Just Introducing Myself, (pre Cdl Newbie) And Asking For Very Specific Advice...

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Brazen's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

I'm Aces, 40, currently living in Missouri, just started studying for my CDP, and have listened to about 50 hours of youtube videos on beginning a trucking career. I am 100% set on becoming a trucker, so there's no hesitation about that decision. I currently live in Missouri. This forum has been an amazing resource, which is why I joined it. Thanks to everyone who contributes and shares.

I'm hoping to get some feedback on my next decisions... I spent 2011 - 2017 in Hawaii, which can drain ones savings. (Totally worth it) I'm back to the paycheck to paycheck life. I can qualify through job center to attend a CDL school free of charge, but cant go 6 weeks without a paycheck. This leaves me with TMC or Roehl, as far as I know, because they pay $500 per week while in training. TMC only does flatbed, and I dont want to start there, so I'm looking at Roehl. Their contract for the $7k training sucks. It's all due, even if you're fired for nonsense, even if youve completed 99% of the commitment. They require 120,000 miles as solo before the commitment is up. If you get shafted into 1500 or 2000 miles per week, that will take 15 months to fulfill at best. This is option 1.

Option 2 is to get the CDL without a school... pay about $500 for the physical and some rig time. This will get me done asap, but will not going to a formal trucking school hurt me with employers? Will they consider that legit? I REALLY like the option of NOT having to sign a contract to work for X company for a year or more. Will the training loss be soaked up by the orientation team time with the first employer?

Lastly, If anyone knows a job I can apply to in the trucking industry around St Louis, I'm all ears. Everything about my driving and criminal record is 100% clean.

Thanks again everyone. Great forum.

Aces

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.

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.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

Not going through a school will make it hard to get a job driving. Most companies require the 160 hours of schooling so that their insurance will accept you.

David D.'s Comment
member avatar

What Big T said. I checked around and everyone I found want a 160 hour school. I did find one around Detroit that makes you come in with a permit and they charge $3,395 for a three week class, but you're in the truck the first day. Maybe you can find something like that around St. Louis.

Brazen's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Big T and David. Ive been researching all day, then came across Maverick. I'm 100% going to drive for them and train with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shEWNVbQ4gU. I'll start a CDL Training thread when I do.

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.
Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone,

I'm Aces, 40, currently living in Missouri, just started studying for my CDP, and have listened to about 50 hours of youtube videos on beginning a trucking career. I am 100% set on becoming a trucker, so there's no hesitation about that decision. I currently live in Missouri. This forum has been an amazing resource, which is why I joined it. Thanks to everyone who contributes and shares.

I'm hoping to get some feedback on my next decisions... I spent 2011 - 2017 in Hawaii, which can drain ones savings. (Totally worth it) I'm back to the paycheck to paycheck life. I can qualify through job center to attend a CDL school free of charge, but cant go 6 weeks without a paycheck. This leaves me with TMC or Roehl, as far as I know, because they pay $500 per week while in training. TMC only does flatbed, and I dont want to start there, so I'm looking at Roehl. Their contract for the $7k training sucks. It's all due, even if you're fired for nonsense, even if youve completed 99% of the commitment. They require 120,000 miles as solo before the commitment is up. If you get shafted into 1500 or 2000 miles per week, that will take 15 months to fulfill at best. This is option 1.

Option 2 is to get the CDL without a school... pay about $500 for the physical and some rig time. This will get me done asap, but will not going to a formal trucking school hurt me with employers? Will they consider that legit? I REALLY like the option of NOT having to sign a contract to work for X company for a year or more. Will the training loss be soaked up by the orientation team time with the first employer?

Lastly, If anyone knows a job I can apply to in the trucking industry around St Louis, I'm all ears. Everything about my driving and criminal record is 100% clean.

Thanks again everyone. Great forum.

Aces

Welcome Aces. Lots of people here will make suggestions. I personally took a somewhat different route than Co.-sponsored training and it is working for me.

