Prospective driver questions (Vegas, paid vs. private CDL, etc.).

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by JJB702, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. JJB702

    JJB702 Bobtail Member

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    Nov 21, 2020
    Downtown Las Vegas
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    Hey everybody, I've been browsing this forum for awhile taking everything in, reading what I can, and finally decided to sign up and get some insight and expertise from some of the drivers on the forum here.

    A little about me...

    After a crazy year with everything basically shut down (no ballgames, live music, etc.) and the unrest this summer, I moved from Minneapolis to Las Vegas in mid-September in large part to sit out this winter. We always used to say that's how crazy Minnesotans survive winter -- by taking advantage of spring, summer, and autumn before the first blizzard hits -- but it's been a different year for all of us I'm sure, so I just wanted to be somewhere new, and I've always loved Vegas. So far, so good... especially after that first Minnesota snowstorm I got to miss this time.

    One of my passions is day trading (stock market) and I've had a good year overall, so the plan was to take it easy this winter until things turn around (in terms of COVID), but no clue what will happen with that. I'm also bad at NOT working; before I moved, I worked as a hotel manager in the Twin Cities suburbs and I (voluntarily) worked 124 consecutive days from March until July this year. With everything that happened in Minnesota (COVID shutting everything down, protests/riots, etc.), I just figured it would be better for the other managers and employees to be home with their families more since I didn't have any in the Twin Cities area, so I worked (literally) every day and could have easily kept going if I wanted. I've just always been a 'worker' since I started working at 16. I'm not good at doing nothing. Never have been.

    Anyway, sorry for the longer intro.

    For the longest time, truck driving has been on my mind as a 'bucket list' item of sorts, and I've read a lot about it this year and am considering it as my next step. Now that I've settled in Vegas, I've had more than enough time off, and I'm getting antsy. No jobs catch my attention here (especially for the lower-than-average pay), but it seems truck driving jobs are all over, no matter where you look.

    I've read so many threads, blogs, and watched YT clips of different driver experiences, and I've been researching paid CDL training programs. I applied to a few of them through TT. So far, I've heard back from Wilson/Jim Palmer, Roehl, CRST, Prime, and Swift. I'm not really interested in team driving, so CRST is probably out.

    Here are some questions...
    1. While I know that starting out as an OTR driver, I'll be on the road for days or weeks at a time (part of the appeal), at least for now I'd like to keep my "home base" in Las Vegas. While it's not a must, do you know trucking companies that have terminals or drop yards in Vegas? While Roehl looks like it has terminals in Phoenix and Fontana (CA), most of them seem to be in the midwest and out east, so I don't know how easy it would be to come "home" once in awhile. I saw that Swift has terminals in Sparks (NV) and Minneapolis, so it seems like they might have the most. That's definitely not a deal-breaker, but I'm curious which companies are biggest out here (that offer CDL training).
    2. Can anybody suggest other companies to consider for CDL training? Not sure if the ones on TT are just the largest carriers or if there's a referral arrangement of sorts or not with them so they don't include any others, so I figured there had to be more options and just wanted to see if there are others that anybody recommends.
    3. Do you think it's advantageous to do paid CDL training programs, as opposed to a private CDL school? Is this what most of you have done? Seems the advantage is that the paid CDL companies like Prime or Swift have a vested interest in helping you succeed and that you're guaranteed to have a job once you get your CDL. However, after perusing the forums here it looks like there are still companies that hire new drivers, so part of me wonders if there would be more options for a new driver to go through a private CDL school rather than being locked into a 12-18 month agreement/contract with one company through a paid CDL program. Obviously, I'd definitely plan to stick with that first company for at least a year anyway, but it's just nice to know all the unbiased options.
    4. Has anybody gone the "homeless trucker" route on here? Since I'm single and have no kids of my own and I'd be out on the road for weeks at a time, I think eventually it would make the most economic sense to put my belongings in storage (saving hundreds of dollars per month on rent) and then I could eventually take my "home time" wherever I'd want rather than paying rent when I'd only be here a couple days per month. I know quite a few people in different parts of the country and have options for a physical address (whether a family member or through UPS), but I was curious if anybody else has gone this route to save/make even more money driving -- either sleeping in your cab or a hotel from time to time.
    As a result, that means "home time" is the least of my worries or concerns when looking at a truck driving school, and I'm not really concerned about CPM either for at least the first 6-12 months; I've read about the drivers who chased the highest pay and end up with fewer miles, so I guess whoever offers the longest routes and most miles for new drivers would be the best way to go, wherever the open roads would take me... with having a terminal or drop yard close to home for now in a perfect scenario (before I'd become a nomad).

