New to Canada, new to trucking

Discussion in 'Canadian Truckers Forum' started by bairn7, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. bonder45

    bonder45 Road Train Member

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    Williston, ND
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    Have you thought of Alberta oilfield ? I would head to Grande Prairie, AB and start as a swamper for one of many trucks ( Vac truck, bed truck, tank truck ) learn those and they will throw you into the seat quick enough and probably even pay for your training.

    Wages a decent ( 85,000 - 160,000 CAD ) depending on which line of oilfield trucking you want.

    Also this is a working job, lots of in and out of the truck. Maybe that’s not what you want but it’s a suggestion!
     
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  3. CraigInReston

    CraigInReston Light Load Member

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    Welcome to Canada! The comments being made, warning you of becoming an OTR driver, are fact. The entire industry is slowly becoming a minimum-wage occupation, with only immigrants (no offense) being the only solution for CEO's and upper management/shareholders to profit.
    The reality of Canadian trucking is incredibly stressing on relationships, health and quality of life. In the past, OTR drivers were paid above average wages to compensate for these personal sacrifices.
    Today, if you compare wages between OTR and local drivers, you will find the wage-gap shrinking. My advise is to keep your dream of becoming a professional driver... but concentrate on local work. OTR Carriers view drivers as expendable "warm bodies" necessary to make them profits. You will literally become a number when asked who you are.
    Local companies tend to respect you more, in that you become the " face" of the company while completing deliveries. You already have the advantage of perfect reading/writing/speaking skills, namely English. Dress code and personal conduct shouldn't be an issue for you. Integrating into Canadian society (making friends with co-workers, joining the company soft-ball team...etc.) All of which, you have the advantage.
    My point is... don't focus on just driving. Focus on your advantages over other immigrants, that will separate you from the pack.
     
  4. BigHossVolvo

    BigHossVolvo Road Train Member

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    Calgary, Alberta
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    While I agree with all of this, I would like to make one adjustment. This mostly applies to Dry Van, Reefer, Inter-modal work. Deck work (that isn't finished wood in BC), LTL (XPO, FedEx, UPS) Tanker (Except Westcan/Seaboard), and heavy haul are not as described above.

    Like I said before, the mega companies, who will usually hire new drivers are terrible. Their main focus is to get cheap slave labor, and keep it cheap and slave.
     
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  5. Snow Monster

    Snow Monster Medium Load Member

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    To give you an idea how wages have declined over the years.
    In the late 70's and early 80's I was hauling steel and pulling sets of flatbed A and B trains, I got paid for chaining, tarping and drops, plus incentive to max out the payload, it was a good job as jobs go.
    My best check for one week was in 1979, $1480.00 for one full week, 7 days, Monday to Monday.
    Mind you I busted my butt, but that was serious moolah, even by todays standards, that equates to a few bucks shy of $5000 in modern times according to an inflation calculator, $4976.50 to be exact.

    An average week for me was $800 to $900 which was still pretty decent, $2690 to $3026.25 these days.

    I agree with the rest, the industry has gone in the crapper, but if you're young and fired by passion, get out there and do it for a while.
    If not, you can always try something else, or a different sector of the industry, or another occupation altogether like being a rock and roll star.

    This country hasn't seen a real rock and roller in decades and we desperately need one since Stompin Tom passed away.

    They either retired and moved to California or Moose Jaw, became farmers, got government jobs, became TV or radio celebrities, or they're gigging in restaurants, small clubs and blues bars under assumed names and playing a festival here and there in between jobs.

    Think about resource based jobs like mining or geological exploration.
    With the ice cap disappearing quickly the north country will likely be opening up in the not so distant future and it's always good to get in at the beginning.

    If you haven't experienced this country from end to end you should because the place you think you want to be may not be as good for you as it could be.
    I've driven every inch of the Trans Canada system from Sydney NS to Vancouver BC, so if there's anything you need to know about any particular region I can give you a little insight about the weather, the terrain, the people, the culture, the social atmosphere, the food, gas price trends from east to west, anything but housing, job market or wages and cost of living.
     
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  6. bairn7

    bairn7 Bobtail Member

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    Aug 25, 2019
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    Wow. Thank you all for the incredibly thoughtful responses, you have all opened my eyes to a few things.

    I still dream of the romantic idea of long distance trucking. I thought that the inherent sacrifices involved would be reflected in the salary but this may not be the case. I only want to live comfortably (not extravagently) but if long distance trucking is not going to provide that then I may need to reconsider. The suggestion of local driving, in the oil sector, does make sense.

    Thank you all. I will do some further research. It looks like I will need to weigh up my long-distance trucking dream against a comfortable retirement.
     
    upnorthwpg Thanks this.
  7. Northerntanker

    Northerntanker Bobtail Member

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    So, I've pretty much been in exactly the position your in right now, although I was a trucker in England for 10 years before moving to Saskatchewan.
    I moved here 7 years ago and had to do the test/airbrake from scratch......I got lucky though, I got on with a company that paid for it and over the following couple of years got valuable experience pulling Super B hoppers, eventually moving onto to tankers.
    I currently do OTR pulling a dry van but that's a different story lol.
    The first couple of winters here were a VERTICAL learning curve....frozen brakes, valves, fingers lol. Coming from England, nothing prepares you for -40 on the Prairies!
    There are many factors to consider....are you alone or do you have family/kids?.....if so, I would say forget OTR, unless you don't like your wife lol. It puts a huge strain on relationships and you make many sacrifices.
    You must love driving and your own company, that goes without saying.
    Then there's all the the other BS to deal with that is out of your control....dispatchers/shippers/receivers/DOT/safety.
    Having said all that....I still enjoy driving most days and have built up alot of experience to handle most situations out here. It is definitely not for the faint hearted. Just look at all the options available and make an informed decision from there.
    Good luck.
     
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  8. Bumpty

    Bumpty Bobtail Member

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    Feb 5, 2019
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    Retire?

    Unless you have money to retire as of right now....... You'll never earn enough to retire. The cost of living is simply too high and driving doesn't pay well enough.
     
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  9. Bumpty

    Bumpty Bobtail Member

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    I'd like to know which company is paying this wage and hiring right now? My guess is none. Those jobs peaked about 5 years ago..... Not anymore though.
     
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  10. BigHossVolvo

    BigHossVolvo Road Train Member

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    Dec 15, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta
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    Fixed. @Northerntanker @upnorthwpg and myself do quite well LTL thank you very much. My brother also just finished his 2nd year of fuel Super B regional and did 120k 4 on 3 off.

    So yea I get it, lots of ppl hate trucking, and hate OTR and hate mega carriers/foreigner owned companies. That’s only half the industry, so let’s try to not go to far off the deep end here.

    Or if you wanna go off the deep end, just say what type of trucking you’re talking about.

    FYI XTL, Walmart and Martin Brower, you can do 80k in a day cab 5 days a week, if highway sucks so bad.
     
    upnorthwpg Thanks this.
  11. Bumpty

    Bumpty Bobtail Member

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    Feb 5, 2019
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