Profile For Brett Aquila

Brett Aquila's Info

  • Location:
    Plattsburgh, NY

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:
    Brett Aquila On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    11 years, 10 months ago

Brett Aquila's Bio

Hey Everyone! I'm the owner and founder of TruckingTruth and a 15 year trucking veteran.

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Posted:  2 hours, 3 minutes ago

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Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

I am not convinced at all they are seriously addressing the issue. I want to be wrong. Show me.

The "show me" part is exactly why I said you're heading for a very short career in this industry. You have completely misunderstood the driver demand scenario and you've way overestimated your self-worth and your current role in this game.

Trucking companies need experienced, efficient, safe, productive drivers. You are none of those things. You're some guy off the street who is hoping for an opportunity to prove you can become that someday, but that day won't be anytime soon. Unfortunately 90% of the people who start a career in trucking don't last one year. In fact, a huge percentage of the people who take a shot at it never even manage to get their CDL or drive solo one day in their life. So until you prove your worth they're going to assume you'll be one of the 90% that won't be around for long. You're a guy sitting the bench hoping the coach will put you in and give you a chance. That's where you sit - not in the catbird seat, but on the bench.

So you have to understand - there is no demand for people coming in off the street. None. Nada. Zip. You are not in demand and no one is interested in being the highest bidder in this imaginary game that's going on in your head where you're some valuable free agent and everyone is hoping to be the highest bidder to get a piece of you. There will be no red carpet rolled out. You will not be asked to be the guest speaker. No one will be taking photographs of you as you come through the door.

I asked you to read Busting The Free Agent Myth In Trucking but clearly you haven't because you're still thinking you're holding all the cards here.

I'm not emphasizing this so strongly to be a jerk. I'm doing it in hopes of preventing your career from going in the toilet a few weeks from now the way it will for many others who are taking the same approach you are - this "Show Me" attitude where somehow these companies have to prove something to you?

Do you really think that a company with thousands of trucks, tens of thousands of employees, billions in revenues, and decades of success at the highest level in this industry has something to prove to you???? How in the hell does that make any sense in your head?

Come on, man. You have to wake up and realize you're over-valuing yourself - one of the most egregious errors a person can make. You have the opportunity to prove yourself. You should be thankful you're being given that opportunity. Once you can prove you have what it takes to be a safe, efficient, productive, reliable driver then you'll be in demand. But you have a long, long way to go before that day comes.

Posted:  17 hours, 23 minutes ago

View Topic:

Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

I'd rather make 54 CPM plus $15/stop with a minimum guarantee, bonus for being out another day, 100% no touch and 90% drop and hook. But like I keep saying... That's just me!

Yeah, well we'll see how you do in Milwaukee and Chicago traffic all day, everyday trying to navigate your way around those cities and backing into tight spaces as a rookie straight out of school working for a company that isn't going to tolerate many mistakes.

Boy, we sure have some students with an ton of hubris these days, don't we? Well this is a very humbling profession. There's no faking it. We'll see what happens when the rubber meets the road for real soon enough.

Posted:  17 hours, 28 minutes ago

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Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

There seems to be a log jam of sorts in this Driver shortage IMHO.

Well If I had a dog turd in one hand and your opinion in the other, at least the dog turd would be useful for fertilizing plants.....

The research I've done (limited as it's been) is that a lot of companies are blowing smoke and NOT getting REAL serious in their Incentives to attract new drivers. Everyone talking potential with experienced hyper=performing drivers but not much reality for newbies walking in the door.

All the recruiters sound like parrots. No one really setting themselves out front and being industry leaders. Companies really need to loosen up their purse strings and offer better pay and benefits. No one will convince me that the the money is NOT there. I'll stop there. ;>)

Wow man, I've gotta say, you're talking like a guy who has a really short career ahead of him, and that's not IMHO, that's in my very well educated and experienced opinion.

Let me ask you something - why in the world would someone with no skills, no experience, no street smarts, and no ability to help a company turn a profit be considered valuable to a trucking company? You really should have considered that before you decided that everyone should be in some sort of arms race begging for your services. You're not even capable of providing any services at this point! If you can't even understand that basic premise I can't imagine you'll figure out much else, either, IMHO of course.

