Profile For James M.

James M.'s Info

  • Location:
    Fayetteville, NC

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 month, 2 weeks ago

James M.'s Bio

Recently laid off IT worker desperately looking for a completely different lifestyle. Want to see the U.S. in its entirety and willing to drive every mile of it.

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Posted:  1 month ago

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I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi PackRat. Thanks for the vote of confidence...lol. I think I'll be ok. I mean, if the classroom time is 8 hours and I drive a little over 2 hours up and a little over 2 hours back, I think I could handle it. Although it was a while ago, I use to work in a chemical plant slinging around 50 lb. bags the whole shift and I live an hour away. Plenty of times I'd drive in, work a double and drive back. As a matter of fact the last week I worked there I worked 12 hours the 1st day of the week and then 6 doubles in a row.

You're thinking of commuting between Eden and Fayetteville each day? Good luck staying awake.

Posted:  1 month ago

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I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi Davy. Thanks for your comments! So, let's say I just got finished dropping off a load and then I have time off. My time off would be at the terminal? The company would let me stay there? I'm sure you're all laughing at me. I just don't know where I would be when my time off happens. Would it be at a company that I dropped a load off to or do I go back to a terminal and just park there? I'm still trying to figure out if I can actually live in my truck without a permanent address. I see mentions of mail forwarding services and you can use them as an address, but then I saw a woman's reply (sorry, I didn't catch her name) say that legally you can't use them as a permanent address. I was trying to sell everything in my apartment and I'm not sure if I should stop doing that because I might have no choice but to stay here.

Which brings me to another question. If I'm living in my truck and I can't use it for personal reasons and I still had my apartment.....how would I get back to my apartment? Uber or cab every time? I'm sorry, I'm just thoroughly confused.

Yes, it's the companies truck, but it's referred to as your truck. Most companies have varying lengths of time that the truck can sit before it can be taken. At my company, it's terminal specific, meaning the policy is generally after 7 days you need to clean it out, but if you perform well, then your TM can allow much longer times. I've gone to Europe for 3 weeks and my TM saw to it that my truck stayed mine. Individual results may vary.

Usually, although it varies at companies, they have you park the truck for a reset at a nearby safe location. In my case there's a terminal about 80 miles from my "home" I leave one of my cars at the terminal and park there, other times, like for my home in Texas, I just park it at a truck stop nearby. Many drivers find a yard and rent a space there and/or see if the company will pay for one.

This industry is performance based. If you're safe, reliable on time and easy to work with, after building a reputation for that, you will be able to gain a lot more leeway on items, it's bargaining power.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi Bk. Thanks for the congrats! I've been busy with studying and trying to sell everything in my apartment, but I still have questions about "mailing address" and "permanent address". Can I use the mailing address that I would get from a mail forwarding service as my residential address? I had done some searching around on here and from what I found so far, it looks like everyone is using a family member or friend for their permanent address. I'm sorry to bug you, I'm just a bit confused. Has anyone posted a step-by-step how to? If so, that's all I should really need. If the answer is that I would need an "actual" permanent address and it can't be from a mail forwarding service.....then I'm going to have to stop selling everything and hold onto the apartment, unfortunately. ;-(

Congratulations James!!

dancing-banana.gif dancing-banana.gif dancing-banana.gif dancing-banana.gif

Looks like you are off to a great start.

I live full time in my truck and have for just over 2 years now. I’ve had to figure out how to do everything you are planning to do and it is not all that difficult to accomplish if you take it one step at a time. And of course you have a great resource here to ask any question you want.

First of all, it is customary for an OTR driver to get a personal truck that you don’t share with other drivers. It’s still the company’s property, but you use it exclusively. But there are rules and limitations. Nobody else uses the truck when you are on home time, 34 hour resets or even vacation. But if you need to be off for an extended time, the company might have you empty out the truck and give you another truck when you return to work. Normally you can’t use it for a personal vehicle when you are off work or on some kind of break. This is called “PC” or personal conveyance. Each company follows the FMCSA rules on this but there are variations. This should be covered in your school material and/or orientation. You are free to live in the truck but not to take it anywhere you want. You will have to find out Millis’ parking Policy and probably find a place to park. That place will have to (normally) accommodate both the truck and trailer.

And you do need a valid address which you can get from a business that specializes in that. I use a service I learned about on TT, Your Best Address in Sioux Falls, SD. But there are others. You change your address to one of their personal mailboxes and they will then forward your mail to whatever place you want them to.

