'Home time' definitions and other important questions newbies don't know the answers to

Discussion in 'Trucking Schools and CDL Training Forum' started by haulit6272, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. haulit6272

    haulit6272 Light Load Member

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    This mainly has to do with companies offering CDL training, or other 'team' driving requirements once you get your CDL, wherever it is you got it. And mainly for the newbie with no family left behind.

    Once classroom training is over (no more free motel and meals), I'm starting to think that this profession, at least when starting out and not committed to one company long-term, is best entered by springing for a Motel 6 on days off, pitching a tent by the side of the road if it's not too cold, or turning over rocks to find a month-to-month apt. rental that's wasting lots of money when you're never there....but NOT owning a house/condo unless you left your family in it and took off for CDL class in another state with plans to deposit the checks in a major bank for their benefit until you see them again.

    If a team company recruits based on promises of '3-4 weeks driving, followed by 3-4 days 'home time,'.... or if they say something else like 'home on the weekends,' what is the actual timing, locations, and logistics involved?

    Should you count on 'home time' always being defined as the block of time from the minute you're parked at a terminal city until the minute you have to report back to it?

    A few companies show all their terminals on their websites, but the vast majority do not. Are companies basing their home time promises, whatever they may be, on JUST their ability to get you to one of those cities for you to leave your truck there, such that if you 'live' somewhere besides a terminal city, you're screwed if there's any significant commute?

    If yes, that 'home time' promises are going to be reduced by the amount of time it takes to get in your car at a terminal city and drive to your bricks and sticks home in whatever city, (or your RV, a Motel 6, or wherever you want to eat/sleep)? If so, wouldn't it be kinda important to know before you hire in what those terminal cities are, and get your REAL home (house) in order, (sold, rented, etc.) before you accept a class offering? Not everyone is leaving a wife and kids behind to watch after it.

    When companies talk about 'getting you home' however often, what does that mean? What do they consider 'home' anyway? (Trucks don't normally get to be parked in your driveway, and I doubt they're going to pay your gas to drive off the beaten path to get to the 'home' where your mattress and frig are located.) All you know when you apply for the job are the states (or a shaded area on the map that can include partial states), that you must live in in order to even apply. That's NOT necessarily their service area. It appears they can operate in places FAR from where you must live in order to hire in. I know that's a story in itself, but I've never heard the story behind it.

    For team driving, do both drivers get 'home time' at the same time, from the same location (whatever it is) or do companies mess with replacing one driver for home time, but not the other? Does a team driver drive solo if they aren't being given home time starting at the exact same moment from the exact same location as their partner? Does the truck sit somewhere idle until you both finish your home time and come back to the truck at the same time?

    I don't see how a newbie can make a major domestic move/housing decision/commitment to sell their house, rent their house, leave it sitting vacant subject to vandalism, skip out on an apt. lease, or whatever, then hop on a Greyhound to train in another state for weeks on end, if they don't have answers to all these questions. Living in any neighborhood that's less than a gated community with armed guard and security system, or a huge condo where no thief can tell if you're home or not, leaves the property a sitting duck if no one else keeps a car in the drive with lights on 24/7 to at least look like someone is home. Not everyone pays for a security system and monitoring, and even if you do, you can't go check on it when they call and say there's been a breach in Florida and you're in Montana.

    It seems like it would be easier to be a homeless person when CDL training starts, stay in a Motel 6 on your days off, and forego settling in on a particular city (i.e. buy a house or sign a lease) once you know where you're going to stay put for a few years, which only comes AFTER you've gotten the experience companies require before you can increase your options, like local, regional, days, nights, hazmat, OTR, manual, automatic, flatbed, auto, etc.

    Companies don't really talk about this stuff and there's more to it than just 'come to our training class for X number of weeks, followed by team driving for X number of weeks' as if you have no life whatsoever and nothing needs to be planned. Deciding what to do with your abode and possessions, and then DOING it, before you even know if/when/where you'll be in two months or two years is a little daunting. Are we suppose to first liquidate all property or fulfill apt lease obligations, put furniture in storage, live out of our cars, then check email at Starbucks everyday until a company offers a Greyhound ticket? What happens to your car in the mean time? Will they give you money for gas instead of a bus ticket if you want to drive yourself and leave it at their training site? Where would they even mail the bus ticket to? Have it waiting for you at the bus station? Then once hired, if you plan to change jobs to something better, it's rinse and repeat. It just seems like a pain of the profession to pack up and go at precisely the moment that the new company is ready to have you behind their wheel, especially for that first job.

