Starting A Truck Driving Career With Local LTL Company

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Matt 's Comment
member avatar

I found a local LTL company that I have been in contact with while still getting information from them I got to thinking..I could possibly go to a private school to get my cdl so I have "freedom" of who to.drive with. The downside to this is the upfront money and unless i find a weekend program I would have to have weeks off of my current job.upside to hiring on to a company that trains drivers is I would have a paycheck every week ,be home everyday and off on weekends. Downside is I would start as a forklift operator and not sure the company really fits what I'm looking for and a two year contract.. Not sure if this is really a question so any input is appreciated. Just a note I have only found one ltl company that hires and trains from just a permit.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Bob O.'s Comment
member avatar

Is it A. Duie Pyle? I've been trying to get on with them for a year now.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

No this is a local company in Wisconsin. what state is that company in? It sounds good but I have also read from research on the web that your on call 24/7. And I have a funny feeling the recruiter is just telling me what they think I want to hear. So I'm not sure weather to believe the recruiter or the internet...

Is it A. Duie Pyle? I've been trying to get on with them for a year now.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't mind starting at the bottom with a plan in place. The 2 yr contract would be a bit scary for me. I spent 3 yrs working my way into my present job so I can be home on a regular basis. As people we are all different. You have to decide what your priorties are then work toward that end. Just my 2 cents

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

The "freedom of choice" - may not be what you think it might be.

LTL companies are pretty much looking for drivers with EXPERIENCE - or they train/promote within (dock-2-driver). There aren't a whole lot of companies that will take a fresh out of school newbie with zero experience. Not that we have NEVER HEARD of it happening here - just that it's VERY RARE.

A two year contract, is kind of steep in the industry. And keep in mind - if you START OUT LOCAL, the experience behind the wheel doesn't "count for nothing" - but OTR is an entirely different game, and if you decide to move INTO OTR LATER, local experience doesn't count nearly as much for the companies that are looking for 2-3 years experience (think WalMart Corp - one of the best paying/most difficult to get on with fleets).

There's no "magic trick" we're withholding here - waiting for folks to give us the secret password or handshake. And very rarely do folks get to "shortcut the system" - and when it does happen, it's a case of "right face/right place/right time".

Either you go to a private school - and don't waste your $$ there without getting a couple of pre-hires up front. Or sign on with one of the majors that do training and go train/ort for a year. At that point - different opportunities will open up for you.

Notice I didn't say BETTER there - because many of our members found a permanent home at their "training companies" and are staying on and enjoying the benefits of seniority (better the devil you know?).

While such a "long term contract" is a little out of the norm - working a forklift and getting trained (dock-2-driver) is typically the way it's done in that segment of the industry.

Rick

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

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.

Pre-hires:

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.

Penny's Comment
member avatar

I am just in school, so take my advice with a small grain of salt.

I am going to a private school, but it has nothing to do with wanting to avoid a contract with a company or anything like that.

I happen to have an excellent technical school in my backyard that offers a 285 hour class (instead of the typical 160 hours) and they are well-known and highly respected. In fact, a lot of companies with local terminals that don't hire out of school, do hire graduates from my school because they know the reputation. Some even have regional runs that will get you home a couple nights a week as well as OTR options. Not many local options for the student, but there aren't a lot of those anywhere because we need experience, as Rick pointed out.

The cost of the school I'm attending was less than most other schools as well (though a company would do it for free with the contract, so that would be the least out of pocket cost.)

I looked into all this before I signed up. Still not the whole reason I chose a tech school, but it certainly influenced my decision.

I simply needed to be able to work while I was in school because I need the regular income. And I had some savings to pay for school. Out of pocket cost for me was about $1400, a bargain in my book considering everything. Four months and $1400 is nothing when you think about it giving you a career that will pay you well in the future. I don't know of many other opportunities that take so short a period of time for so little money that offer similar rewards.

My tech school offers a night class. It is 15 weeks long, so it will take me longer to get through it, but it worked for my circumstances right now.

It's hard. We just got into the trucks and the first night (Monday) I was struggling. Last night was easier, but boy they expect a lot. And it seems that each and every one of us students is giving it all we've got, mistakes and all. I'll get this, but I will also work hard. But I want this. I really, really want this.

You have to want it and be willing to do what you need to do based on your current circumstances to make it work for you. Just like every trucking company doesn't fit every individual, I don't think every schooling situation will fit every individual either.

