Just Got CDL Class A, I Have ?s

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Karl A.'s Comment
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So I just got my CDL this past Friday and I am very stoaked about this.. Now all weekend I have been getting calls from other companies with job offers.. I did a company sponsored program and feel I owe this company a year but some of these offers come with bonuses and more home time, slightly more pay.. I don't know what I should do.. Also how did all these companies get ahold of me so quickly?

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.
Just me's Comment
member avatar

So I just got my CDL this past Friday and I am very stoaked about this.. Now all wkend I have been getting calls from other companies with job offers.. I did a company sponsored program and feel I owe this company a year but some of these offers come with bonuses and more home time, slightly more pay.. I don't know what I should do.. Also how did all these companies get ahold of me so quickly?

If you did company sponsored training aren't you obligated to drive for them until the training is paid for? What company trained 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.

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.

Karl A.'s Comment
member avatar

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So I just got my CDL this past Friday and I am very stoaked about this.. Now all wkend I have been getting calls from other companies with job offers.. I did a company sponsored program and feel I owe this company a year but some of these offers come with bonuses and more home time, slightly more pay.. I don't know what I should do.. Also how did all these companies get ahold of me so quickly?

double-quotes-end.png

If you did company sponsored training aren't you obligated to drive for them until the training is paid for? What company trained you?

Yeah I plan on driving for swift who has sponsored me, just didn't expect all these job offers right out of school

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.

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.

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

Beware that if you went to a paid training school through swift then you signed a contract saying that you will drive for them a certain amount of time. Usually a year. You can choose to leave and take another offer but you WILL be charged for your training that they provided. So keep that in mind if you go elsewhere. It's not cheap for these companies to provide this training to get your cdl so they would hope you return the favor by helping them recoup the cost.

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.

Karl A.'s Comment
member avatar

Beware that if you went to a paid training school through swift then you signed a contract saying that you will drive for them a certain amount of time. Usually a year. You can choose to leave and take another offer but you WILL be charged for your training that they provided. So keep that in mind if you go elsewhere. It's not cheap for these companies to provide this training to get your cdl so they would hope you return the favor by helping them recoup the cost.

Yeah, I understand this.. I am tempted at the more home time by one of these companies.. They offered me 2500 for a bonus which would pay half the school off top.. I was just more or less curious for the experiences of others and multiple job offers, IM new to all that

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.

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

Well if that's the case and your prepared to pay for it then go for what ever offer sounds best. Pretty sure those sign on bonuses are the same kind of thing too and usually are paid very slowly to you in your check weekly. I'm not completely sure about this though because I went through a private school and went local with no bonus or anything. Whatever you do though, good luck to you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Karl, here's some things to consider that might help.

Consider your work history and how important it is to have a stable work history. If you take the job offer you'll need to do some explaining to future employers on why you only lasted under a month with Swift. That in itself will be a burden on your back for many years to come.

Consider this also, you don't even know if you'll like this job. The truth is, youre on the extreme tip of the iceberg right now. If you quit Swift, you'll be in the hole for many thousands. And that sign on bonus will hardly help because it's never given to you all at once. They probably split it throughout the year.

Having said all of that, what if you turn out to hate the job and lifestyle. Then you'll ruin your work history, owe Swift many thousands, not get any sign on bonus, and walk away losing everything and more.

A lot of folks don't know this, but some of these schools will reduce your schooling costs at the 6 month mark. Not by a whole lot though.

My advice, first learn if this is something you'll enjoy doing. Test the waters, don't just jump in. Stay OTR with Swift for now and get a feel for how things work and get some experience under your belt. The good thing with Swift is that they have many dedicated/regional opportunities that can get you home often. So you're not sentenced to a month out at a time. Excel above all others and they'll give you these opportunities they reserve for the drivers that are above and beyond.

At your 6 month mark, revisit this idea. By then you'll have even more offers, including offers from Swift so you might not even have to switch companies. You'll also save your work history in a way as well as your pocketbook.

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.

Karl A.'s Comment
member avatar

Karl, here's some things to consider that might help.

Consider your work history and how important it is to have a stable work history. If you take the job offer you'll need to do some explaining to future employers on why you only lasted under a month with Swift. That in itself will be a burden on your back for many years to come.

Consider this also, you don't even know if you'll like this job. The truth is, youre on the extreme tip of the iceberg right now. If you quit Swift, you'll be in the hole for many thousands. And that sign on bonus will hardly help because it's never given to you all at once. They probably split it throughout the year.