I'm sorry, but people with an inflated sense of self worth really irritate me.

You've obviously fallen hard for "the free agent myth." You should definitely read these:

Busting The Free Agent Myth In Trucking

Old School Responds To Criticisms After Busting The Free Agency Myth

Posted:  1 day, 8 hours ago

View Topic:

Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

We're totally behind ya Marc and we're all pulling for ya. I really am interested in hearing how things go over there for ya. It could be a great gig.

Do keep something else in mind - the hours are going to be really, really long. People hear "home daily" and they think, "Wow, that's great! I'll actually have a life!"

No, you won't unfortunately. Local gigs usually entail around 60 hours per week. You're going to use your logbook hours just like anyone else. I had a local gig one time and I wanted to hang myself. I had just bought a house and I had been on the road for the better part of 14 years so I was ready to spend some time at the house. Well from the time I left the house until I got back home each day averaged about 14 - 15 hours. So I had 9 - 10 hours to eat, shower, do chores, and sleep before leaving the house again, and I was totally exhausted when I got home.

So local work isn't anything like having a 7 to 4 job where you're home by 4:30 or whatever. The hours are usually ridiculously long. I mean, you're going to average 2,000 miles per week, plus you'll at least have to do one or two drop-n-hooks, plus the city traffic, plus the commute to and from work everyday. Do the math, it's not a pretty picture. So just be ready for that.

Posted:  1 day, 15 hours ago

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Thinking about CDL and OTR trucking..

The good/bad thing about most big starter companies like Swift,Prime, and C.R. England is that they will take anyone with a pulse for the most part

Do you know why that is? Because a huge percentage of the people who take a shot at this career fall flat on their face almost immediately. 50% of the people who show up at these programs don't even manage to get their CDL and another 50% of those who remain never complete the training and go solo. So 75% of the people who walk through that door on day one thinking "it's just trucking" wind up back home with their tail between their legs.

So they'll give a lot of people the opportunity to prove they have what it takes to make it in this industry, but unfortunately not many people do.

Posted:  1 day, 15 hours ago

View Topic:

Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

I also know I don't have to start at a rate which is 1/2 to 2/3 of what J.B. Hunt is able to offer me

Old School and Turtle both made $50,000 their first year. Nowadays most rookies with a strong work ethic will make $45,000+ their rookie year. To say you don't have to start at 1/2 - 2/3 the rate of others implies you're going to make 33% - 50% more than most. You'd have to make $60,000 - $75,000 your rookie year for that to be true when compared to $45,000. I'd be absolutely delighted if you made that happen, but I'd also be shocked. Also, remember that rate is only half of the equation. The number of miles you're turning or loads you're hauling is the other.

I see the "average driver salaries" listed on their website for various jobs is often $70,000 - $80,000, which is what top experienced OTR and regional drivers are making, but JB also offers more home time. So I expect it could be a really good opportunity, but unfortunately a rookie probably won't be as productive as experienced drivers so I'm not sure if what kind of salary you will get that first year.

As you can see, we hold strong to the name of this website - Trucking Truth. If you make statements, we're going to verify every one of them or have you explain where you got that from. That's why we prefer that new drivers share their actual experiences with us instead of their opinions or projections for the future. Experiences tell what really happened. A new driver's opinions and projections are often way off the mark, unfortunately.

I'm very interested in hearing how things go for you at JB. We haven't had very many people come through the website that worked there.

Posted:  2 days, 7 hours ago

View Topic:

Which Companies Hire New Graduates straight out of CDL School ?

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly with Old School, as always. The schooling does nothing but teach you the bare minimum needed to get a CDL. That's it. Handling the rig is rarely the issue when someone fails to make a go of this career. It's the lifestyle, the pressure, the expectations, the long hours, the erratic schedule, and the need to get along well with people. You have to come up with creative solutions to problems out there, and you have to learn to be fiercely independent. None of that is taught at school.

