A Starters Guide for Familes and Trucking

TJGoSurf

Well-Known Member
A Starter's Guide to Trucking
For Families

Some if not all of us have dreamed of being a trucker. Everyone has in their mind that perfect truck, whether its a black W900, or a chromed out Peterbilt, to even a company Freightliner. While we all would love the freedom of trucking, and the pay isn't bad either, we all have responsibilities and duties to attend to. They may include family, debts, or even one's own personal fear of letting everything go. The big hurdle that many of us face is leaving our families behind. Some of the topics we will cover may not be suitable for children, these parts need to be left out if read to kids. When one begins in trucking it is like any other job in a new field, the pay is low, home time is lousy, and health benefits will not kick in for a few weeks if not months.
While currently as of this writing a lot of companies are bumping their pay up to the 0.40 cents per mile range. It is wise to take one of these jobs when offered. There are many that get paid 0.28 cents per mile to drive a nice truck seems ludicrous, there are many who do it. In the working world of trucking knowledge is power, the more you know the better off you can be. You must also look at the benefit side of things, you could be making 0.42cpm, but end up spending more of it on a companies bad medical plan. All of this information is afforded to you before you even goto orientation, you just have to ask.

After pay the next big thing to discuss is home time. The industry “standard” is one day for every week gone from home. This is for an over-the-road driver, which means they go anywhere in the forty-eight states and sometimes Canada. A regional driver is normally home 1-2 days out of the week. And of course a local driver is home every night. There isn't too much to work around this, there are companies that have their own special programs, which are too many to name or talk about.

Another big question, “If I am driving in a truck, and my place of work is in my truck. How do I get paid? And how can I get it to my family?” There are a few ways to get paid, one way is they mail a check to your place of residence. Fairly straight forward. Next is direct deposit, its there on pay day. The other way is pay by Comdata. Comdata is a company that runs a debit card network, and a check writing service called Comcheks. Money is put on your card by your company, you can pull it out of an ATM, or write a check when you fuel. Some companies give you the option of choosing how much to deposit into your checking account. Some banks have been known to accept Comcheks, you would have to check with your bank, you can write a check to the person at home and they can deposit it. Just make sure you leave a stack of checks at home for this situation.

Now for the most important part, and the question most people ask themselves. How can I keep a household together if half of it is gone 26 days out of the month? The big thing is, which sounds cheesy, you have to communicate. And do so without fighting. If you have an argument about something, and its settled don't bring it up in the next argument. It rehashes old problems. If it's not a resolved issue things must be talked about calmly, like adults, not screaming at each other. Having a cell phone plan with unlimited mobile to mobile minutes is another key factor in talking.

This paragraph is really for the people staying at home. Being on the road has a lot of disadvantages, and one of those is being able to think way too much. If two people are married, and one calls the other on their cell phone, most people shrug it off and figure they will call back when they can. Well being on the road you have a lot more time to think about things. And this scenario happens more than to just one person, let us say you are the person on the road, you call your SO on their cell. They don't answer. You first check your local home time, ok they aren't at work, they didn't say they were going anywhere, wait what did they say yesterday, didn't they mention something? No maybe not, I don't know where would they be? Why haven't they answered, I will call again in 20 minutes. Didn't they say they were spending the night at their friends? Wait why would they be doing that? They never did that when I was always home. Come to think of it they have been going out a lot and calling me less. Have their calls gotten shorter? Maybe, I don't know. Now this goes on in about thirty seconds, stretch it out to four hours and things really get paranoid. It takes time, effort, and a lot of energy. But it pays off in the end.

While on the road you will encounter many things. The easy thing to do is to avoid temptation. You have to know yourself and be dedicated. For example if you like to drink, and do not know when to stop you shouldn't be going into a bar at night. The part of self-control brings me into purchases on the road. Normally what you can find in a truck stop can be found somewhere else for cheaper. Things like CB's, plug in coolers, and tv's. A lot of people ask about TV as the main source of entertainment, mostly everyone has a DVD player now, which cuts down on the space that VHS tapes took up. A lot of the TV's that are for sale for a truck driver run from the $80-$125 range. They can be anywhere from 8” to 12”. Now these are CRT TV's. Now the next question most people have is, well I can get a TV from Wal-mart for X amount. The problem with that is these TV's require a lot more power to turn on than what a plug in inverter will provide. A lot of people are moving towards an LCD TV, which requires only about 25 watts to use. The cost is greater if bought in a truck stop. Online a nice 15” TV would run you $150. They take up less space, and leaves more room for a DVD player. Speaking of DVD players they have dropped in price. You can pick up a dvd player with remote for less than $30.

