A Couple Of Questions From A Newbie

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Leo S.'s Comment
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Hi there, this is my first posting here. I'm a rookie OTR driver with just a few months of experience (Class A, dry van , automatic). I really enjoy this job, but first, I have a family to look after so I need much more home time than just 1 day per week (I work 6 weeks and then I'm 6 days home) and second, I hate my boss, he's very rude and aggressive. It's a very small company (they have just 4 trucks) in MO and I would like to leave it in the near future. So, I'm wondering if:

1. Schedules like 5 weeks out, 2 weeks home / 4 weeks out, 10 days home or similar are possible at all? If yes, what companies should I look into?

2. Would you recommend to get a 1 year of experience in my company first? Or would, let's say, 6 months be enough? I heard it might be challenging to get a job in a good company (especially with requests like mine) with less than 1 year of experience. Is it true?

Thanks!

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.
Ozymandias's Comment
member avatar

Hi there, this is my first posting here. I'm a rookie OTR driver with just a few months of experience (Class A, dry van , automatic). I really enjoy this job, but first, I have a family to look after so I need much more home time than just 1 day per week (I work 6 weeks and then I'm 6 days home) and second, I hate my boss, he's very rude and aggressive. It's a very small company (they have just 4 trucks) in MO and I would like to leave it in the near future. So, I'm wondering if:

1. Schedules like 5 weeks out, 2 weeks home / 4 weeks out, 10 days home or similar are possible at all? If yes, what companies should I look into?

2. Would you recommend to get a 1 year of experience in my company first? Or would, let's say, 6 months be enough? I heard it might be challenging to get a job in a good company (especially with requests like mine) with less than 1 year of experience. Is it true?

Thanks!

General rule of thumb is stay with your first company for a year. However if you have 6 months incident and accident free, changes company can be ok. Just make sure to give whatever company AT LEAST a year. No one like a job hopper that chases greener grass all the time.

I do know of a company that will let you kinda work whatever ONCE you prove yourself to be a safe, efficient, productive driver. I do NOT know if they still hire people in Nevada as they shut down their SW regional positions a few years back. They may hire people for OTR in that area though. At first you would want to stick with the 1 day for every 6 thing for the most part. Just to prove you are a hard worker. I knew one of their drivers that lived in Florida. He would go out at the beginning of a quarter and once he hit 30k miles he would go home for the rest of the quarter. So he would spend about 10 weeks out then take 2-3 weeks off.

One thing to remember is, since you have a family to take care of, when the wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning. As a suggestion maybe a 9-11 days out with 3-4 days home may be something a little more viable. That way you are home more frequently, but are not completely killing your income.

God speed

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.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

I stay out about 6 weeks then go home for about 6 days, more if needed. I am the sole bread winner in my house.

I split my hometime between 2 weeks to maximize pay. For example get home on a Thursday and go back out the following Tuesday or Wednesday. The first day home I relax and sleep. After that it depends. I'll be home June 23rd and have a bunch of work to do on our car.

I can do this because CFI gets me home when I want or need, never late. Also, CFI's hometime policy.

Hope this helps.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Roehl is known for their 7 on 7 off schedule, could look there too, OP.

As mentioned however, not turning, not earning.

Wish you well,

~ Anne ~

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hi Leo, and welcome to our website!

I've got to be honest with you. Your post raises a lot of questions for me.

You told us you are a rookie with a few months experience, but you are working for a small company with four trucks. That in itself is very odd. I don't know how that happened. It is a highly unusual situation for a rookie driver. I'd just like to know how and why you ended up with that job, and why you didn't go the way of most rookie drivers who work for the large companies which typically hire rookie drivers?

You also want more time at home. That is certainly understandable, but it begs the question, "Why did you want to be a truck driver?" It is practically an industry standard that you get one day at home for each week you are out on the road. That's pretty much a rookie driver's lifestyle. Let's say your ultimate goal is to have a local driving job. You didn't mention that, but if it is something you are wanting, you have to realize that most driving jobs are long hours. Even if you get home each night, you will probably be working 12 to 14 hour days. You will get 10 hours at home, but that time will be spent resting bathing and eating. You could just commit to working an OTR gig for one year to establish your experience, then you could land a local job. You seem a bit impatient at this point. What is your ultimate goal with trucking?

