- August 22, 2017 at 10:04 am #1277
I am currently 22 years into my job as a police officer, but I am seriously considering taking my early retirement option and coming to trucking. I have wanted to drive a truck since I was a kid and I have never lost the urge.
Leaving at 22 cuts my pension a little bit, but I would have a nice safety net with that fixed income, plus my wife has a good job. My kids are out of the house, and my wife is supportive of my doing what I want to do to be happy. My only hesitation on jumping over has been that I see so many people talk about the lies in trucking that you are told about your income in your first year. If I take the leap, I want to make sure I don’t end up only making $30,000 that first year. I could do it, but making $40,000 or more would be my goal.
I am looking very seriously at Prime, but have also considered Schneider, KLLM, Knight and Stevens. May, Pride and Navajo could also be considerations, as I live in Colorado Springs and they are through here pretty regularly. I don’t think I will have any issues with a company selecting me, as I have no drug, criminal or driving issues, ever.
Long term, I would like to lease and then purchase my own truck. I want to end up as my own boss in retirement. I have a plan with several stages for getting to that level with the option of stopping where I am happy, but I would like some input on how to start with those goals in mind.
First, I know that Prime and KLLM are pointed to as great starts here. Should I consider them first? If I do, should I consider jumping into the lease quickly? I know that is big at Prime, and with my goals and safety net, I may have better odds at succeeding early.
Second, should I consider starting out with something like Knight, who offers the 11 western states and home every two weeks to start? If I understand their advertising, they are looking for student drivers in my area that will do either 48 state or 11 western. It could help my wife transition a little if I get home more often. What trade offs would I be making?
Third, should I go to the local CDL school and pay myself, or go through something like Prime’s student program? I can pay for the school as I have some vacation pay out when I leave that could easily cover the cost. Is that better than letting a company provide the training?
I know I have a lot more questions, but this is a good start, and it has gotten pretty long.
Thanks for any responses, and keep up the great videos! Your experience has shown me that I am in charge of where I go in life!August 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm #1327
The surest way to know what your future in trucking will be is to move to a trucking company where people you know are already working and doing the work you will be doing. That’s to say, knowing a driver at Schneider, for example, doing one specialized sort of work for them making $65k per year does NOT mean you can work as a general OTR driver for the same company and make as much or more than the $65k per year driver you know.
There are many trucking companies that have resigned themselves to a constant churn of new drivers becoming dissatisfied becoming former drivers making about $30-40k. Those same companies will advertise using numbers from their long-term drivers working with special circumstances. They may advertise “our average driver makes X per year” without disclosing they are averaging a $30k driver with a few $90k drivers.
It’s important to connect with current working drivers at the companies you are considering. It’s important to ask open-ended questions and LISTEN to what they say. Ask again if they don’t answer your question, which many of us don’t. Questions like “is this a good company, do you get enough miles” are not as informative as “how many miles are you getting?” How long have you been with X?” What type of driving do you do for X?” etc.
I find TheTruckersReport.com to be pretty valuable for direct information from working drivers at the companies you want to know about. Ignore the drivers that are only re-telling what they have heard about X. Working drivers that have been at that company for a few years are your best source of info on working conditions.August 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm #1380
Thank you for your reply. The different stories I hear about what is advertised versus what new drivers actually make has weighed heavily on my mind. There is so much misinformation out there. I will have a pretty good pension, so I don’t have to come in at the top. I just want to assure myself that there is the real potential for growth.
D.August 29, 2017 at 8:18 pm #1382
Just curious, why would making 30K a year bother you, if you’ll be able to jump ship after 1 year and earn 50 – 60K a year some place else? This is my goal. I’ve already mentally prepared myself for the worst year of my life, hoping to transcend the BS on the 13th month.
From what I gather, trucking is like any other industry, you’ve got to bite the bullet for 12 – 24 months before better opportunities appear.
I’m starting over just like you, so may we both have some good luck!August 30, 2017 at 8:17 am #1384
Good question. Probably because it is what I have grown used to. I have a great paying job now, but I am not happy. I am fortunate to have been in this job long enough that I will have a good pension, but I find it hard to jump into a new industry with no experience. RVT said it in one of his videos. I have to get past the fear of the unknown and accept that my emotional happiness will better serve me than financial comfort in a miserable job.
I KNOW that the business will suit me. I have dreamed of it since I was a kid. I just need to take a leap of faith.
What is cool is that I found a school not too far from me that will allow me to get my CDL on my own schedule. I can do two days a week for eight weeks while I get my retirement paperwork processed which will allow me to keep earning until I have my CDL in hand. Then I can find my company, hit the road and start my new path to success.
Good luck to you as well!August 30, 2017 at 3:12 pm #1386
I understand. I’m 47 and have spent my career as a successful entrepreneur. I have a lot of pride, too, so that’s why I’m mentally preparing myself for a “year of suck.”
I have always looked at trucking as an ideal job–travel, independence, operating heavy machinery, and has many entrepreneurial qualities. What more does a man need? Especially as we age!
Anyway, my advice is to write off the first 12 months as training and look forward to all the opportunities afterwards.
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