Lorry driving / getting HGV training as a career move?

Lorry driving / getting HGV training as a career move?

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VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
I'm looking to change direction, has anyone done this, if so is it a route worth going down? Looking in my area it seems starting wages are around £10 an hour but with experience that can increase by 50 to 100%.

There are lots of intensive training courses advertising and prices seem to vary from 2k to 5k. The categories on offer are confusing, but c+e looks like the one to get? Although the cynic in me assumes these courses must be churning out a lot of new drivers on the promise of 25k starting salaries.

No idea whether this is a sensible or viable move really. Being super tall I don't know if I would even fit in a cab anyway. I assume the job is quite lonely work as well, although as someone who prefers my own company that could be a good thing. And it looks like there might be the chance to go self employed, either as an owner driver or otherwise.

Does anyone do truck driving for a living, if so what is it like and would you recommend?

truck71

2,328 posts

174 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
VolvoT5 said:
I'm looking to change direction, has anyone done this, if so is it a route worth going down? Looking in my area it seems starting wages are around £10 an hour but with experience that can increase by 50 to 100%.

There are lots of intensive training courses advertising and prices seem to vary from 2k to 5k. The categories on offer are confusing, but c+e looks like the one to get? Although the cynic in me assumes these courses must be churning out a lot of new drivers on the promise of 25k starting salaries.

No idea whether this is a sensible or viable move really. Being super tall I don't know if I would even fit in a cab anyway. I assume the job is quite lonely work as well, although as someone who prefers my own company that could be a good thing. And it looks like there might be the chance to go self employed, either as an owner driver or otherwise.

Does anyone do truck driving for a living, if so what is it like and would you recommend?
C+E is where it's at- you will be in demand immediately (provided you're not in the middle of nowhere) and 25K is a starting point. Many companies now offer training which you then pay back over time once qualified (you need a driver cpc as well). Try here http://www.merlinsupplychain.com/

You will fit in a cab.
It's lonely (and stressful in cities) and no longer the "free experience" it once was.
Self employed is an option.
I did it 23 years ago and it kick started a career.

VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
truck71 said:
C+E is where it's at- you will be in demand immediately (provided you're not in the middle of nowhere) and 25K is a starting point. Many companies now offer training which you then pay back over time once qualified (you need a driver cpc as well). Try here http://www.merlinsupplychain.com/

You will fit in a cab.
It's lonely (and stressful in cities) and no longer the "free experience" it once was.
Self employed is an option.
I did it 23 years ago and it kick started a career.
How has your career unfolded now?
25k sounds like a decent starting point. I've looked at other driving jobs such as van delivery, taxi or bus, but the money looks crap and they seem to combine all the worst aspects of driving (inner city, start/stop and dealing with general public).

I'm realistic, I don't have an 'open road, free spirit' vision of driving. But with HGV I would assume distances between stops would be longer and drop points would be dealing with business customers rather than the general public. Or am I completely naive?

I can get in 3.5t Merc box van and I assume the lorry cabs would be bigger still. Main concern is legroom being just shy of 6ft 6. I read that some modern vehicles are automatic now - must make life easier?


All that jazz

7,632 posts

148 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
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That £25k will most likely involve 60-70 hrs per week and possibly sleeping in the truck on the odd night too. Can't be arsed to write out the pros and cons here but if you get yourself over to the trucknetuk forums all your questions will be answered.

phil-sti

2,700 posts

181 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
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Are you looking for days/nights or tramping? You need to remember you may struggle to get on with some companies as soon as you pass your test as you have no experience. You can learn with Eddie Stobart and get a position once finished.

gus607

925 posts

138 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
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Retired last year after 41 years
I loved the job until about ten years ago, but nowadays the job is crap.

I'm only glad I'm not a new starter these days !

VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
gus607 said:
Retired last year after 41 years
I loved the job until about ten years ago, but nowadays the job is crap.

I'm only glad I'm not a new starter these days !
Any particular reason(s) why it is crap these days?

mph1977

12,467 posts

170 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
VolvoT5 said:
gus607 said:
Retired last year after 41 years
I loved the job until about ten years ago, but nowadays the job is crap.

