My $0.02 worth
Youíll want to reread the post by 1TruckDrivinSunUvAGun as thatís pretty much the truth. But donít let that get you down as there are some major carriers that will hire new drivers and treat them well. But here is my advice in line with the topicÖ..
1. Chose a driving school over a carrier school if you can afford to do so. The negatives to a company school can be very significant. Other companies may not recognize the training. If you quit before your commitment is up you will be responsible for the cost of the training. This doesnít sound like a big deal, but you wonít appreciate the impact of being an OTR driver till out there for several months.
2. Plan on being able to cover all costs associated with attending orientation. If you complete it successfully youíll keep it in your bank account. But youíll be amazed at the number of people who will not make it through orientation for numerous reasons. Keep in mind you have an invitation to orientation, and not an actual job.
And finally, do this job because you love it. You will have no life outside of your truck, and you will be working for less money than drivers did in the past (value of $). Anyone who is aware of where the Canadian program is and where it is going knows the future of this industry when the other border finally catches up.
I haven't seem some basic but key points mentioned so I'll mention them ...
Do you value family, have kids soon to start school, a great wife or girlfriend? Then you should not consider OTR driving
Single? enjoy small spaces? enjoy and can handle multiple daily challenges? want to see America? driving may be a good fit for you, at least for a while.
Do you have a short temper? Do you find that you don't get along well with many you come in contact with? Do you want structure and schedule in your daily life? Are you impatient? Do you get easily agitated? then you should probably consider another occupation.
Some people pick up driving/backing skills quickly, others pick it up slowly, but eventually become skilled ... but some just don't have it in their physical and mental make-up to learn and aquire the skills.
If you do go to school, just be honest with yourself. Driving is not for everyone, and not just anyone can make it in this occupation. The money is not bad, but it's not great. Living expenses can be high, and as freight slows, you'll find that expenses goes up (you sit more looking to kill time, by eating more, and other such "activities")
Also, as local tax revenues fall, we're seeing more and more local and county police departments investing in Commercial Vehicle Enforcement teams. They spend a lot of money in salaries, training, vehicles, and equipment ... THEY WILL MAKE THIS INVESTMENT PAY ... if they random stop you (and they will, eventually) they will find something to ticket. Driving thru Austin, TX these days on I-35 on any given day is like playing Russian Roulette, and this is being ramped up all across the nation as quickly as they can get the funds.
I just got laid off from Swift as a mechanic (along with at least two others from my shop). I'm considering moving into their driver training program, getting my CDL through Swift and driving for them for a while.
Originally Posted by rkeck
This career move is only a consideration, I may still decide to stick with being a mechanic if driving turns out to be unfavorable.
* Loan amount $3,900
* Interest Free
* 13 payments @ $300.00 each month
* Swift will pay $150 each month through tuition reimbursement; in addition the driver will also pay $150 each month for a total payment of $300.00 each month. The loan will be repaid in 13 months and the tuition reimbursement will continue at $150 each month until driver receives $3,900.00.
* Seat Reservation Fee $150 (NON-REFUNDABLE/CASH ONLY)
Former Trailer Tech for Swift Transportation. Laid off as of 10-1-09
Mercedes 1982 300D VNT
OM617.952, GT2256V VNT turbo, Air-water intercooler
I drive local, but my company has it set up that pays by the load, so you know we have to put in as much hours as the long haulers do to make a buck. Sure, I am home every nite, but very tired when I get home. When the weekend comes around, we are worn out to really enjoy it. All trucking companies have figured out how to get the drivers to do the work, but the company management and ceo's make the big bucks doing nothin much. Too bad nobody gives a darn about you these days. Seems it's every man for him/her self.
Originally Posted by tracer
ForcedInduction...First of all, sorry to hear about your getting laid off. By driving for them for a while you must mean 13 months or more. I would strongly consider the attrition rate of new OTR drivers (get the numbers for Swift even), and notice that the loan is for 13 months. I would also recommend reading the part of that loan that describes what happens if you quit before then.
This isn't to discourage you from becoming a driver, but is meant as a word of caution in considering the driver loan. Considering freight right now it should be worth repeating that you are theirs for 13 months no matter how bad it gets out there. Rkeck and 1TruckDrivinSunUvAGun are pretty much right on and should be considered.
Despite all that, if you decide to do it I wish you the best.
I've been reading around on the subject since Friday. I think I've decided I'd rather stick with wrenching and get my CDL on my own time through an independent school.
Its greasy and stressful, but at the end of the day I'm happy doing it.
Former Trailer Tech for Swift Transportation. Laid off as of 10-1-09
Mercedes 1982 300D VNT
OM617.952, GT2256V VNT turbo, Air-water intercooler
Originally Posted by wsclinger9869
In my openion the choice of going to a company sponsered CDL school or a regular commercial CDL school comes down to just a couple things.