While the talk of purchases is distracting, the real topic is keeping your family together. It may seem strange at first, but after a while you will get used to your SO being gone. Some of the questions that go unanswered, due to trust issues. You maybe asking, “Can I trust them on the road? Will they cheat on me?” My advice is, if they cheat on you at home they will do the same on the road. If they don't at home, they will not on the road. Many people wonder about this because you are gone for so long. A person who cheats on their spouse has to actively try to, and you have to do the same while on the road. Speaking from experience I have never encountered a prostitute at a truck stop, never had one knock on my door, never encountered a drug dealer either. So you really you do have to seek these things out. Another thing is, a $40 investment in a DVD may keep your mind off of other things while on the road. As they say, somethings you just have to take into your own hands to get the job done right. Some people may be opposed to this, do not think of it as cheating, it takes a lot of communication, and compromise. And this is also a two way street, if one of you needs a movie for the road, the other may need a toy at home. It's not cheating and its been proven to lower stress. And could keep both of you from seeking other people, even if its emotionally, and probably happens unbeknown to even yourself. This is not an expert paper by any means. But I have seen this work.

Now this brings us to compromise. How vital it is to everything we do. You cannot blame someone for feeling a certain way. But you also have to be able to explain your position. You cannot say I feel bad. But not know why you feel bad. When you speak about your feelings, I don't know, is really a bad answer it doesn't give the quality of conversation needed. Another big topic that causes problems is money. Most couples divorce because of money. When you talk to each other about that weeks paycheck, if its not so good; remind them that it will be ok. You know the person you are with, you know if they are lazy and need to be given a little push. And you also know when you are with someone who works hard and doesn't give up. So if one week doesn't go as well as it needs to be, you will need to assure each other that things will be ok. Yelling at each other solves nothing and will only create animosity between you two. This is where having savings will come along, you need to save as much as you can. This job can flux greatly, one week you may run 3800 miles, the next maybe 1800 miles. Having enough to cover a week of pay will overcome any future headaches.

While I have tried to cover everything that I can think of to include, not everything can be covered. Not every situation could be covered, questions are always welcome, be warned if you want a reassuring answer it will not be given. Honesty helps more than anything.

This article is for The Truckers Forum - Trucking Company Reviews and Trucking Industry News and not intended to be reposted on ANY site without express written permission from myself.
 

3plus3

Well-Known Member
Really excellent article! Wonderful tips and glad it was a sticky! Keep up the good work.
 

debrajean

Well-Known Member
This was full of useful information and very well-written. Lots of pros and cons about trucking that should answer a lot of questions.
 

Flatbedpete

Drivers unite
This paragraph is really for the people staying at home. Being on the road has a lot of disadvantages, and one of those is being able to think way too much. If two people are married, and one calls the other on their cell phone, most people shrug it off and figure they will call back when they can. Well being on the road you have a lot more time to think about things. And this scenario happens more than to just one person, let us say you are the person on the road, you call your SO on their cell. They don't answer. You first check your local home time, ok they aren't at work, they didn't say they were going anywhere, wait what did they say yesterday, didn't they mention something? No maybe not, I don't know where would they be? Why haven't they answered, I will call again in 20 minutes. Didn't they say they were spending the night at their friends? Wait why would they be doing that? They never did that when I was always home. Come to think of it they have been going out a lot and calling me less. Have their calls gotten shorter? Maybe, I don't know. Now this goes on in about thirty seconds, stretch it out to four hours and things really get paranoid. It takes time, effort, and a lot of energy. But it pays off in the end.
The whole article was great, but ^^^this^^^ particular paragraph had me thinking if you had taken up residence in the hubby's head for a week or so LOL!
 

HootHill

New Member
Good Info.

Thanks for the good info.

I noticed that you hail from the same area as me. I live near Stokesdale .

Lookin to make the move to trucking and could use some local advice.

Check out my new thread in the introduction forum here.

TC "Hoot" Hill
 

joetro

Reformed Idaho Trucker
I dont know how genuine this article can be since my wife left me after I got off the road.
I would have to say it's pretty genuine. My ex and I divorced awhile after I got out of the truck, but I honestly have to say it was my attitude that did us in. I had a very tough time with being forced out of the truck.Even though I was doing something I enjoyed (IT work), it still wasn't truckin'.
 

trucku71

Member
I'm a newbie and i thank you for advice i will surely try to use it when i'm out there.That was some great reading and great advice.I've heard alot truckers talk about lot lizards,drug dealers at alot of truckstops.I don't drink,haven't done drugs since i was a teenager i'm 36 now,and i have never picked up a hooker.With alll the STD'S that are floating around who would bring that stuff home to your wife and family are fn morons.Like i said awsome advice THANKS.
 
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