New Here - Definitely Interested In A Career In Trucking

Topic 14495 | Page 1

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Trucker Perro's Comment
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Hello World! I have registered and lurked here on this great forum a few days ago (maybe a week or so ago), and it's time I posted. I'm just a guy in his early 30s from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide) looking to pursue a new career. I've been thinking about becoming a truck driver since September of last year and spilled the beans to my closest friends and family just last week, who all approved of it as long as I'm aware of what I'm getting myself into. And believe me, I'm pretty sure I do, but I've done a lot of research on my end. I'm aware of being away from home for weeks at a time. I'm aware of the intensive training that it takes to be a truck driver. I'm aware of needing to drive shine, rain, snow, sleet, ice, everything. I'm definitely aware that truck driving isn't all about driving a truck. I'm sure there are questions that I haven't thought about that need answers, but being the hugely analytical guy that I am, I'm sure I'll come up with some. I'm not the type of person who just jumps in head first. I want to KNOW for sure if this is going to be for me or not. I believe it is.

And just when I thought that pursuing a trucking career would need me to come up with a small fortune, my research has lead me to company-sponsored CDL programs. I had no idea those even existed, ones that will train you for little or no cost as long as you stick around for a predetermined amount of time. My research (I'm gonna say that a LOT) has been pointing me in the direction of Prime Inc. I really do like how they're set up and everything. I have a few questions about it, but I'm pretty much sold on Prime, but that doesn't mean I don't need to research other trucking companies (I've read reviews about Prime Inc and a few others right here on this site). At this point, company-sponsored is all I can afford, maybe until my immediate financial situation improves.

I am also going to get deeper into the High Road Training Program. I've only done two sections in my spare time and got 100%, though I have a long, long way to go. Now I know that it really isn't intended on replacing an actual CDL exam, but from what I've read about it, it's a great starting point to study and to learn about what's all needed.

I am going to set myself up for success. Watched a YouTube video from a Prime Driver (not sure if he is here on the forums), but he had a two-part series on setting yourself up to succeed. So before I take the next bus, train, or plane to CDL school, I wanna be hit with knowledge. I've watched numerous videos on pretrip inspections, backing, shifting (never driven a stick in my life), among many other things about trucks (and will watch them over and over and over again). I'm aware that videos cannot replicate what you have to do behind the steering wheel of an actual truck, but for me, just the knowledge will give me an advantage. I just have to know these things. I've also, during my lurking here on the forums, saw an extremely helpful thread on the pretrip, and that will come in handy. I would REALLY like to see an actual truck, though, because no two trucks are created equal. Actually, several trucks. It's gonna be tough to know just where all of the parts are.

With all of that being said, now I ask my questions:

1. I think what may hold me back is my employment history. For the better part of the last five years, I have worked at home as an independent contractor. It isn't really socially accepted, but it was money. It wasn't until early this year (2016) that I knew what being an employee feels like again. And out of all of the companies I've contracted for, I've had only one that gave me roughly three and a half years, though it was in two separate stints. The other ones either closed down or I couldn't quite meet up with their weekly metrics and had to prove myself, which I've failed at (but gave it my best shot). I have copies of my 1099s to prove everything, though. I've heard that with Prime at least, you need three years of verifiable employment history, though of course I wasn't an employee. Will that hinder me? Of course my criminal history is clean, and I'll pass a drug test with flying colors (I don't even smoke cigarettes, not a single puff IN MY LIFE, so what does that say?). I guess I should add that my driving record is clean (ZERO accidents), and I don't even drink alcoholic beverages (I haven't KNOWINGLY drank any alcoholic beverages IN MY LIFE, just maybe a few that I didn't know contained alcohol, but of course no DUIs or any of that). Just worried about that employment stuff. I ain't a job hopper by any means.

2. I know for Prime at least, you have to study the Missouri CDL manual. But I haven't really got a clear answer as to what exact parts of the manual I have to study. If someone can clear that part up, I'd greatly appreciate it.

