Comments By Bush Country

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Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Texas CDL

There is no trick to it. I tested in Texas in 2021 and passed the second time after failing the Section 14 portion the first time, since I foolishly did not study that section.

With the exception of Section 14 "Special Requirements for Texas Commercial Motor Vehicles" everything is covered in the High Road Online CDL training on this web site. Work through that as well as the CDL Practice Tests. Then reset scores and repeat. Multiple times. For about a month before I went to take my written tests I went through the practice test on here at least once on a daily basis.

Until you get your CDL, you do not need to worry about the HazMat or (if I remember correctly) doubles & triples, since you cannot get these endorsements (in Texas) until you have your CDL. You can get the tanker endorsement when you do the written for the CDLP.

As for the examiner not telling you what you missed - they may not know. The test is computerized and I don't remember if the examiner has access to your test questions/answers. They just know if you passed or failed.

If someone reading this has tested in Texas since May, 2021, please correct any misinformation written above.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Pre-Trip Inspection Test...Any tips/Advice?

Remember that the parts are right there in front of you, so you have a cue as to what you need to be talking about.

As others have said - flash cards. Once you write them out and review them, get either a blank set of cards or a piece of paper and write it all out again. I used abbreviations that made sense to me to get through this faster. Every night I would go through the pre-trip at least three times, visualizing and writing it out each time, then checking against the script to be sure I was not leaving anything out.

Reading something and reviewing it helps, but writing it out will make it stick. Plus it gives you a written record to grade so you can see what you've left out.

Also - it helped me to go through it all in reverse order. When I was in school, we started at the front of the truck, did the engine compartment, in-cab, driver's side, rear, and passenger side ending at the front of the truck. So I'd start with the front passenger side and work around in the opposite direction.

And finally, if you can, team up with two or three other students that are motivated to learn, and test each other. It helps to get feedback and it also makes one less self-conscious about performing in front of others - since that has to be done on test day.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Cool new app perfect for truckers

The founder of Autio was on Shark Tank last Friday night. Not sure if it was a new episode or a re-run. He did not mention anything about AI, but did say that they had snippets about 9,000 different locations around the US recorded. He did not get a deal with any Sharks because he wanted too much for a share of the company and would not back down on it. He was probably on the show just to get the PR from being there.

My personal view of the app is that it would be a waste of money. How many times does one want to hear the same information about a place they've been through before? I'm thinking it would get old pretty quick.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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It's Been a LONG time

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I was in Schofield last night and in Plymouth today. Are you still hanging around up here?

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Nalee, I delivered a load yesterday to Cargill in Butler, WI. I bet you’ve been there. While there I met another ASL driver and had a brief conversation. He told me his name but I already have forgotten. Small world. (Don’t take that personally, lol)

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No, it was too cold in WI. I headed south after picking up another load and am almost to Memphis for my 10 hr. break. Deliver in Cleburne, TX tomorrow.

Cleburne, Texas - my home town. Always surprised to see it come up in the news.... or in a trucking forum.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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Hello everyone. looking for good sunglasses and updates.

Thank you for all the replies. I will order a pair of the 3m safety glasses and try them. if that don't work, I will keep trying others that you people suggested.

I have bought them at both Lowe's and Home Depot. Sometimes 3M, sometimes Dewalt, depending on what's in stock.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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I’m a newbie, looking for a career change.

If you poke around enough. There are a few companies that offer CDL instruction and training without a contract. As with anything, there is a give and take with it.

You should really stay with your first company at least a year even if you're not contracted to. As was said, we're in a recession and freight volume is low right now. Companies may be a bit more tight on hiring right now.

Davy - we didn't sign a contract with Knight. We signed a promissory note that is payed back to them over the course of a year. One could go there for the school without a commitment to Knight, as one of my classmates did. We also had one guy in our Top Gun class that got his CDL elsewhere.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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I may have to make a choice.....

