Profile For Vincent S.

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Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

The most common mistake that new drivers make while learning to back is oversteering and not waiting long enough for the trailer to react to your steering inputs. If you practice on a small trailer that reacts quickly requiring large movements of the steering wheel you're probably going to exacerbate the oversteering tendency of a new driver.

Thanks Brett, I'll just double down and try to get as much time in the truck as possible in that case. It looks like I'll have the opportunity to practice back just about every day. I'm going to look up some YouTube videos on backing techniques this morning, before I go out again.

BTW I really appreciate what you are doing with this site. You could definitely be charging money for your High Road program if you wanted to. As a fellow web developer and prospective truck driver, I have a lot of respect for you.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Just remember that a car and trailer will react very quickly compared to a tractor and 53' trailer. There is even a very noticeable difference in reaction to the tandems being sucked all the way up and slid all the way back.

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I guess my thought process is that the quicker reaction time of the smaller trailer will help me learn the concept more quickly(and will save my left leg some soreness!)

I liken it to how I learned to sail a boat. You learn a lot better on the small dingy's, because any input gets immediate feedback. When you take the same concepts to a big cabin sail boat, sailing the bigger boat is a piece of cake, because the reaction time is a lot slower and you have more time to make adjustments.

On that note, I was able to get the trailer lined up at the dock all by myself this time! Man this is exciting!

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

I'll get some more details on how we log hours/miles as I talk some more and report back with that, along with my progress.

I got about another hour in this morning. I hooked up a trailer, pulled it around the building and then backed it into a dock. I was able to get it pretty close, but the dock foreman ended up lining up the last bit for me, because I kept getting it just a foot or two off center. I think I'm also going to hook up my small trailer to my car and practice backing. That's the area I feel I am going to need the most work in.

I'm about to head outside to hook up another trailer and back that in.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Is there a certain number of miles they normally look for to consider you "experienced"? I've read some things that say there's like a 3 month, 6 month and one year mark as far as different levels of experience go, but I assume that applies to OTR driving? I'm estimating that it would take me 3-6 months to rack up 160 hours of actual time behind the wheel. Probably closer to 3. It just depends on the time of year, and we are coming into the slow season... I think if I were to stay for a whole year, I could probably log 750-1000 hours easy.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Glad to hear you have another option that you feel may work for you.

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I'm still interested in eventually transferring to that tanker job. How would that work as far as verifiable driving experience? Do I just keep copies of all of my driving logs?

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One issue you still may run into is the lack of schooling/certificate if you're basically a fill in driver. Also unless the tanker job is local, many of the large OTR companies dont consider local driving to be experience. Some job postings for experience list "OTR experience", while others are only looking for "tractor trailer experience". I'm not sure how your company operates but where im at we use peoplenet for our ELOGS and it tracks mileage on a daily basis and submits that to our office for verification purposes. Being a fill in driver i think would make learning and getting in the groove a little more difficult, similiar reason many feel weekend school isnt a good option.

Hmm...that complicates things a bit. I'm actually not all that interested in driving OTR. I'd be more interested in the postings I see where they say you are home every weekend, sometimes every other weekend. I guess those are usually "regional"? I'm thinking that since I live in Houston, TX, I could probably find something like that driving a tanker, but then again maybe not. I'm pretty sure our company uses the ELOGS. There's a computer on the dash(looks kind of silly on the 1980's ford I've been practicing in) and the drivers also carry around this thing that looks like a tablet...

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Vincent what kind of work are you in right now? Would it be possible to have your employer cover school and transition you to a driver position? .

I didn't really think about it at the time when I read it, but this was a great post! Thank you for that. I did just have a talk with our ops director and he loves the idea of me helping out as a driver. I generally put in about 40-50 hours a week currently, but he said anytime it won't interfere with my regular responsibilities, not only would he use me as a driver, but they would even pay me more money while I drive!(on top of the OT I'd already be receiving). Essentially I would be making over 40 dollars an hour while I drive the truck. Staying with this company might not be such a bad thing after all...I mean with that additional income it kind of cancels out the fact that I am having to pay a ton of money for healthcare.gov insurance.

Oh and he would be letting me use the company truck to test in.

I'm still interested in eventually transferring to that tanker job. How would that work as far as verifiable driving experience? Do I just keep copies of all of my driving logs?

