In this week's edition of Voices from the Web, where we take some of the more interesting comments from trucking-related social media, a potential newbie to the driving industry wants to know in the Rate per Mile Masters Facebook group: what do people do out on the road when they're not hauling down the highway.
Facebook poster 1: So, I am strongly considering going into trucking. I have some questions about the industry. What do you do to entertain yourself on the road? What do you eat? Is it hard to get time off, or make it home for appointments? Any advice would be appreciated.
One long response, excerpted: Entertainment: depends on what you like. Here’s my personal list: 1.) I bought a small TV and a 300 Watt inverter so I can play Xbox live with my friends. 2.) I sometimes bring my laptop with me with an hdmi cable to plug into my tv for movie time 3.) I upgraded my (poor) go phone to an IPhone with unlimited data and 10 GB hot spot data (which I use for gaming on my xbox mainly). I watch a lot of YouTube and do a lot of research. 4.) I bought an extra smaller sized amp/speaker combo for practicing my bass guitar 5.) I downloaded P90x onto my laptop and workout occasionally 6.) I listen to audio books (mainly about investing) and podcasts (like Joe Rogan) while driving. Sometimes music but I find listening to music for extended periods of time exhausting.
Meals: also depends on what you want. Here’s my list: 1.) I have a cooler/refrigerator in my truck so I keep lunchmeat, cheese, milk, sparkling water, etc. for most of my meals. I make a lot of sandwiches, take homemade vegetable soup, and leftovers with me to save on money. I’d also recommend getting a small toaster oven for your leftovers and stuff because it’s way better than nuking food. Microwaves mutate food and make it carcinogenic, especially meat. Think about that next time you nuke an already genetically modified hot pocket :) not cool unless you think it might somehow turn you into the Hulk 2.) when I don’t feel like taking care of my body or saving money I will occasionally eat at some truck stop restaurant or get pizza. 3.) If I’m all out of healthy food/snacks and I don’t feel like destroying my health and I don’t want to waste money, I will buy some nuts, fruit, or yogurt from a truck stop or practice intermediate fasting. 4.) Sometimes I’ll walk to a nearby restaurant or Uber there.
Is it hard getting time off: depends on your company and location as others have mentioned.
Facebook poster 1: 48’ reefer work. I still see so many people pulling 48s but can’t find any work for one and haven’t heard anything. Anyone have any input on this?
Facebook respondent 1: One of the issues with a 48 ft trailer is the way the dock plates are. They have to remove them to get the last 2 pallets on so that means they have to get off the fork then maneuver it to get the last 2 in. They call for 53 ft trailers often for just a few pallets. Just another way to obsolete equipment and demand more.
Facebook respondent 2: Everything I load can be loaded with 48. We also do a lot of LTL frozen foods so rarely over 30k. And we do a lot of produce. Certain areas are still ok with a 48 but TX and the east end of the US is all about 53s
Facebook respondent 3: We run a 48 Reefer - 90% of the loads posted for a 53 will load on a 48- I just call get all the details and then ask for a pallet count and more times than not they load it...
Facebook respondent 4: Hard to load 30 pallets on a 48'. Same problem with a 50'. Lots of brokers require 53'. Doesn't matter if the load will fit or not. Some warehouses have robots that load the trailer. 53' is what they're programmed to load. It'd be foolish to spend any big money on a 48'. Unless you've got something dedicated that'll work. Even then though you might be shootin' yourself in the foot if a load falls through.
Facebook respondent 5: I load 48's and 53" reefer's everyday of the week, can load either or, 99% of the time 48 will work.
Chad Boblett, administrator and founder of the Rate per Mile Masters group on Facebook:
I always get told that some people are just not smart enough to have their own authority. So whoever that person is would for sure be in some bad shape. It's so easy
1. When I pulled my first load, I was so broke that I could not afford to buy enough fuel to top off the tanks. So I started with almost no money at all.
2. The very day your authority goes active you can post your truck in a hot market, and get endless calls from brokers begging for your service.
3. I know an O/O carrier that is from another country can barely speak English never finished high school and grossed almost a quarter of a million dollars his first year.
4. I have a friend that started about the same time I did. He was never even a company driver. He went to school to learn how to drive then bought a truck got his authority and started pulling loads. I think he is up to 10 trucks now that he bought all new and he is from another country as well.
5. You can buy a used truck for the average price of what a car sells for and gross a million dollars with it before you ever have to think about replacing it.
6. So what would happen if an O/O failed at running under their own authority? You still have a CDL, and hopefully, you still have a truck you just go back to whatever worked for you in the past.
I can not think of any business that is easier to start then becoming a carrier.
On the Truckers group of Reddit, a new poster put up a smiling picture of himself and posted this:
Greetings from Chicago!! Just finished my first week and excited to be a part of this community. I moved from Georgia 6 months ago to Chicago to become a truck driver! Here's to many more miles on the road! Cheers!
This drew a few snarky responses:
thegreatbanjini responded: Let's see how many weeks it takes for that smile to turn into :| Bets anyone?
NNcook30 responded: I bet it's already happened. Ga boy Chicago and winter not over. I didn't get my first smile til I got that first and only Miami load 6 months in.
Marseliswallace responded: 3 months. By that time he'll have had a few loads that were overweight and needed to be reworked by shippers that have no idea what they're doing. And located an hour away from the nearest scale.