New Guy Taking A Leap

Topic 32443 | Page 2

Page 2 of 5 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I have some experience ‘roughing it’ and can manage without some creature comforts. As long as I get enough rest on the road I will be able to adapt. What kind of mistakes are you taking about? Is it really that easy to wash out or fail? I have a college degree, 20 years of professional experience and prior military service driving a little so I had been confident.

I did better than the average rookie my first year, and I did all of those things that I mentioned, and I also made many mistakes starting out solo after training. The harsh reality is that I could have easily been a failed case of a rookie not making it, but my company decided to keep me on, despite some dumb mistakes. I mention this being a harsh reality because it's a razor thin line between making it and washing out.

Driving a truck with a 48'-53' trailer is unlike anything you have driven before. It's unlike anything that any of us drove before, until we did it. It's a steep learning curve. There really is only one way to learn and that is from experience. Because it is such a steep learning curve, it's not easy to get through the first year and remain employed within the industry. Some drivers remove themselves, recognizing that it just doesn't work for them. Other drivers have to be let go. There is also that small percentage that don't survive because a mistake was made that proved fatal. A driver's employability in trucking can change in a split second with the cause being any number of factors that the driver wasn't proactive in avoiding. Things like driver distraction, fatigue, and emotional responses to others can lead to reasons why a driver is no longer employable.

One of my mistakes was taking a wrong turn. I had done all the things I was trained to do with trip planning, watching signs, etc. But, GPS switched up my route on me without me realizing it. The turn it had me take looked like where I was supposed to be. I was in an area where many of the streets look very similar. I was supposed to be on a street that becomes a country road that leads to a farm. Well, I thought that's what I was on. I was on a street that becomes a country road that leads to someone's house. I tried to turn around when I didn't have room and got the truck and trailer stuck. I ended up doing substantial cosmetic damage to the truck. When I discovered that I was on the wrong road, instead of trying to turn around, I should have gotten on the phone and called the police to ask for help in backing out until I could safely turn around. I might have gotten a ticket, but that ticket would have been much better than damaging the truck.

My other mistake was a ticket for not adhering to a traffic device, namely a barricade. I was close to the yard for my company and the road I was on had barricades indicating that the road would be closed at a specified distance, except for local traffic. I didn't turn at the last barricade a few miles later, because in my mind at that time, I was part of the "local traffic." What the signage meant is that the road is a dead end, so unless you live on this street, don't continue past this point. My company's yard is on the next street I would have come to, so rather than taking the detour, I convinced myself that I should be able to make the next turn onto that street. I came up on that intersection and found that the whole intersection was barricaded. I proceeded to back my way out to where the last barricade was. Before I reached that point, a state trooper came up behind me to stop me. This ticket happened 3 months after the first incident. My company would have been justified in letting me go, but they chose to keep me. I have bo doubt that at the top of the list of reasons why is that I have been a solid producer from the beginning of my going solo.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Yea, those "local traffic only" signs are confusing. Exactly how far down the road is considered local? Is it completely closed or do they just wanna cut out through traffic?

If a cop or worker is nearby I'll usually try to flag them down or even get out and ask. Parking and flashers and grabbing a google maps satellite view is something I did once too to see if I could loop around another way.

double-quotes-start.png

I have some experience ‘roughing it’ and can manage without some creature comforts. As long as I get enough rest on the road I will be able to adapt. What kind of mistakes are you taking about? Is it really that easy to wash out or fail? I have a college degree, 20 years of professional experience and prior military service driving a little so I had been confident.

