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Getting into a First-Time Trucking Job; thoughts?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Jade Falcon, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Jade Falcon

    Jade Falcon WTF EREN?!

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    Hi folks,

    So a part of me has always wanted to be a Commercial Trucker, ever since I was little. I'm single, with no family dependent on me, so I imagine, with good hours, I could make some pretty good money.

    Here's the thing: I know absolutely nothing about truck-driving, or getting a CDL. I would like to get a Class A endorsement, but again: I have no idea how to go about doing it.

    In the neighboring city of Portland, Oregon (I'm a WA resident), there's quite a few schools, but is there anything that I should look out for specifically?

    I am open to suggestions and comments. Remember: I'm a complete noob at this, so please use layman terms.

    How does a noob like me normally go about getting hired on with a company? Should I sign up with a company first and then let them train me? Or, should I go to a Truck-Driving School and then get hired on with a company?

    I don't know!

    Thanks everyone!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  2. VC-Racing

    VC-Racing General Flunky

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    I have 21 yrs of trucking under my belt. If I could find something else right now I would give it up . Don't get me wrong, I've had some great times on the road, but with the way things are now, the days are long gone. Trucking is a cut throat industry that looks like unicorns and rainbows on the outside , but is a cold bitter harsh ***** on the inside .
    If you go driving school route and allow a company to cover your cost , you'll be in a 2 yr contract that will make you a slave to them. If you break the contract the buyout will be 2 times the average cost.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012

  3. devildog2067

    devildog2067

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    Let's start from the beginning: what do you consider "some pretty good money"?
     
  4. jrd22

    jrd22

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    Gotta agree with VC above. The average long haul driver now is nothing compared to 20 years ago, seems like most don't even speak English let alone know how to drive the rig they're in. We used to train guys at my company and get them their CDL-B so they could drive our trucks, but those days are gone, you pretty much need to pay a school a bunch of money and then go try to find a job that won't pay much. As always, there are exceptions, but in general it's a hard row to hoe.
     
  5. jp3975

    jp3975

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    I looked into it a while back. Made a thread too.

    Id avoid it. Unless you can get a local route you'll be on the road for 3 weeks at a time then get a few days off.

    Want to go to your kids/whoever's birthday or a funeral? They may not let you. How could they stop you? Cancel your gas card until you agree to take another load that would make you miss it. Funeral thing happened to a guy my dad knew and he just had to miss it. Birthday thing happened to another guy my dad knew, and he got pissed, left the truck at a truck stop and flew home.

    The money really isnt that good considering the hours because you are never really off. When youre "off" while on the road, youre still stuck in the truck so you cant do what you want to do.

    If you're still interested...like the others said, some companies will pay your way, but you become their slave for two years. With some companies its just a loan.

    It's usually under 2k for school...just pay it yourself.

    One other thing...in my state[AR], you can go to the unemployment office and sign up for a govt program that will provide you with food, housing, and schooling[if accepted] to be a truck driver. Other states may have the same incentives.
     
  6. Lone Wolf8634

    Lone Wolf8634 :):

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    18 years here. Last time I looked (and admittedly, it's been a while) trucking schools cost upwards of $6K. Several companies have their own schools, but like VC-Racing said, you're an indentured servant till you stay for the contracted time. Swift, C.R. England, Werner and J.B.Hunt all had schools last I knew.

    No company will hire you without a CDL school nowadays so if ya wanna make this your life, you'll have to choose which way to go, company schools or student loans and commercial schools.

    A word of warning: OTR trucking is a job, with lousy hours, lousy pay and lousy working conditions. It ain't Smokey and the Bandit out there, there aren't pretty women looking for you to "take them away from all this". You eat rotten food, gain weight, spend all your time away from home, live under pressure every day and after a few decades of this your left old, overweight with high cholesterol, a bad heart, a beaten body and no skills to go do something else.

    Now, having said that, if you're comfortable being alone for long periods of time, got an itch to travel and can supervise yourself, well, trucking's a blast for a while.

    I trained drivers just coming out of school for 8 years, taught 'em how to flatbed. Maybe 1 in 10 actually stayed with it and made a career out of it. You'll either love it, or you'll hate it, but you won't know which till ya do it.
     
  7. I'm gone

    I'm gone at the track

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    Reading the post above, even though right on the spot, made me think that was what all the old drivers were saying when I started driving back in 1984. When I started I was excieted to see what the rest of the world looked like, couldn't wait to get out of town, loved and hated parts of it, but now that I'm older I would not want to go back to being told what to do and how to do everything from some guy at a desk. I run my own company and get to do things the way I think they should be done and make as much in a month as some make in a year! That was my goal so time put in before had a purpose as a learning time. Depends on what you expect to get from the job, seeing the country, your bored with you current job, your town blows and it's time to go, or you have the desire to start your own transport company. I can tell you I've meet several drivers(I even had a job like this once) who barely make a living,not all companies give you all the miles you can handle so ask other drivers that work for the place you are thinking of working at what they think, before you sign up. Some driving jobs are great and pay good and like everything others are not, just try and do your research first.
     
  8. NH Trucker

    NH Trucker Needs coffee...

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    I wouldn't go over the road. You'll have to kiss a lot of ass with the dispatchers to get enough loads to make a decent living, and you're competing with a lot of other drivers out there for the same loads. If you don't kiss the dispatchers asses, they'll have you sitting in one place for a week or two. Then there are the times you'll be running in the desert or the south in the summer, and your AC won't be working, and you'll be sweating it out trying to get a few hours of sleep when you're parked. If your cab AC isn't working, you can't let the truck idle to run the regular AC, because the trucks these days are all hooked up to computers and the bosses can see when you've been idling for more than a few minutes, and they do get pissy about that.