    If you're thinking, "It's no different than any other job," I would say the difference is there are too many points along the way where if you don't make the cut, and get sent 'home' (wherever that is after selling the house that you've lived in for years and is totally paid off), you're now homeless and wishing you hadn't sold it. (i.e. failed the medical, failed the writtens, failed the driving tests, got slammed by your 'trainer,' etc.) In other professions, you get an offer letter, you know where you'll be living til the next job, and you call the Realtor to list the house, pack up the moving van or UHAUL, and go. You're in for sure.

    If you're thinking, "Dude, you need to come up with 8-10K (or whatever it costs) and get your own training at home without moving, then the CDL is in your pocket and you can jump through the hoops much easier," you may be right. But I don't have $10K so my options are severely limited. And if they still have team driving requirements within THEIR company which must be SUCCESSFULLY met, even after you have CDL paper in your pocket, the same dilemma is in effect.

    There's so much talk about how the newbie needs to 'get in their one year,' at which point a slew of opportunities magically open, the whole first job proposition seems like a temp job to where you should just divest yourself of all housing obligations and live out of the truck the whole time. By the time I add up motel costs on off days, which would be two AT MOST per week and maybe just one on average, I can't see it being as bad or much worse than property tax, utilities, a mortgage payment, yard work, insurance, gas expense commuting to your previous job, the risk of vandalism or an arsonist torching your home, etc. I may just sell the house and buy an RV and park it at Walmart since there seems to be one in every town. Do any truckers do that? If they do, I've never heard of it. I'm not talking about parking the truck and sleeping there, I'm talking about their own personal vehicle during their home time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  3. Milr72

    Milr72 Medium Load Member

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    Better find another line of work, your over analyzing the situation.
     
  4. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

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    Trucking companies are in the business of moving freight. They give you home time because they have found if they NEVER give home time they lose drivers, thus not being able to move freight.

    In trucking "weekends home" usually means maybe 34 hours off duty, which creates a fresh 70 hour clock for the next week. I have almost always worked at a company where I get home on weekends. This often means getting home somewhere between afternoon rush hour and midnight on Friday and already having an appointment to be 200-500 miles away Monday morning at 6 or 7am, whenever the company opens in whatever timezone the customer observes. How much time do you spend considering if the mailman, UPS, or FedEx driver has enough time at home when you are ordeing stuff from Amazon? That's about how much trucking companies think abut driver time off.

    The truck is an expensive piece of commercial equipment. The driver is a necessary accessory that allows the equipment to be used. The govt doesn't allow trucking companies to work drivers 24/7, so they get home time. Everybody at the trucking company is supporting homes or families because the expensive commercial equipment is busy providing needs for customers.

    Rule #1 is work for a trucking company near where you live or where you want to live. Every mile you live away from where the truck is going to be parked is time that comes out of your home time. The truck has about as much space inside for the driver as a cheap 1 bedroom apartment's bathroom. You will be in that space 24/7 until it gets back to the company yard. Don't limit your choice of employer to the 5 big names that pay Google to put them on every page of "how do I become a truck driver" search results. Scour your local area and the trucking companies in that area should be your first employer unless you know someone that works at another company. The safest bet you can make is to work where someone you know works because that is the type of work conditions and schedule you will likely experience. NO AMOUNT OF INTERNET SEARCHING makes up for knowing a driver at a trucking company. You can simulate every conversation with a trucking company recruiter just by chanting "our trucks average 2,500 miles per week and we have a new pay plan." Nothing else from a recruiter is reliable. And having their trucks average 2,500 miles per week DOES NOT mean you will get miles anywhere near that each week. The company will have a few drivers getting 2,500-4,000 miles in a week and everyone else picking up what's left over. Work where you know a driver.

    Company policy and practice varies wildly on every topic except the 70 hour clock and the rest of the hours of service. Finding out a company in WI has one policy tells you nothing about the policy at a company down the street or across the country. Stay away from CR England and Western Express unless you are an escaped murderer. There are much better choices for new drivers.

