Newbie Truck Driver - Time Away From Home

Topic 9413 | Page 1

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Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

1) I'm 48 and thinking of getting into trucking as a company driver. As a complete NEWBIE...how long can I expect to be gone as a general answer ? I've been reading around the 'net and the general answer I see is "they want you to live in the truck"..... and "home weekends."

I'd like to be home weekends and say...1 day mid week or more often, but could deal with being out only 2 nights at a time. How realistic is this ?

2) Most jobs are saying 2500 mi. a week as an average...this is 500 mi. a day 5 days a week...or 10 hrs. a day at 50 mph. Now throw in stops to hit the toilet etc. ....it looks like driving is going to be a 12 hr. a day, 5 day a week job to make the "$1,000 a wk" they all tease you with. Any help on these two questions ?

Thanks Fellers...

Keiler M.'s Comment
member avatar

1) I'm 48 and thinking of getting into trucking as a company driver. As a complete NEWBIE...how long can I expect to be gone as a general answer ? I've been reading around the 'net and the general answer I see is "they want you to live in the truck"..... and "home weekends."

I'd like to be home weekends and say...1 day mid week or more often, but could deal with being out only 2 nights at a time. How realistic is this ?

2) Most jobs are saying 2500 mi. a week as an average...this is 500 mi. a day 5 days a week...or 10 hrs. a day at 50 mph. Now throw in stops to hit the toilet etc. ....it looks like driving is going to be a 12 hr. a day, 5 day a week job to make the "$1,000 a wk" they all tease you with. Any help on these two questions ?

Thanks Fellers...

Yea, very unrealistic view of it. Starting out is a little difficult so you will have to go out with a trainer and go to the cdl school and things of that nature, so you have to expect to be gone a lot. If you want to be home your best bet is to sacrifice and be gone a lot for your first year or so until you can have enough experience to get something local, maybe with an ltl company and things of that nature. I'll let the more experience people on here give you a more detail answer but, I know for sure that it won't be easy at first.

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.

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
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Deek, the overwhelming majority of trucking jobs require very, very long hours. Even the local drivers that go home every night still work under the same logbook rules where you can be on duty 70 hours every 8 days. That's almost two full time jobs! It is not at all uncommon for a driver that gets home every night to put in 60 hours a week. You get a local job hoping to spend as much time as possible with family and friends but in the end you spend 95% of your time either working, commuting to work, showering, eating, or sleeping.

That's why I normally try to encourage people to take another look around at other career opportunities if being home is a priority. You can make very good money and still be home every night in trucking. But you're going to put in very long hours at the very least. And most of the best paying jobs will require you to unload the trucks yourself - Budweiser, Pepsi, Sysco Foods, etc.

The other downside to a career in trucking for people who want to stay home is the fact that there's no room for advancement. Truckers are truckers, that's about it. There's really no ladder to climb. On top of that, if I'm going to be home every day I would personally would prefer a career where I can make some money on the side and potentially start my own business someday. So if you were to become an auto mechanic or an electrician you could make good money, be home every night, make some money on the side, and start your own business someday if you like. With trucking you're almost certainly not going to be able to do any of that.

But that being said we have tons of people in this forum that get home every night and love their trucking jobs. They make good money, they're home with their families, and they like what they do - a winning situation for sure.

I'd like to be home weekends and say...1 day mid week or more often, but could deal with being out only 2 nights at a time. How realistic is this ?

That's a pretty unusual circumstance. Normally you'll either be home every night, home on weekends, or home a few days a month. Not often are you gone several days a week but home several days a week. There are some jobs like that, but not a lot.

Then you have companies like Roehl Transport who have really exceptional home time packages. But just keep in mind that you're not making any money sitting at home so these jobs aren't going to pay nearly as much. Here are some examples of Roehl's home time packages:

7-On/7-Off Fleet

Exclusively from Roehl, our 7-On/7-Off Fleet drivers drive seven days and then they are home for seven days at a time. If you choose a 7-On/7-Off Fleet, you’ll have 26 weeks a year off. You must be fully rested prior to dispatch. Space in the 7-On/7-Off Fleets may be limited in some areas of the country.

7/4-7/3 Fleet

Getting more miles is a key feature of our 7/4-7/3 Fleets. When you join a 7/4-7/3 Fleet, you’ll drive seven days, then be home four days, then you’ll drive seven days followed by three days of home time. That’s an average of 120 days off and mileage goals between 95,000 and 105,000 per year. You must be fully rested prior to dispatch, and space in the 7/4–7/3 Fleets may be limited in some areas of the country.

