Leaving Gov. Job To OTR. Am I Crazy?

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Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

I’ve been a civil servant for the Department of Defense for the last 12 years and been around aircraft in one way shape or form since I left for the Navy when I was 20. (22 years). Now I’ve been dead ended in my current pay series for a couple years and I’m just burnt out. My wife and I are separating and my kids are from a previous marriage and live 6 hours away with their mother so I’m no stranger to long drives and actually look forward to road trips to see them. I would easily say I’m an introvert and the nomadic trucking lifestyle doesn’t seem like too far a stretch for me at all. I’ve been around the world in the Navy and lived in Japan while I was in. Seeing more of the states is a big draw for me and my favorite video game I still play is American Truck Simulator with a full sim rig Eaton shifter and all lol. I’ve been pouring over any info I can get my hands on and am 99% sure OTR is the next phase of my life but would like to hear more opinions. Is moving on from a $55k rock steady gravy job for a life on the road totally asinine? I feel like I’m the only one who really knows that answer but 🤷‍♂️.

Second part of this post is about newbie companies. I’ve talked to a few headhunters and was leaning towards Prime until I spoke to Maverick today and they want to get me in the flatbed glass division. At this point I think flatbed is where I’d like to head overall with my career but until I’m licensed and grinding out the experience I know that’s subject to change. Are there any standout companies for the total new guy that I might be missing. I’ve talked CRST, Prime, and Maverick. I’m located in Oklahoma City.

P.S. Great site and thank you everyone I’m so glad I came across all this new info.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum. Crazy? Only you will know that... we all started from the beginning; as are you. So no, I don’t think you are crazy. But like most things when undertaking this journey, in the end what you think and how you progress through various stages of the Newbie Phase matters must.

We suggest investing time in the following links; the Trucking Truth starter kit:

Questions, ask away. Do we have all the answers; not always, but we’ll do our level best to help ground your expectations and enable your success.

Good luck!

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I’ve been pouring over any info I can get my hands on and am 99% sure OTR is the next phase of my life but would like to hear more opinions. Is moving on from a $55k rock steady gravy job for a life on the road totally asinine?

Hello Jason, and welcome aboard!

I just want to assure you that you haven't lost all your marbles just yet. I can tell you that I would have gone crazy had I been in your shoes for the last 12 years. I am a rambler. I enjoy life as an adventure. I would have gone nuts in your job.

Let me warn you of something though. As you take the plunge into trucking, there will be times that you will seriously think you made the wrong decision. I think this happens to most of us in one form or another. I hope you will start now by preparing yourself for this adventure by being active here in our forum. Ask as many questions as your research brings to mind. Double check with us on things that you hear or read online. There is a lot of bogus information out there concerning this career. We do our best to keep a high standard of truth here in our discussions. We aren't here to provide silly fodder that entertains, but we do try to seriously educate people and provide proper and fair expectations. We hope we are amusing at times, but the truth is our priority.

One of the things that I think will surprise you is the fact that your job will be performance based. You won't have a scheduled salary that you can depend on. You will get paid for what you produce as a trucker. You may even experience a little bit of a pay cut during your first year out here. I just think you should be prepared for that. There's no reason in the world that you can't increase your pay as you gain experience, but that first year has a host of challenges that will keep you from being as productive as the veteran drivers. You will probably be surprised by the long hours too. We work hard. Many people are surprised at how exhausted they are at the end of their driving shift.

Remember, your first year out here is one big challenge. It will try the best of us. Make a goal of hanging with this for one full year. That commitment will change your whole destiny in trucking. There are a lot of folks like yourself who decide they want to leave their office cubicle and be free as a bird in a big rig. Thousands of them fail simply because they had unrealistic expectations. We will help you keep it real, and we will help you learn the ropes. Welcome to Trucking Truth! Now do your part and ask a lot of questions. That's how you make a great start at this.

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I couldnt say anything better than they said. I asked myself similar questions. It took me 6 months or more to make the decision and then to act on it. Im in company sponsored school now and am headed for training assuming I pass my cdl. I walked away from a business that has been pretty lucrative most of the time. I think its normal for us to question transitions like this. This community has a wealth of information that is accurate and really helped reaffirm my decisions. If you are anything like a lot of us here, there is something about the truck and the way of life that you just cant get out of your head.

