Which Companies Hire New Graduates Straight Out Of CDL School ?

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Robsteeler's Comment
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G-Town is correct. It's pretty hard to not have at least one minor incident. With one week on the road with a trainer at Schneider, I think it's built into the program with them. The cynical among you may think it's on purpose, in hopes that you are stuck with them because no-one else will hire you. It's one way to slow down turnover. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I've got three incidents now in five months of driving. Probably could have avoided them with more training. First day I scraped a hole in the bottom bumper cover going through a turn at slow speed. Two weeks later I rubbed the side of a trailer and scraped the decal on the side of it. No actual damage, but the shipper made a federal case out of it. Then, a few weeks ago, I broke my cab fairing (batwing) when I was coupling at night in our Kearny, NJ drop lot. Didn't see the dip in the ground (didn't use my flashlight and look at the surrounding area first) so it was just enough that the faith wheel dropped down and the king pin never touched it. Ran right into the trailer and crunched the batwing. All of these incidents were great learning experiences, and I had to go back for more training and testing, which is good, but it's caused me to probably be stuck where I'm at for a while at least. I'm not sure how these are classified on my record that a company will see. I'm sure after time passes I'll be fine, but right now it's an issue I'm sure. Pay close attention to your surroundings.

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.

Robsteeler's Comment
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Marc Lee. I know companies make a big deal about paying for our training, but the reality of it is that after we deliver our first couple loads, we've probably paid them back already.

Susan D. 's Comment
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You enjoy those Amazon DCs hahaha. Me, I'm not a fan.. they're mostly not that bad but a particular one in PA, they can keep lol. They drop the empties in a line so tight you can't get under them straight with a sleeper truck. Every time I've ever gone there, I have to hook it from the side.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Guys, I just have got to say a little bit about some of these comments.

NOT LOOKING TO START A DEBATE HERE... JUST STATING FACTS...

Where you attend school and the type of program matters.

Marc, at face value I think we would agree with your above quoted statement, after all we are constantly touting the virtues of the Paid CDL Training Programs, but let's dig a little deeper.

Marc, you are trying to convince us of the value of your choice by showing us how you are able to land a job that usually requires a certain amount of experience that you don't have. That is all fine and good, but when you try to convince yourself that it is because you are getting more superior training because of that school, well that is where you are getting way off track. Trucking is, and always will be, a performance based enterprise. You have yet to do anything that is measured performance wise other than pass a few yard skills tests, or driving skills, all of which are bare minimum expectations. The hard truth is going to hit you in the gut pretty soon, but until then we will keep trying to help you see it. J.B. Hunt has made an agreement with that school primarily because of their proximity to driving positions that they are desperately needing to fill, and maybe because they have had a few good rookies come from that school. You can dress that up however you want to, and the school will definitely dress it up by convincing you guys who know absolutely nothing, that it is because you are getting superior training. They need to sell this idea to prospective students and the only way they can do that is to point out to new prospects that folks from their school have been able to land these coveted jobs. There is a hard lesson that we all learn in trucking, and that is that no matter how we were trained, no matter where we went to school, and even no matter how many degrees we may have obtained in higher education, nothing lends us credibility or success in trucking but how we deliver.

Drivers prove themselves. They rise or fall on their own merits. That school is not teaching you a damn thing about how to deal with the challenges or the daily pressures of the logistics business. They cannot put you into real world scenarios that test your mettle. They can only help you hone a few driving skills. It takes so much more than driving skills to make you into a professional out here. Everybody makes this mistake of thinking if they can just get plenty of practice at backing or maneuvering then they have got it made, but we rely on so many other skills out here to be productive and efficient. I would actually like to challenge you to consider how much they have taught you on how to be "street smart" out here, because if you and I go to the same receiver, I can promise you that I will be in and out of that customer long before you even get your doors opened and backed up in a dock. There is a part of your education that your school is completely leaving up to you, and trust me, you are going to be competing out here with guys and gals who already know how to get it done. You will have to be able to Hang With The Big Dogs. If they were to tell you about the vast numbers of their graduates who succeed at J.B. Hunt then we would be all ears. That number will be very low, and J.B. Hunt knows that. They are willing to take that risk because they have contractual agreements with this customer to provide a certain number of drivers. I know exactly how these contracts work, I am a dedicated driver whose company has me working under just such a contract. I'm not under contract, and neither will you be, but the company is.

