So, you want to be a truck driver

Welcome to Trucking 101, which is a basic informational course about trucks and truck driving for prospective drivers.  I’m your instructor, Truckie-D.

First, let’s start with some basics:

Why do you want to be a truck driver?

Driving a truck is NOT for everyone.   In my years as an instructor, I’ve found a few common characteristics that bode well for success in the trucking industry.

  • You’ve got to like to drive.

While this may sound pretty basic, it really is an essential requirement.   If you get bored driving to the store, or need to stop every 30 minutes, then you might want to look at other careers.

  • You need a lot of patience.

There’s a lot of sitting around and waiting involved — in loading docks, traffic, truckstops, etc. Lack of patience can cause serious problems.

  • You need to be *extremely* safety oriented.

Trucks are NOT just oversized cars.  They’re heavy equipment, and can quite easily kill you or someone else.  Even small things can turn around and bite you.

  • You have to be comfortable being alone for long periods.

This may sound simple — but many people just can’t stand being alone.  I once had a student who  teamed up with another driver and did quite well for some months.  When his team partner quit, he picked up a load, ran it a few miles, then turned around and came back to the yard with it.  He just couldn’t stand being alone in a truck.

  • You have to be a self-starter with a good work ethic.

Out on the road, there’s no boss standing over you with a stick.  You’ve got to get up and move the freight down the road under your own power.  Hours can be very long — 12 to 14 hour workdays are common.

  • You need to be in reasonable physical condition.

You don’t need to be a bodybuilder, weightlifter, or any kind of jock.  Average physical ability is enough.  You’ll be climbing around the equipment, moving freight, coupling and uncoupling trailers.  One young lady I had as a student probably didn’t weigh 90 pounds soaking wet – and she did just fine. (in fact, she was one of the best students I ever had).

  • You need to be drug and alcohol free.

You’ll be taking pre-employment, and thereafter random drug and alcohol tests.  If you’re involved in a crash (even if it’s not your fault) you’ll also be tested.  A positive test, or refusal to test, is the absolute kiss of death in the industry. A little known fact is the reduced alcohol limit for CDL holders.  If you have a CDL, the legal alcohol limit is .04 — half of what it is for everyone else.  Yes, even in a car.  Also, any detectable trace of alcohol (even below the .04 limit) will get you a 24 hour out-of-service order — which is also the kiss of death.

If you don’t meet *all* of the criteria above, then do yourself a favor and look elsewhere for employment.  You may be able to get someone to hire and train you, but it’s a waste of time, since you won’t last.  You’ll either quit, or get fired.

  • You need a clean driving record.

Any crash involving a truck is *really* expensive. Trucking companies want to reduce their liability exposure as much as possible.  If you have a lot of tickets, you’re going to have a tough time getting a job.  Certain offenses are the absolute kiss of death — any dui, evasion, or felony, and you can forget it.  Other moving violations, it depends on the type and number, and how recent they are, and the insurance provider for the company you’re applying to.

Other considerations

What’s your home situation like?  Spouse? Kids?  Trucking is *very* hard on families and relationships.  The divorce rate among truck drivers is astronomical.  Remember, you’re going to be gone most of the time. An employment ad for one trucking company bragged that “we get our drivers home almost every month”.  That’s right, there are *months* that you might not get home.  Depending on the company, you can plan on being gone a minimum of a week at at time — possibly up to 6 weeks or more.  It partly depends on the company, and partly on where you live.  If you live along any of the major freight lanes, you’ll get home more often.  If not, you’ll be gone a lot more — if they’ll even hire you.

If your spouse/significant other can’t manage things without you around, you might want to rethink trucking as a career.  It took my wife quite a while to adjust.  She did, and now can accomplish quite a few more things without me around.  Took a while though.

Trucking is also tough on kids — especially if they’re young. They’ll really miss you.  A driver I know recently quit.  I was talking to him about it, and  he said he was getting ready to leave and his kids begged him not to go.  For him, that was it — he quit, and found work locally.  Even though he took a substantial pay cut, his kids were a lot happier.

Don’t underestimate the importance of family issues.  While economic circumstances might be pushing you into a trucking career, if you don’t have a family when you come home, then what’s the point?

Ok, if you’ve made it this far, and still want to be a truck driver, then read on.

Getting into the industry

The first thing you’re going to need is a CDL — Commercial Driver’s License.  Without a CDL just about all you’re going to be able to deliver is pizza.

There are a number of companies that will train you, and give you a job after you successfully complete training.  Some of these companies have excellent programs, and are good companies to work for.  Some are horrendously bad programs, and lousy to work for.  So, how do you know what to do?

First, go by most any larger truckstop and look for the hiring magazine rack.  There are a lot of these (free) publications.  Some specialize in particular types of drivers, or owner operators.  Pick up one of everything and take them home.  Read every one, cover to cover.  After you’ve read them all, you’ll be able to pick out the possible companies.  Most will have their hiring and operating areas shown on a little map in the ad.  Make sure you live in their hiring area, and their operating area is where you want to run.

Regional vs. National carriers

Some carriers run 48 states and Canada.  Others restrict their operations to a regional area, or sometimes even to a single state.  Local and regional will get you home more often, but national fleets generally pay better, and have more freight.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a group of companies, the next thing to do is get some information about them.  The best way to do this, is go back to the truckstop where you got the magazines, and hang out, looking for drivers from the companies you’re interested in.  The best time is in the evening when most drivers are stopping for the night.  If you’re afraid of talking to them, don’t be.  Most drivers will happily talk your ears off.  If a driver says he doesn’t have time to talk, don’t be offended — there are lots of loads with tight schedules.  Just thank him, and move on.  A good opening line is:  “Hi..is (company) any good to work for?”  Especially if you tell him you’re looking to get into the industry, most will happily give you advice. It’s helpful to have a small notebook and a pen with you.  Many companies pay their drivers a referral bonus for new hires.  If you talk to a driver, and his information leads you to a job with that company, then it’s only fair that he collect the bonus, since you’ve taken up his time.  You may need to write down his name or truck number, or some other information.  Some may give you a card with the required information on it.

Also, make sure you talk to more than one driver for any particular company.  One who’s having a bad day might just bitch for an hour, when in actual fact it’s a good company to work for.  An important question to ask is “how long have you worked for (company)?”  If it’s at least two years, that’s a good sign.

Sitting at the counter with drivers is also informative.  Ignore most of the “war stories” and look for demeanor.  Are the drivers for a particular company looking happy or unhappy? Letting the counter crowd know you’re interested in driving will get you *lots* of advice — some of it might even be good. You’ll also hear lots of war stories.  Best thing to find out is which companies are good, and which are bad.

By now you should have narrowed your list down to a handful of companies.  Now’s the time to start making phone calls.  When you talk to the recruiter, it helps to have a list of questions to ask.

Different companies have different deals for training.  Some give it to you free (not many of those left anymore, if any). Most of them will give you the training in exchange for a commitment to work for them for a specified time after successful completion of the training.  A year is the usual amount of time.  If they want a longer commitment, view that with suspicion.  Most of them will credit a portion of the training cost per week.  Some don’t give you the weekly credit, so if you quit before your time is up, you’ll have to come up with the full amount.

There are also some that require you to sign an agreement for the full amount of the training, and then give you an amount per week (usual) or per month (less common), and you’ll have to make payments.

Some will provide a room and meals during training, and some require you to provide your own.

We’ll talk about CDL training schools a little later on.

Ok, you’re on the phone to the recruiter.  He’s going to ask you about your work history.  Make sure you have your work history going back 10 years — trucking companies are required by law to go back that far.  He’ll need names, addresses, and telephone numbers for *everywhere* that you’ve worked in that period.  If you have periods of unemployment, you’ll likely have to come up with witnesses to prove that you were unemployed, and not in jail.Most will take the word of a neighbor, church pastor, etc.

He’ll also want information on your driving record. You’ll need the state and license number for all driver’s licenses that you’ve held in the last 10 years.  Some companies require you to get DMV printouts of your license history — most will obtain that themselves.

The important thing to remember, is BE HONEST about your work and driving history.  Leaving out jobs will generally instantly disqualify you.  Most trucking companies are ok with having worked a number of jobs (at least as long as it’s not one every other week).

At this point, if the recruiter is happy about your general qualifications, you may be invited to come in to fill out an application, and for an interview, or he’ll send you a package in the mail with an application to fill out.

If you’re invited in for an interview, make sure you look neat and clean.  Some companies have restrictions on hair length, facial hair, and hats etc.  Make sure you know if these restrictions exist.  Even where they don’t, a haircut and a shave can go a long way toward getting you a job.

If you get a package in the mail, it should contain some information about the company, and their compensation package.  Most companies pay by the mile — some pay on a percentage basis.  Be wary of percentage pay.  With a percentage scheme, empty miles generally aren’t paid.  If you have a lot of deadhead miles, you’ll end up doing a lot of work for free.  Companies that are paying company drivers on percentage are usually doing it for a reason, so be wary.

For mileage pay, you need to know the rates for loaded and empty miles, and whether they pay HHG (household goods miles), practical route miles, or hub miles.  Practical route miles are around 8% more than HHG miles, so take that into account when comparing companies.  Hub miles are a little more than practical route miles.

Ok, now let’s examine what happens if no recruiters want to hire you.

There are a large number of CDL training schools out there.  They run the gamut from very good (such as C1 – I have a lot of experience with their students, and they’re very good) to really bad (no names please). The prices range from reasonable to absolutely outrageous.  There are many state vocational-technical schools that run CDL training programs, as well as commercial schools.  Costs can vary widely, so investigate thoroughly.

A few years ago, I had a student who had gone to one of these commercial schools.  He paid $11,000 (!) for the training.  He proudly showed me the diploma he’d gotten.  The school recruiter had told him that “he could get a job anywhere with one of their diplomas”.  It actually didn’t mean squat.  He was really miffed when he found this out.  He was even more upset when he found out he could have gotten the same training for around $3,000 from another school, or for free from us.

Most CDL training schools have deals with one or more trucking companies to refer students (for which they get a fat fee).  The best way is to go to the companies directly, and get a hiring decision (contingent on you passing the training) from them first.  If you can’t get a positive hiring decision from anybody, then don’t waste your money.  CDL schools have been known to recruit students that are unemployable, so get that hiring decision FIRST.  Don’t get sucked in by the standard recruiters pitch of “We’re well respected in the industry, and trucking companies are all competing for our students”.  They’re not the ones hiring — the companies are.  The company will tell you which school or schools are acceptable to them.

Classes usually last somewhere between two and six weeks.  The shorter the class length, the tougher the course is going to be.  The amount of classroom time and in-truck time will also vary, as will the number of students per instructor/truck.  Ask about all of these things BEFORE you sign on that dotted line.

Now, let’s look at the best case – where you’ve gotten a positive hiring decision from a company.

