Comments By Dan H.

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  • Dan H.
  • Joined:
  • 10 months, 2 weeks ago
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Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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I'm looking for a job with no mileage pay. Why is this so hard?

I'm not driving yet, I'm still in CDL school, but I have been researching different companies that I would potentially like to work for.

Most of the hourly type work I've seen is local LTL type stuff: Old Dominion, Estes, etc. If you're doing more OTR type work for them, the revert back to mileage though. Those companies are well thought of. Some of the tanker companies I've looked into (that specifically hire new drivers) have minimum pay (Eagle Transport).

As far as OTR, Maverick Transportation offers minimum pay if you don't mind flatbed, but I don't know if they hire in Illinois. I'm 100 miles outside of their hiring zone I have discovered. Marten also has a minimum pay too, if I recall correctly.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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TMC and Drug Testing

Not worth a dime, but still my two cents:

1. I know you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but a quick google search will tell you that THC can stay in your system much longer than 1 month with prolonged use.

and

2. Maybe you can beat the system once, but there are Federally required random drug tests after you're hired (maybe you've done better with lottery tickets than I have), not to mention--and god forbid--you get into an accident you'll be drug tested as well. I'm sure it is company dependent, but while coaching one of our bus drivers had to test for a minor fender bender.

Everyone has their own risk tolerance, and admittedly, mine is fairly low. I will also say I understand the impatience. I've been more-or-less planning on truck driving for over a year now. I began thinking about it last January (almost quit my job to start), made a decision last summer to teach one more year, and started CDL school at a local community college on the weekends this January. Truck driving hasn't seem to have went anywhere in a year.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Where do owners get loads?

If you're on baby step 1, I'm still just a gleam in my daddy's eye!😂

From what I've gathered on my small amount of research is talking directly to a shipper and contracting with them. I enjoyed this YouTube video on the subject.

https://youtu.be/xjgUhS5cffU?si=u8h7VSS8xsNd3W9_

Posted:  3 months ago

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Mr. Trucker

Some more advice: the pre-trip is the examiner's first impression of you. Be sharp and know your stuff, that will help you get that "benefit of the doubt" on the rest of the test.

Thanks for the advice! I've definitely chilled out a little bit on the pre-trip as we've been practicing every weekend and I'm retaining it pretty well. My biggest fear at the moment is just leaving stuff out from the repetitive nature of it, though it was a relief to learn that if I forget a part, I can mention it later in the pre-trip and not be marked off. I am going to continue studying, and I have checked on Daniel's study guide and was pleasantly surprised it's very close to the one my school passed out.

Just another update

Just finished week 5 of 13. We've been driving the truck for... three weeks now? We spent the first two weeks doing the ELDT book work, then we took our test the morning of the third week and started on grinding gears (literally) bobtailing. I felt a little embarrassed that I struggled more than I anticipated. I've driven 10 speeds a fair amount on the farm but was taught to float gears. I'm sure it was a combination of both an abused transmission and having not driven a truck (10 wheeler) since 2019, but I suspect a large part was getting the double clutching coordination.

The straight back has been easy. The offset was slightly more of a struggle, but mostly just the learning the timing of when to chase/get under the trailer. I kept getting the tandems where I want them but tend to either chasing early or late. My last two were perfect though, so that's good. Unfortunately we only got 2 90s this weekend because adding the trailer/in-cap parts of the pre-trip ate up the lion-share of the morning and my group's instructor is an older gentleman and he needs to take breaks occasionally. I was pretty happy with my 2nd 90 I got on Sunday, though my instructor did have me GOAL multiple times to show me different things which helped my attempt be successful.

This last Sunday we took the truck with a trailer around town for the first time. It was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. The little bit of semi driving I did on the farm was mostly all rural--so cars, stoplights, and merges seemed like a lot. Really about the only thing I was struggling with was getting it in the gear I wanted before the turn. I assume I need to slow down so I've already downshift to where I want to be? I'm going to ask this next Saturday.

Also noteworthy, two weeks ago we got a real dose of reality. We had bobtailed about 30 minutes from the school and switched drivers. As soon as the next guy got up to highway-speed, our instructor noticed the engine fan was blowing and asked what the water temp was an--as you've probably assumed--it was hot. We'd blown a hole in the line that runs from the engine to the heater core, which left us waiting on the side of the road for the tow truck. I'm only slightly surprised that it was towed to a mechanic instead of the school. It looked like a simple fix to me, but oh well, not my money.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty good about the course. I do see the disadvantage of weekend school and not getting the practice throughout the week, but the three of us in my group are all progressing well. This is probably the first week that I've noticed the 7 full days a week getting tiring, but luckily today is just a work day at the school, so I am getting a little reprieve!