Do your research about both company schools and private/state/tech schools and figure out what will work best in your circumstance.

Good luck to you!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Matt, there is a sure fire and prudent path to breaking into this business. I understand the reasons why folks want to circumvent the most productive way to break in, but I'm just going to lay it our for you because it is the surest way to success.

If money is tight you should look into one of the many Paid CDL Training Programs. Once they have approved you for their school, then they have also approved you for a job. These are going to be Over the road jobs, and you will need to make a one year commitment to that company. Some of these companies are so large that they would possibly be willing to move you to another division where you could be home on the weekends or even on a nightly basis while you are completing your one year contract (Swift, comes to mind here)

People get all hung up over two things about doing it this way and those two things are,,,

1) The fact that it is over the road - they don't want to be away from their families.

2) The one year contract - they don't want to make a commitment.

Let's address that first concern - going OTR: The truth is that going over the road for one year is generally the most prudent and productive way to build a foundation of success at this career. It is not the only way to do this, because a few fortunate others have found a different way, but it is by far the most productive way to go about this. I encourage folks with a young family to make sure that their spouse is on board with this method before they make the commitment, because their spouse needs to support them in this effort.

Now let's address that second concern: Do not let a one year contract concern you as if it were some kind of a choke hold upon your liberties. It is exactly the opposite. That contract not only allows you to pay them back for fronting all the expenses of training you, but it also provides you with a full year of driving experience while being paid some very nice wages. The training you will get, and the wonderful experience you will gain during that contractual time are not only invaluable, but they will just about enable you to write your own ticket into whatever type of trucking job you prefer.

If you will try to focus on the big picture and what it takes to build a good solid foundation for making a good start at this career you are much more likely to find success at it. If LTL is your ultimate goal, then those companies will be falling all over you once you have proven, to both yourself, and to them, that you have what it takes to do this job.

My good friend Six String was able to jump right into LTL work, but his experience was made much more easy due to his location. There is a large demand for LTL work in his area, and he was able to capitalize on that demand. Location is very important in the LTL sector of 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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Over The Road:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I wish I could find this information a training class near me the night class option for that price sounds like an extremely good deal! And old school I seen you mentioned swift? Could I ask why that company came to mind? I have also found a local company that would take on students and get them home every week and after 18 months they say you could Go.local within there company I am keeping them on my radar also.

I am just in school, so take my advice with a small grain of salt.

I am going to a private school, but it has nothing to do with wanting to avoid a contract with a company or anything like that.

I happen to have an excellent technical school in my backyard that offers a 285 hour class (instead of the typical 160 hours) and they are well-known and highly respected. In fact, a lot of companies with local terminals that don't hire out of school, do hire graduates from my school because they know the reputation. Some even have regional runs that will get you home a couple nights a week as well as OTR options. Not many local options for the student, but there aren't a lot of those anywhere because we need experience, as Rick pointed out.

The cost of the school I'm attending was less than most other schools as well (though a company would do it for free with the contract, so that would be the least out of pocket cost.)

I looked into all this before I signed up. Still not the whole reason I chose a tech school, but it certainly influenced my decision.

I simply needed to be able to work while I was in school because I need the regular income. And I had some savings to pay for school. Out of pocket cost for me was about $1400, a bargain in my book considering everything. Four months and $1400 is nothing when you think about it giving you a career that will pay you well in the future. I don't know of many other opportunities that take so short a period of time for so little money that offer similar rewards.

My tech school offers a night class. It is 15 weeks long, so it will take me longer to get through it, but it worked for my circumstances right now.

It's hard. We just got into the trucks and the first night (Monday) I was struggling. Last night was easier, but boy they expect a lot. And it seems that each and every one of us students is giving it all we've got, mistakes and all. I'll get this, but I will also work hard. But I want this. I really, really want this.

You have to want it and be willing to do what you need to do based on your current circumstances to make it work for you. Just like every trucking company doesn't fit every individual, I don't think every schooling situation will fit every individual either.

Do your research about both company schools and private/state/tech schools and figure out what will work best in your circumstance.

Good luck to you!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Matt asked:

And old school I seen you mentioned swift? Could I ask why that company came to mind?

OS mentioned SWIFT because of the huge number of Dedicated accounts they have contracts with enabling more frequent and consistent home time. The pay is also usually more consistent.

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

So dedicated means from one place to another and back right? Do they give you time off between loads?

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