Another New Guy

Topic 22047 | Page 1

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Zengrump's Comment
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I've been lurking here for a few months now; reading all the required reading, starting the High Road Course (thank you for that) and just generally struggling with whether to upend life as we know it in my household or continue with a career which is wearing on both me and my family. A bit about me, I'm 48, college graduate for criminal justice back in the day. Worked in a prison for a few years and fell into my current career which paid better to support a young family. After 24 years I've had enough.

After reading up on everything I could on this site and discussing with my family, it was decided it may not be a bad idea to pursue by going through CDL training while continuing to work. However, continued issues at work have changed our thought process to where we decided to pool our resources rip the band-aid off and apply for paid CDL training. It's a scary proposition for someone who has always had a steady income since leaving college 27 years ago. However, as I've gotten older, it seems the tipping point between how much pay and how miserable you're willing to be keeps shifting towards the not being miserable side, if that makes any sense.

I've always felt being part of a supportive and knowledgeable group can assist in one's success. So, though I generally avoid all social media and tend toward flying under the radar, I'm coming out of the shadows.

I mainly wanted to introduce myself, let all the contributors on this site know how much their willingness to be open with knowledge is appreciated by us lurkers, and to assure you I will complete searches before I ask any of my new guy questions.

I haven't filled out an application in a long time so here's hope I get some responses to them. Appreciate your time!

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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I've always felt being part of a supportive and knowledgeable group can assist in one's success. So, though I generally avoid all social media and tend toward flying under the radar, I'm coming out of the shadows.

We're glad you did. Welcome aboard!

I will complete searches before I ask any of my new guy questions.

You don't have to worry about that. I know in a lot of forums the moderators become annoyed when they receive common questions but we aren't like that at all. We welcome all questions. Most of the time we'll already have a lot of material on any topic you can imagine and we'll simply point you to it so you can get thorough answers. But ask away all you like! That's why we're here.

Normally we always point people toward our "starter package" when they're first learning about the industry and considering a job:

I haven't filled out an application in a long time so here's hope I get some responses to them. Appreciate your time!

If you fill out our Application For Paid CDL Training you will definitely get responses from company recruiters. How many responses you get will vary based on where you live and your background. But normally you'll start getting calls the same day you apply.

However, as I've gotten older, it seems the tipping point between how much pay and how miserable you're willing to be keeps shifting towards the not being miserable side, if that makes any sense.

Oh that makes perfect sense and I've always felt that way. Of course I've never been married and don't have any children so if I want to drop everything and start over again it's pretty easy for me. My dog doesn't mind a bit. He loves an adventure.

I've had jobs that I hated so much that I couldn't even enjoy my Sundays knowing I had to go back to work the next day. I never lasted long at those jobs. I just wasn't willing to endure the misery. Of course none of them paid very well either. So it wasn't like I was giving up a ton of money.

But I've always pursued careers and hobbies that I thought would be fun and challenging. I can't stand monotony. I've also never worked in an office except for a 3 month gig as a telemarketer when I was fresh out of high school.

I commend you for sticking with your career for so long and putting your family first like you have. You can make a solid living in trucking and find work that gets you home daily if you like, but you might have to put in some time on the road first to develop your driving skills and qualify for the local work.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Zengrump's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the encouragement! Your comment about Sunday hits the nail on the head. My kids are older now (college and 1 in high school) so they are generally doing to their own thing. Regardless, they and my awesome wife, seem to like the idea that though I will be gone a lot, when I am home, I will likely be more "present" than when I'm constantly focused on "work issues". My brother plays in a band with a tanker driver here in my region. He's been doing it a long time but makes close to my current salary, so it's nice to think eventually we could be in a similar financial position after a few years experience focusing on being a top tier driver (don't worry I already saw the reasons not to start on tanker). I'm a firm believer you have to learn a position thoroughly to have the building blocks to move into your next position. It certainly seems OTR gives you that firm foundation to figure out when and what or even if there is a next move. But I wouldn't have known any of that without this site. Thanks again!

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.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

We were all new guys, and gals, once. It is a big decision, and you will find support and encouragement here.

