Seriously Considering CDL A School/training

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Banks's Comment
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I took G-Town up on his offer about a year and a half ago. It solidified what I already knew, this is what I want to do. It went so well that Swift jumped up to the number 2 spot in companies I was interested in, TMC being first.

Like you, I couldn't afford to not work and not have an income. I decided to save up money so that I would be able to do this without the financial pressure. By the time I saved up the money, I had gotten comfortable at my job. I was making good money and I liked the people I worked with so I decided to take the money I saved and pay for school while continuing to work. Then I had a pretty bad car accident that drained my savings between the deductable and the car rental.

I was tired of waiting and decided to take a leap of faith and go to FedEx. I don't regret it at all. The training was phenomenal and it feels good to be a part of the company. I'm home everyday and I'm on track to make 55-60k my first year. When I need to take a day off for personal reasons, there's rarely an issue. The only thing I'm missing is the adventure part.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Couple questions about the dedicated regional job!! I will use Walmart as company example

1. Do you pick up a trailer at Walmart distribution center then take entire load to assigned store or are you stopping at multiple stores and dropping portions of load at each one resulting in idle time waiting to be unloaded?

2. If entire load is going to one store, is there usually an empty waiting for you to bring back to distribution center? Or do you have to drive to another close store to get an empty?

3. Do you get paid for the miles driven with empty trailer returning to distribution center and the miles with no trailer on way to get the empty at another store?

Been reading a lot of stuff on this site and haven’t come across any info on these questions. Maybe I just didn’t get that far yet

Thank you in advance!!

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Good questions...

Walmart Dedicated Drivers are domiciled at their assigned DC. You start you shift there picking-up a Walmart loaded trailer; either dry van (called REMIX) or a reefer. With the objective to return to the DC in a single shift.

A trailer can have one or up to 5 store stops in a single dispatch. Reefer is always a live unload. Dry vans vary in that the last store stop can be drop the load and pick up the empty. Obviously this is preferred because they require less time.

Many times vendor backhauls are the last stop and predominantly drop and hook for reefer and dry.

CPM is a single rate for both loaded miles and deadhead miles. We are also paid a stop fee and a fee for spotting trailers at a store.

An example; 3-stop dry van; 2 stores and one backhaul from Nestle for water. First store is a live unload of 8 pallets, second store is a drop and hook docking the trailer with 20 pallets and picking up an empty for the trip to Nestle’. Once at Nestle’ the empty is dropped and the loaded trailer of 21pallets of bottled water is picked up and delivered back to the DC. This is a typical run for a Saturday.

Let me know if you have other questions. Use the search bar and enter my name and Walmart. You’ll see a ton of content.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

I found a CDL school that I can afford in Philly( Global CDL School LLC). They offer both A & B programs for the pre trip inspection and driving. Did some research and they have all positive reviews. Before starting either program I need to have my A or B permit, DOT Physical/drug test, driving record and background check in hand. B program is 3 weeks, 40 hrs class, 80 driving. A program is 6-8 weeks, 80 hrs class, 150 driving. Since I currently have most of the winter off being a landscaper and there is not a huge difference in price between the 2 Programs, I’m going for the manual Trans A In January (I don’t want to be limited to automatic). I explained my situation to Paul at the school whom I spoke with on the phone and he said they have a good relationship with a few local/semi regional companies with hourly pay that may give me a shot so I would be home most nights and weekends for the family. Worst case scenario, I get the CDL A and take a B job for time being until my kids get older and then I can hit the long road in a few years. Been preparing as much as possible by studying PA permit/endorsements manual, using High Road to Trucking program and watching pre trip inspection videos. Excited and a bit nervous, but cant wait to take permit test some rainy day in December. I’ll start an actual diary when I start school

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.

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.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

David

I don't know your personal situation, but I would definitely read some of the diaries for people who attended private schools, or tech schools. I am not a driver yet, but there are many that start like this, I paid 7k for school, and all the equipment is broke down, or I got a CDL and now I can't find a job, because I didn't know a 15 over speeding ticket was an issue, or my work history is preventing me from getting a job. The private school takes your money with no guarantee of a job. Paid CDL school, is the preferred if you can do that. My son went to paid cdl training with Will-Trans. Paid nothing for schooling, and after the first week started getting a set amount a week min after he got his permit and was out with his trainer. Once his year is complete, he financial obligation is completed.

