Look Before You Leap Into Trucking

Topic 20967 | Page 1

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Big Scott's Comment
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It seems to me that many people jump into trucking with little to no idea of what to expect. I wish more people found this site before making the leap into this industry. I think I am a little unique as I spent a few years learning everything I could about trucking as a career before I dove in. I used YouTube and this site. I scoured this site. I started with Brett's book, Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving. I read many training diaries, almost every Company-Sponsored Training Programs, many of the blogs on here and the main forum here. By the time I went to CDL school, I knew what to expect from that. I knew what to expect from orientation, being on my trainer's truck, and as I go about my rookie solo year. Many of the problems I have faced and solutions, I saw here first. I learned about sliding tandems , refer issues, handling problems with backing while learning, dealing with dispatch and many other issues we face as truckers.

I'm married and while I reseached this, I spoke to my wife about it. We had to make sure we were both behind this decision. Being apart is a little tougher then we though, however we talk every day and home time is very special.

The more one knows before they jump into this thing called trucking, the better chance they have at success. The best advise I can give someone thinking about trucking is research. Figure out what you want and need. Don't look for a starter company, look for a company that best fits you and your needs. This way you could stay with them after that first year and make more money. I am very happy with CFI, the only way I would leave them is if I decide I needed to be home more and get a local job. Different companies have different perks. Looking here can help you choose the right company the first time.

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.

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".

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.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
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OK. Hit submitt by mistake. I hope this helps someone in making a choice that works for them. Good luck.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

G-Town's Comment
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Spot on! Totally agree.

Big Scott's Comment
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Thanks

Big Scott's Comment
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So, an older thread was brought up that helps to make my point. Here is a link to it. Swift debt pay off. It is extremely important for your success in trucking to know what you're getting into. It is also just as important to choose your first company carefully. You really want to find a company that you could stay with long term. I knew going in that I would have to be out here for a minimum of one year. CFI fits me well. I get plenty of miles and I love their hometime policy. Yes, there are people that hate CFI. Prime has lots of perks. But there are things about Prime that don't work for me. If I had went to them I would have hated it. That's me and my idiosyncrasies. That is why I say, look before you leap.

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.

Patrick C.'s Comment
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Look before you leap?!? What fun is that? I say go running off a cliff at full speed and hope everything pans out on the way down.

Hannah H.'s Comment
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I agree! I really wish I did more research but I sort of just jumped into because I had no idea what I wanted to do and I had bills to pay. I could have been a flight attendant or an investment consultant but the recruiters for truck companies sure work fast.

Old School's Comment
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Hello Hannah, and welcome aboard!

Hey we're glad to have you in here and I think if you'll hang around we can help you in your pursuit of this career. How long have you been driving trucks?

Come on now...

I could have been a flight attendant or an investment consultant

That sounds really boring! smile.gif

Welcome to Truck Driving, where every day is different, sometimes nice and serene, sometimes so frightening you may need to change your underwear, and always challenging. You made a good choice, now embrace it. There used to be a wise old saying by one of the baseball greats who said, "You can't steal second base, with one foot on first." There is a lot of truth in that statement, and you will never truly enjoy driving truck as long as you are thinking you'd rather be doing something else.

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