First, you’re going to have to take a physical, and drug and alcohol test.  Then, you’re going to have to get your CDL learner’s permit.

Some CDL classes include classroom work to prepare you for the permit — others don’t.  Make sure you know in advance.

Getting the permit isn’t that hard — it’s just a lot of stuff to remember.  Go to your local DMV branch and get a copy of the CDL manual for your state.  It’s also available online in most states.  Study it. Go and take the written.  If you pass, then you get your permit.  If not, you can usually take the written every day (usually for free) until you do pass.  The recruiter or school will tell you what sections you need to study for the appropriate license (usually class A) and endorsements (usually HAZMAT, but maybe also tankers, or double/triple trailer).

Congratulations! You’ve now taken the first steps toward becoming a truck driver.

Now, it’s time to go to school.

There is a lot of stuff you’re going to have to learn.  In my experience as a trainer, the two hardest things for most students to learn, are proper shifting, and backing up.

If you can drive a five speed in a car, you should generally have little trouble learning to double-clutch and shift your way through a ten speed in the truck.  Some companies are going to automatic transmissions in their trucks, which eliminates the need to learn how to shift.  If given the choice, learn the skill.  If you want to change companies, most still use manual transmissions, so you need to know.  Even if you’ve never driven a manual transmission, don’t  be afraid of it.  It’s an acquired skill, so it’s just a matter of practice.

Backing is similar in that it’s also an acquired skill, and not to be feared.  Your instructor should teach you the proper techniques, then it’s simply a matter of practice.  Don’t try to invent your own shortcuts.  There’s a reason that the  instructor is telling you to do it that way, so listen carefully and follow instructions.  Some use a toy truck to illustrate the various techniques, and it can give you a different perspective, and help you learn quicker.

You’re also going to have to learn about the mechanical aspects of trucks.  It’s a regulatory requirement that you do a pre-trip and post-trip inspection on your truck and trailer, so you need to be educated on what to look for.

You’ll also spend quite a bit of time in the classroom learning such things as how to read maps, navigate, correctly fill out a log book, get needed permits etc.  There will also be a large chunk of time spent on regulations.  Trucking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country, and “I didn’t know” cuts no ice when the DOT man is writing you a citation for something.  Most truckstops sell a small book with all of the Federal trucking regulations in them.  If the school doesn’t supply one, pick one up and read it.  Cover to cover.  Several times.  You have to be familiar with ALL of the regulations in that book. If going to a company school, you may also end up covering company-specific paperwork.

Ok, now the big day has arrived.  Class is finished, and you’re about to take your CDL road test to get your license.

The first thing to remember, is BE CALM!  I know that may be difficult to do, but it’s important.  Get too wound up, and you’re going to forget your training, and make mistakes.  The CDL examiner wants you to pass.  Examiners don’t get paid extra for failing you.  While they may give you the benefit of the doubt (or not) it’s nothing to worry about.  The CDL road test isn’t that difficult, and if you were properly trained, you should have no difficulty in passing it.  Worst case, you fail it, and try again after a little more practice on the area(s) you had problems with.

Congratulations! You’ve just passed your CDL exam.

What happens next very much depends on the company you’ve hired on with.  Most will have you spend somewhere between a day and a couple of weeks on company orientation and possibly some additional training.  A (very) few will simply hand you the keys and tell you to go haul some freight.  Some may have you team up with another driver for some period of time.  If given the option, I would suggest teaming with another driver.  Especially when starting out, it’s always good to have some help available, even if it’s only another inexperienced driver like yourself.  The best is to team with an experienced driver/ trainer and get some real over the road experience, and learn some of the myriad things that they didn’t teach you in class.

A word of caution:  When you get through the training, and get out on the road, you may decide quite quickly that trucking really isn’t for you.  If you come to that decision, do yourself (and everyone else on the roads) a favor and quit.  Don’t let the fact that you may owe a few thousand bucks for the training make you keep driving.  If it’s really not for you, then just move on to something else.  Even if you think you’re going to have trouble paying the money back, quit anyway.  Why? because people who don’t want to drive tend to not be the safest drivers on the highway.  Do yourself a favor and quit before somebody (maybe even you) gets killed.

Comments and questions are welcome.

256 comments so far

  1. […] So, you want to be a truck driver […]

  2. Tiffany on

    This was a very much informative passage. I appreciate every bit of information that was given. I’m eager to get started and hit the road, I can’t wait. Thanks for the advice.

  3. Victor on

    Excellent advice! I can see that you are a great instructor. Thank you!

  4. Jessica on

    I don’t have a very squeaky clean driving record but I have -5 points on my liscense now after a couple years of good driving and I’m also not 25 yet when I was younger I had a few accidents and tickets. Do you think if I wait I till I am over 25 and haven’t accrued any more violations I will be able to find work?

  5. truckied on

    It depends on exactly what the citations were for, and how many accidents there are, and how severe they were. Eventually, the points will drop off your license, but it will take a few years. Trucking companies are required to go back 10 years. If your driving record is that bad, you might want to explore some different career options.

    Drive safely!

    td

  6. Tyrone Griffin on

    I’m wondering if if you don’t know how to drive a standard even after obtaining your cdl will some companies still give you a chance

  7. truckied on

    There are a few companies that have auto-shift trucks. That being said, knowing how to double-clutch your way through a ten speed transmission will greatly improve your employment prospects — it’s well worth the effort to learn.

    Drive safely!

    td

  8. Alexandra on

    Great info now this really makes me wanna become a truckers even sooner…on the road again just can’t wait to be on the road again…Hahaha

  9. Gavin Henriksen on

    I’m 52, in good shape, the kids are all grown up and am thinking to get a commercial trucking licence. What’s the chance of getting hired?

  10. truckied on

    If you have a clean driving record, and no felony convictions, pretty good. Investigate a number of companies, and look for the best deal for training.

    Drive safely!

    td

  11. used trucks for sale on

    Thank you for the informative blog post on what it is to be a truck driver. While it seems easy to others, it is a very difficult job choice to say the least.

  12. Richard Powell on

    Exactly what I was looking for thanks Truckie D

  13. Omer Syed on

    Thanks for the info! I am looking into becoming a trucker but I am get negative comments from friends and family and I don’t know what to do!

  14. Josh on

    If you’re capable of making your own big boy decisions, then who cares what they want.

  15. eric on

    Hi I’m 24 and I believe I have a couple fines to pay (nothing driving related) two small misdemeanors. Will they work with me? Should I pay em all completely off first? Will they still hire me? My fines are from bein arrested when I was like 17 for I believe having cigarettes and one from last year for a big arguement with a guy 300 dollar fine and 1000 fine

  16. truckied on

    Hi Eric,

    Depends on the company. The cigarette one is probably not a big deal, but the one for an “argument” might be a problem. It all depends on the company. I’d get a favorable hiring decision from a company BEFORE signing on the line for any training.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  17. Roddy Torres on

    I also have a misdemeanor that happened almost 3 years ago, but I have a super clean driving record and only 2 jobs for the pass 20 year. You think I would have a hard time getting in as a new driver?

  18. truckied on

    Depends what the misdemeanor was for, and it’s final disposition. I’d get a favorable hiring decision from a company BEFORE signing up for any classes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  19. Jared on

    I’m 26 and never been convicted of any crime, but from 03 to 08 I had 3 accidents that were my fault (and a couple more that weren’t). No one was hurt in any of them. As for tickets, I got 2 failure to reduce speed’s and one speeding that hopefully wouldn’t show up because I did the traffic safety school. My last wreck/ticket was in January 2008 and I have been squeaky clean ever since. Would any companies want to hire me?

  20. truckied on

    Possibly, although multiple at-fault collisions and citations will raise a red flag at most companies. Five clean years will help quite a bit, but I would get an affirmative hiring decision from a company BEFORE signing up.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  21. Joshua on

    You said you are an instructor, Do you still do that for a living? I would like nothing more then to be trained by you. You seem like you know what you are talking about & I would only like to learn from the best! Thank you!

  22. truckied on

    Joshua-
    Not doing basic instruction anymore. Now, what I do is help o/o’s who are having difficulty becoming profitable.

    There are some good schools with good instructors out there. Talk to otr driver trainers, and they’ll be able to tell you who’s currently good, and who isn’t.

    Drive safely!

    td

  23. Nick on

    I have never drove a truck nor do I have a cdl, but i am interested in going straight to becoming an o/o. Is it possible to just get my cdl and buy a truck and find loads or are they going to want experience? I always see companies wanting 2 years experience but i just assumed that was to drive their rigs. Also is it possible that I could just skip any classes and have my uncle teach me to drive, hes been driving for 30+ years. I am not in anyway saying i don’t need the class i think that would be a great way to learn, but that 4 grand for the class could go to my truck . Does it matter how you learn or does it just matter if you pass your cdl test? I really want to drive a truck, but i have absolutely have no interest in team driving at all and i assume that is the first thing a company will want me to do, and I also want the freedom of my own rig and being my own boss.

  24. truckied on

    Nick-
    Let me take your questions out of order.
    The two year experience thing is mainly coming from the insurance companies. Yes, even with zero experience you can get a CDL, buy a truck, and get your own authority, but the insurance premiums would break you — if you could even find someone to sell you the insurance at all. There are many (mainly large) companies who are self-insured, and will take drivers with no experience, but without experience, almost everybody wants someone who has taken a formal course — and many require a course from a specific school. Check out the various companies — some will even pay for your training, although most want a time commitment for doing that.
    Having never driven a truck, you really don’t know what it’s like. It’s most certainly not for everyone. As I say in my post, you *really* want to get some experience before you shell out for a truck. The turnover rate for drivers in their first six months is astronomical.
    Not all companies require new drivers to team. Even if you’re with a company that doesn’t, teaming for even a couple of months isn’t a bad thing. Having someone along to help out can really make it much less stressful when you’re first starting out.
    If you know someone who’s a driver (such as your uncle), a good first step would be to see if you can arrange to ride along for a week or so. Many people have a completely unrealistic idea of what trucking is like. Driving a truck is a lot more than “steering and gearing”. You’re not going to have adventures like those you see on TV. You’re not going to become a millionaire overnight. There aren’t bevies of beautiful women waiting with bated breath for you to stop in their town. It’s mostly just hour after hour of driving — and that’s on a good day.

    Trust me on this — try out trucking by going the school and company driver route. If you decide trucking isn’t for you, you’ll avert a very large financial mistake. If you decide it is, you’ll have more money in the bank, and can buy a better truck.

    Whatever you decide, I invite you to come back and let us know how things went for you.

