Is It A Bad Time To Become A Trucker?

Topic 32510 | Page 1

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Jon C.'s Comment
member avatar

At 52 with my kids both productive members of society and having been self employed with employees for 30 years, it’s time for a change for me. I know the trucking industry was at a top amid Covid and a bottom now. I’m limited to the companies that will hire new drivers and not going to buy a rig out the gate ( I use to be Mr. Jones “go big or go home” ) as I know I need to start at bottom and learn the industry.

Based on some of the salty dogs on here with experience, you know the companies that will hire a new CDL driver. Question is, which ones should I stay away from in your opinions?

Keep the rubber on the pavement. ( that is a fitting comment for many trades ) put a plane down on 2 wheels once and still paying for it.

Thanks for replies I’m advance.

Jon

( cool CB handle to follow one day )

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.

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
Question is, which ones should I stay away from in your opinions?

Any that don't fit with what you're looking for whether that be freight hauled. Hometime, pay etc. Here we don't believe in bad companies. Nearly every conpany that catches flack for being a "starter company" we've had members stay there long after their contract and be successful. Western Express is perhaps one of those with the worst reputation. Old School got his start there and has said numerous times had he not been approached with his current opportunity he would still be there. Gtown spent several years running a dedicated account with Swift for nearly a decade at the highest levels possible. Find a company that fits with what you're looking for and stick with it. If you keep your head down and put the work in chances are you'll find success regardless of the company name on the door. Sometimes a lousy dispatcher affects that negatively but for the most part your success is completely dependent on your performance.

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Jon!!

I agree with Rob 100%. The companies that offer cdl school are really all about the same in what they do. Haul freight!! Different ones haul different products is about the biggest difference. They all have their quirks and own way of getting the job done.

Alot of large companies get bashed all the time, when in reality it was one person’s bad experience with a bad employee. Every company no matter the size has great, good and bad employee’s.

You need to figure out what type of freight you want to haul and go from there. Another concern which ones hire from your area. The important part of that is for them getting you home.

I am one of the very few O/O’s on here. I’m a bit of a nut I reckon. I started with Roehl Transport back in the day. They as well as others have a great school. They have 3 divisions dry van , reefer and flatbed. In my opinion look to those that have multiple divisions within the company. Gives you more flexibility without leaving the company.

I’ve pulled vans, reefers, tankers and flatbed. For the most part I am semi retired these days. I’m only up at this hour because of doing a favor for a friend.

I normally deliver headstones to cemetaries but for a few weeks I’m pulling a reefer. I just bumped my first dock in 7 years a few minutes ago. I have figured out why I quit doing that years ago. These early morning deliveries are hard on an old man.

If you jump in with a positive attitude and apply a strong work ethic you can work your way through and become a top tier driver.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The only companies that I would tell any prospective driver to avoid are 1099 companies (hire on IRS form 1099 instead of W-2) or any company that only offers leasing a truck. If you stick with the training companies talked about on here, even the smaller ones, then you won't have to worry about those other two issues.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hello Jon C!

Welcome to Trucking Truth.

As far back as I can remember there has never been a bad time to become a trucker. No matter what is going on with our economy, there are still goods that have to be moved. I don't know of a time when there wasn't considerable demand for good professional drivers. Your age is perfect, and you will find that there are a lot of drivers out here older than you. I started at the age of 53, and the company that hired me also hired another gentleman who was 73 on that same day.

I want to point something out to you that I noticed in your Bio. You made this statement...

It’s not about $$$ as I’m taking a hefty pay cut... It’s about being appreciated and respected.

You just hit the two biggest things that most truck drivers complain about. Unfortunately many of our truck drivers are big complainers. What is it they complain about? They complain they are not appreciated and get no respect.

So... I do not recommend you get into this for those two things. Trucking is an incredible job. I love it! Many people feel the way I do, but there are a lot of others who do nothing but whine and gripe about this job. When I say trucking is an incredible job, it also means that it requires incredible people to do it. As a trucker you will be paid based on your performance. A trucker needs to develop his own sense of accomplishment out here. I am big on setting goals for myself. That way I can measure myself and push myself to achieve what I want. I don't need anybody to pat me on the back and give me an "attaboy." I am a self motivated individual and I believe most successful truckers fall into that category. I can roll right out of the bed and be ready to hit it hard. That is just the way I am wired.