I did better than the average rookie my first year, and I did all of those things that I mentioned, and I also made many mistakes starting out solo after training. The harsh reality is that I could have easily been a failed case of a rookie not making it, but my company decided to keep me on, despite some dumb mistakes. I mention this being a harsh reality because it's a razor thin line between making it and washing out.

double-quotes-end.png

Driving a truck with a 48'-53' trailer is unlike anything you have driven before. It's unlike anything that any of us drove before, until we did it. It's a steep learning curve. There really is only one way to learn and that is from experience. Because it is such a steep learning curve, it's not easy to get through the first year and remain employed within the industry. Some drivers remove themselves, recognizing that it just doesn't work for them. Other drivers have to be let go. There is also that small percentage that don't survive because a mistake was made that proved fatal. A driver's employability in trucking can change in a split second with the cause being any number of factors that the driver wasn't proactive in avoiding. Things like driver distraction, fatigue, and emotional responses to others can lead to reasons why a driver is no longer employable.

One of my mistakes was taking a wrong turn. I had done all the things I was trained to do with trip planning, watching signs, etc. But, GPS switched up my route on me without me realizing it. The turn it had me take looked like where I was supposed to be. I was in an area where many of the streets look very similar. I was supposed to be on a street that becomes a country road that leads to a farm. Well, I thought that's what I was on. I was on a street that becomes a country road that leads to someone's house. I tried to turn around when I didn't have room and got the truck and trailer stuck. I ended up doing substantial cosmetic damage to the truck. When I discovered that I was on the wrong road, instead of trying to turn around, I should have gotten on the phone and called the police to ask for help in backing out until I could safely turn around. I might have gotten a ticket, but that ticket would have been much better than damaging the truck.

My other mistake was a ticket for not adhering to a traffic device, namely a barricade. I was close to the yard for my company and the road I was on had barricades indicating that the road would be closed at a specified distance, except for local traffic. I didn't turn at the last barricade a few miles later, because in my mind at that time, I was part of the "local traffic." What the signage meant is that the road is a dead end, so unless you live on this street, don't continue past this point. My company's yard is on the next street I would have come to, so rather than taking the detour, I convinced myself that I should be able to make the next turn onto that street. I came up on that intersection and found that the whole intersection was barricaded. I proceeded to back my way out to where the last barricade was. Before I reached that point, a state trooper came up behind me to stop me. This ticket happened 3 months after the first incident. My company would have been justified in letting me go, but they chose to keep me. I have bo doubt that at the top of the list of reasons why is that I have been a solid producer from the beginning of my going solo.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Marc many of us here have college degree’s and were in a proffessional career before deciding to become drivers, as well as being veterans.We have a very diverse group around here. None of that really means anything. This career is much different than anything you have probably experienced.

It is very doable if that is what you want to do. It takes 110% commitment to get going. I’ve been at it 9 years and still learn something new everyday.

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

I think it is POSSIBLE to make that, and relatively quickly in comparison to other "unskilled" fields. (Yes I know, we are misclassified. It takes skill not to kill peeps on the road.)

Previous commenters are correct in that this career is wholly dependant on your abilities to manage yourself.

Be dependable. Be honest. Communicate. Own up to your mistakes. Ask questions. Find a safe place to pull over, and check again.

Because I had done all the above mentioned things, prior to my "biggest mistake" I was given the benefit of the doubt. I thought for sure I was fired when I ripped off a trailer door to another companies trailer. It wound up being a Convo with dispatch, and with safety, and a "don't do it again."

0547467001665268069.jpg

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Be dependable. Be honest. Communicate. Own up to your mistakes. Ask questions. Find a safe place to pull over, and check again.

Excellent advice. That was beautiful - concise and right to the point. My late grandpa would have said, "That girl cuts right to the bone."

I'd like to clarify something I said earlier. I said you can't count on making your desired amount your rookie year. I also stated it was possible. That sounds a little weird, but what I mean is don't count on it.

Have some savings you can use if needed. Don't get yourself out here totally dependent on a certain income. That's just going to add extra stress on you. It's something you really don't need. You'll feel pressured enough just learning how to be efficient and productive.

