Done Playing Games. I Want To Get Into A Truck.

Topic 21450 | Page 2

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Prflyer's Comment
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Also signed on with Stevens, start a few weeks after you! have a great one!

James M.'s Comment
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Also signed on with Stevens, start a few weeks after you! have a great one!

Awesome! Maybe we'll cross paths sooner or later.

I've pretty much been watching the pretrip video posted on YouTube from my old classroom instructor at Roadmaster on loop. Not much I can do about practicing backing maneuvers from home. I did take my first test which is due the first day, a fifty question multiple choice. It was easy. Only had to look up two questions in the Manual from sections 2 thru 6. The whole first week is in the class room getting ready for my "permit". Remember I already have my CDL. Maybe I'll just get some endorsements over that first weekend. Maybe they'll let me out in the yard to practice my backing skills, who knows. One thing I do know is that they don't transfer credits from other schools. But I definitely am going to stay focused while going to school.

As far as the financial situation I'll take it one day at a time I should be able to save up enough money over the next couple of weeks. It'll be close but I can always stop by my mom's house for dinner. Maybe ask for $20 for gas if it gets to that point.

Thanks again for the advice everyone. I'll keep you posted.

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.

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.
Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Plus, it's going to be hard financially going to school for three weeks and not getting paid. Meanwhile, my bills are still going to be due and I have to eat and pay for gas to and from school.

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Lost some sleep because of this and it's all I've been thinking about today. I'll get one more check from my current low paying job at the end of the first week of school. I live about twenty minutes away from the school and I have a gas guzzling van. Some how I'll have to make it at least two weeks without getting paid. I've heard that Stevens orientation is four days long and you don't start getting paid $450 until the last day of orientation but you don't get that until the end of the week. Now that I think about it they are supposed to feed you through out orientation at least two meals a day because let's face it I'm not going to be getting breakfast of I'm checking out of a hotel early. Can anyone offer to some advice? Money I will have to spend is insurance to keep my license valid and keep my phone on.

Hi there 👍

I am currently getting towards the end of the training with Stevens. 😀

In answer to some of your concerns..

Yes; orientation is 4 days...Sunday to Wednesday.

Yes; they feed you a cooked lunch every day and some sort of meal in the evening...it may be pizza, or a sub sandwich and chips if you are scheduled 'up on the hill' in the evening.

At the 3 hotels/motels that they use, there is at least a 'continental breakfast' every morning.... even if just a couple of muffins and coffee. But; word to the wise... class starts at 6:00 sharp so the shuttle vans run early... get on one before 5:15 if you can...and because of this, the breakfast muffins are usually gone by 5 :15 or so!! lol

By the time our class was over, all the guys were heartily sick.of pizza; they couldn't give it away towards the end lol But; you will not go hungry! There is free coffee available all day also.

It is also true that you do not start getting paid until the last day of orientation... Until then, you are not guaranteed a job...as has been posted on here many times, orientation is actually part of the interview process. Once on the payroll, your money is available to be drawn from your Stevens card on the Friday after the pay period ends (Tuesday). If you elect to go direct deposit to your bank account, technically the money is not supposed to be guaranteed to be available until the next Monday. However; so far, mine has always been in my account by Friday.

If you have any other questions, I'll do .y best to answer. Let me know.

Cheers and good luck with class and training.

Simon

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
member avatar

Addendum to the above:

A lot of the guys I attended orientation with were in a similar situation to yourself. By the end of orientation, many were very 'cash strapped'.

Stevens realises this is the case and will issue you a cash advance by T-check. The shuttle will stop and let you cash it on the way back to your hotel. It will be deducted from pay automatically. Once on the road with a trainer, they preload a cash advance onto your Fuel card which can be withdrawn from any ATM (subject to the usual fee) or withdrawn for free when purchasing fuel at the major truck stop chains. Once again, if used, it will be deducted from the next week's pay.

One of the more interesting presentations you will see in class is by a gentleman known (affectionately?) as 'Money Mike'. He is the guy that runs the fuel program and his 'show' is worth seeing! lol But; he emphasises caution about the cash advances as I guess some folks have over- used the system and ended up a bit upset on payday.... His phrase is, "I get mine back!" So; I would urge restraint on using it too much, but it can definitely be useful until the pay starts coming in.

So far, despite the horror stories perpetuated by the 'terminal rats' and 'trolls on other websites; I have to say that Stevens has been nothing but good to me. As a small representation of what I mean; I am allergic to cheese and since almost all of the meals and definitely the pizzas featured lots of cheese, I ended up going to one of the training counsellors and asking if they could somehow accommodate me and order me something without the stuff on it, in it or even near it! lol

Since there were about 200 of us there at various levels of training at any given time, I did not expect to be taken too seriously. However, they subsequently made sure that, every meal, I was issued with a meal ticket to be used at the external vendor food trucks that park there every day.

