Young Guy Wanting To Get Started In Texas

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Johnathon C.'s Comment
member avatar

What's up everybody? My name is John and I'm 22 years old. Been wanting to get my CDL for a little over a year now but having a hard time deciding which cdl sponsor company I should choose. I have a clean background with only one minor accident (less than $500 in damages) on my record and I didn't receive any tickets or anything for that incident.

My brother went through C.R. England to get his CDL a little over a year ago and he hated it. Said that he really wished he would've looked around more before just jumping at the first offer he was given.

I've been doing a fair bit of research trying to decide which way I should go, but honestly getting a little overwhelmed by it all. Any info, advice or opinions on specific companies would be very much appreciated. I know on this site there are reviews written on quite a few companies, but I always like to get first hand experience from people that have dealt with these places.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Jonathan!

Common problem when researching; too much information and most of it is false or embellished in a negative fashion.

We consistently reinforce the premise that good drivers can be successful almost anywhere. It’s the name of the driver that matters most and NOT the name of the company on the door.

This forum has top performing drivers representing most of the companies found in the link: Paid CDL Training Programs. Knight, Prime, Swift, Schneider, Old Dominion, TMC, H.O. Wilding, Roehl, US Express, CFI, CRST, and CR England to name the ones that immediately come to mind.

Take me for instance; I started with Swift almost 6 years ago running North East Regional Dedicated for Walmart delivering groceries to Sams Club and Walmart Super Centers. I have no plans to look anywhere else. Why? Because I never sit, treated like a professional, have built fantastic relationships with driver support, dispatched on great runs, drive top-notch equipment and make kick-ass money. Ask any of our experienced drivers in this forum and they will all paint a similar picture driving for their respective companies. Success is earned in this business one mile at a time. Once achieved, top-performing drivers are treated like gold. But keep in mind...it’s a process and will not happen over night.

Your brother’s experience although unfortunate and common, likely has way more to do with his inability to adapt and adjust to the lifestyle and meet the basic demands of the job. It’s almost never the company; but the industry as a whole and an individuals performance, or lack of. It’s a tough job that requires a special person to succeed. Most can’t and just become another notch in the attrition column.

As with any new member; we highly recommend investing time reading and studying these links:

And please for your own piece of mind...try to ween yourself off the endless internet research. You’ll arrive at a decision much quicker once you rid yourself of the head trash found in most of the other sites.

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.

Johnathon C.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome Jonathan!

Common problem when researching; too much information and most of it is false or embellished in a negative fashion.

We consistently reinforce the premise that good drivers can be successful almost anywhere. It’s the name of the driver that matters most and NOT the name of the company on the door.

This forum has top performing drivers representing most of the companies found in the link: Paid CDL Training Programs. Knight, Prime, Swift, Schneider, Old Dominion, TMC, H.O. Wilding, Roehl, US Express, CFI, CRST...and yes, even CR England to name the ones that immediately come to mind.

Take me for instance; I started with Swift almost 6 years ago running North East Regional Dedicated for Walmart delivering groceries to Sams Club and Walmart Super Centers. I have no plans to look anywhere else. Why? Because I never sit, treated like a professional, have built fantastic relationships with driver support, dispatched on great runs, drive top-notch equipment and make kick-ass money. Ask any of our experienced drivers in this forum and they will all paint a similar picture driving for their respective companies. Success is earned in this business one mile at a time. Once achieved, top-performing drivers are treated like gold. But keep in mind...it’s a process and will not happen over night.

Your brother’s experience although unfortunate and common, likely has way more to do with his inability to adapt and adjust to the lifestyle and meet the basic demands of the job. It’s almost never the company; but the industry as a whole and an individuals performance, or lack of. It’s a tough job that requires a special person to succeed. Most can’t and just become another notch in the attrition column.

As with any new member; we highly recommend investing time reading and studying these links:

And please for your own piece of mind...try to ween yourself off the endless internet research. You’ll arrive at a decision much quicker once you rid yourself of the head trash found in most of the other sites.

