Considering This Life Change

Topic 4615 | Page 1

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Glenn B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

I've started reading this site and forum because I'm thinking about trucking as a job/life.

I'm just about 57, again single with no dependents or pets or personal ties. Renting a house, struggling with my own business - that struggle being economy related rather than ability related. So from what I read here I don't have the ties that make being on the road weeks at a time difficult. Some stupid newbie question if I may ;

Is driving boring? Day after day after day?

Do you tend to get quite sleepy at times? How to deal with that?

Do weather and temp changes make it more likely to catch colds?

Do a few, some, or many companies pay their OTR drivers a per-diem for eats?

What are the exercise options when out on the road? Do big truck stops have gym or weight rooms?

Are drivers allowed to carry a firearm?

Are there "independent contract driver positions" out there that pay on a 1099 basis?

I'm thinking if I went this direction, being an OTR driver, I would be out for weeks or months at a time - so why would I want or need to rent a house or even an apartment if I were to hardly ever see it? Do any others in a same or similar situation live out of truck and then go temp rooms/hotel/short stay suites for their occasional time off comes rather than keeping a home or apartment? Having never lived that way I don't know how I'd deal with it. Thoughts?

Looking forward to your feedback! Glenn

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Glenn!

Ok, I'm gonna give you quick answers to each of your questions. More importantly you'll want to read through our entire Truck Driver's Career Guide from beginning to end and follow all of the links you come across. That will cover about every topic imaginable that pertains to getting your trucking career underway and will take you throughout our website in the process so you'll learn about all of the tools we have to help you out along the way. We consider it essential reading for anyone considering a career in trucking.

Is driving boring? Day after day after day?

Not usually. Being bored on the road becomes pretty rare because you're so busy all the time. Boredom is usually an opportunity for some well-needed rest and relaxation. Sometimes driving through 700 miles of cornfields in the Midwest can get a bit tedious, but no biggie.

Do you tend to get quite sleepy at times? How to deal with that?

Keeping yourself relaxed and calm will help conserve your energy. Scheduling your days as efficiently as possible goes a long way toward being alert when it's time to work. But there is no substitute for sleep and nothing is more important than safety. So if you're too tired to drive safely you park it - simple as that.

Do weather and temp changes make it more likely to catch colds?

Not directly. Viruses cause colds, not temperature changes. If you wear yourself out day after day by running too hard or getting stressed out all the time it can have a big impact on your immune system and make you more vulnerable to illness. I think most drivers have gone through that at some point. You run really extra hard for a few days or you have something stressful going on and suddenly you get sick on top of it. D*mn! So the weather won't affect your health nearly as much as other factors like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.

Do a few, some, or many companies pay their OTR drivers a per-diem for eats?

Yes, most companies either offer per diem pay or require you to take it.

What are the exercise options when out on the road? Do big truck stops have gym or weight rooms?

Once in a while you'll stumble across a gym at a trucking company terminal or a truck stop. But most of the time you'll be on your own. I used to go jogging regularly. Some people ride bikes, carry dumbbells with them, use those stretch bands for resistance training, and things of that nature. Just like at home you can find time to exercise on the road or you can find excuses. If you want to stay in shape out there it can be done.

Are drivers allowed to carry a firearm?

While there are no direct laws saying "No guns in trucks", there are a whole list of other laws and policies that will make it impossible to do legally. There are of course State and Federal laws that can cause problems. Many customers have signs preventing firearms on their property and most trucking companies have policies against it.

Are there "independent contract driver positions" out there that pay on a 1099 basis?

Yeah but you don't want to be a business owner in this industry. And that includes leasing or owning a truck. The profit margins are razor thin - averaging about 3% across the industry. High capital costs, high litigation risk, high physical risk, no way to differentiate yourself from the competition, and an utter lack of true control over the revenue stream (because you're getting your freight from a broker or company of some sort) makes the prospects for a worthwhile profit rather poor.

I'm thinking if I went this direction, being an OTR driver, I would be out for weeks or months at a time - so why would I want or need to rent a house or even an apartment if I were to hardly ever see it? Do any others in a same or similar situation live out of truck and then go temp rooms/hotel/short stay suites for their occasional time off comes rather than keeping a home or apartment? Having never lived that way I don't know how I'd deal with it. Thoughts?

Plenty of people do this. I did it myself for most of my career. I just lived in the truck and took time off with family and friends or on the road somewhere like Vegas or New Orleans.

Hope this helps! Now get on our Truck Driver's Career Guide - you'll be glad you did!

smile.gif

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.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

What are the exercise options when out on the road? Do big truck stops have gym or weight rooms?

double-quotes-end.png

Once in a while you'll stumble across a gym at a trucking company terminal or a truck stop. But most of the time you'll be on your own. I used to go jogging regularly. Some people ride bikes, carry dumbbells with them, use those stretch bands for resistance training, and things of that nature. Just like at home you can find time to exercise on the road or you can find excuses. If you want to stay in shape out there it can be done.

Welcome Glenn! There are several people on this board that talk about ways to get exercise on the road. There is a thread (or maybe 2) on Daniel's Bike Rides that you might want to find and read (sorry I haven't figured out how to link things here yet). I have lost a significant amount of weight over the last few years (and still need to lose some more) so the trainer I workout with is going to set me up some strength training sets to do using resistance tubes. I have ordered them and we will begin working with them as soon as I get them so I am comfortable with the technique and proper form before I get done with school and on my own in a truck. Also, someone posted here that if you walk around your tractor and trailer 18 times you have covered a mile. I'm with Daniel in that I would prefer to bicycle, but hey a walk will do if that is all I have time for!smile.gif

I too plan to live out of my truck and simply visit my family and friends for home time. I share a place with someone and there seems no need to keep paying rent when I don't have to. Doesn't mean I will do it forever, but initially I will because I may decide to move closer to my kids in Phoenix one day.

Best of luck to you in your search for information. This is a great community to get it in with someone that will have an answer to a question, even if it isn't the answer we want to hear! smile.gif

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I just want to add on about the residents issue. Like was said you can say with people and save the money of your own place. No big deal but you absolutely have to have a permanent residence for an address for your mail and the address for your cdl license. Not saying you have to live there but you will need to have some address listed and it can not be a PO Box unless unless you live in a place that is so small that a PO box is used for mailing but you still need a physical address listed for your home.

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.
Glenn B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies guys

Glenn

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Hey Glenn,

I just wanted to chime in here and let you know that I live out of my camper when I am "home". With a recent divorce and my younger kids moving away it just made no sense for me to be paying for a place that was empty most of the time.

Oh, and welcome.

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