TruckingTruth logo

What should I do? Wait to afford school or find a training company?

Topic 18244 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Chris's Comment
member avatar

Up until this point I have studied all the section in my states manual and taken several practice tests and I'm ready for the CDL permit exam. However, something in my gut told me check my credit score as I've been planning to attend a local school and go for Melton as they are by far my favorite flatbed comapny after speaking to several drivers and contemplating this move for a few years. My credit has always been great but with having lost my health insurance through an old job and having to pay $400 a month now under self employment, I have been having terrible financial troubles even making almost $48,000 in a year. I am getting back on track I've gone 2 months straight without missing a single bill for even a couple days woohoo, I have been working! But my credit monitoring through my fico is showing my equifax at 558, my transunion at 708, and my experian at 574.

Should I wait till I get my score up in the 640's then go to school or should I find a training company and go that route to get myself better off? I will have personal loan paid off next month and a credit card paid off in 3 months of $300 payments. My payment is only $35 but I'm paying $300 to get it down. I just paid an account that I didn't even know existed that was 120 days past do for $96..

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

Afternoon, I would suggest going the private school route if you can... Look into all the schools in your area, and find one that fits you... If you can, find a school that can arrange a federal student loan...

doing this will do several things for you, imho.... it will give you a chance to use their placement services to find the company that you are a perfect fit for... You may find a company that you like better than Melton... (not trying to say any company is goo or bad... most major carriers are good)... It will also make you more desirable to more carriers, and make your time with a trainer easier, and potentially shorter... some companies may, and only may, start you off at 1 - 2 cents a mile more.

most major carriers also offer a tuition reimbursement program that will pay $100/month (or more) up to a certain amount... this range from $5,000 to $10,000 over a set period of time, and my company pays it directly to the loan holder.... my company also allows me to have them withhold money from my check and they send it to the loan holder as well, to help pay off the loan faster....my thought process is (for me anyway) if I don't see it, I wont miss it, and it guarantees that my loan is paid in full every month....

Also, the school I went to will allow me to go and practice behind the wheel, if I ever decide to stop driving for a period of time....

One last thing, it will also allow you to not be locked into one company for a contracted amount of time....

If you have any questions, feel free to message me, and I will be more than happy to help if I can....

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

You credit score should matter very little unless you are trying to borrow money to pay for the school. Yes, most major companies have tuition reimbursement. However don't rule out Company-Sponsored Training Programs. Yes you would be locked into a contract from 9 to 18 month or more depending on the company. Many companies like Prime do not require you to pay anything back after you fulfill a one year contract. It is highly advisable to stay with your first company for at least one year. That year will go by quick if you are making money by driving. How good your "starter" company is has more to do with you and your attitude. We have someone on here who started with Carolina Cargo. That company has a horrible reputation. He loved the company. Yes they are teams and they pull refer. He said they take awesome care of their equipment. Just put Carolina Cargo into the search box to see how to make it in this industry. Good luck to you.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

And here's the flip side:

At company training you drive OTR from the beginning and by the time you test out, you probably have driven downgrades, mountains, rain, fog, possibly snow and many other road conditions and environments for 5-10 hours per day for two to three weeks before testing. You will drive interstates, US and local routes, and learn much more. I drove nearly 10,000 miles in three weeks before I tested. And I still failed my first try. So how people pass with one to two hours a week, sharing a truck with three other people is beyond me.

Company sponsored training gives you more training before your exam, calms your nerves cause you know you can do the test after all that.....and get this...its Free.

My company had me pay $155 upfront for the background check and the permit. They advanced me $200 per week until I got my CDL and paid that back at a rate of $25 per week. Not one dime was ever taken from my check for schooling. You pay nothing unless you quit before you work a full year---- which you SHOULD stay a full year at your first company... So the "no commitment" argument is bogus.

Any later expenses such as TWIC cards or sleep apnea test are paid by the company up front and you pay it back at a specified weekly rate. Why add to the burden you already are suffering with your bills?

Also, companies will be picky about your history...a school won't. So what if you have something in your past that a company wouldn't accept...and you pay thousands for a school...get the CDL but can't get hired anywhere? Now you are in debt....possibly with a federal student loan that could really do damage to you when you default... And no one will hire you.

