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DantetheK9
Feb 2, 2020

Just...so fucking tired.





So, my husband and I are planning on moving to Florida next year and I'm wanting to take this opportunity to change careers. I've been in security for most of my adult life and I'm loving tired of wearing a polyester shirt and telling Karen to get her kids off of the goddamned sculptures.

I've been applying for desk job type stuff, but between a lack of responses (Partially due to my lack of college and partially due to COVID hiring slowdowns, if I had to guess.) and how deeply goddamned sick of dealing with the general public, I've been giving more and more thought to getting my CDL and driving a truck.

I've looked around at truck driving schools and most of the ones that're turning up in searches feel low varying degrees of scams, so I'm asking you goons for advice. What do I need to know when getting into this?

If it helps, I currently live in Northern Virginia at least through the end of 2020 and we're working on moving to Central Florida sometime in Spring 2021.

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KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010




OK, a few things. I am not a trucker and have never worked directly for a trucking company, but I work on the OEM side of the world. These are views from outside the direct industry, but I'm around trucks, truckers, fleets, and dealers a lot.

The good news about driving a truck for a living is that it's in demand, the pay is decent for a job not requiring a college education, and much like many low-to-mid-skill blue-collar jobs provided you're reliable and don't piss hot you're going to be able to stay employed or find a new job if you get laid off.

The bad news is that driving a truck for a living sucks. There's a lot of demand for drivers because driving is bad. It's bad for your body. It's bad for your personal relationships (if you are doing long haul). You have a basically impossible job where you are trying to manage your routes and schedule with dispatch, and your hours of service to stay on the right side of the law. You will be constantly asked by dispatch to stretch and break rules. If you are caught, you will be punished individually and nothing bad happens to dispatch. You will deal with incompetent dispatch, incompetent terminals, cops, and constant hurry-up-and-wait as you burn hours of service. There is a large amount of administration and paperwork. Many companies in the industry are borderline criminal and you can expect to be shorted on pay and dicked around. You are probably going to put up with less bullshit than you would as a rent-a-cop, but don't think of it as a chill job where you never have to interact with an incompetent populace. You still have to interact, and the difference now is that those people you're interacting with can and will gently caress you over. There are exceptions, but to work at a good company you need a good record, and you won't have poo poo coming straight out with your CDL.

I recommend finding some good blogs from truckers and reading up on the lifestyle. There are probably some forums and poo poo, or a reddit. You might get some better view from the cab stuff if you link in AI chat thread, there are a few drivers and ex-drivers there. Do not become an o/o. Do not work for Swift. Be very careful about making the decision to work long haul - you will be away from home a lot so it could be good if you are single or hate your family/are getting divorced already. If you don't hate your family, they'll hate you after 10-12 months of long haul. There is some sponsored CDL training and especially with the driver's shortage this is probably a path worth exploring as it is becoming more common. I just noticed a fleet I have worked with, Roehl, is offering nominally free training and I find them to generally be trustworthy. However, they're semiregional in the upper Midwest so that ain't gonna work for you.

tangy yet delightful
Sep 13, 2005





Yeah there used to be a trucking thread in AI, might find some truckers or former in the general chat thread there. I used to work as a freight broker, so driver adjacent similar to KYOON, freight brokers are middlemen between generally smaller shippers that don't have the volume to handle their own truck booking and generally smaller trucking companies that don't have enough of their own business. Certainly with exceptions, I've booked freight for Amazon shipments and had loads hauled by trucking companies with hundreds or thousands of trucks that they own.

Anyway I'm rambling but there's lots of different paths to take in trucking (they all suck to some degree for sure):
- day cab driving around a city
- long haul OTR for months just bouncing around from "good paying load buddy" "good miles" all over (some companies advertise getting you home every week or other week, I don't know how well they keep that promise)
- dedicated lanes can sort of fall between those extremes so maybe you're running freight for your company from your direct clients on a 2 day outbound trip and then you find 2-3 days worth of backhauls to get you home so the lanes and loads are fairly consistent and hopefully you build up a stable of good freight to haul

Then you have different truck types, dry-vans are the most ubiquitous and also pay the least per mile, temperature controlled or reefer trucks pay more and you're still generally hands off the freight but you have to deal with much tighter delivery and pickup windows where a missed slot can cost you an entire day, you also have to deal with making sure the reefer keeps working properly. Then you have flatbed work that can further specialize with step-decks, double drop, load levellers, all manner of tarps and tie downs, ramps, over dimensional. Your basic flatbed work will tend to pay better than dry van but maybe not as much as reefer. You'll have to tarp your own loads and strap them down and do the reverse at the unload site.

Now I don't know how much of the pay per mile difference filters to the drivers in a big company but I assume you will see some difference, otherwise everyone would just haul dry van loads.