Having said all of that, what if you turn out to hate the job and lifestyle. Then you'll ruin your work history, owe Swift many thousands, not get any sign on bonus, and walk away losing everything and more.

A lot of folks don't know this, but some of these schools will reduce your schooling costs at the 6 month mark. Not by a whole lot though.

My advice, first learn if this is something you'll enjoy doing. Test the waters, don't just jump in. Stay OTR with Swift for now and get a feel for how things work and get some experience under your belt. The good thing with Swift is that they have many dedicated/regional opportunities that can get you home often. So you're not sentenced to a month out at a time. Excel above all others and they'll give you these opportunities they reserve for the drivers that are above and beyond.

At your 6 month mark, revisit this idea. By then you'll have even more offers, including offers from Swift so you might not even have to switch companies. You'll also save your work history in a way as well as your pocketbook.

I appreciate the advice Daniel.. All good points.. I am going to stay here and build up my work history.. I have just never had so many people contact me about jobs before it's an off situation for me.. why are bonuses broken up over time?

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.

Bob H.'s Comment
member avatar
why are bonuses broken up over time?

So that people don't just take the $$$ and run!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
why are bonuses broken up over time?
So that people don't just take the $$$ and run!

Exactly, just like you're about to do to Swift! That's why they had you sign the contract - so you wouldn't just take their free training and jump ship.

I agree 100% with Daniel - stay where you're at. He listed some good points and there are probably 25 others we could list. For instance, you might make a little more per mile somewhere else but you're going to pay back a whole lot more to Swift in tuition money if you leave which will likely negate any gains you would have made. We're also getting ready to head into the slow season soon. These other companies may or may not keep you rolling through the slow times the way Swift will.

The big one in my eyes is a big concern most people aren't aware of at first. If you were to jump ship and then right out of the gate get into an accident there's a very good chance they would fire you. Now your record would show that in less than two months you signed a contract and landed a job, broke that contract to change jobs, and right away got in a wreck. Now how does that sound to the next company in line thinking about hiring you and hoping you'll stick around for a while to become a safe, productive driver? Not exactly your star recruit! Most places are going to pass you up.

Listen, Swift is a great company for new drivers. They're well equipped to help you get your career off to a great start. If you can get through this first year with a clean safety record you will literally be able to work for almost any company in the nation. I'd say 95% or more of all companies would be willing to hire you with one year of safe OTR experience. So stick with Swift for now, keep that safety record clean, learn to handle that rig, learn all about Swift and the opportunities they'll present (and there's a lot of em!), and then decide down the road if you'd like to go someplace else.

Believe me, there are tons of guys and gals that jump from greener pasture to greener pasture all the time. The turnover in the industry nationwide is right around 100%. That's insane! You don't get that without tons of people jumping around from job to job and many others dropping out of the industry altogether. And yet when have you ever heard of a place that isn't hiring? If there were a number of greener pastures out there wouldn't there be a long waiting list at those jobs? Heck, even the union companies are hiring new graduates out of school and they have the best pay and benefits in the trucking universe!

And lastly, Swift has a vested interest in you. They've invested quite a sum of money in you so they really need to see you become a safe, productive driver for them in order to recoup their investment. If you jump ship, the next company has no vested interest in you. They'll give you a tiny portion of the sign-on bonus up front but that's peanuts to them. They would drop you in a heartbeat if they thought you were more trouble than it was worth. I would feel more comfortable, especially as a rookie, working somewhere that has invested their time and money in me. They care deeply about you being successful with them. Drivers are a commodity for the most part but you've actually put yourself in a position where a company needs to keep you around. That's a nice thing to have.

We had a driver a while back that worked for Schneider and after 10 months he totalled a truck. Up to that point he had a perfect safety and service record and was well liked by the company. You know what they did? They brought him in for some interviews with the safety department to judge where he was at mentally with regard to being a safe, productive driver in the future. They wanted to know how he felt about the accident, the company, the job - everything. Turns out they felt he was a good driver with great potential that made one big mistake. They were willing to stick with him because of his attitude and the great job he had done to that point so they put him in a new truck and sent him back out like nothing happened. Even though he made a catastrophic mistake they rewarded him for his great attitude and the great work he had done to that point.

There's a long list of reasons to stick with a company and many of them you'll learn in the coming months. The job, lifestyle, and industry in general is more complex than people expect in the beginning. As the the in's and out's of the industry reveal themselves you'll see what we mean.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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