    Company policy at the big companies 99% of newbies just demand to work for often is 1 day home for each 6-7 days away from home. But the definition of "home" and "away from home" is vague. And they often have limits such as you must be working X number of weeks BEFORE you can even REQUEST to have home time. They may have maximum limits on days at home before they give your truck to another driver. Or you may have to request home time 2 weeks before you need to be home. They may allow you to designate the zipcode where you want home time or they may just assume you want home time where your home address is.

    Explaining home time ALWAYS sounds far more complicated because companies and drivers have different circumstances and expectations. The home time policy at 1 particular company is usually pretty simple. This is why the most good you can do for your self is focus on companies near you and find a driver at a company to tell you what he is experiencing. Talking to the office people will not tell you what you want to know as a driver. The office people always make driving sound like an easy and adventurous job with so much money and so much time off, yet the office people never seem to quit their job and drive the truck just to sleep in a truck stop parking lot in the middle of Summer or Winter.

    Research until you find a trucking company you want to work for and then decide how to get your license. DO NOT start CDL school and think you will figure out where to work before you graduate. You will have no time. You will only learn about the mega companies that RECRUIT at EVERY CDL school and those people lie, lie, lie. But what do I know I've just been doing this for 25 years.

    Most newbies, conduct a Google search, ask question, sign a lifelong contract, then start to realize they don't 1% of what is the difference between a good company for them and a company that hires/fires hundreds of drivers per month. It takes time to research. The best shortcut is have ANY company you want to know about put you in contact with a current working driver at that company. Ask him questions AND LISTEN to his answers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  5. haulit6272

    haulit6272 Light Load Member

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    With as many trucks as I see 24/7, I can't imagine why a customer would have to reach 200-500 miles to find an available truck to move it's stuff. But that's another topic.

    What did the privileged few do to become the privileged few? I've never heard of a truck company awarding route preferences based on seniority, so it must be something else. I have no idea why seniority isn't used in the industry, at least for dedicated routes, other than perhaps the manpower required to keep up with it all. Everyone from the airline pilot down to the non-union reservation agent gets to choose their schedule based on tenure.
    I noticed.
    So now your truck is gone. Then what? You get even more home time until another driver also exceeds his maximum, in a yard you're willing to drive to? How many weeks might that take?
    As long as the zip code you request surrounds their 'yard,' aka their terminal? That would narrow it down quickly. I don't understand why every 'Drive For Us' webpage of every trucking company doesn't show from the git-go where their terminals are. This would effectively tell the driver, "If you want ANY kind of a life on your one day off per week, you'll need to live in one of these cities." Applicants could potentially save a lot of time wasted by knowing that fact alone, and the companies could reduce the number of applications to consider when they stop getting applications from people who already know they aren't going to move to one of those cities.
    I need company training. There's no bank account with $8K lying around and no more student loans for me. Reimbursement for CDL school only applies if you managed to come up with the cash to begin with. I'm expecting to have to move, not find a company that's near where I already live. If the general definition of 'home time' is....."the time between when you drop off your truck in one of THEIR 'yards,' (aka 'terminals,') and the time you need to be there to pick it up again,"....one of those cities would be where I would move to.

    I've typed in zip codes for cities I might want to move to, using the job finder box on this website, along with the 'I need CDL training' line in the drop down list. The drop down list weeds out most all the companies you'd get otherwise. The cities I've put in so far, besides where I am now, are nowhere near me or near each other. CRST is the only company that pops-up each time, along with maybe one other depending on the city.

