Guys. Seriously, Is Trucking Worth It?

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Sean's Comment
member avatar

Hi Shilo,

I agree with Mountain Girl. It sounds like LTL (Less than Load/Line haul) would be up your alley. All I know about it is what I've read on this site. 6 String Rhythm is the resident expert in LTL on this site from what I've read so far. (I just nominated him official LTL expert.) You should check out his thread LTL Trucking - My linehaul job for an in-depth look at what it's like. It's a great read!

If you don't have a lot of time, because it's a long thread, check out the LTL Trucking Company List he put together and see if any of those companies have a terminal in your area. If so, hop on the companies website and see if they offer paid training so you don't have to fork out money upfront. You could also just Google LTL companies + your general location to see if any pop up. I had to do that to find one near where I live. The one closest to me is a smaller company that doesn't offer training and requires 1 year of OTR experience. Hope this helps!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Shilo,

I agree with Mountain Girl. It sounds like LTL (Less than Load/Line haul) would be up your alley. All I know about it is what I've read on this site. 6 String Rhythm is the resident expert in LTL on this site from what I've read so far. (I just nominated him official LTL expert.) You should check out his thread LTL Trucking - My linehaul job for an in-depth look at what it's like. It's a great read!

If you don't have a lot of time, because it's a long thread, check out the LTL Trucking Company List he put together and see if any of those companies have a terminal in your area. If so, hop on the companies website and see if they offer paid training so you don't have to fork out money upfront. You could also just Google LTL companies + your general location to see if any pop up. I had to do that to find one near where I live. The one closest to me is a smaller company that doesn't offer training and requires 1 year of OTR experience. Hope this helps!

Yes, that helps very much...Just what i need; I'll definitely be checking that link out! Thanks again

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

Rolling down a mountain would never sound like fun, esp with 40k in the trunk! I'm from Ohio, we don't have mountains; hardly even big hills! I have recurring nightmare of having to stop mid way up a mountain, and somehow rolling backward uncontrollably----->yyyyyyyuuuuuuuhhhhhh!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Shilo,

I agree with Mountain Girl. It sounds like LTL (Less than Load/Line haul) would be up your alley. All I know about it is what I've read on this site. 6 String Rhythm is the resident expert in LTL on this site from what I've read so far. (I just nominated him official LTL expert.) You should check out his thread LTL Trucking - My linehaul job for an in-depth look at what it's like. It's a great read!

If you don't have a lot of time, because it's a long thread, check out the LTL Trucking Company List he put together and see if any of those companies have a terminal in your area. If so, hop on the companies website and see if they offer paid training so you don't have to fork out money upfront. You could also just Google LTL companies + your general location to see if any pop up. I had to do that to find one near where I live. The one closest to me is a smaller company that doesn't offer training and requires 1 year of OTR experience. Hope this helps!

LTL sounds ok, but no adventure. Not really going anywhere really, unless you're talkin' regional. The only experience I had with LTL was when I drove a forklift for FedEx. Seemed like a lot of p!*$ed off city drivers. A perfect job would be a couple of overnights a week, and a week long trip once a month :)

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.

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

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

double-quotes-end.png

Rolling down a mountain would never sound like fun, esp with 40k in the trunk! I'm from Ohio, we don't have mountains; hardly even big hills! I have recurring nightmare of having to stop mid way up a mountain, and somehow rolling backward uncontrollably----->yyyyyyyuuuuuuuhhhhhh!

It's the best kind of fun.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

BTW, you're avatar says, "in training." How long of a process is that? Is it mainly just to learn the ropes for each company?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

double-quotes-end.png

BTW, you're avatar says, "in training." How long of a process is that? Is it mainly just to learn the ropes for each company?

At my company, it's about a week of classroom training, 2-3 weeks of supervised driving with an instructor, then 6+ weeks of team driver with a trainer. I'm towards the back end of that process.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

The OP sounded like he is afraid of some things which is natural for someone coming into this industry. I was afraid of all of those things too. Like mountains. That **** is scary, right? It is, but not nearly in the way you envision it. I was scared to death of mountains 6 weeks ago. Once you learn to to downshift up them and roll back down, it's really a lot of fun. Well at least for me it is. I begged my trainer over the past couple weeks to let me do Fancy Gap and Cajun Pass in the times we were there. I got to do both and it was so fun. I should caution anyone reading this by saying I may be a lunatic.

