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Anyone a truck driver or have one in your family?

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by bonkerrs, May 19, 2008.

  1. So, as the title says... anyone here is/have a truck driver in the family? Just wondering as I'm contemplating getting my license (up to 10 tonne truck). I'm a little over working in an office. My background... 1 toddler (trying for another), wife with a part time job (hoping to leave after 2nd child).

    I would love to hear from those who have a husband/wife (or yourself) that drives a truck (up to 10 tonnes). Some things I've been wondering about - What's the money like? What's the hours like? How much physical work is involved? And anything else that is the highlight/lowlight to you.
  2. I'm not a truck driver at all, but I worked closely with some for a long time, and have a pretty good idea what's out there.

    There's basically two kinds of truck runs you can do on the smaller trucks, (MR, and to a lesser extent, HR) and that is bulk and PUD work. PUD is an absolute shit of a job, tight deadlines, you have to be presentable and lots of running up and down stairs, parking in the CBD and all that kind of shitfight. Bulk work is just getting a load and driving from one set point to another. If you can, look for work where some dockies or GH's load your truck for you. Depending on the freight, hand unload is a shit.

    That being said, make sure you go for your FLD licence as well. There will be times when you need it.

    The money is alright, not brilliant, but alright. When people are talking about the wealth of money to be made they are basically referring to HC or MC drivers. There is still some dosh to be made in the smaller trucks, but always plan to upgrade your licence. Depending on a million types of variables, around $22 an hour for a casual is about right.

    Can't comment on the lifestyle, I haven't led it. Be prepared to deal with some absolute cocksuckers in the transport business though. :grin:
  3. Get a licence, move to the Perth, get a job driving trucks in a mine.
    You'll have more money than you'll know what to do with, and far better working conditions.
  4. jd. funny you say that... it was a conversation with friends about WA and mining jobs that led me to think along the lines of getting a truck drivers license (I've been looking for a change for awhile). We were comparing people we knew who were uni educated and in high paying (high stress level to go with it) and the talk of people making great money working for the mining companies in WA. 60 minutes did a story on it a while back.
  5. JD's right. I'm not a truck driver, but from my line of work (work with construction/contract mining companies) I know that the jackpot for a driving job is driving those haulers at the mines. Expect $130k+ average salary.
  6. I do know they're pretty desperate for truck drivers in some locations, the Pilbara in particular. Some have actually started importing Indonesians and paying to train them (since the local Aboriginal population aren't interested in working).
    Definitely benefits to working a FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) roster - like being able to switch off completely after a shift knowing you don't have to do anything for another 12 hours (cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. are usually all taken care of by someone else).
    Some residential sites aren't too bad either, especially if they have a decent sized town attached (eg Kalgoorlie, Mount Isa etc.).

    Edit: Oh and don't know what they're paying at the moment but 130k certainly seems reasonable - and keep in mind that with FIFO you also get a lot of time off (8 days on-6 days off seems a popular roster at the moment)
  7. Well 130k was actually the going rate about a year and a half ago, it may have moved since then.

    Yes, benefit is the fact that whilst you're at the mines, accommodation is practically free (some have 'token' $20/wk rent to cover off on cleaning, electricity etc). Food is provided (buffet everyday), and if you're lucky some sites have gyms and swimming pool. The only thing you have to pay for is alcohol (cheap anyway), but you can't drink too much as they breath test you before every shift.

    So, you can technically save 100% of your pay. Or, if you're like some of those blokes up in north QLD, spend all your pay on your car (I see some hotted up Toranas, etc at the mines :p ).
  8. I run a bus company but the company also has 1 light truck (5 tonne) parcel freight run.

    Wages paid for that are $22 an hour and the run takes about 48 hours a week.

    1 Driver is full time (works 4 days in 5) and 1 driver is part time (works 1 day in 5).

    It's not quite as annoying as parcel freight in metro areas but it is a lot of in and out of the truck and hand unloading and carrying parcels with a trolly.

    This is mixed light freight so there is the occasional pallet or heavy item (which are forked on and off).

    It's slightly better money than the bus drivers get but the truck drivers work harder.
  9. The mines sounds great, but if it was such a fantastic thing to do, FIFO so wonderful and payrates awesome... why are they still struggling?

