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  #1  
Old 01-12-2009, 04:27 AM
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Question What Does It Take To Be A Trucker?

I'm counting down my final days of being a drill rig tech. Things have gotten really slow @ my place of work & me, along with some other techs, are getting laid off. Being a drill rig tech, I've travelled all around the US, usually by plane & getting a rental car to drive to where ever the rig I had to commission or service was. I did, however, drove the company's F-550 with a Maintainer service body & crane to NY, NJ, & even a sweet trip down to Orlando, FL & back. I know an F-550 is nothing close to a Peterbilt or Freightliner, but I love life on the open road with big trucks & being a truck cross-country truck driver has been a dream I've had since I was 10. The thing is, I haven't gotten the pleasure of driving a big rig. I've been around them all my life, & rode around in a few, but never actually got behind the wheel & experienced what it's like to be a real trucker. My wife offered to send me to NETTS, here in New England, but I wanted to learn the pros & cons of being a trucker before I jump into anything just yet. I know I won't be home much, which I'm used to anyway from my soon-to-be former job. & I know about measuring height, weight limits, braking, lot lizards(NO! I avoid them!), & what happens if you DON'T stop @ weigh stations. I try to get advice from local truck drivers here in New England. But I've learned much more from truckers in the south & midwest. What does it take? I need some real advice. Should I? Shouldn't I? What's a REAL trucker's take?
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:25 AM
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I am no longer a driver but here is my experience that I had. I went to work for a local beverage company" Miller Dist." and was a helper on a route. They would let you get your permit and then start doing a little driving with the route driver. Then you could use their truck to go down to the DMV and take the test. I ran a route for them for a little over 1.5 years after that. A couple years later after I was working as a equipment mechanic a friend of mine that hauled cars from the manufacture to dealer (which is also what my Dad did for 30 years) told me his company that he worked for was looking for drivers and wanted to know if I wanted to come down and fill out an app. I had never driven a big car hauler just a beverage trailer so my buddy and I went out one weekend and he showed me how to drive his truck and how to shift it.I went down did the interview and drove a truck around town for a couple minutes. I guess I drove it well enough because they gave me a job.

I drove for them for 2.5 years and had a gpood time. I quit when my girl got to be 1 years old and would cry when I left and get excited when I got home. My deal was great I worked weekdays was home every weekend and make some decent money. Had great new equipment. But my buddy used to tell me of all thje horror stories of what I missed and said I landed in one of the most gravey trucking jobs out there. He used to tell me about waiting for appointment times for HOURS. With no faciltys available. Waiting in vegitable field to get loaded out of California and all that. Or waiting a truck stops for days trying to get a load out of somewhere.

You can get on with a company like Swift or JB Hunt and they wil train you and send you through their school as long as you sign a 2 year contract to stay with them after that. Stop by a local truck stop and get some of the free trucking magazines and read through them a little.. JJ
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:04 PM
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I've been driving for 22 years and was like you, wanted to do it since I was a kid.

I'll give you this, general freight can be a pain in the %##, I've been lucky enough to only have to do that for 5 months, all the rest of my driving has been with specialized transport companies.(Entertainment, convenience store chain, etc.)

Do what you want, but here are a few things to remember whatever you do.

1. Take your time.
2. Look like a professional driver, not some dirtbag who looks like they have been awake for 4 days straight.
3. If your stuck in an unsafe truck, walk away, your life is more important.
4. Be prepared for anything all the time.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:39 PM
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I just sold my truck been driving since 95 fuel and an now ex-wife were 2 of the reasons I gave it up. Do as the gent. above said an you will make a good go of it.
I knew how to drive a truck but back in 95 I did not have a CDL, I went to tri-state semi driver training right here in Texas and got my start that way.
Man things have changed alot since then some good some bad.
As an owner operator you have alot of freedoms but you bear the brunt of all the business, you maintain the truck and keep up with all that, its not easy sometimes let me tell ya.
There is alot to the business but no other like it. I miss the fire out of owning my own rig and taking the pride in doing so.
Talk to drivers O/O and company and weigh the odds. Allen
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:15 PM
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So, what did you decide? You on the road?
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeLewis79 View Post
So, what did you decide? You on the road?
Not yet. I've still gotta go through some red tape to get into this school. I had to take an orientation class from the department of labor & training, obtain my BCI(background check), my driving record, & get a paper notorized from DMV to verify I can get my CDL. Then I took a DOT physical for my health card & now I'm just waiting for the results of my drug test. After all this, I'll be able to start school on the 23rd.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarRider View Post
I'm counting down my final days of being a drill rig tech. Things have gotten really slow @ my place of work & me, along with some other techs, are getting laid off. Being a drill rig tech, I've travelled all around the US, usually by plane & getting a rental car to drive to where ever the rig I had to commission or service was. I did, however, drove the company's F-550 with a Maintainer service body & crane to NY, NJ, & even a sweet trip down to Orlando, FL & back. I know an F-550 is nothing close to a Peterbilt or Freightliner, but I love life on the open road with big trucks & being a truck cross-country truck driver has been a dream I've had since I was 10. The thing is, I haven't gotten the pleasure of driving a big rig. I've been around them all my life, & rode around in a few, but never actually got behind the wheel & experienced what it's like to be a real trucker. My wife offered to send me to NETTS, here in New England, but I wanted to learn the pros & cons of being a trucker before I jump into anything just yet. I know I won't be home much, which I'm used to anyway from my soon-to-be former job. & I know about measuring height, weight limits, braking, lot lizards(NO! I avoid them!), & what happens if you DON'T stop @ weigh stations. I try to get advice from local truck drivers here in New England. But I've learned much more from truckers in the south & midwest. What does it take? I need some real advice. Should I? Shouldn't I? What's a REAL trucker's take?
Please read this post on a trucker forum i post at. My name is MACKMAN over there.
Whats wrong with trucking?? - Truck Driving Message Board - ClassADrivers
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Old 03-21-2009, 09:13 AM
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Here is a post from the trucking forum. This is the truth.