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Vincent what kind of work are you in right now? Would it be possible to have your employer cover school and transition you to a driver position? Sysco had offered me that before id left for my current company that i felt was a better match. This isnt the recommended path to take but maybe its what you're looking for. Just know if its local driving its not recommended for newbies due to long hours and close quarter maneuvering. I started my career local and feel i wouldn't have been as successful had my training not been 12 weeks (after the 4 weeks of school). With that being said, we had a driver that finished his training 2 weeks ago. Today he hit a parked car while backing. It dented their bumper in but because they invested their time and money in him they're giving him additional training rather than firing him. Who knows if they'd handle it the same had they not fronted the cost of him to obtain his license. This is an example of why many members agree paid training (with contract) is best/safest route to go.

Our company is in the trade show/convention industry. They wouldn't cover school, but they would most definitely use me as a part time driver if I got my CDL on my own. I already know that if I did something like hit a parked car, they wouldn't fire me. I'm pretty confident that they would continue letting me drive, even. They definitely would not fire me over it as I play a key role within the company supervising an entire department. I also know of employee's who have been in many accidents, both in the trucks and on forklifts, and they continue to operate.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

You are going into this completely contrary to everything we teach, including the fact that you don't have a plan B or C to fall back on. I think it's a very foolish way to try and do something that has close to a 95% failure rate. But what do I know?

Plan B is to attend the night schooling when it starts in January while working my current job. If that somehow doesn't work I have plan C, which is to forget the whole thing and continue working for the job that I didn't have to quit; While I may not like it, I would still be making a decent living if all else fails. So the worst case scenario would be that I get the CDL and absolutely no one will hire me, but I might get some OT hours making runs when our other drivers run out of hours during busy times. Since I have to wait on school anyways, I don't see what trying to get it on my own could hurt.

IMO the absolute most foolish thing to do at this point would be to walk out of my 60K a year stable job of 15 years and take a shot at something with a 95% failure rate, before I even have a second job secured. At least with my plan A and B, I could get an actual job lined up before quitting this one.

I understand this would be a completely unorthodox way of doing things, which goes against all generalized advice...but I think I also have a very rare set of circumstances that make it a viable option for me.

It can be done with your approach, but very seldom does it work out. If Schneider puts you into your own solo truck, you'd better be at the top of your game. If you screw up your chance with them, I don't know where you'll be able to turn for a job.

I sincerely wish the best for you, and I hope you'll keep us posted on how things are going for ya.

It seems like things going south at your first company before your first year is up would be pretty bad news regardless. I do have money in the bank, so maybe I could attend a 3-4 week program in the even that something like that happens. I'll definitely be on top of my game and I'll definitely make sure I get a ton of practice driving the trucks for my current company before making the leap. I'll keep you guys and girls posted for sure. I haven't ruled out going to school yet, but my current plan is to attempt to get the CDL on my own and then attempt to get a job. I have until January to do that and if it doesn't happen by then, I'll start attending the night classes.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

He never answered your question about formal schooling.

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I did go on to ask him specifically if I would qualify for training to drive a tanker, but he hasn't responded. I assume "we would send you through our hiring process just like any other candidate" means that it's a possibility.

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He never answered your question about formal schooling.

I mean it seems pretty clear that their requirement is "a class A CDL". I'll try again tomorrow from a different number to seek further clarification. I'm a little skeptical myself. I'm thinking maybe drive a dry van for 6 months or so...then I could move to tankers and wouldn't have to change companies.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

I did go on to ask him specifically if I would qualify for training to drive a tanker, but he hasn't responded. I assume "we would send you through our hiring process just like any other candidate" means that it's a possibility.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

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Alright so I just contacted a Schneider recruiter. They said I would qualify for most of their positions with just a class A CDL and no experience....I was a little shocked at first, but I asked a second time and he said I'd definitely qualify. I'd just need to complete their skills test and then attend their normal training program that they require from any graduate of an accredited school.

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Be careful here. You will not convince me they are okay with a CDL that has no formal training behind it. Even if they do, I don’t recommend this approach for the simple reason if it doesn’t work out with Schneider and your employment ends early, you will basically need to start over. I’ll defer to other Schneider drivers.

