Quick Intro And A Few Questions Regarding Roehl

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Errol V.'s Comment
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I believe there is a churn and burn going on, but it's not for hired company drivers. People decide to get into trucking, get the training (private or company funded) then get out on the road. Then when they crap out they become the "churned and burned".

The fault, then is on these drivers. They do not fully understand the lifestyle demanded of them from the get-go. A trucking company has some seriously big, expensive and even dangerous equipment. There are safety rules and contractual (in shipping) requirements these driver drop-outs don't see or don't commit to. Their company quickly dumps then out on the street. Then these losers blame their misfortune on their (ex) company. Boo-hoo.

One of the features of Trucking Truth is in helping newbies get a clear picture of what truck driving requires and also how truck driving rewards its key workers.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I have a different perspective than some. I have interviewed drivers. You would not believe how some have gone. Errol is correct. Alot of people get a cdl and think they are a gift to this industry. They don’t know anything about the business, but expect to be highly paid, work 9-5 hours and be off every weekend. They bash companies for not meeting their expectations.

This is a lifestyle as well as a job. Bottom line is there is no free lunch. Work hard, learn all you can, and be an assest to a company rather than a liability you will make a good living.

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.
David K.'s Comment
member avatar

No, PackRat, I'm not trying to talk myself out of trucking. I started researching the trucking industry because I did not understand why trucking company recruiters were burning up my phone trying to give me a job. I have six months of recent experience driving a straight truck. That's it. I have far more experience in other professions that require graduate level education and years of experience, which I have, but no one is calling me back for those jobs.

Now, I have a much better understanding of why OTR trucking companies are constantly looking for new drivers. Basically, the carriers need drivers who can learn quickly and drive safely for low wages, and most importantly, the carriers need drivers who can tolerate being on the road, living in a closet for weeks or months at a time. In order to compete successfully and profitably in the OTR market, carriers must accept the 94% turnover rate because, first, most Americans are not going to accept those working conditions at minimum wage pay for a long time. The turnover rate for non-OTR trucking is much lower, somewhere around 11% per year. That's where most experienced drivers want to go.

Second, I do not believe that driving an 18-wheeler is something that just anyone can do. My guess is that driving a big rig takes a great deal of skill, which a person cannot acquire after just two months of training, but probably requires more like two years minimum. I have never tried to move around a 53' trailer, but considering all the blinds spots in a beast of a vehicle like that, I cannot imagine that it would be easy to do or that just any person can learn how to do it in two months. Nevertheless, the fiercely competitive nature of the OTR trucking market has forced companies to churn through new drivers at ferocious rate in order to find the 5% who have the rare skills to drive a big rig safely, the tolerance to live in a truck cab for weeks and months at a time, and the patience to work 70+ hours per week at minimum wage until they have enough experience to demand a living wage. So, I'm not trying to talk myself out of a trucking job. I'm trying to appreciate what it will take for me to make it in an industry where 95% of the people do not make it.

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.
Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

No, PackRat, I'm not trying to talk myself out of trucking. I started researching the trucking industry because I did not understand why trucking company recruiters were burning up my phone trying to give me a job. I have six months of recent experience driving a straight truck. That's it. I have far more experience in other professions that require graduate level education and years of experience, which I have, but no one is calling me back for those jobs.

Now, I have a much better understanding of why OTR trucking companies are constantly looking for new drivers. Basically, the carriers need drivers who can learn quickly and drive safely for low wages, and most importantly, the carriers need drivers who can tolerate being on the road, living in a closet for weeks or months at a time. In order to compete successfully and profitably in the OTR market, carriers must accept the 94% turnover rate because, first, most Americans are not going to accept those working conditions at minimum wage pay for a long time. The turnover rate for non-OTR trucking is much lower, somewhere around 11% per year. That's where most experienced drivers want to go.

Second, I do not believe that driving an 18-wheeler is something that just anyone can do. My guess is that driving a big rig takes a great deal of skill, which a person cannot acquire after just two months of training, but probably requires more like two years minimum. I have never tried to move around a 53' trailer, but considering all the blinds spots in a beast of a vehicle like that, I cannot imagine that it would be easy to do or that just any person can learn how to do it in two months. Nevertheless, the fiercely competitive nature of the OTR trucking market has forced companies to churn through new drivers at ferocious rate in order to find the 5% who have the rare skills to drive a big rig safely, the tolerance to live in a truck cab for weeks and months at a time, and the patience to work 70+ hours per week at minimum wage until they have enough experience to demand a living wage. So, I'm not trying to talk myself out of a trucking job. I'm trying to appreciate what it will take for me to make it in an industry where 95% of the people do not make it.

