Seriously Considering Becoming A Trucker

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Zeck180's Comment
member avatar

For the past 1.5 years I have been stalking this website/forum and many others like it, scouring information about all the kinds of CDL schools, both company sponsored and colleges' and advice given to many others. When I started this look up, at the time is came from mere curiosity, then it moved to fascination, to where I am today, where in I'm almost ready to "Pull the trigger".

To start as to why, well it was in March, 2015 and at the time I was 3.5 years in at working laundry and housekeeping at a small family owned nursing home(and for 95% of that time being the ONLY guy working there), and I was getting tired of doing the same thing everyday and never feeling I was accomplishing anything. So I started browsing jobs, and just typed in google "How to become a truck driver", I was more curious than anything and read some of the pros and cons. However I closed it out and moved on because according to my mom and dad "who wants to live like that".

Then August 1, 2015 comes along, the nursing home was sold to some guy who has a lot of experience with running successful* care facilities, that is when a lot of CNA's, LPN's started to leave, and after a month or two afterwards is when I really started to hate working there, the whole culture of the place changed. He came in promising higher wages, ect, though working there for then 4 years I saw my hourly rate drop from $8.90 to $8.50(no explanation given), then he started to purge the older LPN/CNA's (cutting their hours or firing them). I did my best to stay on his good side, but my supervisor(who was widely hated, even by the former owners), she really hated me and did everything to get me in trouble and openly admitted to some one she wanted to get me fired anyway.

*The nursing home is now being threatened by the state to be closed since the quality of care has really gone down along with the number of residents.

February 1, 2016 comes around and at the end of the day I am informed that my position has been terminated, because I "falsified Nursing Home documents" (working in laundry, you don't do any paperwork) and for posting a joke that the new owner found to be very inappropriate . Ironically two of the administers found nothing wrong with the joke.

Since then though I have actively been searching for jobs, from almost every category(construction, manufacturing, Sales associate, warehouse,) only apply for jobs that have "No Experience Required", I would figure since I have never been arrested for anything, no driving convictions that are on my record(I was pulled over for seat belt during Memorial Day Weekend in 2013, but it didn't go on my record), no traffic accidents, I have no allergies. And after applying for (i've lost count) maybe 70+ jobs. Two interviews and plenty of "You're not who we're looking for", I live in rural Northern Iowa, but lucky for me the largest metro area is the Waterloo/Cedar Falls(home to 95% of the jobs I've applied for), but still no luck.

So since late August I have been seriously considering trucking, not out of desperation, but since I have no plans on going to college(I don't want to go that far into debt) and the town where I live a few people are truckers and live pretty well, one owns a business with 15 employees on the side(and just built a new building). I'm single and almost 25, but since i've spent 4 years working at a dead end job I do live with my parents(my mom is disabled so it does make sense.) But i'm longing to live my own life to say "be my own man".

So I have been pouring many hours looking at the many options, some of the company sponsored schools I looked at were Swift, CR England, Roehl, CRST, Prime and then local community colleges who also offer courses, but each time I keep coming back to my preference, Iowa Central CC. I have already asked some base questions, and showed my interest, though don't know of any better questions to ask which would require lengthy explanations.

But have yet to tell my parents, and they have never been very supportive of my ideas of what I want to do. The question my dad insists I answer is "Where you are going to get the money?" "Do you even know what you're doing". At which I second guess myself and submit to the idea that I don't know what i'm doing and give up. But this time though, after spending 1.5 years thinking about it, I know what i'm doing and want to do, but not too sure they'll help me or let me.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.
Yosemite Sam's Comment
member avatar

What's good with u Z So I see u are in a bind as what to do. Not trying to tell you what to do again ur a young man and my opinion is ur are at the right age to begin this career. So the ??? About the money shouldn't be a issue as u can go to the company sponsored schools but the catch is that u have to work for them for a year to pay for the schooling or there are hefty penalties. Best bet is to go to a CDL school not a company school they do financing and when u graduate u can go to a company that does tuition reimbursement so school is free but make sure u sign with a company that doesn't require u to sign a contract u will be all good Good luck!!

For the past 1.5 years I have been stalking this website/forum and many others like it, scouring information about all the kinds of CDL schools, both company sponsored and colleges' and advice given to many others. When I started this look up, at the time is came from mere curiosity, then it moved to fascination, to where I am today, where in I'm almost ready to "Pull the trigger".

To start as to why, well it was in March, 2015 and at the time I was 3.5 years in at working laundry and housekeeping at a small family owned nursing home(and for 95% of that time being the ONLY guy working there), and I was getting tired of doing the same thing everyday and never feeling I was accomplishing anything. So I started browsing jobs, and just typed in google "How to become a truck driver", I was more curious than anything and read some of the pros and cons. However I closed it out and moved on because according to my mom and dad "who wants to live like that".

