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Why is trucking so hard to get into?

Topic 18797 | Page 1

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Bob J.'s Comment
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Why do trucking companies make it so hard for someone to get into trucking? To clarify what I mean, it seems like every company out there assumes everyone can just go 6 weeks or more without making a paycheck to attend training. The only company I have found to figure out a solution to this problem is Roehl as they pay you from day one $500 a week while training to get your CDL and then $90 a day while with a trainer (unfortunately they do not hire from my state). I mean I don't mind attending training for 3 to 4 weeks to get my license but once training is complete, you have a week of orientation and then the next week would usually be your first week with OTR trainer and then you would receive your first paycheck the following week. That adds up to about 6 to 7 weeks you have had to go without making any money which is impossible for a man who has a wife and two kids to support. What are you supposed to do? Not pay your bills for a month and a half??? I mean the whole reason one would attempt to get into this field is to better their families lives by increasing their income. If trucking companies really want quality drivers, they should create a way for people to get into this field without putting their families financial stability at jeopardy.

And yes I understand there is the private school route, however, for someone living paycheck to paycheck and can't afford private school, that's not really an option. Not to mention, I would have to try to do that on top of working a full time job. Not really the best plan when schools in your area only offer during the day, week day classes.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
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Every company pays for orientation, although not much at state's minimum wage, it's something. The first week of training you can request up to a $100 advance in your pay. Your other option is to search for community college truck driving courses in your area. Many times those courses are offered at night and on weekends allowing you to continue working.

The reason all but a few companies do not pay a driver during school is because the graduation rate is no more than 20%.

Good luck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

Hey Bob, Welcome to the forum. I can relate to what you're saying. While I got a grant to go to school, I swallowed my pride and delivered pizzas in the ghetto. (not exaggerating. It was the only pizzeria that was hiring)

After school, I began training at Prime. What I hear from others is that Prime will give you an advance of 200 dollars a week while in school. (Meals and lodging are provided) once you have your license you earn your training rate of 700 a week.

It's not much, but it will hold you over until you solo out.

What type of truck are you looking to drive ? (Reefer, flat, or tank?)

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

BQ 's Comment
member avatar

As Diver mentioned, Prime pays for transportation to training, your stay and 3 meals a day during first week (orientation) for new drivers. You do need to bring about $160, 100 for registration, which is paid upon check in and rest for permit. You can bring more if you'd like to eat at area restaurants or if need anything at Wal-Mart. (There are several restaurants and a Wal-Mart within a short walk. They then post $200/wk on comdata card for food while with trainer during PSD phase (OTR with trainer on permit). They will deduct $25/wk once hired to repay said loan. The day you pass licensing tests, you will officially become employee and will gross a minimum of $700/wk during TNT phase. (Team driving with trainer for 30,000 miles) PSD generally lasts 2-4 weeks, depending on you and trainer. TNT generally takes about 7-9 weeks. Upon completion of training you will upgrade to your own truck, making between 41-46cpm depending upon division and truck. There are also bonuses for fuel mileage, excessive time spent at shipper/receiver and multiple stops.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Bob J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys. Thanks so much for the replies. I haven't really given much thought as to what type of trailer I want to haul. After looking at several companies, I was just noticing the trend that most training was unpaid which is hard on a family man. It is nice to know that Prime offers that loan during training which helps some. I currently make about $500 a week in my office job (after taxes and benefits comes out so about $700 before) and while it does pay the bills, that really about it as my company allows no OT. Bottom line, I would like to make more and like how the earning potential seems higher in trucking since it's not hourly. The more miles you run the more you make sounds good. Just gotta figure out how to get through the training thing and go solo without putting my families financial situation at risk.

BQ 's Comment
member avatar

It can certainly be a difficult stretch, particularly with family depending upon you. However, if can't scrape through, it can certainly be worth it down the line. I can comfortably say I average between $900-1000/wk, bring home. Some weeks may be less, some may be more. I am just about to finish my first year with Prime. (Reefer with a lightweight truck, which pays an extra 5cpm, has less space but easier to maneuver in tight spaces and can haul heavier loads, which makes more loads available to me)

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

BQ 's Comment
member avatar

***If can scrape through, not can't

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