After 47 Years Can I Finally Fulfill A Lifetime Dream?

Topic 6250 | Page 1

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Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, first and for most I would like to say what a great website!! I have been reading and learning off this web sight for a few months now and I am really enjoying it. Brett thank you very much for this informative web sight! (You Rock). For all of the contributors (veterans drivers and rookies alike ) I thank you for the educational and recreational reading you have offered here. I am so glad to have found truckingtruth.com.

My name is Brian Miller and I am hoping to make a career change and become a OTR Truck Driver. Now that my children are grown and on their own career paths and my father is finally retiring from the family business (and agrees to shut the store down with me). I can explore my dream of driving OTR. I really believe driving is my calling and am looking forward to all the challenges driving will bring. By starting this blog I hope to find mentors that perhaps can guide me to the best answers and solutions.

Right now I am trying to decide on Private or Carrier based training. I visited a school close to home recently and was very impressed with the school from my initial examination. Very small class sizes and there seems to be a lot of one on one training. I still have a few concerns though. My first concern is that I cannot find many reviews about this school and the cost of their program is $6000 dollars up front. The school is Suncoast Trucking Acadamy out of Punta Gorda Fl. Another issue I am having is finding a company trucking school that will take students that live in Florida. I don't understand why so many companies will not school and hire people from Florida. I would be willing to relocate after I finish training? I also checked my DMV record with the state and shows absolutely no violations in the past. I know I've had tickets in the past and a drivers license suspended back in 1990's but these are no longer on my record. Can these violations in the 1990's come back to haunt me. I was hoping to find out the dates of any infraction so I could but the correct dates down on any application. How do I do that if I can't find them? DMV states violations go off you record between 3 to 5 years and major ones between 7 and 10 years except for DUI's. How should I answer on my applications?

I would like to start school after the New Year, this allows me time to lose some weight before the physical and also help my father close the store. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Brian I

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Chance H.'s Comment
member avatar

Bryan,

I went through much of the same difficulty you are when I was applying. However, what I found useful was the post on this particular website that breaks down every company and what they expect as well as who they will and will not hire. As for your DMV record I would go ahead and disclose anything dating back 7-10 years that is a major offense. I had one recruiter tell me that it's better to state that you did x crime x years ago rather than have them pull the background up and find it. As far as hiring out of Florida that's not one I can answer as I live in Oklahoma currently maybe one of these guys has the answer.

However, as for company training vs school training I did ALOT of thought and debate and research on this matter and I myself finally settled on Company training. For me like you 6,000.00 was a bit of a stretch to afford up front or over a course of time. After looking into my options I finally decided that love or hate a job if it's going to allow me to follow a dream of mine in obtaining a cdl and seeing the country then I suppose a year or two years is not that bad of an amount of time to suffer. Sometimes the rewards will far outweigh the risks. What I advise you to do is again use this web site as well as other websites and read reviews of companies and training and just do what feels safer and more comforting to you.

Good luck and hope to see ya out there

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Bryan,

I went through much of the same difficulty you are when I was applying. However, what I found useful was the post on this particular website that breaks down every company and what they expect as well as who they will and will not hire. As for your DMV record I would go ahead and disclose anything dating back 7-10 years that is a major offense. I had one recruiter tell me that it's better to state that you did x crime x years ago rather than have them pull the background up and find it. As far as hiring out of Florida that's not one I can answer as I live in Oklahoma currently maybe one of these guys has the answer.

However, as for company training vs school training I did ALOT of thought and debate and research on this matter and I myself finally settled on Company training. For me like you 6,000.00 was a bit of a stretch to afford up front or over a course of time. After looking into my options I finally decided that love or hate a job if it's going to allow me to follow a dream of mine in obtaining a cdl and seeing the country then I suppose a year or two years is not that bad of an amount of time to suffer. Sometimes the rewards will far outweigh the risks. What I advise you to do is again use this web site as well as other websites and read reviews of companies and training and just do what feels safer and more comforting to you.

Good luck and hope to see ya out there

Thanks for the words of encouragement Brian

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Brian M; I live in Florida panhandle and companies DO hire from Florida. Swift, May Trucking & Schneider are just a few.

