Any current or former truck drivers here?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by r.h. in okla., Jun 7, 2006.

  1. Not sure if this is where I should be asking this question or not but here it goes!

    I'm thinking of taking up truck driving but am wondering how much strain the lower back takes while driving all day? (and night) I had to quit my electrical profession a few years ago due to chronic back pains and am still trying to figure out what kind of work to do to make a good living. Any advice out there?
     
  2. poorboy

    poorboy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,051
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Location:
    ozark foothills, Mo
    is if you are already having back trouble the truck is only goin to aggrravate it. Though they ride much better now than when i first started 36 yrs. ago. Been disabled for several yrs. now, though some drunks hitting me head on {my pickup} back in 81 was a big factor..:-}
     

  3. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,540
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ocala, FL
    DH drove for 11 years, but got out of it and is dispatching now.

    Forget the back thing. Worry more about how the per mile rate is CRUD right now, even with the so-called fuel-surcharges.

    Not only your back, You will break your own bank trucking right now with fuel the way it is.

    You want to drive for better $$ and less back troubles, look into driving a "hot shot" for a small company. That's a heavy-duty pickup truck with a goose-neck trailer for small pieces/loads. Hotel room every night and a better drivers-side bucket seat.
     
  4. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,155
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    usa
    When my brother drove, the bouncing killed his kidneys...he'd come home aching so badly he could hardly move. The hot shot idea sounds good though!

    Mon
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    20,074
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Not good on the Back.And believe it or not Legs too.

    big rockpile
     
  6. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

    Messages:
    4,534
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    South Dakota
    We have owned our own truck for 1 year now. He has been driving for 24 years. We are doing okay. Not going to make it rich, but bills are paid and doing better with our own.

    We are careful to drive in states with the best fuel rates and dh has dropped his mph to 62. I check ahead for where to fuel online. All this is adding up to extra $$.

    As for your back. NON-Excercise is the WORST thing you can do for your back. DH walks at least 2 miles a day. He will just stop at a rest stop and walk. He uses a pedometer to track it. He also does sit ups and push ups and other excercise to keep healthy. Sitting all day can KILL you in more ways than one, he has a lot to live for!

    The hardest part on your back will be loading and unloading. I would suggest dry van delivery as that is the least stressful on your back. You just back up to the dock and they usually unload (dh does have to assist sometimes. But we only haul light bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

    DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT jump out of the truck trailer. CLIMB down. DH has hurt his back doing this 3 times. All three were when he JUMPED out of the trailer. Grown men weren't meant for that kind of punishment.

    Your other biggest challenge will be to eat RIGHT. Truck stop food or fast food will hurt you too. DH takes apples and fruit, has a fridge and drinks water not pop. He eats whole grain, fruits and vegetables and quality meat. Since he started this he has lost 40 pounds! :dance: :dance:

    You CAN be healthy, make money and enjoy trucking. You DO have to work at it.

    I just read Tonya's post. Dh is gone, but we have solved a lot of the problems she had by doing a couple of things. We have a cell phone and dad calls or we call him MANY times a day. We also homeschool, so the 2-3 days he is home we just enjoy being a family. The kids go with him in the summer and spend extra time with him then. Last year he was home ALL or part of 102 days. Most of those were full days. All the kids know his phone number and call him whenever they need to talk. As for taking up the slack, we keep animals and chores to what the kids and I can do and would do even if he worked in town. Actually, we see more of him now than we did the 8 years he worked locally. Then he worked a minimum of 70 hours a week and was beat on his one day off. When he went otr, he had seen his 3 month old ds THREE TIMES, one being the day he was born! When my last dd was born, he was otr, they moved heaven and earth to get him back. He was able to take over a week off with no reduction in pay and ENJOY being a dad. Whether this hurts your family depends on you, not the job.
     
  7. Tonya

    Tonya Guest

    My Dad was a truck driver for most of his life. He's 65 now and semi-retired. (Bad pun). He took to OTR when I was about 12.

    Dad wasn't home much and our relationship suffered. He didn't get to see many of my school plays. He wasn't there when I got my heart broke the first time. I had to take up the slack on the farm for him. That meant that on some school days I was up at 5 AM to get the chores done. It scared me to death to be out there in the early morning light swinging an ax to get the animals water. I was so afraid of cutting myself and bleeding to death out there. I still have nightmares about it.

