Pay My Own Way Or "free" Company School? And Which Company Has Best Starting Pay?

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Space Truckin's Comment
member avatar

Hi everybody! Nice group you have here!

I am thinking about getting into trucking, been doing a lot of research and reading online. A while back I read the blog of an older married team who said that you should pay your own way through truck driving school, if you could swing it, because that way you would not be beholden to the company who gave you the "free" schooling, for up to one year, and at potentially relatively low pay. Which seemed to make sense to me, given that TANSTAAFL and all that...

But then I've been reading on this site, that some people have actually had really good experiences, going through Prime in particular, and that Prime also pays 40 something cpm right off the bat, even to newbies. Which sounded pretty decent to me!

So I went to their site to get further details, it seems even if you go to them with your own CDL after graduating from your own driving school, that they still want you to do "training" for about 30000 miles. Which made me think, well then why bother paying my own way through school, spending 5 weeks, etc. only to be starting off at almost the same place as someone who was starting from scratch with them? I mean, why bother? I would still have to put in the 30k miles anyway (which sounds like about 4 months worth of driving? -- and at reduced pay no less, which seems like a bit of a scam, if I'm being honest - sorry!).

So I suppose my questions are these:

1.Are there any other companies out there who start rookie drivers out at decent pay in the 40 cph range (particularly if I have shown the initiative to pay my own way through a proper school*, and graduate with 1,000 miles behind the wheel already, all TWIC , passport, endorsements, etc. already taken care of, as well as honors / letter of recommendation from school, etc...)?

2.Am I going to end up having to do a lot of driving at low pay initially no matter who I go and work for? Is that just the way it works in this business? Or are there perhaps other companies who might be a better opportunity / rate of pay / shorter "training/trial" period for someone who is a newbie driver, but already paid their own way through proper school?

If you didn't pick up on it already, I am no slouch and have no doubts in my abilities to learn the material nor drive the truck. My concerns are, how much am I going to be taken advantage of by greedy corp (i.e., for how long) before I start to make decent money?

I hope that doesn't come off as being entitled or having a bad attitude, because I am actually neither of those things, and would expect to need to demonstrate that I can be responsible, solid, dependable, and yet still hustle and be willing to take on the miles/work, take care of the customer and all that good stuff. I also understand that doo doo occurs some times and everything will not go your way all the time, that's just the nature of the beast and routing and scheduling etc. What I am talking about is corps that have it built the structure of their business model to take advantage of new people. Or is that just everywhere?

Any advice to a noob would be appreciated!

* http://pcsb.org/Page/6956

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome Space Truckin!

To start out with, the most important thing to get straight right off the bat is to get this junk out of your head:

...how much am I going to be taken advantage of by greedy corp...

...which seems like a bit of a scam...

First of all, what is there to take advantage of with a rookie driver fresh out of school? You will literally be the most dangerous and least productive driver on the American highways at the beginning of your career. You know nothing about being a top professional in this industry early on and you'll be nothing but a liability risk and a burden until they can teach you how things are done out there. So just having the idea in your head that you have something valuable to offer the largest, most successful companies in this industry as a rookie fresh out of school shows you're greatly underestimating the difficulties you're about to face and greatly overestimating the value you provide early on. That's an ominous approach to take in a career that's as difficult, dangerous, and complex as trucking.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they're new to this industry is thinking that having a CDL means they've accomplished something and now they're valuable. Oh it feels like you've accomplished something, but the truth is only about 2% of what you'll need to know to be a top tier professional in this industry will be taught to you during your schooling. The next 18% you'll learn while you're on the road with a trainer. The remaining 80% will be learned the hard way, on your own after you go solo. And each step of the process is far more difficult than the last. School is cake, though people think it's tough at the time. Training on the road is far more difficult and many people never make it past this stage. But driving solo those first few months is a trial by fire and you're going to learn a lot of hard, embarrassing, and frustrating lessons during that time. This is when you'll find out whether or not you have what it takes to make it in this industry.

We lost count years ago of the number of people who have ruined their careers before they ever got off the ground by coming in with the wrong attitude. This whole "company scam" thing and "slave to a contract" attitude will ruin you. Not only will you be blindsided by how difficult it is to survive that first year on the road, but you're not going to understand the serious commitment it takes to learning your trade and how critical it is to prove yourself to your company before you're going to get the great miles, fancier trucks, better runs, access to higher divisions within the company, and special favors the proven top tier drivers get.

So please........do not overestimate your worth and do not underestimate the mountain you have to climb to become a truly valuable professional in this industry. You could almost literally teach a monkey the basic driving skills it takes to get their CDL. A top tier professional driver has years of street savvy behind them.

Am I going to end up having to do a lot of driving at low pay initially no matter who I go and work for?