    Anyway, thank you all for any advice, suggestions, or insights you're willing to share. Looking forward to chatting with you all some more. Enjoy the rest of your weekends.

    JJB
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Where is Las Vegas? Never heard of the place.
    lol...I can see the Las Vegas Strip from where I live.
    Try to keep a Nevada address because there's no personal state income tax.
    Escapees RV Club can help you do that if you don't want to buy a home right now.
     
  4. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Southwest Truck Driver Training in North Las Vegas is a decent private school.
    You can finance the school and first payment isn't due until 45 days after graduation.
    Click ---> Website
    `
    [​IMG]


     
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  5. JJB702

    JJB702 Bobtail Member

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    Nov 21, 2020
    Downtown Las Vegas
    0
    Hey neighbor! :laughing6:

    Thanks for the reply.

    My appointment to get my Nevada ID is on Monday (11/23). FINALLY! I made the appointment back in August before I moved, and that was the earliest one available.
     
    firemedic2816 and Chinatown Thank this.
  6. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Henderson, NV & Orient
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    I moved here from Tennessee and my experience with the DMV was very good.
    I don't know about parking a truck around here now, since the Raiders moved in.
    Orleans Hotel & Casino used to let truckers park for free, but maybe now have part of their parking lot leased to the Raiders. Don't know if that's all the time or just during games.
    Maybe some other Las Vegas drivers can give you leads on parking for a couple days downtime.
    Knight-Swift has a terminal in North Las Vegas; probably park there.
    It's actually a Knight terminal, but since they've merged, maybe let Swift truck park there during home time.
    `
    Knight Transportation
    4570 Berg St, North Las Vegas, NV 89081
    `
    Knight also has cdl school.
    I see their dedicated trucks delivering to Sam's Club here in Henderson.
    That might be an option if you want regular hometime.
    As far as pay goes on that account, don't know if it's what you would want or not. You'd have to research that.
     
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  7. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    There's several good companies that probably all hire from Southwest Truck Driver Training.
    All these hire new cdl school graduates from Las Vegas:
    Some websites may not be clear, but all these do hire new cdl school grads from Las Vegas:
    `
    Freymiller - CDL-A company truck driver jobs
    freymillerdrivers.com
    `
    CDL Jobs | Hiring Now in Utah | Pride Transport
    www.pridetransport.com
    HIres Las Vegas drivers.
    @Snowshoes works there.
    `
    Old Dominion Freight Line
    Hires from approved cdl schools.
    4550 E Cheyenne Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89115
    Click ---> Website
    `
    Navajo Express: Heavy Haul Shipping Services and Truck ...
    www.navajoexpress.com
    Navajo Express 303.287.3800 Corporate Headquarters 1400 W. 64th Ave. Denver, CO 80221
    `
    Home - Britton Transport
    brittontransport.com
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
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  8. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
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  9. JJB702

    JJB702 Bobtail Member

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    Nov 21, 2020
    Downtown Las Vegas
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    So much excellent info here Chinatown. I appreciate all of these links. I will definitely have my 'homework' cut out for me. Never heard about Escapees RV Club until tonight, so I'll be looking into that one as well, especially if I decide to go mobile and put everything in storage and just stay out on the road more, whether it's dedicated, OTR, or local. I know some are harder to get into just out of CDL school, but I'll consider those things when that time comes since I'm not concerned about home time.

    Thank you for the heads up on companies that hire from Southwest; I'll be giving them a solid look. Nice to learn about all of these options. Very promising, thank you again.
     
    Chinatown Thanks this.
  10. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    You mentioned Wilson Logistics; that's also a good one.
    `
    Wilson Logistics
    www.wilsonlogistics.com
    Our Paid CDL Training program is hands-on and is designed for those who want to earn their Class A CDL or need the proper training to become professional truck drivers.
     
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  11. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    Burnsville, MN
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    Swift USED to have a terminal in Inver Grove Heights. Now it is just a drop yard.
    No people inside, and it is locked up tight to drivers.
    I was based out of that terminal for a while. After Knight took control it went away.

    Swift also has a drop yard in Las Vegas. Crowded, small and dirty, shared with other companies, and you would be best to have a drop at that end if you are getting home. Not much room there to simply drop an empty trailer for home time.


    And there are only private (paid by you or the government) CDL schools and company sponsored.
    You are not guaranteed employment with either.
    You are, however, responsible for the bill with either.

    The cost for company training will be deducted from your pay for the first year until it is paid off.
    At least that is how Swift does it.
    Swift also pays it back to you over your second year with them. If you stay for 2 years you will have paid nothing for the training.

    If you leave or they fire you, you will still be responsible for the unpaid balance.
     
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