Choosing First Company - Confused About Logistics

Topic 28247 | Page 1

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Emma's Comment
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Hello everyone. I’m the wife of a new trucker, he just passed his CDL test (hooray!) and we are now looking at all the options for companies with which to start his journey.

I’ve read extensively the discussions, advice and articles on this site and cannot express my gratitude to Brett and all the moderators and contributors who care about their industry and want to help the rookies succeed and join the ranks of happy, successful men and women out there on the road.

My husband and I both have strong blue collar values and were raised with a strong work ethic and deep respect for the advice and guidance of elders (meaning those with more experience, not necessarily older in age!) so I am extra grateful to all of you, and if I could get a little help and feedback I would be even more appreciative.

Since I’m the one obsessed with research and spreadsheets, I’m finding out all the likely companies he should contact. It’s nice to see that there is a large number of companies who train new drivers, but trying to narrow down the options is becoming our problem. Even more so reading the advice of the experienced truckers here saying that it’s not such a big deal where you start out because it is your work ethic, attitude, attention to detail, etc. that will determine your career arc. Good news, but then my spreadsheet comparing cpm and health insurance and tuition reimbursement and training weeks etc etc etc seems kind of useless!

We are operating under the assumption that new drivers are expected to pay their dues, garner experience faster going cross-country and therefore are typically are out for several weeks at a time with a few days off in between. So a way to narrow it down would be to find companies where he can start and end his (run? haul? journey?) close to home to maximize his time here. Right? Therefore I should look for companies with terminals within several hours of our home (Southern California). Is that correct?

I see companies that say they are only hiring in a certain geographical area but allegedly have terminals everywhere, and also companies that list only one terminal but say they are hiring everywhere which makes me think I'm not on the right track. Maybe I don’t understand what a terminal actually is?

Any advice or guidance in this area would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Emma! Welcome aboard!

It's confusing, but only because you don't understand how this works. Terminal location isn't what determines or assists getting a driver home. Freight and customer locations help a driver go home. Each of the companies you look into will have a "hiring area" on their website. That hiring area is based on customer locations, or areas of the country they deliver freight to.

I've never lived close to my terminal. I live in Texas, but my current position has it's terminal in Gulfport, MS. The truth is, I haven't even been to that terminal in about two and a half years! Well, that's not exactly true, because I was there one time about a year ago, to pick up my new truck.

I have no problem getting home when I request it. I keep in touch with my dispatcher , making sure he is aware that I need to be home near a certain required date, and when we get close to that date he makes sure I get a load that delivers in Texas. When I'm done with the assignment he tells me to go home and let him know when I'm ready to get back to work.

This gets easier with experience, but the main thing you need to realize is that your terminal location is not important for an OTR (over the road) driver. Relax, toss that spread sheet! This isn't rocket science. Trust your good upbringing - you and your husband's work ethic will guide you guys in the right direction.

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
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What he should do, is apply everywhere. See what offers he gets, and THEN make that decision on which company will be the best fit, regarding hometime, type of freight, passengers or pets, etc.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Good advice from both Susan and Old School.

Not sure if you and/or your husband have read Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving. It will help you both establish realistic expectations and better understand how things work. Highly recommended.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

One more thing CPM doesn't always mean everything. High CPM and low miles could be less money then low CPM and high miles. With more experience more miles are easier.

As far as what company to start with, pick the one that best fits your needs. There is no such thing as a perfect company. Most companies are what one makes of them.

Good luck.

I think everyone knows my choice. 😁

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

I’m fairly new to the trucking life and had the same concerns about terminal locations. What I found out is what the others have stated. Customer locations and freight lanes are the determining factor and those will be reflected in the hiring areas. I haven’t been to a terminal in two months. We do have terminals in my area but the only time I go there is for free laundry. I packed an extra weeks worth of clothes and now no need for even that.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thank you all so much for the advice! I mean I may or may not have had a small stroke at Old School's 'toss the spreadsheet' comment but it all makes sense now. We will keep learning and researching and I'm sure we will be back for more advice.

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