As for moving to Florida, Florida is terrible to get freight out of except during produce season, but that means if your dispatcher is smart and they don't give the game away to the freight broker they can get decent money to get you home because the pay out of florida is crap (but you won't care as much presumably because you want to get home).

A bit rambley there and I've been out of the game for 2.5 years now but LMK if you have any questions.

DantetheK9
Feb 2, 2020

Just...so fucking tired.





What I'm looking at (or trying to, anyway) is local/regional stuff. I'm cool with being out for days at a time, but weeks could be an issue.

At some point, I want to get the certifications to be able to haul hazmat (I'm told it pays better.), I assume that'll be a pain in the rear end, but hey, more money.

Elephanthead
Sep 11, 2008




Toilet Rascal

If you are going to drive a truck, drive a dump truck. You don't have to piss around with unloading or loading. You are never not going to be home at night. You are going to get paid by the hour. None of the you are going to wait 4 hours to get loaded unpaid crap. Same deal for cement trucks. If you want the absolute cheapest CDL, get a job driving a school bus, they will get you one for free. Things are slow right now so good jobs are harder to get then last summer but they are still out there. You can always actually drive the school bus until you get one if you have too.

Haifisch
Nov 12, 2010

Objection! I object! That was... objectionable!



Taco Defender

My mom spent several years as a trucker, and I can second basically everything Kyoon said, especially:

KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

Do not work for Swift. [...]There is some sponsored CDL training and especially with the driver's shortage this is probably a path worth exploring as it is becoming more common.
Absolutely do not work for Swift. Also do not do sponsored truck driver training via Swift. If you do sponsored CDL training, make sure it's with a company you'll want to stick with at least long enough to get through the 'if you leave you have to pay us back' period.

Other than that:
-You will eat like poo poo. Truck-accessible eateries are generally unhealthy. You can eat less like poo poo if you bring some healthier food to keep with you, but truck driving is not conductive to a good diet.
-This may sound like a stupid question, but: Do you like driving? Do you like driving for hours on end? Every day? On highways that generally have nothing interesting to look at? My mom's spent basically her entire life driving various things for a living, so she was fine with all that. Many people would not be. A truck-level CDL may not be the best pursuit if you don't think you could handle it.
-How well do you handle idiots on the road? How good are you at paying attention to surrounding drivers and predicting their idiot moves? You'd think being in a giant, heavy, slow-to-accelerate and slow-to-brake chunk of metal would make people drive more cautiously around you. You are wrong.
-Local/regional trucking pays less than long haul. The tradeoff is that you actually get to see your house more than once a month. Probably worth it unless you have serious financial problems.
-Pretend I copy pasted Kyoon's paragraph about the stream of bullshit you'll be dealing with from your employer. Just go back and re-read it a couple times. Trucking companies love loving over their drivers.
-You mentioned a husband, so I have to ask: Are you a woman? There's a lot of sexism in the trucking industry, and that's part of why my mom eventually left.

Elephanthead posted:

If you want the absolute cheapest CDL, get a job driving a school bus, they will get you one for free. Things are slow right now so good jobs are harder to get then last summer but they are still out there. You can always actually drive the school bus until you get one if you have too.
On this note, my mom has also done a lot of school bus driving. Be aware that a lot of school bus contractors are utter poo poo to their drivers, the pay isn't great(and the nature of school bus driving means you're basically stuck as part-time unless you pick up a lot of extra trips, such as field trips and non-school groups chartering a bus to go somewhere), and the schedule is pretty weird to coordinate a life around unless you have a kid in school. Also, if Durham has a presence near you, avoid them like hell. They don't maintain their buses worth a poo poo and are even worse to their drivers than most companies.

If you go the bus route other options include shuttle bus(pros: don't have to deal with screaming kids or lovely parents, less weird work schedule. cons: not sure how many shuttle bus jobs will pay for CDL training) and city bus(probably not the most realistic job option in most of Florida).

DantetheK9
Feb 2, 2020

Just...so fucking tired.





Haifisch posted:



-This may sound like a stupid question, but: Do you like driving? Do you like driving for hours on end? Every day? On highways that generally have nothing interesting to look at? My mom's spent basically her entire life driving various things for a living, so she was fine with all that. Many people would not be. A truck-level CDL may not be the best pursuit if you don't think you could handle it.

Actually, yeah. I've had to drive from DC to Milwaukee a few times in the last couple of years and it's weirdly zen

quote:

-How well do you handle idiots on the road? How good are you at paying attention to surrounding drivers and predicting their idiot moves? You'd think being in a giant, heavy, slow-to-accelerate and slow-to-brake chunk of metal would make people drive more cautiously around you. You are wrong.