    Drive safely!

    td

  25. Nick on

    Thank you very much for the info. I had never even considered the insurance part but I completely understand it, I would be a huge liability with no experience, basically like giving a 16 year a brand new corvette the premiums would be staggering. I currently have a driving job (6 years) but its delivery, I generally work 10 hours a day mostly driving and drive anywhere from 250 to 350 miles per day. So the long days of constant driving I am already somewhat used too and I love it, but its in a van so nothing close to a big rig. I stop alot to make my deliveries and thats what I hate about it. I don’t hate people but I generally don’t like to be around people and thats why I am looking to trucking the hours of alone time would fit me great. I was just worried that if I team drove at first thats just how it be for the rest of my time there. Then thats NO alone time at all, and I just couldn’t handle that. Plus I still live at home with no family to support so if I failed at being a o/o the only thing that I really had to loose was my credit score in the event the truck would get repossessed. Also the thought of getting a tricked out long nose Peterbilt with a ton of chrome appealed to me more than a plain company truck. Now I understand that company driving I could make the 4 grand back that i spent on school back plus be more money for me to get another truck. I still want to be and o/o but you stopped me from diving in head first. Thanks again for your info and taking the time to help me out. Just one more question if you don’t mind, 8 years ago I rear ended a car would that be an issue? Thats the only citation I ever had.

  26. truckied on

    Hi Nick,

    If it was 8 years ago, and wasn’t a DUI, reckless driving, or eluding police, or a felony, probably not, as long as your record has been clean since. Trucking companies are required by law to go back 10 years checking employers and driving records.

    As far as team driving goes, your co-driver will be asleep back in the bunk most of the time while you’re driving, so even though you’re team driving, you’ll get some alone time. Companies that require team driving to begin with usually have a more or less set time period that they require teaming for. It’s usually from one to three months. Trust me on this — it’s really not a bad way to go. The first time you have to do a blindside back into a dock that’s pitch black and it’s snowing like crazy, you’ll really be glad you have someone with. Get the right co-driver, and you might even enjoy it. I teamed off and on over the years, and have had both good and bad team experiences. If you’re someplace that mandates teaming, and you have the co-driver from hell, you can usually talk the company into changing your partner out for someone you get along with. In any case, it’s not for very long, so you can just grit your teeth and put up with it until it’s over.

    Another bit of advice — don’t be quite so cavalier about your credit score. It affects quite a bit more than just credit — things like insurance, pre-hire job screenings, and other things. Keep it protected by not making bad financial decisions, and meeting your obligations in a timely manner.

    When you do go buy a truck, the important thing to remember is that you’re not just buying a truck — you’re buying a business. Every decision you make needs to be made as a business decision; in other words, is it going to put money in your pocket, or take it out? There’s a saying in trucking: “Lots of chrome, never home”. Unless you’re a show hauler of some kind, most companies and shippers could care less about how much chrome and how many chicken lights your truck has. All they want is a truck that’s mechanically sound, meets DOT requirements, and looks decent. Anything over and above that is pretty much just a waste of money. Too many new o/o’s go out and buy that shiny overchromed large car, and end up in a mess because they can’t make the payments. I always recommend that new o/o’s go out and buy the best truck they can for cash. A well maintained used truck in good condition is really the way to go for a first truck. You can always buy another truck at some point on down the road.

    Keep us posted on how it goes.

    Drive safely!

    td

  27. Lee on

    Hi. I got bored and stumbled upon this. I am a driver for a small 7 truck family company with its own authority and we operate all 48 states when local scrap business slows down.

    To that nick guy: Let your uncle teach you everything he knows. Learn how to work on them. They break every week and you’ll need like 50000 in the bank at all times for emergencies.

    I have been working on my uncles trucks 6 years and driving for 4 years. I know the Kenworth w900 inside and out. And even though I love my job, there’s hardly time to go out and meet anyone (I’m 27). If you wanna be an owner operator, or family of an o/ o, take time and learn everything you can.

  28. Doug on

    Ok…So i’ve been thinking about getting into truck driving. I’m 30 years old with a perfect driving record. I have never been arrested for anything. I’m in pretty good shape. I have had a lot of jobs. i’ve had about 20 jobs since I started working at age 16. What are the chances of getting hired by a good company with having so many jobs?

  29. truckied on

    Doug –
    Probably pretty good, as long as you didn’t get fired from all of them for misconduct of some kind. The key is to be honest when filling out your application. Trucking companies are required to go back 10 years to verify employment history, so you’ll need addresses and phone numbers for all of those employers. Also be prepared to explain why so many jobs.

    Come back by and let us know how it goes.

    Drive safely!

    td

  30. Henry on

    i don’t have any experienced driving trailer trucks, what i have is an SUV, do you think i can handle the trailer truck if i switch to that career. thanks!!!

  31. truckied on

    Henry-
    Probably. Driving a tractor trailer takes a combination of skills and abilities. Skills are what you learn; abilities are what you’re born with. I’ve taught all kinds of people over the years, and most have the requisite abilities. With that, it’s simply a matter of learning the required skills, and practicing them to achieve proficiency.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  32. Henry on

    so, since i’m a newbie to drive trucks, do i have a chance that i can easily learn to drive the trucks? do you think the truck company will hire me? thanks!

  33. truckied on

    Henry-
    How easily depends on your abilities. Follow the advice in my post to find a company.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  34. Larry Russell on

    Hello there. I am curious about something. I am thinking about a trucking career. I know the lifestyle and everything that is involved because my father has drove a truck since I have been a small child myself. I lost my license back in 05 due to an accident that was counted as my fault even though it really wasn’t, even though I know that it doesn’t matter, but do to circumstances I wasn’t able to get my license back until this past October. On top of that, back in 2010, I was charged with a felony, but it’s just for being behind in child Support, because of not being able to make enough money to be able to pay every month in full. Is there a company that will put me to work. I am a dedicated worker with an awesome work history, I take serious pride in my work ethics, and I would Love to be an OTR company driver. I’m just looking for that break to get me started so I can prove myself. Any advice? It would be greatly appreciated.

  35. truckied on

    Larry –
    From the sound of it your chances don’t look very good. If you didn’t get your license back for that many years, it must have been a serious issue of some kind. That kind of stuff usually takes about ten years to disappear from your driving record, and some things never do. I rather doubt any of the trucking insurance companies would give you an affirmative decision. Depending on the particular offense, you might not even be eligible even to obtain a CDL. Section 383.51 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)(here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=383.51 ) contains a list of offenses and disqualification periods, which range from 60 days to life. I’d suggest first looking at that.

    Any felony, even if only for child support raises *lots* of red flags for companies. You might be able to find one, but I’d say your chances are pretty slim.

    Rather than driving trucks, you might want to consider an affiliated career such as repairing them. A skilled truck mechanic makes pretty good money and they’re always in demand. Even if you’re unable to go to school for that, it’s possible that a shop will hire you for general labor, and you can learn on the job.

    Best of luck on your search.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  36. Rob on

    Hi! I am 53 years old and have thought on and off for at least the last 10 years, I would enjoy being a truck diver. I have worked for a government agency for over 20 years in accounting. I have no children an my wife passed away in 2010. I don’t think I could match my income in the short term with trucking however, I can retire from my current job at 55. I am in unusually good health for my age. Do you think 55 or 56 is to old to start in the industry?

  37. truckied on

    Rob-

    Not at all! I’ve seen quite a number of drivers start even older. In fact, the average age of OTR drivers is somewhere in the 50’s. As long as you’re in good health and can pass the DOT physical, it’s not a problem.

    Come back and tell us how it goes when you start driving.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  38. Mike on

    Very helpful blog. I’m 35 and looking to get into over the road trucking in the few years. I have always wanted to drive but having family kept me away from it. Here’s a scenario I would really appreciate your insight on, I love to drive and travel long distances as does my wife, we are planning on semi retirement in the next few years as our kids will be old enough and working construction for many years its time to move to something less physically demanding. So is it possible to drive for say a month and then take a month or a couple weeks off? How about driving most of the winter and taking the summer off? Would I have to be a owner operator to do that? Not sure if buying my own truck is a good decision if its going to just sit there alot. And lastly my wife will be coming every time as we want to do this together, her dad took her a lot on short trips in his rig when she was younger and she loved it. Would companies allow my wife as a passenger since she doesn’t drive. Thank you. Mike

  39. truckied on

    Mike –

    It is possible, but most companies want company drivers to work full time. Finding a driving job like that without experience would be difficult. Owner-operators are a different story. There are plenty of companies that let o/o’s work whenever. There are quite a few drivers who park their trucks with the first snowflake, and don’t go back out until spring. Others will work a couple of weeks a month. Being able to do that pretty much requires owning a paid for truck. Save your pennies, and it’s doable.

    As far as passengers go, probably every company has some kind of passenger program. You’ll probably be required to pay for some extra insurance, but it’s usually pretty cheap. Some also impose restrictions, i.e. no passengers during winter. Shop around before you pick a company.

    Come back and let us know how it works out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  40. Corey on

    Thanks for the information. Your blog is very informative! I’m 21 and thinking about becoming a truck driver in ND. I actually enjoy driving but I have a ticket for doing 101 MPH on a 65 a few years ago. Maybe when I was 18 or 19 lol. I know it’s a huge speeding ticket and I got 4 points for it since 4 were knocked off since it was reduced. I think the judge wrote me off for 86 MPH instead though. Do you think that would be a huge red flag? My driving record has been clean since then though.

    Anyway they would even give me a shot? Or do I not have a chance with that speeding ticket?

  41. Troy on

    Hello I’m 29 and am just now getting my license for the first time. At soon at i get my license end of may i want to go to school. What do you think my chances of getting a pre-hire are?

  42. truckied on

    Hi Corey,

    Definitely a red flag there. 101 in a 65 is *way* into reckless driving territory. 86 is too. Since it’s been 3 years, you might find someone who’ll take a chance. Get an official copy of your driving record from the state and see exactly what it says. Offhand, I’d say your chances for for the next few years are slim. Remember, trucking companies are required by law to go back 10 years. You might investigate any programs that could erase the offense.

    Come back and let us know what happens.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  43. truckied on

    Hi Troy,

    Are you 29 and getting your first driver’s license ever, or 29 and getting your first CDL? If it’s the former, I’d say your chances were not terribly good. Most truck insurance companies want to see at least a little bit of track record. You could give it a try — all they can do is say no.

    On the other hand, I strongly recommend that you get at least a year’s worth of experience just driving a car. You might find out that you’re really not cut out to be a truck driver. If that’s the case, don’t worry about it and move on to something else. A relatively small percentage of people have the particular combination of skills and abilities that make a good truck driver.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  44. Adam on

    Hi, I’m 30 old years with a clean driving record, zero drug use and no criminal background. I am currently considering becoming a truck driver and I am also considering getting my CDL through a state technical college. I enjoy driving and working alone.

    I also have a weak work history because of the bad economy. The only jobs I could get were in fast food. One of those jobs was being a pizza delivery driver for six months. I have only had three jobs in the past ten years, with unemployment gaps between jobs. With a clean criminal record and clean driving record, but a weak work history, what are my changes of getting hired after my training?

