New Truck Driver Career Decisions

Topic 1636 | Page 1

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PJ's Comment
member avatar

Hello, I just joined and have been looking around the entire site. I see I'm not the only person that has retired and now looking for something new. I have never driven a big rig, but have driven most everything else with wheels. I need the CDL. I do enjoy driving and I have rode my motorcycle cross country twice. My situation is like most. Want something to do, make a bit of money doing it, and be able to enjoy life. That being said; I have spoken with 3 recuriters thus far. I will say all were very helpful and friendly (as most good sales people are). My main drawback is even being retired, I have a homelife that I don't care to loose completely. I get the schooling and time commitment for the initial training. I don't want to be gone extended periods of time all the time. My girlfriend will not tolerate that. It looks to me from my research so far that Knight seems to be a better fit if I do this simply because they appear to have more regional/dedicated runs without a 6mo to 1yr waiting period to apply for one. My thought at this point is to get the training, license, and pay my dues for the experience then get something that better fits our family time. I am very fortunate that my retirement is direct deposited every month. Any comments and/or suggestions are very welcome.

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.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

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.

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.

Steve C.'s Comment
member avatar

Let me first say, welcome to the forum! Maybe you should look into Roehl, they have a 7/7 program where you drive for seven days then go home for seven days. The earning potential is obviously a lot less than with companies where you work more, but if you just want to travel and make a little money this may be the best way to go. They don't offer CDL training so you would have to go to a local school first then go with them. Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

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.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Let me first say, welcome to the forum! Maybe you should look into Roehl, they have a 7/7 program where you drive for seven days then go home for seven days. The earning potential is obviously a lot less than with companies where you work more, but if you just want to travel and make a little money this may be the best way to go. They don't offer CDL training so you would have to go to a local school first then go with them. Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

Thanks for the welcome. Everyone seems very helpful on here. I saw some posts from folks with them. 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.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to TT, PJ....and yes, we are all about helping truckers, wannabes, or anyone else who has questions about trucking. I understand your concern about hometime. That being said, be sure to research whatever company you are interested in THOROUGHLY..Recruiters are the worst for promising the moon, and getting you into a hole you can't even see the sky from. So go to a truckstop..(I've been to lots of them in GA...GREAT FOOD !!) and find a few company drivers, buy em a cup of coffee, or talk to them on the fuel island. Get a feel for the companies from them....you will meet all kinds, but hopefully, you will get some straight answers...much closer than most recruiters, I'm sure.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard PJ!

The dry van and flatbed companies tend to have the best home time options. Refrigerated companies tend to keep you out longer periods of time. So I would focus more on the dry van and flatbed companies, but not exclusively of course.

Steve had awesome advice about Roehl. They do indeed have the best home time packages I know of. Schneider and Swift also have a ton of great home time options.

And if you do decide to get into trucking, we have an awesome CDL test preparation course called The High Road Training Program. That has the entire CDL manual built into it so it covers your CDL permit and all of your endorsement exams. It also has two special sections we've built ourselves on the Logbook and Weight & Balance which are crucial to your everyday job out there on the road but isn't covered well by the CDL manual or most schools.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett, I have looked up Roehl and am very impressed with what I have found. I probably never would have had it not been for Steve's advice. Much appreciated. I have started on the high road program and so far I'm doing pretty well. I am serious about this as a new career if I can balance it all out. This site has been a great resource and your doing a great service sir.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Glad you're enjoying the site!

We have a ton of information on Roehl's Company Sponsored CDL Training Program and many more Company-Sponsored Training Programs.

I should have also mentioned our Truck Driver's Career Guide which really should be essential reading for anyone considering a career in trucking.

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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
member avatar

Like the above posters said, call lots of companies, and ask questions. And take everything with a grain (or bucket) of salt. Some things recruiters say will come true, some will not. I can tell you my experience at Schneider Bulk. I am an OTR tanker driver out of New Jersey. I have been with Schneider for 4 months, my first driving job out of CDL school. I am home every 11-13 days for Fri/Sat/Sun; so every other weekend. I have gotten home on Thursday night every single time so far except one, and it was my own fault lol. We have regional tanker drivers as well and I know that a lot of them get home almost every weekend and even 2 or 3 nights during the week. Of course that may happen one month and not happen another month. We have a terminal in Atlanta, it's dry van but I think some Bulk drivers are based out of there.

Also to drive home what Brett explains on this site and many others here do as well. If you act like a professional you will be treated like one. I deliver my loads, I send in messages on the Qualcomm if a trailer has even slight damage, I keep my dispatcher informed if I may be early/late, if a shipper's facility seems unsafe, and so on. Because of this I get miles and my dispatcher works hard to get me loads to places I want to go. For example, 1 month ago my fiance was in Cleveland for a conference for work. I asked my dispatcher, "If it is at all possible I would really appreciate it if you could get me a load to Cleveland or somewhere nearby." Within 30 minutes she got me a load to Cleveland that let me spend the night there. Same thing happened last week, she got me somewhere I wanted to go because I asked nicely and she knows she can count on me.

So research your options, and try to filter what recruiters say.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys, much appreciated information. I was under the impression Roehl only hired grad's, not new drivers needing their CDL. This looks like a very viable option to explore. And yes Thinkstoomuch I always take most things at face value. Guess with my former career and age I have become just a bit synicial. I also spent several years in the Navy in my younger days, so I understand the sales pitch. Also my girlfriend is in sales, and she has told me things. I'll leave that one alone. I am very glad I found this site and much appreciate all you guys do to help folks out.

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.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thought I would give you all a quick update. I have been very busy researching, and talking to lots of folks. First of all Brett you were spot on about Roehl. I have been working with Kim in the training division today because after speaking to several people in private schools and many company sponsored programs I did decide they would fit my personal situation the best. I just received a call from her stating I have been tentatively accepted and she will call me next week after everything is formal. I am only 70 something percent through the High Road Training Course so I guess I better get busy on it. It's looking like a November class date. They start every Monday and limit the class size to 6. I like that idea. But thanks to everyone here providing top notch advise and training tools I think I'm ahead of the game. I'm actually starting to get really excited and a little nervous as well. Up to now its only been thinking about it, but once I signed my name to the forms I felt a difference. Maybe I'm just nuts, not really sure. Thanks again everyone for all the great help.thank-you-2.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.
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