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Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Alright so I just contacted a Schneider recruiter. They said I would qualify for most of their positions with just a class A CDL and no experience....I was a little shocked at first, but I asked a second time and he said I'd definitely qualify. I'd just need to complete their skills test and then attend their normal training program that they require from any graduate of an accredited school.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

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You guys are right, I need to just quit looking for the easiest way out, make a commitment and do it the right way. Sorry if I've offended anyone, I just wanted to put my concerns out in the open and it turns out you guys are doing a great thing here.

I guess another issue I have with the company sponsored training is the commitment level. None of them seem to offer any night time scheduling that would allow me to hold a job while I train. I mean I'd love to tell my boss "adios" and walk out of here tomorrow, because I'm so burnt out with this dead end job...but at the same time it's kind of terrifying. It's been my only means of income for about 15 years now. What if I go all in on the trucking school and it doesn't work out, or I don't like it? What if I only end up making 35K a year and I'm stuck in a one year contract? My current job would be long gone by then. There'd be no going back to it. I actually hate the idea of waiting around for the night classes to start, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough with the idea of throwing this job away and just hoping everything works out. I realize I'm going to have to do that to some extent at some point, but I'd at least get a taste of it first with part time schooling, and I wouldn't be locked into a contract, so if it isn't working out after a month or so I could always just come back to this job.

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Vincent you seem to contradict yourself. We have all been faced with the same exact prospect you have presented.

What if? ...What if? ...What if?

Trucking isn’t the kind of thing you can hope to understand or succeed at by dipping your toe in the water. You must commit and do so with a “never look back” attitude. No matter what level of conservative, low risk approach you take, you have less than a 10% chance of long term success.

So “what if” I suggested your chances of success are doubled by things that require no skill...

Stubborn Determination

Uncompromising Commitment

Preparation

A Consistent Positive Attitude

And Patience

Patience in accepting that because you must continue generating an income while going to trucking school, you must wait for your night classes to begin. Based on everything you have written it’s currently your best option.

Commit to your plan, prepare for your success, maintain a positive attitude that you can do this and carry out your goal with dogged determination. Never looking back...

Good luck!

Thanks a lot G-town. This really is an awesome site and I currently owe 100% of the fact that I got my CLP so quickly to the site and it's members. You're probably right about the night schooling being best and I'll just have to wait on it. Schneider is a company I'm strongly considering as they have local training and I do want to drive a tanker here in Houston, TX. Since they don't have their own sponsored school, I'd need to attend one of their approved schools, which the night classes I am looking at happen to be one of those.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

You guys are right, I need to just quit looking for the easiest way out, make a commitment and do it the right way. Sorry if I've offended anyone, I just wanted to put my concerns out in the open and it turns out you guys are doing a great thing here.

I guess another issue I have with the company sponsored training is the commitment level. None of them seem to offer any night time scheduling that would allow me to hold a job while I train. I mean I'd love to tell my boss "adios" and walk out of here tomorrow, because I'm so burnt out with this dead end job...but at the same time it's kind of terrifying. It's been my only means of income for about 15 years now. What if I go all in on the trucking school and it doesn't work out, or I don't like it? What if I only end up making 35K a year and I'm stuck in a one year contract? My current job would be long gone by then. There'd be no going back to it. I actually hate the idea of waiting around for the night classes to start, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough with the idea of throwing this job away and just hoping everything works out. I realize I'm going to have to do that to some extent at some point, but I'd at least get a taste of it first with part time schooling, and I wouldn't be locked into a contract, so if it isn't working out after a month or so I could always just come back to this job.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Okay here's a better question:

if, IF I can manage to get a company to hire me without the 160 hours cert. and I get, say 1+ year experience with that company with a lot of miles logged...would not having the 160 hour cert. hurt my job opportunities down the road? Or would they not care, if I had thousands of logged accident free miles already?

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

If you can answer me three pre-trip questions?

1. Is the water pump on all big rigs, belt driven or gear driven?

2. Are all of the tires the same tread depth requirements?

3. What is the spring pop out pressure parameters?

I'm not trying to be funny here but it is a lot more than just driving down the road in an oversize vehicle.

