New To The Trucking Industry And Need Some Guidance!

Topic 32702 | Page 1

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Kayla W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all! 👋🏾 So I am brand spanking new to the Trucking/Transportation Industry. Before I get into this career I want to get all the information I can so that I have little to no surprises when I finally start my career. I know that less then ideal things will happen I just want to be prepared before It does. I’ve been researching a lot of start up companies and reading reviews on those companies and to be honest the main company that stood out to me was Roehl. Swift was the first company I talked to but something in me is telling me don’t do it. But who knows, that could be the company I end up with. I’m going through the hiring process with Roehl (I haven’t signed anything yet), but I kind of feel like Roehl is too good to be true. But nothing in me is telling me not to do the GYCDL with Roehl. I felt the same way when I got into a career selling Life Insurance. I paid quite a bit of money to get into it, I studied hard, passed the exam with a 92, got my license only to find out that I am not a salesmen. And I made absolutely NO MONEY. But that was 1000% my fault. I didn’t do my research. I feel that if I start with a company with the best possible training the money will come which is why the money isn’t my top priority. As long as I have enough to take care of my family I’m good with starting out with lower pay. My top priority is the training. I feel like whether I start with a starter company or go to a school I will just be taught enough to pass the CDL test. I just want to make sure I choose a company that has great training and won’t just kick me out the program if I don’t learn something right away. Roehl seems like they have a good training program and from what I hear they are very strict on safety. Which I like, because I am too. I think I read that they have inward facing cameras which I like as well. It’ll probably be weird at first, but it will come in handy if anything happens. I know that I’m probably just overthinking this, but I know that this won’t just affect me. It will affect my family as well. I just feel like I need some guidance before I get started. I will gladly except all the help I can get. If their’s another company I should look into feel free to let me know. Or if Roehl is a great company (or not) let me know. Thank 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Roehl and Swift are both fine companies that will train you properly and are big on safety. Like anything else, these programs are what you make of it.. The experiences vary because everybody has different expectations and different attitudes towards training.

My first piece of advice would be to be as sure that you can be that you can dedicate ab year to this. Far too often people start these programs and then decide they can't do it.. We're human and things happen, but preparation is key.

My second piece of advice would be to be coachable. It sounds simple, but it's hard to erase everything you know about driving and all the habits you've developed over the years.

My last piece of advice is to leave emotion out of it. It's easy to get frustrated, home sick and to start taking things personally. Once those feelings start to set in, the first two pieces of advice will go out the window. You start to get thoughts about quitting and you're no longer coachable because you can't focus. Everybody gets frustrated, but everybody handles it differently. Handle it the right way and you'll be fine.

Outside of that, remember that the training process is a constant interview. You'll be observed from the time you arrive to the time you leave. If anything seems out of place or you can't follow directions, they will not hesitate to dismiss you.

Good luck and stick around. There's a lot of valuable information here and most of us have been through the journey you're about to embark on. Let us know if you have any questions and they'll be answered to the best of our ability.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Kayla, Banks gave you some excellent advice. I'm going to add one thing and then give you some reading assignments. They are the best "research" you'll find.

Keep in mind that trucking is not just another job. You found out you weren't good at selling life insurance. That didn't take long. That was like pursuing another job. You can't approach trucking as the next job you want to try. You have to make a commitment to it as a new lifestyle. That's exactly what it is.

Get it resolved within yourself to commit to this for one full year. It takes that long to even begin to pick up on how to make this new lifestyle into a money making career. Wherever you start, ignore what the crybabies on the internet have to say about your employer. You can't listen to the failures and learn a single thing from them. You will learn volumes from that one year commitment.

Here's a great podcast you should listen to. Stick With It For One Full Year

In addition to that Podcast, here's the reading assignments I promised...

Oh, one more thing. Don't fret over where to start. Any of the large companies hiring new drivers can help you make a good start at this. The training is going to feel somewhat insufficient no matter where you start. It's a big job with big responsibilities. Just put on your best game face and show them you can handle it. That's why we harp on the commitment.

Most of the trucking failures we see were people with unrealistic expectations. Making that commitment keeps you striving to be the best out here. That's what you want. You want to make yourself stand out from the others. Your commitment, resolve, and resilience will be the key to gaining an advantage out here in this career.

Here's a good list of training companies you can start with.

Paid CDL Training Programs

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.
Zen Joker (Andy)'s Comment
member avatar

Hello Kayla and welcome! :)

I am just a few steps ahead of you preparing for CDL in spring and have been leveraging the FREE audio and written resources on the TT website as well as the advice of veteran drivers, rookie drivers, and other students getting started out. Great advice and reading assignments have been posted in prior replies. In addition, please take advantage of any driving time you have to also turn your car into a mobile university and listen to the Trucking Truth podcasts which can be downloaded from this link: "The Road Home" Podcast TruckingTruth's Podcast For New Drivers

I just completed the podcasts and they are very honest and sober summary of a lot of what we can expect as rookies in the industry to summarize the wealth or written knowledge here. They are NOT a replacement but a great supplement to the reading that has been suggested. Good luck to you and happy reading!

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hello! I have a YouTube channel and a few videos that discuss the realities of trucking. I have been told that this video is very sobering and enlightening.

OTR Realities

I have lots of videos about training and life as a woman on the road too.

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.

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

Both of these guys have given you rock solid advice. The thing about trucking, especially in training and your first year, you have to be all in. This isn't just a "gig." The first year is rough, even when you have an amazing company. There are times your ego will get you in trouble, and your truck/trailer will humble you. Be aware of it, and work through it.

The name on the door really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Some of the posters on this forum have been seriously successful with companies that have "bad" reputations. Stop listening to the people who have failed. Start looking to those who are successful. The reason you don't see glowing sunshiny flowering reviews of companies, is that the successful driver is too busy busting their tukus to be successful.

In this industry, you will make mistakes. It happens. Own it. Learn from it. Learn from the mistakes of others. That way, hopefully your mistakes won't cost others their lives.

The bottom line is, it can be brutal, but very rewarding.

I came in with a one year, three year, and five year plan. I'm almost at the two year mark, and well over 3/4 of the way to my 3 year goal. It's mentally tough, but worth so much more in the end.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

Also, the other two snuck in while I was being long winded! 🤪 They have great resources for you too!

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Hi, Kayla! Welcome to TT.

I went through the self-pay, private school route to get my CDL , and do not recommend it, so your choice to go the Employer Paid CDL route is a solid well reasoned decision. You mention that 'something' is nagging at you about Swift. Quite likely you've been influenced by the common wisdom (which is quite 'common' in the old world english dictionary definition, and NOT wisdom in the real world). Swift and Roehl are both good outfits which will train you well, and will expect you to give this lifestyle 100% each and every day from the time you arrive at their training site until the day you retire or resign. If you are able to give your employer a full hard day of safe and law abiding work, each and every day, adapting to the frequent changes and disruptions without complaining or expecting special treatment, you will get along well in the career.

Being a professional driver means, first, being professional. All of the interactions you have with customers, other drivers, and coworkers reflects on not only the company but you as well. If you decide to "ride for the brand", it will become readily apparent before too long to those that are able to guide you to great success in the career.

I drove for a number of years, for two different outfits. One gave me a shot when nobody else would. The other allowed me to maximize my earning and satisfaction potential through service to them and OUR customers. No matter who you drive for, remember that the shippers, receivers and brokers are ultimately YOUR customers, treat them accordingly (as you would want to be treated as a customer) and you will do well in the field.

-Get Out And Look. -Oh, and wear a hat for the first year. At least ALWAYS when backing. It keeps the sweat out of your eyes.

Wishing you great success.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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