The Beauty Of Linehaul

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6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I started a thread a few months ago, documenting my experiences about being a rookie linehaul driver for an LTL company, while throwing in some informational tidbits about the LTL sector of the trucking industry. It was my intention to spread the word about LTL, since truckload gets all sorts of love from trucking forums. For my particular needs and goals, linehaul is a dream come true. For some prospective drivers, maybe not so much. That's the beauty about trucking - there's all sorts of trucking jobs out there for each driver.

So after being with my LTL company for a few months and getting pretty familiar with how they want things done, as well as becoming more comfortable with hooking up / breaking down and pulling double trailers, and getting to know pretty much all the company terminals in the North East, here are my thoughts. LINEHAUL IS AWESOME.

Why? Because it fits me like a glove. Routine - home every day - getting paid well while being asked to work hard.

Routine - Some guys / gals fantasize about the "open road" and all sorts of adventure ... I see that as being away from my family and having to deal with not knowing where you're going from day to day. In other words, you have the stress of navigating to a new shipper / receiver on a daily basis (unless you're on a dedicated account). I'm not dogging any of you for having the perspective of adventure - that's cool. It's not me though. I knew I would love linehaul while I was still researching trucking jobs before I even went to trucking school. The folks that love OTR for the adventure and going to new places would probably look at my job as extremely boring and dull. Different strokes for different folks. I LOVE going to the same places, knowing how to get there like the back of my hand, and what I could expect once I arrive. No surprises for me. But then again I got into trucking not because I had some grandiose vision of adventure and a wanderlust, I got into trucking to pay the bills and support my family. I just so happen to also love big trucks. Routine in trucking sound good to you? Check out linehaul.

Home every day - pretty much speaks for itself.

Getting paid well - Again, I got into trucking to support my family, not live out an adventurous dream while making some dough along the way. I might run harder than a typical OTR driver, but at least I'm not resting at a truck stop, I'm resting at home. No disrespect towards OTR drivers, I know you guys can run hard if you want - and a lot of you do. My point is that while I"m being run hard, I get home every day and then have two days off a week. While OTR drivers can generally choose how hard they run, as long as they meet their schedules, the flip side is that OTR drivers have that downtime at a place away from home. I'd rather run hard and be exhausted every day - crash in my own bed - and then have off two days a week. Every little bit helps to see the family, even if it's just for a meal before going to bed. I might be asked to run hard on a daily basis, but I am financially compensated for that. Linehaul drivers get paid very well, no matter which LTL company they work for.

I just wanted to write another blurb about linehaul since I love it so much. And if there are any prospective drivers out there who aren't aware of the opportunity to be a linehaul driver, right out of school, here's another chance for you to read about it. Routine - hometime - being paid well ... that pretty much sums up linehaul for me. Fits me like a glove.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ricky A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thats awesome! Glad you love what your doing. The abundant amount of opportunities is what attracted me to this career choice. I am gonna put my year in and then i can move anywhere, and do anything i want. Tanker, oil field, ltl , local, regional. The opportunities are endless.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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
Trucktographer's Comment
member avatar

After being OTR with my trainer, and then on my own, I can see the beauty of being on a dedicated or LTL job. Having to figure out procedure at each new shipper/receiver is a bit trying at times. Each place does things just a little bit different, and I'll admit the looks I get from security guards when I do things differently is a little irritating. How am I supposed to know that at your yard you expect X when it isn't written on a sign anywhere?

But so far I have enjoyed getting to see different parts of the country. Maybe someday I'll make the switch.

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.

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.

Dm:

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Awesome info 6 string rhythm!!! I agree....line haul can certainly be the perfect job for a lot of people.

I got into trucking to support my family, not live out an adventurous dream while making some dough along the way

I never had a family. I got into trucking to live out an adventurous dream while making some dough along the way!!!

smile.gif

Which plays to your point exactly - go out there and find the right trucking job for yourself. It doesn't matter what anyone else likes or what anyone else is doing. Find a company that suits you well and go for it!

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.
Indy's Comment
member avatar

Would you say that working for an LTL company is more like a regular job than going OTR? I am planning to become a truck driver because I like to drive, and because I no longer want a job where I have to interact with the same people on a daily basis. (I guess you could say I'm not much of a "people person" - even though I've never had a problem holding down a job long term - I've been a teacher for the past 10 years!) In your ltl job, do you have to see and speak with your boss every work day? Is there regular interaction with the same drivers and dock workers? Do you think there is more of an atmosphere or camaraderie in the ltl world compared to otr? I am very interested in ltl because home time is important to me, however, I get the feeling that "fitting in" may be a little more important in the ltl world than the otr world.

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.

Gladiator 76's Comment
member avatar

I work for an LTL company in Portland Oregon doing mostly pickup and delivery (an occasional line haul to the Seattle area). I run a route in the same area each day. I enjoy knowing the customers and more importantly their locations. We use a phone system to keep track of our pick up and delivery orders. Once in a while an address pops up that I don't know. When this happens I usually call one of two senior drivers.....if they don't recognize the address that means I'm probably gonna be backing into a very tight location. When I first started out about 10 months ago this never happened, but as my experienced has increased so has my responsibility. So far I haven't been sent any place I can't handle, but its been close several times. I like being home each night, because it allows me to do the other things in life I enjoy. When I was in Truck driving school they told me I'd never get a local driving job without going over the road for at least one year....they were wrong! I had one month of OTR training. As has been stated on this forum many times......it's all about finding the job that fits your needs!

At this time I have received three pay increases and am on track to earn right at $40,000.00 this year. Also, as my pay has increased the demand for me to work over time has decreased. When I first started it wasn't unusual to work between 50-55 hours a week or more. Now I usually work between 40-50 hours per week. When selecting an LTL company it is important to ask them when they start paying overtime. My company starts paying overtime after 40 hours a week, while one of our competitors starts paying overtime after 48 hours, and another one pays overtime after 60 hours. Just something to keep in mind as you seek employment. Right now this job fits me. Best of luck as you seek employment.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Gladiator,

You said in your profile that you realized after one month that OTR was not for you. Can I ask what you disliked about OTR? Would you say that "getting to know" the customers - or customer relation skills is an essential part of being a p&d driver? Sorry if my questions seem strange, but I'm trying to figure out if an ltl company would be a good fit for me. I am kind of at a stage where I just want to do my job (well!) and be left alone for the most part.

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.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Indiana, I'm on my 30 minute break, and will respond in detail when I get home tonight. Glad this thread is generating interest.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Great stuff Gladiator - I like sharing with prospective & student drivers that you don't need that 1 year of experience to land a LTL job anymore. I almost went OTR myself before I realized I had a linehaul opportunity available for me right out of trucking school.

And yes, our company requires 60 hours before over-time, but I'm not hourly, so that doesn't affect me. I've also found out that it can be a wash, meaning that our P&D drivers get paid more per hour than some other LTL companies that might pay their city drivers overtime sooner.

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.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

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.
Gladiator 76's Comment
member avatar

IndianaBuck, I didn't like living in a truck. I missed the non-work parts of my life.

I did not mean to imply that customer relationships was only an essential part of local driving. It's important for all drivers to have good people skills.

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