How we got back into trucking after a fifteen year absence.
I used these here forums quite extensively in 2014 as a research tool. Many kind drivers answered my question, and others unknowingly shared their insight on threads that allowed me to learn. I had a lot of questions. And I feel I owe it to this community to share how I got back into trucking after a fifteen year absence. As I searched these forums, I saw that a lot of people wondered how to get a good trucking job after having an absence, and or no recent OTR experience- Do I need a refresher course? How long? Where? Will a company pay for it? Do I have to go out with a trainer?
Here's how I ( We, since it's me and my wife as a team) did it.
A quick bit of history: My wife and I went to truck driving school in 99, and went to work for Sherman bros, a flatbed outfit in Oregon. We gained experience and learned the ropes. We left there after a year and went to a different flatbed outfit for a while. We eventually decided to try and get local jobs, which I did. My wife took a job at a bank, but always kept her CDL. I drove local for over fourteen years.
Life gets in the way.
For various reasons that I won't get into, we decided to go back to teaming and really rat hole some money and set ourselves up nice. The questions above needed to be answered.
We got to work asking people on threes forums, and reading all the relevant threads. What we decided to do, was shop ourselves at a smaller, or at most, mid sized company. Where they didn't have all of these hard fast rules about refresher training, and time out with a trainer. A place where we could have a conversation about our experience and qualifications, and have our name known, rather than just be another number in a long line of recruits. We wanted to avoid going out with a trainer (especially my wife), and avoid doing an expensive refresher or having to marry ourselves with some crap trucking company for a period of time to get our bonafides back.
A simple email to a mid sized flatbed outfit not too far from home, followed by a visit by me to their facilities was the key. They had interest in us, and I got good vibes from them.
We worked out all of the questions, and it really came down to us passing a driving test for them, passing a physical skills evaluation (flat bedding I'd hard work) and drug test, and going through their orientation. Then they asked if I would go solo for a few weeks to get my skills up a bit, before having my wife join me and transition into teaming, with me sort of training her.
This is exactly what happened. We did pay for an 8 hour refresher course for wife and I out of our own pocket, so that we would feel more comfortable on the road test. And that was good enough.
We are now out trucking for Central Oregon Truck, out of Redmond Or., and they've been great. Honest and true to their word.
So that is what we did. I would highly recommend that if you are someone who wants to get back to trucking after a long absence, to seek out smaller companies, and to make that call, and market yourself. Don't assume that the rules at Schneider, Werner and Swift are the rules for the entire industry. There are little guys out there that are professional, and growing, and are willing to be creative to get a good employee into one of their trucks.
How we got back into trucking after 15 years
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Nice to hear that you got back into trucking with out a lot of hassle and drama also that you got off your BUTT and pursued it not like so many that want the MAGIC RESPONSE that so many look for from the internet that opens all the doors with 1 post.
Central Oregon Truck has a good reputation. I remember when they were bought by Daseke when Daseke was on a buying spree purchasing flatbed companies. Should be a safe company with stability & job security. Congratulations!Mr.X Thanks this.
@ easygojoe, That was a great post!
I had already talked to Ron (recruiter) when I read your post, and you helped to put my mind to ease, thank you for that!
The only bad I have seen relating to this company while researching was a video that was edited twice by an irrate driver who did not know the rules of the road in Oregon, a few guys who had self admittedly not given this company a chance, and some under paid drivers who had worked there before Deseke bought them out.
I remember the company from several years ago, and wasnt real impressed then, but things change and it appears things have changed for the better with OCTC.
I pick up the rental car tomorrow and head for orientation at OCTC.
I have been missing flatbed, and everything about this company reminds me of Hatfield Enterprises which is located here in my home town, and was the best small fleet I ever worked for!
Governed trucks and e-logs will be the largest hurdle for me, but it will be good to drive for a good carrier with good equipment and not have the ole DOT target on my back!
Hope to see you out there soon easygojoe!
~ James Hatfield 02-12-2009 Rest Easy Brother~
Question for anyone that can help. I have not driven for abt 10 years and want back in. I called one place for refresher course and they just pushed cdl class, I have my cdl, I just need refresh, Heartland said 16 hours but can't tell me where to go to get it. I am in Hot Springs Arkansas, and yest the people we called was Roadmaster and they were not very friendly when I just asked about refresher, they went right back to cdl, don't they get it I have that. Anyway, not sure what to do,and forums are the best place to look. There must be someplace in Arkansas or Texas or Missouri where I could get refresher course. Thanks for listening. Unlike easygojoe, I don't drive flatbeds, or tankers, so no sure where to go. Thanks again
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