Contemplating A Career Change

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SRJ's Comment
member avatar

First I wanted to start by saying this site has been a wealth of knowledge in my research of obtaining my CDL. The training guides, diaries, and overall information provided here is simply fantastic. For that, THANK YOU!

Background - This is my first post and I will make every effort to keep it relatively short and to the topic. A brief background of myself may be beneficial. I am in my mid-years of life, been married to my wife for 22 years and have two amazing children ages 10 and 15, soon to be 16. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, spending 10 years in sales and sales management positions along with 14 years in law enforcement. I left law enforcement in August of 2016. 14 years was enough. Currently I have a secure part-time job that unfortunately does not require my mind to be stimulated in any which way, whatsoever. Pay is OK, but far less than my police officer days. I am very fortunate that my better half has been the main breadwinner for many years. Thus, I have been contemplating a career change for two main reasons:

1. Shorten the gap between my wife's contributions and my current contributions regarding providing for our family.

2. Have a career that I will enjoy and require my brain to function for the next 15 - 18 years, prior to hopefully being able to retire.

Why trucking you may ask? - I truly enjoy traveling and driving. In my early sales career days I was traveling 40,000 miles plus in multiple states. I have also been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit throughout the country in a Class A RV and enjoy this very much. I understand this isn't exactly the same, but I feel I can truly handle the driving part. Trucks have always been of interest to me, but my career path, up until now, has never put me to making the next step. I feel I have patience, flexibility, a desire to learn, strong work ethic, and have a sense of humor.

What have I done so far in this journey? - 1. I have contacted three companies that offer CDL Training and an area technical college that offers a program to obtain my CDL. The later has been scratched from my list. Each of the three companies provided somewhat thorough information of their specific training programs. I am comparing each of these in as much detail as I can. 2. I have been spending quite a bit of time on the forum and the training section preparing for a CDL permit. A wealth of information.

What is holding me back? – 1. 100% support from the rest of immediate family, ie. wife and kids. They are not flat-out saying, “We don’t want you do this.” More to the, “You are going to be gone all the time and you will miss all of our sporting events.” This is what I’m getting from the kids. Now the wife on the other hand may be just fine if I’m on the road and not home. ;) This became clear when she said to talk with the kids about how they feel. Kidding aside, I know she will support me and we both have parents in the area that are more than willing to help with the kids. 2. In the next couple of months a full-time position within my current company I work for will be opening up. Secure, yes, but truly difficult to get motivated, as it requires limited brainpower. There is no way I could spend the next 15 years in my current role.

What I’m seeking to learn further from you all? – Were any of you in a similar situation regarding kids when you starting trucking or maybe had kids while you were already driving? What other insight or advice might you be able to provide?

Thank you once again and I truly appreciate any feedback you can provide. Also, please let me know if you need any further information or clarification on my post. I think it may have become a bit wordy already. SRJ

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.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

I won’t bore you with a story.

I’ve got a 14 year old that’s playing football in the fall and basketball in the winter. I know for a fact that it would break his heart if I went back OTR and missed his games. I suspect yours would feel the same way.

We had a discussion just yesterday about me going back on the road in a couple years as a way to put away money for his college (I rent so the thought is to pay myself the rent into his 529)...we’ll see what happens.

Now I run for Ruan Transportation on a local Target account in Amsterdam NY. I just got back from picking up my son at basketball practice. Its a small thing...but it’s a big part of being a dad. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Good luck on your decision.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Trucking is difficult on families whether you're local or OTR. I started local and had a 1 year old and a 4 month old. Now my kids are 4, 2 and 1. I'm now with a company that has me working a 4 day work week, monday wednesday Saturday sunday. I make great money but primarily start between midnight and 2am. It puts me in a tough spot on the days I work because I'll only have 10 hours off most days. In that time I have a half hour commute each way, eat dinner, shower, spend time with family and I'm only left with 4 or 5 hours to try and sleep. Thankfully my kids are still young enough working weekends isnt a big deal and they aren't involved in extra curricular activities. It breaks my heart when my 4 year old asks if I work the next day and then says "daddy you work too much." My wife grew up with her dad never home because he was an OTR driver. She understands why he did that (to provide for the family) but her brothers grew up resenting him for never making it to their sporting events. Her dad switched to local about 15 years ago and the boys are just now starting to become close to him again. I dont recommend starting local but if you do linehaul would be your best bet. Those jobs are nearly impossible to land right out of school but it's possible. It may be in your families best interest to just deal with the boring job for now until they're 18. The best option for OTR may be a flatbed company such as TMC or McElroy that get you home nearly every weekend. You would still miss out on their activities during the week though.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I really appreciate the replies guys. It's a tough one as I definitely do not want my kids to recent me for being gone. Reading up this profession, it seems the first several months and first year can be the most challenging. Daughter in high school has a majority of her sporting events during the week and our son who is grade school has his basketball and baseball on the weekends.