    If driving is what you want to do, go through a school and get your class A, along with HAZMAT and tanker (opens up a lot more opportunities), and see about getting in with a local company. With those endorsements, living up in the northwest, you could get into a company hauling heating oil, which as I'm told pays alright. Most companies won't hire you without a certain number of years driving, so you can either go over the road for a couple years to get the driving experience, or you can get into a small local company running a box truck for **** pay. Either way, it's going to be tough for at least a few years until you can get into a better paying local company.

    A buddy of mine spent a year with Werner. All I can say is avoid that company like it's the plague.

    I went a different route. I got my CDL driving a car hauler for a local car auction (job I fell into, crap pay). After a year with them, I got in with a local meat and provisions company, driving a box truck and delivering to restaurants, grocery stores, and butcher shops. It was an hourly paying job, which was better than one that payed by the mile for a delivery route, but it was basically economy driven. When I started there in 2006 I made $35K my first year. But after that the economy went to crap and I made less and less each year. As of when I left there in mid October, I was looking at a total of $29K for this year.

    Seven years of CDL driving, and maintaining a clean(ish) driving record, I got into another local company, driving a class B truck, and delivering sodas and beer, and I'm now looking at making $45K-$50K a year. So if you tough it out, you can make a living out of driving.


    Another point of interest, another friend of mine works for the company that delivers Thomas' English muffins. He doesn't need a CDL, drives a small UPS style box truck delivering bread, and he's making $55K-$60K. The catch is his is a union shop.


    Whatever you decide to do, good luck. :wavey:
     
  9. glock_19guy1983

    glock_19guy1983

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    They dont call starter trucking companies "bottom feeders" for nothing. Personally if I were you I would just drop the whole thing.
     
  10. vart

    vart

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    I held a class B for over a decade, with hazmat and tanker endorsements. I drove class A rigs while in the army, hauling 100k lb loads down 8% grades in the mountains.

    I owned and operated my own dump truck, but I gave up my class B a couple of years ago.

    Why would I need to go to a school if I wanted to get my class A? I'm sure I could pass any class A test they have... Or does the state require you complete a school before you get your class A?
     
  11. RedTop

    RedTop

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    Since you have no reason to be home I say go for it. At the least you can always switch to something else since you have no dependents.

    I wish you luck with whatever you decide.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSKOXE8IMYw"]Truck Driving Man by Boxcar Willie - YouTube[/ame]
     
  12. wheelsoffreedom76

    wheelsoffreedom76

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    .....
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. scwine

    scwine ^%(#@$^!!!!!!!

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  14. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

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    and money does not by any stretch outweigh the negatives that come with sitting on the old adipose reservoir all day...
     
  15. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    If you want a job where you get home every evening before 6pm, Local runs, $80k+ a yr forget it. (unless your sister is married to owner of company) :0

    Look at jobs with smaller fertilizer/coop/etc. They will pay for training/cert/health card and you will only have to commit to one season. Consider other jobs to get training.
    There is local trucking company I deal with. He has dozen trucks, bunch of owner/operators working for him. (I have no idea how many trailers) flatbed, grain, refer,box....
    He has some guys who clean trailers, fix minor stuff, and then he pays for them to get CDL (not school but pass road test/use of truck/trailer) then they can take local runs if driver does not show/sick/has funeral/wedding/etc.
    Some of them move up to buying tractor, and stay hired on.

    IF you get to be Owner/operator and want a REAL sleeper that you can live in drop me a line. I am kinda/almost involved in what I call the RV of sleepers. We are talking up to 12' long, tv/stove/oven/microwave/stool/shower.....
     
  16. Detectorist

    Detectorist

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    Being away from 'home' would not bother me one bit. The other stuff...well..
     
  17. DrMaxit

    DrMaxit Dirtbag Airman

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    My pops was a truck driver for "Carolina Cargo" for a while. He told me that if I ever wanted to be a truck driver he'd whoop my ass.
     
  18. glockman97420

    glockman97420

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    I went the trucking school route. While you are there, recruiters come and pitch their companies to you. I was under 25, so my choices were limited depending on their insurance policies. I ended up choosing Werner. I went through their training program, and flew back home. I missed my wife and baby too much to make it a career. Most companies pay by the mile. If you are sitting while they find a load, no pay. Broke down, no pay. I thought shippers and receivers would be a lot more respectful than they were. The government rules for drivers tend to make you drive when you're tired, and park when you're not, depending on when you get your load. Need to pay a toll, or buy an extra permit? Pay out of your own pocket then the company will reimburse you later. I liked the driving part of the job, but all of the other things assosciated with it just made it not worth it to me.
     
  19. Jake514

    Jake514

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    This post and several others sum it up well. I went to driving school ~1973 and worked full time hauling oversize loads, was a steel jockey, ran coast-to-coast in a team operation, etc. and also worked under the Master Freight Hauler Agreement (Teamsters) many years. It was marginal back then and I would not encourage it today. I saw things going downhill and quit to put myself through school to learn a real skill (Yes, good driving is a skill, but many do not appreciate it. Almost any reasonable person can handle a truck on a flat, dry, road with a little practice, but add in exhausted driving (stamina needed) for long stretches on mountains in black ice in the wind and rain with a top-heavy load, windshield froze up and wipers not working, transmission jumping out of gear, etc. year in and year out and it will better test your skill.). It payed well and I was very appreciative and glad to have the job, but I wanted to get a decent paying job for years to come AND not be at the mercy of being lucky in getting hired or in the hiring line at the right place at the right time.
     
  20. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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    My brother drove a truck for part of a year and he decided that there had to be a better way to make a living.