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  1. #1
    Bobtail Member
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    Get my CDL on my own without going to school?

    Ok I have a few questions once again...

    I want to get my license and start driving otr but I can't afford to pay for training school. I also don't want to do the company sponsored training either if I can keep from it.

    As far as my background goes I have drove a truck pulling a tank trailer off road from the age of 17 to 21 off and on. So I can/could shift and back pretty good but it's been a long time since I have drove a truck.
    My dad has a truck with a end dump trailer so yesterday I went and got my permit and we drove around in his truck awhile. I am very rusty!! lol I used to be able to shift smoothly but now I'm jerking and all that stuff. I got a lot better before we came back home but I have a hard time shifting using the clutch....I never used it before and the only way I can drive smoothly is by not using it! Double clutching is hard and pointless....I wish they didn't make you do it on the test

    Anyway... back to the point. I was thinking about driving my dads truck around until I get pretty good and then going to get my cdl. A guy here in town said he would hire me to drive his end dump so I figured that would be good for a few month's or so. After that I want to go over the road.

    I talked to swift and they told me if I got my cdl in this way I could get hired on and be on my own after six weeks with a trainer. They said I didn't even have to drive locally first, just get the license and come to them. This sounds good to me except I'm worried that I won't know enough going into it. Like backing into docks and that sort of thing.

    What do you guys think I should do? Do you think the trainer would be willing to work with me even though I might not have as much experiance as someone coming out of school? My other option would be to just get my cdl and go ahead and attend the sponsored training and sign a contract. Maybe I could take a shorter class since I would already have my license.


    Oh and me and my dad went to an old closed down K-mart and backed his end dump up to the dock lol But it was easy to get to, I have no idea how to do the 90 degree docking or whatever you call it. Plus I think my dads trailer is just 38ft. or so.


    Thanks for the help and sorry this is so long


  2. #2
    Light Load Member
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    Back in the good old days, ALL drivers were trained OJT.

    There was no such thing as a "truck driving school" until politicians' cronies (and trucking companies) discovered there was gold to be found by pretending people needed to waste four to eight weeks of their time learning something that they could learn while earning money.

    You'll learn to back up and park just as easily doing it for money as you will paying someone for the privilege.

    It ain't that hard and when you are forced to do it on your own, you'll learn much faster and it will stick with you.

    Truck driving schools are a scam.

  3. #3
    Road Train Member heyns57's Avatar
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    The DOT is considering a proposal to require a minimum number of hours at a certified CDL school. Some smaller truck driver schools and trucking companies that operate their own training programs are aghast over this proposal because they cannot afford to increase their hours of training. No driver will be issued a CDL after training on his own. Leave it to the government to upset the apple cart again. If this proposal passes, the cost of training will increase although there is no evidence that longer hours in a classroom or behind the wheel improves the capabilities of new CDL holders.

  4. #4
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerndfw View Post
    Back in the good old days, ALL drivers were trained OJT.

    There was no such thing as a "truck driving school" until politicians' cronies (and trucking companies) discovered there was gold to be found by pretending people needed to waste four to eight weeks of their time learning something that they could learn while earning money.

    You'll learn to back up and park just as easily doing it for money as you will paying someone for the privilege.

    It ain't that hard and when you are forced to do it on your own, you'll learn much faster and it will stick with you.

    Truck driving schools are a scam.

    That's true, swift told me they would pay me $450 a week for the first four weeks and $500 a week for weeks 5 and 6. When you call them they actually have an option that say's "If you have a cdl and atleast one day experiance press 2" lol
    I guess the trainer can show me all about log books and everything, after all he is getting paid to train me

    I think everybody should go this route, seems a lot better than wasting three or four weeks and 4 to 6 grand

    Thanks for the help!

    Oh and does anybody use the clutch to shift once they get on the road? I'm just going to get it down for the test and that's it for me, no more double clutching

  5. #5
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    Larry, I would probly go ahead and get your cdl on your own if you can, then go to swift and be with a trainer for a few weeks. That's what the trainer is for, to teach you and help smooth out things your having trouble with. Believe me it's alot easier to learn hands on than in one of these schools, they take your money this way your making money. True you will not be making as much as you will be on your own but at least your not paying anyone for info that you can get in the field. Good Luck, and keep us posted on your progress.