Here is a personal example of what I am talking about. I went to a small truck driving school in Lufkin, TX - got some decent training, and took my first job at Western Express. Almost all the companies that the school tried to hook me up with turned me down. I excelled at Western Express, and the head of recruiting at the time made contact with the school about getting more students from the school because they were extremely pleased with the results. I was told this by the school because I stayed in contact with them for a while. They also told me they were thrilled to make this connection because they were able to get a lot of their students on at Western Express. It turned out that most of those students did poorly. It wasn't the school after all - who would have thought that? The school was touting this special connection with this large trucking company as a recruiting ploy. It was working too. They were getting a lot of new students due to the fact that Western Express was actively hiring from their graduating students. Guess what? It still came down to being able to perform under the pressures that the school never was able to expose them to. Success in trucking is very much an individual endeavor. You either figure it out or you go home, and trust us when we tell you that a lot of folks end up going home.

Continued...

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar

We all want to see you succeed, but you are going to have to come to grips with this whole performance based ideology that permeates this industry. Individual high performers will make a career for themselves out here, and that has nothing to do with what school you came from or what company you start with. It has nothing to do with education, or social status. There are ignorant rednecks with little to no education out here who are excellent truck drivers, and there are folks like me, with more higher education than they ever need, who are doing well at this career. It is a matter of personal commitment and drive that will take you far in this endeavor and place you into the ranks of successful professionals. Truck drivers pretty much learn this by the seat of their pants.

You will be thrown out here and pretty much left to make a go of it. You will get some training, but it is usually not at all what you are expecting. We try to prepare people for this, but some of them are already convinced they know how this all unfolds. It will be like no other career you've ever been involved with before. It will shock you at times. You will be caught off guard at times. Just look at all the whiners and complainers online who moan and groan over how trucking has treated them. They are the ones who thought they had it all figured out. They are the ones who laughed and scoffed at some of our ideas as they entered this career. We've had a few of them come back and thank us for preparing them, but many of them we find on other websites blaming the industry and screaming loud and clear about how poorly this industry prepares people for what they are about to face. I know you are proud of your school, and that is all very good. Every driver in here is proud of their company, and some of them don't even seem to realize that they would be doing just as well at another company because that is just what kind of driver they are. To secure your success at this you will have to come to grips with your own personal responsibility out here. It is great for now that you are thrilled with your school, but you have got to get past that and start concentrating on how much is on your shoulders as you take your first baby steps into a world that is filled with failed attempts at success. You have got to produce now. The rubber is hitting the road now. You've got to become what we like to call a Top Tier Driver. Your school has done nothing toward those ends, all of that will be on you.

Marc, have you considered that you have never even driven a big rig by yourself yet? That great school, and I am sure they are good, has kept you safely in a very limited environment. You are surrounded by watchful eyes. You are protected by well meaning individuals who have kept you from the pressures of being relied upon to meet sometimes seemingly impossible deadlines, rules, and expectations. I am not trying to diminish your accomplishments, because they are definitely worthy and of note, but your idea of this school setting you up for success is so foreign to those of us who have had to get out here and make a go at this are scratching our heads at how you come to these conclusions. You will get some training from J.B. Hunt, and then they will expect you to show them that you have got something special. That special thing they are looking for will not come from your school, and they know that well. It is high time for you to figure out if you can produce what they need.

One more thing for anybody who has stayed long enough in this conversation. Robsteeler made a simple but understandable blunder when he made this remark...

