Most Cheapest/smartest Way To Obtain CDL A?

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Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Prime actually puts LESS value on a CDL graduate from oustide of Prime school. Now that person needs to be trained on Primes equipment Primes way.

Want proof?

CDL holders get more training and paid less than Prime students.

Prime students who earn their CDL then do 50,000 team miles in training

CDL holders from outside do 60,000 team miles.

Prime school students get paid $700 per week for the first 40,000 miles, then $850.

I think and someone can correct me, the CDL grads get $600 the first 6 weeks then $700 after that. Not sure when/if they get boosted to $850 in training.

and they only reimburse $1500

My FM told one of my trainees "you are going to now be taught the Prime way".

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.

Fm:

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.

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.

Cwc's Comment
member avatar

Can't blame you for wanting to go to a community college. That's what I did only I went on a major trucking companies dime and had a job as soon as I graduated the program.

Skip the out of pocket expense. Have a job lined up. Be ready to deal with new things cause well... Your new to driving and your going to make mistakes. With those mistakes comes lost earnings. Learn from them and make more from it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Just over two years ago I was in the same boat as you. I had read and heard very much the same arguments against company training as you. I was originally going to go through my local community colleges CDL-A program. But I had only been a state resident for 9 months, so my tuition cost was going to be about $3500 instead of about $1000. At the time I couldn't afford to put that much out at once and still cover my families bills. And the next CDL-A course wouldn't start for another 6 months.

I needed to make a move asap so I reluctantly made the decision to go to a company sponsored training program and leave them as soon as my 1 year obligation was fulfilled. A couple weeks later I was at Prime starting orientation.

I did my 1 year...and stayed.

Just this past Sunday I received messages from my fleet manager congratulating me on my 2 year anniversary, and informing me that in have awards for 2 years of safety and on time delivery that I can pick up at our company store on my next pass through the terminal. I honestly didn't even realize it has been two years.

I do not regret going through Primes Student Driver program.

I would highly recommend to anyone looking to get their CDL to go through company sponsored training, and stay the year. You just may like it.

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.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Listen tothose " been there,done that" here !! I wasted 8 months going thru my lical WIOA program and the crap school I went to as I was out or work already too long..... .Well that school was a total bust for too many reasons to list.....My last option was CRST. Now team driving wasn't really what I wanted to do, but at this point in time why not?? They have a vested interest in your succeeding where as private schools are just in it for the $$$ Sad the county EDD wasted that $3500 on the private school which they wont anymore due to so many complaints.....

CRST covered ALL expenses up front....I even stayed at their dorms to avoid a 50 mile 1 way trip per day.....Met plenty of other nice students and made a few new friends as well......School was fast paced but that was fine too.....Finishing up with my trainer in a few days and getting set up with my co driver/friend very soon, and he likes to turn miles too !! Have already finished up my 1st month so worst case scenario I got 9 months to complete my contract with CRST and either remain with em or move on.....No regrets,

WIOA:

WIOA - Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (aka WIA)

Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the WIOA was established in 1998 to prepare youth, adults and dislocated workers for entry and reentry into the workforce. WIOA training funds are designed to serve laid-off individuals, older youth and adults who are in need of training to enter or reenter the labor market. A lot of truck drivers get funding for their CDL training through WIOA.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Plan B wrote:

I did my 1 year...and stayed.

Just this past Sunday I received messages from my fleet manager congratulating me on my 2 year anniversary, and informing me that in have awards for 2 years of safety and on time delivery that I can pick up at our company store on my next pass through the terminal. I honestly didn't even realize it has been two years.

I do not regret going through Primes Student Driver program.

I would highly recommend to anyone looking to get their CDL to go through company sponsored training , and stay the year. You just may like it.

Awesome. Congratulations!

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

P.S. Think I should proo-fread /preview before posting typos lol fat finger on cell syndrome.....