    Dad would come home on Friday night and spend Saturday working on his truck. Oil changes, washing, etc. takes up unpaid time, too. He's usually have to leave late Sunday afternoon or evening-just when we were getting back into the family groove.

    Dad has had a knee replacement, several back surgeries and his heart isn't too good (truck stop food isn't exactly on the Heart Association menu!). He has a hard time walking and sleeping.

    If you want to give up time with your family and seeing your kids each night and hearing about their day, then go trucking. If you want to miss those little moments with them, go trucking. If you want them to wonder each night where Daddy is and if he's safe, then go trucking. If you want to ruin your body, then go trucking.
     
  8. Thanks for every0nes replies. Very much appreciated.

    Tonya, my dad was a truck driver also. He started when I was about 5 years old. I guess everything was good for the first 5 years of his trucking but after that it all went down hill. By the time I was in high school he had left the family and took up with another woman across the country. It created great hardship with the whole family that last even to this date when I think about it. I've always said to myself that truck driving will be the last job I ever do on earth!

    But here I am now almost 46 years old without a paycheck and I'm getting really tired of it. I went to a 2 year technical school and became a electrician and that has been what has always gotten me by up until 5 years ago when the doc. said no more unless you want about 3 vertebraes soldered together. So now I'm trying to find something and hopefully it would pay real good. Truck driving is just something I've been pondering about. Some companies will pay for the training if I commit for 2 years. Other then that I will have to pay for the training myself. Which I can't afford $7000. for a 3 week course.

    Well thanks everyone I'll ponder on something else!
     
  9. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,155
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    usa
    A three week course? Jeez!

    Mon
     
  10. ScorpionFlower

    ScorpionFlower Insanity prevails

    Messages:
    253
    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    Lenexa, KS
    My DH is a dispatcher/driver. Yes, he does both LOL. Usually he's in the office but whenever needed he jumps in a truck and brings the paperwork with him and simply dispatches via the cell phone. He's been a trucker for 6 years and has been dispatching for the past 2. He has alot of back problems. I keep telling him he needs to exercise more. Only problem is that whenever he does exercise his heart acts up. He has a heart condition but they haven't given us an exact diagnosis. I also wish he'd either go work for another company. This one overworks him and underpays him. He's only paid $11 an hour yet he dispatches, drives, preloads, sets up and maintains all their computer stuff, and is bilingual which here in CA is a must anymore. (I refuse to learn Spanish for this reason.) My dh has to work 4 days a week at 14 hours a day and 2 days a week for 9 hours. He only gets 1 day off a week, and then he's home trying to do the work around here that I can't do.

    All I can really say is I NEVER wanted him to get into trucking, but it's what he wanted to do so I supported him and will continue to support him.
     
  11. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    I drive a truck OTR. I've worked all my life in physical demanding jobs and have the pains and other problems to show for it. Driving is the physically easiest job I've ever had. I've got some back problems and have no problems when driving. the only time I have back pain is from sleeping while the truck is rolling as I drive team. Driving a truck pays me at least 2x what I've made
    in the past with better benefits than I've ever had. Being away from home is the worst part, but I drive for an LTL company so I get home quite often. With a little more seniority I can get to the point of being home every day.
     
  12. Yldrosie

    Yldrosie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    785
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    NV
    I went back on the road 3 years ago, after a 10 year leave. I went to work for Prime. It was easiest way to get my CDL back. They will school you at their terminal, for a few days so you can get your learners permit, then send you out with a trainer for as long as it takes so you can get experience. If you commit for 1 year, there is no charge. You are in Okla, so it is reasonably close to you. Springfield, Missouri. I ran flatbed there, and it pays the best, and I think the best job in trucking, outside of show hauling. You never have the long waits to load or unload like in a van or reefer, and the people are usually glad to see you. There is tarpiing and chaining involved, but most of the time it isn't that hard to do. I'm a 60 year old woman and I managed okay by myself. Give them a call, and ask to talk to a recruiter. Also, with their program, you buy/lease a truck from them, so it's a lot more flexible. You can take your pet or your spouse or whoever you want in the truck with you, and it's no problem. Good luck.
     