David, I take issue with your comments about OTR drivers only earning minimum minimum wage. Hi have to admit I don’t know what the minimum wage is, I think it varies from state to state, but in any case if a driver, and OTR driver, is only earning minimum wage, then he/she is simply not trying. You can be a slacker in this profession; you can set your own snails pace and as long as you don’t hit anything or are late to appointments, your company will keep you on. They won’t rely on you, but they’ll keep you. You won’t get the high mileage loads, you won’t be offered dedicated routes that offer guaranteed pay, or any of the other perks that may be financially rewarding as long as you under perform. Those are the minimum wage earners. i’ve met some of them, and they’re nice people. They like having insurance, and job security. And then you have the others, who have different motivations and goals. If you read deep enough you’ll figure out who those people on this site are. I haven’t worked for minimum wage since I was 19. I am an OTR driver, and there are many others here who like me do a whole lot better than minimum wage. In one recent post Old School mentioned breaching 100k. Doesn’t sound like minimum wage to me. Hear me now and believe me later, the opportunities are here, you just have to want it and push yourself to go get it.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

David K is 75% right:

Basically, the carriers need drivers who can learn quickly and drive safely for low wages, and most importantly, the carriers need drivers who can tolerate being on the road, living in a closet for weeks or months at a time.

As Pete points out, a company with $200,000 of equipment plus whatever is in back (could be a $Mill) isn't going to trust safe delivery to a minimum wage person. On top of that, there is a huge shortage of drivers (even before COVID hit) so that raises the pay scale too.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Good points by Pete.

Name me another profession that you perform with a 5th grade education, drive for any number of the major carriers, and have a net income of at least $75,000 with five years experience?

Minimum wage? Keep researching.

David K.'s Comment
member avatar

My minimum wage claim is based on the calculation that follows:

70 hours worked per week, in almost any industry except trucking, would be 40 hours of straight time and 30 hours of overtime. When I drove a straight truck, I was paid hourly, including overtime. I understand that OTR pays per mile, so I am trying to convert that to hourly pay for comparison purposes. Minimum wage varies by state, so I included a few to show the difference.

$15/hr (minimum in some states) means $1,275 per week (that's $600 for 40 hours and $675 for 30 hours overtime); $12/hr = $1,020 per week $10/hr = $850 per week $7.25/hr (Alabama, Texas, and others) = $616 per week

Some offers I received from company-sponsored training carriers for driving after being fully trained: $0.40 CPM with an average of 2100 miles per week = $840 per week (that's one of the largest carriers) $0.405 CPM with minimum of 1800 miles per week = $729 per week $0.47 CPM @ 2000 miles per week = $940 per week $0.51 CPM @ 2600 miles per week = $1,326 per week (that was the best quote, but I did not take it)

So that's how I have come to the conclusion that new drivers are making minimum wage.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

You’re not seeing the forest, David. The recruiters can’t tell you you are going to make what we are earning. They’re going to give you minimum wage type of numbers because that’s what Bare Minimum Guy makes. And everyone starting out is that guy. You have to prove yourself, to yourself and to your company, to do better and earn more. I took this job and within four months was earning more than a 20 year vet in this company; he was that content, Bare Minimum Guy. I am not going to discredit your numbers, but I will argue that you are not beholden to them.

midnight fox's Comment
member avatar
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that ". . .between 1995 and 2017, the annual turnover rate at large TL carriers averaged 94.0 percent . . ."

You're overlooking how that figure also includes drivers who jumped ship once other opportunities opened up for them after they gained a few months' experience.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Instead of looking at it per hour, try to look at it per load. A 1500 mile load at 40 cents a mile is $600. If you can travel at 55-60 mph or better the whole way you should be at receiver in roughly 25-30 hours of drive time, 2-1/2 actual days based on driving 10 hrs each day. Pending you call them in route and can deliver early, you should still have at least 35-40 hrs left on your 70 to do another 1500 mile run. Pull next load to destination using roughly same mph estimates. Now your at $1200 for the week with roughly another day’s worth of hrs to haul a shorty or pickup a load to deliver after your reset.

My math on this hypothetical week works out to be $22-24 an hr

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