Getting My CDL On A Budget.

Topic 26294 | Page 5

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Old School's Comment
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The plus side is that you are not tied to a company through a contract because they paid for your training.

Okay, let's talk about this for a minute. This is an argument that people make but it's pointless.

Look at the wisdom Chris used when finishing his comments...

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

People make this claim that you're "tied" to a company because they paid for your training, then they claim you're better off paying for it yourself, but you need to stick with them for a full year. My question is, "What's the difference?"

Well, let me answer my own question...

They take this cynical approach because of all the misinformation on the internet. They assume that the company now has you by the gonads and is going to treat you like a slave. The company actually is in a really sketchy position. They've forked out a good sum of money covering your housing, transportation to their facilities, your meals, classroom materials, insurance, fuel, they've paid your instructors/trainers and have typically spent in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 9,000 dollars. Plenty of these drivers will still quit!

The company does this taking a wild chance on new drivers who seldom ever stick it out, and who often could care less whether their credit takes a hit or not. Many times they never bother to pay back the money to the company. What's gonna happen? Not much other than the benefactor of the company's generosity getting a few threatening phone calls. CRST has figured out how to deal with this by limiting your ability to go get a driving job, but typically these company's recourse is limited by law.

It's silly to say you are "tied" to this company, and then argue the merits of paying out of pocket, going somewhere that will reimburse your tuition, and not realizing, "Hey, I'm now tied to this company until I get my tuition paid back."

So, what is the difference?

The company that was willing to pay for your training is now financially vested in you big time. They didn't put themselves in that position with any hope of you paying them back. Their generosity is solely for the purpose of obtaining a few professional drivers in their fleet. Driver demand is real, but it's only real for the kind of drivers who can contribute to the success of the company. They fork out a lot money training people who never pan out. The few good ones they get are treated extra special because that's exactly the type person they wanted in the first place.

We see the evidence of these truths in our forum all the time. Most of the people we see go through these Paid CDL Training Programs have great experiences and are afforded extra consideration when they have minor accidents. The beauty of these programs is that you are treated better than the person coming in with a license from a private school.

Rainy went through Prime, had several mishaps, even tore the tandems off of a trailer. They always forgave her and gave her additional training. They wanted to keep her because they had an investment in her. They saw her potential and worked with her to help her get to the point of being a successful driver. Mountain Girl started out at a company that she determined "was the best fit" for her, came on board with her license in hand, put a little scratch on a truck, and got fired for that minor incident. Oh she had the power of choice alright, but they didn't hesitate to drop her lik a hot potato! Why? They didn't have any skin in the game with her.

It's really simple and straightforward. Don't get all hung up on this idea that says you don't have any choices. You simply choose the company you think is a good fit from the many companies offering paid training. There are lots of them, and they offer everything. You can get tanker jobs, dry-van offers, refers, and flatbed. You're choices are varied and many.

Don't let that messed up logic about being a slave keep you from making a good choice in how to start this career. Use your head and ignore the ignorance that abounds on the internet.

Disclaimer: I started my career by attending a private school. It didn't take me long to realize how great these Company Sponsored Programs are.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

John H

I went to a private school and then I got on with Swift. If I had it to over again I would have gone with paid training at Swift or one of the other carriers on here. You need to put in a year at the company to get a good handle on this adventure. Why not let Swift or any other company pay for your training, you will get a paycheck in the training, and when you're finished, you'll have a job. What is so hard to understand what everyone is saying on here? Remember this, everyone that has offered you advice is not getting anything out of this but to help newbies get a handle on this career. To me it is the only way to go. Remember, you are the adult here, you have to make these decisions. The advice is free. O/S gave you the best advice and the patience of JOB.

Raptor

ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

Old School, my comment about being tied to company for a certain length of time was referencing the fact that if a company pays for your training, you have to stay for a certain length of time (1-2 years) or pay the company back if you don't get your CDL or you leave even 1 day before your contract is up. If you pay for it yourself and go to a company that offers tuition reimbursement, between what the company pays and what you can contribute every week, paycheck or month, you can pay off a student loan in a year or less.

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.
Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

And the point we all are advocating is why bother having to pay anything off at all? It took me two and a half to three years to pay mine back, and it would have been more efficient to just go through Knight's (paid!) schooling. If you do your research, pick a company that's a good fit for you, and go in committed to the cause that year is going to *fly* by, then you're off free to leave or stay. No mess, no hassle.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Especially when you follow the advice of "staying with your first company at least one year". You aren't tied to anything if you plan to stay that year.

John H.'s Comment
member avatar

John H

What is so hard to understand what everyone is saying on here?

Raptor

I acknowledged the best route, thanks to the understanding posters here and thier advice. To hog pile without reading my conclusion doesn't do anything for a new, aspiring driver. In fact, the short, condescending comments will turn away anyone who's curious about this career.

John H.'s Comment
member avatar

I think I unknowingly made this post sound like an 'anyone who can drive can surely do this type of work' post. My fault. I never meant to discredit what it takes to do what you guys do. I just went about it the wrong way. Took a shortcut and ended up here. I'll take the sound advice from the veterans, and new drivers alike. I've said this a hundred times and I mean it, Thanks for taking the time everyone. Over and out- for now. Stay safe. John.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

John H: I think you have taken all the advice given by the experienced drivers very well. Not much more to say that hasn't already been posted. Now it's up to you to take all this great guidance and run with it. And stay involved with the forum. It's your "continuing education" course, as it is for all of us.

Cornelius A.'s Comment
member avatar

John for small fleet companies, their insurance requirement are strident... very few insurance companies will accept a newbie and that will come with a heavy surcharge because they do not have a way to restrict you to a specific truck ... so the whole fleet will feel that surcharge... in the other hand you can look at local companies that have a nationwide or regional outreach meaning they are big enough not to need to now to the insurance company ie waste management... but as Brett always advocates, one year OTR with free company training is always great

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.

John H.'s Comment
member avatar

Yep, everything has been covered very nicely. I want to throw this in out of curiosity. Does an owner operater have to play by the 1 year OTR rule? Isnt it his arse on the line and his insurance etc. Not that I'd ever buy a tractor with no experience, but what about a farm boy who has been running grain around under the radar. Gets the day cab off the farm and passes his A CDL road test with ease. Can't he go ahead and hook up with a company as an owner operater?

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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