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Any CDL-A truckers on here? Need advice.

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by new loader, Nov 11, 2009.

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  1. new loader

    new loader Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    498
    I am a recent CDL driving school grad with NO experience except what was taught in school. I have tanker, doubles & triples, and can activate Haz-Mat with fingerprint submission. I have no accidents and clean BMV report. Have DOT physical and recent drug test, all necessary to get the CDL-A in the first place. How do I get a job? Most places want 1 year (or more) experience before they will even consider a new hire. How can I get experience without a job? Any advice will be appreciated.
     
  2. awbenz

    awbenz TS Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    518
    I Drove for 25yrs. National Carriers, Excel, Wal-Mart. I started local hauling grain, produce, etc, worked my way up.
    Go to White Flyer and haul targets to gun clubs( take your gun along)LOL.
    Most schools give you a place to work as there is a shortage of drivers. You may have to drive for JB until you get a better offer. Allen
     
  3. mikeinmich

    mikeinmich Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    114
    Check the railroads. They're always looking for cdl A drivers.
     
  4. SeldomShoots

    SeldomShoots Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,800
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have CDL with all endorsements except hazmat. Got them back in 1994 while you still could without a driving test. I kept them for grain hauling and in case I would want to drive OTR. Have you checked into trying to get on as a team driver to gain experience? Might be one way of doing it, or you may have to find a small or small scale owner/operator business needing drivers. They probably won't pay as much but if you can get that 1 to 2 years experience and keep you driving record clean, I would think you can do pretty good for yourself.

    John E.
     
  5. locdoc

    locdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Antrim, NH
    The driving "school" you attended should have offered a placement service or in the very least provided you and the other grads with a list of contacts of freight lines that will hire new drivers. Should have been part of the "tuition".

    Check with your state's unimployment office. You can usually view their stuff online. You may need to register first.

    Good luck in your search.

    Doug Whiton, P/W dealer/dist
     
  6. hoffman06

    hoffman06 Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    482
    Location:
    Marcola Oregon
    Check out SWIFT they have a good training program and are always looking for drivers.
    Carey
     
  7. warren

    warren Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Fernley, Nevada
    Buy and operate your own truck.

    warren
     
  8. MGeslock

    MGeslock TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    359
    Look at beer companies or soft drink companies.

    Yes you will have to "drive" a hand truck.... but it will get you the road experience that you need to get up the ladder/
     
  9. Yardmasterjeff

    Yardmasterjeff TS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Messages:
    7
    I second for Swift, I've drove for them for 10 yrs. They might not go very fast but, I was always treated fair and they'll give you the needed experience.
     
  10. HDLLLIII

    HDLLLIII Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Messages:
    321
    I am a dispatcher for a small trucking company operating 65 otr trucks in 48 states and Canada.. Our insurance company ( like most you will find) will not insure a driver under 25 years of age and less than 3 years all weather verifiable experience. I drove for 26 years before going into the office. The importance of a clean driving record can not be over emphasized. JB Hunt, Swift, Schneider, Stevens, etc. are companies you should STAY AWAY from. Should you decide to work for a such a company be prepared to work under contract ( meaning if you quit prior to completing the contact you will be charged 2-3 thousand dollars for breech of contract) for 1-2 years and away from home for several weeks at a time with 1-2 days off somewhere every month. Under current dot hours of service rules you can work 8.75 hours per day indefinitely, and they will see you do. Much like an indentured servant. You will spend 100 - 150 dollars per week minimum on the road for showers, meals, etc. I would suggest a farmer in your area hauling grain, or a smaller recycler to gain the expierience required to be hired by a reputable company
     
  11. new loader

    new loader Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    Great info, HDLLLIII. That is useful advice. I had a phone conversation with Schneider and Werner gave a recruitment pitch at school. Neither sound ideal, but may be the only option for now. I thought about getting a truck myself, but the insurance is unavailable. Between a rock & hard place right now.
     
