I Want To Stay Local For Training But Don't Want To Be Contracted. Please Help!

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Seatack's Comment
member avatar

Long time lurker, and 1st time poster.

Backstory: I have always had a love for trucks! I was raised by my grandfather, who owned 3 dump trucks. He was an owner/operator in the 90's who employed 2 of his sons. All 3 trucks were 1988 GMC Brigadiers. I would spend my summers riding shotgun on their routes, re-grooving tires and greasing trucks. I even learned to drive and shift gears on our 3/4 mile street. The business ended when my grandfather passed away and my uncles joined the military shortly after. Fast forward 20 years and here we are today!

I've been in retail and food service the last 15 years and wanted a change. I decided my love for trucks has been on the back burner for long enough. Last month I got my Florida Class A permit with tanker endorsement. I didn't even find out about the new ELDT law going into effect till after I got my permit. At least I'm grandfathered in under the old rules now. I am currently working a great paying full time job but, money isn't everything! My ultimate goal is to be an Owner/operator down the road.

Here is my current situation. I am currently weighing my options for obtaining my CDL. I do not want to got OTR! (I have a high school aged child). I also cannot afford to be without a job. Here are my options.....

1. Go to a community college or other CDL program while working my full time job. (2 months as a full time student, or 4 months as a part time student) 2. Train with a friend who is willing to let me get some wheel time in his 10 speed tractor (no trailer). Then, go to a private CDL training facility who will prepare me for the state road test. 5 day program (4 days of pre-trip inspection/ yard & road training and state test on the 5th day)

I will be paying for either one out of pocket. I am fully confident in my ability to learn the pre trip inspection on my own and would use the private training mostly to learn how to drive with a trailer and backing maneuvers.

I understand there are paid cdl training jobs available but I don't want to go OTR or be forced to sign a contract of employment.

Option #1 would probably prepare me better for the career change but, would have me repeating a lot of stuff I already know because I have a permit and, it would take 2-4 months

Option #2 would probably put me in the "dreaded" I didn't go to an approved CDL school boat. But, I would be free to join a local or small company as a rookie/ no experience driver (probably go through some company training) and begin my CDL career with no strings attached.

Which one you would choose and why. Also tell me about your non-OTR experiences that lead to you getting your CDL.

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to reading all the responses

-Seatack

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

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.

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Seatack,

First off, consider the new law that is about to go into effect on training for new cdl entrants.

Also, training with your friend that only has a tractor kind of defeats the purpose. Your not going to learn anything and waste a bunch of time.

Joining a small company as a rookie generally is not a good idea.

In my honest opinion, you should wait for a better situation to get into trucking. It's probably not what you want to hear. You need the training and experience especially if you want to be an owner op one day.

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

I started local. Got my CDL at FedEx freight, through their driver apprentice program and happily signed my 1 year contract.

There are some other issues at hand. You want to be an owner operator , but you don't want to go OTR... That's going to be extremely difficult.

Your friend training you is a bad idea. Things happen out there and your friend would be liable. I wouldn't want to put a friend in that position.

School training is ok, but working full time and going to school while dealing with home is a lot to take on.

You're trying to do this on your terms and take shortcuts that are going to make things more difficult for you in the long run. I agree with sid, you should wait a little longer until the kids are older and you feel more comfortable doing this in a way in which you're fully committed and can take the proper path.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Seatack I agree with Banks and Sid.

Getting into this business requires a full time, unconditional commitment.

Good luck.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Seatack, everything you have stated here sounds perfectly logical to you. But did you notice that the experienced drivers don't think you are going about this correctly?

You have to ask yourself some questions. Who is going to hire you? Why would they be interested in you? Do you really think they are just looking for someone who managed to cut every corner they could just to show proof they have a CDL?

Are you aware that local jobs are very hard to find for newly licensed individuals? Those jobs go to experienced drivers for several good reasons. You are going to be competing against experienced drivers for those jobs. You have no advantages by taking the path you feel suits you best. You claim to be a long time lurker. That's good. That means you have read countless discussions of why we encourage people to get this career started with a solid foundation of training and OTR experience. I will be the first to admit you may possibly get a anew career started with your plan, but it will be extremely frustrating and possibly dangerous.

Have you noticed Shantiwa's (Trucking Mama) issues. She has been diligently trying very hard for a full month now to find a local job with only a shiny new CDL. She admitted to us she had no idea how difficult landing a job would be. She even went through a truck driving school. She can't get a job during a time of high driver demand. She can't go OTR. You don't want to go OTR. We understand that sentiment, but it is the surest way to get yourself established. I think you will have to look into LTL jobs, but even that is tricky when you are inexperienced. They do hire rookies, but often times your location will determine that possibility.