I know you have a lot of questions. Others will give you the pertinent information you will need. Good luck with school!

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hey all! Sorry I haven't replied to anyone in a while. I've been extremely busy trying to get everything done that I need to get done. So, I finally made a choice as to where I'm going to get training.

MTI (Millis Training Institute). It starts off with 3 weeks of classroom training then 3 days of orientation. During this time they will pay me $600/wk. Their training facility is in Eden, NC; it's just under 2 1/2 hours away, but I don't see why I can't commute daily at least until the classroom portion of the training is completed. Weeks 5-8 (or until I reach 15,000 mi.) I'll be OTR with a trainer. During that time, they will pay .44 cpm and once I get my own truck it increases to .48 cpm. They've already done the background check and all that and I've been approved! I start training on 4/15, so I gotta study my butt off and pass the CDL permit test and get a DOT physical.

I have been giving serious thought to the nomadic lifestyle, but had questions about it and I really don't understand the notion of getting "my own truck". Even MTI in one of their emails said that I would get my own truck after training is completed. The question is....is it really my own truck? I mean, let's say I'm done whatever load(s) they wanted me to deliver for however long it is until I get time off. Aren't I suppose to drop the truck off to them for other drivers to use? Or is it my actual truck that I will always be using? If the answer is that it is in fact "my truck" then can I use it in my off hours? Also, if it is my truck, currently I live in an apartment. If I don't drop the truck off somewhere...where do I park it? I know there is one person that lives in my complex that drives a truck and he does park it here, but I'm not sure if he made special arrangements or if he has to pay extra per month or something like that. Also, if I do decide to sell everything in my apartment and end the lease and live in my truck, where could I park it during the times I'm not working? Truck stops? Rest stops? How would I get mail without an address? Doesn't the IRS, banks, doctors, insurance companies, etc. need to know where I'm living? Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to talk myself out of it. I have a decent amount of debt that I'd love to pay off and I would also love to save a ton of money, I just don't know how to go about the nomadic lifestyle and actually live in my truck. Old School & Stevo Remo, if you have the time, please let me know as much as you can on how to go about living in my truck. I greatly appreciate it!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi BK. Thanks for the info, but I'm currently looking for a good home for Chance; my cat. I really think it's best for both of us. I can't see him wanting to travel in a truck with me and if anything, he's probably cause an accident. He needs someone; preferably; that already has another cat so he'd have someone to play with. The more I thought about trying to keep him and drag him along with me, the more I realized that it would be hard for both of us and if anything I was being selfish about that idea anyways. It's best to find him a good home. A stable environment. Thanks for the info, though.

James, I’m glad to hear that a plan is starting to fall into place for you.

Just a couple of pet items:

Schneider has a total “no pet” policy, unless that has changed in the last few years, which I doubt.

It’s fairly common for companies to require a security deposit up front before allowing a pet. I know my company requires $350 deposit to get permission for a pet. Policies differ company to company.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi Old School. I haven't really thought about that one. I think it would take some getting use to and I probably could do that, but currently I am under lease here until September. But, you did give me something to chew on. I'll definitely give that some thought.

I'm wondering why you even think you need the apartment. Why not make a fresh start? You could unload everything and just live a nomadic lifestyle in your truck. There's a lot of people doing that. Anytime you want a break from work you just tell your dispatcher where you'd like to take some home time, and if possible, they will route you in that area for a few days of relaxation.

Problem solved. No financial commitments but your cell phone.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi Errol. Thanks for that! I will check them out as well. One way or another, it appears I'll need money of my own no matter which trucking company I decide to go through. I'm just trying to push sales now on Facebook Marketplace and make more ads. I really don't need much in my apartment considering I'd probably be on the road most of the time anyways.

James, once you solve the ca problem, you might want to check PAM Transport

I just read an ad that goes like this:

double-quotes-start.png

How to Get Your Class A CDL Training

You can get your CDL training onsite at PAM! PAM has partnered with Select CDL Driving School (SDS) to offer a new CDL school at PAM headquarters, to get your trucking career off on the right foot.

Apply now! As you train you’ll get to meet other drivers, check out the equipment, and learn the PAM culture to get yourself closer to a driving seat with PAM.

NEW! Get $100 a Week While in School

SDS is now offering a weekly $100 stipend for all new CDL students. You’ll get $100 each week for 3 weeks of school. That’s $300 you can use to help with living expenses during school.* NEW! Industry-Leading 6-Month Commitment

PAM just set a new industry standard by only requiring a 6-month driving commitment to have all your school tuition covered. Other trucking companies require you to drive at least one or two years before they pay for CDL school.

double-quotes-end.png

Here is the Trucking Truth PAM Transport Review (The details here are not up-to-date.)

