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Becoming a Trucker

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Becoming a Trucker

Postby dreamer82 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:14 pm

I noticed some other posts about an interest in trucking. It is a good job for people that like to alone. While it offers some peace, it does have some big drawbacks. Being away from home all the time prevents having a home life but some people don't care about that. It is almost impossible to do anything away from the truck if you're on duty. You're basically stuck with the truck. Also, trucking and truck stops don't have many good looking women and AW don't put much status on truckers but who cares about that? One thing I missed was Asian women. It can get pretty boring, too. Here's my little story:

I was in Korea for a year in the 90's. While I was there, I went to an IMAX theater and saw a movie about the American West. I'm from California so after about 6 months of urban living in Seoul, the wide-open spaces of the West struck a chord. It hatched an idea to become a trucker when I returned to California. I even had my sister mail me a pocket atlas of the USA.

When I got back, I saw an ad in the paper for truck drivers with no experience necessary. I called the recruiter and there were about 10 guys who showed up at his office for his presentation. The company was CRST, Inc. and they had a free training program but you had to sign a year contract. The ten of us went through the program and had a big driving test in Rialto. A couple didn't pass and needed some more practice. The hardest thing was backing up. Then we had a week orientation in Fontana with more training before going out for a month with trainer. It's a team operation so you had to share the cab. when one guy drives, the other sleeps. We could cross the country in 60 hours (LA to Boston).

You would usually meet your codriver in the training period. It's better to go in with a friend but eventually, you will split up and have to find another driver. That was a pain because you have to spend weeks with a stranger until you get to know them and then they quit or something. But the positives are you get to see the whole country and there are interesting out there. I drove through a tornado warning once! I also clawed over snowy passes and even delivered once in San Francisco, underground. It was at the convention center. While being unloaded, I brushed my hair and tried to look half-decent and went upstairs to walk around a science convention. There were lots of hot Asian women :-)

I did it for a couple years and got to learn about the country. I probably drove about 250,000 miles. I might consider doing it again. You also get a Class A license and with experience, you can get a better job locally. There are other, non-team operations out there that offer free training to. I heard CRST's commitment is less than a year now. Here's the link: http://www.crst.com/aspx/Careers/Careers.aspx
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Postby Teal Lantern » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:15 pm

How's the pay, relative to expenses & irritation (permits, hauling, equipment breakdowns, etc.)?
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Postby dreamer82 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:11 am

The pay the first year is not so great. I ran pretty hard and made about $30K. You don't have to worry about equipment, break downs, or permits but you do have to watch out for food. Truck stops usually have a counter by the cashier that has food like sandwiches, salads, etc. Eating in the restaurants is something I did only about once a week.

You are only paid by the mile. At first, with my trainer, it was only 11 cents per mile but it goes up pretty fast if you stick with it. The rate may have changed but I remember if we drove a long run like 2500 miles, I would get maybe $450. The problem is you have to keep a log book and there are laws to hours you can drive. It was best to do 5K miles a week when possible. IT was also important to be responsible and deliver the freight on time. Messing around will discourage the dispatcher from giving good, long loads. That's why teaming up with a stranger can be troublesome. I learned to do a 12 hour on/ 12 off shift with my codriver meaning I would handle things between Midnight and noon and he would take care of noon to midnight. This allowed us to sleep enough and take breaks during our shift. The log book rules have changed since then, though.

There are truckstop chains like Petro, Flying J, and TA that are all pretty modern and have shower facilities. You are responsible for hooking up a cb radio. I had a cheap one.
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:44 am

I drove for JB Hunt and Schneider Heavy Haul (Flat Beds).

I would recommend it, however I didn't like the micromanagement out in the lower 48. So when the first opportunity came up to do California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Arizona, I jumped on it.

Was home every weekend, usually did less than a half of a day on Saturday, I'd be home by Noon-1pm and took the truck home. I did the same route for Schneider who paid for my training in exchange for working for them at least one year. I didn't quite make it, a series of incidents caused me to get fired, but I was later hired by J.B Hunt and did lower 48. I hated it, so when the chance came up to do Western again, I did it.

