Bad Idea For A 18 Year Old?

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David H.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I just recently finished High School (Homeschooling) and have been trying to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'm looking for a good job, and frankly trucking has always had a high appeal to me. Not as a little kid thinking big trucks are cool, but as a person who simply believes they would enjoy the lifestyle. I don't know if I want to do trucking for the rest of my life or not, but even if I only did it for a couple years I would at least be able to put myself through college to complete my general education and figure out what else I may want to do.

I'd just go to college now, but frankly i'm not too much of a fan of having my parents put me through my first two years of community college, or of having a huge amount of student loans to pay off right out of school. My dad's a retired USMC vet, and has major back issues (degenerative disks in his back) so i'd prefer to support myself as much as possible out of high school and trucking seems to me the best way to do so.

And like I said, I've always wanted to take a stab at it, essentially my question is, what are my chances of being hired by a company at 18 to do in-state hauling with a class A CDL? I know you can't do OTR until 21 under federal law, but I assume you can do in-state under 21. Any tips or advice that can be given is appreciated, thanks for your time.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Welcome aboard David!

I would say that getting your CDL at 18 will be a waste of time unless you can find someone that will give you an opportunity right away. I wouldn't get the license until you can find someone willing to hire you once you get it.

Now this isn't a big deal, but of the over the road (OTR) companies have this odd policy that if you spend around a year or more away from (OTR) driving then you have to take a refresher course to "re-learn" how to drive a truck. These are usually done at an independent truck driving school but can also be done at company-sponsored schools. So even if you get the license now, you still wouldn't be driving OTR. When you turn 21 you're going to have to do a week or so of refresher training before anyone would hire you on.

Also, trucking companies don't like to see more than a few months pass between graduating from school with your CDL and going to work. So if you get your license now and didn't use it until you were 21 you would also have to go through refresher training at least.

I would talk around town and see if you can find someone that will give you an opportunity once you get the license. If you can, then I would say go for it! Why not? Get your license and go to work. But I wouldn't get your CDL until you first found an opportunity to use it for someone.

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.

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.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

OK, I'm back. Had to get off so quickly I couldn't even correct my typo ao add the Happy Face I love to end with . . . ANYWAY, David, H., if I had had one tenth of the maturity and foresight you have demonstrated in your post, I would have been MUCH better off as a young man. So, here's what I ercommend:

1. Look for a job around trucking of some sort. I drove a construction 10-wheeler dump and water truck in my early 20's. Boring but really good experience. 2. If no "driver" positions are readily available, look for a job at the a shop cleaning, maintaining the trucks/equipment. I ran a company in San Leandro, CA where we had several 10-wheeler's with mounted equipment that always needed cleaning. I hired my 14 year old son at the time (even got him his own uniform with name tags - he thought that was cool and all of the drivers adored the little punk) and he learned all about the equipment. Not available? Don't give up (I know you won't. I have faith in you) 3. Do like others here have suggested by looking for shipping/receiving positions. This allows for a lot of interaction between you and drivers and they might be a good source of contacts for future opportunities. 4. Get the driving experience ASAP and don't worry about having to do the training in the future for the OTR job. Any prior experience just puts you that much further ahead. 5. Always, ALWAYS ask lots of questions and show up early and stay late FOR FREE! NEVER use the phrase "It's not my job," no matter how many lazy people you work around OR I'LL FIRE YOU MYSELF!! And, 6. number one rule no matter what, keep it in your pants and don't get someone pregnant until you are prepared to be a GOOD husband and a responsible father - which should not be on your priority list. \ shocked.png Oh, and in passing, not to offend anyone, but you need to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and do it soon. This is for your everlasting existance and is very important but that's for another thread.

AND Thank your father for all of us for his years of service to his country. Let him know there are lots of people he doesn't know who are VERY grateful and respectful of his efforts.

Jopa

smile.gifsmile.gif

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Ok here are some places to look for driving jobs.....

Construction companies (dump trucks, lowboys and flatbeds mostly) Sand and gravel companies Road construction companies concrete mixers Pepsi Coke Moving Companies Local food delivery (i.e. places like sysco) City bus companies

That is all I can think of at the moment.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

You can drive within the state, at your age. So you could get into trucking....You don't say where you live, so I can't give you any pointers on how to check, or where, about gaining employment after you finish school. Alot of community colleges offer a CDL school, so thats something to check into. If you can't find a job driving until you are older, check into working for FedEx on the docks, or UPS, or even Pepsi, or Coke. They can hire their drivers from within the company, so you could ride along and lump crates, and get the feel of trucking that way. You have alot of possibilities...so check them out !!! And Welcome to TT !!!! Glad you found us....stick around, theres lots to learn here !!

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.
David H.'s Comment
member avatar

You can drive within the state, at your age. So you could get into trucking....You don't say where you live, so I can't give you any pointers on how to check, or where, about gaining employment after you finish school. Alot of community colleges offer a CDL school, so thats something to check into. If you can't find a job driving until you are older, check into working for FedEx on the docks, or UPS, or even Pepsi, or Coke. They can hire their drivers from within the company, so you could ride along and lump crates, and get the feel of trucking that way. You have alot of possibilities...so check them out !!! And Welcome to TT !!!! Glad you found us....stick around, theres lots to learn here !!

