The Last Step Is Always The Hardest. Any Advice?

Topic 189 | Page 1

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Justin G.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay, I know for a for sure I really want to be a truck driver. I go to bed dreaming about it. All the challenges of navigating through different terrain and environments. The thing I am having a hard time with is deciding on a school, and deciding on which company. I am pretty sure I am going to go to a company sponsored school. There are a few around my area. I live in Lake Havasu City AZ. I was thinking CR England, but I keep hearing terrible things about them. So then I was thinking Schneider. I read some reviews of how great of a company they are to work for, but apparently they are on the downhill ever sense the original owners passed away and the company is now in the hands of word for word " greedy upper managment ". Also a lot of the companies seem to mainly operate in the central USA and the east coast. I am wondering if I decide to take a bus to one of their schools over there, like USA trucking or Prime, ect. Will I be asked to reloacate over there once I graduate? If not will I not get as many miles because I live in the southwest?

So long story short here is what I am looking for. With your knowledge of the industry and various companies which path should I take? -Schneider -CR England -Take a bus across the country to USA or Prime, FFE, ect? -Or get a loan and go to a private school?

The notable private schools around me are Sage, Southwest Trucking, and AIT.

Also there is swift, but like many I keep hearing bad things. And if you have different options or companies that anyone would recommend, please fill free to share!

James925's Comment
member avatar

Good luck on hitting the road! The hardest decision is to finally decide to go through with it. Trucking is an incredibly complex industry and way more complicated than most people would ever care to know. And get all the negative things you read about said companies out of you're mind. If I listened to all the nonsense I read online about Central Refrigerated I wouldn't have went. I've heard good and bad things about all those companies you mentioned, and after you've been in trucking a while you can see through all the negativity very quickly. CR England was actually my first choice, but I could never get the recruiter to call me back, so I went with Central and didn't regret it. And no company I know of will ask you to relocate. Central's main terminal is in Salt Lake City and I'm way in the Bay Area, CA. Never had a problem.

Instead look at it this way: which option will work best for you with training? Are you one of those people who wants to get training out of the way as quickly as possible and hit the road on you're own? If so, pick a company school, which is fast paced and very little room for error, but you'll be out on the road quicker. OR do you prefer to take a slower pace, and get more of a hands on feel and go slower through the training? If so, a private school or local community college would probably work best for you. Obviously only you know the answer to that question. Pick which works best for you, there is no right or wrong answer.

Then ask yourself if the company you are picking is right for you. Talk to the drivers at said company and see what their opinion is. Visit one of their terminals if possible. Does the company have good benefits? Are you aiming to be more of a long term driver where you're out on the road for weeks at a time or are you wanting to be a driver who gets on a regional route and gets home every week? Do you want to do refrigerated loads (which are typically longer) or dry loads where there is a lot of drop and hooks? Does the company offer pets to ride with you? (if you have one) What is their hometime policy? Can you bring passengers/spouse with you? Things like that.

And don't worry if it takes you a while to finally pull the plug on you're decision. Trucking isn't going anywhere. 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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

Good luck on hitting the road! The hardest decision is to finally decide to go through with it. Trucking is an incredibly complex industry and way more complicated than most people would ever care to know. And get all the negative things you read about said companies out of you're mind. If I listened to all the nonsense I read online about Central Refrigerated I wouldn't have went. I've heard good and bad things about all those companies you mentioned, and after you've been in trucking a while you can see through all the negativity very quickly. CR England was actually my first choice, but I could never get the recruiter to call me back, so I went with Central and didn't regret it. And no company I know of will ask you to relocate. Central's main terminal is in Salt Lake City and I'm way in the Bay Area, CA. Never had a problem.

Instead look at it this way: which option will work best for you with training? Are you one of those people who wants to get training out of the way as quickly as possible and hit the road on you're own? If so, pick a company school, which is fast paced and very little room for error, but you'll be out on the road quicker. OR do you prefer to take a slower pace, and get more of a hands on feel and go slower through the training? If so, a private school or local community college would probably work best for you. Obviously only you know the answer to that question. Pick which works best for you, there is no right or wrong answer.

