You might check into Con-way Truckload. They recently won an award from the state of Missouri for their VET program. When you get a recruiter on the phone, ask specifically about the Apprentice Program for VETs.
Good luck to you and thank you for your service to our country!
Vet looking for pros and cons of a couple of companies.
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Thanks for the advice and thank you for your support.
I've looked at Con-Way briefly, and they are a possibility if I choose to go to a college and get my CDL that way. Speaking of college CDL programs, I e-mailed a few questions to the GI Bill rep at Lonestar college in Houston on Thursday afternoon. I haven't received anything back yet, maybe sometime this week. I've also found out that Texas State Technical College in Marshall (which is much closer to me than Houston) has a CDL program. I just might be able to save up some of my unemployment checks to get a clunker car and head over there to get my CDL.
I've also been looking at different starter companies. If I want to take my dog with me during my initial experience building year, I'll have to go with Arnold, Con-Way, FFE, Prime, US Xpress, or Werner (without looking at size restrictions yet, pet size will restrict the company list further). However, if I just choose to leave my dog home while I build my experience to go to another company, I could go with Boyd Brothers, Central Refrigerated, CR England, Maverick, May, Millis, PAM, Roehl, Schneider, Stevens, Swift, TMC, Tyson, USA Truck, or Western Express.
For a brief time, TMC started to stand above the rest with their all Peterbilt fleet with leather seats and pre-installed CBs, their allowing the driver a choice of starting at 35 CPM or 26% of the load, and their veteran program. However, I started reading horror stories where the company personnel packed up a box with some of his belongings (magazines, movies, 12V cooler, books, etc...) that were on his truck and he was told that it was contraband and had to be removed. My entertainment is mine, don't tell me what I can and cannot read or watch. The Army wasn't even that bad about invading your privacy. Besides, unless there's a problem with something in my sleeper or are a DPS officer, WTH would you be doing in my sleeper going through my stuff? You wouldn't let me walk into your home or apartment and snoop around telling you what you can and cannot have, would you? In addition to that, there was the requirement of running 5 loads per week regardless of mileage, forcing illegal running if necessary to get those 5 loads. I have no intent of running illegal. Granted, those are just what I've read from a few posters, so they may or may not be true. That's got me kinda leery about that company.
If I'm not in CDL school by then and can make the 2.5 hour trek to Dallas at the end of next month, I'm gonna try to make it to the Great American Truck Show and see what I can dig up there (not to mention a John Anderson concert and checking out some custom and classic rigs).
PS, Still looking for specific pros and cons of FFE and Prime.
Thanks for your service to this great place we live.
As a guy who is also looking at earning the name "driver". I had a question for you to ponder.
For the first year out, are you sure you want the dog and the wife tagging along. For me I would be concerned about any additional distractions while on the road my first year. I know for myself I will be trying to minimize all distractions from driving.
good luck...Shardrk Thanks this.
Here's where I read that story. Post #1500. I can kinda understand the cig lighter thing. It could be stretched to be a safety issue (fire hazard, same as too many things plugged into the wall in your house). Simple fix if you want to run with all of that plugged up, unplug it before going in for service. The "contraband" part was what got me. A good bit of that thread is plagued with stories of being forced to run illegal, at least the first bit of it as I haven't read the whole thing yet. The "contraband" story was a BIG turn off for me. Besides, I feel that it's no one's business what I have in my truck as long as it's legal to have and legal to have in a CMV.
Roehl is one of the companies I'm considering. Not at the top of my list due to no pets allowed on company trucks. They're not off of my list, just not at the top.
I know it will be more distraction. However, it's possible to do. My father had me (junior/senior in HS at the time) and my sister (elementary school at the time) (one at a time) out with him during the summer during his first year driving. Also, from what I've seen, most companies require that you drive solo for a certain period of time before they allow riders (generally about 90 days solo for the ones that have it listed). Not sure on the pets though.
That program seems to be more geared towards those that have military truck driving experience. I'm not saying that it wouldn't help at all, just that it seems to be geared more towards 88M (military truck driver) soldiers by allowing them to forego skills testing for their civilian CDL with proper documentation. The biggest thing I drove in the Army was an LMTV (straight truck, VERY top heavy, air brakes), and my unit and I both lost the records of my licensing on it.
I got a response back from LoneStar College. They do not have on campus housing. That's going to be a limiting factor in where I can go to get my CDL. I don't have a vehicle I can use to make a 45+ minute 1 way drive to get to/from school. I might be able to save up my unemployment checks and get a clunker car, but I wouldn't feel comfortable relying on a clunker to make the drive every day until I get a CDL. I have considered getting my motorcycle license and a cheap Honda Rebel (or similar bike), but the licensing would be an issue since I don't have a motorcycle endorsement on my license. It would probably be a b*(&# to ride a moped that far too (if I remember correctly, 50cc or less doesn't require a motorcycle endorsement to ride, but 50cc would take forever to get there and I wouldn't want to ride one on a 2 lane highway, which is how I would have to go to get to school). All reasons I'm looking more at company training since they generally provide transportation and lodging (or at least put it on a loan for you).
Personally I would say TMC they also like vets. But if you dont like flatbed Schneider is a good choice. Tmc I believe accepts the gi bill but you have to go to school first. They reimburse your tuition. Im probably partial to tmc and you would want to talk to a recruiter first but they would be my choice.
Prime isnt a bad company... Ive been here for over a year and am having a great time. Is it perfect? NO. But it fits for me. Im in the Flatbed Division. I started a thread documenting my entire process from prehire, to just a few days ago. Its all hands on training, hardly any class time. Get a permit, go through orientation, get an instructor, do a couple days of practice and roll on down the road. Good equipment, minimum pay once you receive your CDL is $600. We do have a pet policy also.
Another option for you is companies in west texas oilfields.For example Key Energy was hiring inexperienced drivers,sending them to Victoria,TX,putting them in a hotel,and sending them to driving school.They also paid them an hourly wage to attend school as well as covered all the cost.No sure of the commitment you have after or if oilfield work is for you but it is a good way to get you schooling and some experience,they also pay great and offer relocation funds.
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