Dedicated Or Regional Out Of School In The Tampa Area?

Topic 22809 | Page 1

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Dominick V.'s Comment
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I moved from NYC to Tampa about a year and a half ago. My initial plan was to get my CDL-A and get working asap but being as its just my wife and I, she was not too happy with me being away from home for weeks at a time, nor was I. I instead got a job doing internet sales for a luxury car dealership. I’ve been there for over a year now but I’m not happy. I still have the passion to drive the big rigs but not OTR.

There is a trucking school called Tampa Truck Driving School that has great reviews. I will be paying my own way as I want the freedom of choosing who I want to work for and not have to be locked into a contract with any particular company. No offense, but I dont trust any trucking school to be honest with you about employment opportunities post graduation. It’s a business like everything else and they will tell you want you want to hear in order to get you to enroll.

Before I go thru with it, I would like some advice from some of you here about my chances of landing a local, dedicated or regional route right out of school? If anyone here knows of any companies in the Tampa area hiring right out of school, your tips will be much appreciated. My background is squeaky clean and so is my driving record. I have 14yrs of verifiable work history with no gaps in employment, as well as a perfect driving record with 0 points, accidents, etc..

Thanks in advance...

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.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Dominick, you are a text book case study for the type of person who misunderstands almost everything about how to make a great start in this career. Do you not realize how many professional drivers we have in here who "chose who they wanted to work for," by going through a Paid CDL Training Programs, locking themselves into a contract? It is a most effective way to get your trucking career started.

You underestimate the value of that one year commitment, and you overestimate the value of being a Free Agent.

Trying to start as a local driver is very seldom a good plan. Some have done it, but generally it is not a prudent approach for success as a professional driver. You would be far better off to make a one year commitment to an OTR job with the intention of changing to a local job after you've established yourself. We teach this approach all the time, giving lots of sound reasons why You Should Not Start Your Career As A Local Driver.

One of the best ways to go about what you are wanting, is to get on with a large company in your area that has a lot of different driving options available. For instance, Knight Transportation has a terminal very close to you in Lakeland. They have OTR, Regional , Dedicated, and even Local jobs available. You could easily get your foot in the door, do what you need to establish yourself, and then move into a position that suits you better once you know what you're doing.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Beat me to the punch on this Old School... spot-on as usual!

To add to your point, Swift has a terminal in Ocala. They also are primary transportation partner running Walmart Dedicated out of the Winter Haven DC.

Sending this along, something else for Dominic to chew on:

Why I Prefer Company Sponsored 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.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I drive for a company that hires, and hauls a lot, in Florida. But you gotta have experience. While I did the private school thing and it worked for me, I recommend you seriously consider Old School’s advice. ESPECIALLY since Knight is near you AND Old School knows A LOT! 😎

OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
member avatar

If you want the "profession" , like REALLY want it, then prepare to make the sacrifice it takes to achieve your goals..

There are a few avenues of approach. I chose to commit for a year to a highly reputable well run company. We could have afforded to pay out of pocket for schooling but the quality of training/company made more sense..

It was a challenging go at it for sure. A year spent away from loved ones etc (the list goes on)

Take the advise found here to heart. Soul search this one...

Best of luck to you and yours.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

I'm not familiar with your area. However I was in the same boat as you. I paid for school and wanted local. The market is certainly getting better for local work plus the old needing one year experience thing it's getting less and less because drivers are in such high demand. Companies need people and they are getting more lenient. I'll just come right out and say it though. Most local work is gonna be heavy lifting work. A lot of food delivery services. Coke, Sysco, PFG, etc. It's also going to be driving in tight areas. Lots of difficult backing situations. I would start researching what's available in your area now to make sure paying for your own way is worth it.

I'm a big supporter of guys wanting to stay local. But the others before me make really good points that you certainly should consider. Best of luck though.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Old School 100%. Some of the bigger LTL (local) companies offer dock to driver positions. Where you work on their docks while they train you. These positions are rare and highly coveted. Could your wife ride in the truck with you? If so, then a year of OTR would be easier for you. I don't know if CFI hires that far into Florida, but they trained me for free. Otherwise with Knight and Swift both having terminals there I would start with them. Good luck.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I'm a big supporter of guys wanting to stay local.

