New Guy Taking A Leap

Topic 32443 | Page 4

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Marc you seem to have a bit more than slight skepticism.

I’ve been in this industry as a driver for 9+ years, longer as a non-driver.

I don’t know of any hidden pitfalls. That’s an honest answer. Is the learning curve steep? Yes. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Will you want to quit at some point? Possibly.

Realistically it will take you about 1 year before you will be through the majority of difficulty. We’ve all been there and each and every one of us have prevailed to succeed in our chosen paths.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Oops… sorry, 9+ years as a driver.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
This website is helping and I have read the materials. What other hidden pitfalls await?

I would go through our trucker's podcast. It has a ton of great information that will help you understand the industry so you can make great choices and avoid the misconceptions and improper expectations that plague many new drivers.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Some carriers have no contract schooling. It was a concern of mine slightly and effected which company I chose to go with. If you chose to, although not recommended, you could walk at any point and would have a zero interest loan.

It's been my experience In the short time I've been doing this that the only "pitfalls" I encounter is my expectations, attitude and willingness to learn. When I keep those in check, I thrive in this industry

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
It's been my experience In the short time I've been doing this that the only "pitfalls" I encounter is my expectations, attitude and willingness to learn. When I keep those in check, I thrive in this industry

I love that. Mastering ourselves really is the key requirement for mastering anything in our lives. If we can't control our emotions and expectations, we won't persevere.

Marc, yesterday you asked about pitfalls, and I mentioned our podcasts. I was thinking of one topic that fits in the category of unexpected pitfalls. There are drivers we call "terminal rats," which are experienced drivers who are chronically miserable. They blame, complain, and criticize constantly. They change jobs every 6 months for years at a time. The scariest feature about terminal rats is their conviction that their views are insightful and helpful, so they share them constantly with everyone, especially new drivers.

As a new driver, you'd expect to get good information from experienced drivers. It's shocking how many experienced drivers have a primitive and simple-minded view of truck driving as a career and give terrible advice. That's why I named this website Trucking Truth, but that's a story for another day.

Make sure you go through all of our podcast, including this one, which is about terminal rats:

Episode 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Marc you have some great questions, as we all did getting started. Expectations will be lined out at the start of school. It is entirely on you to meet those expectations.

I’ll share this story with you.

I started with Roehl 9 years ago. Day 1 they laid out the expectations. Clear and concise for the 3 week course.

One rule they had was no alcohol consumption during training. If you violate that rule you will be sent home. Seems pretty simple to me, and probably alot of others.

Well the class ahead of mine I guess didn’t quite understand it the same way. There were 4 students in that class that were friends and had a friendly competition during the class. All 4 did very well during training. The night they obtained their cdl’s, they went to the local pizza place to celebrate. They had pizza and beer, and a good time. What they didn’t realize was an employee there knew people at Roehl and made a phone call.

The next morning they were each brought in the office and terminated for their actions. I didn’t know any of them, but I’m sure they probably blamed Roehl.

Moral of the story, they failed themselves, not Roehl or the industry.

Manage yourself in a proffessional manner, listen to what your told, and apply yourself you should do just fine.

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.
Marc L.'s Comment
member avatar

This website has been great. Much more informative and helpful than other forums that seem to be written by the "terminal rats" that Mr. Aquila mentioned. Thank you to everyone for the time and support. I am much more confident in my decision moving forward with it. Now the next thing to concern myself with...the tests! Yesterday I took one of the CDL quizzes here. There were questions using terminology that I hadn't even heard of before. I tried using the best reasoning I could muster but only got three answers right. No other choice but to actually start learning I guess. Now where did I put that pepto as I feel a whole fresh round of anxiety coming on...

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Marc, the below links are the best study guide I know of for learning the pre-trip inspection. If you haven’t checked them out, I encourage you to do so. If you are familiar with them, double down your efforts and dig in.

Good luck!

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Marc, you need our High Road CDL Training Program. That program has the CDL manual built-in, with multiple-choice questions and a scoring system to track your progress. If you'll go through that program, you'll have no problem whatsoever on the written exams.

Best of luck!

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I have been reading that some people who choose to go private school and get their CDL and t he n get employed by a company that has their own school sometimes make the new hire go to their school anyway including signing the contract putting them on the hook for the training costs. Is that a common thing? Presently debating private bank company cdl school so if this is common practice it makes the choice clearer.

Hey Marc,

I had a call the other day with one company we work with. They have a paid training program. I asked them if they hired students from private schools, and they said, "Very rarely because even if they come from a private school, we make them go through our training program and sign a contract with us."

Most of the major carriers that have Paid CDL Training Programs will not hire from private schools or will do so only out of desperation. Unfortunately, private training is far inferior to paid training for many reasons.

For starters, private schools make their money by training drivers to pass their CDL exams. That's it. That's their only goal. Once you've paid your fee, you pass the schooling and you head out into the industry, they have no skin in the game. They've made their money. Their job is done.

This business model creates a few problems.

Private schools make money by providing training that costs less than their tuition. That is obvious, right? But think about the implications. It means the less money they spend on you, the more money they make. What is their greatest expense? The purchase, fueling, maintenance, and insurance on the trucks. How do they cut back on expenses? They buy inexpensive trucks and ensure students spend the minimum time necessary in the truck.

This is not good news for the student. It means you'll most often get trained on outdated, lousy equipment that doesn't even resemble the truck you'll drive as a professional driver. It also means you'll spend much more of your required training time in a classroom instead of in a truck.

The biggest problem that companies face from drivers coming out of private schools is their attitude, perspective, and expectations. Most people attend private school because they think it puts them in a position of power. They have their CDL, so now they're a free agent. They can play the field and take the highest bidder. After all, truck drivers are in high demand, right?

Unfortunately, having a CDL doesn't make you a truck driver. It makes it legal for you to drive a truck on the highway, but it doesn't mean you're safe, efficient, hard-working, or productive. It just means you're legal. The truth is there is very little demand for students. There is a very high demand for productive professionals, which eventually the student may become.

But most private students get this wrong and show up at their first trucking company with this holier-than-thou attitude. They think they've done the hard work of getting their CDL, and now they're the ones in demand. They expect too much from their company and not enough of themselves.

Marc, I highly encourage you to pursue Paid CDL Training Programs. I also encourage you to read this article:

Busting The Free Agent Myth In Trucking

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.

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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