Considering A Career In Redding CA

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Matt F.'s Comment
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So, like everybody else around here was at some point, I'm considering a career in trucking. But I'm not quite sure yet.

I'm 46 years old, with an education and previous career in aviation maintenance. (Hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate too, but can't use it for a host of reasons not worth going into right now.) Also have a good deal of warehouse and distribution center experience. For the last seven years I've been working as an in-home caretaker. Yeah, job experience is all over the board! The important point here is I'm educatable, and have some idea of how the transportation world works. No worries about passing any written tests or learning to drive the machine. If other people have learned to back a trailer, then I can learn it!

I'm generally healthy, but have a few knee and back problems which mean I shouldn't consider throwing around heavy tarps or loading/unloading lots of cases of beverages or whatever else. On a couple of prescription meds, and I understand that most (but not all) employers are okay with these particular meds. Physically I'm okay for most driving jobs I've read about. Probably not flatbed or a lot of local stuff, though.

Mentally, I'm definitely an introvert. I've been alone for months at a time, and liked it. I know for a fact I can remain calm and think rationally in the middle of a stressful and dangerous situation. Most importantly, I love to drive! If I can spend a day just traveling in my vehicle, that's a good day.

My current job isn't going to last forever. I don't know whether I'll need to move on in the next month, or maybe a few years. But the work situation right now isn't stable. I don't want to do this caretaking gig anymore. At the same time, I have become very very accustomed to working when the client needs me, and not punching a clock on a fixed schedule. I so very much do not want to go back to any kind of factory or warehouse or mechanic work! I really like my freedom.

So all that looks like driving would suit me very much, right? Hang on, there's a couple potential glitches.

My family needs my support. I have two elderly parents with failing health, and two adult brothers with mental handicaps. All of them depend on my income, and I also help out around the house quite a bit. I think we can all survive my absence for awhile, and the home situation has to change sometime soon anyway, no matter what I do. But I can't keep leaving them for months at a time.

I'm in a serious relationship with a fantastic woman. Not married, but we're definitely headed in that direction. Her dad drove truck for awhile, so she knows a lot about it. She's not happy with the potential time apart, but is still willing to consider all the possibilities. I think we can survive some time apart in the short term, but not long term.

I like woodworking! Have dreams of making and selling high-end ornamental furniture and other custom art. I can't yet make a living at that, but I'm not going to give up the dream. That means I need time at home to practice making things.

To boil it all down... I think trucking and I could be very good for each other, but I absolutely need hometime! And not just 34 hours on a weekend. I've seen where Roehl and some others advertise schedules like 14 on / 7 off, and that sounds perfect. But! Roehl isn't hiring in California. And no matter what company I go with, I imagine the good hometime schedules are only available to experienced drivers. All my reading implies I can expect at least a year of OTR before any other options open up.

I know living in Redding is beneficial to hometime options since I-5 cuts right through town. I see all these reports from drivers saying their company is great about working with them on hometime, and that's encouraging.

I just want to know, realistically, can a rookie expect to get any hometime in his first year? I think my family and my girl can manage without me for a few months while I do initial training, but being mostly gone for an entire year just won't fly. Do you think a guy in my position can make driving work?

Thanks for reading. Matt

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Matt, it's great to hear from you. I will agree that trucking sounds like a good fit for you, but...

You have so many commitments at home. I don't know how you could make it work. Trucking is a huge commitment of time, energy, and absence from others. I read your post earlier, and have just been thinking about it. I wanted to give you my best advice without jumping to any knee jerk reactions. It sounds like you have ruled out flatbed, which is one type of freight which allows many of the companies to offer their drivers weekends at home. I am not clear if any of those companies do that in your area.

There are some dry-van opportunities that run what they call a "Western eleven" state regional job. You could look into that and see if any of them could allow you to have weekends at home. You are in a good area for an arrangement like that if it were available. I am fairly certain Roehl, May. Knight, and Swift all have accounts that are limited to those Western eleven states, and I am sure there are others.

The problem is that you also included this caveat...

I absolutely need hometime! And not just 34 hours on a weekend.

I honestly think you have too many prior commitments that you are unable to give up. You also made this interesting statement...

My family needs my support. I have two elderly parents with failing health, and two adult brothers with mental handicaps. All of them depend on my income

You haven't mentioned what kind of income you need, but truck driving is a completely performance based job. You get paid for how much you can get accomplished. It takes a lot of effort to make good money at this, and you are limited by how much time you can commit. That is going to make you very frustrated with your income, which will make your attempt at a trucking career very disheartening.

