I see a lot of potential drivers on here and I thought I would come up with some advice that I wish I would have read and followed from some of the veterans on here. So here it goes.
If you’re on any medication’s, consult your doctor about getting a DOT physical. Tell them that you would like to do a career change and see what their opinion is on whether the medication would hinder you to drive so on and so forth. In other words, make sure your medical team is on board with you.
If you have a CPAP, get a letter stating that you’re compliant. Also, if you have had any surgeries, get a letter from the General Surgeon or Surgeon, who did your surgery stating at your cleared to drive. same with any doctor, who prescribes you any medication’s
Next get a copy of your MVR report. If it has any accidents on there, see if there were any injuries. Next, if they were not, do not list an injury when applying to potential companies. In Florida I believe it cost right around $10. It’s worth every penny to get it.
If you have had any prior criminal charges, get a copy of your background report. Also, when doing research for trucking companies, the MVR report, and the background report will help you out.
Get your passport if you are able to so you can go into Canada and enter the areas that require a Twic. I cannot stress how valuable a passport and twic card can be. Note: do you have to get fingerprinted in order for you to get your Twic so you might as well get your hazmat as well once you get your CDL permit.
Before you even get your permit, I highly recommend you study the practice test(s) on this website. I took the tanker one for Florida and it was very similar and wording and I was able to pass it with the 90%.
Go to a truck-stop that’s near you and see which carriers a.k.a. companies are in your area. Start jotting down names, and do your research on them to see if they accept students. @Chinatown is a good source of information. So is @lual.
When doing your research, ask yourself if you are a physical person: can you do flatbed? do you want to unload trailers and can you handle the multiple stops and tight quarters of a food distribution job.
If you want it simple meaning the easiest learning curve possible aka dry van, that might be for you. There are tanker companies out there that train. Last, but not least, refrigerated freight companies might be your best bet in this current economy, because they can move both food and dry goods in one trailer.
Also there are good companies that are LTL carriers that have some of the best benefits in the industry. you will need your hazmat and your doubles and triples endorsement along with your tanker. I have not seen a driver at one of the LTL companies complain about pay.
Last but not least, do you want to pay upfront for a school, get a grant from the government or state, or do you want to go to a company sponsor Truck Driving School and sign a contract?
when you sign a contract at a school, you are basically saying you will work for them for right around a year, maybe a year and a half. They take money out of your paycheck and that’s to pay back the cost associated with the school.
if you are prior military, you have access to the VA and in my opinion, I have never seen a company turned down a veteran for driving a truck.
the other option is getting a grant through the state via job corps or a state program like that, and going to school. Usually companies like Sage and community colleges that have truck driving programs accept state, grants, or from vocational rehabilitation.
before you choose a school, I would ask the trucking company which schools they hire from, and choose the school accordingly. Bottom line, do you research and hopefully this helps you out.
My advice to New drivers getting their CDL and CDL permit
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Very good advice, but I want to add a couple things from my point of view.
Here are a few posts of mine for newbies to read.
Money for CDL Training
Every new CDL driver needs Tanker endorsement.
Passing your CLP/CDL Endorsement Tests - HowTo
Check Company Score - SAFER WEB
Also, Look Before You Leap
LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAPsilverspur Thanks this.
I started trucking in late 2012, almost 11 years ago. If I could go back in time and give advice to myself when I first started trucking in 2012, the most important piece of advice I would tell the 2012 version of myself would be this: do not take advil PM to help you sleep while doing team driving because advil PM will severely damage your stomach lining.
Trying to sleep while your teammate is driving is like trying to sleep on a moving roller coaster. I used to take advil PM to help me sleep during all of my teammates' shifts. The advil PM only helps a little bit, and it gave me severe gastritis. Since I have gastritis, I get extremely nauseous and vomit if I drink caffeine. I cannot do team driving without caffeine. Caffeine is essential for me to do team driving. I cannot do team driving without caffeine. I would have made twice as much money in my career if I never took advil PM.
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