    There must be companies with training classes who aren't paying to have their schools show up in the search. It's probably cause they aren't huge, family run, have infrequent classes, or get more apps than they need via word of mouth. There's a driver with a youtube channel who worked for such a company and said he was the only person in his 'training class.' He apparently got one-on-one training.
    No gas policy for idling? No APU? Either of those should take care of the hot or cold, right?
    There are two companies within 100 miles of me who train for CDL's and the closest one already turned me down without explanation. Haven't applied to the other one yet after talking to the recruiter on the phone. They require two years of verifiable employment prior to application. Don't have that. So you aren't allowed to have been laid off or come out of retirement. I'm not flipping burgers for two years just to be on someone's payroll just to apply. An alternative is to produce IRS 1040 returns proving income. Since they aren't the last company on earth, I think I'll keep those private.
    The one recruiter I've talked to over the phone had a case of RWA (recruiter with attitude) which means they *sighed* after every question as if I was suppose to be so desperate I would just apply and show up without knowing what I was getting into. I'm not homeless. I can't imagine asking them, or any other hiring manager/recruiter at any company in any industry to put me in contact with an employee that I can ask questions of unless it were their own idea to do so, not mine. They'd be thinking, "What? You don't trust us?" I don't know how that wouldn't hurt my prospects of getting hired. Even if they were friendly and gave me the name and phone of someone, I would expect it to be the happiest, most pro-company biased driver/trainer they have, certainly not some random guy you strike up a conversation with at a truck stop. I appreciate the suggestion, I just don't have the guts to ask them that.

    I haven't checked prices of community schools, but unless they have extra tuition costs specifically for CDL classes, that would mean students are getting out on the cheap. If the tuition were in line with other classes at a community college, why would anyone pay $8-$10K for a private CDL school, especially in the same city? I don't think my local community college trains truckers. They have a web page that says they do, but no one answers the phone or returns calls, so I can't get any information. And if it were operating and relatively cheap, they'd have a waiting list that circles the globe. There are private schools in the area if you've got the cash, and it would make no sense for people to go there with a local community college making it possible to just sign up any semester and do it. So I'm not sure what's going on with that. I probably need to spend the huge amount of time needed to research the names of community colleges in cities I might want to move to, find out what it takes to get in, and how much it costs. That still doesn't solve the dilemma of having to sell my house and move. The house is the thorn in my side. If I sell it, then wherever I go, I'm homeless. "Home time" will either be a van or RV I'd have to buy, or Motel 6.

    Most threads/posts assume full-time positions. I rarely see a trucking company that offers part-time, which I'd love, preferably without having to give up benefits like 401(K). There's a PRIME flatbed driver on youtube who does 6 weeks on, 1 week off. He likes an entire week at once with his family. I was mildly intrigued by this option. I'm not going to get much done with one day off but pay bills and do yard work. With what amounts to a week's vacation, I might actually get something done. I don't know why there aren't more simple job boards showing every opening based in every city so that you could apply for THAT city/schedule. Seems it would make things a lot easier.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  6. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Here's that list of cities you're interested in if you relocate:
    Seattle, San Diego, Vegas, Denver, Albuquerque, Dallas, Nashville, Pensacola, Atlanta, Raleigh.
    For tax purposes, beneficial to you, go with Las Vegas, Dallas, Nashville, Pensacola.
    These can be narrowed down even more, based on my opinion, for a high quality of living:
    Las Vegas, Dallas, Nashville.
    Dallas - you already know of training opportunities there.
    Nashville - R.E. West
    Las Vegas - Schneider has a terminal there. CFI hires with company cdl school.
    www.swtdt.com is a good school in Las Vegas and will finance with the first payment due 45 days after graduation. Some companies will pay those payments directly to you via cdl school tuition reimbursement program.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you want to rent an apartment in those places; look here:
    www.apartments.com
    www.apartmentguide.com
     
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  7. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    A dispatcher in a trucking company has 100 children to take care of today. 60 already have their load assignments and are proven mules, reliable and on time more or less. You hardly hear from them. That leaves 40. 20 of that is the steel core elite of the drivers in the company more or less. These are the ones who get the loads that must not be screwed up. And are given preferential treatment because these are special loads and they cannot be screwed up. 5 are coming out of Orientation that week. God help them. 15 are in need of special care. As in short bus special care. Hand holding as they weep driving the twisted Virgin River Route in NE Corner of AZ. I thought you had good experience in the rockies, and here you are on my telephone complaining if not actually crying in tears at the situation that 10 drivers just passed by your rest area doing it without drama, trouble or costs.

    I remember one driver in Rockport IN, we were a covered wagon outfit for the most part. His job was a preferential one. Pick up three Maersk Container Chassis on his deck. Chain them and deliver them in mint condition to Baltimore Seagirt Ternimal in Maryland from the LA Long Beach yards.