Then ask yourself if the company you are picking is right for you. Talk to the drivers at said company and see what their opinion is. Visit one of their terminals if possible. Does the company have good benefits? Are you aiming to be more of a long term driver where you're out on the road for weeks at a time or are you wanting to be a driver who gets on a regional route and gets home every week? Do you want to do refrigerated loads (which are typically longer) or dry loads where there is a lot of drop and hooks? Does the company offer pets to ride with you? (if you have one) What is their hometime policy? Can you bring passengers/spouse with you? Things like that.

And don't worry if it takes you a while to finally pull the plug on you're decision. Trucking isn't going anywhere. Good luck!

double-quotes-end.png

Okay well to be honest, I consider myself a very safe and careful driver. I have pretty decent reaction time, but I panic when I think about driving Manuals. Which I know I will have to learn in order to get my CDL. I am good with trailers, ( obviously never driven with a trailers the size I will be ) but I would really like to be able to spend some extra time trying to get comfortable with shifting and whatnot. I tried it in my friends car a few times and it didn't go so well. So that is what I am concerned about. I would go to a private school, but I owe my local college money because I attended college there for one semester and didn't finish. ( It was right after high school where I was all but responsible ). So I don't know if I would be able to get a student loan or any sort of financing from a private school.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

There are companies that have automatics in their trucks. Infact Redgator is driving an auto right now, and she drives for WEL. But I think USA trucks, and another few companies have autos...So since your not comfortable with a manual, you may want to consider a company that has those. I'm not sure how you'd do a search for that, maybe someone else will know. But being able to shift a manual can make or break whether you get your cdl or not. Some people just can't get that shifting thing down, and I understand.....I took 4 years of typing....and flunked all 4 years....I can't type !!!!

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.
Justin G.'s Comment
member avatar

Lol well its hard to explain, but when I tried it. My friends instructions where simply as you release the clutch slowly you press down on the gas. Well I take instruction literally. So the entire time I was releasing the clutch I was continually pressing further and further on the gas. It wasn't until I gave up that I found out you don't push down consistently, you only push down once the clutch is about half way up and you just push down on the gas a little, not a lot. ( I think ) :/

Justin G.'s Comment
member avatar

Also if I fail my CDL course. Does that mean that no other programs or schools will accept me anymore?

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

Lets say you go to England, and can't get your shifting down....they will flunk you out. Then you will need to find another school to go to..and on and on, until you either learn to comfortably shift a manual, or get a company that has autos...But you have to realize, that while your tryin to shift this truck that will have a tranny with atleast 9 gears, or like ours, 18 gears, you also have to steer, turn, brake, watch your mirrors, and a million other things. And I won't even get into down shifting...lol I don't know about others that haven't learned manual shifting before going to CDL school, but IMHO....that has got to add one of the toughest things right ontop of all the other heavy stuff that cdl school tosses at ya... Were I you, I'd go find me a company that trains in an auto, get my cdl there, and DRIVE FOR THAT COMPANY FOR A YEAR, (you need to do that anyway). Then, After that year of learning everything else about trucking, I'd maybe zero in on learning the manual shift thing. But you need to talk with Redgator, cuz I think these auto transmissions can be set to shift, cuz they do have a clutch in the truck, you have to start em and stop em with the clutch.....wait REDGATOR...I've dog paddled my silly self into the deep end of the pool !!! I need some help !!!!!

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.
James925's Comment
member avatar

Starcar I just broke out in a cold sweat when you mentioned downshifting. I had such a hard time with it, almost got sent home cause I couldn't downshift right. 9th to 8th was good cause it was straight up, but getting from 8th to 7th was always a problem for me. I'm sure the instructors at Central can still hear me grinding gears trying to downshift...

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Ya know...I thought TSB loved me...until I found out that the Pete that he had me buy had a 15 speed.....V PTTERN !!! 15th was against the dash....and to tell you truthfully....I never did learn to down shift that beast...I just popped it out of won, and ground em til it went into another...I hated that transmission...Now our 18 speed we have...I love that one !!! I shift with a button on the gear shift !!! besides, I can sound really wicked shifting thru all those gears, with the jake brake onsmile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Gods, BRETT......would ya PLEASE get an EDIT button on here ???? I'm getting afraid to type....and yes, I know I should read before submitting....And I should also make sure what I'm aiming at when someone breaks into my house...but its just so much fun to keep pulling the trigger til I run out of shells !!!!!!!!!!

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.

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