Hit Me With The Truth

Topic 22517 | Page 1

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M S.'s Comment
member avatar

First and foremost I must say thanks to all as I crept this site for 6 weeks straight while going through cdl school. It worked thought because 240 hours later I got class a with doubles-trips, tanker and hazmat (after background stuff) first try.

So here is where I am at. A bunch of different companies came in to speak with us and seeing as my dad runs his own smaller 20 truck company I don’t know where to work.

Obviously I know like most the first question I get is why not your dad (including him) but I was raised from humble beginnings about never taking handouts and earning what you get. Kinda why I put myself through school instead of just testing. Dumb to some but it’s what I did an believe.

But as the title suggest like everyone who ever started this path I want to go where the money is but also want to go to a company to get experience.

Interested in tanker for some reason, no clue why as to why. Pops never ran anything but dry or reefer regardless of if he was a company driver or own gig for past 10-15 years.

So any pointers period I’m open to. I stay humble in all I do and realize listening is key because talking now would just make me look like an idiot.

I’m willing to be gone and get the knowledge to be a true professional and not just a wheel holder with a pipe dream. But I stand firm in if I’m going to be gone for weeks at a time in the beginning that as long as I give it 100% in all aspects I’m not going to receive peanuts for pay.

Don’t get me wrong I understand I’m starting bottom of the barrel and have to work up, I’m not naive enough to sign my life away for nothing though (hence why I paid out of pocket for a license, and thankful as I know this isn’t always possible, but I saved and saved for 3 years) and read nothing but horror stories on cdl Mills, with very few good endings.

I’m ready to get in and get going but looking for a truly good company to get on with. I’m from S.C so companies are everywhere but looking mostly at money, and real drivers instead of recruiters to give me the run down.

Plans of moving out west after saving for 5 years so any that come from Wyoming would be good. As I would like to be able to eventually get on with oil patch driving jobs but am not optimistic till I reach 2-3 years exp.

Thanks again to all even though I didn’t make an account till after testing but the comments on this forum were hands down a huge 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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

JuiceBox's Comment
member avatar

Look I am a rookie and my goal is to haul exotic cars. I started flat bed and will eventually jump to car hauling. I, by no means, have the experience to advise you on your career. That being said, you have the appropriate drive and attitude to do whatever you want. Do some research and find out what it will take to get to your end state and nothing can stop you.

I was told once by a leader I still talk to every day, "focus on your weakness but exude your strength." Granted that was about killing bad guys, I still take heed to that advice to this day. You can make excuses of why you aren't good enough to do something or why somebody else is better for the job if you focus on your weaknesses. You can also find reasons why you are better for the job if you look at your strengths.

Go out and pay your dues and gain the neccessary experience and then pursue the division you want. Take what I say with a grain of salt of course because like I said, I'm just a rookie out here, like you, trying to get where I want to be. There are perks to staying with a company for the long haul also so keep that in mind. Goodluck!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello M S., and thanks for introducing yourself to us!

It's always rewarding to know that our conversations or comments have helped someone in here, because that is really why we do all this. I realize that there are a considerable number of people who take our advice, soak up our constant flow of information, and get the equivalent of a private consulting service without ever even letting us know who they are. So, it is always nice to hear from those folks who are hanging back in the shadows every now and then. It's really great to hear from you!

I love your approach, and I like your self reliance and positive go-getter attitude. Let's look at what you are wanting to do, and let me just quote a few of the things you stated...

I understand I’m starting bottom of the barrel and have to work up
I want to go where the money is
I stand firm in if I’m going to be gone for weeks at a time in the beginning that as long as I give it 100% in all aspects I’m not going to receive peanuts for pay.
I’m ready to get in and get going but looking for a truly good company to get on with.

I am quite sure you've seen us talking about how trucking is a performance based business. So, when I see somebody come in here making the kind of comments you are, then I want to make sure that they understand that concept. Probably the biggest thing that is holding you back and keeping you from really just going ahead and jumping into this career is simply because you are afraid. You are afraid you are going to get taken advantage of. I know that is true because of this statement you made...

I’m not naive enough to sign my life away for nothing though (hence why I paid out of pocket for a license, and thankful as I know this isn’t always possible, but I saved and saved for 3 years) and read nothing but horror stories on cdl Mills, with very few good endings.

Basically you just said that you refused to agree to contracting yourself out for a job in exchange for training, but were willing to scrimp and save for three straight years just because you were certain that you would be in control of the outcome that way. It is a common misconception, and I know that if you have really been following along in here as much as you claim then you have surely noticed that we do not hold to those ideas of yours. You are taking the "Free Agent" approach to this career. You kind of try to act humble and admit that you know you are a beginner and that you understand that you will have to start at the bottom, but you also seem to think that you did something special in paying your own way. Now you want to...