If you've done your research you've surely heard 1,000 crybaby stories from people who couldn't hack it in trucking. Think about it - how many said it was because they couldn't drive the truck? Almost zero. That's rarely the issue, and that's all the school is giving anyone - the bare minimum skills to pass the CDL exam.

I agree with Old School - I'm glad you're happy with your school and hopefully you'll get an opportunity with JB Hunt to show what you're made of. But make no mistake - that school didn't give you any advantages over anyone else. It's going to be one hell of a challenge once you get out there. So be ready.

The only reason we're saying this stuff is because you're starting to think you've figured out something special about the industry and you're advising people on their career choices. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do that. You've yet to drive a big rig a single mile alone in your life. Your career hasn't even begun yet. Get some time under your belt and then you'll be ready to help people with their careers.

Posted:  3 days, 13 hours ago

View Topic:

No CFI reviews?

No, it's not a sign. CFI is an excellent company and we have drivers here that are very happy with them. I don't believe they offer a Paid CDL Training Program so we don't have them listed in that section.

Posted:  3 days, 13 hours ago

View Topic:

Driver given a lesson in road rage

The video guy appears to have other issues

Legal fund

OMG this dude is exactly the stereotype most of America has of truck drivers, probably because this is the type of loud-mouth nutcase that posts everything on social media. So this guy not only has a couple of incidents that we know about regarding his road rage, but naturally he carries a gun in his truck too. Absolutely fantastic.

By the way, the incident with that gun that he was arrested for is a separate incident from the road rage video that started this thread.

Fantastic.

wtf-2.gif

Posted:  3 days, 15 hours ago

View Topic:

Driver given a lesson in road rage

I've seen this video before. Without a doubt the guy who shot the video is just as much to blame. He's totally reckless and these two had been arguing before the clip begins.

This video is typical of the "information" we get from truck drivers, especially when it comes to the quality of a company or a training program. It's totally one-sided and incomplete, leaving out all kinds of important information. You'll find a ton of clowns on Youtube and other trucking forums who pretend they're just honest, kind, hard working people trying to do their jobs and make their lives better but the evil company they worked for abused them or ruined their opportunity for no reason!

Just like the clown in this video who is trying to pretend he was just innocently driving along and doing his job when some crazy trucker got mad at him and stopped on the highway for no reason! He just happened to leave out all of the arguing that led up to this, and even though he left it in his video I guess we weren't supposed to notice how aggressively he was driving? Not only was he shooting across lanes but he was doing it in a solid white line zone where you're not supposed to be changing lanes at all.

And where do you think he was going in such a hurry? Why do you think he shot across those lanes to get out into that lane to the left? Almost certainly so he could pull up alongside the guy he was arguing with, give him the finger, and continue the fight.

So the next time you hear information from some innocent, hard working, honest guy who was abused or got taken advantage of through no fault of his own, think of this video and ask yourself, "What isn't he telling me?" I promise you the story has no value without the parts they're leaving out.

Posted:  4 days, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

Wind Speed Chart

Oh that's really cool. I've never seen anything like that before. Pretty interesting.

Posted:  4 days, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

Yet another blood pressure scare

Since we're on the topic I'll point out some info we have on blood pressure requirements for the DOT physical and some tips for lowering it short term and long term:

Blood Pressure Requirements For The DOT Physical

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Guidelines & Advice

Posted:  5 days, 3 hours ago

View Topic:

How does a truck driver protect themselves

I've said it many times before.....I'll take a German Shepherd over a gun any day. By the time someone knows you have a gun or a knife they're already way too close. But people will know from quite a distance that you have a 100+ pound German Shepherd and they'll quickly lose interest in you as a target, and from a safe distance.

One morning a few years ago two houses on my road got robbed in broad daylight. One was a Sheriff's house, the other was actually a hunting cabin. Whoever did it stole all the guns in both places, along with a few other little things. I wasn't home either at the time it happened, but I had a 100 pound German Shepherd sitting on the front porch. Guess who's house never got touched?