This is definitely a dangerous industry but the danger is hyped up too much. The danger is other drivers, not weather or grades. If you can be good at this, it is fun.

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

BTW, you're avatar says, "in training." How long of a process is that? Is it mainly just to learn the ropes for each company?

double-quotes-end.png

At my company, it's about a week of classroom training, 2-3 weeks of supervised driving with an instructor, then 6+ weeks of team driver with a trainer. I'm towards the back end of that process.

That's a lotta Hooplah...Best of luck to ya, sounds like your doing fine!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Shilo, welcome to the forum!

I've been intrigued by this thread, mostly because it hasn't gone in the direction I would have thought it would. Let me just say that LTL jobs, while available in some areas to new drivers, are still kind of rare in most parts of the country. I think you've garnered some great responses and advise, I would like to give a slightly different way to look at your approach to a career change. I am a father of three daughters, and have a very close knit family. Before I got into trucking we spent almost a year discussing and learning about the realities of the job before I took the plunge. I was fortunate in that I had that liberty, I realize most of the time people are hard pressed to find gainful employment and need to get the ball moving much faster than I did. The decision to get into trucking definitely needs the commitment of support from your spouse and children - they have got to understand the reasons you will be making the sacrifices that affect both you and them, and they have got to understand the sacrifices they will be making because of your absence. There is no getting around it, over the road truck driving jobs put a lot of strain on a family.

I love being an over the road driver, I could regale you with tales of adventure on through the night with ease! I can also tell you of the painful moments on the phone with my wife or my youngest daughter with tears rolling down my face because I could have made something so much easier on them if I could have just been there while something difficult for them was taking place. There are a great deal of frustrations and pains that go along with the pleasures of this job. To answer your question: "Is it worth it?" - I would give a resounding YES! Unfortunately, not everyone can agree on that. It is a question that only you can truly answer for yourself. My two oldest daughters have gone out on the road with me and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves together. I documented those times together and I'm going to provide you the links to those trips so that you can get an ideal what this lifestyle is truly like. I will place them at the end of this response. My youngest daughter is going out with me in May of this year, and my wife is planning on taking a two week vacation from her Montessori school and running across the country with me in the fall of 2015.

The thing about getting into trucking that makes it so hard on people is that they never do seem to really comprehend what it entails. Many people quit during their training period, before they have even gotten a chance to run their first solo run in their own truck. Others make it through to getting assigned a truck and then throw in the towel somewhere in that first six weeks of running solo. We tell people all the time that it is more than just getting a job, it is an entire change of your lifestyle, and that is where people get all snagged up emotionally. Everyone has those feelings of wanting to give up their new trucking job somewhere during those first three months. It is just that big of a change to a person's family life and routine - I don't know how you can ever truly prepare someone for that much of an interruption to their life except to try and warn them that it will change their whole lifestyle, and that will certainly have an effect on the people they love. It brings a degree of alienation upon you from your family that is unnerving for the uninitiated - that is why I have tried hard to include my family in my new career as much as I possibly can.

For me, this career is worth the sacrifices - I truly enjoy all the challenges and continue to learn to deal with the family issues that arise in a way that makes it an acceptable choice of career for both my family and myself. My close friend, Daniel B., is trying real hard to land a local driving job after being two years over the road. He is ready to "regain his life back", as he puts it. That is the great thing about a truck driving job, once you have put in about a years worth of experience you will open up for yourself a whole new horizon of opportunities that will get you home every night and probably home on the weekends.

Think about it long and hard - if you think you and your family can endure one year with you being absent for weeks at a time, you will be building up some very worthwhile credentials for yourself as long as you operate safely. Then you can have as your plan to start working on finding a local driving job that will be more agreeable for a man with a family. I can assure you that you will be making a lot more money than you are accustomed to making at a part-time fork-lift operator position. My best wishes to you and your family in your decision making process!

Here are those links I promised you - I hope they are helpful to you in at least understanding a little more about the career and the lifestyle.

A trip with my oldest daughter

On the road with my second daughter

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

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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