CDL TRAINING SCHOOL REALLY NECESSARY ?

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Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

Is a training school REALLY necessary ? I'm seeing around $5k for the schooling....I'm still paying off a college degree at age 48. Why can't a guy get his CDL on his own (the written part isn't hard), have a buddy in the trucking trade teach him the driving part, maybe even go on the rd. with the friend to see how it really is, then once you have the driving part down, go take your driving skills test thus getting your actual CDL, not just the learner's permit, then start job hunting.

If the industry is as hungry for drivers as this site lets on...this would be a lot quicker and save a guy a bunch of money.

I'm not liking the idea of being a company's w _ _ _e for a yr. or more to pay off a driving school debt....of which I see there are numerous ways they can make sure you don't complete your obligation to them and end up having to pay anyway.

I've been thru two universities, & two trade schools....not looking to do it again as I've seen that none of them are what they're cracked up to be.

What's wrong with the "cut to the chase" approach I've laid out above ?

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!

Hey Deek. Errol is right. Skipping the schooling is completely legal and doable, but it's a terrible idea in the end when you consider everything.

For starters, is learning how to drive an 80,000 pound rig safely really the best place to cut corners in your life? If you're looking to save a little time and money then how about buying a less expensive car, eating at home instead of restaurants, and buying your clothes at Walmart. None of those things are going to kill someone's family the way a poorly trained driver will, ya know what I mean?

And is skimping out on the training you'll need to begin a new career really the way you want to get a new career off the ground? I mean, it's not like you're trying to land a short term job at McDonald's to get by until you can find something better in a few weeks or a month. You're building the foundation for a whole new career which will power the next phase of your life. You'd kinda want to do that the right way, wouldn't ya?

The next problem is that none of the major companies will hire you. They're not really big on being liable for someone driving their rig around the country when they have no idea if you've been trained properly or not. So you'll have a license and you'll be ready to get out there and get your new career off the ground but landing a job at a reputable company is going to be next to impossible. Seems like a lot of time, money, and effort spent getting a license to drive something when nobody will let you drive for them, ya know?

[getting your license on your own]...would be a lot quicker and save a guy a bunch of money.

Would it? I mean, do you think you can teach yourself how to drive faster and cheaper than a school who is well equipped with trucks, a training area, experienced professional instructors, a nice classroom, and years of experience getting drivers their license as quickly and inexpensively as possible? Remember, you have to rent the truck, buy the fuel, pay a licensed driver to ride with you while you're learning, teach yourself the materials, setup your own appointment with the state DOT for testing, and more. Schools make their money getting people trained quickly and inexpensively. I don't see how you could possibly teach yourself faster and cheaper than a school could. Not only are you saying you don't need their professionals to train you, but you can actually do the training itself faster and cheaper than they can. That's pretty bold, don't ya think?

....of which I see there are numerous ways [a company-sponsored program] can make sure you don't complete your obligation to them and end up having to pay anyway

That is one of the most common misnomers in the industry. It's false information being spread either by private schools who are trying to compete with these company-sponsored training programs or the students who screwed up and were sent home from these programs, without having to pay by the way.

Here's how company-sponsored training works. The company fronts the money, time, trucks, trainers, bus tickets, practice areas, hotel rooms, and sometimes even the food it takes to transport, house, and train students. Once you complete your training you will work for the company for a specified amount of time so they can recoup the investment they made in you. Sometimes they'll take money out of your paycheck for tuition, sometimes they'll pay you a slightly lower rate, and sometimes they simply just require you to work for the company.

It's common for people to think that companies profit from these programs, but they don't. You know how you can tell? Because trucking companies exist for the same reason every business exists - to make money. If they were making money from these programs everyone would have them. There are somewhere around 1.1 million trucking companies in the nation. Fewer than 20 companies that I know of have this sort of training and they're all really huge companies. Why? Because it's expensive to run these schools. But the large companies need so many drivers that having a school is simply another avenue for recruiting.

They will tell you up front how much training you can have for free and at what point you'll be expected to pay it back. They are not going to fire you and then try to collect on tuition as a business model. I mean, these companies have thousands of trucks. Do you think firing a few drivers and trying to collect on tuition is going to make a noticeable dent in their revenues and profits? H*ll no. That's diddly squat to them. It would never come close to showing up on the balance sheet. On top of that they'd be soiling their reputation, making it even harder to bring in drivers in the future. They'd be cannibalizing their own recruiting efforts which are exactly why they started the school in the first place.

