Excuses,Excuses And Procrastination

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Chip J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey everyone, I wanted to get some advice on which way I should approach becoming a truck driver. I attended CDL training school just under 3 years ago. I passed with a 3.9 gpa (backing up got the best of me!) have all endorsements ,except,for passenger, TWIC card and all that good stuff. I drove a dump truck for a friend of mine to help him out for a month, but, that's all the experience I have. I was accepted to TMC and Schnieder after graduating but did not go. First excuse, My brother, whom I own a Heating/Air Conditioning company with,family business of 47 years, had to have both his hips replaced so I could not go out on the road. Second excuse, my father-in -law passed away suddenly the next year,so ,I couldn't leave my family for awhile.I have been looking around at several trucking companies lately ,which you know they you need to have some experience or go back to school.One company advertises they will hire you if you've had your CDL for awhile but never used them, take their 2 to 4 day orientation then out with a trainer for 6 weeks. Would like to hear any and all points of view (good and not so good). Thanks for reading my rambling and hope to hear back.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Chip, welcome to the forum!

It's next to impossible to get hired when in your situation, as I'm sure you are already finding out. I don't know if it's doable or not for you but you really should take a refresher course from a truck driving school and then you would find a whole lot more doors open to you.

There are only a scant few companies that will hire someone who isn't fresh out of school or with at least one year of experience. This is all dictated by the insurance companies, and you can't hardly blame them for wanting to cover someone driving eighty thousand pounds of rolling inertia down the highway at seventy miles an hour.

There is another option available to you that doesn't require any upfront money from you. Check out this link for Company-Sponsored Training . Here you will find several different companies who will provide you with free training in exchange for a one year commitment from you to work for them. Many of them pay all your expenses during training, including housing and meals, and then provide you with a good paying job for a contractual agreement with you to work for them for the specified time. See if anything there interests you.

I think I heard recently that Western Express has been hiring some people in your situation, you might want to contact one of their recruiters and check it out.

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.

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.

Chip J.'s Comment
member avatar

Chip, welcome to the forum!

It's next to impossible to get hired when in your situation, as I'm sure you are already finding out. I don't know if it's doable or not for you but you really should take a refresher course from a truck driving school and then you would find a whole lot more doors open to you.

There are only a scant few companies that will hire someone who isn't fresh out of school or with at least one year of experience. This is all dictated by the insurance companies, and you can't hardly blame them for wanting to cover someone driving eighty thousand pounds of rolling inertia down the highway at seventy miles an hour.

There is another option available to you that doesn't require any upfront money from you. Check out this link for Company-Sponsored Training . Here you will find several different companies who will provide you with free training in exchange for a one year commitment from you to work for them. Many of them pay all your expenses during training, including housing and meals, and then provide you with a good paying job for a contractual agreement with you to work for them for the specified time. See if anything there interests you.

I think I heard recently that Western Express has been hiring some people in your situation, you might want to contact one of their recruiters and check it out.

Hey Old School, Thanks for commenting.You hit the nail on the Head! I have heard back from many recruiters telling me I need some experience just as you mentioned and I understand them not being able to hire me. Western Express is the one company advertising they will hire people in my situation,but, I would like some feedback on their company. I don't expect to start at the top of the pay scale,but, I do need to make a decent income. Anyway,Thanksw again for your help and maybe I'll see ya' out on the road someday. Be safe and God Bless! Chip

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.

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.

Scotty D's Comment
member avatar

Hey Chip!

I'm in the same boat you are. A friend of mine and I are working on getting a team position at Schneider. He has 6 months car hauling experience so as far as Schneider is concerned, he's good to go. I, on the other hand, need the refresher course (January '13 CDL grad). I've been trying since mid-November to get my CDL school to give me info on a refresher and it's been like pulling teeth! confused.gif My buddy and I should have been out with trainers by now if my school was on the ball. I looked at Western Express but the refresher pay is pretty low and we really want to start out with Schneider. Good luck to you and keep us up to date.

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.
Chip J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Chip!

I'm in the same boat you are. A friend of mine and I are working on getting a team position at Schneider. He has 6 months car hauling experience so as far as Schneider is concerned, he's good to go. I, on the other hand, need the refresher course (January '13 CDL grad). I've been trying since mid-November to get my CDL school to give me info on a refresher and it's been like pulling teeth! confused.gif My buddy and I should have been out with trainers by now if my school was on the ball. I looked at Western Express but the refresher pay is pretty low and we really want to start out with Schneider. Good luck to you and keep us up to date.