    Thank,
    Adam

  45. Debbra White on

    Hi there,

    I have read these posts and know the pros and cons. My list is more pros..I’m a widow, 50 years young, kids are all grown with their own families,I spend all my free time alone-no boyfriend, have a steady work history- 8 years with current employer, 5 years prior to that. I have just one con..a DUI from 7years ago, it was a night of celebrating a promotion, I don’t normally drink. No other driving infractions. I have always been a daydreamer of becoming a truck driver. Do you think this lady would have a chance in the industry? I am getting tired of the scenery from my cubicle city!

    Deb

  46. truckied on

    Hi Adam,

    Your chances of getting hired with a weak work history and clean everything else are probably fairly good. For you, the hard part is going to be verifying those periods of employment and unemployment. Trucking companies are required to go back ten years, and most non-trucking companies only keep their records for five years or so. You may need to get some sworn statements from neighbors etc. as part of the verification process.

    Before you shell out money for a CDL, check with trucking companies. Many have some kind of program where they help you with the training. Some only really want students from particular schools, so check with them first.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  47. truckied on

    Hi Deb,

    A DUI is pretty much the proverbial “kiss of death” in trucking. You’ll need to wait until at least 10 (maybe more) years have passed and it drops off your driving record. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll be a cubicle dweller for a while longer.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  48. Kon on

    This is the best advice I ever read ,god bless you

  49. Harley on

    Years ago before the referral bonuses for drivers, it was easier to get honest information from them. Now, sad to say, many drivers see that referral $$$$ dancing before their eyes when a driver or prospective driver asks them what is like to work for that company. They are quick to gloss over the negative details and talk about the positives( to the point of lying) just to get that driver to come over so that they can get the referral money.

    Some companies that I worked for had referral bonuses, but I never took advantage of them . When someone asked me about my company, I gave my honest viewpoint and never gave out my info to get a bonus.

  50. Rohit Punekar on

    Hi,
    My name is Rohit Punekar and I am from India. In India there is not much scope of trucking. The truck drivers are given poor salary and do not have much reputation. Is there any possibility to join CDL training schools outside India.

  51. Joseph on

    Hi there! Thank you for this post, it is very informative!

    I’d like to ask your thoughts on whether or not a British person would be accepted into this field of work, in the USA?

    It has been a life long dream of mine to drive an 18 wheeler through your states…

    Any advice you can give will be appreciated!

  52. truckied on

    Hi Joseph,

    No problem being accepted — all you need is 10 years of verifiable work history, a clean driving record, a clean criminal history, and a valid US visa that permits you to work.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  53. truckied on

    See the post I wrote to Joseph above.

    Drive safely!

    td

  54. truckied on

    Harley,

    Yes, but if they’re still working for them, are they really that bad?

    Drive Safely!

    td

  55. Danny on

    if you drug test how long do you got to be sober for ? i heard you got to be a year sober and i wanna make sure.

  56. truckied on

    Hi Danny,

    It depends on what drugs,and what kind of test is used. I’d recommend at least a year. A positive test is the absolute kiss of death in the trucking industry nowadays, so make sure you can pass it.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  57. John on

    I am 21 years ago about to be 22 years ago, I don’t high school Diploma or ged. I have good driving record, I only work three jobs in my life one of them was a temporary service and the other one was a friend Ranch. So my question is do you think I will be qualify to be hired by a truck company.

  58. truckied on

    Hi John,

    Quite possibly yes. Many require you to be 25 years old though. Look around, and you might be able to find one of the large carriers to train you. A GED would also go a long way to helping find a job.

    Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  59. John on

    I have a offer for ******** driver school. Is ******* good company to work for or not

  60. truckied on

    Hi John,

    I can’t speak to whether a particular company is good or bad. In my post, it tells you how to find that out. Also, check around and look at other companies. Deals change from time to time, so it’s well worth the effort to investigate all your possible options.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  61. josh on

    Great info on this page tyvm to all in advance. I am 39 tears old and an ex law enforcement and still hold my state license about 8 months ago I got picked up for a boggus charge that got thrown down to a misdemeanor and agreed to be removed from my record..the problem was the arrest itself caused me to loose a job for a bit and court fees didn’t get paid on time so the suspended my perfect license until I paid it off I have sense paid it and have my license back in good standing do you forsee any problems for me in pursuing a trucking career tyvm in advance..

  62. truckied on

    Hi Josh,

    Maybe, maybe not.

    It all depends exactly what your driving record says. *Any* kind of suspension for any reason gets looked at very closely by trucking companies. Also, you may end up having to explain the arrest, which caused a break in your work history.

    Since you didn’t provide the details, it’s hard to say for certain. Best thing to do is try one of the large national carriers. Fill out an application and see if you get rejected or not. Do NOT lie on your application. Being honest will go a long way toward getting hired.

    Hope this helps. Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  63. ribulsing thabah on

    Dear sir i need job for me and my friend that it’s means for two person
    Please email me if u need driver.
    Thanks you.

  64. truckied on

    Hi Ribulsing,

    Read the post “So you want to be .a truck driver”. It tells you how to find a job. Also, teams are very much in demand.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  65. Barbz on

    Thank you. Yes im ready to become an over the road truck driver. My whole life and situation have become unbearable. I need a career change. I read the whole passage you put up. And I am ready. Thank you so much.

  66. truckied on

    Nice to hear we helped you Barbz.

    Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  67. , Ed Johnson on

    Thanks for all the good tips . Your site was really helpful . I am a 52 hear old who has done everything from driving straight trucks in the 80 ‘s and 90’s to waiting tables and selling appliances. I am looking for something different , and I always felt free , and had the feeling of accomplishment when I drove back in the day. Looking to enroll in ********* College’s CDL program here in ******. If you have any personal advice or suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. I am planning on enrolling September or October .

  68. truckied on

    Hi Ed,

    Before shelling out for a course, investigate carriers that have a program for training — it could save you thousands of dollars. Most will give you a preliminary hiring decision as well, contingent on you passing the course. Nice to have a job already lined up. Read the section of the post again that deals with finding a carrier.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  69. Ben on

    Great information on this post. Truck driving definitely isn’t for everyone, but it can be a really great job for those who enjoy it.

  70. timothy on

    Hello. Im timothy im 26 years old spotless driving record. Dont do drugs or drink. I have a 4 year old daughter but i only get to see her on the weekends but i need a better job to make better money but i love driving and also want to see the usa. Do you think this is right for me?

  71. truckied on

    Hi Timothy,

    Whether trucking is right for you is a determination that only you can make. With a daughter you can only see on weekends, I’m presuming that you have an ex with a custody agreement. Her cooperation is going to be important. Different companies have different policies regarding time at home, so you’ll need to investigate them to see who can meet your particular needs. There are also the unforeseen happenings that frequently occur in trucking (delayed at a shipper, weather, traffic etc.) If your ex won’t be flexible, this could be problematic, and could possibly even be used against you. My advice: investigate thoroughly, talk to your ex, then make a decision. If you can get everyone on board, and get things lined up, the money in trucking is generally pretty good.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  72. Barbz on

    Thank’s again, I’m gonna start school August 4th,2014, yahoooo I already did all my CDL testing on my own and passed. I’ve got my permit and endorsement’s. You’re blog was the reason I took the chance. Now just to do as you said and talk to other drivers and figure out which company to go work for! 😁😁 I’m so excited, and glad I found your blog. I’ll keep you posted. Thank You

  73. truckied on

    Hi Barbz,

    Happy to hear things are moving forward for you.

    A few pieces of advice:

    If you find out that trucking really isn’t right for you, quit. It’s not for everyone, and if you’re upset, angry, or scared, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a large truck. Give it some time though. At first it can be pretty scary, but it (mostly) gets less so with time and experience.

    When you’re in a hurry or running behind, SLOW DOWN!

    If you’re lost, STOP and look at your map or get on the phone.

    *Never* lose your patience. Doing so can get you (or someone else) killed.

    Follow the regulations to the letter all the time. If you fail to do so, the consequences can be awful.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help, particularly from other drivers. Most of us are happy to help newbies.

    Take all advice from other drivers (including me) with a grain of salt.

    Never get too comfortable and think you’re experienced enough to handle anything. Nobody ever is.

    Always have a plan, whether it’s for backing into a dock, or driving across the country.

    Congratulations, and come back and update us on how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  74. Dean Gibbons on

    I am an interested candidate looking to switch gears
    career wise. I have been driving 15+ years as a courier. I fit all criteria on your blog. My questions are as follows; Who pays for gas? The Driver or company? As a courier, and independent contractor, I pay my own gas, and as a result, it is approximately one third of my income. How much money do you think I will and could potentially earn, from 1st year to the 2nd and 3rd years? OTR drivers -( long hauls cross country ) earn the best , right?? So, my thinking is : 1)- get a company that offers free CDL and training, and work with them for the prerequisite 9 months. I’m talking about ********, in particular. They seem like a nice company. After 9 months, I will have more of a feel for where, if I want to change, to go. The only other questions I can think of right now is, do most companies pay per mile? And what about empty hauls?? How does that work?Do companies, lets just say I got a haul going to NYC, get you another haul going somewhere back towards your home?? Like your blog, and find it most informative! I’ll be looking forward to being and living on the road.

  75. truckied on

    Hi Dean,

    Fuel is generally paid by the company for company trucks, and by the owner for owner/operators.

    How much money you can make very much depends on how hard you work, what kind of freight you’re hauling, and what company you’re working for. Figure on making a living wage. A good company will give you a nice paycheck.

    Yes, OTR generally pays the best.

    Sounds like you have a good general plan.

    Yes, most OTR companies pay by the mile, although some pay on a percentage basis. Empty miles are generally paid if you’re getting paid by the mile. If you’re on percentage, usually not, or maybe a pittance.

    When it comes to outhauls and backhauls, it very much depends on where you are, and your company. Companies try to minimize empty miles, since they don’t generate any revenue. A company that I used to work for would run me from home (in the midwest) out to the east coast, and I’d end up doing nothing but running up and down the east coast until time for me to go home, which is why I don’t work for them any more. Mainly, it’s down to how freight is, and their particular policy about time at home.

    Come back and keep us updated on how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  76. Michelle on

    Hi there, thanks for such an informative blog! I am a 47 y/o married woman, who is about to be an empty nester. My husband is 73 and retired and drove truck for several years. We are horse people, and so I have driven many a truck and trailer over the years, but never exceeding the weight limit to need a CDL. I am currently employed (8 years in the same job) as a retail sales rep with a large geographical area that has me driving daily.

    I am strongly considering getting my CDL, and would like to be able to have my husband along with me OTR. What do you think the odds are of me being hired on somewhere and that my husband could also be a passenger? I am a little overweight and non-insulin dependent diabetic. Healthy in all other aspects.

