Newbie Here! Best Advice For A Woman Thinking Of Jumping In...

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Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

No disrespect Brandie, but that plan may be a little short-sighted. Your plan involves potentially more risk, both long term professionally and financially.

Company paid training is also free, provided you hold up your end of the deal. You simply have to cover a little upfront investment by saving enough ahead of time to cover your expenses for a very short period. The return on your investment will come on the back end, in the form of greater training and support from your company.

I strongly urge you to read this before making that decision:

Why I prefer paid CDL training over private CDL training

Ok-- I get what you are saying... but in my case, if I went this route, the CDL training would be free to me (its a local program for people below certain income levels)-- then with CDL in hand, I could still apply to Prime or one of the others and still get the 30k miles or whatever each individual company requires with a trainer.

I'd never consider this route if I were having to pay out of pocket-- its just not financially feasible. Can you tell me what pitfalls you see with this? I'm sincere in asking because I'm too new to this side of things to potentially see where the problems lay...

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.
Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

Even though I haven't started training yet myself, the biggest pitfall I see with this is the fact that when you hire on with a company with your CDL in hand, the company doesn't have a penny invested in you. Have an accident? There's the door, the company has no financial stake in keeping you. Can't make your pickups or deliveries on time? There's the door. The company isn't out anything by letting you go. On the other hand, with company paid training, they have an investment in you. They are more inclined to overlook certain things in order to get a return on their investment.

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.
Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Even though I haven't started training yet myself, the biggest pitfall I see with this is the fact that when you hire on with a company with your CDL in hand, the company doesn't have a penny invested in you. Have an accident? There's the door, the company has no financial stake in keeping you. Can't make your pickups or deliveries on time? There's the door. The company isn't out anything by letting you go. On the other hand, with company paid training, they have an investment in you. They are more inclined to overlook certain things in order to get a return on their investment.

Fair enough.. I'm just trying to figure out the best path and its so hard to wait once you've figured out what you want to do!

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.
Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

Believe me, I understand completely. I'm still waiting for my Federal taxes so I can take care of my family while I start training. I've been ready to go for a few months now. I've gone thru the High Road training program twice, and I've read so many posts, training diaries and company reviews I've lost count.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

I may be waiting for taxes as well.. for a twofold reason...

1. Money for the fam while I'm gone and

2. While my job history for 2021 and 2020 is stellar.... 2019 was a super bad year. I was trying to hold on to a 20 year career that was falling apart, and then my spouse got sick-- so my work history for that year is nightmare fuel. It has already resulted in one "Can't do it until next year" (no more than 5 jobs in 3 years-- and 2019 pushes me over the edge with them).

The money for the fam part could resolve before tax season-- but if I get another company wanting me to hold off because of 2019.. well... I guess I will hold off.

Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I know how you feel. You'd think that the government could take some of that money in the infrastructure bill and fix the IRS. It shouldn't take 190+ days to review a simple tax return. 190+ days. That's how long I've been waiting for over 13k in federal taxes. I should already be on the road, probably finishing up with my trainer, or just being assigned my on truck by now, but instead I'm waiting on the government. If it wasn't so sad, it would almost be funny.

Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Oh heck.. I meant next February-- I'm sorry you're stuck in the IRS hellscape... I've been lucky and I generally get mine back no later than March.

Greg M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Brandie:

I had promised myself that I was done posting on this site but you seem so sincere in your desire to do this that I want to try and help you.

You mentioned that you had applied at Millis . I know PackRat recommended that you call and I second that. I really think that they have one of the better programs out there. You will spend the first 3 weeks in training as a non-employee so obviously no paychecks but once you are out with a trainer your are going to get the current new hire milage rate for every mile the truck runs, even when trainer is driving. You should easily gross $1200+ week from that point forward. Also their 15k mile training period is reasonable. Long enough to get you plenty of opportunity to learn but not so long that the stress of the process has time to boil over and cause problems.

Their training is not totally free but I think the additional earnings you make while training more than make up for it. When I went through you paid $500 up front, $100 when accepted and $400 first day of class. You pay an additional $2000 or so via payroll deduction once you start getting paid. When I was there it was $100 week while with a trainer and dropped to $50 once solo. In addition there is a $2500 fee if you leave before your I year anniversary.

Sounds like you live close to the Trenton facility. I live in Milford so I commuted while in training and did not need the hotel accommodations they provide, you do pay those back. Training is basically 7-5 M-F so there was zero family impact doing this time. There will likely be 1 night away from home during a road trip where the class drives a truck to another Millis location to get you some actual over the road experience. All those expenses are paid and its actually a pretty fun trip.

The actual class time at Trenton. is also great. I assume Bill Smith is still the trainer and he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Actually just about everyone I dealt with at Millis were genuinely nice people. In addition, being close to Trenton gives you a lot of opportunities to stay close to home once you are solo. They have Ohio Regional which would get you home weekends and possibly some during the week. They also run a number of day cabs out of Trenton, I see them up around Akron all the time. I assume these are beer loads out of Trenton. They also do all the yard switching work for the Miller brewery in Trenton. There may be waiting lists for those opportunities but they are there.