3. About how much cash would I need to realistically save up for a company-sponsored program? I know the costs are low, though of course I know I'll still need some cash in the bank while I'm out studying for a new career.

I've used up much of the character limit in these forums now, but I'm glad I was able to present myself here. If anyone would like to shed some light as to what I've said as well as answer the three initial questions I've had, that would be awesome. Thank you all for reading, hope to join the trucking force real soon!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Trucker Perro!

Your employment verification will not be a problem as long as you have your 1099's or tax returns or some form of verification. Being self-employed or working off the books is quite common and there are plenty of ways to verify what you've been doing. You seem pretty meticulous about things so you'll have no problems there I'm sure.

If you continue using our High Road Training Program you'll fly through the written exams for your CDL permit like they're nothing. If you'd like to study the Missouri manual on top of that you should really study the entire thing. We always encourage people to get all of the CDL endorsements in order to maximize your employment opportunities and your opportunities to haul whatever freight is available out there.

Here is a link to our page where you can download the state CDL manuals.

I also recommend you go through the sections of our High Road Training Program for Learning The Logbook Rules and Understanding Truck Weight And Balance. Those are two sections we've built ourselves. The information you'll find is critical for doing your job out there but often isn't covered well during the schooling.

As far as the cash you'll need to save up to begin the program, I would recommend about $500-$1,000. You're going to at least have to feed yourself for a few weeks and pick up a few odds and ends along the way. If you go in short on money it's going to add quite a bit of stress to an already stressful and challenging set of circumstances so it's nice to know ahead of time that's taken care of.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

As for Prime, they take care of your room/meals while you are going through orientation. The only monies you will need is for the administrative thing they will be doing during orientation (about $150 for background check & MO permit). Once you are done with orientation, they advance you $200/week that you will pay back @ $25/week once you pass your CDL test and start the second phase of your training.

Any other questions, feel free to ask and I will do my best to help.

Ernie

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.

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.
ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

I can say from taking the MO CDL permit tests that if you study the High Road program you won't have a bit of trouble.

If you want a glimpse into what a truck driver experiences on a daily basis, not just the "work" aspect of it, check out Allie Knight or Trucker Josh on YouTube. Great stuff!

And as a native Tennessee girl, Go Vols! Alabama is a sworn enemy from childhood!rofl-1.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.
Trucker Perro's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, you all! That answered the three questions I had off the top of my head, but two more I have:

1. Assuming I do Prime, when I get my CDL permit and eventually my CDL license, will it be a Missouri license? I obviously don't live in Missouri, so exactly how does everything work as far as address go and all?

2. What would you guys recommend to practice double clutching? I have watched countless YouTube videos on the subject and I've tried the gold ol' imaginary shifter/clutch stuff. Doesn't seem like my left leg and my right arm want to co-exist, so I'm kinda having to do it slowly now. It'd be nice if I had something real to hold onto. Looking for any and all tips on that.

Also, if anyone else can offer further insight on my initial three questions, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks, yall, and keep on truckin'!

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Trucker Perro's Comment
member avatar

Hope bumping isn't frowned upon in this establishment. Though if anyone here had answers to some questions I've had, it'd be greatly appreciated. I must say that the High Road is really informative! I have a few ideas on how I can make use of it!

Joe W. ( aka hharleywood)'s Comment
member avatar

As far as the double clutching and shifting, you said you've watched videos. Get a baseball bat and a stuffed animal and practice what you've watched on video. Use the bat as the shifter and step on the stuffed animal for the clutch. It will help with the foot hand coordination. When I was in school (last week) I saw someone using a "slim Jim" to practice shifting. Yes the meat stick. Since you have not driven a stick before,that will make teaching you easier. I am a seasoned manual transmission driver. I had to unlearn stuff in order to shift the truck properly. So don't get yourself down about never driving a manual transmission before. That makes you more teachable and more receptive to what they tell you to do.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Trucker Perro's Comment
member avatar

Hey, a baseball bat and a stuffed animal. If it works, it works! I'll have to give it a try and see what happens. I have both items readily available now. Thanks, man!

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