14/7 Fleet

Roehl’s 14/7 Fleets are unique options that combine the mileage goals of a 7/4-7/3 Fleet (between 95,000 and 105,000 per year) with the extended home time of a 7/7 Fleet. You’ll drive fourteen days and then be home seven days. Space in our 14/7 Fleets is available in limited areas, and you must be fully rested prior to dispatch.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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.

Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys. I am unique in that I DO already have a small business in place. I've been in pest control for 20+ yrs....but that work has really slowed this year....constant rain...no one is outside to see that they have pests = no calls coming in ! So..I have income that is coming in, it's just that it's very, very slow.

So..if I had home time like a 7/7 or 7/4...that might work as I could have the wife schedule the pest work for the days I'm home. Also, I have invested in real estate yrs. ago and have a small amount of residual income each month that I do little work for.

Third, I'm a two-time university graduate. That along with my business skills of the last 20 yrs. shouldn't keep me pigeon holed in any career should I choose to start punching a clock again. In short, I've been on my own all my life.....in the cab of a pick-up truck. So... if I can't find the right trucking job, I'm not out much except my time looking and studying. At least that's how I hope it goes.....

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.

Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh...did I mention that I'd rather run west...SD, ND, MT, WY, WI, MN, Northern MI, ID, CO. Maybe midwest including KY and TN. Not much interested in south or northeast. I'm not picky am I ?? :)

Indy's Comment
member avatar

1) I'm 48 and thinking of getting into trucking as a company driver. As a complete NEWBIE...how long can I expect to be gone as a general answer ? I've been reading around the 'net and the general answer I see is "they want you to live in the truck"..... and "home weekends."

I'd like to be home weekends and say...1 day mid week or more often, but could deal with being out only 2 nights at a time. How realistic is this ?

...............

Up here in Indianapolis there are many good, home-daily driving jobs open to recent cdl school graduates. If you're near Evansville, there's probably a good chance of finding what you're looking for... just as a couple of examples... up here, YRC Freight and Old Dominion Freight lines both hire new cdl holders. ODFL will get you home daily, YRC at least every other day. Both of these companies have terminals in Evansville... so they might be possibilities for you. You really need to start by making some phone calls to hiring managers at these types of companies and ask if they hire new cdl holders. Do lots of research... I'd bet you'll find what you're looking for!

Read the thread at this site written by "Six String" about LTL jobs...

Good luck!

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.

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
Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks INDY......but I am closer to Indy than Evansville....straight down I-74....about 1:45 from the Marion Co. line. I used to work in downtown Indy one winter for the USDA-Wildlife Services. I've got a buddy I can bunk with over by Speedway anytime I want to come to town.

Jeff L.'s Comment
member avatar

I started with a company(still liking it) on April 20 and have been on the road since orientation the 22 of April. I was with a trainer two weeks and have been with three different trainer partners since. I have been moved up to first seat driver but have not been given a truck yet. During this phase you have to put in 40,000 miles, I am over 50,000 and am just being routed in to get a truck. My mind is playing tricks on me making me wonder if they are trying to run me off or that they may terminate me. I have done the whole thing without going home like they ask. I wonder if I upset my fm or not. They expect solo drivers to be out at least three weeks before home time and may ask to do additional runs on top of that. They ask that you take home time in the beginning of the month, slow times, though not a requirement. I plan to stay out as long as possible as a solo. It's team driving that can become difficult. I personally would not want this job if I were married or have a home life that demands attention. Myself, I don't even have a dog to feed. Hoping I will be solo when I get back to Memphis , though looking for a compatible team partner. That is hard and having ones that are not compatible can make it unbearable. I meen its me just as much as them. I like to stay upbeat and grin through it and have a hard time with complainers. Know what your getting in to. Sometimes even the drivers are not driver friendly, good luck. By the way I am 47

Fm:

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.
Indy's Comment
member avatar

Thanks INDY......but I am closer to Indy than Evansville....straight down I-74....about 1:45 from the Marion Co. line. I used to work in downtown Indy one winter for the USDA-Wildlife Services. I've got a buddy I can bunk with over by Speedway anytime I want to come to town.

Oops, my bad, got my directions mixed up. Sounds like you're closer to Cincinnati than Indi. Probably nearly as many opportunities there, too. I'm sure both of those companies I mentioned above have large operations near cinci.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Jeff L:

Sounds like you don't know when to say when. I'd def. not put up with all that crap. As I said, I have a self employment job at home that just keeps the bills paid that I can fall back on. then, I've got my formal education also. I've beat it out on my own too long...got too many street smarts to let anyone work me like a dog. If I do this, they'll meet me 1/2 way or more, or I'll just go back to what I'm already doing. Read "Becoming a Truck Driver" on this site. He tells you that drivers have a lot of say in the industry and are in demand....or was when the book was written. Sounds like you're letting the company push you around a lot.

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