Part-time Trucking - Is It Possible?

Topic 28204 | Page 1

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Mark L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi. I know this topic has been discussed before and I have read some of the comments which mostly say it's not a very likely possibility. But, if you will allow me, I'd like to readdress it.

I am not a trucker. I'm 49 years old, married for the last 23 years, have one kid who will be a junior in high school and one who is a young adult. My wife is a physician so I have pretty much been what people used to call, "Mr. Mom" while she has been working on her schooling, training and career over the last 17 years. It may sound weird to some of you but it's worked for us. Now, I want to try something new as my youngest is getting older and trucking just keeps coming at me in the form of Youtube vlogs and websites like this.

Anyway, to me driving a truck looks fun and interesting and I think I can see myself doing it but only on a part time basis. Being OTR for long stretches would not work for me or my family. But, working maybe three days a week or something similar would. I just read in one of the posts that Brett Aquilla wrote that he was able to take long stretches of time off from the big companies that he's worked for and they didn't mind at all. Here is the quote:

I've taken MONTHS off at times and simply been told, "Ok, just turn your truck in to the terminal and let us know when you're ready to return and we'll get ya goin' again."

Click here for articlehttps://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-23/choosing-a-truck-driving-job-part-v-comparing-large-trucking-companies-to-small-ones

So, I ask again, is it possible to work part time in the trucking industry for the big companies or is it pretty much a no-go? Any input, advice or stories will all be very much welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

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.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

No, not likely. You will never get the necessary skills, nor experience needed by only driving banker hours. Without the needed experience, you have no credibility to a potential employer.

There's a lot more to this than driving from Point A to Point B.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Mark, part time trucking jobs are really tough to find. You're quote from Brett simply doesn't apply to your situation. He was a valued, time tested, proven asset on a team. He's not even making a reference to part time trucking. He's simply showing that a valued driver doesn't get black-balled for taking a short break from this career and then returning.

You have to realize how this business is structured. It is an asset based business. When the assets sit idle (no driver in them) they are not only not profitable, but they are costly. For this business to work properly those assets need to be moving freight as much as possible. That's why truckers work such long crazy hours. Those assets need to be producing revenues. Assets used "part time" become liabilities on a balance sheet.

Sometimes part time jobs are available, but not only are they rare, they generally go to folks with years of experience, who are wanting to work less in their later years.

Trucking may not be your best option if you have other commitments.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

You may want to look at Roehl. They have a 7 on 7 off program. They have their own cdl school also. You would go through school and initial training, then they do require some time to get experience before allowing it, but it is possible.

My initial trainer was on it and for his situation it worked well. His wife had her own business and he worked the 7/7 to get out of the house a bit.

That is the only big company doing that type of schedule to my knowledge.

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

Freightdog (Shaun)'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, it is possible but will likely take you putting in a year or so in a full time capacity first in order to gain requisite experience. I am a part time driver after taking a strange journey to get here.

I am a professional pilot. In 2013, after being laid off from my cargo airline position, I made the decision to get my CDL to have a backup skill set given the inherent instability in the airline industry. The plan was to drive until I was recalled to my airline to gain some experience and try something new, as I was burnt out on aviation at that point in my life. I enrolled in private CDL school and got my CDL-A and doubles/triples, tanker, and HAZMAT endorsements and went to work for Schneider. Fast forward 7 months, and I was recalled to my airline on a different fleet than I'd been on before being furloughed. I left Schneider on good terms and went back to my flying career. I figured that was that. I'd gotten my CDL and given trucking a try. Back to the real world.

Fast forward a year. The new fleet type was a grueling middle of the night grind, flying multiple legs six days a week domestically for several weeks in a row, day sleeping in hotel rooms--all for less pay and quality of life than I'd had previously (had been flying the Boeing 777 internationally before; now I was flying the 737 domestically). The familiar feeling of burnout reignited.

"Self? Remember how you really enjoyed driving truck?"

"Yes."

"How's about going back to that. This flying crap is for the birds."

"Okay. Let's do it!"

This was officially my first midlife crisis. I tendered my resignation with the airline and it just so happened that a local trucking company in my area needed a driver. A friend of mine was a driver there and was being promoted to director of safety. The caveat was that he needed to find his replacement before assuming his new duties. I messaged him on Facebook and asked if he thought I'd be competitive given the advertised 24 months of experience that the company. I only had 7 months. Long story short, two of my friends who are in management at the company took it up with the company president who interviewed me personally, and voila...I was hired.

I drove full time in the southeast regional division for a year when a combination of factors, including that I hadn't really gotten my finances in order (leaving flying when I did was admittedly an emotionally based decision). Also, the time away from flying made me miss it. I put a plan in motion to return to the sky and have been back at it for the past five years.

The cool thing is that the trucking company let me stay on part time. So now I have the best of both worlds and am pretty content with the arrangement. I am a Boeing 767 first officer with a cargo airline and drive tractor trailer part time on my days off. Usually I drive locally running loads into and out of our local port but for the past 5 months I've also been driving some over the road when I have a big enough chunk of time off to allow for that (I'm single with no kids, so can pretty much do what I want to). As a matter of fact, I'm actually writing this from the sleeper of the truck I'm driving this week on a nice 6 day North Carolina-Illinois-Pennsylvania-North Carolina run. I'll finish the run on Tuesday and then leave Sunday on my next airline rotation.

So mine is not the usual path, but just sharing it to let you know it's possible to forge a part time position but may take an intermediate period of gaining full time quality experience first.

I know several of the larger companies have part time positions. Roehl has been mentioned. Schneider has advertised for part time at various times (probably a 7 on, 7 off type deal like Roehl). I've also seen part time casual driver positions at Epes Transport, depending on where you live. Obviously, given the current state of the economy, these companies may have limited access to those types of opportunities.

One thing that I'll mention, and as Old School alluded to, I work very hard at ensuring that I drive often enough to stay proficient. It's pretty easy, given that I don't do this all the time, to forget stuff (45° alley docks are my nemesis in this regard. If too long a period passes between driving shifts, it's like starting all over again when I try to back again. I was humbled just yesterday in Illinois by this phenomenon, when I had to back from the street into a sunken dock with a brick wall on one side, a building on the other, and not much room in the street out front of the dock to maneuver. I got it in there. I didn't hit anything. But it was not pretty and was incredibly stressful.) I have to compensate for this by making sure I'm proactive in seeking work (a win/win for the company and myself...two of the loads I'm running this week wouldn't have otherwise been covered) and by being overly paranoid/vigilant when I am at work. I take things REAL slow and think through what I'm doing. Driving one of these things is a big responsibility and I try to approach it with the same level of professionalism that I do when I strap the big Boeing onto my back.

Anyway, just my experience in the industry thus far as it relates to your question. Good luck with whatever you ultimately seek to do!

-Shaun

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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