  13. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Right Here
    Today's newer trucks drive like luxury cars. They have better tires, the axles have air bags, the cabs have air bags under them, and the seats have air bags under them also. Three different air bag systems.

    Can you drive your car long distances and what does it do to you back.

    You will drive 6 days a week, usually every week.

    As far as back pain that would depend on what and how you respond to long driving 11 hours at a time then you have to go off duty for I think it is 10 hours.

    Hours of service have changed since I stopped driving.

    If you have never driven before you will have to go to school.

    After school a company will put you with a trainer for about 4-5 week before they turn you loose with a truck by your self if you pass there qualifications.

    Well if you are just starting out you won't be driving your own truck.

    Drive a company truck and recive pay + benefits.

    Being away from home all of the time 2-4 weeks at a time.

    Most companys will give you 1 day off for every week you are on the road but you won't get home ususally until your out 3 weeks. Sometimes 4 weeks at a time.
    Is hard on the rest of the family, wife, and children, and you ! ! !

    bumpus
    .
     
  14. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,458
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    Take if from someone who has been there, done that. HOT SHOT is as bad or worse on the back because of the short wheel base of the pickup that pulls the trailer. Some of the Interstate Highways are so rough it will bounce you to death.

    The Simi trucks, most of them do have air rides on them now. But I think your problem will be climbing into and out of the trucks. The steps are so high and you have to pull yourself up into the cab. That is what has stopped me from going for my CDL.

    As far as the fuel prices, if you sign on for a company and drive their truck you don't have to worry about fuel and up-keep. The company pays all that then pays you a flat millege rate.

    If you go Hot Shot most of the time you have to own the pickup and you only lease the truck out to the company and you are responsible for all fuel and up-keep.
     
  15. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN

    My company like many companies will train you with a 1 year commitment. check out freight companies like ABF,Yellow,Roadway,Old Dominion,Averitt, Estes and SAIA. Many are union and most drivers can be home every day or every other day with salaries in the 50-80k range with benefits.
     
  16. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    Many have asked before about driving a truck as a way to make a living. The best advice I can give is to do your research before agreeing to anything especially a commitment for training. There are discussion forums on truckdriving like trucknet.com or truckingboards.com. There you can do research and ask people that drive for a living and drive for the particular company you are interested in.
    There are very good jobs to be had with excellent home time and pay if you do your homework. There are many that don't involve being away from home overnight.
     
  17. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,280
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Right Here
    .
    You want to be careful of these companies that say that they will train you for free if you sign a contract that you will work for them a year or sometimes even moe.

    One you sign they have you. Yes they will train you and get you to driving because they need drivers.

    But when you don't like how they treat you andyou want to quit and go to a better company, you will still have to pay back for the training which will be real high priced.

    What is you decide that truck driving is not for you? You still have to work of the money involved in the contract or quit and still pay the bill ! ! !

    You signed a contract, and many have to paid dearlly for what you did not like.

    bumpus
    .
     
  18. Okie-Dokie

    Okie-Dokie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    166
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    You don't mention where in Okla. you are, but you may want to check out pulling an end dump trailer for a ready mix company. I have been doing this for a long, long time and have been able to enjoy the benifits of trucking, only I spend my nights and week ends here at the farm and have always been able to invest plenty of time in family interests and my agricultural pursuits too. Concider attending the truck driving school at Drumwright, Ok (considered the no. 1 training school nationwide), then apply for a driving job near your homestead. I am a driver trainer for a local company in Tulsa and have got many a person started out in this profession over the years. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, shoot me a p.m. Maybe I can help. Good luck!
     
  19. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,727
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    I have lots of truck drivers in the family (grandma owned a trucking company). DH drove for 30 years. He has back problems now. One of my uncles had really bad back problems. His lower disks were destroyed by years of setting in the drivers seat.

    ON the other side of the coin so to speak... Those guys drove the older trucks for many years. The newer trucks with better seats and air ride systems might not be as bad on your back. My sister drives and she loves it. She has no problems bouncing around in a truck for long hours.

    Do you know anyone who is a driver? Can you arrange to ride with them for a short time? That way you will find out first hand if your back can handle the setting for long hours.

    Another possiblilty is to get a local driving job to try it out for a short time. Do you have a CDL? You might check with some local companies to find out if they hire relief drivers.