You're going to have to learn a lot of hard lessons and prove yourself to your company before the better pay, better miles, better equipment, and special favors start coming your way. You're also going to have to adjust to life on the road. No one comes out of school with the mental and physical endurance it takes to turn 3,000 miles a week. You won't know how to work the logbook that well yet, you won't know how to work your way around cities and snowstorms and construction zones properly yet, you won't be savvy enough to wiggle your way in and out of customers as quickly as you need to, and you'll be too stressed out and overwhelmed to handle it all mentally. It takes time.

I hope that doesn't come off as being entitled or having a bad attitude

It does. At least it does relative to where you need to be. Prepare yourself for this first year on the road like it's boot camp. You're going to have a lot of ups and downs, spells of self-doubt, exhausting stretches where you can barely remember your own name, and emotional breakdowns you'll likely never tell anyone about.

And finally, keep something in mind about these large carriers. They are the best in class companies out there. They are the upper 1% in this industry. They would love to continue to grow but the thing that's holding them back is an utter lack of true professional drivers out there. The turnover in this industry is appalling. When you do choose a company, dedicate yourself to them for one full year. Give them everything you've got. Learn how the company works on the inside, learn how this industry works, master your trade, and get to know the right people in management. That is the secret to getting top pay, top equipment, and top miles in this industry. You prove yourself as a top tier driver to a great company, get to know the right people, and all of the accolades you're hoping for will be there. Most people never get that somehow. Even drivers who have been out there for years keep searching for this "diamond in the rough" company and never realize it's their own attitude, their own shortcomings that are keeping them from being as happy and successful as the top tier drivers they think they are.

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.

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.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

A CDL will not make you a truck driver. CDL Schools (even company sponsored) teach you just enough to pass your CDL Skills tests.

That said, as a new inexperienced driver you will have to go through a company training program to teach you to operate the truck safely and efficiently while having the luxury of a 1 on 1 trainer. Thats how you become a truck driver. Oh that moment when you check out your very own truck for the first time.. Something ill never forget!! Excited, exhilerated, and terrified all at the same time. I must have sat there for an hour going like "Wow!"

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.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

First, Welcome to Trucking Truth. It seems you are off to a good start by doing research. Don't rush into this. There are pros and cons to both of your options. There are plenty of companies that offer training. I suggest you look at the following.

Paid CDL Training Programs

That should help you out. You can also put questions or key words in the search at the top of the forums. 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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Space, welcome to Trucking Truth. We do give it to you straight, here.

You seem to have three concerns:

1. Pay. The CPM varies a bit between companies. Keep this in mind: If you see less pay (not counting road training) maybe you get more benefits, like a TV and APU. If you see more pay, maybe youll be working harder, like a Dollar store route (a killer!) or flatbed (all that tarping and strapping). Finally, for the ads that say OTR company drivers make "$60,000", look for something like "(top 10% of our drivers)" nearby. As a rookie, you won't be in that top 10%.

2. Commitment: If you go to a company school, they do want to be paid some way for their services. So, instead of shelling out $4K of your own (just for a sense of freedom), do your research now and choose a company you may be comfortable with on the long term. These people who regret a choice either didn't do the due diligence first, or maybe they are the loosers who will end up blaming the company for their own failures.

3. Road training: Sue nailed it. Doctors don't start working on patients once they get that diploma. Pilots don't fly 777's right out of flight school. Truckers don't guide an 80,000lb hunk of metal down the freeway right after getting their own CDL. You will get the finishing touches, and your confidence, riding and driving with an experienced trainer. (as for trainers, see the bottom part of #2 above, about what losers do.)

Read the links Scott put up. Especially the first two for the Trucker Lifestyle.

As for me, I went to Swift's academy. All the company schools are high pressure, and there is frustration for you get over, but it's worth it to be able to hit the road and see the country. And remember, thousands of newbies manage to survive truck school every week. You just might be able to yourself.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

Crete Carrier is a good company to look in to if you decide to get your CDL on your own. You have to attend one of their approved schools.

You would start off with 8 weeks of training @ $600/week. After training is over you are payed $.35 CPM and bumped up to $.45CPM after your first 6 months.

Shaffer Trucking, the reefer division of Crete, has the same training period and pay. After training is over your are payed $.37 CPM and bumped up to $.48 CPM after your first 6 months.

This is the pay for driving a full size truck. You will look at some companies, such as Prime, who will put you in a smaller lightweight truck to receive similar pay.

The only real downfall about Crete/Shaffer is there is no tuition reimbursement package. But you may be able to make up for that or justify it with receiving the higher CPM.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Space Truckin's Comment
member avatar

First, Welcome to Trucking Truth. It seems you are off to a good start by doing research. Don't rush into this. There are pros and cons to both of your options. There are plenty of companies that offer training. I suggest you look at the following.

