A Rock And Hard Place

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djwaglmuffin's Comment
member avatar

So, I'll keep this as short as possible.

Clearly, you've all heard this about a gillion times but the thing I'm finding is that some of the posts I've been reading are about a year or two ago so I was having some trouble finding up to date information. It's possible I'm not digging deep enough...

As it stands, I am a single, no children female veteran with virtually no health problems and zero problems going OTR. Problem is, I am having a hard time finding a place to start for either free or super cheap. I also don't have any roots in a particular area so establishing another home base is also not an issue for me. Need a driver based out of Nebraska? Maybe an empty field in North Dakota (Why, North Dakota?!)? I can provide this. I'm also not at all adverse to being OTR for long periods of time. I have family members who have done this and they say while it's tough, but it was a great chance to explore a bit and get to know the country we live in. They say my greatest advantage is that I have no obligations at home.

I only have a few preferences...although only one of these is highly preferred: 1. I ultimately want to go solo. 2. I would rather avoid the east coast as much as possible. It's not my favorite part of the country...as much as I loved welding for the military, I hate the rust belt for some reason. (this is not a requirement) 3. I really, REALLY don't want to lease right out of school. If this can be avoided, I'd like that very much.

Here is what my research has yielded thus far, and I value any and all feedback on any of these options as well as any other ideas you all may have:

1. Celadon: As one can imagine, the words "Free this, free that" is incredibly attractive and tempting for someone in my predicament. I do not, however, wish to be preyed upon. I just talked to one of their recruiters and it didn't feel like a scam, but I've been let down before. (I ended up in the Navy...) But the fact that they pay for everything and, as a vet, I'd start out at a higher cent per mile than my counterparts who are not vets...the draw is almost too much to deny.

2. Swift: The only requirement with Swift is a CDL permit(?). This is something, to me, that isn't totally clear. Swift seems like a very solid carrier, however, and I appreciated the their recruiter seemed up front with me when I was asking questions. I did, however, hear some horror stories. One particular one that a woman started with them and, apparently, she wasn't "learning fast enough" by the first week and they kicked her out. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't know the entire story and this was second hand information from a for-profit institution trying to get me to spend $10K on a 6 month CDL program. I suppose my only question, to all of you is, would getting my CDL permit open more doors? Also, Veterans with Swift apparently don't have to repay the tuition fee of the school. But...they have this online course we need to take? I despise online courses...

3. Prime: I am doing additional research on Prime as we speak, but they seem, so far, like they want some up front costs that I can't afford right now. But if anyone has an exposure to them, I'd love to know.

4. Roehl: I love Roehl. But they require me to have my CDL walking in, which is expensive. Meaning, I'll have to go to this very unattractive for-profit.

Anyway, I'm really leaning to Celadon, simply because of all the "free" everywhere. If anyone knows anything about the current environment of their schooling, it would be greatly appreciated. And, again, I'm open to other ideas.

Thanks in advance, ya'll! And cool site;s it's been incredibly helpful in this difficult time.

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
Best Answer!

Djwaglmuffin, first things first - put the whole "scam" idea out of your mind and be at ease. There are no scams to worry about. The only thing to worry about is being told lies by people with an agenda, like people trying to save themselves from the embarrassment of being kicked out of a company school by blaming the company for their woes. Happens a thousand times a day in this industry. Ignore the complainers and bashers.

I did, however, hear some horror stories. One particular one that a woman started with them and, apparently, she wasn't "learning fast enough" by the first week and they kicked her out.

Make sure you go through our Truck Driver's Career Guide from beginning to end and follow all of the links. You're going to learn a lot about what it takes to get started in this industry and how everything works.

In this case, it's true. These Company-Sponsored Training Programs are rather fast paced. They're not run quite the way a regular private school would be run. These company programs are more like a tryout to make the team.

They're giving everyone an opportunity to get the up front costs of their training paid for by the company. In return, the company recoups its investment by having you drive for them for a specified amount of time and sometimes paying back some tuition. So they're not going to invest their time and money in people who either don't take the opportunity seriously or are going to need quite a bit of extra time to catch onto things.

So be prepared for this if you choose this route. It's an excellent opportunity to get started in this industry with very little money out of pocket. But getting invited is certainly no guarantee of success. Probably 75% or more of the students who start these programs are no longer with the company after 30 days. In fact, half of them will be sent home the first week for either failing the physical, lying on their application, failing to catch onto the basics, or having a terrible attitude. And yes, having a terrible attitude does indeed get plenty of people sent home.

If you'd like to stay out West and avoid the East coast you can certainly do that but it's going to be tricky being based out of Pittsburgh. Swift, for one, will have that opportunity but not from your home location. So if it's important for you to stay West of the Mississippi then you may have to relocate. There are a lot of opportunities to run Midwest Regional though. You'll go East of the Mississippi but normally not up into the Northeast.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Trucking Truth links for school information

How To Choose A School

Company-Sponsored Training

Truck Driving Schools

Trucking Truth links for selecting a company

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Trucking Companies

How To Choose A Company

I would ask the Celadon recruiter how long you are required to work for them to meet your training obligation. There are many drivers on this forum working for Prime.