I knew that all those hours driving in and around DC would come in handy.

quote:

-Local/regional trucking pays less than long haul. The tradeoff is that you actually get to see your house more than once a month. Probably worth it unless you have serious financial problems.

That's what I figured. Right now, the plan is local/regional till I have some proper experience under my belt, then reevaluate

quote:

-Pretend I copy pasted Kyoon's paragraph about the stream of bullshit you'll be dealing with from your employer. Just go back and re-read it a couple times. Trucking companies love loving over their drivers.

No employer fucks you quite like the Air Force, they've already deflowered me.

quote:

-You mentioned a husband, so I have to ask: Are you a woman? There's a lot of sexism in the trucking industry, and that's part of why my mom eventually left.


Nope, I'm a guy. I'm sure being openly gay in this industry comes with it's own set of issues, but I can deal.

Boot and Rally
Apr 21, 2006

8===D


Nap Ghost

KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

Do not become an o/o.

Why not?

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010





Because you have a note on the truck that you have to pay. If you decide that you don't like the business any more, the bank don't give a gently caress. You also have to work as a sub and find your own loads unless you get hooked up with some regular routes. The latter is increasingly common, but it gets rid of any of the purpose in being an o/o which is the Freedom to Be Your Own Boss. It's freelancing as a truck driver with all the freelancing problems of where is my next meal coming from. If your truck goes down and you need a turbo, your dispatch doesn't give a gently caress. Something goes wrong, gently caress you.

If you are in the business and you are specialized in like, oversize/equipment/hazmat/combo, it can start to make sense. Otherwise, owning a truck is a loving pain in the dick.

Hutla
Jun 5, 2004

It's mechanical

If you end up doing it and can follow detailed directions without having a tantrum, consider getting into reefers and moving produce. Rates are always changing, but these guys have a much more stable minimum. I work at a logistics brokerage and the per mile rates we pay the produce and frozen guys are way beyond what youd get for regular dry van rates.

Going from Southern California to Pittsburgh will usually net you at least $5k, but these past 2 weeks weve been paying close to $8k. You have to maintain your unit really well though because reefer breakdown is a huge risk AND the market can change for a particular commodity while its on the road and then the receiver will try to find any way they can to kick the load or get concessions from the shipper, and they always try to blame the truck.

81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

Worked in customer service in long-haul freight from like 2007-2014. Unless the lifestyle appeals to you, or you do not see yourself having other options, this is a very brutal lifestyle. Guys getting stuck in Wyoming for a week or more at a time because i80 is shut down by the DOT was something that seemed to happen at least once per year while I was there. Co-drivers stabbing or sexually assaulting each other was something that happened about once per year. Easily the least professional office environment I have ever been in, and it is an industry that chews people up and spits them out at every level. If you hang in there and become proficient with the over the road element and have a company you trust to work for, the money can be good. It also looks like you live in a region without severe winters, so that should help.

My advice - Look deep into what you will be paid, and DO NOT trust anyone in the company to tell you what you will make. If you think you'll make 50 weekly trips per year and take two weeks off - that's almost certainly not what's going to happen. Freight will be low, you will be delayed by weather, the guys at the building will be shut down due to materials delays, etc. Get the info from current and former drivers to see what is really going on. Nearly every company will have sign-on bonuses now, but make sure you know how many strings are attached before you earn it. If you do not already have your CDL, strongly consider paying for it on your own before you join a company - it's generally going to be more affordable, will give you more options for where you can work, and certainly be a better outcome if you do not complete training. You see many horror stories about guys who don't finish their 'free' training, and the company charges them back for the cost of training if they don't complete it.

I'll be the counterpoint to the 'don't go o/o' discussion. Owners who have a clue how to manage money are almost always be making substantially more money, but have to manage risk with the bank and maintenance. It also comes with much more control, because you decide the loads you take, not your dispatcher. It's certainly not the way to go right away, but down the line it may be a fit for your situation.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010




81sidewinder posted:

I'll be the counterpoint to the 'don't go o/o' discussion. Owners who have a clue how to manage money are almost always be making substantially more money, but have to manage risk with the bank and maintenance. It also comes with much more control, because you decide the loads you take, not your dispatcher. It's certainly not the way to go right away, but down the line it may be a fit for your situation.

I can get behind this, but if you set off with the goal of becoming an o/o you are going to gently caress it up and be disappointed.

81sidewinder
Sep 8, 2014

Buying stocks on the day of the crash

KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

I can get behind this, but if you set off with the goal of becoming an o/o you are going to gently caress it up and be disappointed.

I'd agree with that as well. Someone who has no CDL at this time thinking they are going to own a truck and start raking it in within a year is delusional. If you understand high school math and have a clue how to drive, it's something to consider down the line.