Paid CDL Training Programs

That should help you out. You can also put questions or key words in the search at the top of the forums. Good luck.

I must confess, I feel like a bit of an idiot now, what with you guys taking the time to write so many good articles / FAQs (many about the very topics I was asking about) and I hadn't found them yet!

Thanks for the info! I'm working through those now.

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.

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.

Space Truckin's Comment
member avatar

Errol (and others!) thanks for the helpful replies!

1. Pay. The CPM varies a bit between companies. Keep this in mind: If you see less pay (not counting road training) maybe you get more benefits, like a TV and APU. If you see more pay, maybe youll be working harder, like a Dollar store route (a killer!) or flatbed (all that tarping and strapping). Finally, for the ads that say OTR company drivers make "$60,000", look for something like "(top 10% of our drivers)" nearby. As a rookie, you won't be in that top 10%.

2. Commitment: If you go to a company school, they do want to be paid some way for their services. So, instead of shelling out $4K of your own (just for a sense of freedom), do your research now and choose a company you may be comfortable with on the long term. These people who regret a choice either didn't do the due diligence first, or maybe they are the loosers who will end up blaming the company for their own failures.

3. Road training: Sue nailed it. Doctors don't start working on patients once they get that diploma. Pilots don't fly 777's right out of flight school. Truckers don't guide an 80,000lb hunk of metal down the freeway right after getting their own CDL. You will get the finishing touches, and your confidence, riding and driving with an experienced trainer. (as for trainers, see the bottom part of #2 above, about what losers do.)

Read the links Scott put up. Especially the first two for the Trucker Lifestyle.

As for me, I went to Swift's academy. All the company schools are high pressure, and there is frustration for you get over, but it's worth it to be able to hit the road and see the country. And remember, thousands of newbies manage to survive truck school every week. You just might be able to yourself.

1.I don't really care about TV, haven't watched that garbage in years, much prefer reading (including getting on the internet, where you can learn dang near anything you might want to, it's a wonderful thing!). APU I do however care about, in fact IMO any company that doesn't provide one, well that to me says a lot how they think about providing some creature comforts for the people out here busting their hump to make them money. OTOH, I am getting into this to make money also myself, and as you say if it's a tradeoff, then maybe that's something I should reconsider. It's just that, in Florida where I live, I know you cannot get restful sleep in this very hot and humid environment without A/C. I'm sure the reverse is true "up north" in the cold, although I suppose you could just have more blankets, up to a point. Lack of restful sleep (when you are able to get it) seems to me like it would cause a lot of other problems with your attitude potentially as well as your ability to deal with situations, as well as your ability to focus, which affects everything and of course safety most of all. So therefore, yes, restful sleep and creature comforts are very important to me, not for selfish reasons but because it seems to me that they would be necessary for a safe and productive life on the road.

But like I said, I haven't even been to trucking school yet, so what do I know. :)

2.And I get that - I mean, company needs to recoup their investment. I suppose it's the tradeoff that I'm looking at. Also you are basing your cost-benefit analysis on a for profit CDL mill charging $4k for school. I am lucky to have (what appears to be) a very good technical school near me (PTEC in St. Petersburg) which I have read nothing but good things about, and who have very high student:teacher ratio, 320 hr course, and all that good stuff, for only $2,400. My understanding is that there may even be some grants, or at worst case, very low / no interest loans available to me, which I am still looking into.

3.Good point. I suppose that's reasonable.

I am working my way through those links now, but I already read about the trucker lifestyle and I think I will like it a lot actually. I realize some of the things I am saying in these posts might come off as sounding impatient, but really I'm not. Like I said I understand you will have to roll with stuff some times. A couple articles I have read seem to confirm that some of these companies almost are testing you to see what you are made of. I get that, I had my own business for 20 years in a tough line of work and I would do the same thing to the new guys, mess with them a bit (on purpose) to see if they could handle it. Most couldn't, but there always was a "method to my madness."

I suppose it boils down to just which companies will hire noobs, and what their pay rate is, other bennies perhaps (like APU etc.), what their policies are about things like bringing food with you or maybe a porta potty, and finally how much mandatory "training" will be required.

Having said all of that, I still get the sense that some companies take advantage of new people by having long mandatory "training" periods. But then again, I'm a real fast learner, much more than most people. In short, I think that the training period should depend on the individual. If I'm doing very well, and picking things up fast, and can prove I don't need to be babysat, that I know what I am doing and I can be safe, then I should be sent out on my own sooner rather than later.