I was a bit wary of these trucks, but honestly, was surprised at the variety and quality of food they served... there were even healthy options and they were pretty darn good!

In summary, make them aware of any financial situation, or as in my case personal problem, and they seem to care enough to come up with some form of solution. 👍

I would also like to note for the record that, so far, there has been none of the 'legendary' pressure with regard to their Alliance Leasing program. In fact, the only thing that has been said about it was during a 5 minute presentation by the leasing program manager...All he said was that they have a leasing program, but that we should not even consider it for the first few months. He actually said.that there was far too much to learn at first and ended up by saying, "Get some experience under your belt and then if you are interested, come and see me"

All in all, so far anyway, I'm pretty impressed with the program.

Best of luck to you. I hope your experience is as good as mine.

Cheers,

Simon

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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So far, despite the horror stories perpetuated by the 'terminal rats' and 'trolls' on other websites; I have to say that Stevens has been nothing but good to me.

I'm glad to hear that Simon. People like yourself who have enough sense to ignore the negativity and show up with a great attitude and work ethic are always rewarded in the end. It becomes readily apparent that the rumors about these "evil empires" are nothing but baloney. The largest carriers in the country are the elite. They're the ones who have had the most success and have the most to offer. They're great places to work. When you think about it with an open mind it only makes perfect sense.

It is truly baffling to me how this industry manages to perpetuate so much negativity toward the major carriers. When I started in trucking back in 1993 it was the same way, but at the time it was JB Hunt and Schneider that were the biggest and they took the brunt of the criticism. I suspect 30 years from now it may still be the same.

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.

James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Simon for being so informative. It's very appreciated. What was the condition of your truck or trainer's truck? Stevens boasts trucks no older than two years. What makes and models and such?

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
member avatar

Hi James

I'm in a 2017 Kenworth T680. The classmates that I regularly communicate with are all in 2016 or newer trucks of varying makes and models. Im not sure of the makeup of the whole fleet, but from what I have seen in Dallas, there is nothing older than 2015. Not that I'm an expert on identify the exact year of manufacture just by looking at a truck, but I talked with tons of drivers passing through and they all had newer models.

Every truck parked at the yard appeared to be immaculately clean. 👍

Paul my trainer...Well, let's just say that he's not the greatest advocate for keeping it shiny....Lol

Several times I offered to wash/clean the truck whilst parked up; but other than a basic sweep out and emptying of the trash can, he wasn't interested.

But; to summarise, yes, the equipment is top notch!

Hope this helps?

Cheers and Happy New Year to everyone on here 👍☺

Keep on keeping on...and keeping it safe!

Simon

James M.'s Comment
member avatar

Just thought I'd drop by and leave a little update. Tomorrow I start my first day at school. Working all the way up until yesterday (Saturday) I've tried collecting as many hours as I can, saving as much as I can. I think I'm going to be good. Got a full tank of gas and I'm ready. Checked with the DMV and all I need to do is pay $81.25 to reinstate my CDL after I've acquired my medical card. I'll be getting that done on Tuesday. In the packet the school gave me was homework basically a 50 question practice test. Completed all but two questions from memory. Basically the past couple of weeks I've been watching YouTube videos of pre-inspections, backing videos and driver's videos. Kinda weird going through school knowing I already passed the final exam and all I have to do is show up and pay attention.

I just have a question about what I should bring to orientation as far as packing. Should I bring any towels or body wash and shampoo or do truck stops supply those? Things I know I'm bringing - duffle bag, four pairs of jeans, a week's worth of shirts, underwear and socks, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, electric razor, shower shoes, phone and charger, 64 oz canteen, one pair of light cut resistant work gloves because I just have them, some work boots, sneakers, one sweater, one heavy jacket and one light jacket (thinking about a backpack, seen it on a video, good for going from truck to shower). Anything else I should bring or leave behind?

Towards Simon or anyone else that knows; does Stevens supply a mattress while training?

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Sounds great James! Keep us updated when you get the chance.

We have a big master list of stuff you can bring. It might give you a few ideas. Obviously you can't bring all of this:

Items To Bring To CDL School, Training, and OTR

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Super to read your exciting news, James! Study hard, listen, pay attention, keep a great attitude, and ask questions. Follow that and the TT knowledge toolbox and you should be fine. Best of luck!

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