A New Career

Topic 27972 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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Greg, you are responsible for the load. It doesn't matter where you park it. We all do stuff for our own entertainment, but we are careful about leaving that load unattended. This is something you'll develop a sense for. There are certain places I'd never leave an unattended trailer. To be honest, very few truck stops will allow you to drop a trailer.

Your first year is a huge learning curve. Focus on learning to be productive. You'll have very little free time. This isn't a paid tourist trip across the country. You're going to find opportunities to explore a bit, and they are great, but right now that should be a low priority for you.

PackRat's Comment
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Most truck stops have free parking, unless really close to a major city: Chicago, LA, NJ, Miami. There are Reserved Parking spots that are charged by a 24 hour period. The only thing special about these are it's a shorter walk for the young, out of shape crowd to the fast food joint inside the main building.

I park in the back row and enjoy the walk. Doesn't cost anything either.

Dan F.'s Comment
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Here is something you really have to remember.. There are a bazillion different companies all of which do things differently. This means that you just have to find one that is for you if you decide you decide you like this job.

One thing that I would tell you is you need to make a commitment and do it for at least a year and a half even if you don’t like it.

Bigger companies have more structure and more rules and generally less pay especially when you’re new. But often times they also have better equipment. For instance if you really want to stretch out you might look at a company that will put you in a brand new Peterbilt 579 ultra loft with an APU and inverter.

If you decide to go this route you can also bargain with any company and give them an ultimatum to put in writing that they will reimburse ALL paid parking.

Another key to success if you start this job, is going and putting the effort forth to understand and learn how the company you work for gets and distributes its loads (planners, dispatchers, sales and brokers) Learning that backend will help you help them and make you more valuable in which case many times you can be rewarded or giving leeway.

One more question and I'm sorry if I ask it awkwardly.

I know truckers have hours of service laws about how much you can drive and then you have to rest. I know there's no hard and set rule, but do you find with loads you typically have enough time that you are able to have some time off duty before you have to go to bed, or is it off duty and jump into bed because you've been allocated just enough time to deliver it and stay within the law?


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.


Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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