Ok guys. Based on the recommendations from many people here, plus a desire to get started as soon as possible, I have decided to go with company sponsored training. I have been studying for the permit test and have my test scheduled for Wednesday.
Now my question is, which company should I go for? Of these places, which would you guys recommend? My criteria is basically I don't want a company that is gonna screw me over. I don't mind a little lower pay as long as the company treats me right. Also, consider whether it is difficult to get into the training program. I don't want to wait weeks only for the company to decide that they don't want me. So here is my current list:
Also, if you have any other company recommendations, it would be appreciated.
Finally, I read that someone had an issue with the company making them redo their physical and only giving them a 3 month card even though they already had a 2 year card. I already had a year DOT physical that expires in Feb. I would rather avoid companies that do that kind of thing (I hope it's not common).
Ready to apply to a company program. But which one?
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What are your goals in this industry? Do you want to do dry van, reefer, flatbed, tanker, LTL, owner operator, live out of the truck for 2 years to save some money and then leave the industry? What do you want to accomplish?
If you want tanker Schneider has a tanker division for new CDL holders.
If you want to do flatbed, I would go to Maverick. They are paying drivers fresh out of CDL school really good now.
If you want to do LTL go to YRC but also look up Estes and Old Dominion. They are sometimes running dock to driver programs as well (and are higher paying than what YRC is).
You also need to decide what driver comforts you want. I want an APU, inverter and a dorm fridge. In the very least the company I drive for needs to have an APU and be willing to install and inverter and a dorm fridge if I have to buy those.
I also will not drive for a company that wants to stick a driver facing camera in the truck. If you have a preference for not wanting cameras in the truck, you need to look at that too. Hometime policy may also be important to you if you decide to go the OTR route.
Decide what you want from this industry and then decide what driver comforts you want if you're going to do OTR (including hometime policy), and then go from there. That would be my advice.
In addition to what BeHereNow97 said, if you don't know those answers, don't let it stop you. I think getting your feet wet helps you figure many of those things out and if you try something that ends up not working out the way you wanted, you can change. So, take a stag at what you think you want to do and try it. You don't have to do the same thing your whole career. Also, some things, like oversized stuff, it's common you need experience before those options are available.
The most common route is to start with OTR. That's not a bad place to start, although many don't make a career out of it because of its downsides (being gone from home alot).
I started with Swift OTR refrigerated and after 2 years, still with them and still doing OTR refrigerated. Only change has been I found I had a preference for the West, so they keep me mostly in the West, although I do run East sometimes. Anyway, I'm biased about Swift as I've had a good experience with them so far, so naturally I recommend them. For a starter mega, I think they are probably the best or at least one of the better ones.
Good Luck and hope you figure it out and enjoy it!
If I remember right I think when I researched Swift a couple of years ago when I was fresh out of CDL school, they did not have APU's. Is that true or have they started getting new trucks with APU's?
Swift can get a lot of hate but other than the APU thing (which they might have now in the newer trucks I don't know), their equipment is always pretty new, they have terminals all over the US so parking should be much less stressful. You said they even appeased you by letting you mostly run the West Coast. A lot of companies wouldn't even take into consideration what preference of the country a driver likes to drive so that's awesome that they let you do that. A lot of people will give others crap about staying with a "mega" or with a "starter" company but you don't necessarily have to move on if you're happy there. I know Magnum out of Fargo is a company I've researched quite a bit and they are a starter company but also have a lot of drivers who stay on for 5 years or more and are quite happy there.
It's all about what works for you.
But don't feel bad if you try something in this industry and it's not for you. While LTL wasn't for me in the particular city that I tried it in, I'll be the first to admit that OTR isn't for many people either. It really is a weird lifestyle and I would never do it if I had a family at home. But as a single man it kind of works for me.
Wilson. You’ll spend a few days in Springfield to get your permit; then the training is based on you driving, while the trainer is in jumpseat. After you get your CDL you go back out with that trainer, or another, for more experience eventually to running like a team but with an experienced 2nd driver if you need a bailout. You'll be working with PRIME freight (reefer), while working with dispatchers who actually fall in with what safety says.
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