At A Crossroads And In Need Of Direction!!

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Rob ( A.K.A. CASE)'s Comment
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Hey everyone.

Right off the top I want to say thank you for such a great site and awesome forum, what a blessing.

I will apologize up front for the length of this post I will try to be as brief as possible but as I am about to make a life changing decision it is not something I want to be casual about.

My name is Rob, I am 45 from Des Moines, Washington - just south of Seattle.

I have spent my whole career behind a desk doing CAD drafting and design. My last gig was as the CAD manager for Capital Projects/ Design Services at the University of Washington. Unfortunately my job was a "funded" position so my salary was directly tied to the state budget so needless to say when the economy took a dump, my job ceased to exist. The last few years I've been doing odd jobs here and there some CAD work, website creation, search engine marketing but it's just not cutting it.

My mother recently passed away from a stroke she had when I was young, so while I am saddened by her passing I am glad she no longer has the struggle day in and day out and. I no longer have the need to be tied to one place as I was responsible for some of her care and just her condition in general kept me tied to the local area.

Also have a live in girlfriend, but with me not getting much in the way of income lately things are a bit stressful at home. I have always been someone that has worked or found a way to survive so this feeling of not pulling my own weight has me feeling pretty down.

So I have decided to research truck driving. I have been fascinated with big rigs since i was a little guy and honestly am oerplexed at why i hadnt really even looked into it unti now! Recenty I saw an ad on Craigslist and talked to a woman whom im not actually sure if she is a broker or middle man or actual company recruiter for Central Refrigerated.

Well that set the wheels in motion and led me to Google which led me to this awesome website.

I am now researching some other company sponsored training programs and could really use some advice and some insight from you good people. I will be totally honest and up front about my situation and will do my best to document every step of my journey.

So for the honesty part. I got a DUI when I was about 21 so that was some 24years ago when I was real young and stupid. I actually screwed up my license pretty good when I was young and had another DUI About 14 years ago but successfully completed a deferred prosecution and had it cleared. Ever since then my license has been in good standing and have had only two accidents in my whole life one was not my fault and the other was me barely tapping someones rear fender following a little too close, that was my fault and about 3 years ago. I no longer drink alcohol or use drugs of any kind.

Right now I am broke.... Real broke. I need to get some money coming in ASAP. Days have turned to weeks, weeks are quickly turning to months and I will be damned if I let months turn to years WAITING for something to happen, I need to MAKE something happen.

So considering my past driving blemishes, my current financial situation and my eagerness to make a change do any of you have any suggestions or advice on how to proceed? Who to avoid? I have Prime, Swift, Knight and Central at the top of my list. With a small interest also in Roehl.

I am willing to do OTR and actually look forward to it right now, as long as I am out making some money I think things will start looking up but I need to get started soon. I liked Prime because of the $200/wk training pay, I know it needs to be paid back but I am not worried about paying anything back I can do that, but I need something coming in first. Also it looks like Knight pays you while you are in school as well? My question would be, with which company sponsored training would I get some income rolling in the soonest?

I have a question regarding Prime. I am heavily leaning toward them but am a little leery of the LW trucks that seem to be the norm you end up with. Is this always the case? I guss I am probably being a little picky considering my situation but I feel like if I am going to be out on the road and basically living in my truck I am a little concerned about the room, can't see how you would get a fridge, microwave and TV to fit in those very comfortably, I would like to be able to have a passenger eventually.

So I am giving it up to you folks, the experienced ones who have the knowledge to assist me. Tell me where to start, I will take the ball and run. Thank you in advance if you have made it through this whole post God bless you for taking an interest. I could really use some advice and some moral support and like I said I will document this entire journey as much as I possibly can. This is step 1!!!

Thanks all, looking forward to your replies and the road ahead.

- Case

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

I have a question regarding Prime. I am heavily leaning toward them but am a little leery of the LW trucks that seem to be the norm you end up with. Is this always the case? I guss I am probably being a little picky considering my situation but I feel like if I am going to be out on the road and basically living in my truck I am a little concerned about the room, can't see how you would get a fridge, microwave and TV to fit in those very comfortably, I would like to be able to have a passenger eventually.

Here is a great topic on An in-depth look inside my LW truck (a must see!) by Daniel B.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

You may also find the following topics by Daniel B. helpful:

My update with Prime Inc.

My Central Refrigerated Trucking School Diary

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

I don't think you will have a problem with your background. Most of it was a while back. The best advice I have is to fill out the applications and be honest and truthful. They will ask about your background and typically want to know anything within the past 5 years. The main reason for this is for insurance purposes. It is nothing against you personally. If we could hire you we would, but we can't. So again my advice is to fill out those apps. Only the company can decide if you are hireable. You may find it helpful to Apply For Truck Driving Jobs with only one application. Check out the link for more details. Goodluck!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob ( A.K.A. CASE)'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies Anchorman, I am in the process of doing as much research as I can. I think I will be heading to DOL this week to get a complete driving record printed out just to make sure nothing is lingering. Yes Daniel B has definitely a lot of posts worth following I have read many of them and will check out the links you provided. This whole website is just awesome, thank you for your response I really appreciate it. Love the photo and the handle by the way.... Huge fan!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

I think I will be heading to DOL this week to get a complete driving record printed out just to make sure nothing is lingering.

