What's your background prior to driving?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by 94nole, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. 94nole

    94nole Light Load Member

    Jul 28, 2007
    JAX, FL
    Not sure if this is a good spot for this thread...I am interested in what line of work people came from prior to beginning their career in trucking? I am seriously considering a total life changing move by going from 13 years behind a desk (I'm a CPA...at least for now) and going OTR (mid-life crisis?). One son (almost 18) leaving for college in 2 weeks and the other (14) headed to high school next week. Wife does work and really doesn't mind me doing this (she's concerned as to whether it'll provide enough income though - I make about $70k now). I haven't even been to driving school yet but planning to start after Labor Day. So, this is gut check time....

    So, here are the questions...

    What job/professional/vocation did you leave to start driving?

    How long have you been driving?

    Are you OTR or local?

    Do you have a family at home?

    If you have kids at home, what are their ages?

    If married (or have a significant other) does he or she work?

    I'll obviously make my own decision in due time, however, just wanted to get the lay of the land out there.
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  3. Burky

    Burky Road Train Member

    20 years in the Navy prior to this, working as an aircraft handler and firefighter. Post navy, one year operating and as foreman on a crew using a Terra Gator injection machine full time handling municipal wastewater. Then 5 years of full time farming, working on a 3000 acre grain farm, plus hauling full time for the local coop. We parked the truck and I looked around and found the current job over 4 years ago.

    I run regionally, mainly around the Great Lakes area, but travel as far as the loads take me, which can be east to the ocean, west to Omaha. south to the Gulf and into canada as needed.

    I'm single so the money is all mine, including the retirement check.

    I started driving trucks on the farm as a kid (11-12 for semis) and have been around them all my life. Even worked part time in trucking while in the Navy.

    You won't hit your current 70k in income by trucking. The average wage is in the lower to mid 40's, and the starting wage is less than that. If you can find a niche of some kind and speciailize a bit, you can make higher income, but most folks starting out do not. I make about 62k from driving, and another 15k in retirement income, but that's with experience and sticking to a somewhat more specialized work than what some others do.
  4. roadhog

    roadhog Medium Load Member

    Jun 11, 2007
    No man's land, Ohio
    I wish you luck in whatever you do - don't know if trucking is really what you should do, but just make sure you and your wife think long and hard and do some really deep investigating before you leap. (which it looks like you are). I'm going to answer your questions, there for my husband:

    1) He was a tow motor operator in a factory - 7 days a week, 10-14 hrs a day, use to talk to all the drivers coming in and got the itch one day to become one - has been off and on for 9 years.(answers #2)

    He's OTR - loves it and doesn't want to do anything else - he's a loner and likes the "freedom" of not having to be bothered with people.

    Family - yes - 4 kids - his son (17), my daughter (13), and our boys, (2 & 5)

    I worked up until about 8 mths ago, but now I'm going back. Trucking is iffy - the paychecks have never been steady, but that's not all the industries fault. You have to have the drive too to get out there and get it.

    I wish you the best of luck on this decision - make sure your wife and son do some investigating too, this is a family decision, it will effect all of you. If your the type of man who does the "manly" things at home (mow grass, oil changes, etc.), your wife will have to be ready to accept all the responsibilities at home, you won't be there everyday, maybe not even every weekend. Think about it - your doing the right thing by investigating it before you jump.
  5. FozzyNOK

    FozzyNOK Road Train Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    What job/professional/vocation did you leave to start driving?

    I left the Army, worked in a Hospital for a while and then started in the industry.

    How long have you been driving?

    Since 1983

    Are you OTR or local?

    Local now, Have done a little of everything and a lot of some things
    Do you have a family at home?

    If you have kids at home, what are their ages?

    The oldest (19)ships for Iraq in a few weeks, the next oldest turns 18 about the day that the oldest ships out, the next is 13 and the youngest is 8 years old.

    If married (or have a significant other) does he or she work?

