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  #1  
Old 04-11-2018, 5:43 PM
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Default Truck Driving Job, Free Training to get your CDL

UPDATE! (I had mentioned below that there is no charge if you take the training and do not work or complete the season, That is not correct, the training is a $4K value to them, you do not pay a dime if you work the season for them but if they train you and you back out they will bill you for their time.)


Who: Morning Star Trucking / Tomato processor
What: Hiring drivers to work their summer harvest July through October
Where: 2 locations drivers will be working out of, up to you, you can work out of the Los Banos ca facility or the one in Williams Ca.

Experience required: None.

Morning Star is getting ready for their summer harvest, they will be utilizing about 500 drivers so they have plenty of openings to fill. With the demand for drivers in the country it is difficult to fill all those positions so they offer to train you to get your CDL class A. Unlike some (we pay to train you) places, you are not under a contract to work for them for an amount of time or owe them money for the training but obviously they expect you to work the 4 month harvest if they train you.

You will drive a truck no older than 3 years old, they lease trucks for the season.

If you already have your Class A, then you will either drive a standard transmission truck or an automatic or both, you usually will not drive the exact same truck every day. If you have no experience you will only be permitted to drive the Automatic transmission trucks for your first season.

You will be pulling double open top trailers like the picture below, but the truck will be newer.



You will pull empty trailers from the facility to the field for drop off then hook up to a full set and haul that back to the facility. They give you a map book of all the different fields and dispatch will tell you to pick up trailer number 18 at field number 164 for example.

The shifts are 12 hrs, they run around the clock.

You are paid not hourly but by the load you bring in. You are paid a percentage of the loads value. New drivers will be paid 22.5% of the load value. They estimate the average you will be earning this season will be 1,000 to 1,300 per week. But you can make less or more depending on how you manage your time, if you hustle, do not make lots of stops for snacks etc you can make more, if you are more laid back and hang out in the truck yard at the taco truck and B-Sing a lot you will make less. There is always the potential for truck breakdowns and the mechanics taking too long and no other truck available for you in which you would be standing around not bringing in any loads and not making any money. You could even end up making close to minimum wage if everything kind of just does not go right. But you are still making money, getting experience and getting a CDL class A. And it is all over by or within October.

I will be doing it this summer but I was kind of disappointed to find out I could only drive Automatic Transmission, but I am hoping it will not be too difficult to find somewhere to give me a little training to get that restriction removed from the CDL that will not cost an arm and a leg.

If you are not local to either of the 2 locations and it is too far to drive every day, (Gas is not cheap ither) they do offer a bed, they have I guess bunk house type of buildings on site to sleep, not sure what all they have as far as showers and all that. Or if you do commute and you decide at the end of the shift you are just too tired to try to drive home they will hook you up with a bunk.

You can work the Day or night shift, I prefer to try the night shift myself as I hate the summer heat.

There are 2 types of driving you can do, the primary will be just pickup and dropoff to/from the fields, you will be driving mostly rural roads, 2 lane undivided farmland type areas, you will be hitting some dirt roads and narrow areas. Drivers do get stuck or clip a mirror on a tree branch now and then. Out near the fields, they usually have the big tomato tractors out there to pull you out of a hole if that happens. You will be driving solo.

The other type of driving they call cannery driving, you will pull single trailers, usually, curtain trailers or flatbed trailers and you will primarily be moving product from plant to plant and not in the fields, such as equipment and supplies such as machinery, pallets of cans etc. This type of driving is not paid by load value but either by the load or hourly I am not sure. But this will give you the extra experience you need if you want to go work as a driver elsewhere, You will get HWY experience and experience securing your loads etc. I believe if you only do the field to plant driving you may have another restriction on your license because you are only doing agricultural driving where if you drive on the HWY you are commercial. (Drivers here please chime in)

If you have to drive further than local they have some way to work that out so you get paid more for you load so it is fair. If it takes you 3 hrs to get to a load and back and another driver does 3 loads local in same time, it is not fair he gets 3x your pay for the same time put in.