So as you can see it just doesn't make sense on any level to try to skip the schooling. It only takes a few weeks, it costs very little, and then you have an awesome foundation to build your new career.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

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

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
What's wrong with the "cut to the chase" approach I've laid out above ?

Yes, Deek, there are perfectly legal ways to get your CDL without doing that training school junk. Problem is, no "big" truck company will talk to you.

Suppose you owned an 80,000 pound, 75 foot long, big toy/death machine that its trailer can roll over the hood of a car and the driver wouldn't know it. Then a guy walks up, shows you a license, and asks if he could drive it around for a while. Gonna let him roll?

You can talk to a recruiter all day long, but there's nothing to do until you get through a driving school. Not negotiable.

And it's not hard to get a company to pay for your training. It only costs you maybe 1 year of your life.

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.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Well those people that you talk about probably got their start years ago when the rules were more lax and the insurance companies did not have their panties in a wad.

I am probably the only one that did it the way you are describing. Started about 3 years ago and was lucky enough to have a boss that taught me the basics. Most of which were incorrect that I learned by reading up on the subject myself. (securement mostly) But I learned to turn the corners without hitting anything and shifting. I then moved on to where I am at now moving oversized loads.

Right now I am under my longest load ever at 98 feet long and about 135 feet long overall.

As far as farm kids learning the best way to drive.... LOL Most farmers that I know, the pretrip consists of turning the key to see if it starts. It is easy to drive down a 2 lane road where there is little to no traffic.

Can you do it? Yeah probably. But 99.8% of the people that come to this site do not have that ability or access to those kinds of resources.

As for the cost of the school, you have been paying on your degrees for over 20 years and this small amount is cleared in 1. Who is the one making the poor decision, you or truck drivers that attend school.

You can work anywhere for a year but if you are the type that can not handle the situation you are in then there is nothing keeping you there as many seem to think. They just have to realize that instead of smaller checks to pay the tuition it will have to come out of your pocket.

Just because you have your CDL , you are not entitled to a job. Trucking is probably one of the few jobs left where you have to earn your spot.

Personally, from reading these few posts of yours, your personality and trucking will have a hard time fitting together. It seems that in trucking, the smarter you think you are, the harder it hits you up side the head. Trucking will either mold you into another person or it will chew you up and spit you out.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I read on here somewhere that trucking has about a 100% turnover rate.

Indeed it does. It's a combination of things like:

1) The pay is too low for the risks and sacrifices you have to make. To me, the travelling lifestyle is what makes it worth doing. The pay should be $20,000 per year higher than it is. But the pay is based upon supply and demand so there's nothing you can do about that except keep hunting for better paying jobs.

2) People are completely unprepared for the shocking lifestyle change you're thrown into cold turkey. Those first three or four months of school, CDL testing, training with a mentor, and then running solo are extremely challenging and stressful. You feel like you barely know enough to be on the road legally (which you do), you have no idea how to manage your life on the road, and you don't know 5% of the things an experienced driver knows about the in's and out's of the job and the industry. You're missing your home, family, and friends. Your sleep patterns are all screwed up. It's tough! People don't expect it to be as bad as it is. There are a lot of people who drop out of the industry that could have handled it just fine but mentally weren't prepared for it at all.

3) A lot of people get into trucking that really don't want to be there or really don't belong but life forced them in that direction. The economy is tough these days. A ton of people are "under-employed" you could say. They're either not making what they want to be making or they don't have a job in their field. So they turn to trucking, sometimes as a temporary measure, sometimes without any other plans. But they get into it and pretty quickly realize they don't want anything to do with that kind of job and lifestyle. It's certainly not for everyone, and in fact it's not for most people. Even people who are really cut out for it find that it's almost never easy. But to those people that's the best part. For others, they weren't looking for that level of risk, stress, and sacrifice. They're just looking for a simple, everyday job and a reliable paycheck.

So there are a lot of reasons for the high turnover rate.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Persian Conversion, that was priceless and real as h*ll. It's always interesting how two people can be presented with the same circumstances and while one sees nothing but garbage, the other proves it's good as gold.

So..start deducting "babysit the truck" time from your "great money to be made driving a truck" and you're back to another minimum wage job.

As was pointed out already, making $50,000+ a year doesn't qualify as minimum wage by a long shot.