Literally a house full of guns didn't keep anyone away. In fact, it made them a target. But a big ass German Shepherd - no one is interested in getting involved in that mess.

smile.gif

Posted:  5 days, 5 hours ago

View Topic:

Family driving

I thought Swift was doing that at one point. Maybe someone working there knows for sure.

Posted:  5 days, 16 hours ago

View Topic:

Share A Cool Moment From Your Day

Brett, that is really cool!

Is it just me? Your board looks pretty short...

Thanks! No, it's a standard size board. It's a park board, not a carving board. A carving board might be a little longer. I switched to skiing very soon after that video. I'm going to shoot another one of those 360 videos on skis.

Posted:  6 days, 7 hours ago

View Topic:

Professionalism

why can't the shippers and receivers act like they actually give a damn, not treat show contempt towards drivers, and act in a professional and courteous manner?

The overwhelming majority of people react far more often than they act. In other words, why do you think some act badly toward drivers? You've seen enough drivers to know that answer.

And to be honest, there aren't very many customers I would say don't give a damn. They may not have fancy facilities or go out of their way to serve free coffee and donuts, but would you expect them to?

The more professional we act the more professionally we'll be treated. That's the approach to take and it's the only thing we have control over.

Posted:  6 days, 10 hours ago

View Topic:

Gym time powerlifting and strength training while on the road.

You asked our advice and you got it and you’re going to ignore it anyways. So go do what you want. None of us really care. It doesn’t affect us any. We know the answers, you think you know the answers. Next time don’t ask a question if you don’t want honest answers or if you’re just going to ignore us anyways. Quit wasting our time.

Posted:  6 days, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

What's easier to train?

With those that are set in their ways do you try to correct to the ways you were trained and practice or let them continue with how they know it to be done?

I think it comes down to a matter of efficiency, safety, and company policy. If they're doing something unsafe then obviously that needs to be corrected. If they're doing something that's clearly less efficient than other ways then that probably needs to be corrected also. Naturally if it clearly goes against company policy it needs to be corrected.

But there are some things that can be done equally well in different ways. Sometimes you can simply say, "Well if that method works for you then go with that."

So it's really a judgment call on your part. In the end does their way of doing things really hurt anything? If so, change it. If not, you might be just fine letting it go.

Posted:  6 days, 12 hours ago

View Topic:

What's easier to train?

I think this comes down to the trainer and how they set expectations.

I was going to say I think it comes down to the person being trained. Are they open to learning? Are they humble? Do they enjoy the challenge of proving themselves to a new employer or their trainer?

Some people are old curmudgeons who don't think they should have to prove anything to anyone. They have a ton of experience so they think you should just shut up and bow down to their greatness.

Others are humble, open to new ideas, and enjoy any challenges you put in front of them. They see everything as an opportunity where something good may come of it, even if they don't know at the time what that opportunity may be.

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Taking a shower on the road

That is a strange observation

Yeah, it really is.....

People come up with some crazy ideas why they don't like the big trucking companies

I've been hearing them for over 25 years now and I'm as baffled by it today as I was on day one. I could never figure out for the life of me why so many people try so hard to hate the largest, most successful companies in the U.S.

I often wonder if it's like that in other industries. Do most techies mock Google and Apple? Do most people in the Airline business mock American and Delta? Do most investment bankers mock JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?

It just never crossed my mind, even when I was in trucking school, that the largest carriers would be a bad place to work. In fact, the instructors at the school I went to all had long careers with the big carriers and had nothing but good things to say about em. It wasn't until I got on the road and heard all of the trash talk on the CB that I was first exposed to the idea that so many people hated the largest carriers.

I wonder if these people would be that way toward, say, a career in the NFL? Like, would they scoff at the idea of playing for the Patriots and insist on playing for the Browns or the Bills?

It's odd. Like no, I don't want to work for a company that's loaded with money, has thousands of brand new trucks, has a long list of great opportunities, and decades of success at the highest level. No, I'd rather work for some dumpy mom-n-pop who scavenge change from the couch cushions to keep the lights on and can't afford to repair their 20 year old smoking heaps. In what world does that make sense? Not in my world.

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

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