After incidents with both companies (minor), I was unable to find another job with the major carriers. At this point I would only do it as a Owner/Operator.

It was easy 99.8% of loads are drop and hook. I've live loaded only a handful of times, mostly with Schneider and mostly glass loads. When I had Vans, they were always intermodal (rail yard).

My Schneider truck had super singles on the back and it rode much better than it did with eight total tires on the back. My glass and lumber loads were RIGHT AT the weight limit of 52,000 pounds the majority of the time.

I had a brand new (2005) Freightliner Century 210 (Vaulted Sleeper) with JB Hunt.

I didn't use an CB, too many racist, bigoted White dudes on there, some Latinos too. I used Sirius/XM and was perfectly happy out there. I didn't socialize much, I banged a couple of girls I met on the internet, nothing to write home about, overall it was fun.

Pay comes out to around $12-14 an hour (.34-.38 cents a mile), so I averaged about $3,000 a month, not great but better than 90% of service sector jobs.
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:57 am

dreamer82 wrote:The pay the first year is not so great. I ran pretty hard and made about $30K. You don't have to worry about equipment, break downs, or permits but you do have to watch out for food. Truck stops usually have a counter by the cashier that has food like sandwiches, salads, etc. Eating in the restaurants is something I did only about once a week.

You are only paid by the mile. At first, with my trainer, it was only 11 cents per mile but it goes up pretty fast if you stick with it. The rate may have changed but I remember if we drove a long run like 2500 miles, I would get maybe $450. The problem is you have to keep a log book and there are laws to hours you can drive. It was best to do 5K miles a week when possible. IT was also important to be responsible and deliver the freight on time. Messing around will discourage the dispatcher from giving good, long loads. That's why teaming up with a stranger can be troublesome. I learned to do a 12 hour on/ 12 off shift with my codriver meaning I would handle things between Midnight and noon and he would take care of noon to midnight. This allowed us to sleep enough and take breaks during our shift. The log book rules have changed since then, though.

There are truckstop chains like Petro, Flying J, and TA that are all pretty modern and have shower facilities. You are responsible for hooking up a cb radio. I had a cheap one.


Only way I would team is with somebody I know well. I can trust strangers but the typical people coming through trucking school are low grade overall.

I was paid a flat rate ($300 a week) while with my trainer. The guy I went cross country with, I almost killed him. He was going through some issues at home and only took the gig to train for the money and stay away from his wife. I finished out with a nice Latino dude who was the son of a fruit picker in Central CA. We had a Sears drop at the Northridge Mall, I live two miles from there, so I while they would empty it, I would go home and he would call me when they were finished, I'd come back.

He lived near the Sears DC near Delano, CA; So our day would start at around 5am. We would pick up a load at Sears, drive it down somewhere in LA, pick up an empty and drive back. Day done, usually back about 1-2pm. They paid for my hotel room up in Delano. I went to the local library to use the internet on Windows 98 machines, sort of funny.

When I was in my basic training, I picked up a PSOne , controller and some used games from Gamestop. Since I had nothing else to do and TV was basic, I would play games. I still have the console in a box somewhere.

Anyway when that was over, I was given a test for my Class A, passed (no parallel parking needed) and was assigned a truck. First one was somebody else's who was on vacation. Eventually I got my own truck, it was an older Freightliner. Then I got a new one with super singles on the back to help with the heavy glass loaded we took.
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Postby dreamer82 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:43 am

My trainer was a tall African American dude who was pretty hard on me. He told me he played basketball with Michael Jordan while growing up in Chicago. He went to play for Kansas with a scholarship but blew out his knees. While we were on our training run we ended up in Chicago on Saturday with no load so he bobtailed (no trailer) to South Chicago and parked in a little grocery parking lot. He got out the truck and told me he'd be right back. He was going home. Darkness fell and he still hadn't returned. I contacted my dispatcher who tried to call him. I curled up in the back of the truck for the night. I heard some tires peeling then somebody banged on the door. I was pretty scared but they went away. Finally, he returned on sunday afternoon. He said something about being arrested and having a fight with an old girlfriend. I was pretty pissed and almost called a taxi to take me to the airport. He was a pretty good teacher, though.

