New CDL Here, Doing SAIA Dock-to-Driver

Topic 31831 | Page 1

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Adam D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey there, TT folks..

Wanted to jump in and give a proper introduction. My name's Adam, living here in Tucson AZ, recently graduated the CDL program offered locally through Pima Community College and acquired my CDL in February complete with endorsements. I started working at SAIA in January ahead of my certification to do their dock-to-driver program, was attracted to the prospect of being able to be home every night and don't mind the stability/predictability of a steady paycheck and route. Plus, so many companies require a year+ experience to start, but hard to land a job to get the experience just starting out.

Working on the dock has been a good experience, and I've learned a lot about loading and securing freight, plus since I have my CDL already they've been having me do hosteling for several hours a night which has been really good experience for maneuvering trailers on and off the docks. After 3-4 months as a dockworker, I'm eligible to apply for the driver training, and am set up to start a 3-5 week training at the end of the month which will take place in Fontana (LA) CA. after that I'll be back at the Tucson hub, and probably do ride-along for a week or two until they set me loose with my own day cab and a city route.

My experience so far with SAIA has been mostly positive, I like most all of the people I work with and the pay is decent. I'm on a swing shift currently which has been a little tough since I'm a morning person by nature but willing to do what it takes to make this work. They have city drivers, and line-haul, city drivers making basically $27-$31 per hour and line haul is paid per mile but potentially more $$$ if you have a good route. As a new driver I will probably be started out as a city driver, which is better hours (daytime, home every night) but also wouldn't mind locking in a nice linehaul if it comes available.

I'm starting in the industry a little bit later in life, I'm 47 now. Worked most of my career as a dental technician making crown & bridge and dentures, but really got burnt out on that industry and was looking for a change. I've also had several warehouse, delivery, Box-truck route, and other assorted jobs over the last 20 years and always enjoyed the work and lifestyle. Getting my CDL and moving up to the big rigs just seemed like the next logical step for me. I would definitely consider doing more OTR style work if I could find the right situation and company to be with. My kids are grown and out of the house, and don't really have a lot of other things tying me down right now. Just want to work and make as much as possible over the next 15-20 years to secure a nice retirement and nest egg. I'm originally form Portland, OR and my kids are at U of O in Eugene, and I have a lil' something going on with a gal long-distance there in Portland, so ideally I'd love to find a lane that has me mostly west-coast or western states with my resets/breaks alternating between OR and AZ.. Gets really stupid hot here in the summer too, and as an Oregon boy I just haven't managed to get used to that despite being here for 4 years now.

I welcome any advice, ideas, questions, comments or whatever. Stay safe and alert Y'all, happy to be here. -Adam

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.

Line Haul:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome, Adam. I really enjoyed your comment and story. You should do well because you have a great attitude and realistic outlook. I hope you will post more of your experiences going forward.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Adam, I’m in a similar position as you. I just completed ABF’s Driver development program. I’m currently working the 4pm till done shift. I start my day doing yard moves with the jockey as well, then grab a forklift and work the dock for a bit. Just did my 1st road run Friday night. From now on, once a load is ready to head to our main terminal , I grab a tractor, hook up, pre trip and hit the road. Sometimes I will drop an empty at a customer, take a full from them and head to the main terminal. All runs include a back haul to my home terminal. Best of luck to you during driver training.

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.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Hey there, TT folks..

Wanted to jump in and give a proper introduction. My name's Adam, living here in Tucson AZ, recently graduated the CDL program offered locally through Pima Community College and acquired my CDL in February complete with endorsements. I started working at SAIA in January ahead of my certification to do their dock-to-driver program, was attracted to the prospect of being able to be home every night and don't mind the stability/predictability of a steady paycheck and route. Plus, so many companies require a year+ experience to start, but hard to land a job to get the experience just starting out.

Working on the dock has been a good experience, and I've learned a lot about loading and securing freight, plus since I have my CDL already they've been having me do hosteling for several hours a night which has been really good experience for maneuvering trailers on and off the docks. After 3-4 months as a dockworker, I'm eligible to apply for the driver training, and am set up to start a 3-5 week training at the end of the month which will take place in Fontana (LA) CA. after that I'll be back at the Tucson hub, and probably do ride-along for a week or two until they set me loose with my own day cab and a city route.

My experience so far with SAIA has been mostly positive, I like most all of the people I work with and the pay is decent. I'm on a swing shift currently which has been a little tough since I'm a morning person by nature but willing to do what it takes to make this work. They have city drivers, and line-haul, city drivers making basically $27-$31 per hour and line haul is paid per mile but potentially more $$$ if you have a good route. As a new driver I will probably be started out as a city driver, which is better hours (daytime, home every night) but also wouldn't mind locking in a nice linehaul if it comes available.

I'm starting in the industry a little bit later in life, I'm 47 now. Worked most of my career as a dental technician making crown & bridge and dentures, but really got burnt out on that industry and was looking for a change. I've also had several warehouse, delivery, Box-truck route, and other assorted jobs over the last 20 years and always enjoyed the work and lifestyle. Getting my CDL and moving up to the big rigs just seemed like the next logical step for me. I would definitely consider doing more OTR style work if I could find the right situation and company to be with. My kids are grown and out of the house, and don't really have a lot of other things tying me down right now. Just want to work and make as much as possible over the next 15-20 years to secure a nice retirement and nest egg. I'm originally form Portland, OR and my kids are at U of O in Eugene, and I have a lil' something going on with a gal long-distance there in Portland, so ideally I'd love to find a lane that has me mostly west-coast or western states with my resets/breaks alternating between OR and AZ.. Gets really stupid hot here in the summer too, and as an Oregon boy I just haven't managed to get used to that despite being here for 4 years now.

I welcome any advice, ideas, questions, comments or whatever. Stay safe and alert Y'all, happy to be here. -Adam

You're not going to find a "lane" being a newby to Saia LTL that will get you from Phoenix to Portland on a regular basis. You may as well just ask where you can run to if you work the Road. If you don't want to stay in Phoenix your best bet is to relocate with Saia or somebody else in the Portland area and just move and run City from there.

If you stay in Phoenix, you can work City and volunteer (probably) to do road runs on your free time. But those runs will be ... wherever. LTL in a day cab is usually restricted to under 700 miles or less in a day so you can figure out where you can go from Phoenix on a daily basis.

But, then again, I'm not really familiar on how Saia does things so maybe you can get to Portland from Phoenix on a regular basis :)

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.

Line Haul:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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