Quick question: Do driving jobs require a resume? I've been looking at jobs, but not really in a position to apply but I can start working on resume/cover letter stuff it those are required in the industry.

Posted:  4 months ago

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High Road Training Permit

I can't speak specifically for Texas, I just got my permit in North Carolina (about two weeks ago). I always have been a good student and a good test taker so take this for what it is, I didn't miss a single question. I did skip two questions on the general knowledge part, but I also didn't get them wrong!

I used the High Road Training, the CDL Prep app on android, listened to some audio-book practice tests on Spotify while driving, and took every practice test that was recommended by my CDL school. I started studying on a Thursday and took my permit tests the following Monday, so about 4 days of studying. Saturday was a pretty full day of it.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Mr. Trucker

Started my course last weekend and it went well enough. There are only 6 of us in the class, so our instructors said it was the best amount, as we'll have two groups driving and we should end up with more hours each than if we had a full class of 8. We mostly spent the first two days reading out of the ELDT book and taking the quizzes at the end of each. We made it through about 8 chapters, spending close to an hour on each. While it was interesting, I could have probably gotten through it on my own a lot quicker had they just told me what to read and high light.

I suppose my current occupation is coming in handy already. My understanding is we will be taking a written test and have to score an 80% to pass the class. The test is over the contents the book taken from the quiz at the end of each chapter, so I have been entering the questions and answers into a quizzing website that I use for my students to practice the questions.

I've also been drawing on my elementary spelling test days to begin working on brute-memorization of the pre-trip study guide they gave us. We were told to read through it, not to necessarily start memorizing it, but I figure there's no time like the present. I've been trying to memorize the different sections and I write out the section from memory to test myself. I suppose that is one of the benefits of taking a 13 week, weekend course. I have the benefit of the 5 evening days to review stuff for class.

Anyways, onward and upward!

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mr. Trucker

Update 2

Well, after Navypoppop's reply, I held off on apply for the spring CDL course until last week. I was listening to Andrew Huberman's David Goggins interview on the way home from work and it made me rethink the passive approach of waiting until the summer to do a paid CDL program.

I sent an email last Tuesday asking if there were any spots left in the Community College course and was told there was only one remaining. I talked it over with my wife Tuesday night, and as soon as school was out Wednesday I went in to sign up if the spot was still available. I figured if the universe didn't want me to take the course, the spot would be already filled. The lady that signed me up at the Community College told me I was lucky, as others had called in saying they were on their way to sign up.

I started lightly studying the North Carolina CDL manual Thursday evening, and then seeing that it was nearly identical Highroad Training (I had started the General Knowledge portion last summer), I started exclusively studying from the Highroad Training 2.0. Saturday morning I went in and got my physical done and spent the rest of the day finishing the Highroad Training. I took every practice test I could find online and on my phone on Sunday, and yesterday, Monday, I went into the DMV. Shockingly, it was all but empty, and I got right up to see someone. I received a 100% on all three tests, so thank you Trucking Truth!

I have my folder together with all the materials I need for class (physical, permit, driving record) and will start in 11 days. The course is every Saturday-Sunday until mid-April. There are several trucking companies that are connected with the school, or at least advertised on the flyer, so while I'm not particularly excited about the companies, perhaps I might receive an offer at the end of school? If not, I do have a list of other companies I'm targeting. And if I'm not meant to drive truck, $900 isn't a bad price for a cdl that could come in handy someday.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Mr. Trucker

Thanks Navypoppop for kindly telling me to temper my expectations. The time away is somewhat a concern, but we both are willing to give it a go. If she could, I think she would go back to being a flight attendant in a heartbeat.

I also don't expect to make 80k out of the gate as a beginner, but replacing or out doing my teaching salary of 45k should be doable?

Thanks for the heads up about the market. Do you think it would be wise just to call recruiters and just ask if they prefer to train over hiring a graduate?