Going to an orientation at a company will find any issues BEFORE you spend thousands.

Whichever company you choose, you should stay a full year, whether going to a local school or to a company sponsored. Whichever company you choose will put you with a trainer once you have a CDL to show you company policies and procedures and truly show you trucking. The schooling just gets you the license...the real training will show you how to be a trucker.

AND put as much research into a CDL school as you have a company. There's a post on the forum where someone paid $4000 and failed. Now he's stuck with a bill and no CDL.

If you fail, the company programs give you extra practice before testing again. Do all CDL schools?

My point....be sure to read the contracts before signing anything....whether company or school

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Chris, your credit score has little to do with driver school financing. Some companies do pay your tuition, but you still will be in a contract. The contract time, usually one year, is nothing to worry about. You need the road experience to move to another company, anyway. Besides, I hope you have done enough research to decide on your "right" company at the start.

I also started out "broke", went to Swift's school and after two years driving, still happy to be with Swift. Do not worry about a difference of pennies per mile. The company benefits you are looking for are more important.

Finally, private messages are not used on Trucking Truth. The best way to get the best answers here is to post them so many people can put in their two cents, instead of you taking one person's opinion as gospel.

Chris's Comment
member avatar

Chris, your credit score has little to do with driver school financing. Some companies do pay your tuition, but you still will be in a contract. The contract time, usually one year, is nothing to worry about. You need the road experience to move to another company, anyway. Besides, I hope you have done enough research to decide on your "right" company at the start.

I also started out "broke", went to Swift's school and after two years driving, still happy to be with Swift. Do not worry about a difference of pennies per mile. The company benefits you are looking for are more important.

Finally, private messages are not used on Trucking Truth. The best way to get the best answers here is to post them so many people can put in their two cents, instead of you taking one person's opinion as gospel.

Thank you everyone for the feedback so far! I was looking at swift, I am willing to run until the clock won't let me run anymore, I've always been that way.. With everything I've always done, what can a first year driver expect to take home with swift like that?

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

You don't have tonrun your clock all the way down to make money.

Here's my pay breakdown which is going to be pretty close to swift pay:

first year pay

Chris's Comment
member avatar

You don't have tonrun your clock all the way down to make money.

Here's my pay breakdown which is going to be pretty close to swift pay:

first year pay

Not bad! I made roughly $4200 gross a week self-employed right now, sometimes was sometimes more just depends. My biggest thing is my gross just can not go below 3400 a month. I am 23 with a lady and a 1 year old son. Thank you for the link!

Chris's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You don't have tonrun your clock all the way down to make money.

Here's my pay breakdown which is going to be pretty close to swift pay:

first year pay

double-quotes-end.png

Not bad! I made roughly $4200 gross a week self-employed right now, sometimes was sometimes more just depends. My biggest thing is my gross just can not go below 3400 a month. I am 23 with a lady and a 1 year old son. Thank you for the link!

I meant to say a month.. Lol

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You don't have tonrun your clock all the way down to make money.

Here's my pay breakdown which is going to be pretty close to swift pay:

first year pay

double-quotes-end.png

Not bad! I made roughly $4200 gross a week self-employed right now, sometimes was sometimes more just depends. My biggest thing is my gross just can not go below 3400 a month. I am 23 with a lady and a 1 year old son. Thank you for the link!

It's an interesting perception here.

Many folks get into trucking as a 2nd or even 3rd career - or running the last decade or so before actually sitting on the porch and retiring.

Most "trade school type" jobs - start at WAY LOWER for entry-level/journeyman type work. Many others pretty much TOP OUT at what trucking STARTS OUT for an entry-level first year recent grad type job.

That's not too shabby.

You're grossing $4,200 A WEEK (as in $218K a YEAR +/-)? Any particular reason why you're bailing on a self-employed scenario, to make 1/4 of what are are currently making?

Not being mean - just curious? There's a lot of reasons why folks jump out of careers that are more profitable and into trucking. BURNOUT is the one of the main reasons we see here.

Rick

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel

Need help? We have instructions for sharing photos from photo sharing sites



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com/images/header.jpg
Submit
Cancel

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More