PAM's web site

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hey all. I just wanted to say that I really do greatly appreciate all of you! So much advice and so many suggestions. It's incredible! I'm so glad I registered here!

I apologize in advance for not naming anyone here as I quickly wrote down all the advice and suggestions and I will quickly go through all of them to find the best direction for me.

I guess I'll bring up my cat; Chance; first. It's really tough to say this, but I really feel the best thing I can do is to find him a good, loving home. I know there are some trucking companies that will allow you to bring a pet after all training is done, but realistically I can't see me bringing him with me on a truck. He'd go insane and probably jump all over me while I'm trying to drive and if I left him in a cage, he's meow his head off and besides, I'd feel bad for keeping him in a cage while I'm driving. He needs to be free to roam in a home or apartment; preferably with another cat as a playmate. It's really the best option for both of us. I do greatly appreciate the idea of setting up a GoFundMe page. That's a great and very sweet suggestion, but I just feel it's best for both of us that I find a good home for him.

As far as who to go through for training I saw a couple of suggestions here: Knight and Schneider. I'm going to look into both of them and see what I believe is the best option for me.

As far as selling items, I have been doing that. I currently have 10 items on Facebook Marketplace and will be adding a ton more things to it. With the suggestion for Biolife, that's interesting. I didn't know you can sell your plasma and get money for it. I'll definitely look into that, but I'm not sure if they will accept plasma from someone that had a cancerous tumor 2 years ago. Besides, I'm not crazy about needles, but would definitely look the other way if I could sell my plasma to them. Something else I just thought about. Do trucking companies have some type of Covid mandate? I never got the Covid shot and I really don't trust it either. If anyone knows one way or the other, please let me know. Thanks!

Once again, a HUGE thanks to ALL of you for all of your advice, suggestions and help! I really do greatly appreciate it and although I really don't know any of you, you already feel like friends to me! Thanks!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Well, I got the details from Prime Inc. and I don't think I'm going to be able to go through them. I liked the fact that they pay for 3 meals a day and lodging for the period of orientation, but then I would be set up with a trainer and then they only pay $200 a week for the 2 to 4 weeks of training. I've got my rent, bills and food to pay for during the training. That's simply not going to cut it.

Back to the drawing board. I need to find a company that offers at least twice that much during the training. I'll keep going through the lists here. There's gotta be someone...somewhere. I don't care if I have to sign a 2 to 3 year contract. I just need them to cover everything and pay enough for me to keep my apartment and keep the lights on.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

I'd like to become a driver, but having trouble finding what I need...

Hi BK. I know what you're saying and you are right. I probably should have explained a little more than to simply say I have no friends or family. I had a dog as well; Rusty. I had him for over 15 years and I had recently had to put him down because of cancer. That was just last week; 2/22. I'm still depressed about it and I'm sure I will be for a while. My cat; Chance; knows I'm in pain and definitely tries his best to cheer me up. I know all this must sound stupid.

I have asked everyone around me if they could watch him. Anywhere I've looked as far as getting him a temp home is some type of money situation that I honestly don't have. No one is going to do it for free or for a very small amount of money. So, there's realistically only one choice left. I'll just find him a good home. I really don't want to do that, but you are right. I need to get serious and concentrate on what I need to do.

I've been taking the High Road study course for the CDL-A permit and I'm about half way through it and currently have a perfect score. I've also filled out an application for Prime Inc. I'm just waiting for them to get back with me.

As hard as it was to read your comment, you are right and I appreciate it.

James, this cat of yours is taking over your life and seems so important to you that you are letting the cat determine what you do in life. Look, I understand how attached we can get to a pet, but you need to think outside the litter box here.

If you ever get into driving, you will quickly discover that drivers need to develop resourcefulness in a hurry. So start practicing resourcefulness in relation to your cat. Find a way to get it into a temporary home so the cat is not complicating your goal of being a driver. Start asking neighbors or anybody else you can think of to take care of your cat while you go through the process. Put an ad on Craigslist or Facebook and find a solution. The solution is not asking a school or company to alter their policy to accommodate your cat. And few (or none) trainers will let you bring a cat into their truck. I certainly wouldn’t.

Long story short, make the cat a non-issue and get on with a plan to improve your life.

Good luck, you can do this but be resourceful.

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