Can I Ask You 15 Questions To Determine If Trucking Is For Me?

Topic 5894 | Page 1

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Erin S.'s Comment
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I'm a female in my late 20's thinking about getting into truck driving and want to make sure it's something I want. The county I live in offers tuition assistance for truck school, but before I apply I want to get the answers to a few questions. Can I interview you? Just 15 questions. I'm hoping to interview at least 3 people! 1) what business do you work for? 2) what city are you based out of? 3) what skills and personal characteristics do you need for this job? 4) what is the starting pay?promotion opportunities? normal work hours? 5) what is the outlook for your work in this industry? Is the industry growing? 6) what do you find satisfying about your job? 7) what would you change about your job? 8) What are the physical qualifications for this job? 9) what is the best way to obtain a position that will start me on a career in this field? 10) do you like the working conditions? 11) how do you see the jobs in this field changing over the next few years? (ie. I'm currently an automotive technician and the industry has been going to more computer scan equipment, and less wrenching) 12) what special advice would you give to a person entering this field? 13) what are the most interesting aspects of your job? 14) what part of your job do you consider dull or repetitious? What percent of your time do you devote to this? 15) is there anything else I should know about this industry/job?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
1) what business do you work for?

Knight Transportation

2) what city are you based out of?

Delhi, Louisiana

3) what skills and personal characteristics do you need for this job?

A strong work ethic is required with a nice big helping of "lots of patience" on the side. The skills include math, trip planning, map reading, controlling your bladder over long periods of time, and a willingness to change directions at a moments notice.

4) what is the starting pay?

A rookie that's got some "gumption" about them can probably bring in somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 dollars their first year.

5) what is the outlook for your work in this industry? Is the industry growing?

There is a strong need for commercial drivers today, and by all prognostications this trend will only continue in the next decade.

6) what do you find satisfying about your job?

The lifestyle, and the independence of the job are big pluses for me. I was self employed for thirty years before retiring from that and then deciding that I wanted to try this career. I can think of no other job that is so akin to being self employed. Everyday you have to be out here making things happen so that things will turn out in your favor. The people who understand this and thrive in that type of environment can have great success at this.

7) what would you change about your job?

I would have to say some of the asinine regulations in the Hours of Service rules. Brett once said you could have gotten a room full of drunk monkeys together and had them come up with a better set of regulations than the present ones. I agree with those sentiments.

8) What are the physical qualifications for this job?

Basically you just have to be able to pass a D.O.T. physical, which isn't too hard. I've seen people in their nineties out driving trucks for a living, so the physical requirements are not so bad, but we are seeing an increase in concerns about sleep apnea in the physical requirements, which will probably become a bigger issue sooner rather than later.

9) what is the best way to obtain a position that will start me on a career in this field?

The best way is to get some proper training by going through a Company-Sponsored Training program, or attending one of the many Truck Driving Schools that will help you get your Commercial drivers license, and then help you with job placemement.

10) do you like the working conditions?

Yes, except for the traffic, the bad winter storms, and the gosh awful smell in some of the truck stop bathrooms.

11) how do you see the jobs in this field changing over the next few years? (ie. I'm currently an automotive technician and the industry has been going to more computer scan equipment, and less wrenching)

Really all jobs tend to move toward being more technically involved, but driving still requires mental endurance and acuteness, plus being able to "think on your feet" when it comes to dealing with the many challenges one faces when working on the road. Most of the technological advances in this career have been in the safety and efficiency of the equipment we drive and of course all the navigational equipment available to us now. Communication with dispatchers has greatly improved over the years with virtually everyone using satellite communication systems now, and there still seems to be newer and better software based systems coming down the pike to enhance this part of the business. But for now we still need good solid people who can be true professional drivers, I don't see that trend changing any time soon.

12) what special advice would you give to a person entering this field?

Don't do it! (Just kidding!) I would want them to understand that more than anything this career is more of a lifestyle choice than it is a job. The hardest thing to adjust to for anyone entering this field is the change of their lifestyle. Many people can probably handle driving the truck day in and day out, but where they start to stumble is that they miss their family or their absence is causing some serious problems at home. Maybe they don't have the skills to manage their money properly while on the road so that they are eating out all the time and getting fat while momma and the children are at home wondering where all the money is going. You have to have a good supportive spouse to make this career work out, and you can't be the type that burns through money without giving much thought to how it was spent. I keep a simple to understand record of all my living expenses on the road so that I can know where the money goes, and so I can analyze it to see if there are areas that I can improve on. A married person is obviously doing this to support their family, so a prudent person would be one that makes sure most of the money goes home to pay the necessary household expenses.

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
13) what are the most interesting aspects of your job?

For me it is the constant challenges of each new day, and figuring out how to overcome what ever happens to raise it's head each new day. I love getting to move about all across the country and see new things and meet new people. The many truck drivers I meet are the most diverse bunch of people you could ever hope to engage in a conversation. From all out nuts to very bright intelligent professionals, you will find the whole gamut of mankind and human nature sitting at the counters in our nations truck stops.

14) what part of your job do you consider dull or repetitious? What percent of your time do you devote to this?

Honestly, I don't have a problem with dullness or repetition in my job position. Most of my time is devoted to the grand adventure of being an over the road driver.

15) is there anything else I should know about this industry/job?

Yes! Ignore all the naysayers. There are entire websites devoted to slandering trucking companies, and their policies. This is a very much misunderstood and stereotyped industry. I love being a truck driver, and get sick at my stomach when I see people slamming the industry and some of the individual big players in the business. No one can look into the trucking industry from the outside and get a true picture of what it is really like without actually getting in a truck for a month or two. If a person is going to try their hand at this I would strongly encourage them to give it at least two full years before throwing in the towel. It really takes that long to better understand how a lot of this stuff works and get a grasp on your new career.

Hope this helps you not only get your funding, but also helps you to understand a little more about this rewarding career.

Over The Road:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Woody's Comment
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If you don't have three by the time I get home Saturday I'll try to post my answers. I just cant type that much on this little tablet lol.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Well this website has over 20,000 pages of information including over 400 articles about becoming a truck driver, almost 6,000 forum conversations, over 46,000 forum comments, an entire book about becoming a truck driver, and our Truck Driver's Career Guide. Those will answer over a million questions.

smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Well this website has over 20,000 pages of information including over 400 articles about becoming a truck driver, almost 6,000 forum conversations, over 46,000 forum comments, an entire book about becoming a truck driver, and our Truck Driver's Career Guide. Those will answer over a million questions.

smile.gif

I've been browsing all of these things! I love what you've put together here, it's really helping me evaluate whether it is for me.

And it all gets me more excited! Thank you!!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

12) what special advice would you give to a person entering this field?

double-quotes-end.png

Old School -Your response to this question is EXACTLY why I asked all the questions! This is probably the biggest obstacle for me, but also liberating at the same time. It's my lifestyle that I wanted to change with this career choice. I started wrenching with my first bicycle as a tot, then my dirt bike before I could legally drive, and ended up falling into automotive. Now that my boy is a teen (please don't do the math) and has better male role model in his life, I'm ready to make that lifestyle change and finally have the spousal support to do it. Thank you! I'm starting to think this is something up my ally.

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