For those of you who are seasoned and experienced specialized and heavy haulers, how would you advise someone with no experience who ultimately wants to get into this niche of the industry? What is the appropriate way to approach this career path, in your opinion. It goes without saying that a person with no experience driving a Class A vehicle will need to approach it differently than someone who is already driving in another area of the industry.
Are there companies willing to train? If so, who?
Is it necessary to begin as a flatbed driver and work your way up? If not, what is the alternative?
How can someone begin to prepare in order to become a more viable candidate?
As I read posts from those of you who do this every day, I am impressed with the skill and professionalism with which most of you seem to approach your profession. That is appealing to me, and it would be awesome if someone new could train alongside people who have mastered the necessary skills. However, I realize that is probably not a likely scenario for most newbies.
@TripleSix, I did note in one of your posts where you referenced training new people. I would be curious how those whom you train typically begin their career.
@cnsper, @Rontonio, @Heavy Hammer, @catalinaflyer, @johndeere4020, and others, please share your advise and wisdom. Thanks in advance!
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I think most if not all OD drivers have/had mentors/trainers for a short/long while learning this line of work.
Most I believe started with a company that works in this market.
The best way is to work for a company that will train you.
If you are on your own and want to jump in . Start with the small stuff. 9-10 foot wide.
Before you do any loads. Read, read, read. And read some more.
Learn all you can from each state you want to run in.
Remember the trailer doesn't move any different with a wider or longer load on your back. Your pivot will stay the same.
GOAL, GOAL, look, look, look. You must pay much more attention to your vehicle and others.
You need to drive more like "everyone" should, Patience and safety number 1 and number 1 always.
I do wide, long and tall not heavy.. I leave that to the professional.
I started with pulling mobile homes. Regional in the northwest as an employee for a year, than from Indiana to Wisconsin as an independent. Hauling houses every load did pivot different.
I begin to ramble.
Just start small and a small area... 1 or 2 states. Learn the regs. expand one state at a time.
Load securement doesn't change with bigger loads.
These guys, out of Scottsboro AL, will train you to do oversize. I was interested and talked with them a couple of years back. They wouldn't hire me because I can't go to Canada, but I would've gone to work for them if I could've.
http://www.meteorx.comfarmboy73 Thanks this.
Well, what I did was a little different. I trained drivers to pull wind blades. I didn't train them to drive. They already had driving experience and OSOW experience. The thing is, the bigger blades will put you in 'superload territory' in most states because of the sheer size.
When pulling oversized, most guys want to the load to be placed evenly on the trailer. A blade is not heavy, but the sheer size puts alot of leverage and loads of torque on the rig. Load it evenly on the trailer, and the whole rig will sit crooked with the majority of the weight well over the passenger side of the truck. And the beam of the trailer will slap the bottom of the blade causing damage.
So, basically, what I did was show the guys how to stretch the trailer, insure that the trailer was straight before loading, load the blade offset to the left for the trailer to sit evenly, and trip plan. The main problem I saw was guys that had been pulling OSOW loads long before never really learned how to trip plan an OSOW. Everything that you take for granted on a smaller oversized load becomes a huge issue under the bigger loads. Things such as mundane as fueling and parking become a huge issue.
Some guys have their fuel rewards cards. They always plan their stops around the Loves and Peelots. So they get a blade, and try to pull it into a Loves. With the myriads of rookie doorslammers pouring in and out of a Loves, everything gets gridlocked. The truckstop will have to call the police, because they will have to shut down all traffic and back the load out onto a highway. I had a driver do this. We started out at the same point in the morning. I dropped my trailer, and went and fueled at a mom and pop. This guy didnt fuel because he still had a half tank. A half a tank of fuel is not going to get you far with a big load. There are some times, depending on the terrain and the wind and the availability of fuel, where you may have to fuel up twice in a day. The cost of fuel isn't as important as the availability of fuel with the bigger loads. Anyway, I called down evil upon this driver.
