Please Help? Need Advice.

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Rafa C.'s Comment
member avatar

Good evening everyone,

Over the years I found trucking truth that has helped me doing research; and gain a better understanding of the trucking industry along with its pros and cons.

I am currently 35 years old and have worked in warehouse's my whole life. Eventually I became a supervisor, then a manager and have now worked in a leadership role for 15 years. I have been interested in becoming a truck driver for the past ten years. My reasons have been: great career choice, challenging, better pay with experience, and that each day is different.

The number one reason I haven't applied to a school, or looked into begin driving with companies offering paid training has been that I am married and have three children: A 14 year old, 13 year old, and a 6 year old. My end goal is to become a local truck driver to see my family daily. While I totally understand that driving over the road is a lifestyle I need advice with the following questions?

1. Should I seek a private truck driving school or a company that pays for my training? I understand sponsored training would require a contract in most cases and that I would be out on the road up to six weeks at a time. I talked to my wife and have considered this option whether I get my training paid through a sponsored program, or I attend a private school. Primarily to gain proper experience. Ideally I'd love to find something local, but I am open to putting in the time to drive over the road if needed. 2. If I attend and pay for a trucking school to train me are there local jobs that would hire and train me? 3. I currently make 3400 net income monthly. Due to payments due each month I would need to seek making this amount or something close. is this feasible in my first year?

Please share with me thoughts and advice. It is very important and valuable to me.

Best regards,

Rafael Cuevas

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Please check out my local rookie video

There are things to know....such as it could be 14 hour days plus the commute and you only get 10 hours off including the commute. Which means if you live an hour away...you only get 8 hours to sleep shower see family and eat. Plus much of it is back breaking work (im old and past that lol) plus these are high demand jobs so could be scarce....not to mention can be in really tight areas requiring great skills you wont have for awhile.

Considering Local Driving as a Rookie?

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I got my start local. I was in the same position as you. I couldn't be gone for weeks at a time due to the structure of my home life and I didn't want to be.

I was trained by FedEx Freight. I was paid 20 an hour to work the dock and train. It was a pay cut from what I was making before I came here, but I was tired of warehouse work and I wanted more job security. If the warehouse were to fire me tomorrow I know I didn't gain any skills that would be valued anywhere else. If FedEx fires me tomorrow, I have a clean CDL with a little over a year experience. I'll be fine.

This pass month I net 3,560. On Friday I'll bring home a little over 900 and I worked 50 hours this week because I had 20 hours left on my 70. Starting out I was bringing home about 650 a week, but it wasn't hard to make a little extra in this gig era we're in. I made a few extra bucks doing grubhub and ubereats.

There have been weeks, primarily after everything reopened, where I work my entire 70 and I go home to take a shower, go to bed, wake up and go back to work.

The other part of working locally is the start time. I currently have a 2AM start time. Most local jobs bid start times based on seniority which means you'd get the shift nobody wants being new.

You can read about my training experiences Here

Like Kearsey said, you may get thrown to the wolves at some local companies, but that hasn't been my experience at FedEx Freight. I'm given the opportunity to hone my skills and I do so every chance I get. I blindside back even if I can sight side because I can already sight side back, but I struggle with blindside. I also back at angles even when I can straight back.

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.
Joseph I.'s Comment
member avatar

$800-$1000 a week is right in the ballpark weekly before taxes and medical. As for being local if you have been in warehousing for 15 years talk to the drivers that come to your facility. The job you are looking for may be coming into your place every week already. It never hurts having contacts in any job hunt. I went to a private school to get my CDL because I needed no help with driving, I already had many years of semi driving experience just no CDL and I had the job lined up beforehand. If that were not the case the private school would be the wrong way from what I understand. A major company will want to put you through their training anyway and guarantee you a job when successfully completed with no out of pocket cost and pay you for the trouble of training 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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

It's hard to know if that income is possible because we're unsure of any deductions you take. What is the GROSS (before taxes/benefits)?

What area of the country are you from? That will play a large role in what local jobs are available. We always recommend you start out OTR because you'll be slowly broken in. Many days OTR you may only back up a couple times but with local driving you're backing up possibly a dozen or more in congested urban areas per day. That's on top of managing heavy traffic and needing to stay on schedule. We've seen many drivers come through here thinking they landed the perfect job. They only lasted a couple months because of backing accidents that the company could no longer keep them. Now you're a driver with accidents AND terminated due to that and less than 1 year of experience. That's a deep hole to get yourself out of. Have you considered a company like TMC (and others) that can get you home nearly every weekend?

With that being said I started local and that's all I've done. My reasons were similar to yours but let me tell you it's very risky. I recently purchased a house that's a perfect fit for us but now it's a 45-50 minute commute one way in perfect weather. If I put in 14 hour days which isnt uncommon with my current job my schedule tends to look like this. Wake up at 10pm, clock in about 11pm. Get done between 11am and 1pm. Get home about 2ish. By the time I shower and unwind a bit it's close to 3. Play with my young children, eat dinner about 430 and crawl in bed 530 to 6pm. That means I'll only get 4 hours of sleep with that schedule. Thankfully I can nap while waiting in docks but its still rough. Some days I get home and I'm so tired I don't really spend any time with the family I just come home and sleep. With that being said I love this job and industry and the financial security it allows. Starting out pay will be lower but currently I make enough for 2 vehicle payments, house payment and my wife stays home with out 3 young kids. My wife has told me she thinks emotionally it'd be easier for me to go OTR because when I am home mentally I'm not. I'm trying to get ready for the following day.

