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