This job is very unique. You will not be interacting with other employees or even any sort of supervisors. You are on your own and expected to motivate yourself and be willing to excel on your own with little or no guidance from someone else. I seldom ever even talk to my dispatcher. He dispatches me electronically and I send him messages the same way. I can keep him informed of my progress through a tablet in my truck. There is very little personal interaction in trucking. You may go several weeks without even seeing anyone you know. There is a lot of solitude and it takes a special individual to handle it sometimes.

Don't worry about which companies you need to avoid. They all will treat you well and do their best to keep you busy. You will be the determining factor in how you do at this and how you get along with your employing company. Productive safe drivers who are easy to get along with will do well anywhere you put them. Trust me on this. I started my career at Western Express. They had absolutely terrible internet reviews. I discovered all that slander came from disgruntled ineffective drivers who couldn't have found their way out of a wet paper sack if they were required to figure it out for themselves. Trucking is very unique. I learned that early on and made sure I approached it in a unique way. I excelled at that first job, and I have only changed companies one time in ten years.

The only reason you might want to avoid a certain company is because it doesn't fit your needs or requirements. If you want to run no touch dryvan freight you would want to avoid someone like TMC who only does flatbed freight. Or if you want to pull flatbed freight you might not want to go with Old Dominion who is very adept at LTL freight. Do you see what I am saying? Figure out what type of job you want to do and pursue the companies that offer something that is interesting to you.

We have so many great resources here for you. Take a look at some of these sections and spend some time reading in them. You will be doing yourself a favor by getting started that way.

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

Dispatcher:

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.

Dryvan:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

To hone in on being respected. I can remember a receiver in Kent Wa. The receiving manager was brutal to drivers. Cussing, screaming, telling drivers to leave even though they were on time. He even timed my co-driver backing into our dock. After 15 min thinking we were getting unloaded he comes out pounds on door tells us to leave. We took too long to back. This was 9am, we were to return at 9pm. I was livid ready to fight this dude. Co-driver just stayed calm and we drove away. Returned 12 hrs later w no problems. I was still irritated. By the way this was 2nd week of my training. My co-driver and other drivers just told me thats how it is out here. "All the time?" I asked. "You will soon understand" I was told. Even more confused now. Well after a few loads to an apple shed in "gods country" Washington we were dispatched to Oregon to pick up a nursery load. About 3-4 hour loading time. I was irritated. Thinking this sucks, no respect, wah wah wah. After about two hours of waiting I went to find restroom, at the shipping office. Nicest people I had probably ever met. Got to tour the place, they were having an appreciation day I guess. We got to eat some potluck etc. At this point I thought I am beginning to "soon understand".

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Quote of the day!!! (I like this one a lot)

When I say trucking is an incredible job, it also means that it requires incredible people to do it.

-Old School

Jon C.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob T. , PJ, Ryan, and George - Thank you each for your comments and feedback.

Old School - Thank you for your wisdom and taking the time to read my bio and focus in, if you will. Just for clarification from my perspective, "my paycheck on time and correct is the only appreciation and respect I desire from my employer", PERIOD. I have worked for 1 contractor for 25 years and the past couple years they have made me fight and claw to get paid. They hold 100% pay for clerical issues that others within their company make. I have to chase their Project Managers to do their job so I can get paid on work we as a business have completed. My employees get paid every week for doing their job safely and properly.

I am coming in new to the trucking industry but am not new to a hard days work. As for customers; "They are always right, no matter how wrong they are." That as a business owner is something I live by and have tried to teach to every employee I have ever encountered and more importantly my children that are taking over the business I am gifting them.

Do think I will enjoy what this site has to offer in my new career.

Appreciate you all for feedback.

Jon

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

As for customers; "They are always right, no matter how wrong they are."

You will occasionally come across a clerk at a shipper or receiver that has that "I hate truckers" vibe, probably from dealing with some of the idiots that come through for loading/unloading. I maintain a smile with a "yes sir/ma'm," and it usually softens them a bit. Not afraid to speak up about something, but I am 100% courteous and represent my company well. Sounds like you won't have a problem doing the same, which will help you immensely.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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