    Part time and mainly when the kids are in school, or I'm at home, we both have part time jobs also.
  6. rockee

    rockee Road Train Member

    Apr 17, 2007
    Pacific Northwest
    Hmmmm well, I didnt really leave a vocation to start driving but prior to driving semi's I drove smaller trucks hauling oil products. Thought trucking would be interesting to try so went to school in 89. Since I took a year off prior to going to school I didnt have any verifiable employment and no one would hire me, not even swift. I had to resort to getting a family member to say I worked for them for that year and got on with JB OTR, me and the wife would stay out for three months and then take two weeks off and just do that cycle unless she didnt come with me then I would stay out for shorter periods. After 4 years OTR I went local with them mostly doing intermodel stuff. I quit them on my 16th anniversary and went to work for Freightliner doing local in town pickups or getting trailers from the rail. Got laid off last March and just started with a local tanker outfit (except for a short gig for three weeks) hauling sweeteners. The pay will be as good or better (I'm thinking) than my last two jobs which I did fairly well with. It might be a little low the first year because this tanker stuff is all new to me so I will be a little slower. The only family I have at home is my wife and I get to see her every night. Wife does not need to work so she dont. Unless you get into something special I dont think you will see 70k just starting out, but thats not saying it cant be done. My first year with JB I think I made 27k and the last check with them was 55k. If your thinking of OTR I would not go with them. Good luck and have fun with it.
  7. Roadmedic

    Roadmedic Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    What Job Did I Leave?
    21 years Accounting and still do tax returns.
    Paramedic since 2001

    How Long? 6 years


    Family at Home-Wife

    No kids unless you count the furry kind.

    Married 30 years if make another couple of weeks.(Oh and to the same woman.)
  8. rick263

    rick263 Bobtail Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    miami, fl
    I worked in the airlines for 5 years prior to driving, loading and unloading passenger aircraft. back breaking work... before that, almost 5 years with the Home Depot as a receiving manager, where i got my interest in trucking. i am single, no kids, just a big dog (100 lbs) that is my team driver :biggrin_255: i work local and regional, gettin some miles racked up and some time built up on my past... then maybe i will go OTR in the near future! good luck...
  9. slick50

    slick50 Light Load Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    McKinney, Texas
    Retired Marine 23 years. Taught high school 4 years until new principal (she didn't approve of my Marine Corps attitude !) Imagine that! Masters Degree Texas A&M.
    My wife is a mix of vietnamese/american serviceman and runs the house while I'm gone. 4 kids, 4 grandkids.
    Started trucking 3 years ago after the teaching job....
    I own my own truck (2007 Columbia) gross over $200K a year; bring home over $70K. 300 days a year X 500 miles a day x $1.35 a mile = $202K
    $1500 mo truck payment (8%APR) fuel 150,000 miles@ 6.5 mpg @ $2.75 =$63,461 Plates/permits etc $2000 yr, insurance $250 mo, $120 wk for me to eat, Dental $15 week, medical (covered by my USMC retirement), $400 week savings for taxes....
    You can make money out here.... you just have to learn that if you own your own truck...all your eggs are in one basket. You had better take care and not trip.
  10. CJH1977

    CJH1977 Bobtail Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Monmouth, Maine
    Well, Before i started driving truck i was doing overnight work cleaning floors in supermarkets. I have now been driving for 7 yrs. I have done both local and OTR, Currently OTR. I have a wife and 2 kids at home ( Boy 6 and Girl 5 ). My wife does not work currently. She is in college for business managment and might continue on for accounting. I enjoy the driving life. When i get tired of the OTR scene i go local and vise-versa.
  11. tomhorn

    tomhorn Light Load Member

    Aug 9, 2007
    Jacksonville, FL
    Well, I haven't decided for sure yet either. How about coincedences. I'm just shy of 51 and live in JAX. I was in a family retail/manufacturing business for about 20 years as a CFO, then became a lawyer up north for about 8 years. I hated it. I retired to Daytona Beach in 03 and started a beachfront business, but shortly after bacame very ill. I moved to JAX to be near the MAYO Clinic here, where I had a liver transplant at the end of 05.

    I too am looking at getting into driving. I'm considering Roadmasters to get it done quick and pay big bucks or go to FCCJ, take longer, but save a bundle.

    I am also looking at career options leading to being an O/O. I figure guys like you and I with some business know how can make more that way than by being employees. To become a big rig O/O, one needs to get a job as a company driver for a few years and put up with al that. I've also considered going directly into business as a hotshot with a F350 and a 3 car hauler. I have talked to some people doing pretty well with that, but not $70K a year.
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