Best way to get my CDL?

Messages
488
Location
Ohio
Hello All, I am looking for a change of pace career wise. I have always worked in the customer service industry(ugh), since I have been out of highschool. Currently, my past 4+ years have been spent in two call centers.. My current job is good, but not really fulfilling in a way I would like it to be. I have considered several choices, such as mechanic/auto body/wedling/ac and heating/welding and machinery. I have come to the conclusion that I would like to be out on the road, making decent money. The issue is.. there doesn't seem to be an 'easy' way to get my CDL, other than getting on with a over-the-road trucking company that is willing to train me. I honestly do not like the idea of being a over the road trucker, I have a family that I enjoy spending time with, and would like to be home with every night. I would much rather prefer a short-trip driver, dump truck, or delivery type job. Let me know on your thoughts on how I could get my CDL, without having to dedicate years of my life to a OTR trucking company. Thanks!
 
Messages
22,188
Location
Colorado Springs
Trucking is an industry where you have to pay your dues to get better local jobs. You pretty much have to suck it up doing OTR for at least a year to get a good job. look at employment ads; quality local jobs require 1 or 2 years experience and most of those companies don't train. Whatever you do, don't sing a contract with a company where they pay your training for x amount of time you have to work. Your best bet is to have the money on hand or finance private schooling from a PTDI certified school and then job shop the best OTR company you can. You might also want to do some serious soul searching and research to see if the industry is even what you think it is. It ain't vacation and it's not all driving from point a to b in a relaxing environment. It's probably one of the top 3 most stressful jobs you can do, the hours are ridiculous etc. Even working local, expect 50-60 plus hour weeks unless you can find a gravy type job. If you can stick out doing OTR for a year or two, your best bet is linehaul with an LTL company like Old Dominion. That is a gravy job where it's all terminal to terminal drop and hook schedule freight and you can make $80,000 a year and still be home frequently.
 
Messages
258
Location
Western NY
Originally Posted By: actionstan
Hello All, I am looking for a change of pace career wise. I have always worked in the customer service industry(ugh), since I have been out of highschool. Currently, my past 4+ years have been spent in two call centers.. My current job is good, but not really fulfilling in a way I would like it to be. I have considered several choices, such as mechanic/auto body/wedling/ac and heating/welding and machinery. I have come to the conclusion that I would like to be out on the road, making decent money. The issue is.. there doesn't seem to be an 'easy' way to get my CDL, other than getting on with a over-the-road trucking company that is willing to train me. I honestly do not like the idea of being a over the road trucker, I have a family that I enjoy spending time with, and would like to be home with every night. I would much rather prefer a short-trip driver, dump truck, or delivery type job. Let me know on your thoughts on how I could get my CDL, without having to dedicate years of my life to a OTR trucking company. Thanks!
So I used to work in logistics (but on the software side of things). To jeep up to date with the industry I read the Journal of Commerce every month, and they did compensation studies pretty frequently. I remember there being a big discrepancy between what they found commercial drivers were actually getting paid vs. what the CDL schools around here advertise that their graduates are making. What I'm saying is do your best to find out what actual people doing the job you see yourself doing are making (if compensation is important to you) - it might not match up with what you think they're making. As far as education goes, there's a few schools in my area. I would just look around, check the newspaper and those free job papers you see around. I'm not sure where in Ohio you are, but there's this: http://www.tri-c.edu/workforce/transportation/Pages/Default.aspx
 
Messages
2,324
Location
Baltimore, MD
I want to say there was a really good thread posted by an OTR driver in the Off Topic section not that long ago. Will give you a really good idea of what to expect.
 
Messages
14,746
Location
Central NY
National Tractor Trailer School (NTTS) is pretty popular around here. I know quite a few people that have gone to it and they all have jobs. As for pay ... I have no idea. My father used to make decent money as a truck driver. He was OTR and gone 2-3 nights a week. It's crazy hours and hard work.
 
Messages
9,754
Location
Ontario, Canada
Sounds like you'd be a shoe-in for parcel delivery job with your customer service experience. Also there must training schools near you for a CDL, we have one near my work and its interesting to see some peoples first lesson. Wide wide wide turns, jumping trucks, and grinding gears!
 
Messages
22,188
Location
Colorado Springs
Parcel jobs like UPS require many years of working the docks to get a driving job. Fedex ground is all independent contractors with low pay. Fedex Express starts you at part time driving until full time routes open which takes years. Currently, the jobs and money are in regional/OTR/LTL freight. I still say the best driving job you can get is LTL linehaul with Fedex, UPS Freight, YRC, Old Domion etc. Those are 55 cents a mile drop and hook jobs where you can get home several times a week and possibly have 1 or 2 days off a week and still get 2500+ miles a week.
 
Messages
6
Location
IL
Originally Posted By: racer12306
I want to say there was a really good thread posted by an OTR driver in the Off Topic section not that long ago. Will give you a really good idea of what to expect.
OP, look for posts from user TiredTrucker....
 