    Mining tends to be one of those things... to get in you need to meet someone who is involved in a position where they can wriggle you in. Do a few google or seek searches for Haul truck drivers... and there ain't much, if anything.

    I have limited experience in the field, but a good mate of mine is based out of a mine in WA. The money is good with his firm, around $50,000 for the trainee period and then up to around $110,000 after that.

    Just remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. People keep ranting about how the money is terrific and all that shit, but it isn't all sunshine and tit grabbing. The hours are long, some of the people are c***s, the job can be dangerous (Search "Body Truck driver accidents and find some QLD reports of everyday incidents/near misses. Amazing shit happens.), and it's pretty hard to get into the field without having prior experience in a related area. FIFO work is alright, but it'll drive you mental after a while.

    But if it's what you want to do, go for it. If you have a family that enjoy going to somewhere other than the same pub every night and don't mind being bored out of their brains, go for it.

    JD, i'd be interested in who the mob is who are importing Indo's into the mines - i work in a related field and I get three calls a day from people trying to become haul truck drivers.
  10. Not sure which companies exactly, but the mines in the Pilbara region are certainly importing workers, and not just from Indonesia but also other parts of SE Asia and Africa. Not exactly new either, last time I worked on a mine in WA I was about the only Aus-born person there - the rest all came from SE Asia, New Zealand (Maoris mostly) and for some strange reason there was also a lot from the UK.
    The reason they can't get people is because the hours are long, the work can be tough and they're usually in remote locations that get seriously hot in summer. That doesn't suit everyone, I know it doesn't suit me that's why I'm not working on a mine right now despite the ridiculous amount of money I could probably be earning if I did. But some people do love it. It used to be that you had to know someone, but having spoken to the senior HR reps of most of the major mining companies I can assure you that all do desperately want more workers, skilled and unskilled.
    Incidentally on the safety side mining is now one of the safest industries in this country, thanks largely to the media beat-up that occurs with even the slightest incident. Driving a truck on public roads, or even driving a tractor on a farm is many, many times more dangerous.
  11. Depends what you call great money?
    If you call 100k high paying then it may be for you, however remember the living conditions are shit especially for a family. A lot of the mines bus you in to the mine site(which can be hours away) then bus you home at the end of a 12 hour day.

    Schools are mile away and there are a shortage of teachers/nurses.

    Who ever said that driving a truck in a mine is easy compared to a high paying job in the city that is stressful has probably never done it.
  12. WTF :? . Which mine buses workers in each day from "hours away"?
  13. One i know of, but generally as most have said they fly them in for the week.
  14. Never heard of any Australian mine transporting workers that far on a daily basis, I'm amazed they could even find employees given the current environment (ie more jobs than people to fill them).
  15. Come to Canberra if you are serious. I turned down an MR truck driving job that was a 1 year contract with option at the end, and teh pay was $29/hr. Just for plodding back and forth from a depot to a construction site.
    There is a huge shortage of drivers around these parts (actually, a huge shortage of any form of labour).
    Truck driving isn't bad, but I wouldn't do inner city work ever again.

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. I often see advertising for bus drivers and sometimes for bus fleet supervisors to work in mining areas.

    And there are specific bus fit out types (which remind me of prison buses without the bars) so there must be reasonable numbers of them in use. The builders wouldn't bother making specific types if it was just a few.
  17. Yeah buses from camp to the site are common, I've ridden in them myself. It's the "hours away" bit I find difficult to believe. I've never heard of a mine being any more than 15 minutes or so from a camp/town.
    In fact I doubt the mines inspector would look too kindly on any worker doing 12 hour shifts if they were commuting more than 2 hours in between each one. Although given the current situation anyone that took a job that had those sorts of conditions would be an idiot anyway.
  18. I have just been through getting a HR license, plus some other specialised driving courses. It cost someone else around a grand and I found the course to be very good and I got plenty of driving in both city and rural areas. I think I did around 260 kay during the day. With a HR License I think that covers any truck up to a combination/articulated size.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the course and the new truck these days are an utter joy to drive. They are like big cars with there air assisted gearboxes and brakes and power steering and great mirror combinations. We even have automatic gearboxes on the work trucks.

    As for pay in the real world, I also get around 22-25 an hour driving a MR doing simple towie work. Gets you out and about, but to make a real good living of it. I don't know.