I do not think they have a sit-down classroom for your CDL permit, you are expected to get your permit on your own, the company gives you the behind the wheel training and they can send you to the DMV with their truck for the test or even do the test themselves. If you do have your CDL Permit before the interview it will really boost your odds of getting hired for truck training as they know you can get the permit, have passed your medical and are ready to go.

You can pick up the Commercial Drivers study manual from the DMV or download the PDF online to study. You will not have to learn all sections in the manual, you will not be tested on Passenger, Transit, school bus, Hazmat or tankers. You will need Combination (for the double trailers).

You will need to get a physical done to get your medical cert, this usually costs $100, you can look online and find a local office that do them. Once you have that and you have studied the manual, you go to the DMV, apply for the Class A permit, proof of address, Social security card, and birth certificate, Take the knowledge test on the computer there at DMV and pay the $75 fee. You now have your permit. Then on to train with a driver training at the company, this training is unpaid, about 20 or more hours of behind the wheel time I believe then you take your Driving test. If you pass then you get your license and then just wait for them to call you in for the season start, You might get called in early to help prepare such as picking up the lease trucks from up and down the valley and driving them to the facility.

Also, of course, they expect you to pass your drug test and have a fairly clean driving record, they will want to see your complete driving record printout.


This is not for everyone, but if you are out of work, hate your low paying job and want to try something else, get your foot in the door for driving or whatever, this could be something you might be interested in. Or maybe you got a friend, relative etc

It is not the perfect way to get into trucking but it does not cost you 3.5K or require you to commit to driving for a company for 9 months to settle your debt for training you and with a team, driver stinking up the cab etc.

Below are a few scans of some of the info about the job for further reading. If you do go for it, PM me so you can add me as the person that referred you, Ill give you my info to put on the form. They will kick me a little bonus for helping find them help for the season. It would be cool to have a couple other Calgunners out there to BS with between loads.

If you are close to Los Banos or Williams they are also hiring for lots of other seasonal positions, processing, Forklift drivers, shuttle drivers even other field positons such as running harvesters and tractors.

Sorry the text below is going to be difficult to see, just hold CTRL and hit the + key to zoom in.
















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Last edited by CaliforniaCowboy; 04-20-2018 at 9:49 PM..
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Old 05-04-2018, 5:36 PM
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Any chance they hire part time for just weekends? Already have a CDL.
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Old 05-05-2018, 6:29 AM
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Don't you have to do your drive test again to get the automatic transmission restriction removed?
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:31 AM
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BUMP. Hey guys, getting close to season start and they are still short on drivers. I have completed my training, got my license and shift assignment, just waiting for the season start. If you know anyone that might be interested have them PM me and Ill try to answer any questions and get the contact info. They do have on-site housing (bunkhouses) for people from out of town if you live far away. You will have to share a bunk with another driver but it would be a driver that works an opposite shift and you use your own sleeping bags so you can just roll it up and put it away and not have to sleep in someone else's stink. They have a kitchen, break rooms etc. If you are a college kid you could make some good money and have no expenses other than your food. You can also stay there while you train as well. I live an hour away and spent a sht load on gas just driving back and forth to train, I rather sleep in my own bed. There is a $4,000 safety bonus at the end of the season. If you manage to have no accidents or safety violations or damage any of the trucks or trailers, the money is yours. If you cause any damage such as dumping a trailer, breaking a mirror etc, they take the repair cost out of your bonus. But be careful and that is an extra $4k waiting for you at the end of the season. If you are going to apply, send me a PM and ill give you my name so you can put me down as a referral, Ill get even more bonus.

Also, if Class A truck driving is not your thing, they are also still looking for more people to drive other equipment, such as the shuttle trucks that move trailers around on the property, harvester drivers and Tracker drivers as seen in the picture above.



Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny_boy02 View Post
Any chance they hire part-time for just weekends? Already have a CDL.
I do not know, I finished my training and got my CDL-A and assigned shift, just waiting for the season to start. But I asked one of the trainers if they had enough drivers yet and he said NO. They are so short I heard they are bringing in drivers from Mexico. They are pretty desperate to fill trucks. You could call the main office and ask. They will be running trucks around the clock 24/7 for 4 months. If they think to bring you in for weekends only can contribute to the companies profit I don't see why not. Give them a call.
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Don't you have to do your drive test again to get the automatic transmission restriction removed?
Ya. You would have to do the drive test again in a manual. which is what I will have to do.
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Old 05-23-2018, 1:05 AM
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Any info on what training, fees, tests, etc. are required to drive a tractor?

