51 And Looking To Get CDL... What Am I Doing?

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Chris A.'s Comment
member avatar

So I've been sitting here reading through forums crunching numbers looking at options. 51 years old and have decided that my next move in life would be to get my CDL. I currently do Home Repair and rental rehab and in addition to that work at FedEx Freight on the dock driving a forklift. I do this primarily for benefits. The combination of the two over the last year and a half have just proven to be a tremendous amount of work with little payoff compared to the work. It would be nice to be down to one job. Prior to doing my own thing I worked for 28 years as a graphic designer in the left that career to get out of the office and do something different. I was able to prove to myself that I could do it and actually not just survive but thrive. Now I'm back with the same anxiety and apprehension. A case of analysis paralysis. I filled out an application with prime spoke to recruiter yesterday she was very helpful and patient answered all my questions. I also spoke with recruiter from C1 truck driving School here locally. I'm trying to determine which one is the lesser of the two evils. I like what prime has to offer in their commitment being only 12 months seems very doable it still feel apprehensive about being away from home for such a long time. Any other old guys out there doing the same thing? Thanks for listening Chris Indiana

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

51 is BY NO MEANS OLD.

We have members here - that I'm sure will chime in - that have entered the industry even older than that - and are still driving.

So - AGE is not that much of a factor - and companies actually PREFER the "more mature" driver, as they are typically more emotionally stable, have a greater sense of commitment, and much more driving experience than the younger crowd.

One of the decisions you have to make is: are you OK with being OVER THE ROAD (OTR)?

A vast majority of folks starting out in this industry - START OUT THERE. After a year of safe, incident free driving - other opportunities open up (including some local ones).

As far as training goes - WE HERE AT TRUCKING TRUTH RECOMMEND going with a company that does training, (you mentioned Prime, for example) and making that 12 month commitment.

Going to a "private school", doesn't GUARANTEE YOU A JOB. Their job is to get you your CDL - NOTHING MORE/NOTHING LESS. They do not "train you to be a truck driver". And no school can "promise placement", unless you were sent there SPECIFICALLY BY A COMPANY, that has already expressed an interest in hiring you, after you get your CDL.

Versus training with a COMPANY. Getting through orientation, and starting road training - AND YOU ARE ALREADY HIRED. Complete the training successfully - and you get in your own truck and keep driving. The 12 month commitment is to "offset the cost" of your training. This doesn't mean you're going to be "deployed for 12 months straight" (it's not the military), you DO GET HOME - (typically 1 day home for every 7 on the road), so you will get home once every 4-6 weeks, for a few days (and you do get "vacation" - typically at the one year mark - varies somewhat from company to company).

So you could lay out money (or take one of their loans) for a private school - and STILL end up with no job, or the same type of commitment. Some schools "front for" trucking companies - the company takes on the "graduate" and agrees to "pay for their training", in return for a commitment to drive for a period of time to offset the cost.

Check out our TRUCK DRIVERS CAREER GUIDE, it pretty much covers ALL THE BASES, and should answer a majority of your questions.

And if you have MORE QUESTIONS - PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK - THAT'S WHAT WE ARE HERE FOR.

Best of luck to you - keep us posted on your progress...

Rick

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.

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.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

And another option - since you already work the dock at FEDEX - is to ENQUIRE THERE about training and getting onboard with them as a DRIVER. Companies like FEDEX typically hire from within, and many drivers in those companies START ON THE DOCK.

So that's another opportunity -and might keep you somewhat local/regional.

Rick

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.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Chris. Alot of folks have the same age question. The short answer is yes many drivers are your age and older. I was 52 when I started, Several were in their 50’s.

You can apply frim this site and it will go out to several carriers. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Throw it out there and see who shows interest. Prime does usually require drivers to stay out longer. There are several compaines with their own school and maybe their hometime options would be more to what you’re looking for.

This is a lifestyle change, not just a job change. Some folks love it and others never adapt to it.

Wish you well in your search. Stay in touch, ask questions, and ler us know how it goes.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Being away from home is a pretty important detail. Do you have a Wife and kids at home? Pets? Other responsibilities?

You left a 28-year career to explore something different and now have the same anxieties? If so, how will this move change that?

Does your previous career provide any current or future income?

Is there any chance of being more full-time with FedEx and drop the other job? Do you have any vacation time through the current two jobs? Can you afford to take vacation?

Age isn’t an issue. I got my CDL Permit on my 53rd birthday. But, if you don’t wanna be away from home, can you plan time and money to take adventurous long weekends once a quarter and maybe two separate week-long vacations per year? Maybe that breaks up the monotony.

I hope this helps.

