HGV Drivers experiences and thoughts on the job

HGV Drivers experiences and thoughts on the job

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Discussion

JEEMO

Original Poster:

19 posts

156 months

Tuesday 6th September 2011
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Hi all, I've recently turned 21 and I am looking into doing my HGV. I have been trying to get into the Oil Industry for a good while now and I am having no luck.

I was thinking about doing my HGV for now and driving while I keep trying for going offshore and if it doesn't happen I will still have work driving.

I was looking for any drivers on here who could share their experiences and thoughts on the job. I know everyone has different thoughts but I am looking for the pros and cons and whether its worth the money to go through the test.

Thank you.

rog007

5,519 posts

187 months

Wednesday 7th September 2011
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In the absence of any other options or competencies you can use elsewhere, then worth a try. However, training is a challenge (and expensive), no guarantee of a job at the end, and if there is, your choice of routes may be limited (to maybe the less popular). It's very tight out there driving, but if youre willing to locate anywhere and do any route, you may be OK. Good luck!

odyssey2200

18,650 posts

172 months

Wednesday 7th September 2011
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A friend of mine wanted to be a truck driver ever since he was a kid (Probably watched Convoy once too often)

He is now in his 40s and has been trucking since 21.

He goes to work on a Sunday night and sleeps in his cab so that he can be on the road in the wee small hours.
He gets home on Saturday lunch times and that is it.

Sees very little of his family, kids or friends.
Spends so much time alone that he has actually lost some of his social skills IMHO.

If he could turn back the clock he would never have been a Truck driver but has zero experiance which would allow a career change.


k15tox

1,680 posts

144 months

Wednesday 7th September 2011
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i think your age might go against you aswell.

i dont think many haulage firms will like a 21 year old incharge of a 20+tonner full of cargo.

its the 'catch 22' situation im currently in. (although not in your chosen area)

employer wants experience for the job role.

if i cant get a job i cant get any experience!

maybe try with the CAT C (fixed axels) then try work your way up?

best of luck


Jimbo.

3,590 posts

152 months

Wednesday 7th September 2011
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It's something to have, I 'suppose. BUT:

As a newbie, no-one but agencies will take you on. Through them you might get some work (assuming their client doesn't demand x-years experience, of course), but it'll most likely be C2 to begin with, and the money/hours are st. Don't be surprised if you're offered £7/hour, no matter what hours/days/type of work. LOTS of drivers out there, not a lot of work...

I wouldn't make it a "primary" means of work, if that makes sense: I'd see of there was something else out there first that didn't require £1500 worth of training before you're even eligible to apply...

bmw535i

5,538 posts

119 months

Wednesday 7th September 2011
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You could always look to join the Army as a driver. All your licences fully paid for and a minimum contract of four years.......

jaybarts

271 posts

121 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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bmw535i said:
You could always look to join the Army as a driver. All your licences fully paid for and a minimum contract of four years.......
This is the route I took, however I don't reccomend it due to the fact you'll end up in the situation that I am currently in where you'll be looking to get out but struggle to find a career path. However if you have a logistics TA near you that might worth looking into, can carry on your life as it is now, earn some extra cash for being in the TA and end up getting your licenses.

jagracer

8,248 posts

199 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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My mate's experiences of late. He's recently taken his test, passed group 2 and immediately took his group 1, failed first attempt, passed a week later. He then paid £1300 to do his ADR (hazardous goods) without this I doubt he would have any work at all. He signed with an agency who found him some work with a reputable company for a week or so. He's then been doing bits and bobs here and there. He's been kicked off one job because he can't reverse an artic and when he does work he's doing 14 to 16 hour days for between £7 and £9 per hour even at weekends. There is plenty of agency work around but the pay is crap if you have no experience and generally without experience you wont get work.

SteveS Cup

1,988 posts

123 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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I used to recruit for drivers... I wouldn't actively seek it as a career.

No offence to any drivers out there.

But to go and pay for the license to end up earning 50p to a £1 more per hour than the "driver's mate" sitting next to you who does sweet fa whilst you're doing all the stressful hard work.... I'd be screwing.

The amount of times I'd speak to candidates and all I could offer them was driving a dust cart (which I have nothing against, I recruited for local councils for years).

If you were in a job where the license was offered to you then great, you're never normally out of work if you're open to anything. It's just a big outlay with little scope for a big return compared to working as a drivers mate vs driver or refuse loader vs dust cart driver.


wullie_t25

111 posts

143 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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I done my Class 2 at 21 in 2005. Had saved to do the Class 1 as well, but decided to do my DAS motorbike with that money.

Took me 3 month to get my first place at an agency (lots of BS told about driving vans prior to Cat C to actually get a job).

My first month was a 12 hr shift from Edinburgh to Birmingham over night parcel delivery, with another driver, that helped me learn the Tacho and regs. This was good but only paid £6 p/hr and I was on the phone every Friday complaining about my wages being wrong. The company employed driver was on min wage (£5.50 I think)

I then got moved to a bottled water deliver company around Edinburgh City Centre, liked the physical side of carry 20 litre bottles up stairs all day, but again £6 p/hr and wrong wages all the time. This was usually 3 days a week at most.

I done a few shifts for a transport company, was given total dogs of trucks, treated like ScensoredT, fell out with the transport manager and told I'd never work for them again. Never had too.

Got moved back to the bottled water place as I got on with them, but still no regular work.

Finally got offered a job in a call centre, £6.50 p/hr and as much hours as I wanted.

