Looking For A Truck Driving Job After CDL Training

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Jeff1000's Comment
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Fellas, I posted here quite often when I was considering truck driving as a career. You guys were great and Brett was amazing with his detailed responses. I was living in MA at the time and eventually decided that I would just buy a motorhome and travel, but that never worked out and instead I sold my house and just headed west in my car. Initially I planned on relocating to San Antonio and attending the Sage Truck Driving School, but I didn’t have a good feeling about staying there so I kept driving. I eventually ended up in Las Vegas and rented a one bedroom suite where I’ve resided for the past 5 months.

At first I considered going to Sage in Kingman, Arizona, but I also explored truck driving school opportunities in Vegas and found three schools: AIT, Southwest, and AGS Consultants. I decided to try AGS, after much research, so I gave Sarge (the owner) a call and I was given an appointment to meet with him. I paid the tuition ($3625) and started school the following Monday.

The CDL permit part was really fast paced: 3 days to pass four tests (including tanker endorsement) and then it was on to PTI. PTI was hell on earth baking in the Vegas sun all day but made it through that. The next task was range backing where I had some trouble so I was sidelined until Von Scaff (Sarge’s lead instructor) returned to school. I waited 2 months before I was back on the range with Von. I had a couple months to watch videos and read up about the art of backing and docking a trailer so I did much better and passed.

The last part was learning to shift, making turns, and on to the streets in real traffic. I struggled a little upshifting the 10 speed Peterbilt but eventually got it and passed my driving test. I was ecstatic; the school was so hard I didn’t think I was going to make it through. I got my certificate and it said that I received 160 hours of training. It seemed like a lot more than that because the school was hell all the way through :-).

Anyway, so here I am fresh out of school with my Nevada CDL Class AM license (motorcycle too) and wondering what my next move is. My school, AGS, doesn’t offer much in the way of employment help and there are no recruiters allowed around there so I’m pretty much on my own securing employment. I know I’m pretty much limited to big trucking companies to acquire some experience.

I was wondering if I should apply using the online application form (probably Schneider and Swift), or just call the numbers supplied. I’m afraid if I apply online I’ll just get lost in the shuffle. So what’s the best way to present yourself to a trucking company as a CDL holder? Thanks in advance.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
if you are stupid and chose to let the bad guys know who you are you can open carry.

Of course bad guys might choose not to attack someone who is carrying a gun and may instead try for someone who isn't? I'm not much of a bad guy, but I'm a pretty smart guy, and if I was going to attack someone I would prefer they didn't have a gun. In fact I dare say that attacking someone who does not have a gun would be high on my list of things that are important to my bad guy career. It's called Deterrence.

Anyhow Jeff1000 we have an awesome listing of Truck Driving Jobs for you to apply to. When you get to that page, you'll also see an option to apply to as many companies as you like with just one application.

I would simply rifle off applications to every company imaginable and then start calling them after about two days. Keep calling until you get someone on the phone and you know they're processing your application, otherwise it might just sit on a pile collecting dust.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
Just to add, it does seem curious that companies supposedly need drivers yet an applicant has to keep nudging them to consider your application???

It's a case of management trying to cut costs as much as possible. The first place most companies cut costs are in places that don't produce revenues - like customer service and recruiting. So they try to get by with the absolute minimum number of recruiters possible so they're always overwhelmed with work.

Also, recruiters are often paid a commission for each driver they bring in. So what they'll do is work on the applications they think have the best chance at bringing in a driver. If you keep calling them and inquiring about employment they'll feel you're serious about working for the company and they'll work on your application. If you're a recruiter and you have 200 applications sitting in a pile in front of you, you know 20 or 30 of those people are going to call you and show they're serious about working there. Those are the ones you're going to focus on.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jeff1000's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
double-quotes-start.png

Just to add, it does seem curious that companies supposedly need drivers yet an applicant has to keep nudging them to consider your application???

double-quotes-end.png

It's a case of management trying to cut costs as much as possible. The first place most companies cut costs are in places that don't produce revenues - like customer service and recruiting. So they try to get by with the absolute minimum number of recruiters possible so they're always overwhelmed with work.

Also, recruiters are often paid a commission for each driver they bring in. So what they'll do is work on the applications they think have the best chance at bringing in a driver. If you keep calling them and inquiring about employment they'll feel you're serious about working for the company and they'll work on your application. If you're a recruiter and you have 200 applications sitting in a pile in front of you, you know 20 or 30 of those people are going to call you and show they're serious about working there. Those are the ones you're going to focus on.

Glad I brought that up Brett, that makes perfect sense. No matter how badly a company may need drivers, they still have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This is interesting because it reminds me of what happened to me at my school. During the range backing part of the training I struggled alley docking and offset parking because I had never even sat in a tractor let alone drive one, but the 3 other students in my class all had prior experience and were able to complete the range backing first try, but I struggled as I’m sure the other students did the first time they ever tried it. Anyway, it worked out that I would have to spend another day on the range with some instruction so I was sidelined until further notice. I waited a week and didn’t hear back from the owner so I started texting him and he said that he hadn’t forgotten me and he would get back to me after the other 3 students in my class were done with their training. So weeks went by and I texted again and same thing: he would get back to me and he hadn’t forgotten me.

It had reached the point where 2 months had gone by and I was pretty fed up that my training was put on hold like this, so I texted an ultimatum basically telling Sarge (the owner) that I needed a firm commitment from him on a date that I could return to the range or to refund one-third of my tuition. Six or seven hours later I received a text telling me to show up at the range Saturday at 6am.