There are things you need to know for your qualifications, before you even do the drive test portion of your testing at DMV. You need to know a bunch of stuff. Even if you know already how to drive a stick shift, trucks are different than regular car and pick up truck shifting. Can you maneuver in tight quarters, can you know which way to turn your steer axle to get into an alley dock without taking out someone's car that might be near by. Or a building near the the building you are going to dock with and not take off it's overhang. Do you know what lane to be in to make a sharp Right turn, or a Left turn? What is your trucks height? These questions are things you will learn at the Paid CDL Training Programs, company paid. and so many of them here.

I'm not trying to be an a**, but you should go through many of the helpful links here at TT, they will steer you in the right direction.

And good luck!

I learned all that stuff you mentioned on this very websites free training materials section while studying for my CLP. I've already passed all the tests except the last one and it got too late in the day, so I have to go back tomorrow and finish testing to get my CLP. If all the materials are available online, from multiple sources, and I have trucks available to practice on, why would I pay thousands of dollars and wait months to attend the class? I even have drivers with decades of experience who are more than willing to mentor me/ride with me on the road once I get my CLP next week.

I guess I just need to call around tomorrow and see if any companies would hire someone without the 160 hour cert., with just a CDL and some logged hours driving.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

At Jim Palmer/Wil-Trans they will bring you on but you'll still do 40k mile before you can solo. 20k C-seat and 10k B2 and 10k B2.

So the 40k rule- If I attended a 160 hour school, would it be any less, or is it the same 40k rule regardless of how I got my CDL?

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

I still don't understand your resistance to the Paid CDL Training Programs.

Honestly the fact that it's been so aggressively pushed, by both recruiters and this forum(the only forum that pushes it. Multiple others have suggested the opposite) is very off-putting and a bit suspicious. When I talked to the RoadMaster recruiter, the guy almost sounded defeated when I told him I could pay for my own schooling. I mean why push paying for my schooling so hard? It's bizarre.

Another question is why you keep pushing for it so hard? I don't need a loan for 3,500 dollars. Is there some kind of problem, or even a difference between who pays the bill for CDL school? What if I simply prefer paying my own way? What's the difference? It's literally the exact same school I'd be attending. Again, it's a little bizarre...

Why wouldn't they prefer someone pay their own way? Companies don't do things like that because they're just nice. There's some sort of profit motive behind it... I'm not saying I'm buying into the "free agent" myth. Obviously I still need training...but I don't think I need to spend 3,500/reimburse something "valued at 5000 dollars" and sign a lower paying contract on something I can easily pay for up front, myself. Yes I realize I still need to stay at the first company for a year anyways, I get all that...but I still prefer not to enter any binding contracts, if it all possible. I do the same thing with cars. I buy them from the new car lot, cash, because it's more simple to see what I am actually paying out that way. That's just how I have always preferred to do business.

Again, the schools I am looking at to self pay are the exact same schools that the company sponsored programs use. What is the difference in who foots the bill?

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

I think it comes down to the trucking companies insurance requirements.

That was my main concern. I read some things that led me to believe that this issue could be a show stopper, but then our warehouse manager told me that if I get my CDL, I could drive the trucks at my current company no problem. Surely if my cheapo companies insurance allows it, there has to be several trucking companies that would also be able to hire me...

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is it possible to just jump into a truck and learn enough to get a CDL without school?

Please just extinguish the flame throwers for a second and hear me out...

I've been looking into taking night classes at a community college and their next class doesn't start until January. Cost is 3,600.

In the meantime I've convinced management at my current job to let me practice driving in their lot. I've already spent about two hours behind the wheel shifting and backing, and one of those hours was with a driver with a company driver with almost 30 years experience coaching me along while backing. It really seems like I'm picking it up quickly.

Is it true that schools only teach pre-trip inspection, backing maneuvers and driving test specific stuff? Because I'm pretty confident that by the time class starts in January, I'll pretty much have all that stuff nailed. The obvious question at this point would be; Why spend 3,600 dollars and drag it on for an additional 3 months beyond that point? If I couldn't convince management to let me use their truck for the test(which I think I could), there are some local companies that specialize in renting trucks to take the CDL in.

Surely there are some companies that could look at my logged hours, plus the fact that I passed my CDL test fair and square and they'd be willing to sign me on and put me through a paid training program at that point? I can't be the only person whose thought about/tried getting started this way...

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