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  #21  
Old 09-15-2009, 06:17 AM
Flying W's Avatar
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Default 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.
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  #22  
Old 09-21-2009, 03:39 AM
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Posts: 122
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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.
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  #23  
Old 10-04-2009, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkeck View Post
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.
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.

Quote:
* 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)
This career move is only a consideration, I may still decide to stick with being a mechanic if driving turns out to be unfavorable.
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Mercedes 1982 300D VNT
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2009, 10:34 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 29
Unhappy long haul

Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer View Post
if you want to drive long haul, don't listen to anybody. try it and then decide for yourself if you like the lifestyle. the best thing you can do when deciding about what trucking school to go to is FIND A COMPANY THAT WILL HIRE YOU first. If they hire trucking school graduates with 0 experience, ask what schools they hire from (they'll have a list of 'approved schools'). Then, go to the cheapest school on the list. otherwise, you'll spend 5 grand on a school and then discover that no one wants to hire you. that's how i did it. it works.
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.
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  #25  
Old 10-05-2009, 12:51 AM
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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.
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  #26  
Old 10-05-2009, 01:02 AM
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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.
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Former Trailer Tech for Swift Transportation. Laid off as of 10-1-09

Mercedes 1982 300D VNT
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  #27  
Old 11-11-2009, 12:02 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsclinger9869 View Post
...with everything that has been said in this thread about driving schools, wouldn't it be a much better solution to get training through one of the schools like Swift or Millis, which I would think would not accept someone who they wouldn't be able to hire once the CDL was obtained and the road training was completed...

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.
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  #28  
Old 12-01-2009, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapatorr View Post
I was told by many drivers that it would be a better idea to try to get my CDL on my own, without resorting to the "CDL mills" that seem to be everywhere, I understand that you're commited to these companies for about a year if you get your license through them,I guess they make you sign a contract or something, I was this close to signing with England, but got lucky and got into a school instead.:thumbsup:
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).

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.
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  #29  
Old 01-21-2010, 12:14 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nctrucker1 View Post
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.
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.

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.
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  #30  
Old 06-26-2010, 04:58 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover View Post
I've read all the sites about truck driving schools & i've come to the concluesion that community college truck driving schools are the way to go.:lol2:
I have looked into this as well, and gotta agree
I have found one I liked, not too terribly far from me; I was able to talk to the instructors-they were pretty cool; seemed like they have a very good program.
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