I love tractors.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:25 PM
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Any info on what training, fees, tests, etc. are required to drive a tractor?

I love tractors.
I honestly do not know, I imagine the only test would be a drug test. No fees that I can think of. But you would have to give them a call, the girl that works the phone would know all that. I would think you would just fill out an application, show up for an interview (easy). Then they would call you in to take a piss test then start your training on the tractor.
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Old 05-25-2018, 3:19 PM
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I hope you'll post the results of your season in this thread so we can hear how it went. I'd be interested to hear if you thought it was a good investment of your time/energy, or it it was simply an interesting and different way to spend a summer (hey, nothing wrong with that).

Generally when a company offers free training and job placement, then pays by the load, the job involves either a lot of miles or a lot of waiting, and it sucks big time. Hopefully your experience will be the exception and you'll find it both profitable and fun.

I'm not sure I like the automatic transmission restriction. That could really limit you in the off-season and make it harder to find more work.
Having to go back to a truck driving school and take the DMV drive test a second time, just to get the restriction removed, would really suck.

Perhaps the company would be willing to train and certify you in a manual transmission, but put you in an automatic for the first season.. Might be worth asking.

Good luck!
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Old 05-25-2018, 4:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechD View Post
I hope you'll post the results of your season in this thread so we can hear how it went. I'd be interested to hear if you thought it was a good investment of your time/energy, or it it was simply an interesting and different way to spend a summer (hey, nothing wrong with that).

Generally when a company offers free training and job placement, then pays by the load, the job involves either a lot of miles or a lot of waiting, and it sucks big time. Hopefully your experience will be the exception and you'll find it both profitable and fun.

I'm not sure I like the automatic transmission restriction. That could really limit you in the off-season and make it harder to find more work.
Having to go back to a truck driving school and take the DMV drive test a second time, just to get the restriction removed, would really suck.

Perhaps the company would be willing to train and certify you in a manual transmission, but put you in an automatic for the first season.. Might be worth asking.

Good luck!
I have been talking to the other drivers that are returning after several seasons. They have mostly positive things to say, they make good money for the season. They say expect avg of $1,100 a week but if you don't screw around and manage your time you can defidently make more. If you decide to take an hour lunch at a stop, that is cool, or you can take an Ice chest and have a quick lunch between loads and get an extra load in, you make more money. The company does not care if you decide to just park your truck and hang out at a taco stand all day. But eventually, they will look at stuff like how much the truck costs to lease, fuel etc and then the number of loads you are bringing in, if it comes out you are actually costing the company money they will let you go.

I was also advised to carefully check your truck and trailers before leaving each location, if the previous driver damaged something and you do not catch it, it will be assumed you caused the damage and the repair costs will be taken out of your safety bonus.

Other things that can eat away at your profits would be if you were not paying attention and missed your exit, some of the exits on the hwy here are many miles apart and having to go to the next exit then the trip back to get to the original exit could cost you 30 min easily, that is about the time it takes to get a load from field to plant, and you just wasted that time because you were not paying attention to your exit.
We are hauling double trailers and they cannot be backed up, you just can not control them. So lets say you went down a residential road that dead ends or even the wrong tomato field road that dead ends and you can not turn around, Dispatch will have to send out a tow truck to pull your truck/trailers back out, the cost of that will come out of your Safety bonus at the end of the year, that FK up can be $600. The field roads/turns are clearly marked so any mistakes are kind of on you not paying attention.

The trucks are all pretty new, no more than a couple years old, they are bringing in a bunch of brand new 2018 trucks as well. They have Freightliners, macks, volvo's etc.
They have their own shop on plant that is constantly maintaining the trucks and trailers. The trucks are always in great shape, the trailers I am told can sometimes not be in the best shape, But maintenance is quick to fix any issues and if picking up an empty trailer to take to the field, in your inspection if you do not like the trailer for some reason, you are free to grab a different one.
They also have drivers that work the freight, these guys do not go to the fields unless they are short handed and need a little help. The freight guys haul mainly flatbeds and curtain trailers to move equipment around between plants. I heard they actually get paid more and get a day off each week.