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.
Chris A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for all the input it is much appreciated. My previous career as a graphic designer just left me wanting more. I was tired of being in an office I was tired of managing people and the part of that job that was originally exciting and fun became not so exciting and fun anymore. As for FedEx they do offer a driver training program however they're a little wishy-washy on when it's going to start and if I'll even get in on the first run which could mean I could be on the dock working at forklift for another year or so. I am married but we are empty nesters and I think the being away from home part I realize although possibly difficult at times is part of the challenge and part of learning this career. And I do agree it's a lifestyle change I do like what having a CDL offers me in the future. my brother has been telling me for years to get my CDL because he said you always have a job somewhere. And the truck drivers are always needed somewhere. As far as prime it sounds like it's a pretty good company to work for I'm trying to read through everybody's personal opinions and get a good sense of what it's about. And there are pros and cons with every company the grass is never greener on the other side it's just different grass. Lol

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.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for all the input it is much appreciated. My previous career as a graphic designer just left me wanting more. I was tired of being in an office I was tired of managing people and the part of that job that was originally exciting and fun became not so exciting and fun anymore. As for FedEx they do offer a driver training program however they're a little wishy-washy on when it's going to start and if I'll even get in on the first run which could mean I could be on the dock working at forklift for another year or so. I am married but we are empty nesters and I think the being away from home part I realize although possibly difficult at times is part of the challenge and part of learning this career. And I do agree it's a lifestyle change I do like what having a CDL offers me in the future. my brother has been telling me for years to get my CDL because he said you always have a job somewhere. And the truck drivers are always needed somewhere. As far as prime it sounds like it's a pretty good company to work for I'm trying to read through everybody's personal opinions and get a good sense of what it's about. And there are pros and cons with every company the grass is never greener on the other side it's just different grass. Lol

Understood. I started with Schneider, did two years OTR , dry van with them. Then moved to a Southeast Regional company and get home at least weekly. My hometime is sometimes one day, sometimes two and on rare occasions three days. I’m also still making $50k+ take home even with all that home time. I’ve been with this company four years and plan to stay.

Many here make more money than me, some also are home every day. The key is finding what YOU want/need and going with 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.

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.

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar
Many here make more money than me, some also are home every day. The key is finding what YOU want/need and going with it.

But the KEY THING TO REMEMBER IS: EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE.

What we have found here through the experience of 100's of folks who come to this site - the BEST EXPERIENCES have ceom from getting REAL TRAINING with a company like Prime (swift/etc.) to do training IN HOUSE - so you don't "just get your CDL" (like private schools) but get REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE while you are training - that will make you a safe, successful and productive driver down the road.

Grass always looks greener, until you're standing in the pile of doggie poo you didn't see before you jumped the fence. There are differences between the companies - type of training, length of training, length of obligation, etc. - but they are oftentimes subtle - as are the differences in pay scales.

For a new entrant with a CLEAN HISTORY (DUI's, criminal stuff, bad driving records, etc.) that don't have to do with a "second chance company", the pay and benefits are pretty competitive from one company to the next...

Rick

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.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Ted P.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd suggest talking to the office people when you get a chance too, they might have a school you can go to with there endorsement, it does happen, and Fedex does hire within, better get used to driving doubles and triples... or they might have a P&D route for you to do as well...

Being 50 already in my opinion, start eating as much of the "low Cholesterol" foods out there ( avocados, hard boiled eggs, garlic) to help your blood pressure, and try to stay away from the foods and drinks that increase your Blood pressure as well or get off of it a day before another DOT Fed-Med exam... being a truckdriver eating or "munching" is a by product to driving long hours, also you might want to wear "Tension socks" knee highs to help the circulation problems you might encounter... ask your Doc. I have had to wear mine for the last 10 years now... 18y driver here... be safe, and good luck Merry Christmas y'all

So I've been sitting here reading through forums crunching numbers looking at options. 51 years old and have decided that my next move in life would be to get my CDL. I currently do Home Repair and rental rehab and in addition to that work at FedEx Freight on the dock driving a forklift. I do this primarily for benefits. The combination of the two over the last year and a half have just proven to be a tremendous amount of work with little payoff compared to the work. It would be nice to be down to one job. Prior to doing my own thing I worked for 28 years as a graphic designer in the left that career to get out of the office and do something different. I was able to prove to myself that I could do it and actually not just survive but thrive. Now I'm back with the same anxiety and apprehension. A case of analysis paralysis. I filled out an application with prime spoke to recruiter yesterday she was very helpful and patient answered all my questions. I also spoke with recruiter from C1 truck driving School here locally. I'm trying to determine which one is the lesser of the two evils. I like what prime has to offer in their commitment being only 12 months seems very doable it still feel apprehensive about being away from home for such a long time. Any other old guys out there doing the same thing? Thanks for listening Chris Indiana

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.

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.

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.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for all the input it is much appreciated. My previous career as a graphic designer just left me wanting more. I was tired of being in an office I was tired of managing people and the part of that job that was originally exciting and fun became not so exciting and fun anymore. As for FedEx they do offer a driver training program however they're a little wishy-washy on when it's going to start and if I'll even get in on the first run which could mean I could be on the dock working at forklift for another year or so. I am married but we are empty nesters and I think the being away from home part I realize although possibly difficult at times is part of the challenge and part of learning this career. And I do agree it's a lifestyle change I do like what having a CDL offers me in the future. my brother has been telling me for years to get my CDL because he said you always have a job somewhere. And the truck drivers are always needed somewhere. As far as prime it sounds like it's a pretty good company to work for I'm trying to read through everybody's personal opinions and get a good sense of what it's about. And there are pros and cons with every company the grass is never greener on the other side it's just different grass. Lol

Umm, there is no 'WISHY WASHY" on getting on with the Driver Apprentice program. If there is an opening, you apply and you get a start date. If you're working the dock, you continue till your start date.

For a list of Driver Apprentice openings: https://careers.fedex.com/driver/jobs?tags=FXFDA

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.
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