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Mr. Trucker

Update

So I have had to postpone my CDL course as I couldn't secure funding. My wife and I bought a house last June that drained our savings as well as made it very difficult to get a loan for school. Since I wanted to go to a private CDL School, I couldn't use a student loan like I figured I could (Sallie Mae has a career training loan, but it has to be through an actual school-school is my understanding). Then because of the recent mortgage and the credit ding that comes with that, any personal loan I applied for had stupid high interest. Like, high enough to make Visa card blush.

So I held off for the fall, however I think it may have been a blessing in disguise. The local community college has CDL programs, including weekend ones. It's also pennies in the dollar cheaper ($910 vs $5000+). The next weekend course starts in January, so I'm going to try and apply this week to make sure I get a spot.

While a little disappointing, I wasn't really planning on quitting teaching mid-year anyways. It may even be a higher quality class as the hours are nearly double than what's required.

Zen Joker, thanks for the reply! If something goes awry again, I may look at company sponsored training, but I'd prefer to put myself through a CDL course so I'm not contacted to a job or have to owe money if I go a different direction. Plus, with the weekend schooling I can get my CDL while still making my income. Thanks for the hint for the podcast, I'll look into it!

Posted:  9 months, 3 weeks ago

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Mr. Trucker

Well, I have finally done it. My wife and I had the conversation this weekend, and after nearly a month of lurking, I'm ready to share.

I am currently 34 years old (35 in a couple weeks) and have taught middle school for seven years now. Every year around spring break I always start considering other professions due to perceived low wages and student behavior--students start what is known in the biz as "the spring break slide." However, while teaching doesn't pay great, one thing that isn't talked about is how mid-level it pays. It is very difficult to quit and start in a profession that will pay you as much--or more--than you're currently making if you have been teaching multiple years. I've seen a statistic that most teachers quit and make less at their next gig.

Last year was particularly difficult. After having moved from a rural district in Southern Idaho to a large district in coastal North Carolina, I was ready to quit mid January. I put some serious thought into it and had settled on trucking, I had even applied at a company and had a back-and-forth with a recruiter. However, the student who I was having a particularly difficult time with--who was coincidentally in my largest and most challenging class--was removed from the school (I have mixed feelings on this). There were also a few other changes, so I settled in to finish out the year. Other than half-heatedly joking about quitting to get my CDL occasionally, I had resigned myself for teaching for the time being.

At the end of June, my wife told me about one of her coworkers essentially using her entire salary to put her children in daycare. My wife and I spoke about wanting to have children in a year or two, and she reaffirmed her commitment to being a stay at home mom whenever we do start a family. While I'd never expect her to give up her career, I do support her stance. Staring down the barrel of fatherhood, I began thinking about a career change once again. My current,and most likely salary teaching will be around 50k. Though I'm sure there are many families that can and do get by on less than $50,000 a year, my wife and I don't live extravagantly and we currently have a combined income of around 80k. Selfishly, I have a hard time imagining raising a family on much less.

On just a random day in early July, I downloaded American Truck Simulator which began to grow the seed already planted in my head...

Just a bit of background about me so this doesn't seem quite so random: I completely understand that ATS isn't an adequate representation of truck driving. I grew up on a family farm and even operated my own farm for five years before I began teaching. I have driven many hours in a 10-wheeler (mostly a stack-retriever) as well as countless hours in other equipment. I have even spent time some time in a semi (my brother owned two Kenworths, a T680 and W900). I wouldn't ever call myself a truck driver as of now, but I am confident in my ability to get a semi from point A to point B given enough time, light traffic, and good roads. My wife has a background in trucking as well, her dad owns a trucking company and her brother also trucks, so she understands the business. While I'm not confident I will be able to replace our combined income with trucking (though I'm hopeful), I'd definitely have a higher earnings potential than teaching.

After chewing on truck driving for the last few weeks (and playing a lot of American Truck Simulator), my wife and I had a discussion yesterday that went surprisingly well (I do wonder if she was thinking similarly to be honest) and agreed upon me getting my CDL. I want to get my license out of pocket, and there is a school within two hours that offers a 16 week, Saturday-only program. This way I can still teach and coach football this fall while building our savings back up (we bought a house in May that drained our nest egg), as well as fulfill my contract obligation that I give the district at least 30 working-days notice that I resign. While I would need to speak to them about it, some of the companies I am targeting offer tuition reimbursement, so I could still essentially end up with a mostly free CDL.

I should have my license by December, and depending on how well the school year goes as well as the truck-job market, my plan is to start driving sometime during the first half of 2024. I'll keep those interested abreast of my progress!

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