I just briefly researched TMC. Looks like they offer a CDL training program as well and list positions available in the Milwaukee area. Knowing the possibility of being home on weekends may be an option, this may be a compromise everyone could live with. I'm going do a bit more research on TMC as they were not one of the 3 I have been looking at. Veriha, Schneider and Prime are the others I was referencing.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

I am in a similar situation with 3 boys 15,9,8 all involved in multiple sports. I am hoping to land something regional to be home on weekends for the family as well. There is an application on this site that you can fill out and all the major companies will get it rather going 1 company at a time

Apply For Paid CDL Training

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.

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.

Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

I really appreciate the replies guys. It's a tough one as I definitely do not want my kids to recent me for being gone. Reading up this profession, it seems the first several months and first year can be the most challenging. Daughter in high school has a majority of her sporting events during the week and our son who is grade school has his basketball and baseball on the weekends.

I just briefly researched TMC. Looks like they offer a CDL training program as well and list positions available in the Milwaukee area. Knowing the possibility of being home on weekends may be an option, this may be a compromise everyone could live with. I'm going do a bit more research on TMC as they were not one of the 3 I have been looking at. Veriha, Schneider and Prime are the others I was referencing.

Just keep in mind that “home on weekends” generally means you get home on Saturday at some point and reset til Monday AM. It does not mean that you get home Friday night and head back out Monday morning.

I see you are in the Milwaukee area. Have you looked at Roehl? They offer paid CDL training and have some of the most flexible home time programs.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

SRJ's Comment
member avatar

Delco Dave - Have you started with a company training program? Your situation sounds so similar to mine. I truly didn’t realize how involved this is when looking at different training programs and companies. Mind boggling. At least it gives me a reason to use my brain while working.

SRJ's Comment
member avatar

I have not researched Roehl yet. I am glad you mentioned that the weekends and in fact just finished a video regarding them that explained the Friday night arrival or Saturday morning home arrival and departure again on Sunday nights. Thanks again.

double-quotes-start.png

I really appreciate the replies guys. It's a tough one as I definitely do not want my kids to recent me for being gone. Reading up this profession, it seems the first several months and first year can be the most challenging. Daughter in high school has a majority of her sporting events during the week and our son who is grade school has his basketball and baseball on the weekends.

I just briefly researched TMC. Looks like they offer a CDL training program as well and list positions available in the Milwaukee area. Knowing the possibility of being home on weekends may be an option, this may be a compromise everyone could live with. I'm going do a bit more research on TMC as they were not one of the 3 I have been looking at. Veriha, Schneider and Prime are the others I was referencing.

double-quotes-end.png

Just keep in mind that “home on weekends” generally means you get home on Saturday at some point and reset til Monday AM. It does not mean that you get home Friday night and head back out Monday morning.

I see you are in the Milwaukee area. Have you looked at Roehl? They offer paid CDL training and have some of the most flexible home time programs.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

My suggestion was also going to be Roehl. There was a "7 and 7" option when I worked there. You drive for one week, then you're off for one week. It depends entirely on where you live in relation to their terminal , but Wisconsin has more than one.

Their CDL training rogram is tops, too.

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.

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Here is a thought... my friend went OTR for a year. then went local six months ago. His kids still constantly tell him "well you didnt know cause you werent here".

he missed his daughters prom. he is never going to live that down. Can YOU live with that?

i dont have kids..if i did.. i wouldnt be here. think long and hard. this is not a romantic "saving the universe, dad is a military guy keeping the country safe"... this is a "dad is hauling food, tires, Nike sneakers while he eats alone and misses our life" job.

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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