  12. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Forget Werner!!!!! A neighbor worked for them for a while. Werner kept him out for 96 days--he had to quit in order to get home at all.
     
  13. tom berry

    tom berry Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Winterset, IA
    NL,

    HDLLLIII is correct regarding the insurance issues. I'm in the business of insuring truckers and you're in a difficult spot right now. Many have suggested hauling grain on a local basis. That will certainly get you some valuable experience and those ins carriers are a lot more aggreable to taking on someone without much experience.

    Going out on your own will be very tough. I can't think of any company that will insure a brand new driver on his own.

    Unfortunately, if you really want OTR, you may be stuck with one of the big motor carriers (names all already mentioned).

    One good thing, the insurance market is very soft right now. If you have any kind of 'in' with a motor carrier, they might be able to get you accepted as part of a team.

    Good luck.
     
  14. dbcook

    dbcook TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
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    stay away from any lease/purchase agreements. i been in this business 32 years.there are a lot of people that will promise you the world. very very very few will deliver.trucks are cheap right now,but your lack of experience will make it extremely difficult for you to survive in the dog eat dog world of owner-operator trucking. dwain
     
  15. warren

    warren Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Fernley, Nevada
    I bought a used wet truck and an equipment trailer w/hyd tailgate and went around to the eq. and eq. rental co's and hauled backhoes, dozers and other eq. locally in my area for a cutrate price to get started. It worked well then, I was suprised of how much business I did get. Some eq. operators rely on others to do their hauling and don't own there own hauling equipment. You should investigate before spending any money though. The trailer cost more than the truck.

    warren
     
  16. gdbabin

    gdbabin TS Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,461
    So it sounds like my idea of going to school and getting my CDL in the interest of buying my own tractor to pull loads late fall through early spring so I can take summers off and shoot the circuit is a bust.


    Back to the drawing board...


    Guy B.
     
  17. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    Location:
    Blackshear, Georgia
    I'm not in the trucking business but am friends with several business owners and also several friends who owned their own trucks. Several have lost their trucks especially due to cost of fuel. I've heard them advise against buying your own truck. Jackie B.
     
  18. new loader

    new loader Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    498
    The real raodblock seems to be insurance. So how does hauling grain get around this issue? Are they insured differently? Why is this not an issue with the big carriers? Are they self-insured?
     
  19. tom berry

    tom berry Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    760
    Location:
    Winterset, IA
    NL,

    Yes, several of the big carriers are self insured or are so large they more or less dictate to their insurance companies.

    Hauling local grain for a farmer generally involves a different type of insurance carrier that doesn't specialize in OTR truckers. They have a different set of rules and are generally a little more lax on experience.

    Tom
     
  20. toolguy

    toolguy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    New Loader,

    With your experience level (none), I would STRONGLY urge you to NOT get into an ownership situation. Not only do you not have driving experience, but you also do not have business ownership knowledge (as it applies to the trucking industry). To enter into an ownership situation (including lease/purchase), would be a recipe for financial disaster, especially in this economic climate. I was listening to a trucking program on Sirius satellite radio the other night and it was reported that 200,000 trucking jobs have been lost in the current recession. There is no driver shortage. Any shortage that might exist is for "qualified" drivers. Your endorsements are paper only; that means you were able to pass a written test and answer the questions correctly, but real world practical experience is non-existent. I don't want to deflate your bubble, but that is what I see based on your post, so what do you think a potential employer will see? My best advise is to keep looking. What part of the industry do you want to work in? There are LTL companies that are hiring, (linehaul work is night work, but there are also day jobs), and even if you have to accept a position as a straight truck driver with a company that has TT positions, you can work your way up. OTR positions will be available with the aforementioned carriers, but most of them are "mills". That is to say, they are more interested in moving freight than training drivers, and your experience will come at a cost. Good Luck. BTW, I've been making my living on my license for over 31 years. Motorcoach, OTR truckload, (reefer, dry van, tanker, LTL linehaul). E-mail me if you wish, drop the x's.

    Regards,

    Don Whiton
     
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