My brother is actually a skilled driver. He said that his problems with CR England were with their training style. Not going to go into exact specifics, but he said compared to the training that he has received since leaving them has been way more informational and helpful than he got while there.

Now back to the original topic. I haven't really looked on other sites for information, just this one. I have been looking into Raider Express on and off for the past few months. I like that they are Texas based and are a no contract/ obligation company. I'm just a little confused about their training process. On TTs review of them, it states that the course is about 4 weeks long, but that seems a little on the shorter side. I applied on their website and am hoping to get in touch with a recruiter fairly soon so I can ask some more in depth questions.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

4 weeks for school is fine. You’ll only learn what is necessary to pass your CDL tests. Their road training (aka: finish training) is likely another 4-6 weeks.

Goto their website and fill out an application; once a recruiter calls you inquire on how they train, and how long.

The comments on your brother? How long has he been driving? Regarding his training experience, unless you offer details there is no value in posting negative information about CRE. Just talk. We don’t work that way in this forum, unless you experienced something firsthand or have firsthand, credible information, it’s just noise that no one benefits from.

Again I’ll stick to my initial response...

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.
Big Scott (CFI Driver and's Comment
member avatar

First off, everyone is different and learns differently. I went through CFI's paid CDL program. Here is a link to my training diary. 18 months later, I am still happily driving for them. With CFI, it is possible to go from zero to solo in as little as 8 weeks.

I do not know if your accident will hurt your chances. You may have to wait a year. 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.
Jerry D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey john I to looked into raider express. They seem pretty good. A lot of bad stuff about them on the internet. But I talked to several drivers they had mainly good things to say. Except the 60mph max and the fact they want you running at 55. And dont allow you to idle and no APU. I think they would be a good start for you. Oh they do not allow you to bring tour truck home on home time so hopefully you live close to fort worth. I am about 2 hours south so that was a huge negative for me. Good luck brother

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey john I to looked into raider express. They seem pretty good. A lot of bad stuff about them on the internet. But I talked to several drivers they had mainly good things to say. Except the 60mph max and the fact they want you running at 55. And dont allow you to idle and no APU. I think they would be a good start for you. Oh they do not allow you to bring tour truck home on home time so hopefully you live close to fort worth. I am about 2 hours south so that was a huge negative for me. Good luck brother

Please stop putting stock in what you read on the internet...it’s is unchecked, often embellished information posted primarily by people that could not hack this industry, or performed poorly or who were unsafe drivers. You have zero clue about the individual who wrote the headtrash you read and they could care less about helping you make the right decision.

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.

N/A's Comment
member avatar

Johnathon, have you ever considered LTL? Old Dominion, Estes, ABF? Well, it’s much higher pay than the average company, plus retirement and benefits. If you have no desire to become an O/O, you may want to become an LTL company driver.

I work at Estes Express. I’ve bumped into a few “rookie” drivers who went through the Estes Driving Program, and they’re super happy. Of course, you’ll need hazmat , doubles/triples, and tanker endorsements. You only have to run a forklift 90 days at Estes to get into the program. Get paid the entire time. I think forklift drivers make $17/hr. Plus, you’ll work 50-55 hours per week.

Old Dominion and ABF may put you straight into the program immediately. I’m not sure. I know you’d enjoy the all drop-and-hook , paid all miles from terminal-to-terminal Estes route. But to each their own.

You can struggle to make ends meet at a MegaCarrier, or you can be make great money and enjoy what you do at the LTL company. Plus, they have local positions you could get into after the program and never have to go over the road , unless you volunteer.

Food for thought.

God Bless, Chris

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

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

Over The Road:

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.

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.

Drop-and-hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

Old Dominion would require dock work as well but you get paid to work dock and then when training as well. If you come in with a CDL with all the above mentioned endorsements you can skip the dock portion and go straight to 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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
You can struggle to make ends meet at a MegaCarrier, or you can be make great money and enjoy what you do at the LTL company.

CJ Linehaul , I'm sorry but I'm not letting you slide with that remark. Do you want to clarify that for yourself? If not, I will do it for you when I have time.

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

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
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