Messages
5,763
Location
Da Swamp
"What I'm saying is do your best to find out what actual people doing the job you see yourself doing are making (if compensation is important to you) - it might not match up with what you think they're making." I did something similar long ago, when I thought I might want to be a paralegal. So I spoke to several working paralegals in my area. To a woman (they were almost all female), they said, "You're not gonna like it." Now whether that was because the job was really unpleasant/stressful, or they simply didn't want any more competition for new jobs, or both, I don't know. (When I switched to computers, I loved that.) So talk to actual working truckers, people who are doing it now, and find out what the pluses and minuses are.
 
Messages
802
Location
Wisconsin
I got the CDL manual from the DOT. Studied it and took my written test. Got a job at a local company doing [censored] work, with everybody knowing I was to get practice and take driving test in one of their rigs. They were short on drivers anyway, so I got shoved to the front and took my driving CDL test after a month or 2. Got my Class A. Have had it for about 17 years. But only used it for maybe 4 of those years. Anyway, if I didn't have a family, I would do some sort of driving job. Personally, I think it's easy, but I love driving. Though sore backs are part of the game. Maybe once the kids are out of school and gone I will look back into it. But my youngest is 6 month old, so it's going to be awhile.
 
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Messages
22,493
Location
Apple Valley, California
i went to a local truck driving school.be forwarned that most truck driving jobs suck.the few good ones are taken and already have a line of people waiting for those jobs. plan.on working 14-20 hrs a day,mostly nights and sleeping in the day as most deliveries are at night or early am. when i looked into ups 15 yrs ago i was told that id be throwing boxes onto a belt for atleast 20 yrs before any chance of driving the little brown truck.then you do that gig for about 10 yrs before you get into the big truck they call the feeder. id bewell into my 60's by then. i got tired of the hours and low pay and went back to the radiator shop working 40 hrs with a set schedule.no more missing important things in life and working around the clock. yes there are laws regarding the hours of service. but if you wont break them for the company they will starve you and find someone who will work around the clock
 
Messages
22,493
Location
Apple Valley, California
and to add. most local jobs are very low pay.$.42 cents per mile sounds great until you find out that your route is only 63 miles a day. in 2003 i applied at a local place hauling powder cement. they started at $.16 cents per mile and my route would have been about 90 miles a day in about 14 hrs due to traffic. otr stuff includes things like unloading 44000 lbs of frozen meat in 120lb boxes,labels out and for free!
 
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Messages
1,027
Location
Bremerton, WA
As a son of a Trucker, and a co-worker of many ex-Truckers. There is no money in driving unless you're hauling triples or houses long haul. The gravy driving jobs such as UPS and FedEx require you to work part time for several years, as they only hire drivers from within. As an ex-wrench, there is no money in being a mechanic unless you run your own business. Too many parasitic losses and frustration for it to be worth it. Of all the people I know. The guy making the most money, literally eye-popping amounts of money is a window washer. For residential houses. He brings home over 400k a year with 1 employee. His largest business expense is soap and water. He is so smart for doing it, too. He was putting himself through college washing windows and realized he made more money washing windows than he would being a professor. He makes $100 to $200 a house...the average lawn service only makes $25-$45 a house, plus the lawn service has to buy fuel and maintain equipment. This guy literally just washes windows with a microfiber towel and a squeegee on a pole. I am so jealous.
 
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Messages
24,382
Location
Central Florida
Originally Posted By: Oldmoparguy1
If I were in my 30's-40's, I'd go back to welding. There are high paying jobs going begging for welders.. Wayne
I thought the fumes from welding will hurt your health over time ? Is welding a full-time job or spotty depending on the economy ?
 
Messages
14,746
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: Chris142
i went to a local truck driving school.be forwarned that most truck driving jobs suck.the few good ones are taken and already have a line of people waiting for those jobs. plan.on working 14-20 hrs a day,mostly nights and sleeping in the day as most deliveries are at night or early am. when i looked into ups 15 yrs ago i was told that id be throwing boxes onto a belt for atleast 20 yrs before any chance of driving the little brown truck.then you do that gig for about 10 yrs before you get into the big truck they call the feeder. id bewell into my 60's by then. i got tired of the hours and low pay and went back to the radiator shop working 40 hrs with a set schedule.no more missing important things in life and working around the clock. yes there are laws regarding the hours of service. but if you wont break them for the company they will starve you and find someone who will work around the clock
If you are OTR and your hours run out, you're done. Doesn't matter if you are only 100 miles from home. You're done. I couldn't do it
 
Messages
3,061
Location
usa
I drove local LTL for 11 years and had to get out because of 14 hour days and those horrible days of twice a year came twice a week. There is a shortage of drivers for a reason and that is because it is an absolute horrible industry and the only difference is the color of the truck. If you want to be part of the 100% OTR turnover every year, I would advise going the Vocational School route, I went there and they are much cheaper than these private schools. This was the actual test 10 years ago and it probably still is so study this! http://www.cristcdl.com/otc/
 
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