Starting from scratch, trying to research..

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by blurg, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. blurg

    blurg Bobtail Member

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    Jan 19, 2011
    shawnee, ks
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    Hey guys, first-time poster.

    I'm currently an electrician apprentice, but the economy is so bad that all internship jobs associated with my school have shut down. I'm a first-year student, and none of the other 1st years in my class have even gotten an interview...it's been about 9 months. I may be able to become a trucker and still be able to take the class since it's online and easy, very little time needed...then come back to be an electrician when the economy is better. If I feel like it.

    I've done a little research and there seems to be a lot of variation. I know I'll probably need to start as OTR, but I read this site that said you could, after expenses, make $2.50/hr or something ridiculous. I'm guessing that's not true, but what would my ballpark be? I've also read that I'd work 70 hours/week. Would I work around that much if I include sleeping away from home?

    Also, I've read that some people went to school and some didn't have to. I'll probably go to school since it'll be easier to find a job with one of the associated companies of the school.

    I live in Shawnee, Kansas...a suburb of Kansas City. How can I find out which schools are good in my area? If I find a good school, will they be able to place me in a job with ease?

    How much should I expect to pay for training, and do all schools take 1 month?

    If y'all don't feel like answering all this, I understand...but maybe you could point me to a trucking for dummies website. Thanks :)
     
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  3. Texas-Nana

    Texas-Nana Princess Drives-a-Lot

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    Nana's empty nest
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    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    The best thing to do is to begin reading the wealth of threads on here. You'll hear the good, the bad, the ugly, the bull poop, the laughs and the technical side.

    I wish you blessings in your journey.
     
  4. blurg

    blurg Bobtail Member

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    Jan 19, 2011
    shawnee, ks
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    I've found the "Most Important Questions" thread, that had just about everything I could want...except one thing. If a community college trains me, will they be able to place me in a job? Or does it depend on the school.

    Edit: Also, I still haven't found an answer to this question:
    Edit2: Thought of something else. Would it be a good idea to study for a CDL license and get it on my own before going to any school? Also, what's the difference between going to a school and getting trained on the road with someone...do you choose one or do you have to do both?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  5. Lilbit

    Lilbit Road Train Member

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    The school will help you get your CDL in most cases. Check out the schools and how they do that.

    You go through the school to get the basics to get your CDL, then you get hired by a company that puts you on the road with an experienced trainer that teaches you the ropes. Trainers have varying levels of experience, and some are better than others.

    Hope that helps you understand it a bit more.
     
  6. celticwolf

    celticwolf Road Train Member

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    Oct 10, 2010
    Kittrell, NC
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    That 70 hrs is 8 days and does NOT include sleeping... if you want to make money, well what little there is, you need to keep moving forward.

    Most national OTR companies require formal training because their insurance companies and regulation demand it. You might find a regional or small otr company that won't.

    Not saying it can't be done, but you will find precious little time to study.. I have time to feed myself and sleep.. after 11 hours of driving you are tired.. those 11 hours get eaten up by shippers and receivers.. plus driving in someplaces just tax your nerves to no end.. 5 hours to go 170 miles out of the LA basin, driving around DC with lanes barely wide enough for a car, driving out of central florida, driving through harsh weather because what you're hauling can't be late, dodging the little squirying bugs(I call them easter eggs) at toll booths or rush hour traffic. All of just wants to make you pull over and sleep.

    One the hand I am liking what I do for minimum wage.. ok slightly above minimum wage..
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Road Train Member

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    The school will not place you in a job however there will be headhunters from various companies coming to "woo" you at school before graduation. In addition to going to school you will be with a trainer for a few weeks when you are hired by a company. I dont know of any company that would hire a graduate and put you right into a truck without some OJT first..not saying they may not exist but I'm saying I dont know of any that will. I do wish you well.
     
  8. Lilbit

    Lilbit Road Train Member

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    A couple of tips regarding trucking company recruiters . . . they give a better song and dance that the military recruiters! Take what they say with a grain of salt or 20!

    Remember that the annual pay that is mentioned by recruiters and on company websites is an AVERAGE!
     
  9. chompi

    chompi Road Train Member

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    I think the $2.50 an hour is an average of all your time spent away from home. Technically if you aren't at home you are working right? As a trucker you will be gone for 4-6 weeks at a time and you will be in the truck for that duration. Hence, working 24/7, for 6 weeks. If you are taking home $600 a week driving divided by 168 hours in a week thats $3.57 an hour.

    If you have a family I would strongly recommend you not go over the road. It is going to cost you a good chunk of change to get started and you will have to invest quite a bit of your time. When you first start driving you can expect to be away from home for at least two months! After that every 4-6 weeks you will have a couple days off. This is the number one reason for new drivers quitting. For some reason I think a lot of them think they will be living in a hotel or something like that. It's hard to comprehend the lifestyle until you are actually out there living it and for most it is quite a shock! The job can also be very stressful and sleep depriving. The job does have its rewards these are just a few of the cautionary up front details.
     
    strat57 Thanks this.
  10. Zuma

    Zuma Light Load Member

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    The community college I go to is rural, small, and bare bones. There is no formal placement support. But...our instructor is in touch with companies; they know we're here, and keep an eye out for new drivers. He told me today that hiring was very slow not too long ago, but he's in touch with three mega-carriers who will take on as many new graduates as he can turn out right now (two or three classes a year, avg. six students per class). He says anyone who wants a job will find one. And he has had students get local jobs out of school.

    So, the type of help you get may vary. Sometimes a few informal words from your instructor to the right person may be more valuable than a regular "placement program".
     
  11. blurg

    blurg Bobtail Member

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    Jan 19, 2011
    shawnee, ks
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    So do schools give you any road training at all? Or is it just preparation for the written test? I'm wondering if I could save money by studying on my own, and if having a CDL would be good enough to get hired.

    Very helpful responses, thanks.
     
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