    Thank you kindly for your time.

    mlb

  77. truckied on

    Hi Michelle,

    As long as you can pass the physical, you will likely not have any problem at all. Most companies have a passenger program, but some require a given amount of time (3-12 months) with no preventable crashes before you’re allowed to carry passengers.

    Come back and update us on how it works out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  78. erich on

    Hello Truckie-D,

    Thank you for such an informative blog. I would like to ask you to clarify the alcohol regulations for CDL holders if you would?. I have reviewed numerous sites only to see opinions and interpretations of the regulations. You seem to be direct. I see an open container as an open container and feel it would not be authorized in the sleeper by a team member, while I am driving. Please clarify the regulations regarding the use of/or carrying of alcohol in sleeper. Also, as far as consumption, the argument was nothing 4 hours prior to shift. What if the person drinks nonstop from their shift end with only a few hours of sleep due to drinking? That 4 hours will not be enough. This has not happened yet. I want to learn as much as I can to avoid this and take as many steps as I can to prevent it.
    I do not want to be cited for my team members actions.

    Thank you.

  79. truckied on

    Hi Erich,

    Good questions!

    The regulations regarding alcohol are much tougher on CDL drivers than they are on everyone else.

    The maximum legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for a CDL driver is .04%. This is the level at or above which is considered a DUI.

    Any detectable trace of alcohol (considered to be a BAC of .02% or greater, but less than .04%) will get you a 24 hour out-of-service order.

    Alcohol may only be carried in a sealed trailer, and must be manifested as cargo. Alcohol may NOT be carried in the truck at any time. Anything containing alcohol with a concentration greater than .2% is considered to be alcohol. This means that quite a few commercial mouthwashes are prohibited.

    The regulations require a minimum 4 hours without alcohol consumption before going on duty. Most companies have rules requiring an even longer period, usually a minimum of 8 hours. The company I work for requires a minimum 24 hours. My personal rule is 48 hours MINIMUM.

    Most (if not all) companies prohibit alcohol in their trucks at any time — even when parked.

    If you’re teaming with a driver who insists on drinking while on the road, get rid of them. Now. Don’t even get in the truck with them. If they can’t go without drinking, then they have a serious problem that requires professional help. If your employer won’t get rid of them, quit. Seriously. Any alcohol offense is the absolute kiss of death in the industry — even if it’s the result of your co-driver’s actions.

    Come back and tell us how things worked out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  80. Robert C Hoopes on

    Back in September or October of 2010. I was ticked for possession of paraphernalia ! NO Drugs of anykind ! I’d just bought an old taxi,when cleaning it out I found a marijuana pipe . Had to take. Girlfriend. to work. Got into argument and. she. called. the police and had. me
    arrested! They searched my car and found. the. pipe! Is there any Company. that will. Help me get. my CDL and a Truck Driving Job? It was. a misdemeanor .and. a mistake..

  81. truckied on

    Hi Robert,

    You need to get it expunged. I doubt that you could get any decent company to give you a chance otherwise.

    Come back and let us know how it works out.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  82. Rich on

    Hello TruckieD,
    Thank you for your reply. He has a previous DUI from over 10 years ago.
    Would someone with a DUI have a chance of being hired?

  83. truckied on

    Hi Rich,

    If it’s over 10 years ago and no longer shows up on the driving record, it should be ok. Some companies though won’t hire if there was ever a DUI. Just fill everything out and be honest.

    Come back and let us know how it works out.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  84. Monica Hardy on

    My co partner just had a car accident in July.I don’t start trucking school till March 1,2014. My question is can she still be my partner or do I get someone else.

  85. truckied on

    Hi Monica,

    It all depends on the particulars (at fault or not, drug/alcohol involvement, citations etc.), and the particular company you want to work for.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  86. Garcia Ben on

    My history as being a truck driver was far more simple , I’ve been an Equipment Inspector/ Truck Instructor in a big mining company & training of drivers was the reason of the company to pay me .We don’t have computers or video just like what we are using now , instead we just concentrate the drivers to get acquainted with the kind or characteristic of equipment & the proper control & to understand instructions . Most national & provincial roads are undivided with lots of winding , uneven terrain, & lots of sharp curves ,where drivers are trained to do quick shifting as a big help to slow down the truck aside from the optional jake brakes as other model of trucks are not equipped. Drivers are aware to make a good combination in the proper use of gears & brakes . We are not doing anything to confuse the drivers . The above post are enjoyable to read for the experienced driver particularly the OTR as too much revealing & full of fun but for the rookie drivers it might be their discouraging point to pursue their desire to be a real truck drivers as some of them are not used to do interstate driving. My point is nobody hire me for almost a year now to make me think because of my age as 75 , just lately I applied as Host Driver in Houston , they scheduled me for an interview, I was there but they did not call me back, that’s why I gave up & admit the reality as 75.

    P/S I was describing the road in Philippines .

  87. Robert C Hoopes on

    Hi, back in 2010 I got a ticket for possession of paraphernalia(misdemeanor). I want to get my CDL thru a Company Sponsored Program.Which companies would I need to apply?

  88. truckied on

    Hi Robert,

    That’s fairly recent, so you might have great difficulty getting anyone to take you on. I’d suggest applying to everybody hiring in your area. Be honest with them up front. Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of rejections. Companies these days are very skittish when hiring, due to the threat of liability for negligent hiring.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  89. Barbz on

    Thank you Truckie-D, today Sept 08, 2014 I have officially obtained my CDL.. A new journey and Adventure await me. Ive also picked the truck company I plan to work for, orientation starts Sept15, 2014..Thank you. Ill return and update you on my over the road experiences’.
    Thank’s again for your blog!!

  90. truckied on

    Congratulations Barbz!

    Always be patient.

    We’ll look forward to your updates.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  91. Chad on

    Wow is all i can say about all the information you have provided. i have been in sales for over 20 years and have had my fill of being behind a desk and watching out the window and seeing life pass by. I am considering a career change to truck driving but admit am quite scared to make that change. i worry i wont be able to grasp all i need to ….. like shifting and most importantly making some of those turns people make. am i just be to overly cautious and making it seem more intimidating then it actually is? i am 41 with 2 kids and my wife is very supportive of the career change. i have no driving violations as well. any advice you could provide as to either ease my mind on my fears or am i just in my fears?

  92. truckied on

    Hi Chad,

    Driving a large truck can be quite intimidating at first. As with most things, it’s an acquired skill. You do need a certain amount of inherent ability — such as reasonable reaction times, good vision and depth perception etc. For the vast majority of people, those things aren’t an issue. You do need to be *really* safety oriented.

    What is more likely to become an issue is being gone from home for long periods. Having children can make it particularly difficult. You should sit down with your family and discuss it thoroughly before doing anything. If you’re making decent money and have reasonable working conditions, you might want to stay in your present situation. You could always pursue trucking after your children are grown and gone. You might even talk your wife into team driving with you then.

    I can’t tell you whether trucking is right for you or not. Only you will be able to determine that.

    Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  93. Chad on

    Thank you td,

    My goal / dream for now is to get my cdl and find something LTL or where i would be home daily. I say dream as the school I have met with tells me chances are slim that I would find something like that to start. I used to make deliveries for a former company in which i will travel and enjoyed it, although that was only a pick up truck and i was only driving 5-6 hours one way. as far as current work, i do make ok money but i am not happy anymore. i have been researching and asking anyone i can who drives truck for the last 8 months. i have been doing as much research as possible as i feel it is needed.

    My other concern is the minimum experience requirement. i understand the reason behind it but worry how i will find work as it seems many companies in this area are not willing to have you ride with a trainer. I see some companies that will pay fro your training but they are all OTR. Is OTR all i can expect to find to start out?

  94. truckied on

    Hi Chad,

    Local jobs are generally relatively difficult to get. Almost all of them are going to require 2 years of verifiable experience. The OTR companies are the ones that will provide training for those with no experience, so that’s probably going to be your only option to begin with. Some OTR companies also have local operations in some areas, so depending on where you live, that may be an option. Even for those, they still frequently require 6 months to a year of time in with the company before you can get on one of those. Investigate the company and their various options THOROUGHLY before you sign on the line. Also note that local jobs generally don’t pay as well as OTR jobs.

    Come back and update us on how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  95. Rebecca mink on

    The reason i want to be a trucker is because I’ve been watching ice road truckers! and that has inspired me to want to drive a truck!

  96. truckied on

    oooooooookkkkkkkkk……really?

    Come back and tell us how it works out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  97. Keith on

    I have been driving commercial trucks off and on since 1996. I went to a truck driving school and graduated. I wanted to go over the road but was getting married a few months after I graduated school. I am now divorced, no children, nothing to really hold me back. My fiance wants to go with me and with the companies I have applied with all have the rider program. I guess my main questions are… What is the average size sleeper mattress? Is it going to be big enough for both of us? With her in the truck with me, the being on the road long periods of time isn’t an issue. Are there many couples on the road together where the only one driving is the actual employee? And in your opinion, would it be a good idea to have her with me? Again I have no accidents, no felonies, work history is ok, and have already been told I am set up for orientation. What is the next step?

  98. truckied on

    Hi Keith,

    Most modern OTR sleepers are roughly the size of a double bed. Shouldn’t be an issue.

    There are quite a few couples where only one person drives. You’ll be living in a confined space, but there are many couples who manage it just fine. Whether it’s a good idea or not depends on how well you get along 🙂

    Come back and tell us how it works out.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  99. AZJenn on

    Hi! As a child I had two interests; working in a funeral home and being a truck driver. Having to be home to raise my children, I became a funeral director and have worked in the industry for 15 years. The desire to be a trucker has never subsided and I feel its time to start a new journey in my life! The kids are grown and I was so happy to find this blog. I believe I am ready to begin a new adventure!!!!

  100. truckied on

    Hi Jenn,

    Good luck on your new career. Come back and keep us posted about how it goes for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  101. alf on

    hi!
    since i was a child i wanted to be a truck driver, now i’m 25, i’ve done tourism, traveler, teacher, farmer when i was a kid.. la la . i don’t have any experience yet in this area but i feel it’s time to do it. I was looking for some advices and this blog is fantastic!! i will start to know how to drive! it’s going to be crazy this new adventure in my life.

    Thanks a lot!!!
    regards from Perú!

