The Beauty Of Linehaul

Topic 5986 | Page 2

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Indy'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.

Thank you! I appreciate your answers.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Indiana,

I'd say that running linehaul is definitely more like a "regular" job than OTR. "Regular" is in quotes, because I don't think anybody in the trucking industry works "regular" banker's hours - even dispatchers pull 12 hour shifts. I work an average of 10-12 hour days, 12 on the long side. I have worked more than 12 on occasion, I have also worked less than 10. That is the flip side of going local, or LTL as opposed to truckload, i.e. you will work longer hours, but then again, you will be home perhaps daily, and more than likely you will be paid well running linehaul. While OTR drivers can have a more relaxed schedule as long as they meet their appointment times, they also are away from home during all that downtime, and they're being paid less. You don't go into OTR for the maximum amount of money to be made in trucking.

It's true that linehaul is more like the factory job of trucking, and OTR is more of a lifestyle. You can make a decent living running OTR, but folks normally are doing it because they want to live that lifestyle, or perhaps they don't realize they might have local opportunities waiting for them.

This thread is about linehaul, but as the other poster noted, there are also P&D jobs or city driving jobs available in the LTL world. Going back to another one of your questions, which seems the most important to you, running linehaul can be very isolating. I see my linehaul manager only in passing, and if I chose to, could go by my day without speaking to anybody but perhaps saying a few short words to my dispatcher when receiving my bills. P&D will require you to interact with customers on a daily basis - multiple times. LInehaul requires you to just drop and pickup trailers from multiple meet points or terminals - that's it. You just drive, hook and unhook sets, and go home.

If anybody told me that they wanted to get into trucking, but yet wanted something of a "normal" life at home, I'd definitely suggest to not pursue OTR. Depending on the area where you live, you could have multiple opportunities waiting for you upon graduation from trucking school. In some remote areas of the country, outside major freight lanes, perhaps all that's available to some folks are the mega truckload carriers. But if you live in or relatively nearby any major freight lane, the old adage of needing to go OTR for 1 year to land that local job simply doesn't apply anymore.

I have detailed info for a beginning glimpse into the LTL world here - LTL Trucking - My linehaul job

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.

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.

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.
Indy's Comment
member avatar

Thanks! That was very helpful. Linehaul sounds good to me. One other question. Are you aware of any sort of hiring cycle in the industry? I know that many companies are always hiring, but is there a time of year when the demand for new drivers typically peaks - a best time for maximizing ones chances of landing a peach first driving job right out of school?

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.
Woody's Comment
member avatar

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.

As a fellow linehaul driver I totally agree with 6 Strings assessment and will chime in a little on this part of your question. First let me say I feel where you are coming from. I spent over 15 years in the retail world the last 5 in management. I was tired of the headaches and dealing with people and was ready to do what I like, which is being alone. I should clarify that I enjoy being with my wife of 25 years and my children but there are times I need a break from them lol.

I drove OTR for 4 months before getting into linehaul so I have a limited experience in that crowd. My plan all along was to go LTL because of the pay but it has always been you had to have experience before you could get in. As 6 has pointed out this has changed and are even hiring straight out of school. As soon as I found out about this I made the switch. There are things I miss about being OTR but when I look at how often I am home, my current pay, and my benefits there is no way I could go back right now.

Does there seem to be more camaraderie in LTL? I would have to say yes. There is some in OTR especially when your somewhat specialized. The flat bed drivers will tend to look out for each other is just one example. But I notice a big difference when I am at one of our terminals compared to when I was at the terminal driving OTR. Sure I have seen the occasional person that is having a bad day or is just a jerk in general but they have been few and far between. It has been my experience in the 7 months I have been linehaul that the drivers are friendlier and much more willing to help one another out. As I walk in and out of our terminal, which is a long walk from the parking lot, every person I pass smiles, says hello, and wishes you a safe trip. If you stop to talk and they ask how you are doing it is a genuine question. How much interaction you have with the same people may depend on your runs. I have been on a bid run for 6 months so I see many of the same people when I go in but this changes Monday as I did not take a bid this time and chose to go to the extra board so I can go different places and change my schedule a little.

I do work in a union shop, so within that camaraderie is a little of the brotherhood that comes with unions. But that being said I would not be surprised at all if 6 had some of the same experiences. He works for one of the top LTL companies out there and they keep their drivers happy. I have ran into some of them at hotels and everyone has been friendly. When workers are well paid and satisfied with what they are doing it shows with how they interact with others.

I would compare LTL and OTR like comparing other forums on the net with Trucking Truth. I have a tremendous respect for OTR drivers and what they do, especially the experienced drivers on this forum. But those drivers are a rarer breed in the OTR world. Brett, Daniel, Old School, Guy, and all the other experienced and those quickly gaining experience know how to do the job and be successful and love what they do. If they saw you having trouble at a truck stop there is no doubt in my mind they would help. While many of the typical OTR drivers will be barking at you on the CB to tell you to get the %&*# out of their way. If you can stomach it spend some time reading on other forums and see what the atmosphere is like, then compare that to Trucking Truth. Its the difference between being successful and happy with what your doing instead of miserable and not making any money but blaming everyone but themselves for the problems. When I was OTR I HATED being at the truck stops or even my companies terminals. Everyone wanted to complain about this or that and was basically pretty negative. What Brett is doing here is incredible and I truly believe is changing some of those outlooks a little at a time.

You will still have plenty of alone time if you go LTL. If you want little contact with other people that can be achieved just like 6 said. In fact I never see my linehaul manager. But if you do interact with other drivers it seems to be much different than what I experienced on the road.

I hope no OTR drivers on here take any offense from my opinions. Again the drivers on here go totally against the norm that I experienced.

Woody

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Jeez after reading my own posts it sounds like all OTR drivers are miserable. Didn't mean it to come out like that. I think its just the ones that are seem to be more memorable.

Woody

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.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Jeez after reading my own posts it sounds like all OTR drivers are miserable. Didn't mean it to come out like that. I think its just the ones that are seem to be more memorable.

Woody

I think your post was very useful and it didn't sound that way to me at all... there's just a lot more otr drivers out there, so one's more likely to encounter complainers among their ranks. It seems from my reading here and elsewhere that otr drivers are also generally happy with their jobs. Like you all have been saying, everyone's got their own needs and wants to consider in their choice of jobs. To me, the full-fledged otr lifestyle is very appealing, but it wouldn't work with my family.

Thank you all for taking the time to share your knowledge !!!

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.

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