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.
Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks you for the replies. As I talk to more and more recruiters and look into more companies the more excited I get and the less worried I get that I’m making a mistake. The fact that my pay is performance based for once is a huge check in the plus category for me. Haven’t found the one company that checks all the boxes to start with but I’ve come pretty close and since it’s my first, ultimately I’m just looking to get my feet wet and some solid experience. I plan on cashing out a wee bit of my 401k to supplement any loss of income and shed a few bills. So far I’m leaning towards TMC, Maverick, and Prime (in that order). I really think flatbed is gonna be my wheelhouse until my body starts to disagree. Also a lot of the energy industry out here is all flatbed/drop deck so if and when I’m ready for more home time a local outfit or even o/o is a little more feasible. TMC is percentage based so I’m a little leery of that (but looove the company trucks), and if I go Prime I feel like I’ll be sucked into the lease op side of things but, I do like the fact they have different divisions so I can get a little more well rounded resume.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi... I am a former postal.worker of a decade and a half...and a Prime company driver of almost 6 years...a team trainer and member of the Driver Advisory Board which meets with all levels of management to improve Prime for the drivers. We even meet with Prime owner Robert Low.

I can emphatically state without any reservation that you will NOT be forced into leasing. The lease push is a peer pressure from trainers and drivers....not Prime. Once you go company...your fleet manager will never ask you to switch because they would loose you as a driver to a lease fleet manager. So do not let that dissuade you from prime. I even use the "in going to go lease" as a threat to get what I want about once every 2 years when something frustrates me. Its a bluff... But efficient 😂

Any prime questions or problems I can help with so just ask.

Fleet Manager:

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.

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.

Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

😂 thank you. I’ll definitely keep you in mind when I start to really look at prime again. I don’t think it’s the company pushing it, I just kind of feel like I’d be drawn into the leasing on my own accord from the delusion of being an o/o someday or having a bit more say in what I spend my days in.

Hi... I am a former postal.worker of a decade and a half...and a Prime company driver of almost 6 years...a team trainer and member of the Driver Advisory Board which meets with all levels of management to improve Prime for the drivers. We even meet with Prime owner Robert Low.

I can emphatically state without any reservation that you will NOT be forced into leasing. The lease push is a peer pressure from trainers and drivers....not Prime. Once you go company...your fleet manager will never ask you to switch because they would loose you as a driver to a lease fleet manager. So do not let that dissuade you from prime. I even use the "in going to go lease" as a threat to get what I want about once every 2 years when something frustrates me. Its a bluff... But efficient 😂

Any prime questions or problems I can help with so just ask.

Fleet Manager:

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.

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.

Robert H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Jason and welcome. Don't let TMC's percentage pay worry you, it works out about the same as the cpm that most of us make. I drive for Maverick and can answer some of the questions you might have about them. I think that their starting pay for solo is .56 cents a mile for regional flatbed. They also have a guaranteed weekly pay, with reasonable stipulations, I believe they also offer the percentage of the load pay. I'm regional flatbed, so I could be wrong about this, but it is my understanding that glass and boat haulers are making a little less per mile due to the number of deadhead miles. Anyway either of the companies you mentioned, TMC, Maverick, or Prime, would be a good choice. And all three of them do offer a lease to own program if that is your goal, heaven forbid. Anyway stay with us and keep us posted on your choices, and ask all the questions you want.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I just kind of feel like I’d be drawn into the leasing on my own accord from the delusion of being an o/o someday or having a bit more say in what I spend my days in.

That is an easy fix....i will show you my pay stubs vs the lease guys. Then show you videos of my students telling how shocked they were that may FM responds to all requests with 10/4. 😂 or "ok no prob"

Fm:

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.
Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

I'm in my rookie year in Prime flatbed division and can answer specific questions you may have.

As for as the physical challenges of flatbed I have had some of the most physically challenging and dangerous experiences of my life in my first year. So be mentally prepared for that.

I have two detailed diaries of training and my rookie solo year.

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