So let me tell everyone what I did with some of my "babysitting time" over the years just so people know there's another way of seeing things....

I went swimming in the beaches from Southern California to Florida. I spent weekends in Vegas, New Orleans, Hollywood, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Chicago, and way too many more to name. I went to NASCAR races, NHRA, local dirt tracks, local paved tracks, go-kart tracks, Harley Nitro Hill Climbs, AHDRA Harley Drags, and motocross races. I went to dozens of high school football games from coast to coast, NCAA games, NFL, and NBA. I spent time hiking in National Parks, went jogging from coast to coast, parked out in the desert to sleep in Southern California just cuz I could, went to big festivals, saw some rodeos, and even took flying lessons a few times.

In fact, I was sleeping in my bobtail behind a local gas station across from the track when I took four days off to go to the 1998 Daytona 500, the only one Dale Earnhardt ever won. I was standing right there, 10 rows off the track in turn 4.

I even had the chance to win a pickup truck by shooting a puck from center ice through a tiny hole in a board in front of the net in front of 10,000 people at a minor league hockey game in Albuquerque. I missed, but they gave me a nice Dodge jacket as a consolation prize and I had my moment in front of the crowd. My truck was broke down and I spent 8 days in a hotel before they finally decided it was unfixable and they put me on a bus back to Oklahoma City to get a different truck. Crazy, fun week. But that's how I almost won a truck at a minor league hockey game in Albuquerque. Not many people can say that.

After almost 15 years out there I could tell you stories for weeks. But that's always been my personality. I want to have fun. I want to try just about everything at least once. I can have fun sitting alone in a cardboard box. I'll find something to laugh about. No problem.

So to me it always comes down to attitude. There's always plenty to laugh about, plenty to get angry about, and plenty to cry about all around us all the time. It comes down to what you decide to focus on. I've had tons of people come up to me over the years and say straight to my face, "OMG I don't know how you can stand driving a truck for a living. I would hate it!" I would just laugh and say, "I totally understand. Most people would. I'm just the type that loves it."

My years on the road were priceless. I had a blast. But they were far from easy. It was one of the toughest jobs I ever had, which of course was one of the best parts. I wouldn't have wanted to do it otherwise.

smile.gif

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
What's wrong with the "cut to the chase" approach I've laid out above ?

Yes, Deek, there are perfectly legal ways to get your CDL without doing that training school junk. Problem is, no "big" truck company will talk to you.

Suppose you owned an 80,000 pound, 75 foot long, big toy/death machine that its trailer can roll over the hood of a car and the driver wouldn't know it. Then a guy walks up, shows you a license, and asks if he could drive it around for a while. Gonna let him roll?

You can talk to a recruiter all day long, but there's nothing to do until you get through a driving school. Not negotiable.

And it's not hard to get a company to pay for your training. It only costs you maybe 1 year of your life.

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!

Hey Deek. Errol is right. Skipping the schooling is completely legal and doable, but it's a terrible idea in the end when you consider everything.

For starters, is learning how to drive an 80,000 pound rig safely really the best place to cut corners in your life? If you're looking to save a little time and money then how about buying a less expensive car, eating at home instead of restaurants, and buying your clothes at Walmart. None of those things are going to kill someone's family the way a poorly trained driver will, ya know what I mean?

And is skimping out on the training you'll need to begin a new career really the way you want to get a new career off the ground? I mean, it's not like you're trying to land a short term job at McDonald's to get by until you can find something better in a few weeks or a month. You're building the foundation for a whole new career which will power the next phase of your life. You'd kinda want to do that the right way, wouldn't ya?

The next problem is that none of the major companies will hire you. They're not really big on being liable for someone driving their rig around the country when they have no idea if you've been trained properly or not. So you'll have a license and you'll be ready to get out there and get your new career off the ground but landing a job at a reputable company is going to be next to impossible. Seems like a lot of time, money, and effort spent getting a license to drive something when nobody will let you drive for them, ya know?

[getting your license on your own]...would be a lot quicker and save a guy a bunch of money.

Would it? I mean, do you think you can teach yourself how to drive faster and cheaper than a school who is well equipped with trucks, a training area, experienced professional instructors, a nice classroom, and years of experience getting drivers their license as quickly and inexpensively as possible? Remember, you have to rent the truck, buy the fuel, pay a licensed driver to ride with you while you're learning, teach yourself the materials, setup your own appointment with the state DOT for testing, and more. Schools make their money getting people trained quickly and inexpensively. I don't see how you could possibly teach yourself faster and cheaper than a school could. Not only are you saying you don't need their professionals to train you, but you can actually do the training itself faster and cheaper than they can. That's pretty bold, don't ya think?

