There is a good chance if you have a question it will be covered here.
1. Where should I get training?
This is debatable, because there are some really good companies that will train you right, and some private schools that will. But then there are some companies and private schools that will just let you slide thru. The general consensus is, if you have the time going to a community college is best, and will normally be free.
2. But I am unemployed and Company X is offering me A, B, and C.
These companies are always hiring, they will have the same offer in six months as they are having now. They don’t run specials. Some luck that people have had here with company sponsored training is Schneider, Maverick, and Roehl.
3. I know that I’ve heard bad things about Company X but I am going to try them anyways.
We cannot predict how you will be treated at a company, but to keep your options open its best if you do not have a contract to sign. But there is always the chance you may enjoy company X.
4. How much is too much to pay for training?
Anything more than the cost of food during training. You can get a lot of training for free, or even at an indentured servitude with a good company.
5. Company X is offering me lots of miles, good home time, and great pay, but I’ve only heard bad things about them, who should I listen to?
Every company says that. Just a fact of life, driver recruiters are just what they are recruiters. On the same level as a used car salesman, they don’t care how you’re treated after you work for the company, they only need bodies.
6. I have to be with a trainer for how long?
It’s honestly never too long, it may be for you financially, or you’re bored talking to the same guy everyday. But its a way to get your experience and driving ability up.
7. What should I bring with me?
Your company should give you a list, here is a sample of what you will need:
-Light jacket (reefer students)
– Work gloves
-Sleeping bag, or bedding
– Boots or work shoes
-CDL, permit, or medical card
-Clothes for seven days
8. What’s better? Dryvan? Reefer? Flat bed or bulk?
There is not a which one is better, they all have the advantages and disadvantages. A dry van is the majority on the road, you would be hauling basically anything that can fit in there legally. Reefer is your frozen products, meat, ice cream, produce, even disposable cameras. Flatbed is labor intensive, from carrying tarps, to securing loads. Bulk is the tanker trailer, some manual labor involved, normally only experienced drivers move into this but its possible for a newbie to begin as a bulk driver.
9. How do I become an Owner/Operator?
Buy a truck. Seriously be more focused on learning how to drive, logging, and safety. Keep your eyes open, and pay attention to things around you. You will pick up a lot and begin to learn, it does take years to gain the wisdom to suceed.
10. But Company X has a lease/purchase program!
Even lease operators will tell you its a scam. Very few people complete the lease, it allows the company to throw off expenses on the driver. Yes you can make a pretty good wager doing it. But then you can also fail horribly. It is possible to finish, but not recommended for someone who has never driven a truck before.
11. All of these places say they give lots of home time, how much is lots?
The industry STANDARD, which can be more could be less, more than likely less, is one day at home for every six days on the road. Which means, go out for two weeks, come home for two days, go out for 3 weeks, come home for three days. There are some companies that offer different things, Schneider has a Home Run program, Maverick has 97% of the fleet home for a few hours on the weekends, and many other different things. If it happens great, but don’t plan to be home EVERY weekend.
12. I want to work locally!
None of us live around you, we know it sounds cruel but there is a sticky with the best advice(http://www.thetruckersreport.com/tr…w-drivers/23658-starting-out-for-rookies. html). Most people will tell you to go over the road for a year then get a nice local job.
13. But I have a special situation that requires me to be at home!
Again this sounds cruel, but too bad. If that’s the case these companies don’t need you. Majority of truckers are tough people, they spend countless nights away from home, sometimes in freezing cold weather, burning hot, over ice and snow, and if your situation is so grave that you have to be at home being a trucker isn’t for you
14. But my kids…
Listen, this is the cruel part, no one forced you to have kids, no one forced you to drive a truck. Millions of others have gone before you and made it ok. None of their kids were taking people out from a clock tower because daddy wasn’t there.
15. I want to drive a team.
Good, you will be favored in this industry. Dropping and hooking all the time, Schneider treats their teams very well. There are even some companies that are entirely team oriented. Good luck.
16. How do I run illegally?
Running illegal is well illegal, your log book is a federal document, they do not take kindly to those who forge it. Worry about staying legal first, once you get that down if you run illegally its on you. But remember if you get into an accident no matter how minor and you’re running illegally there is a 98% chance you’re going to prison.
17. Driver X at Company X said his company is so much better than mine, should I apply there?
Sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side.
18. Someone on the CB was making fun of me while I was backing up at the truck stop, how should I handle this?
You can respond when you are finished backing, or just ignore it. After this happens to me I normally say something along the lines of, “Driver, you know if the situation is reversed I would have been doing the same thing.” No one backs up perfect every time.
19. What about prostitution?
Prostitution is illegal in 49 states. The only state it is legal in is Nevada, and there only by a licensed brothel.
20. I heard that prostitutes knock on your door?
Yes, they do. Crack the window and kindly let them know you will not be needing them. The same advice could be used with anyone knocking on your door late at night. I would not advise leaving your truck for anyone in the middle of the night, nor cracking the window beyond anything but a hair.
21. Can I bring my pet?
Different companies, different policies. If you must have your animal with you contact the company you are applying to first.
22. I am diabetic, can I still drive?
As far as I know, if you control your insulin thru diet and/or pills you will be fine. As for those who control their insulin with needles; no you cannot drive.
23. What should I expect on the road?
If you expect nothing then you will be prepared for nothing. But if you prepare for everything you will be ready. While that makes little sense to even myself here is a list of things to expect, you will be: burning hot, freezing cold, wet, hungry, tired, sleepy, bored, aggravated, stressed, excited, and accomplished. At least that’s what I feel. You will see a lot of different shippers and receivers, I have hauled glass, steel coils, the powder mix they spray on ceilings, steel plates, shop vacs, beef, chicken, pork, sunny delight, narcotics, and even IV fluid.
24. Hauling all that stuff are you tempted to steal?
No. 99% of loads I haul are sealed, a broken seal leads to a bad day, one that I won’t want to have. Not to mention I think stealing is extremely wrong.
25. Ever had anything stolen?
Most companies recommend some type of lock, others will issue their own locks. The lock that I use is heavy duty, cannot be picked, the only way to get it off is to cut it off with air tools, or a very high speed cutting device.
26. Why do I see drivers look at their 5th wheel before moving the truck?
Drivers check to make sure their 5th wheel release has not been pulled by themselves or someone else. Pulling a trailer with a 5th wheel released is dangerous, because it wont immediately drop out, it could drop in a straight line, but could also fall while making a slow speed turn. Either way its a very bad day.
27. What about laundry?
Most will discourage laundry on the road, in truck stops its expensive, at terminals the price goes down, its just easier to do it at home.
I have racked my brain for the last two weeks trying to add more, if anyone has anything else to add PM me and I will put it in the original post so no one will have to search thru 20 different posts.