Getting My CDL On A Budget.

Topic 26294 | Page 4

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Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

John's attitude at work:

I should of visited here before jumping in and thinking CDL=job. Live and learn. I want to keep at it and do this. I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond.

That's right. Trust me, your response here is what we work for. Nothing's candy coated, we speak from experience. If you can take this kind of advice, grit your teeth and keep moving forward, you will, as they say, go far.

Maybe it took you a while to visit Trucking Truth, but you're here now. Take advantage of our collective knowledge, look through the other resources available*, then like we all have done, stick with the forums and give back the stuff you've learned.

*Click on the three bar menu at the top right. Explore any topic that looks interesting.

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
No, I don't feel insulted. Just getting the hard truth from the pros. Though the comment about me being a tire kicker with no commitment was a bit much.

Please don't take offense John. I meant it to motivate you. Listen to what you said...

what if 3 weeks In I find out it's not for me?

You can't go into this with that kind of thinking. Basically your saying you'll bail out if you encounter something you don't like about it. That's why I was warning you. Look, this is a tough career to start. Already you had huge assumptions that were based on who knows what. They were dead wrong.

I don't know of anybody that is a successful driver today who didn't want to quit almost twice a month for that first six months. People romanticize this job in their minds. Then that beautiful mistress they designed kicks them in the teeth! It's so common that something like 95% of the people who try this end up quitting before their one year anniversary.

You've got to make a firm commitment to see it through. It's not like switching jobs from one warehouse to another. It's a complete life changing event. Most people aren't anywhere near prepared for the aftershock. We try our best to be honest and realistic. I just felt you needed a little dose of reality.

One of the best ways to make that commitment is to sign a contract. Remember that agreement goes two ways. They will teach you and be committed to your success. You will get to "kick the tires" of this trucking career, but you need to be prepared to stick it out and fulfill your end of the agreement. One year out here on the open road flies by! You will learn so many valuable things out here. That's why all those local companies that seem interesting to you now want to see one year of experience. They will know you can be counted on at that point. Right now they don't even want you for free!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm just gonna chime in here as someone who was in a position not so dissimilar to yours three and a half years ago (almost four now) (and about your age too, it sounds like! I just turned 25): listen to these people. Find a company that will pay (and pay you) to put you through school. My $6k loan (that my parents put the down payment on) cost me nearly 8k by the time I was done and two years of headaches. I had my A class and got on with a trash company after washing out with Knight 4 months in, and they had *no* incentive to keep me because they hadn't invested in *me.*

The long and short of it: the license is worth nothing without a record to back it up, and barring very rare and risky situations (and suspicious, too! Why would a small company be so desperate to higher someone completely inexperienced? Why can't they find or keep more experienced drivers?), it's only the big companies that can afford to give you a shot without that record. Once you build it up and build it up *well* you've written your own ticket anywhere. That takes at least a year, if not two or three.

So skip the nonsense, and if you're really fed up with warehouse work, start looking at the paid training programs.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

John H.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been looking in to company paid programs on craigslist today, no luck. Maybe craigslist isn't the right place. I did find an ad for a local straight truck driver w/ no experience required. After listening to you fellas, I'm skeptical of the ad. I'll keep looking to find one of the bigger outfits you guys mention. Thanks.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Paid CDL Training Programs

Click on that link.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

John takes a look:

looking on craigslist today

rofl-2.gif

I admit I have looked on CL myself, both to buy, sell, and even look for work and apartments. But for career level jobs, not a good idea.

Your best shot is right here under your nose: Paid CDL Training Programs and Apply For Paid CDL Training.

Here's the deal: the company that will eventually hire and train you, John, is a national or regional company expecting you to start out on an OTR assignment. We've said before, if you're serious about getting nearly any trucking job (without Divine intevention), click that Apply link here.

Best of 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.

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.

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Believe it or not, but CL ads are how I got my start.

Knowing this now, I would highly discourage it. Click on the link Old School posted and go from these.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

Hello,

I would look into the CDL schools in your area that offer student loans. Usually they are affiliated with community colleges. I know that here in the Northeast, the big name school is New England Tractor Trailer Training School (NETTTS). Very good school, and students get out of it what they put into it. They offer varying length courses, ranging from 4 to 22 weeks. The 22 week course is eligible for Pell Grants and student loans. One drawback is that you have to pay out of pocket, but you can go somewhere that offers tuition reimbursement. The plus side is that you are not tied to a company through a contract because they paid for your training. You can find a company that is the best fit for you, and MOST major carriers offer tuition ranging from 7k-10k. If you paid fully out of pocket, you get that money in your paycheck once a month for a set length of time. If you took out a student loan, they will pay the loan holder directly. If you play it right, and the CDL school is your only student loan, you can do what I did and pay and extra $200/month and have it totally paid off in 18 months, and then the company puts in their payment into your check, and your credit score improves....

Whatever route you go through though, stay with your first company at least 1 year minimum, get that experience, and enjoy....

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.
John H.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow. Great group of people here. I really appreciate all of you guys taking the time to help out. I feel way stupid, but smarter at the time. Again, Thanks all. I'd like to contribute here one day. I'll keep trying to learn for now. Drive safe!

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

John, everybody starts off ignorant. Those that choose not to learn are labeled stupid.

Stick around here, keep reading and asking questions. A prepared mind is a most helpful tool to possess.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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