Hey Scotty, Sorry to hear you are in the same boat as me,but, keep your head up and stay focused on what your looking forward to. Yea, I have been looking at W.E. and what I see them paying to start (375.00) seems a little lower than some other companies. But, I may just suck it up and see if they are willing to hire me. At least I will be getting my foot in the door and it may open up some better oppurtunities in the future. Anyway, be safe and good luck at whatever you decide to do. Remember, God only closes doors so He can open new ones. See Ya',Chip

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Chip, I drive for Western Express in their flat-bed division.

I'll share my thoughts with you. Western Express has the reputation of being a "starter company". That is usually a derogatory way of referring to a company by self proclaimed trucking experts who consider themselves above working for such outfits that are always hiring new drivers fresh out of school. Personally, I have a high regard for these companies that are willing to take a risk on beginners such as I was when I first started, and then allowing them to learn and excel in this business. I cannot begin to tell you how many drivers come up to me at shippers or truck stops and ask me how I like working for Western Express. After giving them a positive response they will then tell me that they started their career at Western Express.

Look, Western Express is just like any other large trucking company. They are trying to keep their customers satisfied by efficiently moving their freight from point A to point B. They have issues and problems just like all the other carriers do, but the main thing you cannot base your research on is internet reviews on them. Regular readers of this forum know that I have continually stated that I've never found a single positive review on Western Express, in fact when I was doing my own research I began to think the company was run by the devil himself. Here's the shocking truth - I love working here! Once I got loose from the crazy trainer they sent me out with I started making good money, and they have never disappointed me in any way yet. They keep my wheels rolling, and I seriously don't think I could have been any better pleased at any other company.

Because they are willing to give just about anyone a shot at proving themselves they take in a lot of losers into their orientations. Those people who didn't really know what they were getting into in the first place are the same people who now have got lots of spare time on their hands to make bogus claims online about how this or that evil trucking company did them wrong and you certainly should never consider working for them. It's all such a crock that it's on the very verge of libel.

I recently posted in this forum about my daily work so that folks could read it and see what it's like out on the road, but it would also give a person like yourself an idea about how Western Express keeps me moving. You can read it if you'd like by clicking on the following link.

Flat-bedding with Western Express

I was in a similar situation as you in that when I got out of truck driving school I was trying to sell 30 years of accumulated business assets, and also had to have some surgery which delayed my getting started for about six months. After being rejected by several companies I finally got on with Western Express, and have not regretted it for a moment.

You are correct about their training pay being low, and they even take out a hefty "administration fee" from that each week, but once they put you in your own truck they will do all they can to keep you moving and making a decent paycheck.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

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

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.

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

Phil C.'s Comment
member avatar
You are correct about their training pay being low, and they even take out a hefty "administration fee" from that each week, but once they put you in your own truck they will do all they can to keep you moving and making a decent paycheck.

Actually as is my understanding, this "admisistration fee" has recently been stopped. After talking with you (old school) about western express I called them today and talked to my recruiter who told me that they had just stopped doing this and that I would have nothing taken out of my training period paychecks except for taxes. This is from my recruiter with them, and so far she has been pretty honest and forthcoming about things to me. I know recruiters can be like snake oil salesmen but I specifically asked about this and that is what she told me.

I have decided to go with Western Express as a flatbedder and I start Jan. 27th.

Phil

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the info Phil, I'm glad to hear it. Best of luck to both you guys, and please keep us posted on how things are going for you.

Chip J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the info Phil, I'm glad to hear it. Best of luck to both you guys, and please keep us posted on how things are going for you.

hey Y'all, Thanks for all the great information on Western Express. I'll be contacting them the first of the week and Phil i may mmet you there the 27th. Old School, have you thought about being a trainer ,because, you seem to have a positive outlook on things. Whoever I get as a trainer I feel sorry for them,becuase , my wife says I sound like a chainsaw when I snore! Anyway, keep in touch and be safe. Chip

Suzanne K.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm looking forward to joining up with WE. Though my recruiter feels all I need is a refresher, I think I'm going to inquire about going through the whole schooling gig, only because even though I've had my cdl for 21 years, I have absolute no tractor trailer exp. The only cdl exp I have is dump truck. Super 14, supper 16. I also have a concern over how to survive and keep up my current bills, and eat, while in school, until the paychecks start coming in. I'll keep checking on your post to see other drivers replies.

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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