- January 6, 2018 at 9:34 pm #17416
Hello my name is Chris, I am interested in becoming a truck driver. Preferably OTR Long Haul. I live in Riverside county and I do not have my cdl license or a permit. I applied for swift and they don’t want nothing to do with me because on the application I wanted to be honest about my past marijuana use. I been trying to make a change in my life and I am staying away from weed so I can truck. Now I heard bad things about CR England but I like to stay positive, the recruiter was nice and answered most of my questions and concerns. I applied to CR England as well. I just turned 22 years old in December, but my driving record from past mistakes hinders my chance of starting this career. I have a total of 3 moving violations all in the year 2015 (middle to end of that year). I really need advice and help on deciding what trucking company in southern California provides company paid cdl training. I know i have to sign a contract to work for them for a year or more and thats not a problem. 1 more thing, My whole life i been driving cars that have automatic transmissions. I wouldn’t say I’m scared to drive manual transmissions but I’m nervous about it. I heard there is a CDL with an E on the license that restricts me to only driving automatic trucks. I really want that, even though pro truckers are probably laughing at my decision but heck give me an auto truck and i can haul anything you want from los Angeles to New York and back.January 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm #17418
I’m not Red. I’m someone helping him answer questions as a 20 plus year veteran driver. Neither Red or I can pick a trucking company for you. I will say, in my opinion, I would never consider CR England. They essentially hire anyone, convince most of them to lease-operate the truck, and most of those newbies fail within a year. You want to get paid to drive a truck, not assume all costs and risks of paying for the truck, especially if you have not driven before.
Your driving record and your age are working against you, which is one reason why some trucking companies will not consider anyone under 23. Shifting a truck is easy once you learn it. EVERYONE has some difficulty for a week or two. And EVERYONE learns to up-shift (as when you are accelerating) faster than down-shifting (as when you are slowing down). Chances are you will drive an automatic truck, but I don’t see a good reason to volunteer to be restricted to working only in automatics. Having no experience shifting anything is THE BEST BACKGROUND for learning to shift semi-trucks. You DO NOT shift a truck like you shift a car. EVERYONE with car shifting experience has MORE trouble learning to shift a truck.
Make sure you stay away from marijuana for at least 6 months. If you can’t do that stay away from trucking. You will be drug tested numerous times, including randomly. Nobody in the industry wants to hear you opinion about how serious marijuana is. Even if your state makes it legal, it’s prohibited in trucking. Some companies test your urine and some test your hair. If you think you can smoke a little bit or smoke from time to time you will be discovered and fired then put into an industry-wide blacklist that will keep you from working again until you complete a long and very expensive recovery program. If pot is no big deal then it’s no big deal to never smoke again. All it takes to be discovered, even if you never screw up, is one drunk hitting your truck. You will be tested. Nobody said life was fair.
Take the personality profile to see if you can be happy in trucking. If it doesn’t match your personality you will fail and it will feel like doing time in jail.January 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm #17430
I have some experience with CR England. I drove for them for a short period. Their training to get your cdl actually isn’t bad. I had good instructors who helped when you needed it and hung around after class if you decided for more practice time on the backing range. I even had a instructor, after i failed the backing test after my first trainer, have me cone back early the next morning and walk me through and show me every thing I did wrong the day before. The thing with their training that I didn’t like was the second phase, the put you with a rookie driver trainer, basically two rookies in a truck, what could go wrong? The second trainer, while he was a good guy, he wasn’t trainer material. On top of that, a lot of the trainers are lease operators. While that isn’t always bad, there are good trainers out there, you run the high chance of ending up with a trainer who cares more about his paycheck than your training. Also of you do their company paid training, you are locked into a contact with them and u guarantee they will try to sucker you into their lease program. I only left because of a family emergency and ended giving up my cdl, big mistake on my part. I plan on getting my cdl again soon and going back trucking. I hope my 2 cents helped. Nice to see another so cal guy here, I’m from Pasadena. Good luckJanuary 13, 2018 at 9:46 pm #17431
I have strong bias against certain companies, mostly the big mega carriers, For about 20 years I have been active in the online trucking community trying to help less experienced drivers and newbies coming into trucking. About 80% of the newbies spend little effort choosing a trucking company and they think they are safe going with the big companies, no mater how many experienced drivers try to warn them away from some of them. The most frequent comment from a newbie is “I’m thinking of going to work with ABC Trucking. I know people say some bad things about them, but I figure you have to start somewhere.” In my mind you might as well say “I’m thinking of smoking crack. I know some people say it’s dangerous, but you gotta do something on the weekend.”
This job is hard. You will be alone and held responsible for a hundred things the “office people” working for your company or the shipper/receiver should have worked out days ago, but you are the one trying to figure out what they would have wanted, even though they told you nothing. Certain companies, and I put CR England in this group, hire hundreds of drivers yearly and lose hundreds or more yearly. In CR England’s case they also entice newbies to “Lease-Purchase” a truck with VERY expensive costs and knowing MOST of their Lease-Ops will fail. IMO, they are a truck leasing company that masquerades as a trucking company.
The single most important advice I can give anyone is never, ever work for a trucking company until you have talked with current working drivers at that company. No amount of Google advertising or web pages can make up for what current drivers are experiencing. You will be treated like current drivers are treated, for better or worse. The trucking company recruiter you are speaking with before you hire will cease to exist the moment you are hired. Unless you can document what this trucking company recruiter tells you, nobody will know anything about those “promises.” Recruiters get paid when you hire on, even if you leave within 30 days.
Any driver picking a company needs as much info about that company as possible. The internet is a supplement to what working drivers can tell you. My bias is to always start your company search close to home, which will increase chances of getting home. Most newbies, me included, severely underestimate how getting home can keep you sane. I was single with no obligations and I quickly learned that if I couldn’t get home I would lose my mind. There are trade-offs to time at home. Usually if you don’t get home often, you expect o stay home longer. Typically the ratio is one day home for each week away from home. I’ve been able to work and be home weekly and for a long time home daily. This means a frantic stress-filled Friday trying to make it home ASAP because I’m due to leave again on Sunday or Monday. If you can stay out a few weeks you’ll see weekend driving is much less stressful and your frantic rushes home are less frequent, but maybe more stressed.
Your happiness in trucking depends mostly on how much info you have and how successful you’ve been finding a company that is good for you. A roll of the dice is a recipe for problems, up to and including getting put on the industry black-list. There is a company similar to credit bureaus which track drivers in trucking. Not all trucking companies subscribe to DAC or HireRight, but most do. If you get frustrated and quit with no notice, fail or refuse a drug test, or worse abandon your truck to go home, you are effectively black-listed. Bad companies use this as a hammer and low miles as an anvil to pound some newbies.
January 13, 2018 at 10:08 pm #17433
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by scott_hanson.
I’m looking at going with Schneider. I have a friend who worked for them, though just left for a better paying gig, though he is honestly a company gold digger and will run to whoever waves the biggest wage at him. He said Schneider was ok, just don’t expect to be making the big bucks, and their dispatchers out of Fontana CA are a-holes, but I can deal with that. I have read decent things about them, the biggest complaints being it’s not the highest paying company out there
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