We wish you the best, but as for your plan, we think it is short sighted.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

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.
James H.'s Comment
member avatar

You might be able to find a local CDL school that can accommodate the schedule of your great-paying job. That's basically what I did, but it could just be dumb luck that things have worked out for me - YMMV. But before you go that route, find out where they place their graduates, and preferably verify this from the other side - check with companies that interest you, to see if their safety division accepts new drivers with that school's completion certificate. Many companies will reimburse you for the cost of private CDL school, but this payout comes after you've been there six or twelve months. Not exactly a contract, but if you walk away early, you still have to eat the cost of your training.

Otherwise, I agree with Banks that Option #3 might be your best choice to train and work local.

If you've read some of the threads here, you'll know that even local jobs tend to be long hours, and linehaul , which in my opinion is the most suitable local job for a new driver, is typically overnight. If your teenage kid is reasonably responsible and self-sufficient, that kind of schedule might work, but like the rest of us, you need to balance your obligations at home against the demands of the job.

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.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

I agree with the others. The short answer why it won’t work out training with your friend is that insurance dictates nearly everything in trucking. Most small local companies require experience and those that don’t almost exclusively require a certificate from a school. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I believe it’s usually 160 hours. One week won’t be enough to satisfy most company’s requirements (again it’s an insurance thing). Trust me, your cdl won’t do you much good without the full schooling, I have personal experience with this (not my own experience but a close friend).

Some schools have night school so you might be able to find a school that would be compatible with your current work schedule. As others said some ltl companies have training programs for new drivers as well. Speaking of which, apparently as I’ve recently found out some companies have a list of schools they’ll hire from. FedEx specifically is like that but they’re not the only company that does that, so which school you go to matters too.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
CM59's Comment
member avatar

Honestly, I considered going local and found nothing except PFG that would hire without experience. Even then I didn’t request an interview so I can’t be sure on that. Some said they did but I never heard back.

I live in a large city with a port and still JB Hunt requires 3 months. I did go to a Driving School since I couldn’t qualify for paid training and only because they are partnered with schools to pre hire. One company offered employment and I’ve been with them over a year. There is a huge liability for companies to hire graduates and it’s not necessarily easy even with your CDL in hand.

Most of the partners have tuition reimbursement. My company is paying $6000 over two years but I’m not contacted. They gave me a great opportunity and I am very grateful for that.

I am also thankful for the OTR I did the first few months before going Regional. Every type of route varies greatly in operation and difficulty. I had a small awakening with weekly driving even after doing 48 states.

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.

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Long time lurker, and 1st time poster.

Backstory: I have always had a love for trucks! I was raised by my grandfather, who owned 3 dump trucks. He was an owner/operator in the 90's who employed 2 of his sons. All 3 trucks were 1988 GMC Brigadiers. I would spend my summers riding shotgun on their routes, re-grooving tires and greasing trucks. I even learned to drive and shift gears on our 3/4 mile street. The business ended when my grandfather passed away and my uncles joined the military shortly after. Fast forward 20 years and here we are today!

I've been in retail and food service the last 15 years and wanted a change. I decided my love for trucks has been on the back burner for long enough. Last month I got my Florida Class A permit with tanker endorsement. I didn't even find out about the new ELDT law going into effect till after I got my permit. At least I'm grandfathered in under the old rules now. I am currently working a great paying full time job but, money isn't everything! My ultimate goal is to be an Owner/operator down the road.

Here is my current situation. I am currently weighing my options for obtaining my CDL. I do not want to got OTR! (I have a high school aged child). I also cannot afford to be without a job. Here are my options.....

1. Go to a community college or other CDL program while working my full time job. (2 months as a full time student, or 4 months as a part time student) 2. Train with a friend who is willing to let me get some wheel time in his 10 speed tractor (no trailer). Then, go to a private CDL training facility who will prepare me for the state road test. 5 day program (4 days of pre-trip inspection/ yard & road training and state test on the 5th day)

I will be paying for either one out of pocket. I am fully confident in my ability to learn the pre trip inspection on my own and would use the private training mostly to learn how to drive with a trailer and backing maneuvers.

I understand there are paid cdl training jobs available but I don't want to go OTR or be forced to sign a contract of employment.

Option #1 would probably prepare me better for the career change but, would have me repeating a lot of stuff I already know because I have a permit and, it would take 2-4 months

Option #2 would probably put me in the "dreaded" I didn't go to an approved CDL school boat. But, I would be free to join a local or small company as a rookie/ no experience driver (probably go through some company training) and begin my CDL career with no strings attached.

Which one you would choose and why. Also tell me about your non-OTR experiences that lead to you getting your CDL.

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to reading all the responses

-Seatack

Bumping this!

Seatack;

Saw your post in Travis' diary. Have you looked into LTL companies, such as FedEx, ABF, Old Dominion? I'm from Florida, as well!! Have you looked at Cypress? I'm not sure if they train, but it's worth a look see!

Also:

~ Anne ~

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

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.

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