When To Apply With Trucking Companies?

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Sharron R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello... I won't be starting school to get my CDL until this Summer (June). Need to save money, take care of some things 1st, etc. Is it too soon to apply for OTR ? Knight terminal is the closest to me, although I can relocate if it's important and or a must to be close to terminals?? Home time for me personally is not too much of a priority, at least the 1st year.

Thanks😀 Everyone be safe!!!

smile.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.

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.

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.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Now is the best time to apply.

Get as many pre-hire letters as you can get - think dozens or better yet, several dozens - make a list of them and the benefits of each one.

When you have so many that you are overwhelmed, then you can start to par down the list. Do this slowly, and be sure that you have a good reason to keep, or remove, a company from your list.

Finally, you should have a short list of no more than six companies that interest you. Rank them from best to worst and you'll be set.

Some recruiters may not be very helpful knowing that your planing so far in advance, but most will work with you (and perhaps even try to convince you to start sooner, which simply means that they want you - not a bad thing...)

Your distance to any particular terminal is not important. All they are concerned with is if you are in their hiring area.

Are you looking for company sponsored training? Or will you be training with a private school, community college, or vocational school? Are you familiar with your training options?

Those are important questions to ask, now is the time to ask them, and you can find the answers right here on this website.

Keep asking questions and good luck!

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Just an addendum to what John says, it was all good. He said to pare down your list from best to worst. That's good, that's what I did. I ended up working for the one I thought was the worst! The truth is that I didn't have a clue about what made one better than the other, I thought I did, but the reality was that I made the job what it was worth. You will find the same thing once you get started on establishing yourself out here.

Sharron R.'s Comment
member avatar

Awesome thanks!!! I'm going to a private local school so I can continue working my full time job until I've graduated and set with a company. As of questions to ask.. what are some good, important questions newbies should ask??

Now is the best time to apply.

Get as many pre-hire letters as you can get - think dozens or better yet, several dozens - make a list of them and the benefits of each one.

When you have so many that you are overwhelmed, then you can start to par down the list. Do this slowly, and be sure that you have a good reason to keep, or remove, a company from your list.

Finally, you should have a short list of no more than six companies that interest you. Rank them from best to worst and you'll be set.

Some recruiters may not be very helpful knowing that your planing so far in advance, but most will work with you (and perhaps even try to convince you to start sooner, which simply means that they want you - not a bad thing...)

Your distance to any particular terminal is not important. All they are concerned with is if you are in their hiring area.

Are you looking for company sponsored training? Or will you be training with a private school, community college, or vocational school? Are you familiar with your training options?

Those are important questions to ask, now is the time to ask them, and you can find the answers right here on this website.

Keep asking questions and good luck!

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sharron R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks!!! Yah besides what I'm learning on here... the coolest site ever... not sure what's good or bad. I've read that the 1st year it's all about learning, getting it all down than how much money I'll make... which by the way is already waaaaaay more than I've ever made lol... so I'm good with even the least amount. I definitely want to travel solo and with a dog, so I looked at a link one of our buddies on here shared with me (Errol I think). Oh and 1st company is usally a starter company. Other than that.. im sure there's lots more i haven't even thought of yet, lol.

Just an addendum to what John says, it was all good. He said to pare down your list from best to worst. That's good, that's what I did. I ended up working for the one I thought was the worst! The truth is that I didn't have a clue about what made one better than the other, I thought I did, but the reality was that I made the job what it was worth. You will find the same thing once you get started on establishing yourself out here.

Florida Phil's Comment
member avatar

Hi Sharon,

I found this great post by a member called Thinkstoomuch titled List of Questions to ask a Recruiter. Type that into the search box.

Sharron R.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh cool... thanks😀

Hi Sharon,

I found this great post by a member called Thinkstoomuch titled List of Questions to ask a Recruiter. Type that into the search box.

John L.'s Comment
member avatar

Sharron asked,

what are some good, important questions newbies should ask??

Your already asking them. I always find it amusing (and less than helpful) when people ask me if I have any questions. That typically happens when your talking to someone whom you are expecting to get guidance from. I usually reply that, "I'm sure that I should ask some questions, but knowing nothing about the topic, I don't know what to ask". I then follow with the same question that you asked of me.

Now in the way of an answer I'll offer the many resources that Brett and the members of this website have provided. Make sure that you've clicked all the links on the top of this page. Leave no page unread. Brett's book (that he has so kindly provided for free) is also linked and is very informative.

Another helpful suggestion (although you will need to filter the results) is to spend a day (or even several days - just not all consecutively) at a nearby truck stop. I bought several cups of coffee for several drivers over the course of several days (I just like saying several... and using parenthesis) and asked them questions, or asked them what questions to ask.

If any of the companies that you are considering have terminals nearby, you may want to arrange a visit with a recruiter there. If you are able, be sure to ask to meet with one of the driver managers, drivers, mechanics, or anyone else who may be available.

Information is power.

Also: remember to write things down! Anything that isn't written, never happened. And anything that you remember (because you didn't write it down) you will remember wrong. At least that's the way it works for me. Your mileage may vary.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

John L wrote:

If any of the companies that you are considering have terminals nearby, you may want to arrange a visit with a recruiter there. If you are able, be sure to ask to meet with one of the driver managers, drivers, mechanics, or anyone else who may be available.

In theory this would seem like a really great idea. However the likelihood of the above taking place is very low unless you are seeking employment from a smaller company. With the larger carriers, like the ones we typically consider in this forum, the recruiters are usually not working in the operation terminals unless said terminal happens to also be the corporate office (like Swift's Phoenix terminal). Even so most of the people John mentioned will not have the time or inclination to speak with you. Doesn't hurt to ask, but again not likely to happen.

If you speak with a driver...take any negativity you hear with a grain of salt. You won't really know who you are dealing with and have no way to verify their opinion whether fact, fiction, or somewhere in-between. The best place at a TS to speak with drivers is in the restaurants or coffee area. If someone wanting to learn about this business offers me a free coffee and I have the time, I'd talk to them. I'd stay away from the fuel desk, scale ramp and fuel pad though. Again overall not a bad idea,...but just be aware of the potential for extreme negativity. If something sounds screwy, it probably is.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
Sharron R.'s Comment
member avatar

All great ideas!!! Thank you everyone!!!! 😀😀😀

John L wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

If any of the companies that you are considering have terminals nearby, you may want to arrange a visit with a recruiter there. If you are able, be sure to ask to meet with one of the driver managers, drivers, mechanics, or anyone else who may be available.

double-quotes-end.png

In theory this would seem like a really great idea. However the likelihood of the above taking place is very low unless you are seeking employment from a smaller company. With the larger carriers, like the ones we typically consider in this forum, the recruiters are usually not working in the operation terminals unless said terminal happens to also be the corporate office (like Swift's Phoenix terminal). Even so most of the people John mentioned will not have the time or inclination to speak with you. Doesn't hurt to ask, but again not likely to happen.

If you speak with a driver...take any negativity you hear with a grain of salt. You won't really know who you are dealing with and have no way to verify their opinion whether fact, fiction, or somewhere in-between. The best place at a TS to speak with drivers is in the restaurants or coffee area. If someone wanting to learn about this business offers me a free coffee and I have the time, I'd talk to them. I'd stay away from the fuel desk, scale ramp and fuel pad though. Again overall not a bad idea,...but just be aware of the potential for extreme negativity. If something sounds screwy, it probably is.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
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