Need Help Making A Decision

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Ron J.'s Comment
member avatar

Graduated trucking school and got my class A cdl with tanker and doubles and triples endorsement, shortly after I started applying for local jobs around my area and quickly heard back from Pam and Universal Logistics. Im stuck on deciding which job to take Universal pays 22 and hour while Pam pays 25.50 an hour benefits are better with Universal and universal offers a 5000 dollar sign on. The part that makes me most conflicted is that Universal will have me with a trainer for 5 to 6 weeks doing the job that I will be doing solo and no otr and pam will only send me otr with a mentor for 14 days and then send me off solo to the local route. Money isnt really a big issue for me im not chasing the money just chasing a more enjoyable career than I previously had, I also want to set myself up to be successful and to not make any potential mistakes in the future when solo and I feel that 14 days otr just isnt enough time and experience to then send me out making me think that the pay cut for universal might be the way to go. Any helpful information or your thought on what I should do is greatly appreciated and helpful, thanks!

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.

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.

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Graduated trucking school and got my class A cdl with tanker and doubles and triples endorsement, shortly after I started applying for local jobs around my area and quickly heard back from Pam and Universal Logistics. Im stuck on deciding which job to take Universal pays 22 and hour while Pam pays 25.50 an hour benefits are better with Universal and universal offers a 5000 dollar sign on. The part that makes me most conflicted is that Universal will have me with a trainer for 5 to 6 weeks doing the job that I will be doing solo and no otr and pam will only send me otr with a mentor for 14 days and then send me off solo to the local route. Money isnt really a big issue for me im not chasing the money just chasing a more enjoyable career than I previously had, I also want to set myself up to be successful and to not make any potential mistakes in the future when solo and I feel that 14 days otr just isnt enough time and experience to then send me out making me think that the pay cut for universal might be the way to go. Any helpful information or your thought on what I should do is greatly appreciated and helpful, thanks!

Hay, Ron .. and welcome to Trucking Truth !

Is this 'Universal Logistics' that you speak of, the one in Chardon, Ohio? PAM is really big in Ohio, as well. Had you put your 'location' in the profile screen, it would be easier for the veterans on here, to reply. Perhaps you can update that?

Why don't you want to start OTR, anyway? 14 DAYS is a dip in the pond, imho. OTR >> That's the recommended way to go, for starters, and the vets & mods will explain that to you, shortly.

Anyhow... If you'd provide location, and answer the above . . I can give some feedback; as can the seasoned hands on here.

Thanks if ya can, Ron! AND YEAH ~~~!! Congrats on completion and getting your CDL, too! Care to share who schooled ya? 160 Certificate? The more info YOU give, the more the mods can give back. :)

~ Anne ~

ps: Anymore you could share, re: your training . . . would help these vets/mods GUIDE ya!

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.

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.

Ron J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Anne thanks for the reply! I graduated from tdi in south bend with a 154 hour certificate. The only reason i dont want to go otr for training is 14 days doing mostly highway driving i feel like wont properly equip me with the proper skills i need in my local position, where with universal my training will be here in town for 6 weeks doing the same job ill be doing as a solo giving me the ins and outs of the job. Both jobs are hauling parts to GM just different companys. Universal is also a union if that makes a difference.

double-quotes-start.png

Graduated trucking school and got my class A cdl with tanker and doubles and triples endorsement, shortly after I started applying for local jobs around my area and quickly heard back from Pam and Universal Logistics. Im stuck on deciding which job to take Universal pays 22 and hour while Pam pays 25.50 an hour benefits are better with Universal and universal offers a 5000 dollar sign on. The part that makes me most conflicted is that Universal will have me with a trainer for 5 to 6 weeks doing the job that I will be doing solo and no otr and pam will only send me otr with a mentor for 14 days and then send me off solo to the local route. Money isnt really a big issue for me im not chasing the money just chasing a more enjoyable career than I previously had, I also want to set myself up to be successful and to not make any potential mistakes in the future when solo and I feel that 14 days otr just isnt enough time and experience to then send me out making me think that the pay cut for universal might be the way to go. Any helpful information or your thought on what I should do is greatly appreciated and helpful, thanks!

double-quotes-end.png

Hay, Ron .. and welcome to Trucking Truth !

Is this 'Universal Logistics' that you speak of, the one in Chardon, Ohio? PAM is really big in Ohio, as well. Had you put your 'location' in the profile screen, it would be easier for the veterans on here, to reply. Perhaps you can update that?

Why don't you want to start OTR, anyway? 14 DAYS is a dip in the pond, imho. OTR >> That's the recommended way to go, for starters, and the vets & mods will explain that to you, shortly.

Anyhow... If you'd provide location, and answer the above . . I can give some feedback; as can the seasoned hands on here.