  • Go where the money is
  • Refuse what you consider to be peanuts for pay
  • Find a really good company to get on with

Continued...

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Think about what you have just done to yourself. Three years ago you could have signed on for a Paid CDL Training Program and today you could probably be making in excess of seventy thousand dollars a year. Our member "Rainy" just posted her second year earnings from Prime and that is the kind of money she is making. Guess what? She signed a contract for one year and got trained for free. All those years that you were scrimping and saving she was living the life that she loves and making some killer cash at the same time. The truth that I am trying to hit you with is that you are afraid of failure. You have believed all those stupid horror stories online and you have set yourself up to be just like all those people who have influenced you in the wrong direction.

Okay, I think there is hope for you, but you have got to change your thoughts and your mentality about this career. You are dead set on this idea that the way to make good money at this is to start at "just the right company," and that my friend is total Hog Wash! I started at Western Express, one of the worst companies you could ever try to find a decent online review about, and you would be hard pressed to ever catch up with me on your income as truck driver.

You worked so hard to save all that money and pay your own way. Now you are taking the attitude that you are a "Free Agent." That is why you're asking us to help you find just the right company to start with so that you can make those big dollars. Here is the truth: Guys and gals who do good at this career make good money wherever they work. I have been told by my dispatcher that I am taking home twice what some of the other drivers in my little specialized fleet are managing. We are all making basically the same rate of pay, so what could be the difference? It all goes back to that concept of "Performance based pay." The fact that you got your CDL through a private school means nothing when everything goes back to "Performance based pay." There I repeated that phrase twice because I am hoping it will sink in real good. If you want to make the big dollars, then you have got to be the Big Chief - You have got to prove that you are worth way more than the other drivers who you are working with. The only way you will ever be able to do that is to outperform everyone of them every day, every week, every month, every year. Your rate of pay really means very little. It is your capacity to consistently deliver top level performances day in and day out that will set you apart. That private school did nothing to help set you apart, absolutely nothing. That responsibility is squarely on your shoulders.

Take a look at this article about Busting The Free Agent Myth. Read it carefully and thoughtfully. I wrote it with new drivers like you in mind, and I am hoping it will help you get this all figured out, because I think you are certainly capable of doing a great job out here, but you kind of gave yourself a false start. You can fix that, but you will have to change the way you think, and the way you are going to approach this career.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I started with Schneider and they treated me great. I paid for my own CDL school and am glad I did. I have nothing against company sponsored schools. If you were okay with your choice, congratulations!

I made $40k first year with Schneider. No reason you can’t also. I drove dry van , but they have tanker division. You may wanna get some dry van or refer experience before going tanker though.

I also have a friend who started with Schneider, then went Independent Contractor with them (he didn’t buy his truck from them), now he’s with Landstar and loving it.

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.

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.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

M.S., Old School gave you some very sound advice. I would absorb it like a sponge. I will use myself as an example. I work for H. O. Wolding and absolutely love driving for them. In all honesty their pay rate is middle ground at best. Yet, I have no problem grossing between $1,200 and $1,500 a week. It is all about busting your butt and having a great relationship with your Dispatcher. The name on the side of the door means little.

TBH, I take care of my Dispatcher and she takes care of me. I'm often getting accessorial pay for something or another. I don't ask for it, but she makes sure I get it. I just focus on delivering freight as efficiently and safely as possible. Some people hawk over their miles and accessorial pays. I just have more important things to worry about. I believe I am rewarded fairly for my work. I see no use in trying to count out every last mile I possibly did. I know my Dispatcher will make sure I am rewarded fairly.

In short, stop worrying about finding that perfect company. Focus instead on a company that provides the intangibles you want. Things like Rider policy, pet policy, APU / inverter policy, home time policy, etc.... No company is perfect, just have to find the company that is perfect for you.

Drive Safe and God Speed

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

Amish country's Comment
member avatar

I started tanker but it is dry bulk limestone mostly so I don't have the liquid tanker surge to deal with. It's a job that isn't a good fit for most people because you do have to get on top of the tank and run hoses and work the tank system. Also, you are outside for at least 3 hours in the rain, sun, snow,etc. I love it though and has allowed me the home time I was looking for. I know there are companies that do long haul in this area so if tanker is something your 100% set on look for something in this line. Will be safer then jumping right into liquid.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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