Trucking As A Second Career

Topic 27511 | Page 1

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Jason S.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m planning to make a career change and have been looking seriously at trucking. I read a lot of info online, and much of it conflicts, so it’s hard to get an accurate picture. One of my biggest questions is, can I get a regional trucking job right out of CDL school that 1) pays well and 2) offers decent home time? By pays well I mean starting in the mid-forties. By decent home time I mean home on weekends or gone for 2 weeks and home for 3 or 4 days. Do jobs like that exist, or are those unrealistic expectations?

Some info about me: I’m 49 years old, have a wife and two teenagers, and live in the northeast. I’m also new to this forum and this is my first post, so apologies if I break an online etiquette. Thanks

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Jason! I started trucking as a second career also. I have 5 weeks left in my 8 week CDL school.

Most of the students at my school get picked up by the 8 to 10 regional carriers in the area. We are in West Central Illinois. Sharkey, Gully, Thompson Inc., Dot Foods Transportation, and others are all within an hour. All pay in the mid 40's to start. Most get you home every weekend, or at least part of every weekend. YMMV.

Good luck!

DeanOfMack

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Unless the jobs pay hourly it's hard to guarantee what you will make. In this industry most jobs pay per mile. You need to turn the miles to get paid. With that said we've had members make over $50k their first year, others have only made $30k. We have a member that went to TMC and made over $70k his first year [Disclaimer: He was paid a percentage of the load and the rates were much better than they currently are.]

You'll likely see "dollar accounts", dedicated for stores like dollar general or dollar tree, offering money in that range but DONT DO IT!

If you want to be home nearly every weekend check out flatbed companies such as TMC or McElroy. There are others but those are only ones I can think of at this time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I think you can but it will take a lot of diligence. One thing I’d forget about is going out 2 weeks home for 3 or 4 days. I doubt any company does this but If they do you wouldn’t get a check every third week. Stick to getting home for the resets.

Jason S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for your replies. I appreciate hearing your thoughts. And Dean, I’ve been reading some your other posts on this site about your experiences starting out in trucking. I hope you keep going with those. They’ve been super helpful to me.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hellol Jason, and welcome to our forum!

You'll discover trucking is full of people your age, and many of us started this as our second career. I was 53 when I jumped in, and I celebrated my 60th birthday while on the road this week. I'm still loving it, and making solid money while really enjoying myself is just icing on the cake.

You should consider flatbed companies. There are many that offer regional gigs with weekends at home. Look into Maverick, TMC, and McElroy. If any of them are hiring from your area you could earn the money you're looking for and get home for a little while each weekend too. If you develop yourself into a Top Tier Driver, you'll soon be earning twice that amount of money.

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.

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.

Jason S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School. Good to know there are others out there like me who’ve made this same transition and done well. And thanks also for the tip about flatbed companies. I checked out three you mentioned, and they look good.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for your replies. I appreciate hearing your thoughts. And Dean, I’ve been reading some your other posts on this site about your experiences starting out in trucking. I hope you keep going with those. They’ve been super helpful to me.

You are most welcome. I can rarely post Monday thru Thursday as I travel to class at 5:30 am and don't get home until 5:30 pm. it will be worth it in the end.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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