Introducing The Newest Lurker? And A Bit Of Philosophizing

Topic 24829 | Page 1

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Noworrez's Comment
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Hey everybody, my name is Kelly, I've been lurking around this site for the last 2-weeks and reading everything.

I'm 57 this year (2019) and for the last 14-years have been self employed in the residential window cleaning business. For the last 8-years I have mostly done contract work for other companies and I absolutely love what I do. I have a Bachelors degree received a lifetime ago it seems and spent most of my career in Finance or managing people/product. I've been married to my awesome and beautiful wife going on 21-years and she is my best friend and cheerleader. Our 19 yo daughter is finishing her Junior year in Nursing school and will graduate June 2020.

The company I've been doing jobs for these last 8-years in 08/2018 changed their business model to employee based and since I was a sub-contractor, stopped feeding me work, from full-time on Friday to zero time on Monday! rofl-2.gif Luckily I picked up work from a smaller company right away but he informed me 2-weeks ago that he wont be able to afford me this coming season. Ouch! (small panic..deep breaths) but really no reason to panic Kelly, you have for the last 12-years taken February and March off, you always save enough $$ to get you through April into May and your wife does really well, (okay, back to first person). I have a couple of companies in my industry that are interested in hiring me as an hourly employee, but when you have been taking a large percentage of the job these last 8-years and operating as a self employed person, becoming an hourly employee is a tough pill to swallow doing the same thing you have been doing for less $$ and less control.

It doesn't matter what we do in life, we trade our time for $$. I have been extremely fortunate these last 8-years that I have made enough money working on average 183 days a year, maybe 6 hours a day which equates to about $33 to $36 per hour. Could I make more money? Yes. Do I need to? No. Would I like to? It's time. Would my wife like me to? Definitely!! smile.gif Do I have too much time on my hands, yea sometimes. I joke with my wife that I am practicing early retirement and thankfully she has seldom complained as she takes the long commute upstairs to her home office.

What to do what to do? Enter truck driving, something I have always wanted to do but the timing was never right.

Driving truck I can certainly make a larger annual gross but at what cost? Time, family, and maybe health? Honestly the health part scares me the most. My career has been very physical, up and down ladders, on/off roofs, moving heavy ladders, bending, kneeling, squatting, moving from the time I start to the time I finish. Liken it to a really good 6 hour or more cardio program 5-days a week to sitting for ___ hours a day ___ days a week. You can fill in the blanks because the entire time thing is thoroughly confusing at this point in time.

I'm still not 100% sure if this will work, It's taking a big mental shift in my thinking but one thing is for sure, I have never been afraid of hard work and perhaps it's time to not have so much time! shocked.png Additionally, the timing will never be better so onward and upward.

Thanks for listening...Kelly

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

If your wife would like you out of the house for long periods of time, trucking would be perfect for her. But maybe she only wants to see you on weekends. Trucking would be perfect for her. Or just out early but home every night? Again, perfect. Lots of options to consider. You can put your free time to good use by scouring this website for all the information and sound advice you will need to make an informed decision. I have found this site and this forum to be the gold standard of trucking career guidance. Welcome and good luck!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Kelly, and welcome to our forum!

Hey I just wanted to throw a few thoughts your way. You seem to enjoy physical work, and it sounds like you might enjoy being home on the weekends. That is a perfect recipe for a regional flatbed job. These jobs almost guarantee you get home on the weekends. Now, that's not a typical weekend where you get home Friday night and stay there until you go back to work on Monday morning, but it will usually be something like 34 hours and sometimes more.

There are several companies set up for this. TMC, Maverick, and McElroy come to mind right now, but I know there are others. These companies have got their regional freight lines figured out and once a new driver gets the hang of how it works he can do pretty well with it. There's a lot of little tricks you'll learn to hustle and get things done, but flatbed work like this can be really rewarding for the right type of person.

You made this statement...

It doesn't matter what we do in life, we trade our time for $$.

There's no other career like trucking, and you'll find that statement will ultimately prove to be untrue in trucking. As truck drivers we trade results for $$. That is an important distinction that sets us apart from your average worker. There are drivers in my fleet who spend more time on the job than me each week. We make the same rate of pay, but somehow I manage to do better than them. In trucking we don't say "time is money." In trucking the most important thing is that you're productive.

