In The Beginning...

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Mackerel 's Comment
member avatar

I am starting my CDL school on Monday 4/26/2021. I have begun to narrow down my list of potential starter companies. I am using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for it. Navy vet. Werner and Stevens are on the list, they offer the military apprenticeship, BAH of approx. $1300.00 a month. Prime is on the list because the drivers seem to like it there. Pride Transport is also on the list, however they have a six month contract for all drivers (I think). So I might go with the apprenticeship for 6 months or so then go over to Pride? It is all a bit confusing, I will be given opinions leaning in all directions (I know). Using this forum to talk it out loud will, I hope, make it less daunting.

Thanx Mike

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Why not go somewhere that offers paid training AND the military veterans apprenticeship program?

Save your GI Bill benefits for something else?

AMCS (Retired)

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I might go with the apprenticeship for 6 months or so then go over to Pride? It is all a bit confusing, I will be given opinions leaning in all directions (I know). Using this forum to talk it out loud will, I hope, make it less daunting.

Welcome to our forum Michael!

You've brought up a favorite topic of mine. That is the problem of choosing that first company. It really is simple, and it isn't nearly as daunting as people make it out to be. The problem lies in the information you are using to make the decision. You cannot get a straight answer by following the knuckleheads on the internet. One guy claims Brand X treats their drivers like slaves while another guy claims they are the absolute best trucking company to work for. What can you learn from that? Nothing! You got two extremes, and you don't have any reliable way to place confidence in either source. It's worthless!

People tend to think if there are enough bad reviews then you can count on that sentiment being the proper one. That's hogwash too. I started my career at Western Express and there were nothing but terrible reviews. I had a great experience, made some good money for a rookie driver, and built a solid foundation for my future trucking career while there. The simple truth is that the name on your truck has little to no effect on your success at this. You will determine whether you are going to be successful at this or not. It's really that simple, but that is also very difficult to admit, because most people like to have somebody to lay the blame on when they fail. That leaves us with only ourselves to rely on, and that is not very comforting.

One of the first things you have to realize is that you need to have an idea of what kind of freight you want to haul. If you want to haul refrigerated freight, that narrows down your options. Then you look into companies hauling refrigerated freight. Then you decide where you want to run a big truck. Maybe you just want the western eleven states, or maybe you want the lower 48. Once again that narrows your choices down. Then you want to determine how often you need to go home. There again you will be narrowing down your choices. You also are dealing with your GI Bill. That may be the determining factor for you. Keep it simple. Remember that the company you choose may not choose you, so have a couple of alternatives lined up.

Here is the most important advice we can give you. Once you get started at a company you need to stick with that company for one full year of safe driving. That will be one of the most critical decisions you make in your trucking career. Everybody comes up with issues when they start trucking. There will always be some new reason why you think you should jump ship. Usually it will be the advice of one of those knuckleheads that write up all those stupid reviews. You can't take advice for success from people who have no success. It's futile to listen to them. I am providing you a link to a great podcast on sticking with that first company for one full year. Please take the time to listen to it. There is a lot of great advice in there. I am also including another link to a podcast about "Starter Companies." There really is no such thing. These are great companies to spend your career at. I hope you will take a listen and learn some things that you probably have already gotten wrong from all your internet research.

Congratulations on making this fresh new start. We want to see you make a successful run at this. We will help in any way we can.

Why Sick With Your First Company For One Full Year?

Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Just Starter Companies?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Mackerel 's Comment
member avatar
Why not go somewhere that offers paid training AND the military veterans apprenticeship program? Save your GI Bill benefits for something else?

I have a Bachelor degree. The VA won’t pay for a second degree of the same type, and I don’t feel that a Masters will benefit me at this time. I have just over 2 years of eligibility. If I go to an outside school it will negate most company contracts.