You can certainly make the amount you need in this career. I just don't want you counting chickens that may not have hatched yet. That's never fun.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

For over twenty years I have been a civil servant. This career has taking a heavy toll on my heart and mind as I deal with human tragedy and crisis day in and day out. For this reason I want to take a leap into something completely different. This has brought me to this forum. Presently I make $64k a year and need to sustain this number to make my budget work. Between the want ads, recruiters and advertisements this number seems achievable (and then some) in the truck driving industry. What I need to know is, is this realistic or just recruitment hype? What can I truly expect to earn starting out?

Hey, Marc L. ~ Welcome to Trucking Truth and thank you for your service as well, sir! Military or EMT, all huge contributions to society.

As has been said above (and more to come, I'm sure!) we're glad you found this place. It's the best, especially for folks that WANT to learn, and aspire to succeed in this profession, factually and sincerely.

I highly suggest the following; to look into/read, as you consider/contemplate trucking:

As far as meeting and/or exceeding your current pay; you've seen the comments above; all spot on. My other half has been driving for almost 20 years, and he's now (finally) local, exceeding that figure; yet also, experience (well maintained, might I add) often is considered in one's starting .cpm (cents per mile.) I noticed you left out your location in your profile; yet if you'd add at least your state, it may actually be a huge basis for comparison. For example, in states such as mine (Ohio) and perhaps Kentucky and some others, $64K is upper middle wages. In New York, Florida, Cali, and others, it's not quite even mid wages (not including the non earners, in either scenario; only the employed.) I'm no statistician, but I've lived in NY, FL, and settled in Ohio. Mean, median, and mode are so disparate.

As far as where/how to start, and make the money you need: we don't 'ask' for age here on Trucking Truth; yet we sure have a great group of all sizes. Keep in mind, age has nothing to do with 'discrimination' at all, just ability; yet take Old School for example. I'm not sure of his age; a tad older than Tom and I, yet he throws tarps like a 25 year old! His time management shows it, ergo his earnings. G'Town is another 'grown up' like us'ns .. having driven for Swift 9 years, pulled doubles for PFG, and now is off road hauling (Heavy Haul/ Construction equipment/Ground Movers) like a youngster; his maturity coupled with experience landed him in the upper figures.

On the other hand; take Rob T.; early/mid 30's and started out slinging milk, bread, and eggs (food delivery) and is still somewhat in that same arena; more driving and less unloading/less backaches, he's moved up of course. Another great former serviceman .. PapaPig started with Werner, doing the Dollar General accounts (which we DON'T recommend for newbies)!! There's a few of his videos on YouTube, even showing him scurrying and hauling butt, & the physicality!! I'm guessing he's in the 40's range; he moves faster than many 20 somethings.

Then, there's Bobcat Bob, Banks, Delco Dave, and many others . . . who've jumped into the LTL world; as many (most) have 'Dock to Driver' programs, which speaks for itself. You can certainly look up their diaries; LTL pays quite well. (Sadly, we aren't near any hub where we life; ergo: Location!) I'm pretty sure those LTL'ers are a mix of ages.

Prime.....so many great products!! Daniel B., who designed the pretrip for this site, started there at 22 (?) and even trained; went on to tanks (fuel) and is now in the LTL world, doing awesome, with ODFL (Old Dominion) where Bobcat Bob is. Kearsey has been with Prime for many years; she's got a channel, too: Truckin' Along w/Kearsey! She's a trainer there, and a mod here, and she's got your #s beat, I believe. Turtle started at Prime flatbed, moved on to WMPF (WalMart) and probably nets 'six figs.' Rob D. (Chief Brody) left the barrister life, and went to Prime; first flatbed and now tanks with them! Pretty sure his numbers went up, too.

Case in Point: Please don't misunderstand me; you're as young as you feel/can be/are/choose to be, in a sense. Many at 30 would be fine starting out with 'labor intensive' driving positions, to enter the industry. (Again, Rob T. and PapaPig come to mind. One's 30'ish, other 40'ish.) Yes, it does pay better. LTL, as well; considering most pay benefits, with no copay; some are even union. Once again....Location, of course...is a factor. Age, as you see (or feel) fit.