As for the Manual Transmissions, Ya, I was hoping that is what we would be trained on but 95% of their trucks are automatic and they are trying to train new people so I get that. They did have several people there training on the manual trucks that were here last season. They are looking for permanent drivers as well, I am sure if they hired you on they would take care of your manual training.

The company recently visited Tesla to talk about purchasing some of their Electric Trucks. They are expensive but the company said the cost of fuel is killing them.

As far as waiting, there should not be too much of that, if there is an issue with a truck, you just grab another, same with trailers. We do not have to deliver or pick up from docks, just hook up to available trailers and go. Not like a dock where I worked and truck might be at the plant a couple hours or more waiting to dock and get unloaded. And most of the fields are no more than a 30min drive or so away, If they have you grab a load from further away, like if it is an hour or more away, they will pay you extra to make up for the extra time. so you are not getting paid for one load while another guy gets paid for 3 because he was doing local runs during the same time frame.

I will post back during or after the season to relay my experiences as a new driver. But ya, the first thing I am doing after the season is to get that manual Transmission restriction removed. I have also been talking to them about letting me do some Freight loads so I can get experience with moving and securing different loads.

Fun fact about the company, They have no supervisors or managers. You do not really have a boss, anyone at the company. Well the owner is the boss but everyone else in all departments, there are no managers. You are basically just a team and make team decisions per department, no one is above you. Weird right? So everyone kind of keeps each other in check. If you are a bad employee, any other employee can file to have you fired. But that person that wants you out would have to have at least one other employee sign on to the request then you would get the opportunity to have a sit down with a group of employees to argue your case, you can also have employees on your side to support and argue for you. Kind of like survivor or something. IF the person that started the file against you was in the wrong, they kind of look bad now. Or if your position in the plant is costing the company money, then they will let you go. I do not understand it completely but it is something like that. Everyone is self-managed.
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Old 05-25-2018, 5:15 PM
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I was also advised to carefully check your truck and trailers before leaving each location.
Yeah, I thought about that. Picking up a different set of trailers and driving a different tractor each day / run, could pose some serious safety issues. Definitely want to do a thorough pre-trip before driving away with that unfamiliar equipment.

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They also have drivers that work the freight, these guys do not go to the fields unless they are short handed and need a little help.
I heard they actually get paid more and get a day off each week.
Wait, what?? Are you saying the tomato haulers work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week?? Sounds like that could push you past your maximum hours really fast.

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As for the Manual Transmissions, Ya, I was hoping that is what we would be trained on but 95% of their trucks are automatic.
That seems to be the future. 20 years ago when I was driving concrete ready-mix trucks for RMC Lonestar (now Cemex), everybody had a Fuller 8-spd in their Kenworth, but now all their trucks have automatics in them.
Someday soon, you might not mind having that transmission restriction on your license, as driving a truck with a manual transmission would mean driving an old, outdated POS.

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Fun fact about the company, They have no supervisors or managers. You do not really have a boss, anyone at the company.
That can be good or that can be bad. I worked a job with minimal driver supervision / oversight, and the place was a zoo. When you take people of low intelligence (no offense to commercial drivers, I've been one most of my life) and give them no supervision, things can get out of hand really fast.
Fortunately it sounds like the other drivers have the power to get rid of trouble makers, so it might not be as big of an issue.

I hope it's an enjoyable experience for you.

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They do have on-site housing (bunkhouses) for people from out of town if you live far away. You will have to share a bunk with another driver .
Yuck! Let us know if you come home with bed bugs.


.

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Old 05-27-2018, 6:19 AM
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Driving a mater truck?
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Old 05-27-2018, 4:34 PM
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Old 05-28-2018, 8:27 PM
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Wait, what?? Are you saying the tomato haulers work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week?? Sounds like that could push you past your maximum hours really fast.
The driving hours are a little more lax for AG related drivers. and also if your compnay runs 7 days a week. I can not remember the exact hours, will have to catch up on that when I go back for start of season prep. But they will not let you drive over your allowed hrs. so it works out somehow. We have the cadec computerized log books in the trucks that are connected to the main computer in the main office. It tracks all your log time in real time. Driving time, on duty time, inspection time etc. It has a counter and tells you how much time you have left and if you get near any legal limit on anything dispatch is on top of it and will let you know, the cadec will also give a warning. We only use paper logs if the computer system goes down. Now the guys that work the cannery side of trucking, they do get one day off a week, that may be due to the more limited hours they are allowed as it probably does not count as AG driving. I am sure some experienced drivers here could chime in and explain better.