Thanks if ya can, Ron! AND YEAH ~~~!! Congrats on completion and getting your CDL, too! Care to share who schooled ya? 160 Certificate? The more info YOU give, the more the mods can give back. :)

~ Anne ~

ps: Anymore you could share, re: your training . . . would help these vets/mods GUIDE ya!

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth, Ron. I believe you answered your own question, and thought your options out with maturity:

Money isnt really a big issue for me im not chasing the money just chasing a more enjoyable career than I previously had, I also want to set myself up to be successful and to not make any potential mistakes in the future

So Universal's $5G isn't the decision maker because that's not a long term feature. You're worrying about PAM's "only" two weeks OTR with a trainer seems too short, and it's not local training.

Here's a thought this web site stands behind: local is much more complicated than OTR. More tight spaces, more traffic, more backing than OTR. TBH, and I believe you understand this. As a freshly minted CDL license holder, you're not really ready for any of it. Let me tell you, the best place to learn how to safely drive possibly 40 tons of destruction and death is on the open, long distance road.

I'd suggest you take Universal's 5 Big Ones and 5-6 weeks of training. Like Anne says, the short term (5 weeks out of a 15 year career?) Issues are a dip in the pond. Yep, the extra $35 a day at PAM is speaking to you. In my opinion, getting a good solid final training experience will pay off in the long run.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Ron, welcome aboard! Congratulations on getting your CDL!

dancing-banana.gif dancing-banana.gif dancing-banana.gif

We don't recommend taking a local job as your first CDL driving job. If you're determined to go that route then I'd definitely take the one that's going to train you specifically on the routes and locations you'll be dealing with. You'll need every bit of training you can get.

Why You Don't Want To Start Your Driving Career Locally

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

No, I don't really need to know where you're from or where you went to school. It wouldn't change my answer.

We teach "best practices" here, and one of those practices is to not start your career by going local. There are far more career killing-dangers involved in local driving vs OTR.

Over the long term, companies and insurance companies alike want to see solid OTR experience. Unfortunately, local driving isn't always considered good experience by either. Imagine starting out local only to get into a minor accident, and then finding yourself unhireable by any other company. That happens far more often than you think.

Having a good base of OTR experience makes you more appealing, and gives you better bargaining power when applying for future driving jobs.

All that being said, you can still be successful taking the path you are choosing. Many drivers also start out local, and are doing very well. If you are firm about wanting to start local, then you just need to "set yourself up to be successful" as you say.

In your shoes, I'd continue to seek out other available positions, giving myself as many options as possible. For the sake of your question, however, let's go with the two options you presented.

If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the lower paying Universal simply for the extensive training I'd receive on the very routes I'd be taking solo. Two weeks OTR with Pam would do little to prepare you for the rigors of local driving. The hourly rate would play no part in my decision. Knowing my own work ethic, I'm confident I'd be bumped up the pay scale rather quickly anyway. Throw in the better benefits and sign on bonus, and it's a wash.

To be clear, I'm a mega carrier fan. Their support, financial, and logistical advantages are just unmatched, in my opinion. I know nothing of Pam or Universal. but that's what I would recommend based on what you've told us.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Don's Comment
member avatar

You cannot receive better recommendations than those offered by Turtle, Old School and Errol V. Stating that, I started OTR for a couple of months and then went local, and do not regret it. I had no issues adapting, and have been to a few consignee's who had docks located in some tight spots. City traffic requires you to "be on your toes" so to speak, constantly.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I had a very similiar position with Ryder servicing Toyota. I only had a few months experience so I had to go though a 6 week program with a trainer before I went solo. I thought the training I got was outstanding and for me personally much better than what I got OTR when I first got my CDL.

As far as the local vs OTR arguement I really don't think it applies here. Hauling auto parts you will be going from auto parts suppliers and GM facilities. You will be going to exactly the same kind of places OTR drivers do just maybe a little more often. For the most part the places you pick up and deliver to are going to be large facilities and primarily drop and hooks. Most likely you will take an empty or return racks from the auto plant out to a supplier and return with parts. Only thing local about it is your bed location. This is not local like food service, LTL P/D etc.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

If I were in your shoes I would go with the longer training on the route’s you will be working when you go solo. I’d rather be more prepared, comfortable and familiar with things once out on my own.

Ron J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for taking the time out of your day to give me help on making this decision its greatly appreciated @ Errol V. @Old School @Turtle @Don @Greg M. @Delco Dave. Ill definitely be going with Universal and as @Greg M. stated I will be going to mostly Michigan to grab parts and then bringing them back to Indiana in either a drop and hook or a live unload and live load. Again I really appreciate everyone sharing there knowledge with me, ill keep you guys updated in the future.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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