I was fully planning going otr when I started, but I wound up doing a dedicated NE Regional account. I love it, but there was/is a learning curve that keeps me on my toes.

Figure out exactly what you want, and there is a company that will fit your needs. Maybe not at first, but once you get your experience, you can get in where you want.

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.

Zengrump's Comment
member avatar

That was quick. I got my ducks in a row to start applying today. I didn't see Prime on your list of auto applications so I filled that one out on their site and a recruiter called before I could back out to come here to do the application here for the rest of the companies. Kind of reeling a bit. I've never had something happen that quick before. Usually when I applied for a different position within my company, it was a multi week process. I guess its true, life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (who doesn't need to reference Ferris Bueller every once in a while.)

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Make sure you fill out our application also. We work with 7 different companies right now and you'll get calls from recruiters the same day you apply. Demand for drivers is really high right now. Freight is strong and it's hard to get drivers from the North to get their career started in winter. A lot of companies have raised their pay rates in the past few months also.

So you want to make sure you're giving yourself as many opportunities as possible. Don't just take the first company that calls. Have a little patience, speak to several recruiters, and find the right fit. You're not going to miss out on any opportunities while you're talking to other recruiters. That's the right way to do it in fact.

Apply For Paid CDL 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.
Zengrump's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the advice. Since everything I've read here seems to tend towards all the companies are basically the same and its the driver's attitude that makes the biggest difference, I wasn't sure if I even needed to look at any further. I have no special needs regarding pets, still a newb as far as the equipment and I already figured the standard 1 day off per 1 week out was going to work for us for the 1st year at least. The cpm he sent me in a follow up email seemed pretty good compared to what I had been reading. I think I do need to go back through the list of recruiter questions I saw earlier this week and pick out some additional information that would be good to have and see how everyone compares. That appeals more to my careful nature than the jump head first approach anyway. Thanks again.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well a lot of people jump on Prime's high starting CPM without figuring in a lot of other factors.

One thing to consider is that Prime's training is almost 3 months long, where most companies will last more like 6 weeks or so. So you're going to be on the road with a trainer and then with a team partner for quite some time. They also have no real options for home time other than OTR , being home a few days each month. They also make you buy some of your equipment, which no other companies that I know of will do.

On the plus side Prime has flatbed and tanker divisions also, which are some great options to consider down the line. They do have fantastic pay of course, and their facilities and equipment are top notch. They'll also give you the option of driving a lightweight truck and making 5 CPM more than drivers in the roomier trucks.

Each company has a list of little pluses and minuses that might appeal to you more than you would expect. Each type of freight has its own unique qualities also. It's definitely worth your time to speak with recruiters from various companies to find out the particulars of what they offer.

As far as every company being the same, I would say the major companies are all of about the same quality. They all have fantastic equipment, they're all managed very well, they are all elite companies. They do, however, differ in their pay structure, types of freight, home time, pet policies, regions of the country they run, and things of that nature. The more recruiters you speak with and the more you study on our website about how to choose the right company the better you'll understand the various options and be able to choose a company that matches your preferences well.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

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.

Zengrump's Comment
member avatar

Brett I really appreciate the additional information. I did go back through and completed the application through this site. I've read a lot of good things about Prime, TMC and WilTrans and they all have flatbed which appeals to me for some reason I haven't quite pinpointed yet (probably because I actually don't mind the year round roof inspection aspect of my current job). But going back through everything, I realized one of the most important aspects to me in the upcoming process is the training programs involved. For that reason the trainer in the jump seat aspect of Maverick's and Knight's training programs interest me very much, so I have also contacted them. We'll see what happens. This site has so much great information. Every time I go back through I find something else I could consider when figuring out how to proceed. Thanks again!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I realized one of the most important aspects to me in the upcoming process is the training programs involved

You don't have to be concerned with that when it comes to the paid CDL training programs at the major carriers. They're all good training programs. Remember, they're training their own drivers. It's not like they can just give you lousy training to make a quick buck and then pass you off to another company and you'll be their problem. They put these programs in place so they can train their own drivers the right way.

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.
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