How Hard Is It To Get A CDL?

Topic 30858 | Page 2

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Mark O. ~MiNi-Me~'s Comment
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I've been in the restaurant industry. Everything from a pastry chef, to owner of my own establishment (twice). Last decade plus just a high end waiter.

One week to go....

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.

Vicki M.'s Comment
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I was a waitress, then a dealer and a lot boss. 33 years in the casino industry, 22 at my previous job, nice salary, excellent benefits and vacation, the whole package. I quit to become a truck driver. I am happy with my decision thus far.

Getting the CDL was hard for me. I had never driven anything with a trailer, rarely backed my car, had very little mechanical knowledge. I still got it.. I chose to go through a company sponsored program and it has worked out for me. I’ve been solo for a couple months.

The biggest change is lifestyle. I love camping and traveling, but realize it’s like living in a tiny house with no bathroom. Your friends at home will still love you, but cannot comprehend what you do every day. In my case, I have family at home and they don’t comprehend it really either. It’s still been worth it to me.

My main advice is to do A LOT of research on the lifestyle. Watch YouTube. Read blogs. Decide if you really want it. Because if you don’t, it will be the hardest thing you’ve done. All this coming from my few months experience 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Leeva804's Comment
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People at my school struggled for 3-9 months to get their license. I and lots of others finished in one month. It’s vary’s but you never know if it’ll click for you

Steve L.'s Comment
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Thanks for all the responses everyone! Some responses of my own to yours...

"I'm having trouble finding anything I'm passionate about but have been thinking about trucking..." - I've always loved large rigs since I was a child. Going down the road with my parents as a toddler of the '70's, my parents would see a rig coming the other way and coax me to look out the window the opposite way so as not to see it and get all excited. Corny I know, but it's what they did. I've always had respect for the truck drivers even if no one else seems to have. I mean your stuff doesn't just get from A to B, someone has to get it there. I've also always had respect for the overnight people such as myself, store shelves don't just get stocked by magic nor do financial books magically balance themselves (and it's a lot easier at night when things stop than during the day)! It's just that I went from a hotel job at a place I enjoyed, with a company I enjoyed, with co-workers I enjoyed and all that was taken away from me. I now work at a hotel owned by a company who cares about customer service sure, but cares more about the revenue than it seems anything else (they've tacked on two "fees" which are false, nothing more than a cash grab).

"...only have myself to take care of..." - Yes, I am single and don't have anyone that I have to provide for. I am looking at putting an elderly relative into a facility, but while I expect to have to contribute some I'm also lining up finances to pay for as much of it as possible; I'm not going to try and foot the bill alone. But more to the point, I'm tired of customer service. I've been on one front desk or another and therefore in customer service for some thirty years. Its gotten old. You're at fault for everything. The hoards don't hesitate to let you have it for the smallest of things, really I'm not kidding, and tear your stuff up - the expression how you can never have nice things anyone... Sure, I know in trucking you do have to deal with folks - company people, co-workers, folks you run into, folks you deliver to. But you also get to leave... I've heard it, paraphrasing here, that there's nothing like if you're treated badly, you get to decide who gets into your rig and you know you'll drive away and likely never have to see that person ever again. By not taking having to care for anyone but myself, I'd also just stay out for long stretches at a time only coming home to the house I have on occasion.

"...getting lost..." - By this I mean, I'm not running from anything. I was on the losing side of a falling out at work, they believed the bully over me and after standing up for myself the new management company that took over my hotel decided to let me go. Had it been the old management company, the old GM, I'd probably have survived. But while sure it may just be this property and/or what I'm doing right now, I'm just not feeling it anymore. By getting lost I meant that I've reconnected with many of my friends from high school, some are plus or minus the year that I graduated - '91. But I've looked through their photos, friended them and seen what they've posted. To some degree they've travelled for school and/or just travel and continue to do so. Just this past month a friend posted photos of her family trip to Yosemite. My family never had much money, so that travel bug was never ignited in me and all I've ever done is more or less work, home, work, home and maybe a trip from TX to NM, OK, CO once every rare year. Sure I'd like to stop and see some tourist sites, but it's also about the journey. I've got nothing against flying, but I'd rather drive just for the journey rather than seeing the country from the vantage of the airport.

Thanks for the heads up on Prime. I'm open minded about most anyone but I'll have to check them out. A friend of a friend has experience with Raider Express so that's why I looked them up and liked what I saw. And Schneider is just like the biggest and has a slew of benefits and equipment and recruiting events which interest me to talk to someone. But I'll check out Prime.

I'm curious what Mark O did in hospitality that he's leaving? If he doesn't mind my asking...

On the overnight shift tonight, computers just came back up from final reports. So I've gotta go. But I'll check in later... Thanks everyone!!!

Use your customer service background to develop relationships with your shippers/receivers. They get lots of jerks. Everybody is your customer. Kindness is often rewarded (but not guaranteed, it doesn’t always work).

Don’t think you’ll walk away and never deal with the problem person again. If your company runs you in an area regularly (yes, even OTR), you may see that person much sooner than expected. E.g. my company used to run me from Florida panhandle to Laredo, TX, then Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and back down to home in Florida. Lots of shippers and receivers I frequented. And you never know when the guy getting coffee next to you is the guy who will be unloading you today. 😎

I hope this helps.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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you never know when the guy getting coffee next to you is the guy who will be unloading you today.

That is so true. I remember one morning I was up eating breakfast in a truck stop down in Alabama. There was a man at the table next to me who struck up a conversation with me. He was asking a lot of questions about truck driving and what types of freight I pulled. He seemed a little nosy, but I was polite and kept talking with him. When he realized I was pulling a flat bed he wanted to know where I was delivering to. Once I gave him the name of the place he said, "Well you can follow me over there. I will show you the best way to get in. I will be the one unloading you. I'll bet you have some aluminum square tubing for me." He was right.

A big part of trucking is relationships. I have kept some really solid relationships with my support staff in the office. This business is all about trust. Once you have established yourself as trustworthy, you will get better assignments and better treatment. I don't know how many times my dispatcher has said something like this to me... "Could you take this load into such and such a place? I've got three new drivers sitting here waiting on loads, but this customer is very important to us. I want to make sure it gets there on time. I'd rather have you doing it so I can feel confident that I served the customer in the best way I could."

Dispatcher:

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.
Ciaran M.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m with you I’ve been driving 20 + years but Mostly in Ireland my Home Country and have travelled a Lot of Europe would give the USA a go but at 46 I’m probably past the OTR life .

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
at 46 I’m probably past the OTR life.

Haha! That is just about the average age of OTR drivers in the U.S.A. There are a lot of drivers out here who are much older than you. I'm one of them.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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I'll try and remember that in two months....

rofl-2.gif rofl-2.gif

Thomas D.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm 46 and about to start the OTR life!

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.

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

at 46 I’m probably past the OTR life .

I got my CDL when I was 50. And I see a lot of truck drivers around who are older than myself. So if you are in a good shape, age is not a factor.

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.

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