The point is that, whether intentional or not, it seems that this was a great lesson to be learned when dealing with trucking companies: you have to be persistent. The actual problem was that Sarge was running the school all by himself and he was waiting for his lead instructor to return after surgeries and health problems. Everything worked out great in the end because Von Scaff was a fantastic instructor and I worked one on one with him for probably 40 or 50 hours and passed the school with flying colors.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Yeah, the trucking industry is not the place for shy people. You have to stand up and be heard. You have to make your own way. Now that doesn't mean you have to be a loud-mouth jerk to get heard. But it does mean you have to be persistent and sometimes you have to "politely insist" on getting your way with things or being heard.

The trucking industry is also very competitive. Everyone knows the companies compete with each other for profit, but most people don't realize at first that as a driver you're competing for freight with the other drivers in your company. Trucking companies keep track of driver performance. They know how many miles you average a week, how often you're late for appointments, how long you've been with the company, what your safety record looks like, and even how many alerts you've triggered on the computer in your truck (hard braking, overspeed, etc).

When companies dish out freight, they try to give the right freight to the right driver. They want their most precious customers and hottest freight handled by their best drivers. On top of that, office politics plays into it. Certain companies give more authority to dispatchers when it comes to distributing freight. Other companies require load planners to distribute it. Since drivers are interacting with their dispatchers on a daily basis, the dispatchers with more pull can take better care of the drivers they like. They get better miles and better runs.

Finally, some dispatchers get paid a bonus based on their driver's performance. Each dispatcher usually has about 50 drivers or so on their board. So the more miles and on-time appointments a dispatcher's drivers get the bigger the bonus. So dispatch will look at how loads are distributed and try to make sure each driver has an appropriate load for their skill level and record.

So as a driver you really want to go out there and make a name for yourself in a good way. You want to do favors for dispatch, make all of your appointments on time, and run as hard as you can safely. Do that for six months or so and handle yourself like a true professional and you should get great miles and plenty of freight.

Dispatcher:

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.
Jeff1000's Comment
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BTW, I received my CDL Class A on September 11th so I’m still pretty much fresh out of school. I know you have to act quickly. Also, I really want to drive OTR. Basically, along with the best way to approach a trucking company, any suggestions, insider info, recommendations, help etc. would be greatly appreciated (for someone in my position). 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.

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.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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Everything is online. Just apply to all the trucking companies that interest you. Then call them 2-3 days later to inquire about the online application. I will PM you my recruiter's info from Schneider because you mentioned Schneider.

Harry W.'s Comment
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If you are interested in Con-Way I can give you that information. Best of luck and congratulations. Harry W.

Jeff1000's Comment
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Everything is online. Just apply to all the trucking companies that interest you. Then call them 2-3 days later to inquire about the online application. I will PM you my recruiter's info from Schneider because you mentioned Schneider.

Thanks ThinksTooMuch. I meant in my OP that I struggled a little downshifting not upshifting, anyway will do on the apps and follow up calls.

Yes, I found a Schneider regional job listing out of Las Vegas covering the 11 western states and Texas. This sounds perfect to me and is the first place I plan on applying, so yes please PM your recruiter’s info, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks again!

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.

Jeff1000's Comment
member avatar

If you are interested in Con-Way I can give you that information. Best of luck and congratulations. Harry W.

Sure I’m interested, appreciate it. Thank you. And thanks for the congrats.

BTW, I still have my old email from MA in my profile and not sure how to change it to my new address: jeffreyp950@gmail.com.

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
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Jeff, as someone who lived in Las Vegas I can tell you some companies will not hire out of there... but I know prime, swift, Knight, Tyson foods, and several others will. If you have trouble finding something and need a job in that area for a little bit I can get you in as a shuttle bus driver for the big conventions coming up.... or a limo or towncar job. Also drive over to the convention center and look for the truck drivers talk to them.... A local company does all the driving over there and pays UBER well. But seeing how you said OTR is the dream fill out the application on this site and blanket as many companies as possible.

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.

Jeff1000's Comment
member avatar

Jeff, as someone who lived in Las Vegas I can tell you some companies will not hire out of there... but I know prime, swift, Knight, Tyson foods, and several others will. If you have trouble finding something and need a job in that area for a little bit I can get you in as a shuttle bus driver for the big conventions coming up.... or a limo or towncar job. Also drive over to the convention center and look for the truck drivers talk to them.... A local company does all the driving over there and pays UBER well. But seeing how you said OTR is the dream fill out the application on this site and blanket as many companies as possible.

Appreciate the feedback man. Schneider seems to hire out of Vegas. I looked up Conway and Nevada is not on their do not hire state. I’m not sure about Swift. Yes, I’d like to apply OTR first, but if that doesn’t work out I’m still going to need a job. Please keep me on your radar. 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.

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
member avatar

Where are you staying in Vegas? a weekly room place? I have a room for rent across from the stratosphere for 130 a week including all utilities. My old roommate is there but he is never home, his old ass (just turned 50) works 80 hours a week. Let me know

Jeff1000's Comment
member avatar

Where are you staying in Vegas? a weekly room place? I have a room for rent across from the stratosphere for 130 a week including all utilities. My old roommate is there but he is never home, his old ass (just turned 50) works 80 hours a week. Let me know

I’ve been staying at Siegel Suites Tropicana (off Tropicana and Valley View) for $876 a month including everything, Internet, cable etc. etc.

I just paid my 5th month of rent. I’m pretty comfortable here. It’s quiet and the staff here is terrific. Thanks for the heads up though on a room.

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