I left CRST after a year and went to Werner. Then I went back to CRST for about 9 months and then left trucking for good. I had many memorable loads like to an almond farm near Madera for example. We took air freight from Chicago to JFK airport in New York. I never knew where I was going next so it was kind of exciting.

We were first given an old cabover that had over a million miles on it. Then we transferred to an Freightliner and ended up with Internationals. Those centurys were pretty nice looking but I only drove one once with Werner.

Djfourmoney, do you still have your class A? I had a few incidents and accidents, too.
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:24 am

dreamer82 wrote:My trainer was a tall African American dude who was pretty hard on me. He told me he played basketball with Michael Jordan while growing up in Chicago. He went to play for Kansas with a scholarship but blew out his knees. While we were on our training run we ended up in Chicago on Saturday with no load so he bobtailed (no trailer) to South Chicago and parked in a little grocery parking lot. He got out the truck and told me he'd be right back. He was going home. Darkness fell and he still hadn't returned. I contacted my dispatcher who tried to call him. I curled up in the back of the truck for the night. I heard some tires peeling then somebody banged on the door. I was pretty scared but they went away. Finally, he returned on sunday afternoon. He said something about being arrested and having a fight with an old girlfriend. I was pretty pissed and almost called a taxi to take me to the airport. He was a pretty good teacher, though.

I left CRST after a year and went to Werner. Then I went back to CRST for about 9 months and then left trucking for good. I had many memorable loads like to an almond farm near Madera for example. We took air freight from Chicago to JFK airport in New York. I never knew where I was going next so it was kind of exciting.

We were first given an old cabover that had over a million miles on it. Then we transferred to an Freightliner and ended up with Internationals. Those centurys were pretty nice looking but I only drove one once with Werner.

Djfourmoney, do you still have your class A? I had a few incidents and accidents, too.


No, since it looked like I wasn't going to hired again by one of the majors, its more of a determent when driving a normal car. If you get caught speeding or in an accident its double points...
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Postby Killhoffa » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:32 am

Have you tried Knight Transportation DJ4Money? They have a terminal in Fontana, CA. and Tulare, CA. Since your in SoCal they would probably run you out of the Fontana terminal. Their headquarters is in Phoenix, AZ. I'm running refrigerated loads for a company. I have a PS3, kettle bells, heavy ropes, resistance bands, perfect pushups. I find ways to stay occupied, but right now I'm saving up like a motha. I don't have any real bills, kids or a gf. I like my Volvo, I leased with Prime, Inc. last year, but it didn't work out to well. I was leasing a freight shaker DD15 condo. once again hauling refer, with super singles, we had company drivers bring in more income than our leases/Owner ops. It was a joke, well my DM was a joke. Anyway let me know if you need some info so you can get back out here these companies are hurting for drivers!
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trash man

Postby targetguy » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:25 am

8) If I had that license I would consider being a trash man? I think the wages are unionized. Or the oil companys if they will hire. I had a union job with usps for years and the pay is about half in the private sector with a lot more responsibility and medical shipments. I think the same in trucking unless people have a oil job or a lot of experience. The usa is getting to be a two tier society the 10 percent in the union and government workers and the other 90 percent half price workers. With mass unemployment companys can hire and fire and pick and choose to keep wages low. I have heard that the country of Sweden workers only keep one third of their check do to taxes so sometimes it doesn't pay to make too much do to the taxes and the usa is going that direction also.
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Postby magnum » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:43 am

I really wouldn't think of being a trucker unless it was a trucker for a us company in Iraq, I heard you can make big pay days doing "mild" risk trucking over seas for the us.



Far less risky if your not white, was telling a Mexican guy I know about it, he has the license to do it, if he grows a thick beard and keeps from shaving, he'll go under the radar more then most foreign truckers.


Just a thought for some of you guys with nothing to lose.