TL;DR, in closing, trucking is one industry that 'appreciates' maturity in a new/potential driver/trainee, unlike other careers. Least discriminatory way I can say it, honestly! Experience raises the pay scale, as well.

Wishing you the best, see you here soon;

~ Anne & Tom ~

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Its possible. Unlike most professions, the bulk of this industry is piecework in that you get paid by the unit. In this case, its by the mile. Your performance dictates your pay. Many areas of construction are piecework, so if you are used to that concept it makes it easier. There are many factors that people wash out over. A big area is that its a lifestyle, very different than working a conventional career. Your whole life changes doing this. Although there are many tales of people not completing training, let alone a first year, that doesnt have to be your story. Id highly recommend soaking up as much information as you can here.

My first year, even with 3 weeks of school and 3 weeks of training, I grossed just under 80k. That included a lot of bonuses though, and luckily a lot of mentoring from folks here as well as luck and sound choices. My company pays about average compared to their competitors, its not the pay rate that effected it. I set out to become Safe, On Time and easy to work with. Its also learning how to manage things outside of driving, like your clocks, lifestyle choices, business sense, efficiency and a lot of personal choices that ultimately determine how much you generate.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

For over twenty years I have been a civil servant. This career has taking a heavy toll on my heart and mind as I deal with human tragedy and crisis day in and day out. For this reason I want to take a leap into something completely different. This has brought me to this forum. Presently I make $64k a year and need to sustain this number to make my budget work. Between the want ads, recruiters and advertisements this number seems achievable (and then some) in the truck driving industry. What I need to know is, is this realistic or just recruitment hype? What can I truly expect to earn starting out?

You've gotten many replies, Marc.

Any thoughts, questions, decisions?

Stop back; ask, update, or all the above!

~ Anne ~

Marc L.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes Anne, many thoughts and even more questions. Much of what has been said confirms my research thus far. What I am hearing the groups say is my monetary goal isn’t likely to start but is possible but I am going to have to work hard to earn it. I think that is both fair and true. I wasn’t expecting to just take a cdl test hop behind the wheel then $$$ though I suspect many a fool has done so. I appreciate the candor from the group. At this point I think I have most of the ‘on paper’ considerations covered (the online book here helped). Now I am working on those things in everyone’s head when you consider something new- Can I do this? What if I suck at it? etc. There are two trucking schools nearby that I will be visiting to speak with career counselors at that I think will help.

double-quotes-start.png

For over twenty years I have been a civil servant. This career has taking a heavy toll on my heart and mind as I deal with human tragedy and crisis day in and day out. For this reason I want to take a leap into something completely different. This has brought me to this forum. Presently I make $64k a year and need to sustain this number to make my budget work. Between the want ads, recruiters and advertisements this number seems achievable (and then some) in the truck driving industry. What I need to know is, is this realistic or just recruitment hype? What can I truly expect to earn starting out?

double-quotes-end.png

You've gotten many replies, Marc.

Any thoughts, questions, decisions?

Stop back; ask, update, or all the above!

~ Anne ~

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Marc I started my trucking career in my mid fifties… that was over 9 years ago.

I chose the path we almost always advise when choosing a trucking school…

Paid CDL Training Programs

Apply For Paid CDL Training

Company sponsored is the direction I took with Swift. I never regretted that decision and would do the exact same thing if I had it todo all over again.

Below is a link from our blog section offering Trucking Truth’s perspective on company sponsored vs private trucking school. I highly suggest giving it a read…and also visit the blog section (click the menu bar, upper left, top of page. Scroll down), there are many articles addressing the exact spot you are in… it’s honest and truthful.

Why We Prefer Company Sponsored Training

Happy to answer further questions and share my experiences. Good luck!

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.

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.

Page 2 of 5 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More