Severedseven
Jun 6, 2007

Heavy and light

I'll add from my experience, stay away from moving companies. The pay can be pretty good for drivers and you can get consistent work doing local moves but the down sides can be pretty rough. You're in charge of emptying the house and loading it into the truck as well as managing of the helpers and dealing with the customer and all of their personal possessions (and preventing them from going missing or getting damaged). It ends up being a lot more responsibility than the pay unless you get in with a company that mostly just moves businesses.

Pekinduck
May 10, 2008


I don't have personal experience but I've heard eating decently/healthily on the road is very difficult and expensive.

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005



C.R. England is a huge scam too don't get roped in

Victory Position
Mar 15, 2004

Don't call me a hero.









tangy yet delightful posted:

A bit rambley there and I've been out of the game for 2.5 years now but LMK if you have any questions.

Not sure if you're still reading this thread, but I'm looking to get a job doing something like this or similar, though I have an extra couple years of working around hazmat to add to that. I've been at my job a long (5+ years) while and am looking to make something that isn't below the poverty line.

I've looked around at IATA-supported jobs, but am not really sure how brokerage or forwarding works quite yet. Where should I start?

tangy yet delightful
Sep 13, 2005





Victory Position posted:

Not sure if you're still reading this thread, but I'm looking to get a job doing something like this or similar, though I have an extra couple years of working around hazmat to add to that. I've been at my job a long (5+ years) while and am looking to make something that isn't below the poverty line.

I've looked around at IATA-supported jobs, but am not really sure how brokerage or forwarding works quite yet. Where should I start?

Were you a hazmat driver or perhaps were you handling the hazmat paperwork that's involved with shipping hazmat stuff?

IATA...I don't have any real info on air freight operations, I technically worked for a NVOCC that provided air freight options but I a) didn't work there long and b) didn't handle any of those details.

I've worked for 2 different 3PLs and know people who have worked in 3 others, they are all very similar overall. If you have no experience in normal times* I would not recommend going to work for a 3PL where you are running solo at home and expected to bring your own book of business and know shippers and truckers. For example I wouldn't become a Landstar agent, or any of the similar operations like that.

I would recommend working for a company that has an office with people to teach you how to find available trucks and carriers and work the truck postings online (360/DAT, truckstop), there will also be people in the office getting the loads from shippers. You can combine these jobs but I prefer different people doing them. Which company depends on your area and who is around.

*with corona going around I guess it depends on your risk tolerance and what your current job is like, brokerage for me was like 20+ people in one room with probably ~6ft between seats side to side and someone sitting across or behind you 4-5ft away

Hutla
Jun 5, 2004

It's mechanical

Lol Landstar. They call with their bizarre script written by someone who maybe heard of English once from a movie set in 1893, and I just hang up on them at this point. Also Key Solutions Group- you have one power unit registered, having 50 dispatchers is just a lil suspicious, no?

CannonFodder
Jan 26, 2001



Passion’s Wrench

DantetheK9 posted:

So, my husband and I are planning on moving to Florida next year and I'm wanting to take this opportunity to change careers. I've been in security for most of my adult life and I'm loving tired of wearing a polyester shirt and telling Karen to get her kids off of the goddamned sculptures.

I've been applying for desk job type stuff, but between a lack of responses (Partially due to my lack of college and partially due to COVID hiring slowdowns, if I had to guess.) and how deeply goddamned sick of dealing with the general public, I've been giving more and more thought to getting my CDL and driving a truck.

I've looked around at truck driving schools and most of the ones that're turning up in searches feel low varying degrees of scams, so I'm asking you goons for advice. What do I need to know when getting into this?

If it helps, I currently live in Northern Virginia at least through the end of 2020 and we're working on moving to Central Florida sometime in Spring 2021.
I'm just going to throw some advice at ya.

If you go to a truck driving school, go to one in VA because FL is notorious for having scam schools. Go to a community college if possible.

Some companies like CRST (where I started) and Swift and England have their own schools. They are ok.

Absolutely do not sign on with a company as an owner operator at the beginning. It's much better to be a company driver at first so you don't have a huge investment in a job you may not like. There's a high burn-out rate in trucking because it involves a lot of time away from home.

Speaking of time away from home, are you planning to drive with your husband? Most trucking jobs as a rookie are the "Stay on the road for a week or two" type of jobs. Local runs can be had once you have experience.

That's all I have for now.

Keep the shiny side up and don't touch nothin'

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Jows
May 8, 2002



Don't die, OP.
Wear a seatbelt, always.
My dad would probably still be alive if he was wearing his when he (likely fell asleep) and rolled his truck off the road at 2am in the middle of loving nowhere Missouri.

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