Then August 1, 2015 comes along, the nursing home was sold to some guy who has a lot of experience with running successful* care facilities, that is when a lot of CNA's, LPN's started to leave, and after a month or two afterwards is when I really started to hate working there, the whole culture of the place changed. He came in promising higher wages, ect, though working there for then 4 years I saw my hourly rate drop from $8.90 to $8.50(no explanation given), then he started to purge the older LPN/CNA's (cutting their hours or firing them). I did my best to stay on his good side, but my supervisor(who was widely hated, even by the former owners), she really hated me and did everything to get me in trouble and openly admitted to some one she wanted to get me fired anyway.

*The nursing home is now being threatened by the state to be closed since the quality of care has really gone down along with the number of residents.

February 1, 2016 comes around and at the end of the day I am informed that my position has been terminated, because I "falsified Nursing Home documents" (working in laundry, you don't do any paperwork) and for posting a joke that the new owner found to be very inappropriate. Ironically two of the administers found nothing wrong with the joke.

Since then though I have actively been searching for jobs, from almost every category(construction, manufacturing, Sales associate, warehouse,) only apply for jobs that have "No Experience Required", I would figure since I have never been arrested for anything, no driving convictions that are on my record(I was pulled over for seat belt during Memorial Day Weekend in 2013, but it didn't go on my record), no traffic accidents, I have no allergies. And after applying for (i've lost count) maybe 70+ jobs. Two interviews and plenty of "You're not who we're looking for", I live in rural Northern Iowa, but lucky for me the largest metro area is the Waterloo/Cedar Falls(home to 95% of the jobs I've applied for), but still no luck.

So since late August I have been seriously considering trucking, not out of desperation, but since I have no plans on going to college(I don't want to go that far into debt) and the town where I live a few people are truckers and live pretty well, one owns a business with 15 employees on the side(and just built a new building). I'm single and almost 25, but since i've spent 4 years working at a dead end job I do live with my parents(my mom is disabled so it does make sense.) But i'm longing to live my own life to say "be my own man".

So I have been pouring many hours looking at the many options, some of the company sponsored schools I looked at were Swift, CR England, Roehl, CRST, Prime and then local community colleges who also offer courses, but each time I keep coming back to my preference, Iowa Central CC. I have already asked some base questions, and showed my interest, though don't know of any better questions to ask which would require lengthy explanations.

But have yet to tell my parents, and they have never been very supportive of my ideas of what I want to do. The question my dad insists I answer is "Where you are going to get the money?" "Do you even know what you're doing". At which I second guess myself and submit to the idea that I don't know what i'm doing and give up. But this time though, after spending 1.5 years thinking about it, I know what i'm doing and want to do, but not too sure they'll help me or let me.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.
Sambo's Comment
member avatar

Forgive me if I overstep here.

Posts like this really break my heart. Here you have a young man trying to make it and is wanting to make his own mark on the world, and can't because of parents who are not supportive.

I get the sense that you are looking for an escape, and I get it. Trucking is definitely that, and the good part is that there are companies out there who will give you the training, and some will even put you up in a hotel and feed you, and provide transportation from the hotel and the school, and best of all, free of charge. Granted, as previously mentioned, you will be bound by that company via contract for a year or so, but, that's not a bad thing.

In short...this is something you can do my friend. The courses and information on this site will get you to where you want to be. Just please take the time to truly understand what it means to be a trucker, and what the lifestyle is like.

It will be long hours on the road, many days away from home, friends, family, social activities that you like. There will be unruly drivers you have to deal with, steep grades, mountains and weather (rains, winds, ice and snow) .

However, if you want it...if you really want it, study hard, be safe and do a good job, this could be something where you can make that mark on the world.

I wish you luck and hope you find what you are looking for. Again, read all the great articles here and it will prepare you for the road ahead.

good-luck.gif

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Zach, The biggest thing Im having trouble comprehending is that your 25, yet you say your parents wont let you? When people asked what my family thought about me leaving my healthcare career behind to become a truck driver, my respinse was "I have no idea because I didnt ask their permission."

I think that you, as an adult, are going to have to "not ask for permission" and just do it if that is where your heart is. I would venture to guess as a displaced worker you could get WIOA funding to pay for your school, but company sponsored schools are a good option too.

If you do attend a private school, i highly recommend you check out West Side Transport in Cedar Rapids. Its no secret around here that i love my company.

Best wishes and keep us informed on your progress.

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

Zeck180's Comment
member avatar

Zach, The biggest thing Im having trouble comprehending is that your 25, yet you say your parents wont let you? When people asked what my family thought about me leaving my healthcare career behind to become a truck driver, my respinse was "I have no idea because I didnt ask their permission."