  102. Ralph vannostrand on

    Did go to a driving school for tractor trailer cdl class a van truck trailer 62 feet 1000 miles with mentor been driving for a sand company. Qwad axcel dump truck peterbelt dump sterlin qwad sterlin regtandum axcel I love to drive I have no kids no wife an no hangups otr is were I blong open road the sites on the road is what I strive for perfect for me I don’t need time off I need to make money more than I need to b home my mom an dad r not going to b round for ever I need to have work an not have to b botherd

  103. Ralph vannostrand on

    WANT TO B A CLASS A DRIVER I HAVE CLASS A CDL I LOVE TO B BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A TRACTOR ROLLING UP MILES AN GETTING PAID TO DO SOME THING I LIKE TO DO HELP GETTING GOING ON MY OWN CAN U HELP ME

  104. truckied on

    Hi Ralph,

    It’s not necessary to shout.

    Reread the post. It tells you exactly how to go about getting a job.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  105. Anshul on

    hi I am from India and want to be in long haul trucking I am fairly a good driver and with a very clean driving record I have driven in Dubai also so could you please tell me how do I get going once I land up in Canada. I would appreciate.

  106. truckied on

    Hi Anshul,

    Getting going in Canada is quite similar to the US. Follow the steps in the article.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  107. darren sohkhlet on

    Hi, darren here, 32, from east india
    Been driving heavy single and double axles for more than a decade, we’re all too familiar with the manual transmissions, steering braking systems and everything thats ancient here this part of the world,.

    1. Was curious though, will i qualify for the cdl though i require corrective glasses for driving,. My vision isn’t perfect in the left eye, i,m comfortable driving long haul here but rules in the states seem pretty strict.

    2. How is it that 50 yr old drivers there can jack up tonnes of dead weight, and change a flat apparently all alone, if they are in the middle of nowhere???

  108. truckied on

    Hi Darren,

    Corrective lenses are OK for a CDL, as long as your vision is corrected to the minimum standard. See the FAQ’s for the CDL physical here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/faq/Medical-Requirements

    Generally, when you have a flat tire on a truck, you call the local tire service truck and they come out and change it for you. Such service doesn’t come cheap, so if I’m out in the middle of nowhere, I usually change them myself. I have an air-operated hydraulic jack (which runs off the truck’s air system), a torque-multiplying lug wrench to break the lug nuts loose, an air-operated impact wrench, tire irons, mounting lube, valve stems, etc. so that I can dismount and remount tires. If you carry a spare already on a rim, you don’t need quite so much equipment. With a mounted spare, it takes about 15 minutes to change a tire — unmounted, about an hour. That being said, if I’m somewhere close to a shop, I’ll have them do it.

    Thanks for visiting.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  109. budde on

    hi, thanks man that was some good advice up there.
    my question is, what age do most companies prefer coz I’m 22 and i really want to become a 18wheeler driver

    budde from Uganda east Africa

  110. truckied on

    Hi Budde,

    Most trucking companies require you to be at least 23. A few of the large carriers will hire drivers as young as 21.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  111. budde on

    thank you, now i only wish if i was there in AMERICA so that i can get good training from you.thanks again

  112. Devan Criego on

    I don’t have experience but I want the job I can learn

  113. Big TomSpencer on

    Thank you so much for the blog. My husband and I were reading this as he is a newly licensed CDL trucker and preparing to start looking for work. Your blog answered many of our questions. This was excellent. Again, thank you! We wish you all the best.

  114. truckied on

    Hi Devan,

    Read the post again and follow the instructions.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  115. Archie on

    Thank you Truckie D, this is Exactly what I was looking for, thanks.

    wow Great Advice!!

  116. Dev J on

    My question is. As a new driver fresh out of driving school what would be my chances getting a nice local route???? I really want to get into trucking and get away from driving charter buses (( no passengers to deal with )) but I don’t want to be gone for weeks. I want to be home 2-3 nights a week if not more! Is that even possible as a new driver!

  117. truckied on

    Hi Dev,

    As a new driver it’s theoretically possible to get a local job, but it’s tough to do without 2 years of OTR experience. Local jobs generally don’t pay all that well either, since everyone has the same idea of being home.

    While it would be difficult, it’s not impossible. You might also look at occupational trucking too — things like garbage trucks or cement trucks etc.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  118. bugnut82 on

    When I retire from flying, I’m going to chase my second dream, an OTR truck driver. I have a clean driving record, and I am very safety oriented. I will treat truck driving with the utmost respect, and professionalism. I wish I could do it now, but aviation and trucking are to closely related, in terms of long hour days.

  119. marion autman on

    Want to drive im a mobile pro for advance auto parts i deliver auto part

  120. Bev Denton on

    A lot of good info here. I’m a 58 year old female, love to drive, and prefer traveling alone. I’m great on and prefer a standard shift, I’m in good health and I don’t drink or do drugs. My former career of 32 years in the printing industry was recently outsourced to India.
    What do you think my chances of success would be? Any additional concerns I should consider? Thank you and Happy New Year from Kentucky!

  121. truckied on

    Hi Bev,

    Your chances of success are quite good, as long as you’re willing to put forth the requisite effort.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  122. Nancy Trucker on

    I have been considering getting my CDL so I can team with my husband. You have given me a truck load of information in this post to help me make my decision. Thanks so much for taking the time to relay so much information!

    Nancy

  123. truckied on

    Hi Nancy,

    Come back and let us know how things work out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  124. Tony Godsoe on

    Very good information all factual just about every scenario covered, Should talk more about questions to be covered at the interview, ask questions and hopefully get honest truthful answers no point in finding out after you are on the road that you were lied to or misled Tony

  125. truckied on

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the feedback. It’s much appreciated.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  126. Mike on

    I am a bit unusual. I have been a practicing attorney for 15 years but my dream has always been to be a long-haul truck driver. I have a DUI (actually reckless driving) 10 years ago. Am I crazy?

    Mike

  127. truckied on

    Hi Mike,

    If the reckless driving has dropped off of your driving record, then you’re probably ok.

    Giving up an office job for running OTR? Yes, I think you’re at least a little bit nuts. Then again, I don’t like sitting in an office either, so maybe we’re both a few pallets short of a truckload 🙂

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  128. cory on

    hey i got mistaminars on my recard and no cdl training can i find a company that will help me out

  129. truckied on

    Hi Cory,

    Maybe. It depends on how long ago and what they’re for.

    Come back and let us know how it works out.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  130. jimbishop2014jdbishop5 on

    I am a rather odd case. I’m a retired airline pilot, in excellent health, I have an excellent driving record, and I’m 73 years old. What would you access my employment possibilities to be in OTR trucking assuming I get my own training? I see all the ads looking for people, I love to drive, I’m used to long hours,and I’ve often thought, ‘why are they having all the fun?’

  131. truckied on

    Hi Jim,

    As long as you can pass the DOT and company physicals, and have a clean driving record, there shouldn’t be a problem.

    Don’t bother paying for your own training — there are lots of companies out there that will train you, (usually in return for a work commitment).

    Come back and let us know how it goes for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  132. Rebekah on

    I am seriously considering going to driving school, and have a question about getting my CDL Permit. I currently live in different state than the one I’ll be dong my training in, – if I get my CDL Permit at a DOL in my home state, will it be considered valid in the state I do my training?
    Thanks, and the info on here is so helpful!

  133. truckied on

    Hi Rebekah,

    Your permit should be valid for training, but you’ll have to take the CDL exam in your home state. You might want to consider training in your home state if possible, since it’ll make it much easier when it comes time to actually get licensed.

    I do hope you have investigated multiple companies, and are going with one that will put you through school, instead of paying for it yourself.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  134. Ed on

    Wow, that was really helpful. Question: Is 52 too old to start a career as a truck driver? If I am looking at companies that pay for (for free or repayment) my CDL training, do you think my age will work against me?

  135. truckied on

    Hi Ed,

    52 is just fine for starting a career trucking, as long as you have a clean driving record and can pass the physical. Your age would actually be an asset with most companies.

    Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  136. Darien Haynes on

    My name is Darien I have a felon about 7years ago for common law robbery and a farely clean driving record I’m looking for schools to attend to obtain my CDL. I was wondering if you had any advice to help me I’m very determined and familiar with the truck just need a company and/or school to give me a chance please help

  137. truckied on

    Hi Darien,

    I would go and get a positive hiring decision from a company before spending money on a driving school. A felony on your record is a pretty serious thing as far as trucking and insurance companies go, and will disqualify you from many companies.

    When you apply, DO NOT lie about it. Trucking companies are required to go back 10 years, and if it’s there, they WILL find it. Lying on an application about a felony conviction will result in your application being instantly shredded.

    The longer ago any conviction, the better your chances of getting a job. You will also want to keep your driving record absolutely spotless. With some companies, even a single moving violation is enough to ruin your chances.

    Don’t give up hope though — keep at it, and eventually you’ll find someone to give you a chance.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  138. Eric on

    Great article. I was charged with passing a worthless check in June 2013 (no conviction, adjudication withheld), and May of 2013 (no prosecution or conviction as I paid it before court). Other than those I have a clear criminal record. I have a clean driving record minus 2 citations for seatbelt violation in May and June of 2012. I have already been accepted into 3 programs for company sponsored training. Ive done some research online and found out that even though you might get accepted into the school, you may still be sent home regarding your background check. I have explained these charges to all the recruiters and they still want me to go to the schooling. What is the likelihood of me being sent home due to these charges? I dont have any convictions, but this still concerns me. Any insight you have on this would be a great help. Thank you.

  139. truckied on

    Hi Eric,

    You are correct to be concerned. I’ve seen drivers pulled out of trucks and left behind with their bags and a bus ticket, since the background check results hadn’t come back in a timely fashion.

    The seatbelt violations are probably no big deal for most companies. The check is a different matter. If there isn’t an actual conviction on your record, you might be ok. A real conviction on your record that recent would likely be a problem.

    If you’re talking to recruiters from the school, take what they’re saying with a (large) grain of salt. They’re not the ones making a hire decision — it’s the companies that they deal with who are. Recruiters frequently get paid on numbers recruited, so be very wary. Once you sign on the line for their training, you’re on the hook for the cost. They really don’t care (much) if you get hired or not. They’ll be chasing you down to collect the money from you personally.

    If a school is willing to accept you into a program, check with the Human Relations department at the company you’re interested in hiring on with, and check with them. Get an affirmative hire decision from them (conditional on passing the school) IN WRITING before you make any kind of financial commitment to a school. Remember, by law trucking companies must go back at least 10 years.

    Come back and tell us how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  140. Eric on

    Thank you for the insight. I did forget to mention that the worthless checks were both misdemeanors. I do not have any felonies. Would this make a difference?

  141. truckied on

    Hi Eric,

    It might make a difference. Some companies are pickier than others, and even a misdemeanor is enough to rule you out.

    Just remember, get it in writing.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  142. John Kovach on

    I am 21 years old and interested in becoming a truck driver. I have a perfect driving record since 16, and no misdemeanors or felonys. I do however have small gaps in employment history I have worked at several warehouses and under the table a lot. I don’t know if it will affect my job placement, just curious what you have to say about this. I also have a question about trucking schools. If the school is certified through the WIA is it an acceptable school for most companies?