....of which I see there are numerous ways [a company-sponsored program] can make sure you don't complete your obligation to them and end up having to pay anyway

That is one of the most common misnomers in the industry. It's false information being spread either by private schools who are trying to compete with these company-sponsored training programs or the students who screwed up and were sent home from these programs, without having to pay by the way.

Here's how company-sponsored training works. The company fronts the money, time, trucks, trainers, bus tickets, practice areas, hotel rooms, and sometimes even the food it takes to transport, house, and train students. Once you complete your training you will work for the company for a specified amount of time so they can recoup the investment they made in you. Sometimes they'll take money out of your paycheck for tuition, sometimes they'll pay you a slightly lower rate, and sometimes they simply just require you to work for the company.

It's common for people to think that companies profit from these programs, but they don't. You know how you can tell? Because trucking companies exist for the same reason every business exists - to make money. If they were making money from these programs everyone would have them. There are somewhere around 1.1 million trucking companies in the nation. Fewer than 20 companies that I know of have this sort of training and they're all really huge companies. Why? Because it's expensive to run these schools. But the large companies need so many drivers that having a school is simply another avenue for recruiting.

They will tell you up front how much training you can have for free and at what point you'll be expected to pay it back. They are not going to fire you and then try to collect on tuition as a business model. I mean, these companies have thousands of trucks. Do you think firing a few drivers and trying to collect on tuition is going to make a noticeable dent in their revenues and profits? H*ll no. That's diddly squat to them. It would never come close to showing up on the balance sheet. On top of that they'd be soiling their reputation, making it even harder to bring in drivers in the future. They'd be cannibalizing their own recruiting efforts which are exactly why they started the school in the first place.

So as you can see it just doesn't make sense on any level to try to skip the schooling. It only takes a few weeks, it costs very little, and then you have an awesome foundation to build your new career.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

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

Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

I can't agree. Is this site to get guys to go to the schools at $5k a pop ? I'm starting to think so... done a LOT of reading on here....almost the entire site...every article.

Personally, I do not know of ONE...not one mind you, person driving today that has went thru a driving school. Not one. They were either "farm kids' that learned driving semis pulling grain trailers on the farm and on two lane roads around small farm towns ( troopers and ICC don't hang around these areas looking for trucks...trust me), were born into the industry and dad or grandpa taught them or ,,,and here's how most of them did it...just B.S.d their way into it after getting a CDL..having a friend teach them enough to pass a road test with whatever company they went to work for. The companies all pay nearly the same...so big or small...there may be perks...but the pay is within cents of ea. other.

Face it...and this may tick a lot of you off...but the guys I know driving for a living are not well educated and exactly in the "smart" category. So....thinking there needs to be a school....nahh...no way or these guys would be working the drive thru somewhere. Pass the road skills, have a CDL and a semi-clean record, know how to back the trailer and I'll bet you a dollar to a state trooper's donut that the company man will put you on the road. I know several who have even mastered getting by the drug test.

Sure, you may have to start out with a mom and pop outfit, documenting your mileage for a year or so...but after you've got this behind you...I'll bet there's not one company that will turn you down as long as you can verify your miles and good employment record. It's that simple.

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

Deek, we've told you what we know so now you're free to do whatever you like with that information. We certainly won't take offense if you ignore our advice.

Is this site to get guys to go to the schools at $5k a pop ? I'm starting to think so..

However, if you start questioning my integrity because I'm not telling you what you'd like to hear then I'm most certainly going to take offense. So don't do that. You can think whatever you like and you're free to disagree with us all you want but do not start attacking people for their opinions. It's not a war or a competition. You asked us a question and we gave you our best answer. You're the kind of guy that's going to defend his position to the end no matter what we say, no matter what experience we have, no matter what evidence we present because you already know how you want things to be so you're going to try like h*ll to convince yourself that you're right and we're wrong. You're also going to do whatever the h*ll you like in the end regardless of any advice we give. So good luck to you with whatever path you choose.

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.

Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

OK....I'm here to learn. But,, I know how the guys laugh and snicker when I ask about a driving school. Not a one of 'em have went to a driving school. Nairy a one.