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Let's see, I went to CFI's Paid CDL Training Programs. After 4 weeks, now 3, I went through orientation and out with a trainer for 7500 miles. Then I upgraded into a fairly new truck. By the end of that first year, I paid zero for my training and was making 41 CPM. I drove for them for two years. The reason you should stay with your first company for at least one year is because it shows that you are in for the long haul. Here is my pay as a rookie driver. Here is my training diary. Currently I am not driving because I did not take care of myself while on the road. I lost my DOT medical certificate. I lucked into a good job while working to get my medical certificate back. Don't be afraid of commitment.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

James S.'s Comment
member avatar

All good feedback. Thank you.

Brett, I read your article on the advantages of Paid CDL Training. I can respect a lot of what was written there. Some of what I read elsewhere was contradictory to the part where if you screw up, the company is incentived to keep you on because of their investment. I've actually read Indeed.com reviews for one of these companies where they can and do sack you for this or that and they can and do still demand what sticker price they quoted in the contract for the value of their CDL School and expect to collect. They've clearly had an army of lawyers help protect against any downside.

Here's some from: https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Swift-Transportation/reviews?start=20

I have been driving for Swift for 4 months. I only made a $1000 two times. I have made $12 in a week. I was making more as a student. They have me sitting on the weekends, and can't get me home in time. I averaged $1800 a month after taxes.
By far the most unprofessional company I have ever encountered. Poor management and no regard for safety. 5,000 miles was 500 bucks lol. You would expect more from the largest trucking company
I made 500 a week while I was with my driver trainer. When I got my own truck ii averaged 173 a week. Boy they came up with some doozes. My last settlement I grossed 1495 for the week but my take home was 468 lol I lost my mind. Some weeks I wouldn't even get a check. Fair is fair I don't put no lies on nobody. If you need to get your cdl they will pay for it but you have to work a year so you Dont have to pay it back

Sure, two sides to every story. These are the "horror stories" I'm referring to though.

I'm just being objective here. There is slightly less suck in life when you've done your research. In this industry, it's full of contradictory information I find fueled by agendas and what we can only hope are good intentions. Life is finite and we must assess opportunity costs to ensure best outcomes. If you've got alimony, child support for 3 kids, debt, and you approximate you need 40k-50k net outside of taxes and expenses to keep your head above water, these "Make 70K your first year!" ads really need to live up to being more than just ads.

If you can't afford to work for pennies, then these sponsored CDL gigs start to get very expensive very quickly if you can't get out. I guess a lot of this is situational if you want the home time on weekends but in my case, I'm still young, can OTR anywhere, can work 7 days a week and don't care about home time as much. Just as I can work anywhere, I can go for CDL Training anywhere.

I'll see what Vocational Rehab says and consider some of the Paid CDL options. Are they all pretty much "one year minimum or pay us thousands of dollars"? Or is there anything more lax?

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Sure, two sides to every story.

James, we have no agenda here but the truth. The problem with you reading reviews on "indeed," or any other place is that you have no way to know whether they are legit. You see, each of the examples you gave are lease operators who had little or no experience. I know that because I can recognize it by the things they say and the numbers they are throwing out. All you see is some corrupt corporation taking advantage of it's drivers. That's a completely twisted view, distorted by your lack of knowledge and experience in our industry. Look, a lot of people fail at trucking. It's an incredibly challenging endeavor. It takes incredible people to make it work. Unfortunately you are relying on the testimony of the failures, and they will always point their fingers at something beside themselves.

You can believe their bone-headed experiences if you like, but don't you think since we have many successful Swift drivers here among our membership that you would rather listen to them? I mean, some of them are making in excess of $70,000 a year. Why would you ignore them and cling to the testimony of a bunch of losers who can't muster more than 15 bucks a week?

Trucking is performance based. There are no salaries. Your pay is totally commensurate with your ability to produce. Stop listening to the non-producers.

Take the time to listen to this podcast...

You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

You would get more accurate information off the bathroom stall walls than off any online site when it comes to trucking.

The best source is on here.

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