That is a great idea! I had to have my driving record (MVR) to enroll in school. I used it as a reference when filling out my applications. I had a speeding ticket. The apps want to know specifics, which your MVR lists all the info needed. It is good to know what is on it. If you don't list something, and the company finds out, you will be sent packing!...Interestingly enough Daniel B. was the one who suggested the handle. He says I always post alot of news storys.

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

Rob ( A.K.A. CASE)'s Comment
member avatar

Man the more I learn I swear the more confused I get! Now I have a couple more companies to chooses from and added to my list. I have been reading more forum posts and now it looks like Roehl is also at the top of my list and not so much a secondary choice!! Still hoping others can offer up,some good advice especially on companies that will get me to having an income sooner.

Thanks again Anchorman for all your help so far

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.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rob ( A.K.A. CASE), I am in a similar boat as you in that I have been actively reading this website for a few weeks, looking in from the outside, so to speak. I spent my very last dollar Sunday on a bottle of water (I was pretty thirsty) so I know what broke is. I have gone through the CDL Training/Quiz here and it is excellent, if you haven't done it yet. I did the "mass" application thing and got a call from Central Refrigerated four days later. I also applied online for four other majors and have had phone conversations with all four. It moves very quickly once you start making the effort and it has been a bit overwhelming to me because I didn't expect so much progress so quickly. I really don't have any advice (all this verbiage and nothing really to offer except moral support) because I am a newby at this as well. I will just say that everything I have read here seems to be class A info and the people are all straight shooters. Wait, I do have some advice. Ignore the temptation to be anxious. It does no good. Jesus said "Be anxious for nothing . . ." and that is the best advice I think anyone could give you. After all, He's pretty famous for knowing what He was talking about.

Stephen E. Birch

smile.gif

P.S. In your CAD/CAM experience, you didn't happen to master Rhino, did you?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob ( A.K.A. CASE)'s Comment
member avatar

Stephen, thanks so much for your reply and the good advice! At this point my friend, moral support is even a luxury so I will definitely take it.

Yeah I am spending this week getting all my affairs in order. A while back I had my wallet stolen so I didn't have an actual social security card, he'll I didn't even have a bank account but as of today my social security card is on the way and I have bank account. I am sure the lady was not to pleased to open an account t with ZERO DEPOSIT but I really just wanted to see if I had anything on my credit holding it up but I guess not!

At least now, no matter where I go I can receive direct depost and not have to worry about getting paid or how I'm going to get my check. Tomorrow I am going to the DMV to get my drivers abstract and we will proceed from there. I just want to have everything ready before I apply anywhere.

No I never got around to learning Rhino. At the UW I was responsible for administering 250+ licenses of Autodesk and other design software packages so I had to know a little about most of them such as Autocad including, architectural and electrical desktop, civil 3d, mechanical desktop, and Revit but Rhino was not one of them. Almost got a job a while back working for the company that developed it though, McNeel & Associates another great Seattle based company.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Rob ( A.K.A. CASE), Glad I could offer a little something of value . . . keep up the posts because many people (lurkers included) will be interested in your progress and experience. I am also interested in how other people make their decisions about which companies to pursue. It is a weird phenomenon that as potential truck drivers we have a choice of employers, especially in todays economy where jobs (even mediocre jobs with low pay) are so hard to come by. In my local economy, there are so many people willing to work for very little just to live in such a beautiful area (I live 14 miles north of Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California) that it depresses the wages for everybody. A weird situation because it is so damned expensive to live here in the first place. So, anyway, keep us abreast of your progress and decisions. I personally have been most impressed with Central Refrigerated, Stevens Transport and Prime. In fact, in a matter of one week both Stevens and Central told me any time I'm ready they will send a bus ticket. That, of course, depends on their final approval of all the info one has to submit before hand - like driving & criminal records, etc., but I've got no worries about any of that. My youthful mistakes are way back in the rear view mirror along with the youth that caused them. That's another great thing. Around here (Truckee), where youth is worshipped, a guy my age applies for a job and they look at you like you have three heads. My age (62) has not been a subject of conversation with ANY of the recruiters I have spoken to - although all of the applications ask for birthdays. What a real pleasure. The only real consideration is how good have you kept the pluming up. BP, blood sugar, that sort of thing. So, anyway, keep in touch and keep us all updated. Happy trails!

Stephen E. Birch

smile.gif

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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