What Did You Do Before You Landed Your First Major Trucking Job

Topic 1336 | Page 1

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Jerry L.'s Comment
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I'm a senior in High School and I want to be a truck driver. I know that very few trucking companies hire people below 21 years old. Are there any other driving jobs or truck stop jobs available to 18 year olds?

Daniel B.'s Comment
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I'm a senior in High School and I want to be a truck driver. I know that very few trucking companies hire people below 21 years old. Are there any other driving jobs or truck stop jobs available to 18 year olds?

Pretty much no.

There's several reasons. First, you're too much of a liability for insurance companies. In other words, you're too much of a risk. They look at your age and assume you're too irresponsible. And secondly, you can't cross state lines in a commercial vehicle until you're 21. So whichever state you live in, you won't be able to drive into a different state. Which basically makes a local job your only option. Unfortunately, for local jobs you need at least a year of experience.

Just wait until you're 21. It'll go by quickly. Enjoy your young-adult years while you can. Go to the gym, date, do whatever, because as soon as you go into trucking you basically can't do any of that anymore. So my advice would be to study trucking until you're 21 and enjoy your life until then. When you're 21 go to trucking school. That's exactly what I did.

Zach's Comment
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I'm a senior in High School and I want to be a truck driver. I know that very few trucking companies hire people below 21 years old. Are there any other driving jobs or truck stop jobs available to 18 year olds?

You might try finding local work driving a delivery van for someone (florist,autoparts store ,paint store etc) It isn't glamourous or require a CDL ,but it'll give you a taste of dealing with traffic,multiple stops, interacting with people on a professional level.And it certainly doesn't hurt to have previous "driving" positions on your resume when you later apply for big truck work a few years from now . good-luck.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.
RedGator's Comment
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Not sure if you live in the country but farms hire 18 year olds. Ask star more about it but that would probably get your feet wet and you can get a cdl at 18 but just a major company wont 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.
Philip F.'s Comment
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If I were you, Jerry, I'd tell my parents about my plans. Let them know you want to go train at 21, and offer to pick up a part-time job until then. Stay with them, enjoy your time, it's a few years but you can make it fun before you roll out onto the road!

Tracey K.'s Comment
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Jerry, Sounds like you know what you want. If you are still in school, but 18 you can still get a CDL but it would be Intrastate only until you turn 21. I would go for it if your parents are with you on it. Most local Technical colleges or small community colleges have CDL training programs. Ask a Counselor at school to help you with that or check it out online.

As for getting a start in the trucking industry. Well, we all have to work from the bottom to the top. Starting at the bottom is only a figure of speech. It's really about how 'you' look at it. With a CDL from a certified school you could probably walk into any freight company and get a job on the dock real quick. They will no up front that you mean business. You might even get to shuttle some trailer around the yard or from terminal to terminal. At least you will have your foot in the door. Then when you turn 21 you will have experience in the industry from one perspective that will teach you respect. You will also know your employer, managers, supervisors and so forth, from that being able to talk with them about your willingness to drive. I would let them know that upfront any way. Experience is a plus. And you can get it all kinds of ways. You will have built up a reputation if you stay with the same company until you turn 21. Working the dock is not a low level job either. Knowing the kind of people you will be working with while out on the road will give you an advantage when you do hit the road.

Bottom line. "GO FOR IT ", just because you can go across state lines does not mean you are not a truck driver. Driving a truck local is still driving. I have done both. I started in 1985 as a OTR driver. I came off when the company closed and went local. I did that for several years and then went into FM , (Fleet management). I have also been a warehouse supervisor, dock worker and forklift operator. I just love being around a truck and truck drivers. So, start where you can. Give it all you got and whatever you do, "Never and I mean NEVER give up." !!!

Get your CDL. Check the Tech. schools out or community colleges. Then look for a freight company to work for or logistics company with their own fleet of trucks. Apply for a job and go to work. It's what you call 'ON The Job Training' and you get paid for it. Cool. Right?

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.

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.

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.

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

Fm:

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

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Starcar's Comment
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I agree with Tracey. Just cuz your not old enough to go OTR( drive to other states) doesn't mean your stuck at McD's until your 21...You just have to "make a job where ever you can find an opportunity. THEN, when your old enough, you can have some valuable experience that a trucking company will be glad to see. You can go to work at a truck shop, even if its washing trucks..you still will probably work into driving them around the lot. And working in the truck shop as a mechanic's helper isn't a bad way to start either. Learning how they work, and what makes them tick is invaluable...And if you can go to school...a community college, or whatever school will train you, then half of your work is done to become a trucker. So line out what oyu want to accomplish, talk it over with your parents, or a school/college councilor, and step out there and do it !!! One thing about it, going into trucking this young, if you find you don't like it...then your young enough to change gears and go do something else.......

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Going off of what Starcar said, also try to look for a warehouse job. That way you can learn the shipping & receiving firsthand. And when you get to trucking you'll have two perspectives on deliveries and pickups. That's what I did for a year. I worked at a small warehouse and I was the only forklift operator. I unloaded trucks and shipped loads to Canada. As a driver currently, I know how "their side" is. I know how to do their job, I know what to look for, it's a valuable tool. It also helps to diagnose if a load has been loaded improperly because I'm so familiar with how to load a truck myself. My record to load a truck from front to back was 40 minutes that includes BoL's. I know when a shipper doesn't know what their doing.

Plus I spent my days with truckers. I talked to them and asked a TON of questions. They gave me an inside scoop to how it was before I found TT. You can find a lot of advertisements for warehouse jobs on craigslist. Definitely look into that.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

HeavyHauler's Comment
member avatar

Not sure if you live in the country but farms hire 18 year olds. Ask star more about it but that would probably get your feet wet and you can get a cdl at 18 but just a major company wont hire you.

You can driver in Oklahoma without a CDL if you work for a Ranch or Farm. That's where I learned to drive. Be prepared to work your ass off though. Its hard work, but extremely rewarding.

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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