A lot of people get into this with unrealistic expectations. The "job" is not adventurous, romantic, exciting, fun etc etc. Although it can be fun at times, especially in the beginning, it is a "job". You don't get to run when you want, where you want. You go where the freight is, when there is freight. You run when you're tired, when you're hungry, when you're sick. You are trapped in a six by six foot box for days or weeks at a time. Your time is abused by shippers, receivers, and dispatchers. The amount of uncompensated free time is incredible. It further feeds your frustration level. You waste your whole day (unpaid) getting loaded or empty because of everyone else's inefficiency and then you have to drive mad, tired, and generally pissed off all night long to make up for it. You make well thought out plans to be home on a certain day and as that day gets closer and closer you find yourself getting farther and farther from home because there just isn't any freight going in the right direction. Dispatch can't or won't help you and frustration grows out of control once again. You sleep a couple hours here or there when you can. Try to squeeze in a shower, meal or laundry when you can. You piss in Gatorade bottles. You apologize to family members who are pissed off at you because you can't get home to honor your promises but they just don't understand. When there is no freight you sit for hours or days (unpaid) waiting for the cell phone to ring or the qcomm to go off. You don't get to watch your favorite TV show or sports game because there's no time to stop. I could go on forever. Bottom line is that its a "job". A job that is not physically hard or mentally hard. But one that requires an unbelievable "time" commitment. You are rarely off duty. You rarely get to do what you want to do. It's that commitment that wears you down physically and mentally. Your mind goes numb from lack of use. Every highway looks the same. You lose contact with family and friends. Some days all you want is a home cooked meal and a real bed. When you do get home your so exhausted all you want to do is veg out and relax. But you have your chores to do. Your significant other gets ignored. For all this you earn 35-55k a year. For some its worth it but for many its just not enough money. It's not always like this. Some days are good. A gorgeous sunrise or beautiful landscape. A perfect high paying run with no complications. Good music on the radio. It happens occasionally. Some folks love the lifestyle. To them it's not about the money. For me it's just a job. I have a boss. I do what the company wants when they want. I drive local. When the job is done I go home. My time is my time. I could never do the OTR thing for a living.
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Old 03-22-2009, 04:42 AM
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I have been in the transportation industry for almost twenty years. I have never done the "OTR" thing, however, and worked my way through the ranks doing deliveries in a Ford panel van - on up to a 24-foot step van, a 32-foot straight truck (Class B) and now get to drive (Class A) tractor-trailers. I never had to go to a "school" because I was able to learn from my old company and had access to bigger equipment.

Fortunately, I am 'local' and am home most every night. Should I be required to be out overnight, my boss pays for a room at the Hampton Inn and my meals. I never have had to sleep in a truck (daycabs only for our company) and I hope that I never do.


Some say you can make "good money" as a truck driver. In many cases this is true, but much of those 'big bucks' come from working 60 or 70 hours a week and getting paid (if you are lucky) for maybe fifty of those hours. Should you have to eat, shower and do laundry on the road, figure about $150 to $200 a week coming out of your budget. Factor in the time away from your spouse & kids and OTR just ain't worth it unless you really, really have it in your blood!

Going OTR for a year or two is a great way to get your feet wet - but will work best if you are single and have no kids, no girlfriend and not much of a social life. Once you get that under your belt, it will be easier to find a "local" gig (beer distributor, paper company, FedEx, UPS, LTL freight, etc.) position -- and then work on getting a girlfriend, wife and rugrats.


As I did, get your HAZMAT (H), tanker (N) and doubles (T) endorsements after you pass your Class A CDL test. I don't use them or need them, but it makes you much more valuable if you decide to jump ship. I don't have a passenger (P) endorsement, but I doubt I will ever aspire to haul cargo that talks back to me.


Good luck to you, whatever you decide!
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:25 PM
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Theres alot more people with experience here but ive been driving since I was 18 and now im turning 21.

I think trucking you just have to love the road and everything about it. Scenery and all.

I started out by driving a dump truck which is a repetitive drag. Then with the same company I got behind the wheel of a 90' lowboy with jeep and pup heavy haul. And it was the greatest thing i have ever done. Hauling crushers, hoes, drill rig parts, etc. in the oil fields of Utah. I love the scenery.

For me personally i dont think I would want to do OTR. I like being able to get out of my office for the day.. But.

just my 2 cents
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