hi, I'm a young guy looking for a new career. (I mistakenly wrote driver in the title, I'm not a driver yet. but I will be.) I've liked big trucks as long as I can remember and I'd like to finally get to drive one. I've started reading thru some threads on this forum, and I'm going to keep doing so for a good while here, but I'd also like to ask some questions if my own. (apologies if they've been asked/answered before! (they probably have and I just haven't found them yet))
I live in Walla Walla, WA, and I'm about to turn 23. should I be looking to get my CDL first, then apply to work somewhere, or should I go to a company that will train me themselves and then hire me? I seem to see more negative talk about the latter, though I haven't looked super far into it yet.
does anyone have a recommendation for a company in / near Walla Walla? I do not want to relocate if at all possible. do I have to live near a company to work for them?
what companies should I avoid? does anyone know anything about the quality of the CDL program at the Walla Walla community college? is there a better one anywhere nearby? I assume I have to get my CDL in the same state I'm licenced to drive in.
just in the but if research I've done so far, it looks like driving for ups might be a good choice, would I be able to get a job there being inexperienced as I am?
I would prefer to drive long distances than locally, at least most of the time.
I know about the long hours, cramped space, time away from family, "it's a lifestyle" and all, none of that is an issue for me. I've always wanted to be a truck driver!
lastly, for now, what do you wish you'd know it been told before you got into this line of work?
Young new driver w/ questions
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If you want to go over the road @Chinatown is our guru expert on that matter and he will point you in the right directon. If you want to do local you can try LTL companies (Old Dominion, Saia,Estes and any other LTL on your side of the woods and get in their programs such as dock worker to driver, as far as companies is really what you make of, my humble 2 cents is learn to back up safely respect the rig and do GOAL when unsure and you will be good.
There’s no reason you can’t fulfil your dream to be a OTR driver but just be prepared to have to “pay your dues”. I went with a “starter company” and there were some grim moments as I started with a poor trainer. But I made it and one thing I learned pretty quick, it’s essential that you realize the necessity for acquiring the driving habits of a “professional driver”. Keep learning what those habits are and practice them so they’re automatic and you’ll mostly be able to avoid “trouble”. In a nutshell it’s like this “never follow too closely, never allow yourself to be distracted and always drive to the conditions”. Oh yeah, and do good pre-trip inspections. Remember, most four wheelers don’t know how to drive unless they’re truck drivers and even some truck drivers don’t know how to drive. Pick a starter company that doesn’t have the worst rep and go from there. It’s a trifle easier if you already have a CDL. A community college course is probably a good idea. I got my CDL from a local guy and it made it a little easier to get through FFE”s high paced driver training program where they washed out more than half the candidates. I still had a lot to learn but it worked out. For sure, stay away from Werner, CR England and there’s a others that have negative reviews.
Community college is a good choice or you can keep your money in the bank and attend a company school. Either way, you reach your goal; a cdl and a job.
There's 3 in Missoula, Montana:
Wilson Logistics (Wilson Logistics owns Jim Palmer Trucking)
Jim Palmer Trucking
Jones Bros. Trucking
I'm not sure which freight lanes Wilson Logistics runs; I think they have dry van and flatbed.
Jim Palmer and Jones Bros. both run 48 states.
I think those companies start out at $.40+ cpm, plus accessorial pays and the school is free if you work there 12 months.
$.40 cpm is more than many experienced drivers are making.Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
Pay for and get your own CDL first. There are companies that borderline illegally and financially jeopardize you by indentured servitude to promissory note in debt to them by yourself. After you been fired in 2 months. And still owe 4000 dollars due and payable now. They will trash your credit etc.
Go to Yakima WA and examine all the companies pulling produce out of there. OR find a major operation such as McKesson, go to their shipping facility and eyeball the DOT/MC Numbers on the tractors coming and going for example. Talk to the drivers if possible. (A major operations, not some rinky dink chicken feed place)
You can get the CDL in any state. It is your home residence that matters. You have to get that there in your home state. Community college learning is not that bad. We have a Arkansas State College here that has a fairly good trucking program. Ive managed to test a few of their students and found them to be very stable with a instructor that pays attention.
You will never get fat driving for UPS. Hurry UP your are LATE. Not to mention all of US waiting on YOUR package.
Some loads you have to do locally. It's all part of it.
You might know about long hours. But you have not yet built a stamina for truly long WEEKS. THAT will come in time.
I don't wish anything except one. I should have run for a large operation like McKesson back at 21 years old. But considering the high dollar load of narcotics (Excess of a million) they would be reluctant to hire me. And all drop and hook. Anything with actual live loading or unloading is a parasite, liability and not worth your time. If you are 10 minutes late anywhere, they will kick you back out and tell you to stay out 5 days. Losing all of your pay for that week, if you are not also fired by angry company.
There were so many things I did not know at 21 and was too stupid to know that. But one thing was clear. When I was 6 I was going to be a trucker. No ifs buts or maybes. Why? Because half my family thought deaf should not drive at all but sit home quietly staring at 4 walls. The day I got my class A (Prior to the CDL laws) some of the family got seriously angry that me, that little &^%$ actually gets to drive a 18 wheeler. (It was a different time) So I lost my family and gained a life for myself, for better or worse.
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