I know I've been looking at high risk high pay day type gigs, but I don't have the skill for them, all I can think about is how to get the hell out of this country as fast as I can, and it all spins back to "should have gone to college" damn visa system.
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Postby djfourmoney » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:03 am

Killhoffa wrote:Have you tried Knight Transportation DJ4Money? They have a terminal in Fontana, CA. and Tulare, CA. Since your in SoCal they would probably run you out of the Fontana terminal. Their headquarters is in Phoenix, AZ. I'm running refrigerated loads for a company. I have a PS3, kettle bells, heavy ropes, resistance bands, perfect pushups. I find ways to stay occupied, but right now I'm saving up like a motha. I don't have any real bills, kids or a gf. I like my Volvo, I leased with Prime, Inc. last year, but it didn't work out to well. I was leasing a freight shaker DD15 condo. once again hauling refer, with super singles, we had company drivers bring in more income than our leases/Owner ops. It was a joke, well my DM was a joke. Anyway let me know if you need some info so you can get back out here these companies are hurting for drivers!


Directly after getting fired from JB Hunt, I tried Stevenson's, FPE, Swift and Knight. I had a connection to a guy at Knight Critical Carry, but I lost touch with him, I was working at Pep Boys at the time.

My DM isn't bad, only one actual accident with a car, I ran over a parked CRX (1st gen) but that was my first incident and nothing happen. The last incident with JB Hunt was really there fault. One thing I can't stand is always begging to pick up empties or something. I had just dropped my last Sears run and it was about 1am, I was going to crash. I was told to call dispatch. They needed somebody to pick up this load and nobody else could. I said there were no empties at Sears DC. He said to to Shafter and to Target DC and pick one there. Well when I got there, I pulled up closer than normal to the security window because I didn't want to open the door and reach through the window to get my papers. Well when I pulled forward, the wheel was yanked out of my hand because the lugnuts caught the cement pole next to the security station because a Swift driver about a month or so ago knocked off the security camera.

That was incident number 3 in a six month span and I was done. I was suspended for a few days and then they call me back in to say well, we don't want too but company policy is company policy. The other two involved tagging the jersey barrier with the trailer in the City of Industry railyard. The other was out in the middle of nowhere between Porterville and Visalia. On my way to pick up a load of strawberry cases, I went over an irrigation bridge and the trailer clipped one of the kerbs and flatten the tire.

The rail yard incident could have been overlooked because a JB Hunt crew that repaired damaged JB Hunt containers was on-site and repaired the damage. The 2nd one they had to call a service, so there was all sort of paperwork. The last I could have kept it too myself until somebody noticed the damage which was a cracked fender and a small yellow paint mark.

Schneider let me go not because of incidents on the road, let me explain....

My back had went out on me on I-10 near Palm Springs. I had ran over something in the road and had a flat tire. So while waiting for service, I must have slept funny because my back went out. I could barely walk. I just picked up a load of glass from Calexico. I told them I couldn't drive like that, so I dropped the load at the Schneider repair station near East LA and somebody else dropped it. I took the bus back into LA and went home (eventually, I actually bought a new Ford Focus on my way home...). So I went to the doctor and he assigned me to physical therapy. I went the first day and then I got a phone call from dispatch. The new guy asked if I was okay to drive. I said I felt okay but don't know if I should be driving, the doctor did release me to drive. He said okay. Well unknown to me they assigned a load for me to pick up tomorrow afternoon. My understanding is that if you didn't physically agreed to a load on your Qualcomm that it wasn't assigned to you. I didn't feel like going to PT first thing in the morning, so I decided to call them and ask if I could come in around Noon and they said sure. I went to bed, I was awoke by dispatch calling me about 10 am. I said I hadn't gone to PT yet and he said, you said it was at 8am, I said I changed it. Well that screwed up his schedule. He told me to call him back in about an hour.

When I did, he had my old manager, himself the new manager and their dept head on the phone. They said, I dropped the wrong load in Arizona (I did but they didn't say it was wrong when I got there and they started unloading it), I ran over that CRX and now I was going to miss this load because I hadn't gone to PT. So they wanted to fire me, I was like whatever man, you guys are trippin I am coming off an injury and because you had worked this plan out in your head before knowing for sure it would work is not my fault.

