Trucking For Me?

Topic 28284 | Page 1

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Damion H.'s Comment
member avatar

I'll do my best to keep this short and concise,

I'm an early 30s male, working in local government (union). It's a good job, no doubt about it, I'm content enough. Now that that is out of the way, I love driving. I have a class B CDL already (Automatic restriction). I even enjoy driving my little Toyota around aimlessly for the adventure. I don't have any family, and most of my friends have moved away and we stay in touch playing computer games and whatnot. I've looked at trucking since my mid 20s just because the lifestyle seems appealing. I'd prefer to travel all over the US and some neighboring countries as required. From what I've read this is more of a drawback for most folks because they're not with their families/friends, but as mentioned previously, that isn't an issue for me. I'm a little confused on what I might realistically earn my year, and one of the big headaches I hear from a lot of folks is how harshly you can be monitored by your company, which also made me wonder how folks enjoy driving their own rig and handling their own hauls, like an Owner Operator.

I'll leave that as the meat and vegetables of it for now and do my best to answer anything I wasn't clear enough on. I'm in no rush to change anything, like I said, I've got a good thing going on just wonder if I want something different from folks who are doing it before making a big change. I appreciate what ya'll do! 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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum! I love what I do but starting out it's quite stressful. I kick myself in the butt for not getting started in this earlier. Realistically you can expect to make somewhere around 35k to 40k your first year. There are some who catch on really quick and make $50,000 or more their first year as an OTR driver. Your pay is directly affected by how many miles you run. We highly recommend you steer clear of Owning or Leasing a truck. We have members here making over $80,000 a year and they don't have the headache of running a business. O/O almost always try to say they're making well over $150,000 a year but that's before all their expenses come out. One of our moderators, PJ, owns his truck and recently needed to dish out 15k in repairs. As a company driver you don't need to worry about any of that.

Take a look at these links, especially Brett's book.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Damion; Welcome!!

Rob T is dead on with the 35-40k for the first year. My first year I grossed around $34.5k. And it was a hard year, 10 weeks of training at $50/day training pay (I had a longer learning curve) followed by months trying to figure out how to make hours of service legally work to my advantage. (Long before i discovered TT!) Owning your own truck, or going right into a lease program is not highly recommended by the folks here. If you are curious, go back and read some of the threads. Read them without preconceptions, and recognize that none of the moderators on here are going to try to steer you into what is likely to be a negative experience.

You will be monitored by your company, without a doubt. After you go solo, they are entrusting you with a 35+ ton guided missile with their name on the side, and their legal liability inside. Cameras are everywhere, forward facing is virtually an insurance company requirement for trucking companoes, and rear facing is becoming more commonplace. To inderstand why, All you need do is drive down any major interstate highway near population centers, and you'll see the signs advertising the "injured by a big truck?" accident lawyers. My outfit requires the dash cam be on and functioning properly as part of the daily pretrip. Four times that I know of, those cameras have been used by the company and law enforcement - three times to support driver not at fault in a crash, once to aid in an attempt murder prosecution arising from an incident the driver was a witness to.

As you demonstrate reliability and a willingness to "ride for the brand" the level of scrutiny will become less noticeable, and you'll start to develop a reputation for excellence that will gain you better (read more miles) runs, and easier access to home time.

Its a long highway to get there, but by demonstraying self initiative, the willingness to openly accept feedback and apply that to improve, and a demeanor of enjoyment of the lifesryle of the OTR driver, eventually you'll find yourself a valuable asset to the outfit.

Good luck to you Keep us posted on your journey.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Tim M.'s Comment
member avatar

Just starting out,good advice from these men. Don't try lease purchase or become an O/O. You get years and mikes behind you,I say go for O/O if you want. That's all I ever did. I did okay before I retired. I remember back in the 70's and early 80's,truck manufactures geared their ads towards O/O. One of Kenworth ads read,"an operator can't afford any less". Freightliner had a ad in the very early 80'a. "If a man has the guts to go it alone,build him a truck tough enough to take it". If being an O/O is not a good idea,then I don't understand why the truck manufacturers would come up with ads directed at O/O. Like I said,I was always an O/O. Nerve wracking and sleepless nights at times,but the good times always outweighed that. If you do go O/O in the future. Keep rolling. I've seen a lot of guys sitting in the coffee stop. Drinking coffee,smoking cigarettes and telling lies. Then they start crying about not being able to make this months truck payment. Good luck with your future.

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