HELP! Unsure Of Current Opportunity!

Topic 21578 | Page 1

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Jay_Ohen's Comment
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Hello, Trucking Truth members! I'm currently employed by a small equipment rental company in Alabama. I was hired because I expressed interest in becoming a delivery driver within the upcoming months. I've long been fascinated with trucking, especially after I spent a couple weeks on the road with a friend a few years ago. Obviously I won't be doing any long haul with this company but they offered to pay for my CDL and give me on-site training; what a deal!

My concern is this: I yearn for a life on the road more and more each day due to my current home life situation. I'm unmarried and have no children, and wanderlust is a real pain. However, this company only has one truck currently available: an automatic Peterbilt. It is my understanding that testing in an automatic will net an automatic-only restriction on my CDL, in turn significantly limiting my choices for OTR companies in the future (plus I thoroughly enjoy manual transmissions). Let's say that I decide to go with their training and accept the restriction only to decide later on down the road that this isn't for me (startup company, not without its fair share of issues): would companies such as Prime or Roehl allow me to go through their training and remove the automatic only restriction or am I outta luck?

I suppose my question is simple: should I stay on with my local company and accept an automatic only CDL or go with a company sponsored program and receive an unrestricted CDL? I'm so lost I could pull my hair out! Any and all advice is appreciated.

Stay safe out there, drivers! Thanks for all you do.

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.

Steve L.'s Comment
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Since they are “paying” for it, are you any worse off by taking it? If you were paying for it and getting an “automatic only” restriction, I could see the hesitation.

It seems like the real question is; is this job opportunity what you want? If it is, go for the gusto. If not, keep researching.

Btw; lots of large companies are transitioning to automatics. So, if you take this position and want to switch in two years or so, it might not matter...maybe.

I hope this helps.

Parrothead66's Comment
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Yes a lot of the large companies are going to or have gone to automatics. Not sure but I think Prime may have made the switch already. There’s driver here from Prime, Swift, Schneider etc...and I think all of them at least have some automatics in fleet. Even the flatbed companies are going that way. We are currently making the switch at McElroy....Maverick already has I believe and even TMC is getting in on the act I was told. So basically I think you should have plenty of options even with the automatic only tag. Now I’m not sure what the big guys would say about your driving “experience” if it’s just all local stuff in a small box type truck. They may require you to attend their training still. That’s something you might want to clarify with a company first. Lastly if you have studied it and thought it out and going on the road is what you really really want then that’s what you should do. Just don’t be doing it to run away from your “current home life situation” as a lot of times if it’s problems you are running from you end up having to deal with problems out on the road. Trust me when I say you will have a whole other set of problems to deal with out here and try to add some from home can be disastrous. Good luck. If you really want it, you can get it

Lowry F.'s Comment
member avatar

Correct me if I'm wrong vets but you only have the day to restriction if you take your test in an auto. In pa private licensing agency's will rent out a standard trans truck for you to retake your test and have the restriction removed. I'm going to a private school that they supply the manuals so you don't have any restrictions. You could also try to convince them to foot the bill for a private school.

Kevin L.'s Comment
member avatar

I would go for the free job training. If in the future you do decide to go to another company atleast you can drive the truck. If you want the restrictiin removed all you would need to do is retake the physical test in a manual. Here in PA there are also third party testing agencies with two day waiting scheduling. They may also supply the truck for a fee. Also unless your rental company going to teach you tractor trailer your probably looking at repeating the training anyhow. There are lots of mega carriers that will teach you to drive a truck in return for an employment contract choose wisely

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
My concern is this: I yearn for a life on the road more and more each day due to my current home life situation. I'm unmarried and have no children, and wanderlust is a real pain. However, this company only has one truck currently available: an automatic Peterbilt. It is my understanding that testing in an automatic will net an automatic-only restriction on my CDL , in turn significantly limiting my choices for OTR companies in the future

Jay, welcome to our forum!

I see a couple of problems with this approach. First off let me say there's no reason not to do this if you want to be a delivery driver for these guys. You've already realized one of the problems, the automatic restriction on your CDL. The other problem is that most of the Over The Road trucking companies will not recognize your local delivry driving as experience. You may very well end up with a CDL, and a job, but still not be able to land a job as a OTR driver when you're ready to make the transition.

All the major carriers will require a new driver to have some amount of recent verifiable Over The Road experience, or a 160 hour training certificate to get hired. This rental company cannot provide you with either one of these. If you decide to go for a job as an Over The Road driver you'd be right back to square one, meaning you'd have to go through one of the Paid CDL Training Programs, or pay your way through a private school.

There's nothing wrong with this present opportunity, but it doesn't really set you up for better opportunities very well. If your end goal is to hit the open road, I'd skip over this and start applying to the Paid CDL Training Programs.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

A big issue that I see is that if you wanted to go OTR , not only would your experience not count, you'd have no 160 hour certificate of training, so nobody would be able to insure you as a driver and couldn't hire you.

If you're sure all you want to do is be a local delivery driver for your current employer, go for it.

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.

Jay_Ohen's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all so much for the responses. After reviewing the information in this thread and throughout the website I have decided to apply for a company sponsored training program. So far I’ve applied for Prime and I am awaiting further feedback from my recruiter.

This is the most helpful forum I’ve ever visited. All of you fine folks make me feel good about considering a career in trucking. Here’s to hoping I’ll be joining you all on the road soon enough. Stay safe, drivers, and thanks again for the advice!

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.

Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

Best decision you could’ve made Jay Ohen! For the obvious reason as were stated above but also for the risk of starting with a start up company & all the perils that could’ve come up for you. We had a thread not that long ago where a driver wasn’t paid by his employer. Good on you for thinking this through.

Another great place to visit on here is the training diaries section where lots of drivers kept detailed daily logs of the challenges they faced & overcame while going through their training. Sharing the good the bad & the ugly parts of their ordeal helps us prepare mentally for our own success. Use the search bar above with prime as the keyword.

I’ll be setting off in 7 weeks for my training with a different company than your choice, I didn’t qualify for Prime. Good luck on getting qualified for Prime, God bless & be safe.

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