Looking to change career in January, 2021

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by jonesjw, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. jonesjw

    jonesjw Bobtail Member

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    Sorry, I'm new to the site and had posted this as a "conversation" with Chinatown (who gave me some GREAT advice). I thought it would be a "thread" instead. I am soliciting answers from more professionals out there....

    Hello all, I am brand new to this board (as of today) and brand new to trucking! My wife's dad was OTR for 47 years and that's all I know about trucking. We have traveled all over US in our RV or towing 5th wheel. We love to travel and ain't afraid of work. I've been working for 30 years as a Computer Network Engineer. I'm absolutely burnt out on this stressful career. We are not rich, but have a good retirement bank, a decent savings, and decent emergency fund. We are Dave Ramsey fans. I am / was also an old TN farm boy and mechanic (probably not a farmer out there that's not a mechanic; at least a successful one) haha...

    My wife of 29 years and I, are both 50. I want to learn trucking the "right way" / no shortcuts, no quick and easy overconfident schemes or myths. I want to be respected in this industry (eventually) and return that respect to every one else. We have no debt (still finishing up the house - 4 more years), don't need 100k a year, but would like to earn a decent living that takes care of our bills, allows us to see more of the US, and continue to put some back for retirement. Before you say "team driving", my wife is not interested. However, we do want to be / travel together once I feel safe in the truck and the company allows.

    My goal would be to get in (2) years with a good company OTR, keep a safe driving record, learn the ins and outs of the industry, then be ready to "pull back" to Regional or something that would get me / us more home time when needed. My parents are up and age and healthy at the moment, but I want to be able to help them as they continue to age. Also want to be around more for grand kids when the time comes (suspect at least 3 years away).

    I have also done computer network consulting (side gig) for the last 20 years. Also have a Kettle Corn setup. We've done about 12 event per year (weekends) with this small business.

    Now that you know a little about me, I am strongly considering contacting a Millis Transfer recruiter to inquire about their CDL training program and a possible future with their company. Since I live in TN and their nearest training facility is in Cartersville, GA; I'm not sure how or if I could get my CDL with a TN address. This will be my first question.

    I have read hours and hours of conversations on this site and feel very informed about NEW DRIVER questions, but if anyone has advice for someone in my shoes or maybe has done this successfully at my age (50), I would love to hear your advise and stories. I know most fail at this and I've read about the 98% turnover in the trucking industry. I realize I'm starting out behind the 8 ball, but still desire your professional opinions - good or bad.

    Sincerely,
    Jonesjw
     
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  3. Moon_beam

    Moon_beam Medium Load Member

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    My first day with a trainer I was 48 years old in 2004. I did 3 years of Cobol, DB2 with an Insurance company but lost my job at Y2K. I went to SouthEast Community College in Lincoln, NE to get my CDL. The course was 10 weeks long. I had completed all of the written tests at the DMV before my first day in class. I had wanted to do LTL driving but was told after getting my CDL that I needed two years of experience to get on with any of the LTL companies. That is not true today, they will take a new graduate. I signed on with Crete Carrier and worked for them for two years. I now work as an LTL road driver. At the time the course at the college was around $800.00 plus a drug screen and physical that I had to pay my self. Today the cost is around $1,200 plus drug screen and physical.

    Many years ago I saw on I-80 around Cedar Rapids Iowa that a community college advertising on a trailer that they were pulling that they could get a student a CDL in 30 days.
     
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  4. ZVar

    ZVar Road Train Member

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    About the only advice I have to add is don't get discouraged. Right after Christmas is a slow time for trucking, so the first couple months may not be what you are expecting.
     
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  5. jonesjw

    jonesjw Bobtail Member

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    Oct 26, 2020
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    Thanks for that! That eases my anxiety about my career change. As for training, I am more strapped for time than money. I don't mind paying for training and look forward to all of it. I just can't attend a college class for 10 weeks while working my other job(s). I want a clean break from my current employment heading straight into truck driving school (and employment if possible). I've actually never been unemployed since I was 16 yrs. old. I've been blessed, that's for sure!
     
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  6. jonesjw

    jonesjw Bobtail Member

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    Oct 26, 2020
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    I understand. That's what I've read so far. That's sorta why I think it would work better for me. Give me more experience and training before everything "ramps up".
     
  7. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Heavy Load Member

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    Actually, ANY CDL Training Program, Company Sponsored or Private, can get you your CDL in less than 30 days. 3 week course, 160 hours. Pretty much an Industry Standard these days.
     
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  8. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Heavy Load Member

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    I started school at 56 years old. Went the Company Sponsored route with Swift in Phoenix, AZ. 3 week CDL School, 5-6 weeks with a trainer, haven't looked back. If you and your wife each get your CDL, there is some serious money to be made as a team. You could retire very comfortably in 10 years. As Dave Ramsey would say......"Live like nobody else, so you can live like nobody else". Good luck!
     
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  9. MericanMade

    MericanMade Medium Load Member

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    I’m excited for you! What a great position to be in! I’d love to tool around the country sight-seeing with my wife. With your BFF by your side, doesn’t really matter where you start—Werner, Swift, Melton, Cypress—you’ll have fun. Just do it!

    I have chickens and a lawn, so it’s not that easy for me. :p
     
  10. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Heavy Load Member

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    Easy to fix. Just eat the chickens and quit watering the lawn!:D:p
     
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  11. jonesjw

    jonesjw Bobtail Member

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    Thanks for the reply Dockbumper. My wife pulled our 31' fifth wheel a few times with my little 2500 dodge cummins; she wants no part of pulling / driving! haha! I hope I can get into the industry, spend a couple of years learning to be proficient in time management, safe driving, proving dependability, and such; then maybe have the opportunity to get more home time when needed for parents and grandkids. I was going to wait 4 more years (until house was paid for), but that would also be about the time we may have grandchildren and more complications with parents health. And YES, "Live like nobody else so someday, you can live and GIVE like nobody else!"
     
    Dockbumper Thanks this.
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