I'm only glad I'm not a new starter these days !
Any particular reason(s) why it is crap these days?
same reason that old lags in any job will tell you that jobs are going to the dogs now - primarily far less tolerance of rule bending and piss taking

VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
phil-sti said:
Are you looking for days/nights or tramping? You need to remember you may struggle to get on with some companies as soon as you pass your test as you have no experience. You can learn with Eddie Stobart and get a position once finished.
My understanding is that day driving is most popular but tbh I'm very flexible as I have no kids or commitments.

truck71

2,328 posts

174 months

Saturday 9th January 2016
quotequote all
VolvoT5 said:
truck71 said:
C+E is where it's at- you will be in demand immediately (provided you're not in the middle of nowhere) and 25K is a starting point. Many companies now offer training which you then pay back over time once qualified (you need a driver cpc as well). Try here http://www.merlinsupplychain.com/

You will fit in a cab.
It's lonely (and stressful in cities) and no longer the "free experience" it once was.
Self employed is an option.
I did it 23 years ago and it kick started a career.
How has your career unfolded now?
25k sounds like a decent starting point. I've looked at other driving jobs such as van delivery, taxi or bus, but the money looks crap and they seem to combine all the worst aspects of driving (inner city, start/stop and dealing with general public).

I'm realistic, I don't have an 'open road, free spirit' vision of driving. But with HGV I would assume distances between stops would be longer and drop points would be dealing with business customers rather than the general public. Or am I completely naive?

I can get in 3.5t Merc box van and I assume the lorry cabs would be bigger still. Main concern is legroom being just shy of 6ft 6. I read that some modern vehicles are automatic now - must make life easier?
25k p/a easily achievable doing 48hrs per week on day shifts Monday to Friday. You will be expected to work weekends in general distribution and retail.
Most trucks are specced with auto now and make life much easier.
The people who you encounter range from decent ordinary folk to utter rat bags, so normal life really.
My career has taken me through a national transport and fleet manager at a retail group to my current role as MD of a related business (not at all powerfully built!).
Where you are in the UK will determine the type of industry and work available.
I enjoyed my time as a driver, got to see the country and quite a bit of Europe. Not a job for those who aren't happy in their own company.

VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Monday 25th January 2016
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I've been looking into this in more detail and it looks like 3.5k to qualify class 1, and that is assuming not needing to take multiple retests.
I can't find any companies willing to take on trainees for HGV. There are some bus companies advertising locally but I don't see the appeal in bus driving and having to deal with elements from the Jeremy Kyle show on a daily basis.

The other issue is it seems like a catch-22 with a lot of the jobs advertised demanding 6 - 24 months experience.

Any further thoughts?

Imprezaboi555

26 posts

101 months

Tuesday 26th January 2016
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It's a heck of a lot of investment for a non guaranteed job opportunity at the other end. I have looked into this myself and the reality is not encouraging.

You are looking at at least 1.5k to do the C+E tests depending on how many lessons you need.

Once you have done that you need to do the CPC.

Then you have to rely on agencies for employment rather than proper companies and a lot of the work is long haul as well.

At the moment it doesn't look worth it, sorry to say.

chevy55

8,248 posts

238 months

Tuesday 26th January 2016
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A friend of mine went for it a few years ago, as you probably already know you have to do the C first then another test for trailers, never quite understood that one. Anyway, he's never been out of work since but had to put up with some st from the agencies to start with. His big problem is that he could never reverse an artic to save his life (not unusual these days from what I see), made a bit of an arse out of himself and never got offered any more artic work again. He now drives a 7.5 tonner and earns about £30K but does work hard for it often doing 15-16 hour days.

I've been driving trucks for around 45 years one way or another and from my point of view the job is far better now, better trucks and better conditions but boy it's got stressful in the past few years and I am now just wishing my life away waiting to retire as soon as I can afford it.



Edited by chevy55 on Tuesday 26th January 16:48

berlintaxi

8,535 posts

175 months

Tuesday 26th January 2016
quotequote all
Imprezaboi555 said:
It's a heck of a lot of investment for a non guaranteed job opportunity at the other end. I have looked into this myself and the reality is not encouraging.

You are looking at at least 1.5k to do the C+E tests depending on how many lessons you need.

Once you have done that you need to do the CPC.

Then you have to rely on agencies for employment rather than proper companies and a lot of the work is long haul as well.

At the moment it doesn't look worth it, sorry to say.
This is mostly complete bks, if you are young and willing to work hard you will find a job although probably not at £20/hour, as others have said the place to ask is Trucknetuk.