Marc Lee. I know companies make a big deal about paying for our training, but the reality of it is that after we deliver our first couple loads, we've probably paid them back already.

Once you've been out here for a little bit and you happen to find out how much money is paid on these loads you begin to think these companies are making a killing. Oftentimes that is why drivers want to become owner/operators, they happened to see what one of their loads paid. The reality is that the driver himself is making way more money than the company if you measure it our per load. You may see that they charged $2,750.00 for you to pull a simple load. Yeah, that looks like a lot of money until you find out that their net on that load was around $110.00. If they invest $8,500.00 to train you (that was the national average a couple of years ago) then you are going to be pulling a lot of loads before you ever pay them back. That's reality. You can argue that with me if you like, but it is what Marc Lee likes us to believe... it is facts.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly with Old School, as always. The schooling does nothing but teach you the bare minimum needed to get a CDL. That's it. Handling the rig is rarely the issue when someone fails to make a go of this career. It's the lifestyle, the pressure, the expectations, the long hours, the erratic schedule, and the need to get along well with people. You have to come up with creative solutions to problems out there, and you have to learn to be fiercely independent. None of that is taught at school.

If you've done your research you've surely heard 1,000 crybaby stories from people who couldn't hack it in trucking. Think about it - how many said it was because they couldn't drive the truck? Almost zero. That's rarely the issue, and that's all the school is giving anyone - the bare minimum skills to pass the CDL exam.

I agree with Old School - I'm glad you're happy with your school and hopefully you'll get an opportunity with JB Hunt to show what you're made of. But make no mistake - that school didn't give you any advantages over anyone else. It's going to be one hell of a challenge once you get out there. So be ready.

The only reason we're saying this stuff is because you're starting to think you've figured out something special about the industry and you're advising people on their career choices. I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't do that. You've yet to drive a big rig a single mile alone in your life. Your career hasn't even begun yet. Get some time under your belt and then you'll be ready to help people with their careers.

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

Thank you both Old School and Brett.

I appreciate all of your comments. I do, however, need to correct and clarify a few points.

I am not in love with my school and I do not think it made me a professional trailer driver (they teach us to "drive the trailer" not the truck!). I do not believe I got some "secret knowledge" (my term, not necessarily a quote). The topic was which companies hire new drivers right out of school? That is what was asked and what I responded to.

I have had plenty of issues with the class, instructors, students and more. I think I may have gotten more driving time than other students in other (shorter, more crowded) classes - I know I got more than any other student in my class (started with 13, lost one in simulators and 2 once on the road). If I add it all up... i know it ain't much anyway. And I am a slow learner! It takes me a while to get things sometimes. It took me about 150 takeoffs and landings to figure out how to configure the airplane correctly and to do what was necessary to allow the plane to land itself. (Trying to "land the plane" was the problem!) Never solo'ed, but with an instructor in the right seat with his own controls, I was able to fly an airplane.

What I know I was taught and what I studied hard to learn was how to pass the following tests:

CLP : General Knowledge, Air Brakes and Combination vehicles

CDL-A: Pre-trip..., Backing, Road Test

Endorsements: Tankers, Doubles and Triples and HazMat , (all the first time).

And I probably couldn't have done any of it without the great tools and advise found here!

But what my 400-hour WCTC education has given me is an opportunity. They have (OK, SOLD ME (on the installment plan)), an opportunity to drive for one of the largest trucking companies in America for a major online powerhouse, at an above-average starting wage with above average benefits.

I know this because I have done research.

I am not OBLIGATED to stay with this company (for up to almost 2 years (to "repay" my training), though I understand (from what I have learned here) that I should and will be lucky if I can! I also know I don't have to start at a rate which is 1/2 to 2/3 of what J.B. Hunt is able to offer me.

NONE OF THIS means anything but EXACTLY that. I have been given a great opportunity to prove whether or not I have what it takes to do this. Right or wrong... I have been able to convince several others (at this company and a few others) that I deserve the shot.

