OTR ..... Days Off / Free Time "in Lieu" Of Hometime

Topic 8636 | Page 1

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JerryLeeK9's Comment
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First of all, to Brett and to all of those that contribute here... amazing. I have spent about a month researching the career, and at this point I really go nowhere else but TT. Thank you all so very much.

I do find it interesting that, at 51, I thought I would be one of the"older" people looking to make this a career. From what I am reading, it appears I am closer to the median age.. go figure, guess 50 is the new 30.

So, for my question. I have looked through the forum and have not really found anyone talking about how you navigate free/off/home time, when you really do not have a "home". I am divorced, no kids, and no living family. I thought this may be a good 2nd career choice, and that I might be able to see some of the great parts of our country. My thoughts are to run hard and when I have the 4/5 days off, to spend them in different parts of our country. I would really like to know if anyone does this (or knows someone that does) and for some general tips / feedback / advice.

Will companies generally help / allow you plan your time off in different areas, as opposed to routing you "home" every 4-8 weeks?

Can you use the truck for personal use (ie.. run to the store, go to a movie, visit a national park), or must you rent a four wheeler?

Can you park the rig (without trailer) in campgrounds? (thought would be a good idea for "camping", I figured you could grill, have access to a shower and other amenities)

I think you get the idea. It seems there can be a lot of stress, opportunity, chaos, joy, pain, satisfaction and boredom in this career...if one of the perks is seeing our country, I would like to make the most of it.

Thanks in advance!!

Mike W.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jessica A-M's Comment
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I have about the same question regarding home time. I don't have a family near where I live now, no reason to send me back here constantly.

C. S.'s Comment
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You can usually take hometime anywhere you like, as long as your company hires from that area (aka has freight that runs through there). At my company you simply send in a Qualcomm message requesting the hometime start date and the zipcode you'd like to be in.

As for using the truck for personal use, this depends on the company. Swift doesn't allow company drivers to drive off duty. Once you get where you're going the truck stays parked until your hometime is done. Some companies are more lenient about this, and I don't know their policies.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Indeed a lot of companies will let you take home time anywhere they would normally hire from. But you certainly want to check with each company when you're applying and get it in writing if they say it's o.k. to take home time elsewhere.

Most large companies will not let you use the tractor for personal use anymore. Back in the day I always used mine for personal use. But you know.....back in the day things were more lenient and we weren't using electronic logs.

I don't think most campgrounds will allow a tractor to park there, at least not the well known ones like KOA. You could find a family owned one that lets you but you'd have to do some digging around.

Often times you can park the truck somewhere nearby. Like in Vegas the Casinos have truck parking. Actually Casinos everywhere probably have truck parking at this point. I've gone to football games, local car racing, NASCAR, NHRA, and all sorts of events and parked the truck right there at the event.

You'll get a better feel for what options you'll have available and what strategies to use once you get out there. But you'll certainly be able to find a way to have some fun on your days off if you're somewhat ambitious.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Seppo's Comment
member avatar

Jerry I'm 20 years younger than you and considering a career partially for this very reason. No wife/girlfriend/fiancee, no kids, friends and family more or less scattered across the country. I have a room with family I can stay in when I need to make it "home", but I'm looking forward to pretty much exploring wherever I end up and saving money by not keeping a permanent residence.

For experienced truckers, I have a few questions. When you find a company to drive for, do you have to live near one of their terminal locations? And if so, would your runs regularly end at the terminal locations? Or do you just drive directly home? Also, what is the difference between a transportation terminal and a drop yard?

I'm also wondering how strongly where you live influences who can hire you. I know different companies only hire from certain states, but does this have more to do with the convenience of where they run? If "home" is nowhere, could I make that case to a company that I could be wherever they need me? Or does it have to do with legalities of hiring from the state where you keep residence?

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.

Eckoh's Comment
member avatar

If you work for one of the carriers that does all 48 then odds are you can take hometime where ever.

Also living near a terminal varies company to company. So there is no cut and dry answer for that.

I went with Swift simply because they had a school not terribly far from where i live. However once i finish my first year with them i will activly seek another place to work as the level of BS i am getting from swift is on the rise.

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.

JerryLeeK9's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your input, good luck to Seppo & Jessica.

When I am reading, some are saying, that one of the perks is that this is a nice way to see the other parts of the country, while others say all you are going to see is the interstate at 60 mph.

I was just trying to figure out, if there was a logical way to see a bit more than the highway?

It appears it is up to the company, if you can use the truck for personal use. As far as visiting places, would need to rent a car, unless they have parking for rigs (and then you might have to have it stay there the whole hometime).

I guess no easy answer, just have to figure it out as you go.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Seppo's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your input, good luck to Seppo & Jessica.

When I am reading, some are saying, that one of the perks is that this is a nice way to see the other parts of the country, while others say all you are going to see is the interstate at 60 mph.

I was just trying to figure out, if there was a logical way to see a bit more than the highway?

It appears it is up to the company, if you can use the truck for personal use. As far as visiting places, would need to rent a car, unless they have parking for rigs (and then you might have to have it stay there the whole hometime).

I guess no easy answer, just have to figure it out as you go.

In my research I've definitely seen that quote, used a bit sarcastically by a few seasoned drivers: "Oh you wanna see the country? You'll see the country...at 65 miles an hour." I think their concern is that people may look into the career just for the opportunity to travel the country without realizing the difficulty of actually doing the job and living the lifestyle. I'd like to "see the country", even if I'm just passing through with no time to stop. The idea of spending a day in, say, the Colorado mountains is infinitely more appealing to me than sitting at a desk in a room with no windows for 10 hours.

I'm sure if you get into the job you'll be getting off the highway to make deliveries and pick ups in different cities and towns, so long as you don't do a dedicated route. From what I've read on this site, I'm not sure if sightseeing is always going to be possible though. I believe it all depends on whatever load you currently have, how much time you have to deliver it, and where you're driving. Certainly all the veteran drivers seem to say that if you want to make the most money you're going to be rolling as much as possible with minimal stops. For example, it would be incredible to spend a beautiful sunny day driving through the New Mexican desert en route to Arizona, but it doesn't seem likely you'd have time to stop and take pictures at the Four Corners.

As far as visiting places on days off, I think you'd just have to check ahead to see where you can leave a truck. I know Brett has said that pretty much any casino, especially the ones in Vegas, have truck parking. But again, this is all from my extensive research of everything on this site. I'm sure someone who's actually been on the road will have some better answers for you.

Dedicated Route:

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."

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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