New To Trucking

Topic 20905 | Page 1

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Oingo's Comment
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Hi everyone, I just wanted to say Hi and introduce myself. I have been enjoying the content on this website for the past several weeks in my pursuit of a new career and am seriously considering SWIFT Richmond VA as my starting point and have been speaking to a recruiter there. Older guy at 55 and a Veteran. Thank you in advance.

icecold24k's Comment
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Welcome aboard there is a ton of good useful information here.. This is a very helpful site. Keep us updated on your progress..

G-Town's Comment
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Welcome Vin! I am with Swift, attended Richmond Avademy, road trained and currently still drive for them on a Walmart Dedicated account. I was 53 when I started, 58 now. If you are healthy, clean driving record your age is not a detriment.

Take a good look at the Trucking Truth starter kit...

It will enable a strong entry into this career path.

Good 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.
Oingo's Comment
member avatar

Hi G-Town, I am a former Information Technology guy like you (23 years), but not retired from anything. Leaning heavy on selecting SWIFT, because of your experience with them and they are the only carrier I know of that is close to Richmond/Newport News. I want to make a decision by end of next week at the latest. Also, my recruiter at SWIFT said even though I did not contribute to the G.I. Bill when I was active duty (already had my Bachelor's of Science degree), I would still not be liable except for $300 because of some kind of Veterans thing. I am still trying to get clarification, as I cannot afford to pay a few thousand up front for any type of CDL school. Regardless, my preference is (1) SWIFT, (2) TMC, (3) Roehl. Wish I had gone into trucking when I was 21 and made my father join me as a team. He loved driving anything on long trips too!

Welcome Vin! I am with Swift, attended Richmond Avademy, road trained and currently still drive for them on a Walmart Dedicated account. I was 53 when I started, 58 now. If you are healthy, clean driving record your age is not a detriment.

Take a good look at the Trucking Truth starter kit...

It will enable a strong entry into this career path.

Good 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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Vin. Welcome to Trucking Truth, and maybe to Swift. Yes, is true, Swift has a "scholarship" for veterans. I benefited from that myself.

Bring a copy of your DD-214 with you. You will still need to sign the financing contract. But that's all you'll see. No tuition payments will be deducted. You must drive for Swift for one year, then your account will be cleared. (You owe $0.00.) But if you stop driving for Swift before that first anniversary, the full amount will be due.

I had/paid the fees for my CDL permit and medical card, so the academy did not ask me for any more money - you may not need to come up with the $300.

Finally, living near a terminal has advantages, but it's not necessary. Any company will make it easy for you to stop by the house for home time. Don't limit your choice of company by that requirement, though of course going to Swift is an excellent decision 😆.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Oingo's Comment
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Excellent Errol! That is a load off of my mind, one less thing to worry about.

Tae H.'s Comment
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I am new to trucking. I am from Virginia and I trained in Missouri. I am waiting in a finisher but since I am under a no compete contract I am looking to find another company that take females and the wait list is not weeks to wait on a trainer. Help please

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I am new to trucking. I am from Virginia and I trained in Missouri. I am waiting in a finisher but since I am under a no compete contract I am looking to find another company that take females and the wait list is not weeks to wait on a trainer. Help please

If the company trained you, and you are under a no compete contract, will they let you out of it? If not, you will have to stick it out. Will they pay you anything while you wait? Most companies have a longer wait for female trainers. What company are you with? There may be someone on this forum from your company that could help you.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Tae, just wait it out. I realize you're very anxious to get going. We all are in the beginning. But you're not going to get anywhere in this industry if you jump ship every time something isn't perfect. Patience is critical in trucking. It's not only critical for driving, but it's critical for the health of your career, your relationships within the industry, and your own sanity.

You'll be out there before you know it and this will all disappear like it's nothing.

One of the most important things you should do to get your career off to a strong start is to focus on getting to the one year mark with your first company. The fact that you're trying to jump ship and you haven't even gotten on the road yet is a very, very bad sign about your approach to this industry. You have to dedicate yourself to this career, and that starts with the company you're working for. If you want your company to really make you a priority you have to learn your trade and prove yourself to be a valuable driver. That takes time and commitment.

Besides, have you thought this through at all? If you jump ship immediately on your first company and break the contract, what does that say about you as a person and as an employee? What do you think the other companies are going to think when they look at your situation?

Quit panicking, relax, and go with the flow. You'll be out there soon enough. Get your focus where it needs to be - on making yourself better. Do you know the logbook rules inside out? I mean right down to the letter? Do you know how to load cargo, how to adjust the weight on your tandems , and how to calculate the weight of fuel burnoff?

Go through our High Road Training Program while you're waiting on that trainer. Go through the Logbook Rules and the Weight & Balance section. Study them thoroughly. Learn that stuff really, really well because you're going to need every bit of it to do your job out there.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
If the company trained you, and you are under a no compete contract, will they let you out of it?

Scott, we do not ever encourage people to break the contracts they've signed. To break a contract is just a poor decision on so many levels.

These companies have committed their time, money, and resources into training these drivers so these drivers have a strong partner who is invested in them now. They're going to lose the one partner who has made a financial investment in their success. You're also going to demonstrate to the world that you're not willing to honor your commitments and see them through. Your word is no good. So when you think about it, what reputable company is going to hire someone who just broke their contract with someone else?

Drivers need a ton of support from the company they work for. The commitment goes in both directions. Drivers often seem to think they're a single entity capable of getting the job done by themselves. Turn off that Qualcomm , stop making phone calls, and quit using your fuel card and what happens? You almost instantly become dead in the water. You're helpless without the support of the company behind you.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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

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