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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  scott_hanson 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #17400

    craigalb
    Participant

    I’m 57 and recently passed my Class A CDL to keep my options open for future employment. What started the process is a long time friend who owns his own business said I should come and drive for them after learning that I currently drive a school bus.
    The money he said I could make sounded very enticing Making ends meet is difficult with my current job but I am struggling with giving up time with family and grandkids to make the switch. In a previous career I drove about 100 miles a day around a major metro city doing service calls on low voltage electronics. I know OTR is a whole different thing but I’m comfortable with working/driving solo.
    Even though I have my license I have ZERO experience with 10/13/18 speed non-synchro tranny’s and double clutching. I know a lot of that is just time behind the wheel but where do you get time behind the wheel?
    Just looking for thoughts/opinions and pitfalls to watch out for if I opt to drive with a national company.

    #17401

    lynnhoward1201
    Participant

    I too older. 61 and female, former state LEO and drive a school bus (now). Alone, just me and my dogs. Have a Class B CDL, 4 years driving a school bus. Past, almost, 20 years driving in jobs. CLEAN! Driving Record! Some trucker friends said I should upgrade to Class A to increase income and drive with them. Found a school in Norfolk, start in Feb. Is your company in Norfolk area. What to look for??? Any thoughts?? Companies??

    #17403

    scott_hanson
    Moderator

    I’m not Red. I’m someone Red asked to be his expert on dry van trucking. The majority of trucking companies are now using trucks with automatic transmissions. As their older trucks are replaced they will have all auto fleets. The average age of truck drivers in the country is 50 or 55. I would recommend you DO NOT opt to get training just with auto trucks or you will have a restriction on your license. Shifting is much easier than most outsiders assume. It would be best o learn shifting “big trucks” if you had ZERO experience with manual cars. You use the clutch completely differently in a truck than a car. If you have non-truck shifting experience it will make it harder, not easier, to learn truck shifting. You are guaranteed to press the clutch too deep because of your past experience.

    My major point is shifting is no big deal. Everybody fears it, inside of a week you will be able to do 90% of the shifting just like you wanted. You will have more trouble downshifting than up-shifting. That’s to say accelerating and shifting is easier than slowing and shifting. EVERYONE has that problem. Get your training and go to a company you really want to work for, especially one near your town. You don’t have to tell them anything about your shifting ability or experience, you will learn it. It’s about 90% certain you will be driving an automatic truck.

    The bigger issue, and almost everyone downplays it, is being away from home or not getting home enough and that causing problems with family or your psychology. That’s why I recommend you work for a company with a facility near your town. It makes home-time more likely and frequent and allows the truck to be serviced while you are home instead of you donating an unpaid day sitting around a truck stop while your truck gets preventative maintenance. You are paid for miles, not hours. “If the wheels aren’t turning you aren’t earning”.

    Make sure you take the personality profile. f you are a social person you may find the isolation too much. It’s easy to see pretty scenery on YouTube and think that’s what you are signing up for. You will spend a lot of time alone, in dirty crowded cities or industrial parks and people will look at you like a hobo or worse. Your mindset will dictate so much of you succeed in the industry. A lot of outsiders remember a nice long car trip and then think this is a job that pays you to have that experience over and over. It’s long hours where your strengths and weaknesses come out.

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