Basically if you get accepted by Millis, and I see no reason why you shouldn't, I would jump on.

You also mention the possibility of tuition free private CDL school. I don't think that is necessarily a bad option, I see a CDL as a valuable asset even without experience. You are just going to have to be very careful getting that first job. There are lots of places that will stick a new driver in a truck regardless of experience and you don't want that. Look around for reputable companies the offer training for CDL holders with no experience, they are out there. You just have to be ready to say no to offers that don't set you up for success.

The Cincinnati region is a great place for trucking jobs, basically any situation you desire is out there. Due to a health issue I have an Ohio intrastate only physical and I still get offers all the time. Just last week the traffic manager at the manufacturer I haul out of offered me a job driving for the manufacturer directly. It was an awesome offer but it was full time and I currently prefer part time.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do, I think you stand an excellent chance of making 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.

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.

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.

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm about as close as you are to Trenton-- I'm in Camp Washington. So-- factoring in that I have a straight shot and your had to deal with the loop.. its probably about the same.

They were the first company that I heard back from-- and the first that I submitted a full application to. Haven't heard back since-- but I'm going to give them a call on Monday and see what I can see.

Taking the CDL class on my own may be my act of last resort-- because I DO see where others are coming from in the difference between a company having "skin in the game" or not. My preference is to start out OTR and then maybe transition into regional down the road as I get older.

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.

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.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Brandie:

I had promised myself that I was done posting on this site but you seem so sincere in your desire to do this that I want to try and help you.

You mentioned that you had applied at Millis . I know PackRat recommended that you call and I second that. I really think that they have one of the better programs out there. You will spend the first 3 weeks in training as a non-employee so obviously no paychecks but once you are out with a trainer your are going to get the current new hire milage rate for every mile the truck runs, even when trainer is driving. You should easily gross $1200+ week from that point forward. Also their 15k mile training period is reasonable. Long enough to get you plenty of opportunity to learn but not so long that the stress of the process has time to boil over and cause problems.

Their training is not totally free but I think the additional earnings you make while training more than make up for it. When I went through you paid $500 up front, $100 when accepted and $400 first day of class. You pay an additional $2000 or so via payroll deduction once you start getting paid. When I was there it was $100 week while with a trainer and dropped to $50 once solo. In addition there is a $2500 fee if you leave before your I year anniversary.

Sounds like you live close to the Trenton facility. I live in Milford so I commuted while in training and did not need the hotel accommodations they provide, you do pay those back. Training is basically 7-5 M-F so there was zero family impact doing this time. There will likely be 1 night away from home during a road trip where the class drives a truck to another Millis location to get you some actual over the road experience. All those expenses are paid and its actually a pretty fun trip.

The actual class time at Trenton. is also great. I assume Bill Smith is still the trainer and he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Actually just about everyone I dealt with at Millis were genuinely nice people. In addition, being close to Trenton gives you a lot of opportunities to stay close to home once you are solo. They have Ohio Regional which would get you home weekends and possibly some during the week. They also run a number of day cabs out of Trenton, I see them up around Akron all the time. I assume these are beer loads out of Trenton. They also do all the yard switching work for the Miller brewery in Trenton. There may be waiting lists for those opportunities but they are there.

Basically if you get accepted by Millis, and I see no reason why you shouldn't, I would jump on.

You also mention the possibility of tuition free private CDL school. I don't think that is necessarily a bad option, I see a CDL as a valuable asset even without experience. You are just going to have to be very careful getting that first job. There are lots of places that will stick a new driver in a truck regardless of experience and you don't want that. Look around for reputable companies the offer training for CDL holders with no experience, they are out there. You just have to be ready to say no to offers that don't set you up for success.

The Cincinnati region is a great place for trucking jobs, basically any situation you desire is out there. Due to a health issue I have an Ohio intrastate only physical and I still get offers all the time. Just last week the traffic manager at the manufacturer I haul out of offered me a job driving for the manufacturer directly. It was an awesome offer but it was full time and I currently prefer part time.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do, I think you stand an excellent chance of making it.

Awesome advice, Greg ... thank you for coming back ... I'm trying to help her, as well. I AGREE with all you've said, tbh. I'm typing standing up w/ a torn rotator cuff left arm, but this was worth replying to.

Re: Your exempted (or non?) intrastate.... I know you are running part time USPS . . . but if that ever becomes 'lacking' for what you need, please feel free to either email me for #'s, or just 'look into' FAB Express. They've been REALLY good to my guy (and Don on here, who started with CFI) for quite some time.

Wish you well, good sir.

YOU ALSO, Brandie.. you've got your head in the game. Love the avatar! Good to 'know' ya, ma'am.

~ Anne ~

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.

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.

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.

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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