On another note...this $50k to start out the gate.... I'm reading deeper an deeper and seeing more like $30k....school teachers here in IN. start at $35k.....thus,,, I didn't get my teaching license. Aint working for that. I know of guys running small scrap yards out of their garage doing that much or more. So..which is more realistic....$50k the first yr. or the $30k ?

Joe D.'s Comment
member avatar

Deek, Brett created this site to help future drivers (and drivers already licensed) learn about what it takes to become a driver. He has done a wonderful job. And guess what He doesnt make any money from it. Or get any kickback from schools or companies. So since You ALREADY have all the answers about schooling and starting incomes. Then why are u still here? It sounds like u have all this truckin stuff figured out. Go get that cdl a without schooling we wish u luck

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.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Well those people that you talk about probably got their start years ago when the rules were more lax and the insurance companies did not have their panties in a wad.

I am probably the only one that did it the way you are describing. Started about 3 years ago and was lucky enough to have a boss that taught me the basics. Most of which were incorrect that I learned by reading up on the subject myself. (securement mostly) But I learned to turn the corners without hitting anything and shifting. I then moved on to where I am at now moving oversized loads.

Right now I am under my longest load ever at 98 feet long and about 135 feet long overall.

As far as farm kids learning the best way to drive.... LOL Most farmers that I know, the pretrip consists of turning the key to see if it starts. It is easy to drive down a 2 lane road where there is little to no traffic.

Can you do it? Yeah probably. But 99.8% of the people that come to this site do not have that ability or access to those kinds of resources.

As for the cost of the school, you have been paying on your degrees for over 20 years and this small amount is cleared in 1. Who is the one making the poor decision, you or truck drivers that attend school.

You can work anywhere for a year but if you are the type that can not handle the situation you are in then there is nothing keeping you there as many seem to think. They just have to realize that instead of smaller checks to pay the tuition it will have to come out of your pocket.

Just because you have your CDL , you are not entitled to a job. Trucking is probably one of the few jobs left where you have to earn your spot.

Personally, from reading these few posts of yours, your personality and trucking will have a hard time fitting together. It seems that in trucking, the smarter you think you are, the harder it hits you up side the head. Trucking will either mold you into another person or it will chew you up and spit you out.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
So..which is more realistic....$50k the first yr. or the $30k ?

It's normally around $32,000-$36,000 or so that first year. Some of the salaries have come up in recent months so first year drivers should be doing a little better overall.

Now I have to say there are a tiny handful of people that have landed some super sweet gigs right out of school. One guy is hauling stuff for various types of shows and tours. We have a couple of drivers who have landed LTL gigs and expect to make a killing, like in the $60,000-$70,000 range. Then there are others who landed sweet gigs in the oil fields right away.

So some killer jobs are available for a tiny percentage of new drivers but you'll probably have to dig around quite a bit to find what might be available in your area. Sometimes it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

But you can count on around $35,000 or so and expect a little more if you put in the effort to find the best opportunity available and make the most of it. You could get super lucky and land something that pays $60,000 and gets you home all the time. But those opportunities will normally require some experience and you'll definitely have to live in a very densely populated area where those jobs are often found.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Casey R.'s Comment
member avatar

"Personally, from reading these few posts of yours, your personality and trucking will have a hard time fitting together. It seems that in trucking, the smarter you think you are, the harder it hits you up side the head. Trucking will either mold you into another person or it will chew you up and spit you out."

I read on here somewhere that trucking has about a 100% turnover rate. This alone tells a thinking man a lot of things.

1) Apparently people don't like it enough to stay with it....not all of the 100% are getting fired for whatever.

2) The pay isn't what people think or are told (I read the part about recruiters 3x...they're about like my Army recruiter in the 80s...how could you tell he was a liar ? Whenever he opened his mouth....)

3) I've noticed that ANY job that is advertised is usually one that most people don't want. Or.. at least in my area that's how its been the 30 or so yrs. I've been in the job scene. Seems the better jobs in my area aren't advertised....you gotta know someone who knows someone...dad or grandpa was in the trade etc. A buddy sucked them in etc. So.. I gotta wonder right off about all these "great" driving offers. Why are there so many ? Commerce is up you say ? OK...so why is there such a high turn over if $56k/yr. is the avg. pay for the trade ???

Ya gotta look any new prospect over really closely....there's a reason for reasons.....

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