We are all big supporters of folks doing the type of job that they need for their families. We just think you need to take the most prudent approach to getting there. We're not just a bunch of crazed nuts that think OTR is where it's at. I know Heavy C is aware of that, I'm really pointing this out for Dominick's sake.

I paid for school and wanted local. The market is certainly getting better for local work plus the old needing one year experience thing it's getting less and less because drivers are in such high demand.

Driver demand may change the willingness of companies to allow less experienced drivers a chance to prove themselves capable, but it doesn't make that opportunity any less risky. Those newbies who get themselves in a minor accident are still just as likely to be forced out of their job by the insurance carrier. Then they find themselves without a leg to stand on as far as employment goes. They have absolutely no experience, (oftentimes local driving jobs are not considered as experience by the national carriers) and their training certificate is no longer valid due to the length of time it's been since they completed their private schooling.

Dominick, if you'll take the time to read these links I think they will give you some insight into our thinking on this subject.

A Prudent Approach To Starting Your Trucking Career

Busting The Free Agent Myth

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I will be paying my own way as I want the freedom of choosing who I want to work for and not have to be locked into a contract with any particular company. No offense, but I dont trust any trucking school to be honest with you about employment opportunities post graduation. It’s a business like everything else and they will tell you want you want to hear in order to get you to enroll.

Dominick, think about what you are saying here. Especially this... "I dont trust any trucking school to be honest with you about employment opportunities post graduation."

You make that statement, yet that's exactly the approach you've determined to take. You think you hold the cards for opportunity by paying your own way through school. I paid my own way through school and had a terrible time landing my first trucking job. My experience was well documented in here years ago.

You say you don't trust these trucking schools, but they are not trucking schools in the sense that they are trying to make money by training people. These Paid CDL Training Programs are basically recruiting efforts by companies who need drivers badly. They are not the least bit interested in getting payment for the training they provide, but rather an employee who is willing to commit to working on becoming a valuable asset to their operation. Anyone successfully going through these programs is given an opportunity to join the team and prove themselves capable. They don't just send people home and then demand payment.

What makes you trust Tampa Truck Driving School, who is going to demand full payment before you even get started, to give you the tools you need to land a good job? They have two purposes.

1. Make a profit.

2. Show their students how to pass the CDL driving test.

Beyond that you are on your own.

I just think it's odd that the very reason you give for going the private route is exactly what the Paid CDL Training Programs provide at no cost to you.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring here and agree with what Old School is saying 100%. It's not that local drivers aren't in demand and we all certainly understand and support someone who wants to be home with family.

But it's more important to think long term and start this career the safest way possible so you don't get hurt, hurt someone else, or lose your job and screw up your career.

Local work is simply too demanding for a brand new driver coming out of school. It almost always entails a lot of tough backing situations, which you're not capable of handling yet. It often requires a lot of heavy lifting, which is a tremendous strain physically to go along with the tremendous strain you're already going to be enduring mentally.

Finally, you're expected to be efficient and remain on a tight schedule while navigating heavy traffic on city streets which is just too much to ask consistently of a brand new driver. You don't have the awareness to monitor that much traffic around you all the time. You don't have the navigation skills to work your way through congested areas efficiently and safely all the time. You're going to be overwhelmed trying to learn how to drive, navigate busy areas, stay on schedule, and possibly unload freight.

Get one year in OTR with one of the Paid CDL Training Programs before trying to make the move to local work. That will give you a lot of time behind the wheel in less demanding situations like Interstates and large warehouses. You're still going to have your share of heavy traffic in big cities and tight backing situations, but it won't be a constant thing like it is with most local work.

Think of that first year as your trucking apprenticeship. Trucking is always high on the list of America's deadliest jobs. Keep in mind you're going to be driving an 80,000 pound death machine surrounded by innocent families. You have a much greater responsibility than just choosing a career path that feels good to you.

Also, as far as private versus paid training you can read this article I've written:

Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private 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.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

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