Discussion in 'The Drivers Lounge' started by Speedco, Nov 19, 2015.
Share your number one tip for rookies just starting out!
Well...if you feel like you really must enter this downtrodden industry make your first stint a short one (like a year but it will feel like a decade) with an outfit like Schneider then look for a better job.
Go back to school. Get a good education. Pick another profession.
If your fairly young, think about enlisting in the the military. It's a good start in a young mans life.
At one time i wished I would've put 20 years in the military but then I would've retired with a low income and no decent skills. Trucking isn't that bad these days. The income has been steadily climbing 8-12% a year over the past umpteen years. Years ago it sucked as a company driver no matter who you drove for. I remember leaving the army with my GI bill itching a hole in my pocket. I went to college, dropped out, went to trucking school in 1990. Wasn't easy working for a company like Schneider. I quit after 5 months and drove construction trucks for a while. Got a wild hair and bought a truck. It was great for many years. Switched to ltl in the mid 2000's. I'm glad I never listened to the negative and stuck with it. My advice, it's a rough road starting out. Probably 90% don't make it just guessing. Chances are against you. If you make it, there's lights at the end of the tunnel if you stick with it
One thing about the military is that if you do it right you don't have to retire with low income and no decent skill. If you play it right you can come out with a highly demanded skill that you were paid to learn. Just a couple of ideas...Avionics (airplane electronics) good demand, decent pay, not too bad work. Heavy equipment operator, electrician, plumber along with many other construction trades. That in addition to being a vet would make for a good resume.
Check and double check your hooks. Never assume anything off of the sound. Visually check it every time. Dropping trailers is one of the most common rookie mistakes. Watch over head wires and low bridges, another common mistake. And do a proper pre-trip, nothing like being out on the road with your lights not working correctly. And slow it down. Don't be pressured by a dispatcher to hurry. It's not his life on the line. And carry an extra pair of underwear and pants and an empty Gatorade bottle just in case nature calls at the worse possible time. Ask Big Dave about that. He has soiled himself on many occasions. Daves motto is "never trust a fart" .. That's pretty sound advice.
Park the truck in extreme weather. Late is far better than wrecked!
Ditto on what runawaytrain said. Always check your connections visually.
Also, stay away from the lot lizards. Unfortunately train took up the offerings of everyone that came up to him. That's why he's hard to look at with all those sores all over his face and body and I believe he's missing a certain man part that eventually fell off.
But he's sure full of the wisdom.....
I enlisted in the USMC when I was 18 years old with an aviation school guarantee. I was trained to be an aviation metalsmith.
After my four year enlistment, my first job was fueling planes for a small freight carrier at DTW. Then I started unloading the trucks hauling airfreight. Then I went to work for a Teamster airfreight forwarder as a driver. Thirty-six years later I retired as a Teamster truck driver.
I went to college for a year part time that the G.I. bill helped to pay for, and I bought my first house with a VA mortgage.
Now at age 64 that VA mortgage is still there for me, and who knows what else.
1) learn well in school. be like a sponge and absorb as much as you can.
2) when you get on with a trainer, continue to be that sponge.
3) never take anything for granted, when you do, this is when all hell breaks loose.
three for the price of one.
Rubber side DOWN!!!!!
Keep in mind that a truck is a workhorse not a racehorse. I know a young man who tried the O/O side of trucking twice & filed bankruptcy both times. A friend of mine who was a successful O/O for over forty years tried to help this young man get started. The young man wouldn't listen to advice from an experienced driver. He insisted on racing from truck stop to truck stop with everybody on the road. By the time he paid off speeding tickets & increased insurance premiums he didn't have funds for fuel, truck maintenance & repairs. The 'OLD MAN" told him to run the speed limit to get better fuel mileage & better tire life. The old man was trucking before the young man was born. So my advice is to listen to those who have done this for a while.
Arrogance and complacency will destroy you. Listening to the Old Timers is very sound advice. Learning humility is very important. Don't become a know it all and discount what the Old Timers say. They have seen things you couldn't imagine. Most have learned the hard way. If you listen to them you can save yourself a lot of grief. You don't have to learn the way if you will just listen.
You could have made a better choice for your "career". This was a proud profession, but not now. Truck drivers were at one time respected and paid well. If you have your mind set on trucking, go with a LTL company as soon as you can find one that will hire you. Get away from these mega-truckload carriers.
My best advice to a rookie would be to keep your face out of your phone while you're driving. With today's technology, people just can't fight off the urge to play with their phone. Most of my close calls come from jackasses that are texting or scrolling around on their phone. Put the phone away and drive. The life that you save might be your own.
I don't see the pay within the trucking industry as a problem. I think that it's pretty good when you compare it to the college graduates that are lucky to make 50K per year when they enter the work force. (and with 80K in college debt) The trucking industry can make you a good living if you do things right.
IF trucking is something YOU LOVE, then go for it and it will then not be work, it'll simply BE FUN (like it used to be for many of us).
Still kinda fun for me. I don't dread going to work. Don't really like the long commute. Feel kinda overpaid for no more than I do but that's a good thing
What the hell are you smoking ????