Seriously Considering CDL A School/training

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Delco Dave's Comment
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Thanks Old School! I appreciate your input, I just don't know any other way to go about getting into trucking. My original plan was to go for company training then try to land a regional position so I would be home on weekends. Problem is the wife, she is fighting me tooth and nail because I haven’t been around to help her with kids Past 12 years, 10-14 hrs a day, 6 days a week most of the season. And I’m not treating the A as an ace up sleeve, I just figured if I’m going to school for a CDL I might as well do the A even If I’m forced to take a B job for now. My thinking is in a few years when kids are older and able to get themselves to practices, games, etc.. I could then do the company training and apply for a regional route. I’m just worried about how long my body will hold up Landscaping, a broken ankle, acl, mcl injury will put my whole family at serious risk. Like G-Town said, serving 2 masters is making this very difficult.

Thank you again, this site has been very helpful and I am glad you guys are here to help potential and rookie drivers. I have learned a lot and continue to learn more everyday

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

You're starting out on the same path I did. In fact, you can see my first post here

I went through FedEx Freight's driver apprentice program to get my CDL and be home everyday. While I was home everyday, I wasn't mentally. My mind was consumed by FedEx, trucks and studying. Home and the issues surrounding it were another distraction and obstacle I had to overcome. Money wasn't an issue and I can't imagine how hard it would be to focus on training while worrying about money.

A CDL job (A or B) will most likely require the hours you're working now. You'll still be gone a lot and exhausted.

Here's my main concern about you paying for school, there are no guarantees. Look at the issues Marc is having now. He finally landed a gig with Veriha (I think I spelled it right) after a lot of rejections. There are a lot of stories of people paying for school and being fired for certain preventables or DOT accidents. Do you know what will happen if I hit a low bridge or take out a mailbox? As long as I report it, I get retrained. I'll still have my job and FedEx will invest more money in my training and education. This is normal in company sponsored training.

I don't have any skin in your decision. This is something you have to decide for yourself, but as a family man I would never want a family to go through the hardships of a useless CDL after investing thousands in school. If your wife isn't on board now, imagine that scenario. Explain the pros and cons to her and maybe get her to sign up for the site. There are a few wives on here that explain how they deal with the issues she's afraid of.

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.

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Ok. I value and greatly appreciate all the help and advice I’m getting here and I have a couple questions I’m hoping someone here could shed some light on.

Upon further research, I see that A. Duie Pyle has a paid training program and their headquarters and training facility is only a half hour from my house. It is a 10 week program with a job after graduation. They have a local p&d and a line haul division. With their main terminal so close to me, I looks like I would be able to be home more often then the huge companies you guys work for. Looks like this could get me my license , training, and needed experience I want while keeping the wife happy.

Q 1. Would a line haul position give me the otr experience I need in the 1st year ?

Q 2. Does anyone know someone who works or has worked for Pyle?

Was reading some employee reviews on indeed and saw some good reviews but a lot of don't work here replies. Is this most likely the people who don't get the business and blame others for their failures or is this truly a bad place to work

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.

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.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
Q 1. Would a line haul position give me the otr experience I need in the 1st year ?

no, but if you're going to start as a "local" driver that's definitely the safest bet. Personally I have no interest in pulling doubles after seeing some of the wrecks last winter. I've heard from numerous drivers that pull them if you use the brakes and you're on ice that back trailer will swing out and fold up like an accordian. By local I'm referring to home daily even though you could drive 300 miles or so away then come back. After you get a year in other local companies will show interest and wont give a hoot that your experience wasnt OTR. Keep in mind the hours will likely be long, possibly only off work long enough for 10 hour mandatory break. Once you factor in your commute, shower, and eat you likely only have 6 hours or so to sleep. Chances are you'd be doing overnights for quite a while since thats when a majority of LTL freight moves so attending your kids sport events still may not be a possibility. Regarding the reviews most times that's what it is, they failed and dont want to admit the problem was looking at them in the mirror. Most trucking jobs require a tremendous amount of hours and it isnt easy on most families. To me being able to provide a nice life for my family makes it worth it. If you decide in 10 years to go OTR your local experience doesnt mean a thing and you'll still be sent out with a trainer.

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.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi.. i live across the bridge near Woodbury/Deptford NJ area.

Do you realize P&D is driver unload? That means drive and be aggravated by Northeast drivers, back and turn on tight streets, then unload the trailer.

Serious Backing Skills Needed

I was just up on Aramingo Ave today and that thread shows pictures of a pain in the butt tight "dock" in the middle of the street. I pulled down the street and parked while they unloaded a couple box trucks, then had to back down the wrong way of a one way street with cars and box trucks riding the sidewalks to get around me. all while trying not to hit a parked car or utility pole. Not one car stopped!

4 years of driving and it was tough, and you want to try it after a couple weeks? And guess who was unloading behind me? A Duie Pyle.

I agree with the others... you will work as many hours. Plus, many are seniority bid jobs. So it can take a long time to get the hours you want or a route you want. Class B wont pay as well either, but would be easier... but dont they unload themselves too?