I am in a 400-hour technical college program. I attend school on weekends and am able to work my "day job" around class. I was supposed to get funding through a jobs program which has let me down. I do get reimbursed for expenses, including text books and materials, commuting mileage and medical exam and drug test fees. The college accepts payment plans, and I pay $150 / month.

Not saying this will work for you or ANYONE else here, but it is working for me. I am self-employed. I work when I have jobs to do, and study and research potential driving jobs, the industry, etc. in between. I have passed all my exams (for CLP , HazMat , Tankers and Doubles and Triples). I will not submit for HazMat paperwork until I pass my CDL test, as that was what I was told to do (putting it on the CLP complicates testing).

I agree with the 160-hour thing, but also have this to add... There are employers who post anything from a minimum of 4 months experience required to as much as 2 years OTR who are considering me for employment right out of school. Some of it has to do with the program itself. I also believe my attitude and approach may be a factor. (One recruiter said he went to his boss, I think his boss's boss, and the owner to get approval to pursue working with me).

I know there are advantages to Co. training, and I do not wish to debate them. I am just suggesting another option. If you can find a job which won't burn you out and which will allow you to do the CDL training "on the side" it may also work for you. Our school has both evening and weekend classes.

Good luck whatever you decide!

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

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.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
[I] have listened to about 50 hours of youtube videos on beginning a trucking career

.......which is very unfortunate. That's why you say things like......

Their contract for the $7k training sucks. It's all due, even if you're fired for nonsense, even if you've completed 99% of the commitment. They require 120,000 miles as solo before the commitment is up. If you get shafted into 1500 or 2000 miles per week, that will take 15 months to fulfill at best. This is option 1.

......and things like.......

I REALLY like the option of NOT having to sign a contract to work for X company for a year or more.

Unfortunately you have soaked up quite a bit of nonsense from people on Youtube who honestly have no business giving career advice to anyone, mostly because they couldn't figure out how to be successful at this themselves.

Before you jump into anything I hope you'll take a little more time to read some of our articles and listen to my podcasts. You'll get a very different perspective on how to go about this career and we'll explain exactly why the nonsense you've been hearing is just that - nonsense.

Here are some great things you for you get started with. Please do yourself a favor and go through each of these. They'll all address different myths you've been hearing on Youtube and help you understand things in a totally different way:

Go through all of those and then come back here with any questions you have. I know you'll learn a ton from those materials and I promise you it's all very important stuff that you need to understand before moving forward from here.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

[I] have listened to about 50 hours of youtube videos on beginning a trucking career

double-quotes-end.png

Here are some great things you for you get started with. Please do yourself a favor and go through each of these. They'll all address different myths you've been hearing on Youtube and help you understand things in a totally different way:

Go through all of those and then come back here with any questions you have. I know you'll learn a ton from those materials and I promise you it's all very important stuff that you need to understand before moving forward from here.

I agree. Get Brett's book, (hard copy) and read it too!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
If you can find a job which won't burn you out and which will allow you to do the CDL training "on the side" it may also work for you. Our school has both evening and weekend classes.

Marc, your approach isn't all bad, but in my experience it's not the way that highly successful people tend to find success in their lives. The key to being successful at anything is commitment. Old School has some great insights into this:

Trucking Takes Commitment

The problem I have with your method is that you're trying to straddle the fence without committing fully to anything. You're not all-in on your business, and you're not all-in on trucking. You're kinda doing one while you're kinda doing another. I have a saying about that approach, and it's purposely rather crude to get the point across:

When you try to walk with one foot on each side of the fence you get your balls ripped off

If your business was super successful you wouldn't be looking at becoming a truck driver. Maybe that lack of commitment is what's holding you back. I've been a business owner many years and I would have failed 10 times by now if I hadn't been so fully committed to making it work through the toughest challenges.

If you really trusted yourself and went all in on trucking, you wouldn't need your business. It's highly unlikely you're going to be able to do both at the same time, so something has got to give at some point anyhow.

Like I said, it's not all bad, but I'm just not a fan of having one foot on each side of the fence and being half committed to multiple things. I believe in finding something that you really want and going for it 100%.