AT1 (honorably discharged)

Nathan S.'s Comment
member avatar

I know this was for the OP but OldSchool, thanks so much for sharing this. I am/have been stressed and going back and forth over the last two months worrying about picking the wrong starter company. I NEEDED to hear this and your extremely valid points. I'm going to listen to that podcast today!!

double-quotes-start.png

I might go with the apprenticeship for 6 months or so then go over to Pride? It is all a bit confusing, I will be given opinions leaning in all directions (I know). Using this forum to talk it out loud will, I hope, make it less daunting.

double-quotes-end.png

Welcome to our forum Michael!

You've brought up a favorite topic of mine. That is the problem of choosing that first company. It really is simple, and it isn't nearly as daunting as people make it out to be. The problem lies in the information you are using to make the decision. You cannot get a straight answer by following the knuckleheads on the internet. One guy claims Brand X treats their drivers like slaves while another guy claims they are the absolute best trucking company to work for. What can you learn from that? Nothing! You got two extremes, and you don't have any reliable way to place confidence in either source. It's worthless!

People tend to think if there are enough bad reviews then you can count on that sentiment being the proper one. That's hogwash too. I started my career at Western Express and there were nothing but terrible reviews. I had a great experience, made some good money for a rookie driver, and built a solid foundation for my future trucking career while there. The simple truth is that the name on your truck has little to no effect on your success at this. You will determine whether you are going to be successful at this or not. It's really that simple, but that is also very difficult to admit, because most people like to have somebody to lay the blame on when they fail. That leaves us with only ourselves to rely on, and that is not very comforting.

One of the first things you have to realize is that you need to have an idea of what kind of freight you want to haul. If you want to haul refrigerated freight, that narrows down your options. Then you look into companies hauling refrigerated freight. Then you decide where you want to run a big truck. Maybe you just want the western eleven states, or maybe you want the lower 48. Once again that narrows your choices down. Then you want to determine how often you need to go home. There again you will be narrowing down your choices. You also are dealing with your GI Bill. That may be the determining factor for you. Keep it simple. Remember that the company you choose may not choose you, so have a couple of alternatives lined up.

Here is the most important advice we can give you. Once you get started at a company you need to stick with that company for one full year of safe driving. That will be one of the most critical decisions you make in your trucking career. Everybody comes up with issues when they start trucking. There will always be some new reason why you think you should jump ship. Usually it will be the advice of one of those knuckleheads that write up all those stupid reviews. You can't take advice for success from people who have no success. It's futile to listen to them. I am providing you a link to a great podcast on sticking with that first company for one full year. Please take the time to listen to it. There is a lot of great advice in there. I am also including another link to a podcast about "Starter Companies." There really is no such thing. These are great companies to spend your career at. I hope you will take a listen and learn some things that you probably have already gotten wrong from all your internet research.

Congratulations on making this fresh new start. We want to see you make a successful run at this. We will help in any way we can.

Why Sick With Your First Company For One Full Year?

Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Just Starter Companies?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Mackerel 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School. I will make some time to listen to the podcast. I will be in school until July so I have a bit of time to make a decision. I am not married and have no children, so my decision is just that, mine

Jared H.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome! Have you checked out TMC? Seems to have a great veteran support program.

Army Veteran

I am starting my CDL school on Monday 4/26/2021. I have begun to narrow down my list of potential starter companies. I am using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay for it. Navy vet. Werner and Stevens are on the list, they offer the military apprenticeship, BAH of approx. $1300.00 a month. Prime is on the list because the drivers seem to like it there. Pride Transport is also on the list, however they have a six month contract for all drivers (I think). So I might go with the apprenticeship for 6 months or so then go over to Pride? It is all a bit confusing, I will be given opinions leaning in all directions (I know). Using this forum to talk it out loud will, I hope, make it less daunting.

Thanx Mike

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.
Mackerel 's Comment
member avatar

I have looked at TMC. They aren’t hiring from Utah.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

PackRat, what does this stand for:

AMCS (Retired)

Laura

Rhino's Comment
member avatar

Am was his rate(job) cs is his rank. Senior chief.

PackRat, what does this stand for:

AMCS (Retired)

Laura

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