The first question would be about finances. If someone doesn't have access to the $4000 (on average) that it costs for a commercial CDL school AND if that person doesn't have access to some sort of "job retraining program", then their next move would be to do some research into the various company sponsered CDL programs. Some are better than others and the one that's right for YOU is not necessarily the best one for the next person.
The second question is one that I alluded to above, you would want to call down to your local job service office run by the city where you live and see if there's some program available that will provide the training. Also, are you a veterarn? If so, thank you for serving. And if you are, do you have VA benefits that will pay for the school? GI bill, VEAP program? etc.
If you're in the boat of choosing a truck driving career as kind of a last resort, then do yourself a favor. While you're checking out the job placement options, don't stop at truck driving, see if they have other options. If you open the Sunday paper in just about any city in the country you'll see that the medical field is by far the largest section. Don't like blood? Check out x-ray techs etc. There are other options out there but you just have to do the research.
It all comes down to this. In these times, you need to go out and make things happen. Ask questions (not just here), call the local government offices, unemployment offices, hospitals (if you may be interested in the medical field.. and I'd highly encourage being open minded to this).
When I went to CDL school in Tampa, FL at Roadmaster we had 28 people in my class and by the end of the first week almost everyone was coming to me asking about this company and that company because every night when I got home I was on the internet and on this site and several others looking stuff up. I say that not to pat my own back but simply as an example. By the end of school I had made a choice to go to May Trucking and I brought 5 others with me out of school. Most of the people there were just going to wait for the school's job placement gal to hook them up with whatever company she called. Bad move in my openion.
Well, I tried to write this in a way that was helpfull. I hope I've succeeded in that and I also hope that someone may get some new ideas from this.
Thanks all and good luck.
BTW, I used to post under the name Doktari but for some reason I can't log in under that name any more. I've been absent from here for a while.
about 5 yrs ago i signed on with schneider, went through their school. glad i did rather that go to a local school here and then get their placement with one of the megas. i had guys in my class that went through their local school, had a cdl and schneider made them go through their mill (prolly to hang em on the hook for the $4,000).
Originally Posted by rapatorr
well, it was a $3,500 bill at home to get my cdl or schneider school and a $4,000 bill if i didnt do a year. after about 30 days i had my cdl and my own truck. did 90 days, got some experience and got a local job. glad i did. did installments of $110/mo till the 4 grand was paid off.
I haul ethanol and some gas, and I have to agree here. They really make you earn your night at home, and they run you so hard that any down time is nearly useless.
Originally Posted by nctrucker1
As for schools and mega-carriers, I've done both. Repete is right in that the school will give you just enough to get a CDL. I took that CDL to Schneider, and they dropped me into their program at no cost. In fact, since it was within the last 90 days I got my CDL, they also reimbursed me for my tuition. Ironically, the payment schedule took about 15 months, instead of the usual year of service for their own school. It seemed to make it more bearable knowing that I wasn't under contract thru Schneider.
And that's another thing. Why is it that we complain about the lack of jobs, and in the same breath we complain about being under contract for a year with a carrier for getting a CDL through them? I always looked at that as a guaranteed year of employment. It's not the -best- employment, but it is an effective way to learn how to drive a truck.
On a side note, I recently read some op-ed about how all drivers should be required to stay in-state for 5 years before crossing state lines. This was from a 30 year driver. Personally, I think this sort of attitude comes from the old-school teamster mentality. Schneider had us in school for 2 weeks, then on the road with a TE for 2 weeks minimum. Then we get our first whack at earning a truck. Back then I think swift had either 6 weeks or 6 months with a trainer doing team driving. After the first week, I was ready to get the hell away from my guy.
Some of you are over thinking this school thing. All you need to know is, will the company you are going to work for accept your school and are the federal requirements met. Other than that find the cheapest school closest to your house and a short school helps you get employed faster so you have a steady income. A week after you get out of school, no one will care what school you went to. It is like asking some one with a Masters Degree what High School they went to. It doesn't matter and no one cares. A school will only teach you the basics. When you get to your company you will go out with a trainer and he will refine the basic skills you learned in school.
The single most important thing you can do is do your research on the company you are going to drive for. Apply now, before you even go to school, get a prehire, commit to your decision. They start absorbing everything you can about your segment, dry van, flatbed, reefer, whatever.
Not tooting my own horn, I knew what company I wanted to work for, got a prehire, knew my school qualified, it was a local community college about three miles from my house, but that was a coincidence. In school I volunteered for everything. Getting the trucks in the morning, parking them at night, whenever we were practicing backing and parking, it got boring. Sorme drivers thought they had it down, not me, I had a spring under my rear end, anytime the next in line hesitated, I jumped up and took another turn. I had more than double the practice of the majority of the other students. When I completed my companies orientation and was out with a driver, after the first week I was confident I could handle it on my own, my trainer was too. While I was a trainee, I had drivers coming up to me constantly asking questions. I always had the answer. Not to suggest I was some kind of a supertrucker, but I did my research and continue to do so.