So, if you're a rookie and are looking at geting into the OSOW business where do you go? TMC pulls OSOW, but you have to do stupid pet tricks for a few years to get into their "heavyhaul" fleet to pull combines and stuff. Rinaudo will let you move up to OSOW without years of mandatory pet trick performances. Bulldog will put a rookie in a 2+3+2 multi axle and send him down the road. That's seriously insane, and then you see these guys getting in a bind and not knowing anything about their trailers if they have to back up. It's suicide, because with a trailer that big and loaded, if anything happens, the fine can be bigger than what 2 average company drivers will gross in a year.
Most OSOW companies wont take rookies. I'd reccommend going to a flatbed company and hauling general freight for a year. OSOW is the same as flatbedding, in that we all follow the same regs, US and Canadian, but the main difference is that you also have to follow the state and province regs, and even local regs. In pulling flats, you learn how to secure the load so that it will not shift. If a heavy coil shifts, its coming off the trailer with the kinetic energy of a scud missile. You learn to drive accordingly. You have to actually be able to drive. There's no just being a steeringwheelholder. The bigger coils do not have to shift. All it takes to put you over in a ditch is for that big SOB to lean to one side. The big steel coils are normally around the 48k to 50k area. Now imagine getting something like that double the weight. 100000 lbs. Scary, eh? And driving is the easy part.
Because of that, I'd reccommend getting some good ol fashion flatbed training to where you get your rhythm down. You know, where even before you load, you know instantly how many chains and straps you need, how to think on your feet. Once you get your rhythm, you will be like a machine. Never miss a beat. Hammering loads home. You will probably notice that these OSOW guys run the same way. Left door shut all day. No complaints. It's funny, because in other forums, you will hear people complain about having to drive tired. Run 400-500 miles a day, pulling a box, complaining abou being forced to drive tired. Toughest thing they have to do each day is wipe their arse and they're tired.
"Well, what company would you reccommend a guy with rookie status go to, Six?"
Depends on the trucks. Midroof, manual tranny, and no stupid "company policies" like telling me when and where I can idle the truck.
"But what about pay, Six? And hometime?"
Whatever company I'd went to to learn the ropes would be a temporary gig. Once I got my rhythm, I'd be looking to jump ship. I retired in 2000 and went into building homes. The housing market burst overnight in 07 and I had 4 houses on the market. The banks were after my houses and I put in an online application. One company called me that day, had 65 mph trucks, with 10 speeds, didnt require me to go to school, but I did have to ride with a trainer for 3 weeks. it was Swift. "Wow, I didnt know Swift had flatbeds?" <<<-------That's what I said to the recruiter. I put the app in Thursday, they called Thursday, I went to work Monday. I was with them for 5 months, got back in the rhythm in a few weeks and instantly looked to jump ship to see if I could work my way back into a heavyhaul gig. When I went home, it was to clean out my truck. I didn't go there for respect, or to get the dispatcher to like me or win a popularity contest or be the greatest Swift company man in the world. It was a speed thing. I needed to get back into a truck without having to go to school. I'm not looking for a "home." I don't care what the owner's name is. I don't care what your mission statement is. I am not wearing your t shirt and I sure as hell am not wearing your hat. Blink, and you wont even realize that I was ever here. But that's me. Megas look at you like fresh meat, and I look at megas as a toe hold.
I actually had 2 trainers in that 3 weeks. There was a van driver, an old marine drill sargent that came up to the motel looking for student on a saturday night. Swift had wanted me to ride with a flatbed trainer, butthere wasn't one available, so I was sitting in a motel. Sarge was cool. Saturday night, I get behind the wheel for the first time in nearly a decade. Sarge sat there for 30 minutes, and said, "It looks like you know what you're doing", went into the sleeper and went to bed. When he got up, I had driven SC,GA,AL,MS and was stopping in Lafayette,LA for fuel. First trip. Monday morning, we were sitting in San Diego. Sarge called his dispatcher, "What is this guy doing in my truck?" INSURANCE. I guess even being self insured has its limits. Of course, Swift wanted to know why a flatbedder was in his truck too. It's a means to an end.