I said I was sick the Labor Board on them and they said, it would get tied up and they would win anyway saying I violated company policy of refusing a load or some nonsense. Whatever, I got EDD out of it and then Ford wanted the car back because they wanted more down because of my credit score...lol

So I started working for my old courier company again but then as always you need to make more money because to have a family and date decent women its all about your economic status.

I held on to my Class A until my license was up for renewal in 2007, I opted out because it means more points driving a four wheeler around and I didn't want to headache.

I would entertain the idea of going back but I really like my Western 6 route...Easy Peasy.
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Postby alainkelvin » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:32 am

Trucking is a better one. Here more advantages like you can see different places that you can't see before. This job gives you peace. The drawback is you need to leave without your for a weeks or months. First of all you need to have a class A cdl license to drive the truck. To get a cdl, you need to join in the school to learn about trucking and you need to pass the required exams and then you will get a cdl.
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:44 am

magnum wrote:I really wouldn't think of being a trucker unless it was a trucker for a us company in Iraq, I heard you can make big pay days doing "mild" risk trucking over seas for the us.



Far less risky if your not white, was telling a Mexican guy I know about it, he has the license to do it, if he grows a thick beard and keeps from shaving, he'll go under the radar more then most foreign truckers.


Just a thought for some of you guys with nothing to lose.


I know I've been looking at high risk high pay day type gigs, but I don't have the skill for them, all I can think about is how to get the hell out of this country as fast as I can, and it all spins back to "should have gone to college" damn visa system.


It is risky, while I personally don't know anybody that was blown up by a roadside bomb or truck jacked, it does happen, you just don't hear about it.

The high pay is "danger" pay, why do you think they pay that? You have to risk your neck and most people won't do that for various reasons.

High Risk, High Reward like most things that are risky like Underwater Welder...
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Postby djfourmoney » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:57 am

alainkelvin wrote:Trucking is a better one. Here more advantages like you can see different places that you can't see before. This job gives you peace. The drawback is you need to leave without your for a weeks or months. First of all you need to have a class A cdl license to drive the truck. To get a cdl, you need to join in the school to learn about trucking and you need to pass the required exams and then you will get a cdl.


I can just pay a company to rent a truck to pass the test again. Actually I am not even sure I need to do that...

My issue is like I said I rather be O/O but I will take a company truck as long as its Freight-liner Cascadia or a Volvo 670 with Air Bag front suspension.

The Volvo's are bomb, they give you a keyless entry fob which at the time was unique in the trucking world and its very much like a car on the inside.

I haven't seen a Cascadia inside yet but everybody faves about them.
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Re: trash man

Postby djfourmoney » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:04 am

targetguy wrote:8) If I had that license I would consider being a trash man? I think the wages are unionized. Or the oil companys if they will hire. I had a union job with usps for years and the pay is about half in the private sector with a lot more responsibility and medical shipments. I think the same in trucking unless people have a oil job or a lot of experience. The usa is getting to be a two tier society the 10 percent in the union and government workers and the other 90 percent half price workers. With mass unemployment companys can hire and fire and pick and choose to keep wages low. I have heard that the country of Sweden workers only keep one third of their check do to taxes so sometimes it doesn't pay to make too much do to the taxes and the usa is going that direction also.


My stepfather is retired Los Angeles Sanitation (Trash Man). Those gigs aren't hard to get but you do need some over the road experience and a clean DM. They get paid handsomely, you're a city employee after all. If you pick up trash for a large city like LA, Chicago, NYC or something like that, it will pay at least $40K to start and you'll be up to 50-60K in less than five years.

After ten you'll get four weeks paid vacation.

Two Tier society? Try at least three tiers....

In Sweden you get much more and much better services for the higher taxes you pay. They aren't at war with anybody but they make most of the bullets being fired by our forces... I'd live in Sweden only I don't like the idea of eight hours of sunlight during the winter and I don't like snow, two things I would have to get used too.

I would do it to say I lived in a cold country. I much rather do that and live in Colorado, Ohio or Michigan in cold weather...
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