    One of the reasons he was constantly given these 2500 mile solo runs due in 6 days is because he was constantly preening and wearing a suit no less around a greasy job. The company made good use of him as a figure head, a unofficial queen of england type display human as to what is possible when we truckers quit trying to evolve in our tattered jeans and worn out boots. While you are processing those pennies be sure that they end up in the correct places.

    If you wish to process coinage that has the proper weight of silver content etc. You have to go back to at least 1967 for the silver dollars and 1964 for all other coinage. The money itself became "Debased" as the Government seeked to mint coinage at less cost and increasing presevation of precious metals.

    IF you went back to Roman times you will find they were paid in wooden coinage of the realm or in salt which was a absolute valid medium of exchange
     
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  8. haulit6272

    haulit6272 Light Load Member

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    I'm reminded of going to the doctor or hospital and having to sign paperwork that says, "We'll be happy to file claims with your insurance company on your behalf, but you are ultimately responsible for anything they refuse to pay for any reason." Every medical provider from here to eternity does it that way, and handing them your insurance card, which they verify before giving you the time of day, doesn't change that.

    There's this somewhat vague 3-way relationship between the students, the trucking companies, and the private CDL schools which can apparently vary depending on the specific parties involved and what they offer. I haven't contacted any admissions directors at any private CDL schools, but I can't imagine them letting a student begin training without signing papers that say, "Regardless of what a trucking company may have told you, you and only you are ultimately responsible for paying for your tuition if no one else does."

    I can't sign such papers. I would only get involved in a private CDL school if a trucking company said to me, "We want to hire you and we'll pay for your CDL at such-and-such 3rd party CDL school. They won't make you sign any promissory notes or other loan-type papers, and you'll never be responsible paying tuition. We have a deal set up with them to where they bill us and we pay them."

    I haven't heard of any trucking companies doing that. They can't risk it with so many variables, not the least of which being the student flakes out and quits school in the middle of the process for whatever reason. So the company may steer you to a private CDL school within 100 miles of where you live, and offer to MAYBE hire you and reimburse your tuition once you're done, with no guarantees. It appears that SDTDT still has you on the hook after graduation if you don't get a job.

    The cities I listed were chosen cause they are big, spread out, I've either been there or know things about them, and I thought would provide a good representative sample of where companies might have terminals.
    If a company were based in Iowa but could get me on dedicated drop-and-hook runs at night between L.A. and Atlanta, racking up miles like it's nobody's business, I could live anywhere along that route where they have a 'yard.' But I suppose everyone would want a job like that, even if they prefer days only. I was told years ago by a driver in a truck stop that I'd 'make a good truck driver' after I told him I was a night owl. I presume he meant, get to places faster due to less traffic, and therefore make more money.

    I'm not opposed to a small town, and the cities where company CDL training is taking place are often small towns. I get the tax thing, but as for quality-of-life, I don't define it as big cities with plenty of things to do on my day off. Things like museums, sporting events, and good public schools can't help me. I have no party or social goals to speak of cause I'm a workaholic. I'd be working on SOMETHING even on my days off. I chose Pensacola over Miami for that reason. I know there's a naval base there, and haven't heard of any high crime issues. I knew it had no state income tax, with beaches not that far away. I've been to the RDU area so I know it's a pretty nice place. I chose Vegas for no state income tax, and fun at the sports books if I'm home and can get Sundays off in the fall. Seattle is also no state tax. I could have also included St. Lake City or anyplace in Utah or Idaho with some scenery and clean air.

    I'll make a note of R.E. West, Schneider, and CFI and try to track when they have company CDL schools, since companies can come and go with their offerings. I know that Schneider and Swift used to have them and quit, but maybe they started up again and just haven't paid to have themselves listed on 'FIND A JOB NOW' website searches. I'm not sure how a student finds the companies who offer training but aren't advertising somewhere unless a person like you tells them about it. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  9. tucker

    tucker Road Train Member

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    Does anyone really read a really really long post?
     
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  10. haulit6272

    haulit6272 Light Load Member

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    I always get at least one helpful reply, so yeah. It's worth it. The rest are just clutter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  11. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Companies don't care if you live near a terminal or not, for your home time/off time. You can take time off anywhere you want if you can find a place to park for a few days.
     
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