NaeNae,

My mom passed away from dementia in 2021 at age 92. I got the call from hospice that she was "actively passing" as I was driving home from Knight's Top Gun in Phoenix. This was on a Friday. They said she had been actively passing since that Monday. I asked them how long she had and they said less than 72 hours. I got home Saturday morning and went to see her that afternoon. I planned to go back on Sunday afternoon and got the call that she had passed about 30 minutes before I was going to go see her.

The point of this story is that if your mom is in hospice care, they should be able to tell the difference between her general decline and actively passing. If you wanted to stay on the road but make it to her before the end ask hospice about this and request that they call you as soon as she is actively passing, and ask for a time frame.

As for if you "should" be there - only you can answer that, and you have to answer to no one for your decision.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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What is the deal with 1099 trucking jobs? Is there a catch?

I work as a 1099 contractor (consultant) in the oilfield. The tax implications discussed below should be similar for any business.

As to how this applies to trucking – for 1099 to be worthwhile I think one would have to be paid at a considerably higher rate (I’m thinking 2x to 3x higher) than a company driver. That doesn’t take into consideration the other issues involved as pointed out by Old School, Delco Dave, PackRat, and Zen joker.

I bill the oil companies through a consulting company that takes 10% of my day rate and provides liability insurance and workman’s comp, as well as paying me the same week that I invoice instead of me having to wait for the oil company to pay. Since my wife is employed, we have health, dental, and vision insurance through her employer. If I needed to get my own health insurance the BCBS plans available through the consulting firm range from $900 to $1,550 per month for me only. Those are the rates for age 64+. For a 21 year old the rates are from $300 to $500 per month and increase based on age.

For me, there were three ways to set up a business as a contractor: sole proprietor, LLC, and S-Corporation. Each one has its own tax implications. When I first started I ran as a sole proprietor for a few months before getting my S corp set up.

A sole proprietor is responsible for the Self-Employment tax (Social Security), Medicare, and income tax on every penny earned. SS tax is 12.4% and Medicare is 2.9%. Income tax can be estimated based on what one expects to earn. So for starters, there’s 15.3% of gross taxed, not counting income tax. I live in Texas, so there’s no state income tax to consider.

I have not operated as an LLC, but my understanding is that any money earned by the LLC becomes taxable once it is withdrawn from the LLC, and is fully taxed like the sole proprietor example.

I operate as an S-Corporation. I have to pay myself a “reasonable” salary. Technically half of the SS tax is withheld from my salary and the other half paid by the S corp. Same for Medicare tax. I withhold 20% for income tax. The SS, Medicare, and income tax are paid monthly via form 941. I also pay a quarterly payment since my wife and I have other income from investments. My main expenses are vehicle expenses (gas, tires, oil changes, repairs) and FR clothing, all of which I pay for through the S corp. I also pay unemployment insurance. In 2022, mine was $0 for the state of Texas, and $42 to the feds since I’ve not filed any unemployment claims on myself.

The tax advantage of an S corp is that anything left over after my salary, taxes, and expenses are paid can be taken as a “distribution”, and is not taxed (by the Feds, states probably vary, but -0- for Texas). For 2022, as percentages:

Total 1099 gross receipts = 100% paid out as follows: Salary = 37%, Taxes = 11%, 401k match = 8%, Expenses = 2%, and Distributions = 42%.

The taxes were 30% of my salary.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Suspended license

Sorry this happened BK.

For newcomers reading this...

This has become a tricky little area for CDL drivers. Each time you get a new physical done you must self certify it with your state. I have found the two best ways in my state (TX), are to walk it into a DMV office and have them scan it into their system while I'm standing there with the clerk, or email it to the specific email address the state provides. I always follow up the email one week later with a phone call, verifying the new expiration date.

I never trust the state to handle important documents efficiently. I do take measures to hold them accountable.

OS - I scanned & emailed mine in Texas last year (5.24.22) and received an automated confirmation email back the same day. In the email there was a link to use to check eligibility which is still active today (1.5.23). Seems as though the system works well, based on a sample size of one.

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

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Two Week's and On To New Job

Travis - you've started for SLB? Now you've joined me in the ranks of oilfield trash. How's it going?

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