VolvoT5

Original Poster:

4,155 posts

176 months

Tuesday 26th January 2016
quotequote all
Imprezaboi555 said:
That was where I looked and that was the general consensus.
I've been surfing trucknet as well and yeah it is a big upfront investment and from what I can tell most of the jobs available to newbies are agency or stty lower paid stuff. But then again there are quite a few stories from guys that started out that way and are now with permanent jobs earning a reasonable living. So I'm not sure it is all bleak..... although the new driver section of trucknet appears to be sponsored by a training provider so they do have an incentive to get positive stories up there.

I remember a few years ago there was an explosion of construction type training courses advertised in this area due to local redundancies and I think a lot of guys got ripped off paying for tiling and plumbing courses with the promise of 30k incomes. Of course in reality the jobs just weren't there for inexperienced guys with no contacts plus all the migrants undercutting everyone on top.

My concern would be that HGV training isn't the latest training con..... although there do appear to be driving jobs advertised so there is some demand at least.


Edited by VolvoT5 on Tuesday 26th January 19:03

All that jazz

7,632 posts

148 months

Tuesday 26th January 2016
quotequote all
VolvoT5 said:
I've been surfing trucknet as well and yeah it is a big upfront investment and from what I can tell most of the jobs available to newbies are agency or stty lower paid stuff. But then again there are quite a few stories from guys that started out that way and are now with permanent jobs earning a reasonable living. So I'm not sure it is all bleak..... although the new driver section of trucknet appears to be sponsored by a training provider so they do have an incentive to get positive stories up there.

I remember a few years ago there was an explosion of construction type training courses advertised in this area due to local redundancies and I think a lot of guys got ripped off paying for tiling and plumbing courses with the promise of 30k incomes. Of course in reality the jobs just weren't there for inexperienced guys with no contacts plus all the migrants undercutting everyone on top.

My concern would be that HGV training isn't the latest training con..... although there do appear to be driving jobs advertised so there is some demand at least.
I can vouch for Peter Smythe on Trucknet. It's no scam and he is very good at what he does. He's only recently become forum sponsor there in the past 12 months and has given out a huge wealth of free advice and info prior to that. He's one of the good guys for sure.

I've said it before but I'll say it again - if you only plan to work on the books for someone then the job isn't worth a wk anymore and to generalise you'll be living in a tin box all week doing 13-15 hours per day and 70+ hours per week for £500 in your hand. You'll hardly see your family and kids and you need to get any notions of being finished for a certain time to pick up the kids from school or because you're going out for a meal at 7.30pm out of your head right away as I can 99% guarantee you'll be stuck in a jam 2 hours down the road. Kids birthday parties or doctor appointments will never happen unless you take the full day off. Promises by your planners of being finished by a certain time are always nothing more than sound bites and never come to fruition.

You CAN make very good money at the job if you go contracting direct but it's not for the faint-hearted as it requires quite a lot of leg-work, time and effort to build up your reputation to get yourself noticed and also not be shy of greasing a few palms with the right people should the need arise, AND also be very confident in your driving abilities and to take great care not to have any bumps or accidents as that's your reputation gone straight out of the window. I do very well financially from it now but it's taken me the best part of a decade to get to this point and I've done more than my fair share of agency driving prior to that and suffered the never-ending agency lies and bullst that comes with that territory.

Truck driving is not a bad way of earning decent money for a young single person with no commitments if they're happy to live in the cab all week and work silly amounts of hours but it's often a stressful 'no home life' existence if you're doing it to support a wife and kids. Tramping (living and sleeping in the cab all week) is well known in the industry to often result in divorce after you finish early one week and come home to find your neighbour boning your wife. Those that say it doesn't happen just haven't caught them yet!

chilistrucker

4,541 posts

153 months

Wednesday 27th January 2016
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^^^^^^^^^^ smile

All That Jazz has nailed it.


anonymous-user

56 months

Sunday 28th February 2016
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Just bumping this thread as it had lots of useful info but I had a couple of questions.

What is the typical breakdown of hours for a decently paid CE job? Looking at the tacho regs I saw promising things such as no more than 9 hours driving and no more than 90 hours a fortnight, but I assume things such as loading times do not count?

I already do shift work with blocks of about 60/70/80 hours across 6-8 days with 2/3 days rest with unsocialable hours. Looking to cut down either the hours I work or have more time at home as my work life balance is none existent, but I am highly flexible (happy to do nights, sleep in the cab etc).

Truck driving sounds ideal for me but I don't want to consistently be doing the hours I work now.