Extremely New To Trucking And Need Some Advice

Topic 20258 | Page 2

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G-Town's Comment
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Christopher wrote:

Well first being both have terminals in my area and secondly they seem like excellent companies to get some experience with. I'd prefer knight over swift due to the fact that they don't have cabin facing cameras and I've also heard less horror stories about the training program after you get your cdl while swift has both. I'm still super open to suggestions though about other companies that may offer better benefits in the long run and better pay as well if you stick with them. I generally like to hold on to a job longer then I even think I should. A fine example of that is working in a call center for one and a half years where most people quit after 3 months.

Uh...Swift, horror stories you've heard? Aghast, that's a first.

Careful placing credence in what you hear from less than credible sources.

The camera facing the Swift driver? Disabled...been that way for a while. Only road facing now.

I prefer fish over steak, but only because I have tasted both. Knight and Swift? You have experienced neither and therefore can only base your decision on the opinions of others? I suggest both companies can offer comparable training and career opportunities for a new driver. Don't sell yourself short based on the misgivings of others.

Swift...happy to share the five years I have enjoyed driving for them.

Good luck!

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.

Nomad77 T.'s Comment
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Thanks for the replies! I've been using all the material on this site heavily as well as the cdl permit practice tests. I'm not enrolled in my cdl school yet so I still have an opportunity should I choose too and go for a company sponsored cdl. I'm just waiting till after I get my tax refund in the spring to help cover my bills while away at school for a cdl. Do you guys have an honest opinion of Knight Transportation? Overall that seems like my most likely first choice for a company with Swift being second.

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Not sure which school you're planning on attending but I will vouch for Desert Sparks Truck Driving School in Sparks NV. Patti the owner is a really cool and Jimmy and Pete both have plenty of real world driving experience with some of the larger otr companies. In addition the school is only a 1/4 mile away from the CDL DMV office on Greg street which is convenient.

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That's actually the school I'm planning on attending if I decide to self fund my schooling. Do recruiters come to the school for immediate employment after you graduate?

There is companies that come by the school, some are long haul some are local. The trucks they use to train with are all retired long haul tractors(3 axle w/sleeper). plus they got an actual warehouse location with alley dock to practice on.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'll add that choosing a company isn't as difficult as you might think; don't overthink it (I did!)! Re: committing to a company for that first year... is a good idea anyways. Most of the 'starter' companies offer tuition reimbursement, so even if you don't go to their in-house CDL school, you'll want to take advantage of that and get your money back for the schooling, so you're going to be there a year anyway to qualify for the full reimbursement. In the end, the company will 'choose' you as you decide which one best fits your needs (rider/passenger rules, pets, type of trailer you want to pull...dry van/reefer/flat bed... you get the picture).

Also, some companies will hire you even if they are located outside of your area, and make it easy for you to transfer your CDL to the state they will base you out of; other companies require that you live in their hiring area. In the end, whichever company you go with, know that it will be a good choice. Many companies are represented by members of this forum, and we all love our companies! The company you work for will be as good as the effort you give in this lifestyle, because that's what trucking is... a lifestyle. Good luck and look forward to hearing about your progress.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

Aaaaaaarrrrgghhhh, Photobucket dropped the hammer on me!

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I went to Prime's school and was told: I would be forced into a lightweight with no room in it, would be forced into a lease, and would never get miles as a company driver.

ALL lies!!! If you call grossing $700-$1100 per week your first year, after paying only $155 for all CDL courses and permits working like a slave...the definition of slave has truly changed!!

I won't go into all the cool stuff we have at prime cause it sounds like bragging..but our main terminal is incredible!

Besides, you don't need to live near a terminal for most companies. I am dispatched out of MO but my license is in NJ. Our closest terminal is 130 miles away but doesn't affect me.

Ask yourself what is important to you?

CPM? home time? Pet policy was one of mine. APUs? Inverters? What you want to haul? Tanker, reefer , dry van , flatbed?

If you get bored with or dislike one division are you interested in a company that has several? if you start at Swift and don't like reefer you can switch to flatbed without a hassle and staying at a company for a longer period which looks much better on your work history.

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Christopher H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all the input again! Quick question, does anyone know if western express hires out of state. I noticed they don't really have any terminals but I dropped off an application online anyways. Same question applies to other companies that may not have terminals in the Reno/Sparks area would they still hire me?

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

Might be best to go directly to the source and call those companies you are wondering about... if they do have a 'hiring area' and you don't live in it, they'll let you know.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

They do hire from states other than TN. I believe they hire within the entire lower 48. Their current hiring area has more to do with what positions they need to fill.

As others have said, best to go directly to and ask Western Express.

Christopher H.'s Comment
member avatar

Already dropped an application with Wil-Trans and Western Express haha just a little eager but I'm sure I'll be hearing from a recruiter soon.

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Give them a call. Tell them you submitted an application and you want to check the status of it. They definitely hire from your area.

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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