(cont'd)

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Bulwinkle J. Moose's Comment
member avatar

I guess the beauty of it all is that no matter what direction you decide to go you have some opportunities. Not to many occupations now a days are willing to buy your books send you to school and feed you lunch.

I've really taken it to heart though by whats been said by the more experienced drivers especially Brett the founder of the site is that no matter who you start out with you should stick with them for at least a year hopefully longer. Given this fact I've really tried to pin down who I want to drive for right out of the gate and what I want to haul. For me it's going to be flatbed freight.

TMC for instance will send you to their school or offer up to $6000 in tuition reimbursement from another school if you stick with them. Not sure but I think its 6 months that you need to drive with them but I could stand corrected. I talked to a recruiter at Hogan. Their payback period on tuition reimbursement is 6 months but they aren't a flatbed company so they are off my list although they look like pretty good people to work for.

Then you have Millis Transport that has a very good program at very low cost. I thinks its $2000 for their school with a direct hire after graduation and obtaining your CDL. 18 months employment to get payed back the 2 grand for their school.

Not to burn any bridges or screw over a company but also understanding that employment is "at will" from the employer and employee side taking Millis as an example if they didn't work out for you after going to their school and forking out the 2000 bucks you could leave with a CDL and awesome training in hand at a very economical cost. Community college driver training for me is going to be $4000. Due the math that's half price!

Maybe some other people could chime in on the cost of other company paid training programs and the cost of breaking out of a contract. I'm betting some companies put the cost of their training much higher but again I'm not in the know on this and the site is called trucking truth so we need to know the facts not what I say they are. So if this was true and you broke the contract you could have some big dollars to pay back. That's one reason I like paying for your own schooling and having some flexibility.

I don't think Ive answered your questions at all because I'm in the same boat as far as what I'm going to do. Be it company training or footing the bill on my own. At least we have choices and are both on the same page "web" that is to get some good advice on the decisions we need to make. Gook Luck!

BJ Moose

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.

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.

Bulwinkle J. Moose's Comment
member avatar

Correction "Good Luck" hahaha my editorial staff was asleep at the wheel

Space Truckin's Comment
member avatar

(cont'd)

At the end of the day, I suppose my cynical analysis comes down to: should I even bother spending 5 weeks going to my own school, if I am going to have to spend some months of mandatory "training" no matter which company I go work for? If that's how it works at every company anyway, then maybe I should just go to one of the companies that run their own school? I suppose several here have made that same determination, and followed that path. It seems it might be the shortest path to making the best possible money, the soonest.

Although I feel pretty confident that I would get a top notch education at PTEC. I'm quite conservative and old school and believe in really knowing the material and being competent and so I might go to their school anyway. I am a big believer in fundamentals, and knowing my stuff. In my experience in life, this is what separates the pros from the wannabees, in any field. Although I am old enough and worldly enough to realize that the majority of companies out there probably don't give a fig where you went to school or what you did, they just want to get you working for them so they can get to know you and see what you are capable of first hand. And if you are a whiner, etc.

I suppose I need to just start digging into the policies of the companies that hire newbs. I am also going to look into job placement from PTEC, and see what companies they work with. Make a list of all of them, start looking on their websites / talking to them, compile a big spreadsheet of data (yes I'm a nerd like that, lol) and then make my decision based on the factors that are important to me. Namely: PAY RATE (first and foremost), how long until raise, what kind / how big cab, what creature comforts are allowed, etc. (as I intend to be a full time OTR driver with no other life for the next 2 years at least).

Oh, speaking of that. I might as well share my dream. :) Yes right now it would seem that it is to become a trucker. Which it is. But I have a yet bigger dream. I want to buy some land out in the country somewhere and start a sustainable, organic farm, for my own sustenance, and to have plenty of room to do all my tinkering, while reducing my cost of living. It's very expensive to live around here, and very crowded. I am tired of the hamster wheel of work work work just to pay rent (or mortgage / car note), taxes, groceries, and then have so little to show for all your effort it at the end of the day / week / year. I'm a student of history and economics and I only see these trends getting worse in my lifetime here in our once great nation, I am very sorry to say.

So my plan is to go on the road full time the next couple years and just bank all that money, and then pay cash for some land, "retire" and then start building a barn, get some livestock, start farming the land, and eventually build my dream house. I've been running some numbers and it's going to cost me some bucks. But right now I don't have any family, so I am not worried about going on the road full time. In fact, it's a plus for me as I will be cutting out my monthly housing expenses. Soon I plan on starting to sell off almost all of my possessions as truthfully we don't own these things but rather they own us. To me right now they are a liability (costing storage, etc.) but this is something I learned only recently (in the last few years). I am really looking forward to a truly free life on the road, with no attachments...

But then I suppose I'm preaching to the choir in that regard, at least around these parts. :) Amirite?

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

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