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Old 02-21-2009, 02:00 PM   #1  
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Default Long haul truck driver

2 years of training and 70k later one becomes a "pilot" , unemployed and
even if one is lucky to land an FO job it starts at 18k per year... In 3 weeks and 3k one can get a CDL class A. Truck drivers start at 50k and owner/operators can make 100k per year. You'd need to invest about 8 years in aviation to make 60k. (2 years school, 2 years cfi, 4 years fo)

Just my 2 cents
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:23 PM   #2  
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2 years of training and 70k later one becomes a "pilot" , unemployed and
even if one is lucky to land an FO job it starts at 18k per year... In 3 weeks and 3k one can get a CDL class A. Truck drivers start at 50k and owner/operators can make 100k per year. You'd need to invest about 8 years in aviation to make 60k. (2 years school, 2 years cfi, 4 years fo)
kind of. Anyone with the discipline, background, and motiviation to get a Commercial/ATP will be in demand as a driver but working conditions are a lot different. Some companies provide well-equipped sleeper cabs and/or get their drivers home every week; a lot don't. Hotel rooms at company expense are unusual at most companies, unheard of at many.
The travel might seem appealing, but most truck stops are nowhere near the city center or any form of public transit. Parking the rig at a mall or industrial area to go sightseeing is problematic, even if you're not carrying a valuable or hazardous cargo. There is practically no such thing as jumpseating, except possibly on trucks owned by your own company...
and so on. Been there, done that.

probably will end up doing it again, since it's what I know- but hard to argue that professional pilot is any worse.

There are some few good exceptions; the best single example might be household goods/moving where a lot of the work is organization and customer service.

good luck!

Last edited by Flying Low; 02-21-2009 at 04:04 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:51 PM   #3  
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Over the Road truck driving and airline life bear some strong resemblances in that both take you away from home for days or even weeks at a time, put you in a strange land where you know hardly anyone at all, put you at the mercy of the local commercial establishment and make you accept accommodations that are unpredictable at best and usually poor.

The airline lifestyle has a clear advantage in this regard because you at least have a hotel room to go to with a full bathroom, usually the option of an exercise room, access to fairly good restaurants and short distances to towns, and enough space to stretch out in or take a walk. None of these things is typical of the truckstop experience. Truckstops have a communal shower, a single restaurant, your truck is your room, you have no place to exercise or walk, and they are always located far away from town.

In addition there are all these prostitutes coming around knocking on doors. If you want to take a dump in the middle of the night or get a pint of ice cream you are going to hike a quarter of a mile past 250 idling trucks. Did I mention that most truck drivers are slobs, also? No disrespect intended, but it is absolutely true. Airline life is better in many ways.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:07 PM   #4  
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I know a father/son team that started off driving trucks and within a year hired others and started their own company, let's just say they make a very nice living.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:17 PM   #5  
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I know a father/son team that started off driving trucks and within a year hired others and started their own company, let's just say they make a very nice living.
...So they don't get DOT'ed 4 times a day then anymore? You have hard sell coming if you want to convince me that truck driving doesn't "suck" from one end to the proverbial other. I have owned trucks personally as well as worked for the biggest names in the business, and I know a thing or two about it. It is a way to survive, which is about all any sensible person can say about it. If you want to get stuck slaving away behind a hard-rubber ring for 14 hours at a time and spend your days and nights making 8 bucks an hour... then have at it!

Last edited by Cubdriver; 02-21-2009 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:39 PM   #6  
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thanks for the comments

just considering it since ive been sending out resumes' like candy with no replies, all but given up on aviation, but see many ads for truck drivers.

i bought into the lie that there would be a shortage of pilots in the future.

understand there is a high turnover rate 100/130 in trucking. sitting here in my $100 a week room in wyoming, 3c outside, unemployed, came to wy cause supposed to have lowest unemployment rate in country. have applied for everything from security guard to direct tv installer and no calls.
i dont have a problem with no "sightseeing" and was a seaman for many years so used to being alone and away for months at a time.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:31 PM   #7  
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Don't let these guys scare you. There are good driving jobs out there, but like anything else, you need to have experience to get them. The big companies aren't where you want to go for great treatment, but the small companies can be luck of the draw. Before I left trucking to start flying, I was making close to 80k with 5k bonus yearly and full company paid benefits with company match 401k 100% to 6%. I worked anywhere from 8 to 14 hours a day depending on the loads that I pulled and had days where I made over 500 bucks. Schedule was 4 on, 3 off then 5 on 2 off, rinse and repeat. Home every day. Drove top of the line assigned equipment...2003 379 Pete with a 600 Cat and 18 speed. I was hauling fuel and loved it. Best trucking job out there for me and I did food grade tankers, shipping containers and swinging doors (reefer and dry), so I have the experience to base that statement on. I had a lot of experience hauling tankers when I landed that job but even my first tanker gig hauling food grade saw me making 48k home every day.

