Are We Being Reasonable About Pay For 1st Year Driving?

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Amanda W.'s Comment
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DH is looking into getting a truck driving job, because we need more money to pay off debt so we can get ahead. Right now he drives an LP delivery straight truck and makes around 36,000 per year plus about 10,000 give or take per year for EMT Ambulance work on the side.

So if he gets a job driving 5-6 days a week, his ambulance work could be cut down to 5,000 per year, Are we being reasonable hoping he can get a job for 48,000-50,000 starting out 1st year driving?

We saw a job for Shcneider driving for Dollar General for inexperienced up to 80,000 for experienced, don't know if they pay inexperienced 50,000?

Just want to be reasonable and know what to expect, because we don't want to go through the schooling and all that and end up being disappointed that it is not possible to make 50,000 or more the 1st year.

Thank you for your help!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Scott O.'s Comment
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The first year will be anywhere around 32000 to 36000

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

I Think the reasonable amount to look forward to for otr would be closer to 35k first year. Daniel has a great thread on this subject, maybe he'll see this and put and link to it. II can tell you that my first year which wraps up next month I'll be at the 40k mark and that's driving local. Getting to that 50 mark the first year is going to be extremely difficult without experience. You have to remember that first year you'll be learning so much and still earning the trust of your dispatcher so getting the gravy runs won't come for a while. If you can stick it out that first year then maybe you get on a dedicated run that pays more. I just wouldn't get your hopes up for that pay or job right out of the gate. Good luck though

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

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.
MRC's Comment
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And if he's looking at a dollar general account you should kiss the EMT $ away he's going to be to tired to respond to any calls, just hope he has the strength for you. Look into the tags for DG at the top on this page to get an idea. Brett worked those routes.confused.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Amanda, I agree with what everyone has said above. That first year in any type OTR driving job is pretty tough. Not only is there a serious learning curve to work your way through, but there is also the all important relationship with your driver manager that has to be developed. That relationship can only be developed, over time, by consistently outperforming the managers expectations, and let me tell you they sometimes expect a lot.

I think if you were to start on one of those Dollar store accounts your rookie year you might get to the 50,000 dollar mark, but you will earn every dime you get. These are higher paying jobs because they struggle keeping drivers on them. It is a brutally demanding job that generally requires hand off-loading two full truck loads per week. That is approximately 80,000 pounds of boxes and crates each week unloaded by the driver. Some of the locations are in tight quarters where it is difficult to back the truck into and often times they are not prepared or ready for you when you arrive. Your man will be exhausted when he gets home, and I doubt if he will be up to making those EMT calls.

When you are entering this field you really should look at it as a long term commitment, rather than a way to quickly start making some good money to catch up on some bills. Once you establish yourself as an efficient professional driver you can be earning good money consistently, but that is generally a two to three year commitment to the job.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Amanda, I gather you guys are looking at trucking for a means to support the family, and not as an adventure or lifestyle? In other words, you're interested in exploring avenues besides OTR if it means a better income? You should look into LTL companies, running P&D or linehaul. You can make the kind of money you're talking about, even as a rookie driver. You'll need to make sure you're in an area that has LTL terminals close by. Location is key.

You can check out my thread on LTL below. I list some companies with their website links. I did a quick search for Wisconsin, and saw some companies near Milwaukee, Columbus, Neenah, Sheboygan, Wausau. There could be other areas close to you. If you have one LTL company nearby, there will be another. They tend to congregate in packs ...

LTL Trucking: My Linehaul Job

Also, look into food service like Sysco and other companies. But, you WILL earn your paycheck, as Old School mentioned. If a local job isn't a lot of physical labor unloading and loading freight, then it's long hours. I don't touch my freight, being a linehaul driver, but I work 12 hour days on average. Then again, I get paid well, am home every day, and have two days off a week.

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

It seems that everyone HAS TO GET that all important first year under their belt, in order for opportunities at better earnings become available. It could be 2-3 years before you're up in the $50K level - and that's staying out and running your butt off.