First thanks for the reply, I apologize for not listing my state etc at first, never even thought to do so.

Currently i reside in Topeka Kansas, as for Fedex and UPS etc, I hadn't thought of that, from what I've read people say its worth getting a CDL even if you don't start working in trucking right away, would you agree? Also do you have any recommendations on where to get a CDL? I've read that its better to get a CDL from a Company instead of a community college or some other source. Thoughts?

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.
Cynthia L.'s Comment
member avatar

I believe you have to be 21 to get your CDL. Good luck and welcome.

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I believe you have to be 21 to get your CDL. Good luck and welcome.

Nope. You can be 18 but you can not cross state lines.

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
Best Answer!

Welcome aboard David!

I would say that getting your CDL at 18 will be a waste of time unless you can find someone that will give you an opportunity right away. I wouldn't get the license until you can find someone willing to hire you once you get it.

Now this isn't a big deal, but of the over the road (OTR) companies have this odd policy that if you spend around a year or more away from (OTR) driving then you have to take a refresher course to "re-learn" how to drive a truck. These are usually done at an independent truck driving school but can also be done at company-sponsored schools. So even if you get the license now, you still wouldn't be driving OTR. When you turn 21 you're going to have to do a week or so of refresher training before anyone would hire you on.

Also, trucking companies don't like to see more than a few months pass between graduating from school with your CDL and going to work. So if you get your license now and didn't use it until you were 21 you would also have to go through refresher training at least.

I would talk around town and see if you can find someone that will give you an opportunity once you get the license. If you can, then I would say go for it! Why not? Get your license and go to work. But I wouldn't get your CDL until you first found an opportunity to use it for someone.

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.

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.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
I'd just go to college now, but frankly i'm not too much of a fan of having my parents put me through my first two years of community college, or of having a huge amount of student loans to pay off right out of school. My dad's a retired USMC vet, and has major back issues (degenerative disks in his back) so i'd prefer to support myself as much as possible out of high school and trucking seems to me the best way to do so.

Man, you have NO IDEA what a breath of fresh air your attitude is. I am going to make a rash statement here that you will GO FAR and do whatever the heck you want to in life with that VERY mature attitude you just exhibited. I want to follow this up imn a minute before my time expires and I lose this text . . . back in a couple

Jiopa

Jopa's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

OK, I'm back. Had to get off so quickly I couldn't even correct my typo ao add the Happy Face I love to end with . . . ANYWAY, David, H., if I had had one tenth of the maturity and foresight you have demonstrated in your post, I would have been MUCH better off as a young man. So, here's what I ercommend:

1. Look for a job around trucking of some sort. I drove a construction 10-wheeler dump and water truck in my early 20's. Boring but really good experience. 2. If no "driver" positions are readily available, look for a job at the a shop cleaning, maintaining the trucks/equipment. I ran a company in San Leandro, CA where we had several 10-wheeler's with mounted equipment that always needed cleaning. I hired my 14 year old son at the time (even got him his own uniform with name tags - he thought that was cool and all of the drivers adored the little punk) and he learned all about the equipment. Not available? Don't give up (I know you won't. I have faith in you) 3. Do like others here have suggested by looking for shipping/receiving positions. This allows for a lot of interaction between you and drivers and they might be a good source of contacts for future opportunities. 4. Get the driving experience ASAP and don't worry about having to do the training in the future for the OTR job. Any prior experience just puts you that much further ahead. 5. Always, ALWAYS ask lots of questions and show up early and stay late FOR FREE! NEVER use the phrase "It's not my job," no matter how many lazy people you work around OR I'LL FIRE YOU MYSELF!! And, 6. number one rule no matter what, keep it in your pants and don't get someone pregnant until you are prepared to be a GOOD husband and a responsible father - which should not be on your priority list. \ shocked.png Oh, and in passing, not to offend anyone, but you need to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and do it soon. This is for your everlasting existance and is very important but that's for another thread.

AND Thank your father for all of us for his years of service to his country. Let him know there are lots of people he doesn't know who are VERY grateful and respectful of his efforts.

Jopa

smile.gifsmile.gif

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Geez, still a bunch of typos . . . sorry about that . . . sorry.gif

Jopa

smile.gif

Scott S.'s Comment
member avatar

I'll go contrarian.

College doesn't get more convenient as you get older (though maturity can help you make more of the opportunity). If you have the opportunity and aptitude to go to community college now, I'd go. Unless you just want to drive til you retire, you'll need some kind of degree as a credential for an interesting job IMO (including trucking operations). "Unskilled" labor will become progressively less valuable for the next 50 years.

Aim first at a two year general studies-type degree that will get your general education requirements behind you, and start looking at requirements to transfer to an interesting bachelor's program. If you still want to drive when you're 21, decide then.

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