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Beverage distribution interview

Topic 20456 | Page 1

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Daniel P.'s Comment
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Hello guys i am starting cdl school with my local college Monday. I am 21 going on 22 with a clean mvr , background, retail stocking experience, food experience and customer service experience. I was going to start otr but then i thought hey if i want to stay local anyways in food distribution why not start with local beverage. What do you guys think with my experience level

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.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

Big Scott's Comment
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It won't hurt to try. They may even train you.

ChefsJK's Comment
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I know US Foods will hire right out of school, someone from my class was hired straight away. And in my area they are a Union based company as well, not sure about other areas.

Pianoman's Comment
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If I were you, I'd find out what size trailers they haul, if they use daycabs or condos, and what places they deliver to. That information is very important if you'll be starting straight out of school because these jobs aren't all created equal. Well, they all require manual labor, but that's not going to be the issue in your situation. For you, the tough part is going to be the actual driving and backing, which can be crazy difficult depending on the gig. For example, in my area McLane (a food distribution company) sends out their drivers in full size condos with 53 ft trailers, delivering to all sorts of convenience stores and restaurants. I've seen them backed up to some stores in my neighborhood that would be tough for an experienced driver to maneuver in, let alone a driver straight out of school. But I've also seen other outfits (Sygma comes to mind) pulling much shorter trailers with daycabs--this obviously makes the maneuvering portion of the job much less difficult (although definitely still challenging).

Keep in mind, you'll be backing up to stores and restaurants at least 10-15 times a day/night more than likely, mostly without a dock to back up to. If you're going to do local foodservice trucking, you'd be wise to go with a company that uses daycabs and shorter trailers, at least for your first job. The last thing you need is to get fired in the first six months for too many accidents--good luck finding a job after that.

Best of luck in your search, and I encourage you to try OTR or regional at least for six months to a year first to ease you into this career better.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Rick G.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello I currently work in beverage distribution as a matter of fact i went in with a cdl permit and they trained me to get my cdl. I agree depending on what company you are with and what area you are assigned in your trailer size can vary greatly. I currently run a grocery route with convenience stores and drive a daycab with a 48' trailer. With your background doing the work will come to you as you are being trained as for driving im sure you will receive route training before they throw you out there. Just learn as much as you can during training and relax the rest will come to you. Best of luck!

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.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

PFG will occasionally hire right out of school as well. GFS does a 'dock to driver' program for their private fleet. McLane typically wants 2 years OTR before. I am not sure about Sysco or RFS.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Daniel my advice to you is; try to arrange a day when you can ride with one of the beverage delivery drivers working for the company you are interested in. This will give you first-hand information on what the job is like and what you can expect before actually committing to them.

Good luck.

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