Originally Posted by Bowser
To earn the most money it would depend on who you work for. If you're a n00b driver, they would most likely send you out as part of a team; one guys drives, the other sleeps, and so on and so on. DOT rules state that a driver can only stay in the seat for 11 hours at a time.
Driving in town can give you great experience as far as dealing with traffic and other drivers. Even staying in the yard and shifting trailers can help give you a feel of pulling that long assed shit. But after a time, driving tractor and trailer is no different than driving your car, at least comfort wise when you're behind the wheel.
This, most schools will offer placement if you score high enough you get the better jobs.
Use to be some companies did their own schooling and hiring but many drivers quit after a few weeks on the road leaving an expense that didn't meet the break even part of placement.
Be prepared to be a driver in training during school and a co-driver with a lead driver teaching and giving additional training for at least 6 months to a year.
Once on your own, you have more freedom of your own rig with an excellent view of the country. A few things to keep in mind here for your advancement and pay .....
Flatbed or step drivers generally pay a driver more per load /per mile than the vans or reefer units do. How ever, if getting paid by the mile the average of miles is usually lower per week. You get tarp pay to do the extra physical work, of which usually sucks since most of companies do not pay enough for tarping, but some do.
Heavy haul / over dimensional is where you can make really good money per load basis. But you can run into a lot of idle time.
Heavy haul / O.D. and tanker require brains and common sense approach. There are many things to consider at all times with your load and the experience drivers get paid more money for their wisdom.
Van drivers and reefer drivers ( with the bigger companies )generally have longer runs which allows you to load and travel farther between points that allows you to turn more miles per week. But keep in mind the new DOT & CVSA rules suck, keeps drivers from working or driving more miles with tighter regulations. Many companies allow team drivers with vans & reefers which allows you to turn 5 to 6 K miles ( + ) per week ( per team ). If you do not get hung out on either coast you'll turn some miles.
Tanker drivers get paid really well, depending on what you haul. If you are good enough with the experience, being able to handle hazmat loads are very good paying jobs. But you have to know and handle the safety aspects of it. When I was younger I make very good money doing this.
Easy loaded flatbed, van, reefer require just a basic common sense approach person behind the wheel. Most of the bad truckers or the perception of truckers come from most of these drivers. If you are of level headed, be prepared to be lumped into this class of driver. When I took over as GM foe a company, I had the fleet owner once told me that the only reason a guy would drive a truck is he can't hold down a real job. I told him with reasoning like this he will be short a lot of drivers really quick.
Honestly, If I was to go back to driving, I would look at the JB Hunts, Schneider's, Werner's will get you some good experience and plenty of miles quickly. If you score well go with them, better pay & benefits.
If possible later you can get with one of the LTL outfits, go with them and be home more often.
I've done flats, steps, Heavy haul, O.D., tanker, LTL , grain hoppers, end dumps,vans and reefer.