It's actually one of the things that attracted me to this career. Like you, I was self employed before starting this, and that mentality has helped me tremendously. I think you'll do well at this, but you have to realize it's no easy transition. Trucking requires a lot of Commitment. People who have been independent contractors usually have a great understanding about commitment and getting things done efficiently.

So, hang out with us and join our conversations. You'll learn a lot by participating in the discussions.

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.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Old School's advice is spot on. I can calculate my pay on some loads to be close to minimum wage. Other loads pay really well, but it all averages out to a good wage at the end of the week or month. And the financial benefits get better with time, like most other professions.

Noworrez's Comment
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rofl-2.gif my wife already told me I'm not allowed to do ANY calculation of wages, she knows me well. I do agree as I've seen it in my own business averaging out in the end

Old School's advice is spot on. I can calculate my pay on some loads to be close to minimum wage. Other loads pay really well, but it all averages out to a good wage at the end of the week or month. And the financial benefits get better with time, like most other professions.

Noworrez's Comment
member avatar

BruceK and Old School, Thanks for the words of wisdom. I have been devouring everything I can read on here, lot of great people and advice. I report Monday 3/31 to Jim Palmer/Wilson Logistics in Missoula. Excited and anxious, but ready.

Rainy D.'s Comment
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Hi and welcome to the forum. One thing that caught my eye is that you said you basically only worked six months a year at 6 hours a day.

Trucking is like 2 full time jobs and can keep you gone for weeks on end.

Old School mentioned a 34 and we truckers look at that as a weekend, but a "normal" person does not. Imagine you just drove 550 miles through snow and ice to get home, park the truck and get a ride home. Your 34 starts when you hit "off duty" on the Qualcomm. You are exhausted.

You go home eat, shower, see your wife but need sleep after that long work day. You get some sleep. By the time you wake up, you are 10 hours into your 34 hour break. You need to head back in 24 hours, but head back well rested...so you need to sleep again in that 24 hours.

So that you understand, If you get home and park your truck at 6am on Saturday morning, You will be back to work at 4pm Sunday. And will need to sleep twice in that time. That is our "weekend".

I wrote an article I suggest you share with your wife. There are some great articles on our blog about training, unrealistic expectations, and the trucking lifestyle. Be sure to check them out.

OTR Relationships: Are They Possible.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Noworrez's Comment
member avatar

Hi Rainy, I've read that article you penned, as well many others, thank you!

Any other time in my life I would have said no way, but circumstances change and while there has been a lot of soul searching and a huge mental shift, I am anxious but excited!

Am I ready? I think so but I will never know If I don't try. One can hear all about it but can never fully appreciate or comprehend what is being said or read until it is experienced. I have no illusions that this will be a cake walk. This will be a challenge for myself and my wife, probably more so for her as my scenery is changing, she is left to handle all the things that I have always handled. Will the struggle be real? oh yea but I am confident and hopeful that 20-years of marriage, great communication and our complete backing and support of each other will help us both navigate these challenges.

I don't know what I don't know, I am starting a new career at the bottom, and the only thing in my past that can help me be successful is the experiences of my past, being more mature (aka older), and hopefully wiser. :)

It doesn't matter my success in the past, my ego gets checked at the door as I humbly approach this with an open mind and willingness to learn all I can from those that know WAY more than I do!

I appreciate all the wisdom and positive vibes from this site. Cheers.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Norwozzer

Its great you are starting with Jim Palmer. I grew up in Missoula and look forward to your journey. I hope you will start a diary. Once I retire in 16 months, (not that I am counting) I will attend there Paid CDL program. My son is about 1/4 of his way through training with WilTrans. He has been enjoying it.

Best of luck. Chris

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum!

BruceK and Old School, Thanks for the words of wisdom. I have been devouring everything I can read on here, lot of great people and advice. I report Monday 3/31 to Jim Palmer/Wilson Logistics in Missoula. Excited and anxious, but ready.

Try to focus some time over the next several days on this:

High Road CDL Training Program

And this:

You’ll be better prepared once you invest time in both of these tracks.

Good luck!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.
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