Interested In Trucking, Not Yet Committed... Is This Right For Me?

Topic 22644 | Page 1

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acrwdyt's Comment
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I'm done trying to make it work in an office setting. I'm tired of working around people, especially the kind of corporate snobs who care less about the quality of the work you do than whether or not you're being a "team player" while doing it or some such nonsense. I'm sick of stressing out about my piece-of-crap Honda and footing the bill for all the repairs coming up lately. I'm tired of paying $1,000 a month for a hole in the wall to sleep in. Money comes in then it flies right back out. I want to get away from people and simplify my lifestyle. Trucking seems like the only industry that allows for that. Your transportation is your truck, your home is your truck, the company pays for fuel, the company pays YOU to stay in it, and since the company owns it they handle repairs when something goes wrong. Sounds ideal.

I've done some homework on the industry and the lifestyle. I know truckers spend the vast majority of their time alone, that's fine... I spend tons of time alone. I'm enough of an anti-people person that I'm scared to death of the training period and having to spend a full month (or two months, with Prime according to their website) in some guy's truck who I've never met and may or may not get along with. I snore like a walrus and I like my sleeping area to be chilly, so odds are one of us is going to be miserable. Solitude is no hurdle for me... as long as I have decent internet and air conditioning.

Here's the rub - I don't know **** about trucks or the inner workings of motor vehicles (I was never taught any of this stuff growing up, my dad doesn't know anything either). I've never operated a manual transmission either. Do all schools/company programs start from ground zero? I'm not kidding when I say that I'm clueless. I can gas up and open the hood of my own car, that's about it. I don't think I've ever checked my own oil... if I have, I've since forgotten how. I just take it to the shop every few months and let them do it.

I've looked into companies a bit. Prime seems like a good company but also picky with hiring. I know Swift isn't highly regarded (although I don't know why), but if I have no other option. Roehl seems well-liked but Florida is outside of their hiring area. I've talked to Stevens recruiters but they don't host any kind of CDL training, they want me to go some junkyard across town for 12 hours a day (not an option without reliable transportation, which my Honda is not). Opinions on them seem to be mixed anyway. CR appears to be universally disliked.

I don't know. Based on what I've said, is this industry right for me? Is there something important that I'm overlooking? My biggest fear is that training period. I know it's necessary, but I can hardly spend 4 hours with somebody before needing to escape. 4 weeks (or more)? In a truck? Yikes.

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

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to Trucking Truth. This can be a very rewarding career. Here is our starter package of information.

The High Road Trang is the best free study guide for passing your CDL permit test.

I was trained for and work for CFI. I trained on and took my CDL test on a manual transmission. CFI has an all automatic fleet. With CFI, you will be with your trainer, on their truck, for at least 7500 miles. (about 3 weeks) I am very happy with CFI as a company.

It will also be helpful for you to read through some of the training diaries .

Good luck. We are here to 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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the forum Andrew. I highly recommend reading all of the information Big Scott sent you, beginning with Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving, then moving to Truck Driver's Career Guide.

The High Road CDL Training Program is designed to take the guesswork out of studying for the CLP (permit) exams. All of the recent students in the forum will confirm it's a valuable tool that definitely gave them an edge not only with the permit exams, but in their overall knowledge and retention rate.

One last comment for you to consider...good drivers can be successful for most any company; including Swift, CR England, CRST, CFI...etc. We constantly reinforce this on here. Unless you know where to look and what you need, general trucking research on the interweb will likely confuse more and inform less.

Spend some time getting to know this site, the Blog Section, all of TT's tools and resources designed to assist folks in your exact place...at the beginning.

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

That first paragraph encapsulates what I've been feeling over the last few months.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Welcome

Like G-Town says often, be careful about what you read as far was company reviews on the web. They are probably terminal rats. I am having to put my truck driving career on hold as it looks like I am not quit done here in the military. BUT, I got a prehire from CRST and had a meeting with Jim Palmer, but like I said all is on hold. Honestly, any one company will have the people that speak highly of them, Top Tier Drivers, and another group that says they are the worst company in the world Terminal Rats. Just like any other job, you get out of it, what you put into it. Apply to all those you can, and then choose based on what's important. For me, I like Jim Palmer training plan. It is similar to Prime's, as you head out with a trainer right after you get your Permit. Other schools, you get your CDL while in school, then head out with a lead driver....Just depends on what fits you.

Best of 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.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

Yes, they all will teach you from the ground up. As far as "under the hood" if you can check a fluid level, and remember a few verbs.... you'll be just fine. It does help to have a little bit of mechanical knowledge, but is in no way, shape, or form, an mandatory skill.

Peter M.'s Comment
member avatar

That first paragraph encapsulates what I've been feeling over the last few months.

Me, too. But for the last 2 years.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

On the fence?

Check out this blog article:

How Do I Know Truck Driving is Right for Me

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