How Soon Should I Apply For A Truck Driving Job?

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Charlie Mac's Comment
member avatar

Howdy folks, What I like to refer to as my "Launch" date is March 1st 2016. This is when I plan to have secured my CY15 tax refund & subsequently enough money in my bank account to A) pay (out of pocket if necessary) for CDL school and B) keep my family afloat (rent, utilities, groceries, gas etc.) until I finish school & can begin training with a carrier.

I'm undertaking a daunting task as I'll be going through a career change and have limited funds in the mean time. I've been with my current employee for 4+ years and will inevitably have to put in a 2 week notice mid-February to leave on good terms while I begin CDL school in March. During This transitional time stretching dollars will be of paramount importance, so I'll sleep a whole lot easier knowing I'll have companies interested in me before "cutting the cord".

My question is, "How soon is to soon?" It seems like now would likely be too soon as I don't want potential employers to become disinterested while they wait nearly 3 months for me to secure my tax refund & finish school, but I'd like to eventually line up some prehires before taking the plunge.

What do you guys think?confused.gif

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.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Prehires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, Charlie Mac, there really is no "too soon". It sounds like you haven't settled on a company yet, but that's OK. Also, having 10 posts at the moment, you've seen other comments, and know about the Truck Driving Schools and Company-Sponsored Training sections.

No company will "lose interest" between now and March. Yes, the recruiters prefer sooner rather than later, but you still have the prerogative for that. Keep a list/chart/diary and start this next week contacting recruiters. Let them know your schedule. You have no rush. (BTW, I decided on trucking in mid November a year ago, and was in class second week of December.)

If you get Pre-Hire letters, you will have a selection of companies that will welcome you when you are ready to go.

The only thing you should wait on is your own CDL permit and DOT physical. These need to be handled a few weeks before you start class. We recommend you get your own CDL permit before school, regardless of what the recruiter says. This gives you more time in the classroom to study CDL stuff instead of working on the permit.

In the meantime, jump into the famous High Road Training Program. You have 2 1/2 months to study!

Word to the wise: get a toy truck - decent quality - and try backing it on the kitchen table. You need to back up around a 90 degree turn (to the driver's side), parallel park left and right, and back "offset" one parking space over both left and right. Watch some YouTube videos to see what you need to do.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

William K.'s Comment
member avatar

I was actually about to ask this same question when I saw this post. I'll be retiring from the Navy in May. I was thinking about using the GI Bill to cover my training so I wouldn't be cornered into a contract. Thoughts on job hunting five months out for the Dallas, TX area? Thanks.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I was actually about to ask this same question when I saw this post. I'll be retiring from the Navy in May. I was thinking about using the GI Bill to cover my training so I wouldn't be cornered into a contract. Thoughts on job hunting five months out for the Dallas, TX area? Thanks.

Welcome back to civilian life, William! Watch for Veterans deals from the companies. Anything from seniority bumps to "scholarships" for vets. I took advantage of Swift's scholarship: no charges up front for school, no payroll deductions, after 1 year, they forgive the $4400 tuition.

Also, keep in mind, many companies will transport you via Greyhound to their school, put you up in a hotel, and get you on the road when school is completed. Or, go to a private school and get your hiring company to pick up the tab. (I think you can manage a legal double dip here: GI bill for school, and the company will pay you a hiring bonus.)

(You don't mention your rating. Assuming it's not truck related.) Trucking Truth has lots of resources:

Start now studying the High Road Training Program to ace your CDL written tests.

Get more information from the Truck Driver's Career Guide and Brett's Book.

Check out Truck Driving Schools and Company-Sponsored Training .

Narrow your choices with How To Choose A School and How To Choose A Company.

Learn about Pre-Hire Letters.

There's much more, just check out the resources at the top of the page, and check out the Trucking Truth's well hidden TruckingTruth's Wiki

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Typically, companies wanna see applications within 30 days of expected graduation from trucking school. So start applying when you're 30 days out from graduation, which usually means right after you start school!

William K.'s Comment
member avatar

Typically, companies wanna see applications within 30 days of expected graduation from trucking school. So start applying when you're 30 days out from graduation, which usually means right after you start school!

Swift is one of the companies I was looking into. This site says their Texas training location is in San Antonio, but their website says Corsicana (250 miles closer to home). Either way, I haven't seen anything yet on the exact dates of their schools, so I don't know when the "30 day" window would be.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Swift is one of the companies I was looking into. This site says their Texas training location is in San Antonio, but their website says Corsicana (250 miles closer to home). Either way, I haven't seen anything yet on the exact dates of their schools, so I don't know when the "30 day" window would be.

Pretty much weekly, on Mondays. Often enough for ya?

William K.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Pretty much weekly, on Mondays. Often enough for ya?

double-quotes-end.png

Perfect. Thanks.

Bolt's Comment
member avatar

Due to myour financial situation I will be going to a company sponsored school in a couple months. I did talk to a local school and he told me that during the last coup less weeks trucking companies would come in and talk to the students, basically giving the students the chance to interview the companies. He stated that most come straight out of school with pre hire or job assignments.

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Charlie Mac's Comment
member avatar

Typically, companies wanna see applications within 30 days of expected graduation from trucking school. So start applying when you're 30 days out from graduation, which usually means right after you start school!

Herein lies the issue. Once I'm in school, I will already technically be unemployed. I've heard the phrase a dozen times, "There is no unemployment in the trucking industry". But that does little to ease my anxiety.

What is the typical time job applicants have waited to get a response from a potential employer (once submitting an application)? A few days, a week, a few weeks?

I have an excellent work history with very few gaps in employment...and I'd like to keep it that way LOL. :)

(Sincere thanks to those that have taken the time to reply. It sincerely is much appreciated.) thank-you-2.gif

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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