Gaining My CDL The Cheapest Way

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Erick F.'s Comment
member avatar

Editor's Note: Did you know there are paid CDL training programs? These are complete CDL training programs offered by trucking companies that require little or no money out of pocket, give the best training possible, and you'll have a job waiting for you as soon as you complete the training. Why pay for training when you can be paid to train by a top tier company that needs drivers now? In fact, at Trucking Truth we prefer paid CDL training over private CDL training.

I can study and pass my CDL tests by myself with no help from a school so I was wondering how to do the next part. I need practice driving a truck and then I need a truck for the test. How can I accomplish this the cheapest way. Any advice or guidance here would be very much appreciated. My goal is to regain my CDL with a tanker endorsement and haul water or sand for the oil fields. I had my CDL about 16 years ago and drove a small tanker truck built for pumping septic tanks. Back then I had family that let me use their truck now I'm kinda out of luck in that aspect.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I can study and pass my CDL tests by myself with no help from a school so I was wondering how to do the next part. I need practice driving a truck and then I need a truck for the test. How can I accomplish this the cheapest way. Any advice or guidance here would be very much appreciated. My goal is to regain my CDL with a tanker endorsement and haul water or sand for the oil fields. I had my CDL about 16 years ago and drove a small tanker truck built for pumping septic tanks. Back then I had family that let me use their truck now I'm kinda out of luck in that aspect.

Erick, so much has changed as far as the requirements for being able to land a CDL job from sixteen years ago, that I think you need to rethink your approach. Also, I'm not sure if you haven't noticed it or not, but most of those nice oil field jobs are gone right now. We've had countless folks in here lately trying to figure out how to parlay their oil field driving experience into an OTR job. Any of the major carriers are limited by their insurance providers to only be able to hire folks who have a training certificate from a truck driving school. Doesn't really matter if you drove big rigs sixteen years ago, or even one year ago for that matter.

Of course just about anyone can pass the tests and get their CDL on their own if they have access to a truck, but it just isn't a very prudent way to do it anymore. Let me tell you a true story of my friend in Nacogdoches, TX. He came to me for some advice on how to get into the industry. I laid it all out for him, and made it real clear that you need to get that training certificate. As far as importance it is more important for landing a job than the CDL itself. You can choose from many Truck Driving Schools and pay your own way, or you can choose from the many Company-Sponsored Training programs and let them foot the bill by agreeing to work for them for a short time so they can at least recoup the expense of putting you through their program at no cost and then providing you a job. My hard headed friend knew someone much smarter than me who would let him use their truck for the test so he did it all on his own. Well, that was over a year ago, and he is still working that factory job that he told me he loathed. The reason why? No one will hire him because he has no training certificate. That certificate has to be on file for them to be able to get insurance on you as their driver. If they can't get their insurance company to cover you, then they are not going to be able to hire you.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

The segment of oil that slowed down are the Wells that were on permit on federal lands. Obama pulled those permits and the oil companies are just sitting on it awaiting the next president. The companies who are leasing private land are doing exceptionally well.

oooooh.......stupid me. I've been thinking all along that the oil industry came to a standstill because the oil prices dropped from $115/barrel to $44/barrel in six months:

WTI-and-Brent-latest6.png?w=660&fit=max&

You would think after all these years I would finally catch on and just blame Obama for everything bad that happens. When will I learn?

wtf-2.gif

Anyhow........

If you just need your class A for cranes or driving equipment from job to job than there is no need to sign on to a company for a year just to use their truck to take the test. Lots of 1 day CDL schools rent there trucks for one day and give you a few hours of instruction so you can pass the pre trip and driving

But will they hire him as a driver if he's self-taught? Would you hire someone to drive around your 80,000 pound truck knowing you're legally responsible if they screw up? If a driver gets in a wreck and someone sues the company, how long do you think it would take their attorneys to figure out the driver had no formal training or experience in a Class A truck? And how do you think that would sit with a judge or jury?