I wish the best for you, and we will be glad to help if we can. Honestly, I think you and your family would be better served by a more amenable career choice.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Besides what everyone else has said, there's not much around redding besides local gigs and farm jobs, not necessarily the best way to start out your driving career, ditto what OS laid out,if your circumstances demand that much at home time, forget driving truck and stick with a local warehouse/forklift gig. The pay starting out is meh, but like anything the more experience you have with it the more you can make.

Moe's Comment
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I dobt know about Roehl and other western 11 gigs, but I can yell you for sure May Trucking would not get you home every weekend for a 3 day weekend, with us its a 2 week minimum commitment and your get home date will depend upon the freight market in the area as to when they can schedule you home, it usually ends up being 2 to 2.5 to 3 weeks out for 3 days, not happening for your circumstances.

Not trying to be picky,mean or dumping on you, but pointing out the reality of how trucking for alot ofbthe starter companies works in regards to hometime. Seriously if I were in your shoes, I'd take that warehouse and forklift experience I have and run with it, keep in mind that alot ofbthe warehouses do run 24/7 so your idea of being home every weekend for basically three day weekends is unrealistic, you may run 4 on 3 off for exple but weekends might not be guaranteed starting out. But you'd def get more at home doing that than driving truck.

Best of luck to you man.

Besides what everyone else has said, there's not much around redding besides local gigs and farm jobs, not necessarily the best way to start out your driving career, ditto what OS laid out,if your circumstances demand that much at home time, forget driving truck and stick with a local warehouse/forklift gig. The pay starting out is meh, but like anything the more experience you have with it the more you can make.

Harvey C.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not a truck driver and some folks here may blast me for giving advice, so take it for what it's worth. :)

LTL linehaul is generally not recommended for beginners but here is a thread of someone that made it work very well. I like learning and read this 35 page thread with great interest, almost made me want to give it a try, lol: https://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-4501/Page-1/ltl-trucking-my-linehaul-job They get home every day and home for weekends. I see Old Dominion has a center in Chico which is an hour away which would make for a long daily commute. Further, they might not take a beginner but maybe you could start somewhere else for a year if you think this would work for you. Earning potential is very good.

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

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.
Matt F.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm actively looking at plans for my family to be cared for without me being here every day. Also, I realize somebody who works fewer days will make less money... but probably still similar to what I make now.

So I read about a couple of people who have successfully gone the LTL route straight out of school without having to drive OTR for a year. It is possible. But not at all the common path, and may or may not be available where I live.

These are all hard decisions. Many thanks for the words of wisdom and experience.

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.

TCB's Comment
member avatar

I drive Western 11 for Swift. I am usually out 4-5 weeks and home for about 2-3. Sometimes I get lucky sometimes , and get a 34 at home after delivering a load nearby. So, it doesn’t count as home time. I believe that Swift expects me out for at least 3-4. We get one day home for every 2,000 dispatched miles. Swift has a terminal in Willows. I get fiberglass insulation loads out of Willows and Shasta Lake sometimes. There is more regional stuff also. Sometimes picking up lumber products from the Sierra foot hills, and taking it to the LA area, then picking up from a Walmart warehouse in So Cal, and taking it to a Walmart warehouse in Red Bluff.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Knight has regional that is 6-out and 2 in, however that being said I just stayed out month and am only in for three days. That's by my choice though. They do seem flexible and just ask that I request my home time as early as possible. As old school pointed out to me, being safe, on time and easy to work with is key to building a solid foundation as a valuable driver.

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.

Zach 's Comment
member avatar

May Trucking would be a great option, from what I understand they are very good about hometime and you could probably bring you're truck home and park it at a truck stop in Corning, Orland or the TA in Redding. Swift and Knight also have alot of dedicated freight going up and the I5 corridor. If you would you can shoot me you're contact info and I would be happy to help I only live a couple hours away from you. I actually used to live in Redding lol

Moe's Comment
member avatar

May is great about getting you home for hometime (I work for them currently) on the dates you ask. Negative about parking the bobtail at a truck stop, you would park it at the nearest MTC terminal which in his case would be MT Yolo south of Dunnigan about 140 miles from Redding. May does not allow its equipment to be parked unattended at truck stops.

May Trucking would be a great option, from what I understand they are very good about hometime and you could probably bring you're truck home and park it at a truck stop in Corning, Orland or the TA in Redding. Swift and Knight also have alot of dedicated freight going up and the I5 corridor. If you would you can shoot me you're contact info and I would be happy to help I only live a couple hours away from you. I actually used to live in Redding lol

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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