Good luck. Tough decision. I considered line haul.... but as stated earlier, the wrecks in the winter are scary (and i just went through a horrible pile up in Ohio this week).

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Something else to understand... some "weekends off" jobs are really only a 34 hour break off.

That means get home at 0800 on saturday morning (then need sleep)... and then head out at 1800 on Sunday.

And that time includes the commute. which means you need to sleep sunday to drive that night. NOT much quality time home.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rob, I was thinking the same thing about the line haul , safer option then local P&D for a rookie. They do send you out with a trainer for a month at end of program to make sure your ready. Program info did not say tanker or Doubles endorsement was needed, only Hazmat. They run day cabs so any long runs that you couldn't return within the 11hr drive shift to say Philly to Maine or Vermont, they put you up in a hotel. At least with the line haul I would get valuable drive time which would limit the amount of OTR company training I would need in the future.

G-Town is from my area, maybe he looked at Pyle before Swift and has some additional info to offer. I’ll ask him when I take the ride along

Thank you again, Have a Great day out there!!!!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I don't know much about A duie Pyle. I know at one point (don't know if they still do) they paid their linehaul guys an hourly rate instead of mileage. I know they require tanker and hazmat endorsements, not sure about doubles and triples but I'd assume they do.

If you want real opinions of the company, you'd have to speak to someone that works there. They're not hard to find. LTL companies aren't like other truck companies. They have company wide rules and each hub operates independently within those rules. A driver from York wouldn't be able to tell you what West Chester is like. They can tell you about benefits and requirements, but they would know very little about another building.

I've gone on runs that require dock work and it's a culture shock when I go somewhere I've never been. It's like my first day allover again because they do things differently. You'd have to speak to someone that works for that hub.

Seniority is the gift and the curse. I can tell you my experiences with it. Bobcat and Auggie can chip in their experiences, I don't get as many hours as I would like. Most of the time I work my 8 and go home. I'll have some good weeks where I run a lot and some where I just do my 40 hours on the dock and some in between. I am on course to make 60k my first year, but that's because I volunteer for weekends. If not for that 45 would be the number.

The senior guys run their clocks. They'll blow through that 70 hour work week in 5 days and have to reset. They're making a lot of money, but they're never home. On the flip side you have guys with seniorty that bid on dock work so they can have a set schedule.

For LTL you will normally get a full 2 days off (unless you have the option to volunteer and you do). I get off of work at 1030 Friday morning and I go back in at 2 am Monday morning. That won't change until the bid coming up in a month or so. The building I work out of gets completely shut down and locked down Saturday at noon and doesn't reopen until midnight Monday morning (Sunday night). My first volunteer run, I forgot my key and had to go back home to get it to gain access to the building.

Linehaul doesn't give you as much driving experience as you think it would. I know guys that have been pulling doubles forever, but I back a 53 foot trailer up better than they do. They go from hub a to hub b. Usually an easy on, easy off from the interstate and you usually have more space than you need at the hub. Running p/d is the risk and it's what builds your skill. I've seen those guys maneuver 53 ft and 48 ft trailers in spaces where I automatically write it off as impossible. It's impressive.

Lastly, don't go into this with fear. There's a chance you can be told that they don't have any linehaul spots open, they only have city. You have to be willing to do it. My advice would be to network and get contact info from as many drivers as possible. Calling people to get info has become part of my pretrip and it removes a lot of uncertainty. Everybody started at the bottom and they've done what you're doing. Why not pick their brain? Majority of the time, they're more than happy to help and offer advice.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Kearsey. I understand 100% about the local gig and am putting that idea away. I saw those picks you posted last night and definitely wouldnt want to be in that situation as a rookie. I’ve been driving pickups, stake bodies and dump trucks with 20- 28 ft open and closed trailers for 25 years and would avoid that street if possible. My original mind set was, I have 25 years experience driving/backing with trailers, its just a bigger truck and trailer, I’ll adjust. After being on this site and listening to your guys advice I see it may be similar In some ways but definitely not the same. I do use reference points and lines when backing and need to account for off tracking as well but obviously everything is multiplied in your guys world cause the trailer is 50 ft Long not 20-30. Maybe my experience will help me pick up the training quicker since reversing a trailer is already a natural maneuver and everyday task for me as opposed to someone who has never backed a trailer before

Again, Thank you for all the help and insight being provided here. Very grateful I found this site, without you guys I would have possibly made a very expensive decision by going to a school and still been at square one at the end.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thank you Banks, something like your schedule would work for me, I’d be asleep while kids are in school, available for weeknight and weekend practices/games, and that would keep wife happy. I’m definitely not afraid, if anything, maybe too confident in myself. I have always been given the hardest, most difficult jobs by previous employers and excelled under the pressure. I don’t shy away from difficult jobs now as an owner, I welcome the challenge. I’ve pulled other foreman out of their trucks and backed their trailers into places they swore couldn’t be done. Still drive tight row home streets and alleyways with trailer regularly. Guess I just feel like I’m the right kind of person for this career. I have been humbled since chatting with you guys but at the same time I am up for the challenge of becoming a professional truck driver. Only thing making this so hard for me is all the time away from home. I am actually fine with it, its the wife thats not

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