That is the single most important thing you can do right now. Learn everything you can, on this and other boards. Read everything you can, you will start to develope an interest in the segment you want to drive in. Ask questions and then more questions. Anytime there is a big truck around go talk to the driver, especially if he is doing something. Watch and learn. Quit worring what school to to, no one cares, just go to a school it doesn't matter which one in the long run.
Terry L. Davis
O/O with own authority
None of you on this board would even HAVE to be doing this job if this was a socialist country. I just don't understand why NoBama and so many other poor to middle-income Americans (like NoBama) - by voting or otherwise supporting Republicans and Teabaggers - WORSHIP corporate America, big business, union-busters, Wall St, etc., and enjoy suffering daily due to financial problems. Actually, I DO know why. Because most Americans believe socialism is what the worst enemies of America's working class (Rush Limpballs, Glenn Beck, Sean Insanity, you name the Faux "News" anchor) say it is. After all, the only losers are the filthy rich who made their fortunes on the backs of the poor and middle-income, anyway. Why the hell should anyone WANT to worry about money problems due to loss of a job? Under socialism as has been practiced in Europe and Scandinavia for decades, there is no worry about where your next meal is coming from, if you can pay their rent/mortgage, if you can pay that gigantic medical bill. Give Democrats the White House and an overwhelming majority in Congress, for a change, and you might stop shooting your family, children, grandchildren and yourself in the head every time you vote. Capitalism is a failure for 90+% of American citizens, yet they continue to put the GOP bastards back into office. Anyone who does that DESERVES to suffer, although their innocent children (under 18) don't deserve it. So American workers, open your minds, wash them out with soap, and stop believing the morons of Republican talk radio and a certain so-called "news" station, because intelligent and perceptive people such as myself, although few in number in America, don't deserve to suffer simply because you, as a Republican voter or supporter, seek out that needless suffering while the filthy rich Glenn Limpballs of the country get even richer. Remember, the cost thus far of our idiotic and useless involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan alone could pay for reasonable living expenses for EVERYONE in America over 18 - citizen or illegal - for the next 50 years. We NEVER would have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan if the Democrats had been an overwhelming majority in Congress at the time of 9/11. Now look at the shape we are in, with an employer's market to boot. Jeez, is this really so hard to understand, people?
Originally Posted by NoBama
Last edited by Murgatroyd; 10-13-2010 at 05:59 PM.
Murgatroyd YOU have no clue what this profession is about ...
""None of you on this board would even HAVE to be doing this job if this was a socialist country.""
We didn't become truck drivers just for the heck of it .... some of Us happen to enjoy rollin up and down these hwys ... it rolls smoothly with our personalities ... IT'S A CHOICE .!! ... if you don't like this profession ... No One is going to make you do it !!
Live the way you love .... and Love the way you live. .. Trace Adkins .........
Watch your 'Thoughts,' they become words. Watch your 'Words,' they become
actions. Watch your 'Actions,' they become habits. Watch your 'Habits,' they
become character. Watch your 'Character,' for it becomes your Destiny.'
I own Hi-desert Truck Driving schools here in CA. I take on a no hassle approach with my students and give them all the facts upfront with no up selling or B.S. Times are unclear and so many American people, I give them my best advise no matter what troubles they may have and help them get a job.
If there was a "lick of truth" in that....I would be working for them, at least in management, and I do have the CV (resume) to support the qualifications to the position.... But truth being what it is.... I make more than their full time managers now. The only people who make any decent money with fast food franchises are the franchise owners...the rest of the employees are just eking out a "living", or rather would that be a sub-poverty level existence?
Originally Posted by boneebone
Something more professional or technical to me would be something like law school, medical school, a CPA license, etc.... :lol:
Forrest Gump was right....and some people literally strive to prove it.....everyday. Strive not to be one of "them".... And "lemmings" are a dime a dozen!
Remember: The "truth WILL set you free"! If it doesn't "set you free"....."it will trap you in the cesspool of your own design".
They lost my original "avatar"....oh well.
how does "experience in trucking" in trucking get on a no hire list? drfarms
I went to a local school thinking I could get a local driving job after I was laid off at my IT company of 13 years. Seems that is a little harder than I thought. Without experience no one can let you drive for insurance purposes. My mistake. But not all is lost. I did learn that I really like truck driving. I have my CDL-A with all the endorsements. I am now applying to several trucking companies and am being told it has been too long ( 5 months ) since I graduated from my school and will have to go to their school. Thats fine. I can always use more time in a truck before I hit the road full time ( my alley dock skills could use some practice ). I have narrowed my list down to two companies. They have already done a background check on me and want to schedule my start. What do I need to watch out for here?
Hi Matcron You have share good and interesting post on trucking school.
tell me why cant you americans just start off driving local trucks as in dumpers, town frieght, rubbish etc to get bit of experience as far as insurence ,and other licence credentials you need for interstate,it seems your companies dont really help you that much or are there rules just to tough,owner operaters must have it easier but then from what i see in here they get ripped off quite good