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Old 10-28-2011, 01:52 AM
Newb Newb is offline
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Default Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

I'm just about ready to get my CDL-A permit, with a tanker and hazmat endorsement. Once I pass, is it possible to get hired on by a company that just owns tankers? I'm thinking I'd like to drive a regional tanker. Is it difficult for a new guy to get a tanker job? Which company's do you suggest? I live in SoCal but I am able to relocate.

Last edited by Newb; 10-28-2011 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:53 PM
i_killed_layover i_killed_layover is offline
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

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Originally Posted by Newb View Post
I'm just about ready to get my CDL-A permit, with a tanker and hazmat endorsement. Once I pass, is it possible to get hired on by a company that just owns tankers? I'm thinking I'd like to drive a regional tanker. Is it difficult for a new guy to get a tanker job? Which company's do you suggest? I live in SoCal but I am able to relocate.
I guess nearly anything is possible Newb, but I imagine finding a job such as you described is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack for a greenie.

Most regional tanker gigs are either dry bulk, fuel, or cryogens, and while there may be some, I've never heard of any company who takes on “fresh out of school” trainees.” Those are “big boy” jobs, and I wouldn't recommend a beginner take any of them on.

As for otr tanker jobs, the only obvious choice is liquid bulk (milk, booze, juice, etc.) but, I wouldn't recommend that either for anyone who is just starting out. And again, I don't know of any who provide training for grads. (Maybe Schneider?) Worse, those things are a pain in the butt to drive, they're dangerous, and that job tends to be at the bottom of the “trucker food chain” when it comes to pay. In addition to that, many of the places you load or drop are tight fits (tough for all, but especially for newbs) and those shippers and receivers, almost all of them, treat truck drivers like something that they stepped in at the dog park.

The smart thing is to “make your bones” for a year driving refer or dry van: once that's done, a host of opportunities will open to you.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

I_killed_layover,
Thanks for your response. To be more specific, I have been thinking about relocating to the Bakken Oil area in ND. They are in dire need of oil tanker drivers. I made some phone calls up there (ND) and they do hire some "green" drivers for those jobs. Since I'm starting into trucking late in life (late 50s) Im hoping to land a job that doesn't have as much physical demand (eg. oil tanker driver). With that in mind, what type of trucks do you suggest that I try for? I've heard that a "dry van" has some loading and unloading involved.

Last edited by Newb; 10-28-2011 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:57 PM
i_killed_layover i_killed_layover is offline
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

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I_killed_layover,
Thanks for your response. To be more specific, I have been thinking about relocating to the Bakken Oil area in ND. They are in dire need of oil tanker drivers. I made some phone calls up there (ND) and they do hire some "green" drivers for those jobs. Since I'm starting into trucking late in life (50s) Im hoping to land a job that doesn't have as much physical demand. With that in mind, what type of trucks do you suggest that I try for?
If there are positions available, there is nothing really “wrong” with going with that.

Keep in mind though, with those jobs, there's more to think about than driving. It takes any newb, regardless of how gifted, a few months to get comfortable with just driving a rig. With tankers, there's much more to think about. It's dangerous, and especially hauling hazmat, there is a lot more to it than just the driving. Under those circumstances, it's would be very easy (and even likely) to mess up, and one misstep could not only hurt you and others badly, it would end your driving career in a hurry.

As I said earlier, the dry van/refer is the safest, smartest way to go for a newb. Also, beware of companies who are “desperate” for drivers. Truck drivers are a dime a dozen now, and if a company is begging for drivers, there is a good reason... and that does not bode well for the driver who goes to work for them.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

I Killed Layover

Thanks Again, I appreciate all of your thoughts/advice!!
If you or anyone else has anything helpful to say for a 50s man (about to be "rookie" driver), please jump in. I need all the advice that I can get.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:03 PM
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juno_hoo juno_hoo is offline
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

Good responses from IKL above. Some additional thoughts:

- As mentioned, you need to gain experience and you will have the most difficulty learning to shift smoothly (doesn't take long to learn with the right trainer) and back the truck up without creaming something. You gain backing experience by bumping docks, not driving flatbeds/tankers. If hauling oil doesn't work out for you and you apply elsewhere, you'll probably need to take a road test and you'll look like a fool if you can't handle the truck. Get a year of experience elsewhere and then go haul oil or whatever.

- If you ever follow a tanker yanker for any distance you'll notice that they are very smooth drivers. Tankers are among the easiest trucks to lay over, they have a very high center of gravity compared to other trucks and some loads slosh around. I personally would not hire a newb to drive my $150K piece of equipment but one old poster (Wsyrob) here did start off with Superior Carriers a few year back. Now, there are zillions of unemployed people dying to get a driving job so I doubt if they'd hire a newb. FMMV.

- Don't fret the physical aspects. The loads are palletized and there are lumper services that the company pays to unload the truck. Yes, you might have to fingerprint a load once in a blue moon but it isn't a big deal. The receiver might want you to break the down from big wood (large pallets) to small wood and or take a couple of layers off a pallet and stack it to a certain height on another. Again, no biggy unless you are a physical wreck. The worst aspect of trucking is the almost total absence of physical exercise and it shows... I know, I know; everyone in driving school told you about the horrible grocery warehouses.

- Forget the dry vans if you have a choice. Anything that can go in a van can go in a reefer so you'll be busier year round in a reefer. You will haul very little ice cream in a dry van or on a flatbed and eating is the last thing that people will give up in bad economic times.

Last edited by juno_hoo; 10-28-2011 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Can I start out driving a tanker truck?

Juno Hoo,
Thanks, you have brought to me, many interesting and beneficial thoughts.
Hmmm... never thought much about a reefer in that way. Yep everyone needs food, even in the worst economic times. Well, I'm going to call alot of trucking companies and see how they compare and than make my choice.
Thanks a bunch.
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