Erick, if you have a job lined up already and they're telling you to get your Class A by any means necessary then yes indeed you can do this yourself. But I wouldn't go through the time and money it's going to take to get your Class A on your own if you don't have a solid job lined up.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

I don't know much about the oil aspect of the industry, but here's a potential snag with your plan. Most trucking companies want to see either: a certificate from a trucking school (at least 160+ hours), or experience. Of course I'm referring to most major trucking companies. I don't know how this applies to those oil trucking companies. Seems like the mom / pop operations are more lenient with hiring somebody that gets their CDL on their own, but I'm not positive about that. If you wind up getting your CDL on your own, you might not be hire-able for other truckload companies if your oil gig dries up.

Here's another plan worth looking into. Go with Prime Inc, get your CDL through their schooling program, join their tanker division (if you're in that part of the country where they have those opportunities), and then once you've fulfilled your time obligation for getting your CDL through them, part on good terms and go for your oil gig.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I can study and pass my CDL tests by myself with no help from a school so I was wondering how to do the next part. I need practice driving a truck and then I need a truck for the test. How can I accomplish this the cheapest way. Any advice or guidance here would be very much appreciated. My goal is to regain my CDL with a tanker endorsement and haul water or sand for the oil fields. I had my CDL about 16 years ago and drove a small tanker truck built for pumping septic tanks. Back then I had family that let me use their truck now I'm kinda out of luck in that aspect.

Erick, so much has changed as far as the requirements for being able to land a CDL job from sixteen years ago, that I think you need to rethink your approach. Also, I'm not sure if you haven't noticed it or not, but most of those nice oil field jobs are gone right now. We've had countless folks in here lately trying to figure out how to parlay their oil field driving experience into an OTR job. Any of the major carriers are limited by their insurance providers to only be able to hire folks who have a training certificate from a truck driving school. Doesn't really matter if you drove big rigs sixteen years ago, or even one year ago for that matter.

Of course just about anyone can pass the tests and get their CDL on their own if they have access to a truck, but it just isn't a very prudent way to do it anymore. Let me tell you a true story of my friend in Nacogdoches, TX. He came to me for some advice on how to get into the industry. I laid it all out for him, and made it real clear that you need to get that training certificate. As far as importance it is more important for landing a job than the CDL itself. You can choose from many Truck Driving Schools and pay your own way, or you can choose from the many Company-Sponsored Training programs and let them foot the bill by agreeing to work for them for a short time so they can at least recoup the expense of putting you through their program at no cost and then providing you a job. My hard headed friend knew someone much smarter than me who would let him use their truck for the test so he did it all on his own. Well, that was over a year ago, and he is still working that factory job that he told me he loathed. The reason why? No one will hire him because he has no training certificate. That certificate has to be on file for them to be able to get insurance on you as their driver. If they can't get their insurance company to cover you, then they are not going to be able to hire you.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Erick F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys. I looked into prime a while back and they did hire in central FL at the time but now I live in south west FL. Ill give them a call to see if they hire in this area or not. I don't believe I'm cut out for OTR trucking. I do however need my CDL A license to get a job either operating cranes or local driving like I would be doing for the oil companies. I know times are tough in the oil fields right now but it will come back eventually.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

There's a driver on here, can't think of his name offhand, that lived in FL and worked for Prime until he got his 1 year experience under his belt. Apparently, jobs in FL are really hard to come by - local trucking jobs that is. In the trucking industry, often location will determine job opportunities more than experience. Where you are, you'll need your experience BECAUSE of your location, but I'm sure you already know how the competition is for local trucking jobs. That 1 year OTR might open up some doors for you. Look at it as a small stepping stone.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

The segment of oil that slowed down are the Wells that were on permit on federal lands. Obama pulled those permits and the oil companies are just sitting on it awaiting the next president. The companies who are leasing private land are doing exceptionally well.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Gary M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys. I looked into prime a while back and they did hire in central FL at the time but now I live in south west FL. Ill give them a call to see if they hire in this area or not. I don't believe I'm cut out for OTR trucking. I do however need my CDL A license to get a job either operating cranes or local driving like I would be doing for the oil companies. I know times are tough in the oil fields right now but it will come back eventually.