If you enjoy diaries I wrote 2 of them with my experiences doing local work. Here is one doing Food Delivery to restaurants in Des Moines Iowa, and here is one Delivering to grocery stores

There are other types of local jobs but these are what I'm most familiar with. I'll check back in a couple hours to answer any other questions you may have about local work.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Where you live may affect what’s available.

My first year (six years ago) I made $40k OTR , dry van , home twice monthly. Second year was $50k but stayed out a little longer.

After two years driving nationwide, I went to a southeast regional company. Been here four years, get home weekly or more and bring home $800-$1200/week.

You have to find out what scenario meets your needs.

I hope this helps.

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.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar
It's hard to know if that income is possible because we're unsure of any deductions you take. What is the GROSS (before taxes/benefits)?

That's a good point. I gross between 1,200 and see 1,500 a week on average. Fridays check will gross a little over 1500 and I'll net around 900. Some weeks may be more and some weeks may be less. I contribute 7 percent to my 401K and I get taxed as single no dependants. I consider it an interest free loan to the government. I'd rather do that than get a surprise bill in April. When I was training I was grossing 800 a week.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Rafa keep in mind your numbers could vary based on your deductions as stated before but this is my situation. I went back and looked as at my pay stubs. To net (amount deposited to your account) 3400 a month,which comes out to about 41,000 rounded up. I claim 5 dependents for both federal and state. 6% into my 401k, medical/dental/vision, $20 a week into HSA it took me grossing nearly $67,000, or just under $1300 a week before I had take home pay of roughly $4300 a month. Does this sound similar to you? We have had drivers gross over $50,000 their first year an an OTR but 40k-45k is much more common. Keep in mind pay is directly based on how many miles you're turning. You could make far more doing linehaul (pulling doubles) and be home daily but those are difficult to get into without experience and you're almost guaranteed to work overnights for a substantial amount of time.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Please check out my local rookie video

There are things to know....such as it could be 14 hour days plus the commute and you only get 10 hours off including the commute. Which means if you live an hour away...you only get 8 hours to sleep shower see family and eat. Plus much of it is back breaking work (im old and past that lol) plus these are high demand jobs so could be scarce....not to mention can be in really tight areas requiring great skills you wont have for awhile.

Considering Local Driving as a Rookie?

Hi, Thank you for the advice and the youtube link.

Rafa C.'s Comment
member avatar

It's hard to know if that income is possible because we're unsure of any deductions you take. What is the GROSS (before taxes/benefits)?

What area of the country are you from? That will play a large role in what local jobs are available. We always recommend you start out OTR because you'll be slowly broken in. Many days OTR you may only back up a couple times but with local driving you're backing up possibly a dozen or more in congested urban areas per day. That's on top of managing heavy traffic and needing to stay on schedule. We've seen many drivers come through here thinking they landed the perfect job. They only lasted a couple months because of backing accidents that the company could no longer keep them. Now you're a driver with accidents AND terminated due to that and less than 1 year of experience. That's a deep hole to get yourself out of. Have you considered a company like TMC (and others) that can get you home nearly every weekend?

With that being said I started local and that's all I've done. My reasons were similar to yours but let me tell you it's very risky. I recently purchased a house that's a perfect fit for us but now it's a 45-50 minute commute one way in perfect weather. If I put in 14 hour days which isnt uncommon with my current job my schedule tends to look like this. Wake up at 10pm, clock in about 11pm. Get done between 11am and 1pm. Get home about 2ish. By the time I shower and unwind a bit it's close to 3. Play with my young children, eat dinner about 430 and crawl in bed 530 to 6pm. That means I'll only get 4 hours of sleep with that schedule. Thankfully I can nap while waiting in docks but its still rough. Some days I get home and I'm so tired I don't really spend any time with the family I just come home and sleep. With that being said I love this job and industry and the financial security it allows. Starting out pay will be lower but currently I make enough for 2 vehicle payments, house payment and my wife stays home with out 3 young kids. My wife has told me she thinks emotionally it'd be easier for me to go OTR because when I am home mentally I'm not. I'm trying to get ready for the following day.

If you enjoy diaries I wrote 2 of them with my experiences doing local work. Here is one doing Food Delivery to restaurants in Des Moines Iowa, and here is one Delivering to grocery stores

There are other types of local jobs but these are what I'm most familiar with. I'll check back in a couple hours to answer any other questions you may have about local work.

Hi Rob, Thank you for the feedback and advice. The amount I am currently making is net. While each pay period varies slightly I get paid every two weeks and net income is an average of 1667 net (month: 3200-3400 23/hr). I currently reside in Fontana, California. As you mentioned about recommending over the road due to the many daily challenges of becoming local. That is something that I have thought of as well to put in a year over the road especially because of the points you've highlighted when it comes to safety and being very risky. The only concern I had with the pay was because of the monthly commitments I have with payments, but if ti wasn't for that pay would be the last of my concerns. I am ready for a change and truck driving has been appealing to me for years now, and because of family and the fear of change I kept holding back. Now that I've reached a point were I am no longer happy with my line of work I'm ready to make the change. Thanks again for your time.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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