Just Starting...need Some Guidance

Topic 8634 | Page 1

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Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
member avatar

Hello!

I'm interested in driving truck but don't really know where to get started and with what company. I have started reading my state's CDL manual, but I seem to be faced with two options that I'm not sure from which to pick: Go to school (which I don't have $ up front for)? Or get on with a company that offers paid training? The signing bonuses seem too good to be true and I don't want to fall for a scam.

Also, I understand that I'll have to drive OTR for about a year before any local company will consider hiring me (correct?), but I'm not sure which companies are good companies to go with for paid training. Any suggestions? I've heard of two to stay away from, but I thought it best to get some feedback from a larger audience. So here I am!

I also need some help with industry terminology so I make a solid decision. A friend of mine drives for a local food company and warned me (in the most polite way possible) to be careful of getting into carrying loads that I wouldn't be able to deliver. Meaning: I'm 5' tall and he throws product from the back of his trailer which he has to reach at his 6' 8" chest. There's no way I'd be able to throw product consistently at that height (without scaffolding ;) ) so I was wondering about ?"drop and hook"? positions? And that's where my terminology is limited. I have no problem accepting that due to my height, I might not physically be able to do some jobs, but what positions should I keep my eyes out for?

Thanks for taking the time to read my extremely long post and for your feedback. I just want to make solid decisions and get on a good path!

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome SunshineMelly! I went to a company sponsored school and the pace is lightening fast. That being said, I couldn't afford to pay for a slower paced school so you do what ya hafta do, ya know? I too am 5' tall and getting long in the tooth to boot. I drive a dry van and never touch any freight but it is still physically challenging some days. That isn't to say you can't do it by any means, just realize it might take you longer dome days to drop and hook a trailer. You might post on the main board to get more responses as it gets much more traffic than this on does. Best of luck to you!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
member avatar

Thank you Jolie! I appreciate your response. I've gotten two pre-hire letters and am working on getting 10. I've been doing a lot of reading and research and am starting slow. Need to save up for school because I think I'll need the extra attention. Also, I'm going to try to drive local or regional sooner rather than later because I need to be close to home.

PS: Kind of a weird question, but is there a reason most people on here have profile pictures that aren't their faces? I made mine...well, what it is...but didn't no if it was an unspoken thing that we don't use personal pictures except for the moderators.

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.

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.

Shirley B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Ms. Sunshine Melly, Try Cr England they gave me a headstart. Ofcourse you have to be patient with the way they do things example: Company driving you will wait for a truck approx. 3 wks or longer after completing your modules and driver training with a trainer which will take you out for about 8 wks or less. Lease program allows you to get into a truck sooner (not recommended if you do not have atleast 3-4 wks of lease amount saved up). Both are contingent on what your trainer has to say about you. Do not suck up to them. Be prepared to have a nothing to lose attitude. As a woman you may get a trainer who is not respectful to females. Set boundaries. They cross the line be prepared to file a complaint and possibly unemployment. All & all I had 4 different trainers because I just so happened to catch their hometime schedule but they were very respectful and encouraging. Hope this helps.

Shirley B.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot... Have expense money if you go for cdl school & training because the first 2 months is not a walk in the park as far as pay($50 a wk).

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.
Shirley B.'s Comment
member avatar

Once your in a truck the pay is good if Otr. Company driving I can not confirm.

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.

Shirley B.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry, $50 each module(4-5) & .10 cents a mile on loaded and empty with trainer`s truck.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for all the advice Shirley! So far, I've received 5 pre-hire letters with one more on the way. There is one company, JBS, that might be a top contender as they are out of Greeley and my 34 hr reset would be at home. They said they pay $450/wk during training which is 6-8 wks. Not enough to pay my bills, so thanks for the heads up about having some $ set aside during that time. It would be quite ironic for the vegetarian to haul livestock to slaughter or feedlots, but it's work and peope have to eat. I found a recruiter at the school that I'm looking to go to who has been really helpful (though I am taking anything he says with a grain of salt). Seems to give realy great advice and has helped me immensely in getting my pre-hires. They offer a free class on Saturdays to help study for my permit which I think I'll go to this weekend. Although I need to switch careers sooner rather than later, I'm trying to space things outs two weeks at a time to make sure I'm not jumping in too quickly. If you have any more advice for me, just let me know. I really appreciate it. I tried to go to CR England, but they want me to go through their school and I'm just not ready to sign with a company for an entire year. Might change my mind later, but for now...

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.

Pre-hires:

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.

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