Loved the job and it was a huge decision for me to leave it. I started flying with aviation career dreams long before I started trucking, so when the opportunity presented itself, I made the decision to fly since I had already invested so much time and money into it. I'll tell you though, if anything happens to the job that I have now, I'll jump back behind the wheel of the Peterbilt without batting an eye or shedding a tear (or losing money), and I keep my CDL and medical ready to go just in case!
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:25 PM   #8  
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Default Ten bucks an hour

If you average out what you put in in terms of time from day one in the business and do not jump to the 6 month period you did well after 6 years of slavery you will find you made something like $10 an hour for your work as a truck driver. You may be talking about some final position you had for 6 months where you made better, but I was in the business for over ten years and I know what people made in the industry and I did or knew about everything including the "gravy" jobs you speak of.

I worked for big companies, small ones, drove dump trucks, reefers, flat beds, daycabs, drop decks, did long haul, short haul local, moved rail containers, drove brand new equipment, drove junk, owned trucks, ran long haul and worked day jobs, did local delivery, on and on and I never saw more than about $10 an hour. There are a few jobs in trucking where the hourly rate is not bad, but as you admit it is impossible to get them with less than a few years experience. Jobs like high-seniority LTL routes and those you describe are few and far between and very hard to get. It's just like being the top guy at FedEx as a pilot. These days if you even get paid $15 an hour you are above average. In fact, if you are in the TOP TEN PERCENT of truck drivers in terms of wages you will make about $50,000 a year for a 2,000 hour work year and it goes DOWNWARDS from there.

Don't take it from me, take it from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

USBLS- Truck Drivers

Also, you should thank your lucky stars you never took a cloverleaf too fast in that fuel truck because if you had, you would be missing in action. Ever seen what happens to the few that did take a cloverleaf a little on the fast side? I have. They are dead and no one could find them. In most cases the entire overpass had to be bulldozed from the damage.

Last edited by Cubdriver; 02-21-2009 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:43 AM   #9  
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I understand your points, I am just trying to saythat from my experience, the trucking industry worked out pretty well. I am sure that I ran into a little bit of "right place at the right time" type of thing, but I still enjoyed the job and made enough to live comfortably. Even in my first job, I averaged over 10.00hr and was home every night with company paid benefits (everything including insurance for the whole family). For my last trucking job, the average went up to 30.00 per hour. Not going to get rich, but I was living very comfortably and was able to take vacations, go out to eat, and generally enjoy myself without having to wait for the next paycheck.

I'm not trying to say that the trucking industry is glamorous and it is true that the really good jobs are fewer in number, but it seems that is the way with the aviation industry as well. People seem to pile into the lower paying poor treatment companies with hopes for a shot at the big time down the road...and those who are going to be happy or are stuck at a lower level for their career (more of the majority today) will end up making about what I made driving truck. Truck driving is not for everyone but it is not for nobody either. Some enjoy it, such as I did.

Oh, and I get the point about taking my tanker into a corner too fast, but its relative. If I take my jet into a runway too fast I am likely to see the same result. I may make it out but I may not. I don't really see the differrence. Follow the rules and operate safely...works in every industry. Thats why experience gets you those "good" jobs, and for me, hauling fuel for the company that I was hauling for was as good a job as I have ever had...flying included!
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:39 AM   #10  
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VT, you are an articulate, positive person so I do not want to irritate you. It is for the sake of clarity here that I take an offensive stance against the trucking job and lifestyle.

Personal outlook profoundly affects how one feels about every kind of work from trash collector right up to President of the United States. This is also true of trucking. If you are in a place in your life that a ten dollar an hour job for 12 hours day will be helpful in allowing you to meet your goals, then you may happy in the trucking industry. The same can be said of the trash collection industry for that matter. I just want to point out that trucking is not better than most other blue collar jobs and in most cases is actually worse.

Pilots are not blue collar workers. Stepping down to working conditions and income levels typical of trucking will be a big step backwards for them. It would only be a way to survive while getting back on their feet. I would describe it as gritty, dangerous, low-paying, uncomfortable sort of a job. I know there are drivers out there with Petes containing Caterpillar diesels of which they are highly enamored, sort of like shiny jet syndrome, and some of them are also reasonably paid. I take your point on this, but that does not change the fact it is a dangerous blue collar job that puts one in trucking yards, freeways and loading docks all hours of the day and night, and chained to a hard rubber ring for most of the rest. Home every night is a tradeoff for having to work like a dog to get the cargo there in a day, box by box in many cases, for all but a few who do that kind of trucking. As I said earlier drop and hook plus home every night is an exceptional job and is only possible with either a big dose of luck, a lot of dues paying, or a lot of seniority at a firm that offers it. Even if you have it all the other conditions still apply, and many of them are highly unpleasant.

The real difference with trucking is the risk exposure of spooling up a 40 ton machine all day at close proximity to concrete structures and other vehicles. In addition, the cargoes are sometimes deadly. Risk exposure to fatal accident is far higher in trucking than aviation, and this can be easily proven.

My logic was flawed in my earlier statement comparing a fatal tanker accident to anything else, because after all if you're dead you're dead and it doesn't matter how you get to the accident site. My point should be, trucking has a higher risk exposure than flying and most other jobs. This is fairly obvious and I am not going to prove it although it would be easy to.

There is one thing about trucking you failed to mention, which is a shining positive for it: any law-abiding person can set up a trucking yard on any backyard location in the US and actually run a profitable business from their home. That is a great feature. It is why I originally got into trucking, I wanted to be near the mountains. Now I prefer to fly there for the day in a Turbo C182, and make it back home by 6 for dinner.

Cheers.
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