I was talking to a guy the other day that drives local for Southeast Freight. He did $70K last year - but he works 60+ hours a week (straight time, no overtime), has to unload, re-stack pallets and work the dock when necessary. He's thinking about taking the PAY CUT and going back OTR (he had done OTR previously), so he doesn't have to work AS HARD. He's single now, so his marriage won't suffer the long time out. He came OFF the road a decade ago, because it was affecting his relationship.

Rick

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.

Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar
That relationship can only be developed, over time, by consistently outperforming the managers expectations, and let me tell you they sometimes expect a lot.

So what do you mean by outperforming the managers expectations? I have seen things like "performance incentives" etc... but have wondered what that means.

I haven't started my CDL school yet, reading the books, doing the class on line here too; but I have wondered what is expected of the driver that would separate one from the others? My attitude, probably because of my military upbringing, is that you do the job right the first time, every time... and if you fail, you get up and do it again. To give it my best is and always has been my credo. I'm not worried about what's expected I guess I'm more interested in how it's possible to exceed those expectations and rise above the rest so to speak.

Thanks to all in advance...

Tony

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I'm not worried about what's expected I guess I'm more interested in how it's possible to exceed those expectations and rise above the rest so to speak.

Hey Tony that's an excellent question. The most important aspects of the job of course are being safe, being on time, and keeping your company updated on your situation at all times. But two things that will really set a driver apart from the rest are effort and attitude.

As far as effort goes you'll find that there are plenty of opportunities to slack off and just as many to get more work done. For instance, you might get assigned a load that covers 750 miles in 48 hours but you have plenty of hours available to get the load delivered earlier than that. You can either sit around at truck stops watching TV and deliver it on time or you can make some phone calls to see if you can get it delivered early.

Another example would be getting repairs done to the truck. Maybe you have an issue that isn't safety related but you'd like to get it looked at. Some drivers would simply tell the company they need to go in for repairs and can't be assigned another load. Other drivers would do all they can to keep those wheels turning and will find a chance to slip into a shop and get it looked at without disrupting the flow of freight.

So there are a lot of ways to go above and beyond the effort of others to get loads picked up and delivered early and turn more miles. Over time this is going to show.

As far as attitude goes you're going to be shocked when you get out there and see how poor the attitudes are in this industry. I mean really poor. So many drivers are very hard to get along with. Every time something doesn't go their way they immediately start complaining, threatening, and throwing a fit. They get assigned a load they don't like and they give dispatch holy h*ll over it. They get told by a dock worker that they have to wait a few hours to get loaded and they start cussin' and threatening people. They get pulled over by a DOT officer for a roadside inspection and they start giving the officer h*ll about how they should be left alone to do their job and how it's all about making revenues for the state and the whole spiel.

Truck drivers, as a whole, can be quite the miserable bunch. Naturally there are quite a number of super friendly and interesting drivers out there. But as a whole they leave a lot to be desired.

If you'll approach everyone you deal with from a place of cooperation and kindness you'll see a major payoff in a few months time. You'll get better loads, more miles, quicker unloading times, fewer tickets, and better service at shops and restaurants. You'll stand out from the crowd in a big way. When dispatch gives you a load you're not too thrilled about just accept it without complaining and do a great job. When an officer pulls you over for an inspection just make sure you have a few jokes tucked away in your back pocket and try to make friends with the officer. When a dock worker tells you it's going to be a few hours make up some story about how it sure would be a big deal if they could get to you a little sooner but of course you understand they're doing their best already.

It's easy to dismiss what I'm saying about attitude as just a bunch of rah-rah "attitude is everything" baloney. I totally understand that. But ask any driver out there who has taken this approach and they'll tell you that time and time again they get better miles, better treatment, and have more fun out there than the big mouths with the poor attitudes. It literally pays off in a big way with more money in your pocket and an easier time of things.

So put in the extra effort and do everything with a great attitude and you'll set yourself apart in a big way. It may not seem like what I'm saying is anything noteworthy, but once you see how poorly truckers tend to handle themselves you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. And when you start getting 3,000 miles a week consistently and find out most of the drivers at your company are lucky to get 2,200 you'll know you're putting money in your pocket with that approach.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Beth S.'s Comment
member avatar

Most of what Brett said applies to the rest of life as well, and is the reason I can get away with as much as I do. rofl-3.gif

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