Well my parents are very good at as i said make me second guess myself, or make me feel guilty for not helping. My mom has for 20+ years had a bad hip, bad knees and has arthritis, which with me at home I do give her more independence than she would not have. And lets say my dad likes to try to control other people, try to separate from that and he gets angry. I have two other siblings(one 36 and another 38), and for the most part they think I should shoulder the responsibility of staying home and helping and also try to guilt trip me(doesn't work very often). Simply put though I've openly admitted that I want to live on my own, it's always the excuses and the guilt tripping "Who's going to help your/our mom if she falls?"

And to add finally, unlike many people here I am not for the most part financially independent, since that housekeeping job was only part-time for those 4 years and at most I only made 4,000 a year and when you drive a gas guzzler over 60% of each paycheck went for gas(and that was when prices were over $3.50). So I always feel i'm in a corner with no way out.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Seems to me you need to ask yourself some honest questions.

1. If you continue your current path, what is going to change in the next year, the next 2years, and the next 5 years.

2. What CAN change if you decide to make a change over the same time span.

Seems to me that you stand a better chance of helping the folks financialy if you do start driving, (and like it enough to stick with it ). Makes the folks and siblings step up rather than just you.

3. If your afraid to try, well then you have the perfect reason to not try.

Bottom line is there are a number of ways of accomplishing a OTR job, regardless of the hype and flat out mis statements unless you pay or borrow to take the cdl schooling, you will be required to sign an agreement of X length of time to whoever does pay.

Do it, take a solid year to try and see if it is for you. Most you have to loose is a year of time.

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.

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

Well said Larry! He needs to apply to a company sponsored school, pack a weeks worth of clothing and a sleeping bag and just do it.

There are so many excellent company sponsored schools, some that will actually PAY a small salary or at least advance you food money during school. Once in company training, youll be a paid employee and receive pay for that then when you upgrade to solo, its normally paid CPM after that.. If i had been in the position where i had to attend a company school, Roehl and Prime would have been on my short list but to be fair, i never researched Swift and i think they would have made my short list. Im not going to say which ones were not suitable for me, but yep its the lowest paying ones.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Zeck,

It sounds like you are constantly bombarded with negative attitudes. I can certainly relate, since I've had some similar experiences from family members who've used guilt and manipulation. It is a toxic mentality, especially in my family, to feel threatened by others' success, so they feel the need to constantly push each other down. I'm sensing from what you wrote, that you want something better. My first suggestion is to only talk about what you want to do, your goals, dreams, etc., with people who are supportive. Don't tell your parents anything just yet--find someone you can share your excitement with.

Don't feel that you have to justify yourself, to your parents, siblings, or anyone else. If you see yourself becoming a truck driver, and that's what you want to do, then I say learn as much as you can from the members here and from the free resources the site offers. If you feel you might need some daily motivation, or a "pep talk," see if your local library has any audio books by motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar or Anthony Robbins. You might even be able to find some of their recordings free on youtube.

Think it over, but leave out the condescending opinions of the nay-sayers in your life. Best of luck to you!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

John L wrote:

find someone you can share your excitement with.

Zeck, If all else fails, you can share your excitement with us. We get it, and we have all been there; "trying to figure out if this is the right thing to do."

Good luck and keep you eye on the prize.

Zeck180's Comment
member avatar

So after searching this site for further information on Iowa Central and not finding enough to satisfy my needs, I asked a few more lengthy, but necessary questions to the schools' recruiter:

After much thought I am considering enrolling, still a few additional questions,

After reading the information e-mail, and reading on the student check list, before the start of class would I need to obtain a CDL-permit, I say this as on the check list it says, "$32 for permit" but on the information email it says to obtain before the start. Asking for clarification.

When regarding financial aid on the application form, what line would I check if I am not any of the listed(single parent, separated, ect) and (besides food), how much does the aid cover of the tuition and what would be needed to pay out of pocket?

Though not necessarily required, what other documents/papers could be sent that would be helpful?

And the MVR I mail to the DOT office in Des Monies, then they'll send you the report?

Finally out of curiosity what is the purpose for sending in a copy of the student check list?

The answer I got satisfied my needs, and hopefully help answers the questions of others looking at this school.

You do not have to have the permit prior to starting, unless you are a resident of another state. The permit it $12 and consists of gen knowledge, air brakes and combination tests. There is an option for single, on the application you would check the first space. If you qualify for the full pell $2908 and full loan $4750 this is enough to cover tuition $5500, fees $800 and housing $500. You would not have to pay anything up front. The loan payments do not start for 6 months after graduation. And many companies offer tuition reimbursement that starts after your probationary period-usually 3 months. You would need to pay for your permit, license and food. The only documents that we need are: social security card, driver’s license, permit, copy of high school diploma or ged. We do not need the MVR if you are from Iowa, we will run that after you start class.

To show how serious I am, I printed out their entire admission forms, but I asked that financial aid question because on their forms the options to check are: Single Parent, Married, Separated, Divorced, Widowed. So what check single parent even though i'm not one?

But their student housing is enough to sell the $500 price tag, brand new. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10154145852354608&id=206510929607

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

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