What Kind Of Trucking Job Do I Want To Look For?

Topic 30965 | Page 1

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Chris P.'s Comment
member avatar

One of the things that worries me the most about becoming a truck driver is getting stuck on the wrong road. It has happened to me more than once just in my car. On a road I've never been on, and I don't know which lane I need to be in, I end up stuck in the wrong lane, especially when there is a lot of traffic. In a car it's not that big of a deal, but in a semi truck, that could mean getting stuck or worse. Sometimes the line turns solid before I can even see the sign that says what lane I want to be in.

Optimally, I'd prefer to have the same route so I can memorize everything. Do many jobs like that exist? I realize that that is going to be very boring, but I'd feel a hell of a lot safer starting out.

Thanks.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Optimally, I'd prefer to have the same route so I can memorize everything. Do many jobs like that exist?

Chris there is a lot to learn as a rookie driver. Trip planning is one of those things. If you had a route that was the same everyday what would you be learning? Trucking is a never ending education. Even if you could land a boring job with a routine, what happens to you during road construction or a detour due to a highway accident. Or what about inclement weather? What if your route is iced over and you have to take a different one?

Trucking is challenging. There are ways to reduce your risks, but you are not going to find something with the same route each day. There are jobs that have things like that. LTL jobs can be that way, but not for rookies. There is a seniority climate at LTL companies and the new guys get what ever is leftover. That could be different things each day, and it will usually be a run through the night.

I'm afraid you are going to have to accept the challenges or be defeated. You can do it. There is nothing easy about being a rookie. It's the hard stuff that makes it all worth the effort. It is the hard parts that teach us the valuable lessons we need to succeed.

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Old School,

I was afraid that would be the answer. Sorry for calling you a tool in the past. You're not as much of a tool as I used to think. I'm not sure I can memorize all the lanes I need to be in while trip planning. Also, a detour is a lot easier to navigate than entirely new roads everyday. :P I've never driven a truck on ice/snow, but I used to work in the mountains, and I actually liked to drive in such conditions. That aspect doesn't worry me at all.

When is your book coming out? I think I'll read it.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
When is your book coming out? I think I'll read it.

I appreciate your interest. I am currently reworking a few chapters in it. Writing a book is a big job. Making it both interesting and helpful is proving more of a challenge than I expected. I want it to be good, so I am spending some extra effort on it. I will let you know when it is available. I think it will be about another month.

Sorry for calling you a tool in the past. You're not as much of a tool as I used to think.

You'll eventually figure out I am not a tool at all. You are new to all this and I will give you a chance to learn the ropes. You are like so many who come to our forum. You've been indoctrinated by other trucking forum ideologies. We try to hold ourselves to a higher standard here. We will shoot straight with you and we will expect you to up your game in our conversations. We believe there is a lot of misinformation out here concerning our industry. We do what we can to set the record straight. We try our best to help the newcomers understand how to make a good start at this.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd have to ask you if you are sure you want/need any trucking job. Every single day you will be on a new road you've never been on in a 70 foot long vehicle with upwards of 80,000 pounds. If you're that stressed in a 14 foot car....trucking may not be for you. I get wanting a steady income but why people want a job that leaves them scared, stressed and frazzled every day is beyond me.

Chris P.'s Comment
member avatar

You'll eventually figure out I am not a tool at all. You are new to all this and I will give you a chance to learn the ropes. You are like so many who come to our forum. You've been indoctrinated by other trucking forum ideologies. We try to hold ourselves to a higher standard here. We will shoot straight with you and we will expect you to up your game in our conversations. We believe there is a lot of misinformation out here concerning our industry. We do what we can to set the record straight. We try our best to help the newcomers understand how to make a good start at this.

I haven't actually read much from the other forums. This forum is a lot higher quality than the rest of them. Also, I don't think you're all right about everything. Like company sponsored training... I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but I highly suspect you up your chances of getting hired if you get trained elsewhere first. I am not sure anyone will hire me to be trained by their company. Also, I think it's highly likely that a trucking company would exploit the dynamic.

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.

Chris P.'s Comment
member avatar

Mikey,

I'm not stressed when it happens to me in a car. It's not a big deal in a car, but I recognize it can be a huge deal in a truck. I'm just aware of my weaknesses. I'd rather drive on ice roads in Alaska than try to navigate roads in LA or NYC in traffic. Perhaps I should get a job hauling trees down from the mountains or something.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I highly suspect you up your chances of getting hired if you get trained elsewhere first.

You'd have to explain that logic to me. With company sponsored training you are already hired. They have already checked you out and approved you. There are only a few things that will keep you from the job. If you fail the schooling part or do something stupid while there like disobey their rules you will be sent home, and if you fail the drug test you will not get very far. I went to a private school. It meant nothing as far as helping me get my first job. Rookies are rookies no matter where they get trained. All they really have to recommend themselves is a CDL and a training certificate. Neither of which mean very much at all when it comes to getting the job done.

I think it's highly likely that a trucking company would exploit the dynamic.

What would be their motivation? They want drivers. They need drivers desperately. They have no incentive to exploit a new driver. It totally defeats their purpose of going to the expense of training those drivers. Can you give us a logical reason why they would exploit the very people they went to all the expense of training?

I am not sure anyone will hire me to be trained by their company.

That is something you should definitely look into. If you can't get on with a company sponsored program that shows you are going to have some problems getting hired. I don't know what the issues are, but that is exactly why we recommend people look into that option first. It gives you an indication that you have issues that are going to affect your ability to get hired. You probably know what those issues are, but for some of us private schooling is our only option. If that is the case, you just have to realize you are going to have an uphill struggle at landing that first trucking job.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Chris, truck driving takes a lot of common sense. Simple principles will keep you out of serious problems. For example, one principle I have learned the hard way is to never, never turn into a road or parking lot that you don’t know the way out of. If in doubt, STOP and use the tools available to you (like google earth) to plan a route that will keep you out of trouble.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar
You're not as much of a tool as I used to think.

This quote and others, lead me to believe which-lane-to-be-in is likely to be the least of your obstacles.

When I find myself in the wrong (or less desirable) lane, I put the turn signal on and take it slow. Someone will let you over OR, the traffic will pass, leaving it wide open for you to move. Patience.

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