Considering Industry, Looking For Company Recommendation

Topic 20914 | Page 1

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Eddie F.'s Comment
member avatar

So I'm considering making a career change into the industry, and I'm looking for suggestions for what companies might be the best choice in my situation.

I'm a 47 year old guy, recently divorced, currently in the DC/Baltimore area but by no means committed to living here. I have pretty much no need for "home time" since I basically have nowhere that is "home" ... I want to put all my crap in storage and live the OTR life for a year or two. A couple days in Florida to visit mom, a couple days in PA to visit with my brother, a couple days in Spokane or Oklahoma City or LA or SF where I have friends or that I've never been ... other than that, I just want to keep my wheels moving for awhile. After a year or two, maybe I'll look to settle down again and start looking for more home time, but right now I want to leverage my rootlessness and make cash.

The two other things I do want are 1) solid insurance package and 2) a truly national company; I want to see as much of the country as possible. Trips into Canada or Mexico would be awesome, too.

So:

-- Am I better off paying for my training myself ($3,000 at the community college) and then looking for a company to reimburse, or getting a company to pay and then I owe them service time? -- Which companies are best for getting max $ in the first year? -- Which companies would most value my willingness to stay out a long time?

FWIW, I do have one minor accident on my driving record from three years ago, another 25 years ago. No tickets or points though. Nothing criminal in 20 years. Not a veteran, unfortunately.

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.

JD's Comment
member avatar

I would look at a private school or company school an forgo the college school personally.

As far as the major companies I don't think you could go wrong with any of them they all have good benefits packages and are willing to work with you on home time as long as you pull your end of the deal. Welcome to trucking I love doing this for the most part

JD

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Direct answer for Question #1: No, you're not better off. You don't need to spend your savings for Driving School.

Several companies have Company-Sponsored Training Programs (follow that link). With a company school, much of the hiring process is done before you are accepted. Remember a "private" school's main business is teaching CDL only. Since there's no free lunch, you will be on a contract for about one year for a company school. Many companies will pick up your tuition, but again, it's a one year commitment for you.

One year is not a long time. Also, if you start to job hop, your prospective company may just put your application in the "later" (i.e. round) file.

There are no Brownie points for "wanting" to stay on the road longer. "Home Time" is not necessarily at "Home", it can be taken anywhere you want to take some time off. Your plans to visit family, etc., will work out fine. Up to you.

Do not worry about "max paycheck". Generally your rookie year is worth around $40,000. Hopefully up from there. There's a little balance between pay and percs. Higher pay, fewer driver comfort items, lower pay, but you get an APU. These things really make the differences not worrying too much about.

You can look through the resources here on Trucking Truth to get a better answers for your questions. Also, here' some reading to get you fueled up for your new career:

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.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Errol. I went through company training and have a one year commitment. I love this company. I have seen a good part of this beautiful country in a few short months. I currently stay out about 6 weeks then home for 6 days. Pick a company that you think fits you. I highly recommend company sponsored training. The company invests in you and it's in their best intrest for you to succeed. Research. Read training diaries, and study High Road Training Program. I have a training diary and thread on my pay. You can put your questions in the search bar on this page and get tons of info. Good luck. We are here to help.

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.

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

As far as training goes there is a middle ground that rarely gets discussed. Many times those companies that have their own training will sponsor or partner with various colleges and such. You would go thru schooling like if you were paying your own way, only the company picks up the tab in exchange for a contract. For example: the college I went to for my cdl is partnered with CRST, CR England and Roehl. It is a halfway between paying for it yourself and going to a company sponsored program.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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