  143. truckied on

    Hi John,

    The gaps in employment history shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you’re honest about them on the application.

    Before you sign up with a school, check with the company or companies that you’re interested in working for FIRST! Some run their own schools, and most have some kind of deal.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  144. Itai Calvin Zimucha on

    Thank you for the free information u provided, I’m a qualified truck driver working in Southafrica. I am looking for a job in the USA and Canada,if you have any information of companies hiring people like me, please let me know. Thank you.

  145. truckied on

    Hi Itai,

    My best advice is to get on the internet and start looking. Follow the steps given in the post to help you find a good company.

    If you don’t already have a US or Canadian visa, you’ll have a very difficult time.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  146. Charles St-Pierre on

    Hey there! I have been driving straight trucks for over 8 and a half years now and was just fired over an incident that occurred in regards to the parking brakes.

    Basically I had parked the truck on a small decline grade after applying the air brake button. This particular brand of truck which is Freightliner M2 business class uses air over hydraulic.

    I went into the customer leaving the truck running only for a few minutes. When I came back out, the truck had rolled forward damaging 4 vehicles in the process. I was then put on suspension for the duration of my employer’s investigation and later fired.

    Are my hopes dashed or reduced to a great degree to ever be able to get another job driving a truck? Please give me your thoughts on the matter.

  147. truckied on

    Hi Charles,

    Dashed — probably not. Reduced — probably yes. ANY crash of any kind reduces your chances of being hired. A rollaway as you described is relatively less serious, so, while it will have an impact, it should still be possible to find a job. Might not get on with the best of companies, but you should be able to find something.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  148. Steven churn on

    Hey I’m 28 from VA. so I was looking getting into truck driving but I got into my first accident a year and half ago in a company truck for changing lanes improperly the lady was speeding and i was half way through the lane change and she nailed me but of course it was my fault but other than that my record is clean. What do u think my chances are

  149. truckied on

    Hi Steven,

    There’s a possibility. The more time that goes by without any other incidents, the better your chances.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

    D

  150. jason on

    Hi I was fired from a job for having a bac of .o2 a few years ago it was not trucking related and my driving record is clean am I going to have a problem getting hired as a trucker

  151. truckied on

    Hi Jason,

    Any alcohol-related conviction is pretty much the kiss of death for getting a trucking job. Most won’t hire you until at least 10 years have elapsed since, and it drops off of your driving record.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  152. rodney on

    Hi, im considering being a truck driver but a have some dui’S tha occurred over 10 years ago. My question is, would they consider is as someone they whould want to hire? Other than that my record is clean

  153. truckied on

    Hi Rodney,

    Here is the relevant regulation: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/383.51

    According to the regulation, a second or subsequent DUI disqualifies you from holding a CDL for life. Yes, even if it wasn’t in a commercial vehicle.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  154. JEL on

    Hi,

    I have a felony conviction that is almost 20 years old. I have a spotless driving record. Will I be able to find a trucking job?

  155. truckied on

    Hi Jason,

    Maybe. Depends on what it was for, and the disposition of the case.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  156. Nayo on

    I was found in possession of alcohol drink and cited. Does this mean end of my driving career. I have seen adverts say no more than 2 dui. I do not have a dui but possession of alcohol.

  157. truckied on

    Hi Nayo,

    *ANY* alcohol offense is a bad thing when it comes to getting a trucking job. If it was possession in a CMV, then you might be pretty much out of luck on that score. Not many trucking companies will take a chance on you, but you might find one that will.

    Be honest, and you might get lucky.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  158. sarah on

    I have adriver license issued for less than one year is this effect on the requirments of being a truck driver

  159. truckied on

    Hi Sarah,

    Most insurance companies want a minimum of 1 year of (non-truck) driving experience — some want as much as 2 years.

    As to the impact, it all depends on the particular trucking company. Put in an application and see what happens.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  160. Andy on

    Hello! I’m 29 with a clean driving record, work history is good (4 jobs since I was 18 and only 3 months of unemployment back when I was 21) and my friend is currently going through his CDL training at the local tech college. We really want to get a team driving job together, and I was going to ask about the probabilities of that with no experience between the two of us. I’d assume we would have to drive solo or with someone else for a while?

    The biggest thing that is holding me back from going forward with a team driving route is his record. I don’t know if he’s mentioned it to any of his instructors considering what it is. He was busted with pot and is on a deferred agreement right now in lieu of felony charges, which means if he gets his community service completed and passes his probation period no charges will be filed, but from what I understand it may come up on a criminal background check. However he is currently holding a factory job and they are known in the area for straight up refusing anyone with a bad history, so it gives me a little hope at least that he can be hired with a company. Is he completely screwed? I’m fearful of going forward with a team driving job if he won’t get hired. I’d love to be a truck driver but I’ve known my friend for years and doing it with him would only keep me on the road longer and make both of us happier in the long run.

    Thanks, I’ll take answer off the air.

  161. truckied on

    Hi Andy,

    Any kind of drug offense is pretty much a red flag to trucking companies. It partly depends on whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony, and how much time has elapsed. The key is to get a hiring decision from a company first.

    Trucking companies *love* team drivers. Yes, you will probably have to spend some time with a trainer, but then they’ll give you the keys to a truck and tell you to go haul some freight.

    If you want to drive trucks, my advice is to go ahead and do it, regardless of what your buddy does. Teams break up and re-form all the time, so don’t count on him to keep driving for any extended period. Plan for yourself, and if it works out with the two of you, then great. Otherwise, you still have a decent job.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  162. DL on

    Hello, I just wanted to know how to go about contacting companies about there training programs after I get out of CDL School. I’m also interested in companies within the state of NC as well before a even try to attend school. As you stated in the article, the schools are not making the hiring decisions. Thanks for your reply.

  163. truckied on

    Hi DL,

    The time to contact companies is actually *before* starting CDL school. I’d suggest you do as my article says — go down to your local truckstop and pick up some copies of the free hiring magazines. Take a look through those, and you’ll have plenty to choose from. Also, don’t neglect your local newspaper’s help wanted section.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  164. Kenneth Miller on

    Looking how to drive big trucks.Right now I drive box truck for years. Thanks
    .

  165. King on

    can I be 20 and drive trucks I cant go over the road I know that but I still want to drive

  166. truckied on

    Hi King,

    To drive a CDL vehicle, you currently have to be 21 years old. There is some talk about dropping this age to 18, but you’ll probably be 21 anyway before that happens.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  167. Jean B. on

    Hello,

    I am a teacher, I want to buy a semi truck, hire a driver and then look for a company to manage it. Do you think I will be able to make enough money to pay the loan, insurance and other expenses? If this is possible would you recommend any trucking company for this job?

  168. truckied on

    Hi Jean,

    Buy a semi truck? Easy. Find a company to lease to? Also not a problem. Hire a driver? Aye, there’s the rub.

    Theoretically it’s possible, but you’d be competing with every trucking company in the country to hire a good driver. It’s unlikely you could even come close to matching wages and benefits with the big boys.

    If you were going to drive the truck yourself, it’s doable. If not, there are quite a few better ways to make money, and with far fewer headaches.

    As I’ve said before to others, if you don’t know the industry, you shouldn’t be in the business.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  169. Jean on

    Thank you very much for your prompt response. So what are those few better ways of making money? I am novice in business but when I decide, I can learn. By the way thank you for such educative blog, it is really helpful.
    Jean

  170. truckied on

    Hi Jean,

    Send me a million dollars and I’ll tell you 🙂

    Seriously though, those better ways are different for everybody. What are your skills? Abilities? Education? Strengths? Weaknesses? Interests? Resources? Ask yourself those questions, and you should be able to at least come up with a short list of areas of endeavor that you would find suitable. Then you have to research markets, competition, etc. etc. etc. until you come up with one or more suitable candidates.

    Then, ya pays yer money, and takes yer chances.

    After that, you’ll likely be putting in huge amounts of hours to build your business. If you’re lucky, you might even make as much as minimum wage the first year or two — if you last that long. A very large percentage of startups fail in their first year or two of operation.

    It’s not just coming up with an idea, then sitting back and collecting the money as it rolls in. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it.

    Owning *any* kind of business is not for everybody. If you have a job you like, and are making a decent living at it, you might just want to consider sticking with it. There are far worse situations to be in.

    If I sound like I’m discouraging you, it’s because I am, at least a little bit. The pitfalls of business are many. On the other hand, if you’ve got what it takes, and enjoy all of the things involved in running a business, and solving the (many) problems that come up, then more power to you. Have at it, and I’ll cheer you on.

    Remember, during the gold rush, it wasn’t the gold miners that made the big bucks — it was the guy selling them the shovels.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  171. Jean B. on

    Thank you for your insights. Do you have some sort of conference or workshop where you share and explicitly explain strategies of doing businesses? If so how much do you charge? where? Online or face-to-face?
    Thanks,

    Jean

  172. truckied on

    Hi Jean,

    No, I’m not teaching business classes. If you really want to get into some kind of business, I’d suggest looking into an MBA program.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  173. Sarah on

    WoW and well done! So many important points! As the wife of an O/O for the last 19 yrs I commend you for such an honest review of trucking. You really do need to LOVE driving, a good attention span and decent paperwork skills (most companies only give you three log book violations and you’re outta there!) the best part of your insight was that it’s positive, trucking IS a great career if you’re taught good skills and are willing to work. Only thing I’d add is if you just want to drive- hire on. If you want to drive and moonlight as an accountant/broker/mechanic be an O/O!

  174. Charles Muita on

    Thankyou very much for the information.Am just starting and really want to do this.

  175. truckied on

    Hi Charles,

    Good luck!

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  176. Kevar on

    Can I own a equipment lease owner trucking business if I don’t have a CDL?

  177. truckied on

    Hi Kevar,

    Could you be a little more specific? Do you want to own a trucking company and hire owner-operators? Do you want to lease equipment and hire drivers?

    Let me know.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  178. Shawill on

    Hi im a single mother of 3 and every sincei was a teenager i wanted to get into truck driving .I was always discouraged because I am a women ..I would love for children to sometimes accommodate me while im on the road..and i dont want to get screwed ojt of money and time…i live in chicago ill.. What school or paid training job would you recommend is the best for me andmy sistuation…

  179. truckied on

    Hi Shawill,

    There are quite a number of companies that would send you to school in return for a commitment to work for them for some particular amount of time. These are pretty much all over-the-road type of companies. Being a single parent, this may not be a good fit for you, as you would have to arrange for reliable child care for the times when you are on the road.

    While many companies do have policies allowing riders, most will restrict you to a single passenger at a time, and with a certain minimum age. Many also restrict passengers to summertime only.

    Local trucking jobs are relatively difficult to find, and most require experience — not just truck driving school.

    You should also bear in mind that truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. What would happen to your children if you were seriously injured or killed?

