Looking Into Schools In Texas, Hope To Start In January 2019

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Old School's Comment
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A friend of my wife has talked to her about the dispatches for loads often don’t get you home when you want. He said once you get company paid training, they hold the cost of schooling over your head and run you ragged. He said a lot of new truckers quit because of the total lack of dispatch getting them home when they want/need home time.

Gar, one of the first things you've got to learn is that there is a terrible amount of misinformation out here. Trucking is terribly misrepresented by those in the industry who believe the rampant myths and stories like your wife has been told. We've helped thousands of people navigate the Paid CDL Training Programs, and I've never seen any of them experience what you've described. I'd bet a hundred dollars your wife's friend has no actual experience with Company Sponsored Training. They are merely repeating the mantra they've heard, not even realizing how ignorant they are of the whole process. Beware of taking advice from someone like that.

The thing that most people don't understand is how trucking is completely performance based. The top performers are always treated well. It cracks me up when I hear people complaining about their dispatcher "running them ragged." We are all limited by the HOS (hours of service) rules. Any good truck driver wants to max those hours out so he is making good money. A dispatcher can't run you beyond those limits, and besides, the driver is the one managing those hours.

Starting a trucking career is tough, so tough that most of the newcomers quit. They always blame their failure on the dispatcher or the greedy company who was treating them like slaves. I've met very few people who will honestly say, "Man, I had no idea how tough it is to get the hang of this career. The erratic schedules, demanding deadlines, long hours, and ever changing challenges really caught me off guard. I just couldn't handle it." Nope, they claim the company had them by the gonads and wouldn't let go. It's a shame, but it's produced a bunch of false narratives about this career. That's why Brett began this website. That's why it's called "Trucking Truth."

A lot of people start this career with completely false expectations. If you are afraid the company is going to "run you ragged," and then start your career and discover you're expected to work 70 hours each week, you will probably think they are taking advantage of you. Whereas most successful drivers are wishing they could squeeze in a few more hours. Productivity is key out here, and rookies just aren't as efficient as they need to be. It's a rude awakening at the start, and most people take the easy way out by playing the blame game.

Old School, you stated that your dispatch can get you home when you want. How often are you turned down on that?

I've never been denied a request for home time. Here again is where the performance based equation comes into play. The only people I've seen get denied a home time request are the folks who just can never seem to be productive. The last thing the company needs is a nonproductive driver sitting at home with their asset not bringing in revenues. This business runs on very tight margins, we've all got to really be getting it done if the company is going to make any money. I have a long record of being hyper productive. Simply put, I'm a money maker who is consistently dependable and reliable. No one questions me when I need to go home, because they know I'm all business and commitment out here. That's how it works.

I had to request this whole month off due to eye surgery. Here's what they said, "We don't have a problem with that because we know you. Call us when you're ready to be dispatched." I also will sometimes tell my dispatcher, "Hey, I'd like to go spend a few days in Dayton, Ohio with my grandson there." Or sometimes I will request some time in Branson, MO with my youngest daughter. They usually get me there within 3 or 4 days and tell me to let them know when I'm ready to roll again.

Would you recommend Knight as a place to start and a good school?

Of course! I never attended their school, but I've helped some of their "Squire" drivers who did. Everyone speaks highly of their experience.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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Gar, here's a couple of articles you and your wife might find helpful.

Should Drivers Refuse To Work For Companies With Forced Dispatch?

Busting The Free Agent Myth

Gar H.'s Comment
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I have read through both articles Old School posted. Good information. After doing lots of reading, my wife has decided that at this time she wouldn’t be a good candidate for OTR BUT does want to drive. She has talk to a couple of ladies that drive gravel truck and get home every night. Long hours in the summer construction season seem okay to them, just have to budget for the winter slow season. Local haul and ltl are a consideration too, but construction has the “Davis-bacon act” and so Lady drivers, because they are minority, are needed for Government jobs. So now this throws a monkey wrench in the paid-cdl school for an OTR company. We are currently back in Oregon and may get our permits here before heading to school in Texas. Up here we have a large gravel/cement company that is short 67 drivers. I wonder if that’s the case in texas? Do local haul, LTL, or dump truck companies sponsor CDL students? From what I have read,CDL Schools just get you to be able to pass the test. They don’t really have you ready to jump in a truck and start driving everywhere. It seems like at school a student may get 20-30 hours of actual driving time. Maybe a little more but mast seem to put 2-4 students in a truck at the same time. High School driver training all over again. As a kid I got to work and drive on Uncles farms in the summer work season, so when driver training took place I already knew how to drive in the country. I learned the city driving was WAY different, but the teacher liked to use me as an good example for the other kids. I followed her directions well and was sharp. I am sure watching others will help but will also limit the time of “wheel in hand” learning. So does CDL Schooling just get a person ready to start training at a real job. And how long does a dump truck take to learn? Are there opportunities in the dump Truck driving in the Hill country of Texas?

By the way, Happy New Year everyone. We hope for a wonderful 2019. Thanks again for all the information and advice. It’s nice to find an upbeat web site. We are looking forward to this new year and lifestyle.

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.

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

Gar, typically it's really tough to land a local job without any experience. It's not impossible, but it's a path we don't usually recommend. There's a multitude of reasons why OTR can provide you the experience you need for making the transition to local driving.

Here's an article that might help you understand why it's best to start this career as an OTR driver.

Why You Want To Avoid Starting Your Trucking Career As A Local Driver

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.

Gar H.'s Comment
member avatar

Well so far I have passed my knowledge, air brakes and combinations CDP test. Figured with an Oregon driver license, might be easier to start school with the permit out of the way. Working on the endorsements now. Trying to learn more about the Pre-hire and how to go about that. My wife is liking it back in Oregon, but still wants to relocate to the Hill country of Texas. She has passed the Knowledge and air brakes test and is working on the combination test practice questions,..doing great thanks to your training program. Today I went riding with my neighbor in the log truck, a different view of the forest from up high as my pickup sits a lot lower, (of course). Thank You again for this site Garwin

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Solo's Comment
member avatar

To add to the domicile in one state and work for a company in another:

For all intents and purposes, I'm homeless.

My company offered me a buyout package after 12-years of service, and I took it. Thankfully my last day on the payroll was close to the end of my apartment lease (that I did not renew, so I no longer have rent) and the end of my vehicle lease (that I turned in and no longer have a car or payment).

Since I was effectively homeless, I decided to get an account set-up with a mail forwarding service out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and after staying in a hotel for 1 night, I became a resident of SD. Before flying back out of SD, I walked across the parking lot of the hotel to the DMV , and took my Commerical Learners Permit test (and endorsements) and walked out with an SD DL + CLP and now I won't have to step foot (to maintain legal residency) for upwards of 10 years (since I'll be able to renew my DL online).

I get the bonus of also not having to pay state income tax and only 4% sales tax.

My company (currently in training with TMC) is based out of Des Moines, IA, but my checks will be based on the fact that my legal residency is out of SD and be taxed accordingly.

Going from paying $22.5k/yr (+ utilities) for an apartment to $0/yr, is a HUGE for me.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

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