Looking to get my CDL- how would you do it?

Discussion in 'Trucking Schools and CDL Training Forum' started by jmarc77, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Bobtail Member

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    Hi guys, I'm new and this is my first post. I am 23, soon to be 24 and I'm very interested in going into truck driving. A little bit of background- I've spent last year working for two different companies as a forklift operator. I spend a lot of time building loads, loading and unloading trucks.

    Most of my experience is with flatbeds and that is what I would be interested in doing. I spent 9 months at my previous job, where we ran a tandem axle flatbed straight truck that required a class B CDL.At my current job we have two Freightliner daycabs, one with a 36' trailer and the other with a 48' trailer. Being around class A trucks for the past 3 months has really peaked my interest in truck driving. I like what I do now, but every day I wish I was out on the road rather than being stuck at the yard pulling shipments on a forklift. I try to spend as much time as I can with the drivers helping them strap loads, observing their pre-trip inspections, and asking questions.

    I asked all of the drivers at my previous job how they went about obtaining their CDLs, and most of them had gotten them through odd ways. Either they knew someone, or worked for a relative that owned a trucking company, etc. Most of them only had a class B. Both of the drivers at my current job went through company schools and drove OTR for a year until their schooling was paid off. They have told me that is the best way to do it because your CDL costs nothing out of pocket and you get a year's experience off the bat and without said experience, no one will hire you.

    That said, my current situation is a little different. I feel it would be best to go to a driving school that offers night/weekend classes for a couple reasons. First, I have saved up the money to pay for it up front. Secondly I would maintain a source of income from my current job. Third, I feel it be more courteous to my current employer by staying at least until the end of the year and I would be able to give them a heads up that I am obtaining my CDL so that when I do leave, it won't be totally unexpected. And of course there is the obvious benefit of not being contractually obligated to work for a certain company for however long.

    There is a school about an hour away that seems to have good reviews and they offer both a 10 week weekend class and a 6 week night class. It isn't the cheapest school (community college is a bit cheaper but their classes are daytime only) but I haven't seen a bad word about it from what I've read online.

    Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.
     
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    You have a good plan.
    Which state and nearest town/city are you in?
    ~
    Melton Truck Lines is a good flatbed outfit for a first job. Will hire you as a new cdl school graduate. This company will reimburse your cdl tuition back to you up to $5000.00
    ~
    www.meltontruck.com
    ~
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Lunatic Fringe

    Lunatic Fringe Light Load Member

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    Here's what's wrong with your plan. A private truck school is paid to provide instruction, not get you a CDL. If you get a CDL that's between you and the DMV. Pass rates for CDL schools in my neck of the woods (WA) are around 50%. I know several drivers who needed additional attempts to pass the DMV exam and were charged ~$800/a day for a truck and an instructor to watch them drive the truck.

    You realize that more than 90% of trucking companies don't even bother with new drivers. Whether you pay for school or the company pays for it, you're going to be looking at the same tier of companies for a first employer. The big difference is a company school doesn't get paid to provide instruction - they get paid to put butts in trucks. If you fail at something they'll just, "recycle" you - let you repeat that week of the course at no extra or cost or obligation to you. They won't give you a license you didn't earn or don't deserve but they will grease the skids to make sure you get a license eventually.

    There are several company schools that will pay you while you earn your CDL. Millis Transfer will pay you $600/wk while you earn your CDL. They have a school in Richfield, Wisconsin and a flatbed division.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
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  5. N00bLaLoosh

    N00bLaLoosh Medium Load Member

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    Sounds to me like you've put some thought into it and you're good to go. Good luck.
     
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  6. Wasted Thyme

    Wasted Thyme Road Train Member

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    If I had the money. I'd pay for my school. But I'd still go to Stevens transport for the first year. They have a really good training and safety dept.
     
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  7. Lonesome

    Lonesome Mr. Sarcasm

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    Talk to your current company. Maybe they would pay for schooling, if you agree to work for them.
     
  8. Judge

    Judge Road Train Member

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    Maverick uses a school here to get cdl, then they train on securements & tarps
    In Little Rock
     
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  9. jmarc77

    jmarc77 Bobtail Member

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    I'm in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. I'm familiar with Melton, I've unloaded a lot of their trucks. Our one driver at work went through TMC and said overall he liked it.
     
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  10. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Do you want to do longhaul?
    If you do, go with Melton.
    TMC doesn't run coast to coast.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  11. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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