Good Luck Chris

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.
Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

I would love to do the paid training with one of the large companies but the wife is not cooperating with the going away for a few weeks for the training and she definitely not having the 1st year over the road. I have 3 kids, 15, 9, 8 that are all involved in multiple sports so I need to be around as much as possible. I have to roll the dice and hope I can find something coming out school. Like I said above, at least I’ll have the A license in hand for the future. If I have to drive a B vehicle like a trash truck or oil truck until kids get older it is what it is. Main thing is getting out of my dead end landscaping business before I get any older. Its been 12 years and 39 guys who show up late or not at all, don’t do the high quality work I do when sent out on their own. I have about 6 months worth of $$$ put away to float me through school and job search. I’’m 44, responsible, reliable, small business owner. Not to mention drug/alcohol free with clean background and driving record. I figure someone will take that into account and give me a shot. I know JB Hunt and A Duie Pyle have terminals close to me and have straight trucks in their fleet, I’m fine starting in a straight and moving up within a company if necessary

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.

Over The Road:

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.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

David...I seriously hope you can free yourself for a Sunday run with me. I can help you.

Can’t say I’m confident in your intended approach...being honest with you. “Hope” is rarely a good strategy after plunking down cash for school. I mean,... I do get it...you are trying to serve 2 masters so to speak, keep the peace...be there for your family but be a good provider. Most of us have been in your shoes...

This is a 1 step back, 3 steps forward kinda business. No exaggeration.

Let me know when you are ready...

Peace.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Thanks G-Town!!! I will free up a day in near future to take that ride with you. I know my plan is a gamble but honestly, I could make roughly the same money, maybe more working for UPS, Fedex or even amazon delivering packages as a fall back option. I could even drive a bus or township trash truck once I have the CDL. All of which would be less stress and physical wear on me. I was so fed up with employee problems at the end of last year, I sold off all my single service (lawn cut only) customers so I wouldnt need employees. I’m killing myself working alone plus the I handle all the paperwork end of this small business as well. I’ve always wanted to drive a rig or tri-axle dump truck since I was a kid, if I don’t take a run at it now it might not ever happen.

Thank you again for all your input and advice, I will be in touch

HAVE A GREAT, SAFE DAY OUT THERE!!!

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
I know my plan is a gamble

David, I'm not sure you realize how much a gamble it is. It's a huge risk and even a small accident could crush your hopes. The class A license is not something like an ace up your sleeve in case your local driving position doesn't work out. Almost nobody can hire a class A driver without verifiable recent tractor trailer experience.

I wish the best for you, but we've witnessed so many people fail while taking your approach. You should look into a regional tractor trailer position that gets you home on weekends. If you're working now like you say, then you don't have any time at home with your family anyway. You'd be a lot smarter to spend one year driving a regional gig, learn your craft, and then switch to a local job. And remember, local driving is incredibly long days. You should read Rob's Diary.

We really do care about helping people understand how to start this career in a way that is designed for success. What other web site has offered you a free "ride along?" Surely you realize our sincerity and integrity.

Why You Should Not Start Your Career As A Local Driver

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.

Jay F.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I know my plan is a gamble

double-quotes-end.png

David, I'm not sure you realize how much a gamble it is. It's a huge risk and even a small accident could crush your hopes. The class A license is not something like an ace up your sleeve in case your local driving position doesn't work out. Almost nobody can hire a class A driver without verifiable recent tractor trailer experience.

I wish the best for you, but we've witnessed so many people fail while taking your approach. You should look into a regional tractor trailer position that gets you home on weekends. If you're working now like you say, then you don't have any time at home with your family anyway. You'd be a lot smarter to spend one year driving a regional gig, learn your craft, and then switch to a local job. And remember, local driving is incredibly long days. You should read Rob's Diary.

We really do care about helping people understand how to start this career in a way that is designed for success. What other web site has offered you a free "ride along?" Surely you realize our sincerity and integrity.

Why You Should Not Start Your Career As A Local Driver

I for the life of me can’t understand why anyone would want to do local fresh out of school. I have read all the warnings. thought about it logically, and once I finally got behind the wheel At school I was like yep those guys on the site are 100 percent right. A local job would kill you. I personally don’t have that much luck to make it work.

The worst driver In Our class was talking about getting a local route job.🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. She wouldn’t last a week.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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