Of course, the limpwristed crowd will think, "That horrible trainer! Going to sleep with a rookie behind the wheel and making him drive all night! There should be legislation! Write your congressman!"
Just because you're fat, wimpy, lethargic and effeminate doesn't mean that everyone else in the world is like you. When I was growing up, the fat kid was always the center on the football team. You guys want to be cheerleaders, but dont have the energy to jump around. Some of us dont require cattle prods and handholding.
It seems to me that there are alot of people that get into trucking and they get sidetracked with things that dont really mean anything.
"I want to be treated like a person, not a number."
"I want to feel appreciated and respected."
"Oh, I want to feel like family"
"Oh, which trucking company has the most creature comforts?"
I am goal oriented. I always reach my goals. I'm not going to allow a difference of opinion with another person steer me away from my goal. If you want to play football, you have to go to school and do well in school. Then go to a school with a good football program. You dont go to school in Kentucky if you want to win the Heisman
Flatbedding can be strenuous. Especially those steel mills. What an education. The first time I went to one, I pull in to the gate and sign in. I'm sitting in my truck, and all the other drivers were out on the trailers, setting up their coil racks and dragging out chains and binders. I got out and got mine because that's what everyone else was doing. WE'd back into a dock and get out of the truck and hand the guy the load paper. The overhead will come with the coils and put them on the coil racks. It was like being in a big machine. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO slow. But when I got into the rhythm, I could do what everyone else was doing, load and tarp within 5 minutes, pull outside and button her up, boogity boogity down the road.
You get into this mode where you get up in the morning unload, reload, tarp, hit a truckstop to do a triple S, shove some food down, hammer down the road, 500-600 miles, park at the receiver, and recock for the next day. You get to the point to where you can hammer those miles out every single day. That's the steelhauler way. Indiana, Ohio, to the Carolinas. Back and forth.
Now, if you REAAAAAAALLLY want adventure, run freight into Canada. About as rugged a job you will have behind the wheel. Mess up, you're part of the food chain. If you stay in the states bordering Canada, you will see it too. Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan. Serious truckers. Serious trucks.
If you want to pull OSOW you have to be self sufficient, a problem solver, because you WILL run into problems and there's absolutely no one behind a desk that can help you. You are the main one, everyone one else, from the desk jockeys to pilot cars to even the HP helping you is just support. Its YOUR baby. After doing the job, and joining this forum and seeing these guys that post here, words cannot express the respect that I have for the members here.
@TripleSix hit the nail on the head.
You do not want to go the route that I took or was kinda thrown into. I had hauled 5 loads of concrete manholes and pipe from Helena to Williston over the course of a year while I had my permit. No school just my ex-boss teaching me. And not always the correct way. We were doing a team trip to Colorado one time and I made him wait while I put another 2 chains on the telehandler because that was the way another driver did it... He only had 4 5/16" chains set as direct tie downs and none across the forks. I added one chain for the forks/boom and one more for the WLL. 9400 pounds is not enough for a 22k machine.
After getting my license, my first solo load was 10' wide into a residential neighborhood. Not a bad load at all but I was nervous as all get out. Remember I had only made 5 trips across the state. I had no trainer after getting my license. Let's just say that I ran over the wolves.....LOL
I got my license on Thursday afternoon and this was my load Friday morning.
I come in Monday and I have to move this for my second load......
Good thing I had my shoes on when I jumped out of the frying pan.
I have been doing this for 4 years now and I learn new stuff all the time. Like, I love our 9' wide trailers for these haul trucks and excavators...
Remember, self-confidence is not ####y as long as you can back it up. ####y is not saying "uncle" when you know you should. Self confident people know their limits, don't exceed them, & aren't scared to ask for help. The ####y ones have too much foolish pride and won't ask, it's not hard to tell the difference.
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