If you just need your class A for cranes or driving equipment from job to job than there is no need to sign on to a company for a year just to use there truck to take the test. Lots of 1 day CDL schools rent there trucks for one day and give you a few hours of instruction so you can pass the pre trip and driving. This company is out of Missouri but i have seen these companies everywhere in the south http://www.casecdl.com/cdlhomepage.html

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

The segment of oil that slowed down are the Wells that were on permit on federal lands. Obama pulled those permits and the oil companies are just sitting on it awaiting the next president. The companies who are leasing private land are doing exceptionally well.

oooooh.......stupid me. I've been thinking all along that the oil industry came to a standstill because the oil prices dropped from $115/barrel to $44/barrel in six months:

WTI-and-Brent-latest6.png?w=660&fit=max&

You would think after all these years I would finally catch on and just blame Obama for everything bad that happens. When will I learn?

wtf-2.gif

Anyhow........

If you just need your class A for cranes or driving equipment from job to job than there is no need to sign on to a company for a year just to use their truck to take the test. Lots of 1 day CDL schools rent there trucks for one day and give you a few hours of instruction so you can pass the pre trip and driving

But will they hire him as a driver if he's self-taught? Would you hire someone to drive around your 80,000 pound truck knowing you're legally responsible if they screw up? If a driver gets in a wreck and someone sues the company, how long do you think it would take their attorneys to figure out the driver had no formal training or experience in a Class A truck? And how do you think that would sit with a judge or jury?

Erick, if you have a job lined up already and they're telling you to get your Class A by any means necessary then yes indeed you can do this yourself. But I wouldn't go through the time and money it's going to take to get your Class A on your own if you don't have a solid job lined up.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Gary M.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

The segment of oil that slowed down are the Wells that were on permit on federal lands. Obama pulled those permits and the oil companies are just sitting on it awaiting the next president. The companies who are leasing private land are doing exceptionally well.

double-quotes-end.png

oooooh.......stupid me. I've been thinking all along that the oil industry came to a standstill because the oil prices dropped from $115/barrel to $44/barrel in six months:

WTI-and-Brent-latest6.png?w=660&fit=max&

You would think after all these years I would finally catch on and just blame Obama for everything bad that happens. When will I learn?

wtf-2.gif

Anyhow........

double-quotes-start.png

If you just need your class A for cranes or driving equipment from job to job than there is no need to sign on to a company for a year just to use their truck to take the test. Lots of 1 day CDL schools rent there trucks for one day and give you a few hours of instruction so you can pass the pre trip and driving

double-quotes-end.png

But will they hire him as a driver if he's self-taught? Would you hire someone to drive around your 80,000 pound truck knowing you're legally responsible if they screw up? If a driver gets in a wreck and someone sues the company, how long do you think it would take their attorneys to figure out the driver had no formal training or experience in a Class A truck? And how do you think that would sit with a judge or jury?

Erick, if you have a job lined up already and they're telling you to get your Class A by any means necessary then yes indeed you can do this yourself. But I wouldn't go through the time and money it's going to take to get your Class A on your own if you don't have a solid job lined up.

Are all those questions for me? Im just an old truck driver but can answer them if needed. I should have read this more thoroughly, i was only responding to his inquiry of obtaining the CDL A. He did say for operating cranes or local driving. Lots of jobs require Class A and would not justify working for a major carrier for a year to use there truck for testing.

I do however think you might be surprised at the answers to all your questions

If he had his CDL A he could be driving an 80,000 pound vehicle with no experience immediately for harvest and many other fields.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Erick F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the added info guys. Ill take it all into consideration. I was thinking I would get my permit since that is easy enough and hopefully my buddy can get me into where he is working as a crane operator and if I can prove myself as an asset maybe they will help me get my full CDL. As for why the oil field is slow its mostly do do with we basically have too much oil right now. Our cupith flowith overith so production has slowed and the price is really low cause we have no were to put it. At least that's how i understand it. I could be way off base though.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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