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Yuck! Let us know if you come home with bed bugs.

.
Hell no, I live 1 hour away so I will be driving home every night. But the company seems like they would keep things nice and clean. They own a big hotel in town where I think they used to house the out of town drivers but I guess they use the bunkhouses now. They are those rental portable buildings like they use as mobile offices at job sites. But if I am dead tired after a shift and do not feel safe driving home, I might take a bunk now and then.


A quote from the company handbook relating to no managers..
"Morning Star Colleagues are preferably mature and responsible enough to coordinate their own activities without the need for a "Manager". See the BOSS as the effective completion of the task at hand and become a self-manager".
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Old 07-11-2018, 2:30 PM
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Bump,
Just keeping the thread unlocked so I can update later.
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:25 PM
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Default How's it going so far?

So how are you liking the tomato truck work so far?

Equipment kept in decent condition? Getting enough work/loads? Friendly coworkers?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 07-25-2018, 10:36 AM
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So how are you liking the tomato truck work so far?

Equipment kept in decent condition? Getting enough work/loads? Friendly coworkers?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Been way too busy to update. I have been working for 8 days now. 12 hr shift but I am not getting out of there after 12. So far every day has been 14 or 16 hrs. Very little sleep. They will dispatch you to a location and by time you go and come back, you are in 8 hrs. 4 hrs left on shift so you go hook up and hope for a short run and get sent somewhere 2 hrs out, by time you get there, maybe wait to get a load to take back and get back, then you have to fuel the truck and do your post trip, that second trip has turned into 5 or 6 hours. I had 1.5 hours left on a my shift yesterday and got dispatched to a 4hr trip.

I just hope I can survive the season at this point. Will give a full update later on.
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Old 07-25-2018, 10:53 AM
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lol, no offense meant at all. this is the first time I've seen this thread and my first thought was "mater freighters are for desperate drivers" anyway congrats on getting your license and trying something new
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Old 08-02-2018, 6:02 PM
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Been way too busy to update. I have been working for 8 days now. 12 hr shift but I am not getting out of there after 12. So far every day has been 14 or 16 hrs. Very little sleep.

I just hope I can survive the season at this point. Will give a full update later on.
Yikes! That sounds like a good recipe for drowsy driving and accidents.

I guess that means you can't just clock out whenever you want? I thought you were able to work as much or as little as you wanted to.

The long hours not withstanding, I hope you're enjoying the experience itself and find it helpful in furthering your trucking career.
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Old 08-02-2018, 11:32 PM
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Have a CDL but am retired.

Got it b4 I became an LEO w/the bright idea of buying my own tractor and subcontracting it out. Very stressful, hard work doing short hauls around the Bay Area and made very LITTLE $. Married at the time and didn't want to do long hauls which would have been more tiring but less stressful and salaried if I got a job w/a big company. Ended up just selling the tractor that I bought (which I lost $ on, of course) and looked for other work.

Finally got the best job of my life as an LEO but that took me about 2 years from the date of the 1st cattle call mass test to the end of the academy.

Keep doing the CDL physicals (which I need to do anyway) to keep the CDL. Just dropped the hazmat endorsement because they keep retesting you for that. PITA to keep retaking it, since I haven't driven a tractor in years and just keeping the CDL because I paid for training to get it.