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.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Djwag sips some kool aid, but knows what it is:

I did, however, hear some {Swift} horror stories. One particular one that a woman started with them and, apparently, she wasn't "learning fast enough" by the first week and they kicked her out. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't know the entire story and this was second hand information from a for-profit institution trying to get me to spend $10K on a 6 month CDL program

Here is a solid gold rule for dealing with a salesperson who badmouths the competition: Let them blabber on, you smile knowingly, then totally ignore what you just heard. If the salesperson wants to continue badmouthing, just ask them to sell their own company instead of wasting your time.

Second, the CDL thing. You will not be in school very long without one. It is required so that you may drive a semi truck on public roads. So my advice is to get your physical and your permit ASAP.

I went through Swift's school. Some people dropped out because (and I watched this as I was practicing) they simply could not back the trailer into the target zone. For testing, Swift tests you once. If you fail, you get an extra week (no extra charge even for your hotel) to practice, and you test again. There's even a way to test a third time. Does that show patience on the part of the school?

For their own pride, failed students can blame the school (your salesperson's "kicked out" story) instead of themselves.

No driving school will be at a resort. You need to get in and get out as fast as possible. Just focus on what they teach you, and don't go crazy when you practice backing.

As for veterans at Swift, I'm a vet. You take and pass the school. You sign on to drive for Swift like I did. Swift does not take any deduction for the $4400 tuition. After one year of driving (any Swift driving), Swift will credit the entire tuition.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jeffry T.'s Comment
member avatar

Roehl does not require a cdl they have there own school in Marshfield Wisconsin that's who I got called through and they now pay you while you attend do there school.

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.
Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

Roehl does not require a cdl they have there own school in Marshfield Wisconsin that's who I got called through and they now pay you while you attend do there school.

I went to school with Roehl last year too. Why did they say you would need your CDL in hand?

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.
Gary M.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok to throw a couple things your way

You can get your CDL (permit) on your own. While your there take the test for doubles , triples, tankers ect. You can get the book to study at your local DMV. Its just a written test or test on a computer.

In my State our Community college only charges $1800.00 for a 160 hr CDL course. Make sure the company you want to drive for will accept the school you choose.

I have never heard of a 6 month long CDL training? What on earth would you be doing for 6 months? Scam alert

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

djwaglmuffin's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Roehl does not require a cdl they have there own school in Marshfield Wisconsin that's who I got called through and they now pay you while you attend do there school.

double-quotes-end.png

I went to school with Roehl last year too. Why did they say you would need your CDL in hand?

I am going to double check this right now. If I don't need my CDL to train with them, I'm going to go for it. This is my favorite company so far.

I have never heard of a 6 month long CDL training? What on earth would you be doing for 6 months? Scam alert

Yeah, this was actually something discussed on another forum I was reading here last week. I had read that some people didn't think that a 4-week course was long enough to get actual hours in the truck. Then I saw that others on this site said that, No, if it's a real school then 4 weeks is enough. So, I got a little turned around on that.

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.
Belluavir's Comment
member avatar

Have you considered getting student loan?

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Trucking Truth links for school information

How To Choose A School

Company-Sponsored Training

Truck Driving Schools

Trucking Truth links for selecting a company

Truck Driver's Career Guide

Trucking Companies

How To Choose A Company

I would ask the Celadon recruiter how long you are required to work for them to meet your training obligation. There are many drivers on this forum working for Prime.

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.

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.

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.

UberHammer's Comment
member avatar

I am going to double check this right now. If I don't need my CDL to train with them, I'm going to go for it. This is my favorite company so far.

Here are details on Roehl's website on their new pay you to get your CDL program.

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.
djwaglmuffin's Comment
member avatar

On Roehl:

I put in the quick app and they said they were not hiring out of my area. So I'm too far away, I guess... :|

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Djwaglmuffin, first things first - put the whole "scam" idea out of your mind and be at ease. There are no scams to worry about. The only thing to worry about is being told lies by people with an agenda, like people trying to save themselves from the embarrassment of being kicked out of a company school by blaming the company for their woes. Happens a thousand times a day in this industry. Ignore the complainers and bashers.

I did, however, hear some horror stories. One particular one that a woman started with them and, apparently, she wasn't "learning fast enough" by the first week and they kicked her out.

Make sure you go through our Truck Driver's Career Guide from beginning to end and follow all of the links. You're going to learn a lot about what it takes to get started in this industry and how everything works.

In this case, it's true. These Company-Sponsored Training Programs are rather fast paced. They're not run quite the way a regular private school would be run. These company programs are more like a tryout to make the team.

They're giving everyone an opportunity to get the up front costs of their training paid for by the company. In return, the company recoups its investment by having you drive for them for a specified amount of time and sometimes paying back some tuition. So they're not going to invest their time and money in people who either don't take the opportunity seriously or are going to need quite a bit of extra time to catch onto things.

So be prepared for this if you choose this route. It's an excellent opportunity to get started in this industry with very little money out of pocket. But getting invited is certainly no guarantee of success. Probably 75% or more of the students who start these programs are no longer with the company after 30 days. In fact, half of them will be sent home the first week for either failing the physical, lying on their application, failing to catch onto the basics, or having a terrible attitude. And yes, having a terrible attitude does indeed get plenty of people sent home.

If you'd like to stay out West and avoid the East coast you can certainly do that but it's going to be tricky being based out of Pittsburgh. Swift, for one, will have that opportunity but not from your home location. So if it's important for you to stay West of the Mississippi then you may have to relocate. There are a lot of opportunities to run Midwest Regional though. You'll go East of the Mississippi but normally not up into the Northeast.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

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.

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