I'm Seriously Debating A Job In The Trucking Industry

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Thomas D.'s Comment
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I'm 46, married, 5 kids between 20 and 7 and seriously considering a job as an OTR driver. I've considered several companies that train, and I have a few top contenders. I'm currently an automotive service technician, and have been in some type of automotive trade for over 30 years. (I know what you're gonna say "That ain't possible!", but I grew up in a junk yard, literally!). I've sold used cars, worked in auto parts stores, worked on cars, even towing and recovery. I even trained in the Army as MOS 63W Wheeled Vehicle Repairer. So now your wondering why I am now considering the huge jump from a steady 9-5, home everyday to the solitude of the highways? I'm glad you asked! I'm tired of dealing with the public. I've lurked around the forum, and I gotta tell ya, I've learned so much on here already. Brett's book, the High Road training, the training dairies, all of it! I've looked at first year rookie driver's pay (and let me tell you, that alone blows my current salary outta the water!) not to mention the benefits (of which I currently have NONE). So with some of my bio, I ask everyone, gimme a reason, any reason not to do this. Yeah, I'm not going in starry eyed, or like I'm the BMOC. I have friends I known personally since I was a teen who drove tankers for Miller transport, and I've spoke to other friends who are O/O hauling coal here in the WV mountains, but I've come to respect you guys for your up front, no BS style. So let's hear it, don't hold back...

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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The main thing for you is great communication with your wife. She will be holding down the fort while you're away from home.

Can you guess what company I love?

KID's Comment
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Big Scott we all know what company you love 😂 CFI.

Thomas D.'s Comment
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Yeah Big Scott, I hear ya. Me and the wife have talked it over, and I was up front with her. I told her that once I left for training it could be 2 months + before I got to come home. I've learned a lot about different companies and their training programs right here, and I make sure to stress things that she needs to expect with this kind of career upset (I think calling it a career change is underselling it a wee bit lol).

IDMtnGal 's Comment
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If your marriage is solid now, it will continue to be solid. It will stand the strain overtime as long as you guys prepare for it. As for coming out at 46, many of us came out here older than that...50s and 60s.

Since you have been looking around at the site and reading our comments, you do know that we recommend that you do at least a year OTR. If you can handle that, you will have a good start that will help you long term. There are guys on here that have done local, Rob is one of them...but he's younger and I personally think that makes a difference.

You also know that we recommend company-sponsored training and you don't have to live near a company's terminal. There are many good companies, also known as the MEGAS, that will get you trained and working. If you have a good work ethic, and stay safe while driving and backing, you will make good money.

Well, my brother is 20 years older than you, he is been working with all kinds of motors and cars since he was 13 years old or so. He's just good at it, although he doesn't like all the electronic crap that's on stuff now.

Stay in touch and the guys will help you with your questions.

Laura

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.

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.

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.

Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Laura! As far as my marriage, it's good, but I know what looks solid now might not be when separated by 2000 miles and a month away from home. I know it'll be a major change from the past 15 years we've been together, and well, stuff happens even in the best of times.

As far as the year OTR , I've read a lot about how runs go to the dedicated drivers, or as you guys call them, the "go to guys". And I don't expect to get there overnight. I think even a year would not be enough to think that I could count myself among the top tier drivers no matter how high the turnover rate.

As far as the training, yeah, company sponsored it the way I'm coming in. I couldn't afford to leave my family broke while going to private training with no guarantee of a job afterwards. Currently I'm leading with Wil-Trans as my first choice as far as training, but after reading about other companies, nobody has been removed from contention. I'm thinking I just want to dry van for a while before I decide if I want to specialize. I know a lot of the carriers pay a premium for specialized runs, but even at the low end of the scale is more than I have ever made, EVER. So I'll table that topic for a few miles down the highway.

As far as engines go, I prefer ecm controlled engines, I'm pretty good with computers, and I can usually spot when a reading is out of spec. Around my area I do a lot of consulting with other shops on difficult problems.

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.

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

You want reasons to NOT do this? The most obvious one to me is family.

You’ll miss events with the young ones. You may even grow apart. This is much like the military. Something happens to one of the kids, you’re not there. Your Wife gets sick, who takes care of her.

On the other hand…within nine months of my starting, my Wife had surgery (for carpal tunnel) on an arm. My company worked with me to get me the needed hometime. Two years ago, she had knee replacement surgery. Again, we were able to get me home for two weeks straight. And, three weeks ago, her other knee. Again, I was there for two weeks.

As strange as it may sound, my family and I have a stronger relationship. We cherish our time together and know how precious it is. I’m able to be at my Daughter’s dance recitals and I’ve been able to pay cash for some big-ticket items (like $18k for fence).

I hope this helps.

0066362001626138044.jpg

Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

You want reasons to NOT do this? The most obvious one to me is family.

You’ll miss events with the young ones. You may even grow apart. This is much like the military. Something happens to one of the kids, you’re not there. Your Wife gets sick, who takes care of her.

On the other hand…within nine months of my starting, my Wife had surgery (for carpal tunnel) on an arm. My company worked with me to get me the needed hometime. Two years ago, she had knee replacement surgery. Again, we were able to get me home for two weeks straight. And, three weeks ago, her other knee. Again, I was there for two weeks.

As strange as it may sound, my family and I have a stronger relationship. We cherish our time together and know how precious it is. I’m able to be at my Daughter’s dance recitals and I’ve been able to pay cash for some big-ticket items (like $18k for fence).

I hope this helps.

0066362001626138044.jpg

Thanks Steve!

This is what I'm looking for, the brutal, honest answers. I hope my situation works out like yours, but like the snake oil salesmen say "Results may vary!".

The money is one of my main motivators, not the top, but in the top 5. The benefits, insurance and such, are probably a little higher on the list, and a retirement plan is up there to, but I gotta admit, I am a vagabond at heart.

To see the country, and be paid for it, well my heart can't tell me no lol!

Great looking fence btw!

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.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Anything can happen out here. CFI has gotten me home when my wife had an emergency surgery, when my dad passed and any other day I need.

Yes you will miss many things at home. With video chat and apps like life 360 your family can participate. They can follow you as you go. Young kids can get a geography lesson as you travel this great country.

With companies like CFI you can take a passenger at least 12 years old with you. They can see the beauty of this country.

All must be prepared for your extended absence.

To make great money, you will need to be out about 6 to 8 weeks. It is easy to schedule hometime when you know something is coming up, like your anniversary, birthdays, graduations, etc. Everything takes planning. As you gain experience OTR , you may find that a regional route may work better for you. There are many types of driving opportunities and the best way to learn about them is to get out here and do them. CFI has OTR, regional, refer, dedicated and local routes. Our local drivers work out of terminals. At this point there are unknown opportunities as we grow.

Hope this helps some more.

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.

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.

228I10's Comment
member avatar

I started OTR in 1991, got out of the truck in 2012, and went offshore GoM, working 14 on /14 off. I'm seriously considering jumping back in the truck later this year or early 2022. I'm tired of the corprate BS and ass kissing in my current industry.

@Thomas D, with everyone having a cell phone, FaceTime, video calling, social media, etc, being away from home is a heckuva lot easier nowadays then it was in 1991. Good luck to ya brother.

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.

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