I recommend you start calling recruiters. You can get their numbers from websites. Tell them you are willing to relocate upon completion of school. It may just be they don't currently have positions in Florida and therefore they say they're not hiring from Florida.

Private vs. Company Sponsored Training; you REALLY need look over that section here on TT. Company Sponsored may be free up front, but if you don't stay with that company they may make you pay back some of the cost. Not all companies do that and generally the amount you pay back can be much less than private school tuition anyway. Most companies offer tuition reimbursement, but it takes forever for them to pay it back (e.g. $150 per month until paid and that can take 4 years).

Here's what I found for Truck Driver Institute (TDI); tuition is $5995 or $4995 if paid in full up front. If they finance you it is @ 17% interest with payments around $245/month. With decent credit you can borrow $4995 from a credit union @ a much lower interest rate.

When I started diving into company-sponsored training , I learned their class sizes are generally larger than private. Swift quoted me 20-30 per class versus 8-10 at TDI. Swift sounded great and offers vets (any) full tuition covered, so I could go there for free. They told me I'd have to get my permit prior to attending. However, for me the class size matters. So I studied HRT on TT and got my permit (incl. combination & air brakes) plus tank and double/triple endorsements. I should have Hazmat next week.

As for driving record, I disclosed everything including my DUI from 1983 and it hasn't prevented me from anything. I currently have two pre-hire letters prior to starting school.

When you take your permit test in FL, skip any questions you need to on the computer. Trust me, it takes stress off 'cause the computer will stop once you've scored enough right answers to pass the test.

I hope this helps.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Brian M; I live in Florida panhandle and companies DO hire from Florida. Swift, May Trucking & Schneider are just a few.

I recommend you start calling recruiters. You can get their numbers from websites. Tell them you are willing to relocate upon completion of school. It may just be they don't currently have positions in Florida and therefore they say they're not hiring from Florida.

Private vs. Company Sponsored Training; you REALLY need look over that section here on TT. Company Sponsored may be free up front, but if you don't stay with that company they may make you pay back some of the cost. Not all companies do that and generally the amount you pay back can be much less than private school tuition anyway. Most companies offer tuition reimbursement, but it takes forever for them to pay it back (e.g. $150 per month until paid and that can take 4 years).

Here's what I found for Truck Driver Institute (TDI); tuition is $5995 or $4995 if paid in full up front. If they finance you it is @ 17% interest with payments around $245/month. With decent credit you can borrow $4995 from a credit union @ a much lower interest rate.

When I started diving into company-sponsored training , I learned their class sizes are generally larger than private. Swift quoted me 20-30 per class versus 8-10 at TDI. Swift sounded great and offers vets (any) full tuition covered, so I could go there for free. They told me I'd have to get my permit prior to attending. However, for me the class size matters. So I studied HRT on TT and got my permit (incl. combination & air brakes) plus tank and double/triple endorsements. I should have Hazmat next week.

As for driving record, I disclosed everything including my DUI from 1983 and it hasn't prevented me from anything. I currently have two pre-hire letters prior to starting school.

When you take your permit test in FL, skip any questions you need to on the computer. Trust me, it takes stress off 'cause the computer will stop once you've scored enough right answers to pass the test.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for all the great information I have already been in touch with a few recruiters and have been rejected for class due to my location. It seems anything south of Ocala or Orlando is a real problem for some companies. I did have luck with CRST, they will train me which is great, but the recruiter stopped short of pulling a backround check due to my wanting to start in January. He said when I am closer to the date he would be glad to help me.

I pulled my own complete DMV record to insure A) there were no surprises and B) To find out any dates of prior infractions I had over 10 yrs ago. According to my DMV I haven't had any prior violations. The State of Florida removes infractions after 3 to 5 yrs and major infractions after 10 to 15 yrs. Except DUIs which stay on your record for 75yrs. I have a wreckless driving conviction back in 1992 and my license was suspended in the 1990s but I have no dates. I am trying to be honest and accurate and its driving me crazy.

Anyway thanks for your great advice and good luck on your quest. Brian

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

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