  6. #6
    Bobtail Member
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    Been there

    Larry, I was in the same boat as you not long ago (6 months) I had drove in the early 90's a box truck (class b) then got into health care an stoped driving.

    A few months ago decided to make a big change an bought a truck before getting my class A.

    I didn't want to take that 3 week class an pay almost $5000 for what?? I took the temp test on my own an passed, really nothing to it just study you temp packet, it was the driving I was scared of (right turns, backing, ect) so I had a friend who had a friend with a truck an he helped me ONE day with backing an turning, took my test the next day an failed... oops messed up on 4 point air break insp!! lol but took it again the next day an passed.

    Yeah you might get some wheel time in a class but I really dont think it's worth that kind of money, I'm sure someone out there will help even if you pay them a little money for the time.

    OJT is with out a dought the BEST training, JUST TAKE YOU TIME.

    Good luck, Mike

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry79 View Post
    That's true, swift told me they would pay me $450 a week for the first four weeks and $500 a week for weeks 5 and 6. When you call them they actually have an option that say's "If you have a cdl and atleast one day experiance press 2" lol

    I think everybody should go this route, seems a lot better than wasting three or four weeks and 4 to 6 grand

    You think everyone should go the swifty route?

  8. #8
    Trucker Forum STAFF
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    I got a CDL in a few hours time with the help of a company specializing in helping people get a CDL quickly. I did the whole thing from inspection to the road test in about 4 hours, including a lunch break. The prep could take much of two days if needed.

    My first long term job after I got started needed the location and phone number of the school for insurance purposes, guess who else wants you to go to a school. I would honestly try to get help to go to a school, and avoid the company training if possible. One mishap with a poor trainer will squash your career just as surely as a work boot will squash a bug.

  9. #9
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by notarps4me View Post
    You think everyone should go the swifty route?

    Well look at it this way...I won't have to spend 5 or 6 grand on training or do the company sponsored training where I would have to sign a contract. I can go straight to work with them and if I don't like it quit in six month's or so. There are a lot of companies that will hire with six month's experiance and even a few that only require three month's.

    I think it's the best bet for someone like myself that can't afford training and doesn't want to be stuck in a job that they might not like. I was going to go through driver solutions but signing a one year contract with someone you know nothing about is a little scary to me and the way I figured it if I saved all I could it would take six month's before I had enough to quit and pay off my training. If I did that I would have basically worked six month's for the school alone and had nothing left over.

    I know everybody hates swift and I might hate it to, but if I do I can leave (would probably work there six month's though so that I could get another job)

  10. #10
    Bobtail Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeMc View Post
    Larry, I was in the same boat as you not long ago (6 months) I had drove in the early 90's a box truck (class b) then got into health care an stoped driving.

    A few months ago decided to make a big change an bought a truck before getting my class A.

    I didn't want to take that 3 week class an pay almost $5000 for what?? I took the temp test on my own an passed, really nothing to it just study you temp packet, it was the driving I was scared of (right turns, backing, ect) so I had a friend who had a friend with a truck an he helped me ONE day with backing an turning, took my test the next day an failed... oops messed up on 4 point air break insp!! lol but took it again the next day an passed.

    Yeah you might get some wheel time in a class but I really dont think it's worth that kind of money, I'm sure someone out there will help even if you pay them a little money for the time.

    OJT is with out a dought the BEST training, JUST TAKE YOU TIME.

    Good luck, Mike

    That's what I was thinking, I knew it was way to much money for training but I thought it was mandatory.
    Did you have to double clutch while taking the driving test? DO they make you do the complete pre trip inspection? Just wondering because I will wear old clothes if I have to get under the truck to check the slack adjusters on the drive axle

    Oh and the paper they gave me said to bring a stop watch to do the air system check and some wheel chocks. Do you think I need wheel chocks? I was thinking since it's level ground I could just kill the engine and leave it in gear.

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