How Difficult Is It To Obtain A Class A CDL?

Topic 12961 | Page 1

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Rich C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi everyone, I am new here.

I am currently studying on my own to get a Class A CDL in Michigan for side work and earn some extra money, on top of my full time job. My buddy owns a boom truck business and has too much work, so he needs someone to make local runs for him. I may be over complicating this, but what is the difference between studying and training with my buddy versus attending the expensive driving schools? Are the schools for career focused drivers? Can people make a career without the schools? Not that I'm looking to, just curious.

Many of the articles I have read said to study for all of the endorsements and take all of the written tests for them. Are they talking about if you are at the trucking school and being taught this anyway, or is it not that difficult to learn on my own? Also, thank you to whoever created the Trucking Truth study guide that is on the google app store!!! This has made studying and taking notes very simple!

What advice can some of you give for my position? Others who have done this on the side, do you work as a 1099 under your name, or create an LLC?

I know there are a LOT of openings in my area for people with a CDL, and endorsements would open more doors down the road. But my buddy is in a rush for me to get this. Is it just as easy to go back and study to get endorsements later on, or just do it now to get it over with? After I get my learner permit, I found a local place that a few people have referred me to, that charges $100 for the pre-inspection and road test. Is that a good price?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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.
Craig T.'s Comment
member avatar

It's not incredibly difficult to get a CDL. The most difficult part would be figuring out how to offset and alley dock without a decent teacher.

What getting your Class A doesn't teach you is how to drive OTR. If the driving gig is very straight forward and predictable in the sense that you only have to master driving in a straight line and turning once in awhile, you'll be fine until you make a wrong turn or have to back up for whatever reason. And those whatever reasons will probably come up even if you're not OTR.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rich C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Craig!

My buddy with the boom/crane truck has a trailer that i'll be practicing with and another guy I know said he'll teach me with his semi truck to do stuff as well. I like to think I am pretty good at backing up long and short trailers down trails with a pickup truck, but I've never done this with a semi truck before... Since i'll be practicing with a boom truck that is longer than a standard semi and trailer that requires a "Wide Load" sign, think that might backing up a regular semi and trailer easier?

I see there is a study guide for over the road trucking on here, but I assume experience would be the best that book smarts? So once I pass my test and a year or so down the road, it would be best to ride with someone a few time OTR before I try myself?

Thanks again!

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Rich, obtaining your CDL is the first part of the equation. If the only job you want is that with your buddy that's great. The way your doing it is completly satisfactory.

On a side note though if you decide you wanted to go over the road or another local gig you are going to have a rough road. Every major carrier requires one of two things when being hired. At least 1 to 3 years of driving experience (they usually want OTR exp.) or a certificate of 160 hrs from an accredited school. So many times people have tried to bypass these steps only to find out they are unemployable. Good luck

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Rich C.'s Comment
member avatar

On a side note though if you decide you wanted to go over the road or another local gig you are going to have a rough road. Every major carrier requires one of two things when being hired. At least 1 to 3 years of driving experience (they usually want OTR exp.) or a certificate of 160 hrs from an accredited school. So many times people have tried to bypass these steps only to find out they are unemployable. Good luck

Thank you Brian!

That is what I was wondering about with the schooling. I knew there must be an advantage, but wasn't sure what...

There is basically a 99% chance I will never do this full time. So without the schooling, it probably won't matter if get the endorsements, it I don't have the schooling? But if things change someday, I'll already have my CDL and some experience, so it would make any schooling easier?

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.

Over The Road:

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.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes it will, one thing I failed to mention is your experience has to be fairly current with most companies. Let say you do this gig for your buddy and you decide to leave. Three years down the road you decide you want to do it full time. The fact that you let the license dormant so long will hinder you in finding employment without a refresher school. So having a CDL and letting it go dormant for any length of time without a driving position will set you back anyway.

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.
Rich C.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes it will, one thing I failed to mention is your experience has to be fairly current with most companies. Let say you do this gig for your buddy and you decide to leave. Three years down the road you decide you want to do it full time. The fact that you let the license dormant so long will hinder you in finding employment without a refresher school. So having a CDL and letting it go dormant for any length of time without a driving position will set you back anyway.

Good to know, thanks!

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.
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