I would challenge you to find someone who has been highly successful at anything in life that now mentors people with advice like, "Only take the sure path, don't take any chances" or "don't commit until you're sure it will work" or "keep many irons in the fire" - you're just not going to hear that kind of advice from successful people. It takes big time commitment to succeed at anything that's challenging and complex and has a lot of competition like the business world and like being a truck driver:

Trucking Is A Competition Between Drivers. Can You Hang With The Big Dogs?

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.
Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

If you can find a job which won't burn you out and which will allow you to do the CDL training "on the side" it may also work for you. Our school has both evening and weekend classes.

double-quotes-end.png

Marc, your approach isn't all bad, but in my experience it's not the way that highly successful people tend to find success in their lives. The key to being successful at anything is commitment. Old School has some great insights into this:

Trucking Takes Commitment

The problem I have with your method is that you're trying to straddle the fence without committing fully to anything. You're not all-in on your business, and you're not all-in on trucking. You're kinda doing one while you're kinda doing another. I have a saying about that approach, and it's purposely rather crude to get the point across:

When you try to walk with one foot on each side of the fence you get your balls ripped off

If your business was super successful you wouldn't be looking at becoming a truck driver. Maybe that lack of commitment is what's holding you back. I've been a business owner many years and I would have failed 10 times by now if I hadn't been so fully committed to making it work through the toughest challenges.

If you really trusted yourself and went all in on trucking, you wouldn't need your business. It's highly unlikely you're going to be able to do both at the same time, so something has got to give at some point anyhow.

Like I said, it's not all bad, but I'm just not a fan of having one foot on each side of the fence and being half committed to multiple things. I believe in finding something that you really want and going for it 100%.

I would challenge you to find someone who has been highly successful at anything in life that now mentors people with advice like, "Only take the sure path, don't take any chances" or "don't commit until you're sure it will work" or "keep many irons in the fire" - you're just not going to hear that kind of advice from successful people. It takes big time commitment to succeed at anything that's challenging and complex and has a lot of competition like the business world and like being a truck driver:

Trucking Is A Competition Between Drivers. Can You Hang With The Big Dogs?

Thanks Brett. I appreciate and respect your comments and opinions.

I am prepared to make a 100% commitment to trucking. I will actually be taking a significant cut in pay (or, perhaps more precisely, working many many more hours to make the same level of income I am making now). I have lots of reasons for wanting to make a change. Yes, my "business" is not "super" successful. It was also not something I consciously chose... I really sort of fell into it.

I have lots of reasons why I want to drive. Some of them have to do with job security, benefits, etc.. Again, I will actually have to pay more to have some of the many benefits I have now.

The fact that I have chosen to spend 10 hours a day on almost every Saturday and Sunday since July until almost Christmas is NOT an indication of my lack of commitment. Quite the contrary (IMHO).

Roehl was the first school I considered and I decided it was not for me. Right or wrong, it was my call and I stand by it. While I certainly do not consider myself a "Free Agent", I have no desire to be "bounced out" of a company orientation (several times) before being given my first shot at trucking. I believe what potential employers see in me right now (time will tell, of course), is someone who HAS made a commitment to getting what HE (and maybe they) consider to be the best possible education to start this new career. I believe that is why they are talking to me. Some of them have their own training programs - some do not. I consider getting my CDL as simply getting my "License to Learn". I certainly do not have much of anything figured out here. But I am scheduled to take my test on Dec. 9th, and I am scheduled to graduate on Dec. 19.

If I accomplish that, and am offered and accept a position with a top-tier carrier (as I hope and expect I will), what I will have demonstrated is a valid path to get there. Nothing more... Nothing less!

And to be clear... I have made great use of the many great resources here along the way, and I truly do appreciate them all (physical materials and the individuals who take their time and share their wisdom).

Just my $.02

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.
Brazen's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the info, I'm taking a look at it, but how being locked into a contract is better than not being locked in one is beyond me, especially given the risk that if for any reason you get fired, the tuition is due in full. If they prorated it, I wouldnt be saying that, but anyway, I'll def look into that info with an open mind, thanks.

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