Trucking is a big commitment. I am thinking you may not be able to make that commitment at this point in your life. There is nothing wrong with that. I didn't make that commitment until my children were grown. Have you considered another career? There's no shame in walking away from something that isn't working for you. If your family is your priority right now, then make the decision to focus on that. Find yourself a career that allows you be the kind of Dad and husband you want to be. I'm not sure trucking is going to do that for you.

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.

Donnie V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Scott,

Does CFI hire drivers right out of school, and if so do you know if they have a list of approved schools they hire from?

I stay out about 6 weeks then go home for about 6 days, more if needed. I am the sole bread winner in my house.

I split my hometime between 2 weeks to maximize pay. For example get home on a Thursday and go back out the following Tuesday or Wednesday. The first day home I relax and sleep. After that it depends. I'll be home June 23rd and have a bunch of work to do on our car.

I can do this because CFI gets me home when I want or need, never late. Also, CFI's hometime policy.

Hope this helps.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

MrZ's Comment
member avatar

Hey Scott,

Does CFI hire drivers right out of school, and if so do you know if they have a list of approved schools they hire from?

Call CFI and speak with a recruiter, they will be very happy to help you. I obtained my CDL in 2018, however, due to unforeseen family events I was not able to drive, and I had to put my career (dreams) of being a professional driver on hold. Fast forward to 2021, and I’ve decided that this is the perfect time to go back and chase that dream. I reached out to CFI and the recruiter was straight forward with me and said I needed a refresher course, which I agreed to as well. CFI sent me to Ohio for a 16 day refresher course at Trainco, and will be heading out to Joplin June 6th. So, yes they do hire newbies. Again, reach out to CFI and speak with a recruiter and see what happens. I wish you much luck and success.

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.
RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Roehl is known for their 7 on 7 off schedule, could look there too, OP.

This is from Roehl's website. I actually spoke with a recruiter from Roehl recently. He said that for the national fleet (they usually don't go west of I-35) you can earn 7 days home by staying out for 36 days. His name is Joe (715-591-7201). Give him a call if you want more info.

0296538001622384646.jpg

Leo S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you guys, it seems like Roehl offers EXACTLY what I want in the future (7/7, 14/7), I will give them a call once I have 6 months of experience, and if that's not enough, will stay with my company for 6 months more and then try again.

Old School, I knew this guy before (my boss, I mean), and he knew that I'm a good driver, non-drinker, not drug, casino or anything else addicted so he asked me if I want to jump into one of his semi trucks, I was in a financial struggle because of COVID, so I said yes. He gave me a book and asked me to prepare for a written test, which I passed and then he sent me to a private driving school in Springfield. This is how I obtained my license. As I said, I was experiencing severe financial issues, so I couldn't accept what bigger companies like Swift, Prime etc offered - my CDL cost me around $1500 after all - compare it to $6000 in companies like mentioned above plus here I have no 1 year contract plus the start pay was much bigger.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
the start pay was much bigger.

Leo, you continue to keep me confused. One minute you act like you are needing to be making a lot of money, and then you say you want to work at Roehl because you could work 7 days and then take 7 days off. That is going to amount to a part time job!

You will be sharing a truck with another driver who will drive the truck for the 7 days you are at home. If a new driver makes $50,000 for the year, that means you will work half the time and maybe make $25,000 or maybe a little more. Is that going to be enough money for your family?

Those are unique jobs and are only available in certain areas. Are you willing to relocate?

I hate my boss, he's very rude and aggressive.
I knew this guy before (my boss, I mean)

I think you've made some bad choices. Fortunately, nothing really bad has resulted other than you seem unhappy with your boss and the lack of time at home. Hopefully that is as far as it will go. Please, do your best to stick it out and get your one year of experience established. That is going to mean a lot for your future. If you have an accident with this guy, your trucking career may be over. Please be extra cautious and safe. I wish you the best out here.

Small trucking companies like the one you are working for are generally strapped for cash. Your boss is probably pushing you extra hard because he needs the cash flow. When you start feeling pressured to do things illegally, you need to be prepared for what you are going to do.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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