I never stuck in at school, had no Highers, but got a place at college studying an HND Civil Engineering, worked my ass of for 2 years, worked with a contractor for a year then done a 6 month Beng in Civils.

I now work as a Site Engineer for a ground stabilsation contractor earning double what I did on the trucks. (sorry not a multi company director)

IMO, its a waste of time. Doing a plant ticket might be better (360, Telehandler or something), jobs are pretty hard to come by in the construction world atm.

Good luck with whatever you decide.



Edited by wullie_t25 on Thursday 8th September 16:26

jagracer

8,248 posts

199 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
quotequote all
SteveS Cup said:
The amount of times I'd speak to candidates and all I could offer them was driving a dust cart (which I have nothing against, I recruited for local councils for years).
If you have nothing against driving a dustcart why do you say "all you could offer them"? It's quite a good job, good money and from my POV excellent hours.

T_Pot

2,542 posts

160 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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i cant see anyone taking on a 21yr old with little experiance mate sorry, most have an above 30 age limit i think it is..

and as someone who did it for years, its not a good job unless you have a hazzard chemical licence, money is not great anymore and constant changes with tachos etc are a nightmare

SteveS Cup

1,988 posts

123 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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jagracer said:
f you have nothing against driving a dustcart why do you say "all you could offer them"? It's quite a good job, good money and from my POV excellent hours.
Because 90% of class 2 drivers wouldn't want to do it! Jobs with distribution companies were much rarer and normally 7.5tn.

Seriosly, I have nothing against anyone doing refuse, if I was out of work I'd happily do it instead of signing on. I didn't mean anything bad in what I said.

rb5er

11,657 posts

135 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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jagracer said:
He's been kicked off one job because he can't reverse an artic and when he does work he's doing 14 to 16 hour days for between £7 and £9 per hour even at weekends..
Ermm no he`s not doing 14-16 hours days. Considering you are only allowed to do 9 hours driving a day with a 45 min break inbetween.

Anyway back on topic, I have my HGV and its ok just to be able to have a steady meagre income, but at your age I would seriously consider doing something else as really unless you own your own vehicle you will never earn mega money.

Saying that the days do fly by when you are out on the road, my days go much quicker than when i was on building sites etc.

jagracer

8,248 posts

199 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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SteveS Cup said:
Because 90% of class 2 drivers wouldn't want to do it!
I suppose it's because it can be hard, stressful work on top of driving. Personally I'd prefer to do my job any day rather than delivering to supermarkets or sitting on a motorway all day.

phil-sti

2,237 posts

142 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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rb5er said:
Ermm no he`s not doing 14-16 hours days. Considering you are only allowed to do 9 hours driving a day with a 45 min break inbetween
Why not, you can do 3 x 15 hour duties per week and drive 2x 10 hour drives

Super Slo Mo

5,366 posts

161 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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phil-sti said:
rb5er said:
Ermm no he`s not doing 14-16 hours days. Considering you are only allowed to do 9 hours driving a day with a 45 min break inbetween
Why not, you can do 3 x 15 hour duties per week and drive 2x 10 hour drives
And 13 hour duties for the remainder of the week. It's duty as distinct from driving only, which generally as a multi-drop driver, you'll be doing quite a lot of, over and above the driving (loading/unloading etc).

zip929

670 posts

140 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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As others have said it is a catch 22 with experience.
I drove Class 1 for 10 years, but initially no-one wanted to touch me with a barge pole because of a lack of experience.
Agencies are definitely the way to get introductions and experience.
It takes a good 2 years in my view to become a competent Class 1 driver.
Many drivers tend to forget that they were once novices as well.
No-one is born with the ability to reverse an artic into a tight yard or bay, this comes with experience.
If you really like driving and want to do it then go for it.
But the first couple of years will be difficult.



mad4amanda

2,390 posts

127 months

Thursday 8th September 2011
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Hmm this is interesting reading, I have a friend with a transport company ( multidrop pallet work ), last winter when the weather was bad there was obviously no race circuit work so she asked me to drive the van for them on the run up to christmas, I really enjoyed it, yes its hard work as in physical but being "powerfully built" its no problem and its cheaper than a gym. I worked on a daily rate and obviously made an impression as this year she rang up to ask if I would consider joining full time , as its been 3 years since i went self employed I wasnt sure but went to have a chat was surprised how good the money was and what luxury holidays and overtime PAID !
I started in a sprinter curtainsider and within a month moved to a 7.5 tonner which i really enjoy driving and judging by the feedback from customers and colleagues I have settled in well. The company are relocating and want me to move with them and we have had some discussion about them putting me through my class 2 .
My advice would be to get and drive some vans on some multidrop work car parts delivery or similar start small and progress to sprinter sized the techniques you learn there are applicable to larger non artic in my expearience. Tacho is relatively simple just research online and follow the rules to the letter .

Having had a successful but stressful management role I find it relaxing and a pleasure to do something I have always enjoyed, old friends have commented how fit I look and relaxed and the days of not being able to sleep are long gone. i still do some race work at weekends so keep that side current too.

renorti

723 posts

159 months

Wednesday 14th September 2011
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hgv licence used to be a reasonable way to earn a living,tougher now as there are loads of drivers out there,so I found the pay has not risen muchover the years.I have been on £7 an hour for about 6 years now.no one in my area is paying any more though. paid for my own class 2,adr and hiab cost loads,then loads of dole bums get it free,but most don't drive as they have to work more than 5hours a day.
to earn tidy money you have to live in the cab {tramping},either love or hate it.