Looking To Begin As A Driver.

Topic 12649 | Page 1

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Craig B.'s Comment
member avatar

Well the path of a truck driver has been appealing to me for some time now, I just turned 21 and would like a better career besides being the one throwing boxes at the warehouse to being a truck driver.

So the simple question is where should I start? I live in Victorville California by the way to let you know where I'm coming from.

What has appealed to me so far is I had a friend of mine start at Swift (I know they have a bad rep) but literally in about 4 months he was from OTR to Local and another 3 or 4 months now hes already getting a phone interview for an office job (I like the idea of working your way through a company like that however I would be happy with just driving.)

PREFERABLY for me would to be able to go straight local which I'm pretty sure isn't a possibility since I don't have a CDL yet. I wouldn't mind going OTR for some months to get experience but the goal is to be local for me.

So a few questions can be brought from this, Which company should I look into? I've got a top two of Knight and Swift with Swift getting a little bit more of an edge because they have a lot more going on local around me. How much will it pay? I have vehicle payments that I've gotta make however I do have quite a bit saved up for any type of downtime It's going to take to get me on the road. I'm someone who is young and I don't mind dealing with all the crap to get to the paycheck so if you deduce that is Swift a good company?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bill R.'s Comment
member avatar

Pretty much all of your questions are already answered here. Check out the High Road Training program to get started. Then do searches here. All those questions are answered.

Also, about going local, totally depends on the company, but you probably will have to "put in your time" before getting a local gig.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Craig! I've driven for Swift now for about a year. So what's this about a "bad rep"? Been reading The Truckers Report? Those people just weren't successful like your buddy, me or G-Town here.

I started a year ago and have done the obligatory OTR , shuttle and now I'm doing dedicated regional.

Have you read Truck Driver's Career Guide and Brett's Book?

Here's a list of Trucking Companies and Truck Driving Schools.

If you haven't started studying for your CDL , check into the High Road Training Program.

You're in Victorville. I think someone here is in that other, larger town nearby, Phelan. A lot of Trucking companies have terminals in the area. Swift would probably send you over the hill to Fontana for school.

To answer some of your questions about Swift: You start by studying for your CDL but don't do the predicament or the test till course closer to your application time. Here's some help: How To Choose A Company and you'll need to Understand Pre-Hire Letters.

With Swift you don't see a paycheck till you get to ordination (not school). Road training is paid by the hour. I made just over $500/week in training then around $700+ as a new OTR driver.

Read through the forum and don't forget the training diary one. Look along the top of the page to find more resources.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Craig B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the help guys and yes I was looking down twords Fontana.

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