And (to another's comment), I am not in love with Amazon DC's. Heck! I've only driven BY one! I have no clue what I will run into (hopefully not literally) when I get there. I know I won't have to deal with the (Eastern) one mentioned. My 7-State region includes WI, IL, MI, MN, IN, OH and KY.

My (perhaps limited) understanding is that there are several parts to learning to do this. One is the training and education needed to pass the exam. The next is the training required to be given the opportunity to drive solo. And then there is being able to this on my own.

What I don't understand is why when clearly talking about one, the conversation always seems to shift to the other.

I have read and enjoyed the Commencement Address once again. I have read Brett's book (online and in print).

I believe I have done just about all I can do to prepare for this opportunity WHICH I REALIZE IS ESSENTIALLY NOTHING because I believe you when you all tell me so!!!

Getting an education which gives me an opportunity which I would not have had if I had chosen to go a different route does not in ANY WAY make me more qualified (or qualified at all) FOR the opportunity. But it does make me ELIGIBLE for the opportunity, which is and was the only point I was trying to make!

And the most crucial point I have tried to make is this is what was right for me, and everyone needs to figure out what is right for them.

Time will tell the rest!

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

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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 also know I don't have to start at a rate which is 1/2 to 2/3 of what J.B. Hunt is able to offer me

Old School and Turtle both made $50,000 their first year. Nowadays most rookies with a strong work ethic will make $45,000+ their rookie year. To say you don't have to start at 1/2 - 2/3 the rate of others implies you're going to make 33% - 50% more than most. You'd have to make $60,000 - $75,000 your rookie year for that to be true when compared to $45,000. I'd be absolutely delighted if you made that happen, but I'd also be shocked. Also, remember that rate is only half of the equation. The number of miles you're turning or loads you're hauling is the other.

I see the "average driver salaries" listed on their website for various jobs is often $70,000 - $80,000, which is what top experienced OTR and regional drivers are making, but JB also offers more home time. So I expect it could be a really good opportunity, but unfortunately a rookie probably won't be as productive as experienced drivers so I'm not sure if what kind of salary you will get that first year.

As you can see, we hold strong to the name of this website - Trucking Truth. If you make statements, we're going to verify every one of them or have you explain where you got that from. That's why we prefer that new drivers share their actual experiences with us instead of their opinions or projections for the future. Experiences tell what really happened. A new driver's opinions and projections are often way off the mark, unfortunately.

I'm very interested in hearing how things go for you at JB. We haven't had very many people come through the website that worked there.

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.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Donโ€™t confuse cpm with how much you personally are going to make. I started at a lower cpm than many who started trucking at the same time as I did. I think I have done fairly well. Only because it is easier to look up, my first calendar year (2017) I grossed $54k. Granted I was hired at Wolding sep 30 of โ€˜16. I went solo towards middle end of Oct. so I had 2.5 months solo in 2016. This calendar year I am on pace to gross around $70k. Give or take. Are there are drivers making more than I do, yep. Could I make more at a different company, yep. There are some things worth more than money. The relationships I have built here at Wolding are truly amazing. I enjoy the freedom I am given. Could I earn those same privileges somewhere else, probably. But I enjoy where I am at.

Drive Safe and God Speed.

Btw, I started at 32cpm. I currently make 42cpm. 47.5cpm if you throw my quarterly bonuses in.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks Brett and LDRSHIP.

Trust me, I get it. I am not suggesting I will be making 1/2 - 2/3 more than ANYONE!

One of the many reasons I think CPM matters is that I DON'T expect to rack up miles like s pro. The more I make per mile the more I make... especially if I sm not able to pile on miles at first.

I also believe my best opportunity to gain experience and put on miles as well as have some home time and not just be thrown out on this big country is the 7-State Regional (5 days out, 2 days back) gig.

FYI, average miles for this role are projected at 2,000/week and they have shared average earnings of everyone on the account.

I will now stop sharing about things which I have not yet done!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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