Truck driving isn't for everyone but if you are individually motivated, don't like someone looking over your shoulder every minute and are willing to work hard, it's an honest if not lucrative way to make a living.
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:44 AM
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Ya, the way it is working out currently with we're the locations are, you can get 2 trips done in your shift with a little time left over. For instance, I will have my second load done with maybe 1 1/2 hours left on my shift. So I can go off duty in the log for that time and risk someone getting on me about it or I can take another load to a location you do not know till you accept it which can turn into a 14_16 he shift or after your first load and you get your second location, you can estimate if you are making good time and hustle to do a 3 load 14 hr day, or milk the second load taking your time so you finish up in time to clock out at end of your shift and get more sleep. One day off a week would really help. They are short on drivers this year so the drivers are feeling the pressure. I made $1,400 on my first week check (gross) but worked well over a hundred hrs and spend about $125 a week on gas to get to work. With bring home I am averaging about $11 hr.


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Old 08-08-2018, 2:31 PM
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Given the heatwave we're having, I sure hope those trucks have air conditioning and not just a dash fan (if that).

Sounds like you picked a brutal way to get into trucking.
Some day you'll back on this and laugh.
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Old 08-12-2018, 6:01 PM
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Given the heatwave we're having, I sure hope those trucks have air conditioning and not just a dash fan (if that).

Sounds like you picked a brutal way to get into trucking.
Some day you'll back on this and laugh.

Yes, AC, but my ac broke down yesterday at the end of my shift.

I no longer recomend this as a way to get into trucking.

With delays and rerouting, I spent 15 hrs on duty yesterday to get only 2 loads for the day. I estimate I averaged $7.66 per hour for the day.

My last 2 week check I averaged under $10 an hour. I am averaging 4.5 to 5.5 hrs sleep each night. Today I got lucky and got out early at only 13hrs. and hour and half commute home. An hour to eat, shower, visit with the family before hitting the bed which I am about to do now and I get 6 hrs to sleep. The most I get. I am learning how to time things out so I can get off closer to my shift end. But I will stick with it and push through and finish the season if my body and mind hold up.

Someone here asked if they might be able to do some part time work for the company, they are so short on drivers this season I bet you could negotiate a pretty good deal for yourself, pay, the days you are willing to work etc. This season it is a truckers market if you are an owner operator. Ok, enough, I have to hit the bed.
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Old 08-12-2018, 6:14 PM
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Wow, that's a rough way to earn little pay, hope things get better for you.
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Old 08-15-2018, 6:18 PM
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I hope the OP finds better work soon.

Work people for long hours and lil pay and theres a truck driver shortage?!

Of course there is.
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:28 AM
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Depends on what kind of driving you do and how you network. I have a buddy with his own truck and works driving for only one alone processor. He rarely works a full day but on a good day can pull in $1200. He backs up to get quickly loaded. The heads down the street less than half a mile to drop off. $150 earned, they load him there and he brings a load back an hour later, $150 again. Then they load him for a load 70 miles or so out, $375 or so, they give him a load to bring back, $375 again, and so on. He has a nice set up for himself. Then there are company drivers dropping off making minimum wage, one driver quit to take a road crew job with caltrans to make a living.
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I hope the OP finds better work soon.

Work people for long hours and lil pay and theres a truck driver shortage?!

Of course there is.
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Old 08-31-2018, 3:57 PM
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Just finished reading the thread. Dang man sounded good at the beginning till I got to the end. I hope you find something better man.
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Old 08-31-2018, 4:40 PM
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It is just a seasonal thing. Will be free of it by October or so.
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Just finished reading the thread. Dang man sounded good at the beginning till I got to the end. I hope you find something better man.
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Old 09-02-2018, 12:03 AM
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Honestly...the whole thing sounds like a trap. They train you but there is a clause where if you back out due to working conditions, you need to pay 4k in training fees? Plus you have a location in the middle of nowhere and you aren't guaranteed pay..its based on the loads you pull.

Run while you still can....might as well work at walmart...
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Old 09-02-2018, 12:08 AM
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Yeah work at Walmart and try to get into the outdoors department so you can keep tabs on ammo deals for us
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Honestly...the whole thing sounds like a trap. They train you but there is a clause where if you back out due to working conditions, you need to pay 4k in training fees? Plus you have a location in the middle of nowhere and you aren't guaranteed pay..its based on the loads you pull.

Run while you still can....might as well work at walmart...
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Old 09-02-2018, 2:50 PM
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Get some drive time in and look for a better job. Costco , Walmart, big grocery stores , usually pay good.
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