    You might want to consider investigating any local job training programs in your area. You may be able to get training from them for cheap or free.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  180. CharlesB on

    Hey
    I’m 21 and I’m thrilled with starting a career in trucking. My background is the only thing restraining me from entering the school I don’t wanna waste thousands on the school if I wouldn’t be giving a chance to be hired by a company.

    Previously about 2 – 3 years ago in 2012-2013 I ended up getting about 3 tickets in a years span. I got a lawyer that got me into a National Safety Council program for driving and I finished it so my tickets would be thrown out but they still show on my BC.
    Another thing is I was arrested back in October 2012 for possession of concealed weapon(felony) which I had purchased from local pawn shop . I was also charged with small amount of marijuana(misdemeanor) on same day. I went through with a deferred prosecution program for 2 years and it was a success. My charges were dismissed due to the success of 2 years deferred prosecution but it still shows on my record.
    Do you think I have any chance of getting my career of being a truck driver in motion?

  181. CharlesB on

    The felony was only because I had the gun on school property.

  182. truckied on

    Hi CharlesB,

    I think you’ll probably have to wait a number of years. *Any* felony conviction is treated seriously by trucking companies. As far as the tickets, it depends on what they were for. Here is a link to the list of disqualifying offenses: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/383.51

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  183. CharlesB on

    Hey td this is Charles again thanks for the info you provided me with the quick response.
    Only thing is I was never convicted of the felony I noticed u said any felony convictions are looked at bad. So how about the outcome if the felony was dismissed and I could provide paper work to prove it?

  184. truckied on

    Hi CharlesB,

    Hmmmm…..if it is showing up on your record as a felony conviction, you’ll have a pretty tough time convincing anyone, no matter how much paperwork you have. You might want to consider having the record expunged. You might need to hire an attorney to get that done.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  185. Geno Iorio on

    I am 56 years old. USMC veteran, Self-employed for many years . Also, school bus driver for past three years (CDL – Class B). My son just off to college. I love driving. Looking for a career change.

    Nothing on my driving record. Never been in an accident. What are my chances of being hired by a good trucking firm with only 3 years of employment with a company (outside if my own businesses ) .

  186. truckied on

    Hi Geno,

    I’d say pretty close to 100% positive. Follow the steps given in the post regarding investigating companies, and you should be golden.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  187. Bill on

    This is a very informative article. I’m 31 with nothing on my driving record within the past 13 years. I’m currently working at a farm and have been here for 12 years. I’m skilled at a lot with diesel motors and working on the tractors and trailers. I currently drive within a 30 mile radius for the farm at times. I don’t have a cdl but am looking into going back to school and getting my cdl’s. I already work 12 to 15 hours a day and love driving. I was basically wandering what u think my chances of getting into a good company and what do u think would be a good company or companies to look at?

  188. truckied on

    Hi Bill,

    Given the information provided, probably pretty good. Read thoroughly my post about picking a company. I don’t endorse any trucking company — you’ll have to make your own decision.

    Make sure you look closely at companies that will send you to school. Some will, some won’t.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  189. Larry on

    I strongly recommend (redacted) School in (redacted). That is where I got my CDL. It is an awesome school. Great instructors, great program. They house you, feed you 3 times a day, and teach you everything needed to make you a safe driver. It is for )redacted), which is not such a great company, but the school is well worth it, and it is all free to you. Good luck in finding what your looking for. Right now I work for a flatbed company, (redacted). Which is also a good company. They have a school as well, but I do not have any information on the school. But it is good work and plenty of miles. Good luck out there, and be safe.

  190. Larry Russell on

    Hey TD. I wrote you back on Jan. 28, 2014 in regards of my past and if there was a company that would put me to work. I was just on here to let you know that as of April 9th of this year, I earned my CDL A through (redacted) . I am now working for (redacted), which I have been for a while now. I just wanted to let you know that I worked it out. I didn’t give up on what I was wanting to do, and I am extremely happy that I didn’t give up. I absolutely love it out here. Flatbed work is awesome, and driving out here everyday is what I live for. I make good money to support my family, I have pretty awesome insurance, and after I’m on the road for a year, I’m actually thinking of joining my father over at (redacted) and buying a truck.
    I was just wanting to let you know that it’s going well for me out here. And it’s all because I didn’t give up because a few people told me no, or that I wouldn’t be able to because of something from my past.
    Thank you for you help in the past, and for the support. God Bless, and I hope everybody stays safe out here. Especially with winter setting in.

  191. truckied on

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for coming back and sharing with us. Happy to hear that everything is working out so well for you.

    Always take the time to do things safely — especially when you’re tired.

    Come back in a while and give us another update on how things are working out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

    (names of companies, equipment, places, financials, and other similar things have been redacted.)

  192. Brandon on

    Thanks Truckie-D, this article has been very informative and helpful. Iv recently graduated from a driving school though my company (redacted), how ever we really do not do much driving. Iv been very interested in getting into the trucking business and get myself out on the road. I thank you for this article and all the information covered.

  193. lalitsoni1972 on

    Hello sir
    Thank you for this use full post
    I’m from India, I’m 43 year old and want to be a truck driver for National career in US. I have a light vehicle(four wheeler) clean license from seven years. I want to get class A CDL from US institutions. Can you please suggest any good company which finance me for that and most important,,,,, is there any chance for me in US for this job? I’M READY TO WORK 29 DAYS ,if any possible opportunities for me reply with details
    Thanks

  194. truckied on

    Hi Lalitsoni,

    Yes, there’s a chance, if you can obtain legal immigrant status in the US. That’s the thing you’ll need to do first. You also need to be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language sufficiently to communicate with officials.

    Employers are required to do background checks going back for a period of ten years. This can be difficult when there is more than one country involved.

    I do not endorse any particular company. There are many, so it’s up to you to do the research necessary.

    By the way, working 29 days is prohibited by the hours of service regulations here.

    Come back and let us know how it works out for you.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  195. Cindy L. Smith on

    Is this a good profession for a Single Woman of the age of 52? Love driving and have been around trucks all my life. My father retired from professional driving of 35 years. Also my ex-husband was a professional driver and I went with him all the time on the road. I enjoyed being on the road and being in that kind of atomsphere. Yes it is really hard work,personally i am a very hard worker. The road is calling my name.Would like to start driving professionally. Thanks, CL Smith

  196. truckied on

    Hi Cindy,

    Yes, it’s a good profession for a single woman. As long as your driving and work histories are clean you should have no problem.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  197. Phil Emmerton on

    Its a very good read, specially for those who are thinking to make their career into trucking industry.

  198. mark adams on

    So even with a trucking job, as you say, having a felony is a kiss of death. I could understand when working at a day care, but driving a truck? I read about the TSA crimes, a long list, that would prevent a person from driving a truck and my crime is none of those. But you say no felons allowed. 1 out of 10 adult men in the USA, in the millions, have felonies. In some states, like my state of Florida, it is 1 in 7. Now everyone wants to do background checks because it is so easy, just a click of a mouse. I am not even allowed to deliver pizza. Either I start my own business or I starve.

    I got arrested only once in my life and I didn’t even know I was breaking the law and it was 25 years ago. Since I had spoken to an attorney and thought I was obeying the law and did it out in the open, I guess I would have caused some laughs on the worlds dumbest criminals episode but fortunately they didn’t look me up. But I paid the price for my mistake and I wished I lived in a country of second chances but I don’t.

    It is a lot easier to commit a felony than people think. The average person that has a clean record in this country has probably committed dozens of felonies in their lifetime. You would be surprised all the things that are felonies. Think of all the many things you did with friends, or as a teen, or at parties, and the list goes on but you never got caught or even a tiny lie on an application for a loan, etc. It is a long list. In some states, even some sex acts with your wife is a felony.

    Now these clean record people turn their noses up at those who did get caught. Now according to these clean record people, everyone that has had a felony is a bad person or a trouble maker or has problems. A record does not define a person. It only means that he violated a rule set forth by the politicians that you people always say you don’t trust. Ironic isn’t it?

    I have never stole anything or harmed anyone in my life. I have also never used drugs and I never liked to drink. I never even smoked. I am about as straight as they come but I have that life sentence because once a felon, always a felon. People can make mistakes or have a lapse in judgment and be at the wrong place at the wrong time that gets them the record and while they may change or get wiser in time, the record never changes and the prejudice and judgment of people to label everyone with one brush stroke never changes either.

    I have essentially been denied the right to work for life. Even driving a truck is not allowed at least according to this expert and he certainly seems to know his stuff. Ironically, I had a good career and some really good jobs in the past shortly after I was convicted because back then it was hard to get a record check especially from another state so most employers didn’t bother checking records. Now because it is so easy with a national database, 99% check records and I have basically been re-sentenced and forbidden to work.

    I am supposed to be the bad guy, the one with the record, but from my perspective, I am trying to find some redeeming quality in the rest of society, the so called good people, and I just can’t find it. It makes me want to be hard and mean because a life sentence for one stupid mistake makes me angry, but I am not going to let this change me. No matter how mean people are to me, I am still going to be good back.

  199. truckied on

    Hi Mark,

    You didn’t say exactly what felony it was, so it’s kind of hard to offer any advice.

    If you look at it from the point of view of the trucking companies, they’re afraid of being sued for negligent hiring in the event of any kind of incident. As you said, it only takes one bad decision, but a single bad decision in an 80,000 pound truck can have some serious consequences — and that’s not even taking the cargo into account.

    There are programs that can potentially get a past felony removed from your record. I’d suggest you look into that. As a last ditch effort, you could try to convince the governor of your state to grant you a pardon. It’s not unheard of for that to happen.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  200. Joe Grant on

    Great information…one question, can you drive less than the 18 wheelers..is it the same license for a 15 – 20 foot truck, think I’d be more comfortable driving them…thanks.

  201. truckied on

    Hi Joe,

    There are different classes of licenses depending on the weight of the vehicle driven. Depending on the size of the vehicle and where you’re driving, a CDL may not even be required.

    The downside is, straight trucks generally pay less than driving a semi.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  202. Carolyn on

    Great advice. Thorough article

  203. jackson Egbo on

    My Name is Jackson from Nigeria in Africa honestly I enjoy reading ur article about truch drivers and I’m happy for this. I’m a bus driving in nigeria and want to immigrate to canada and also work as a truck driver. Please I need a help from u

  204. truckied on

    Hi Jackson,

    Not much I can do for you from here. You’ll need to get an immigrant visa first.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  205. Jacob on

    I have been driving a taxicab for 7 years, so being alone on the road for 12+ hours and driving isn’t a problem for me. I also have some experience as a security guard working in a trucking company and handling their paperwork and what not. So I’m very familiar with the trucking terms and industry in general. The only part I know I’ll have a hard time with is backing up. One yard I worked in as a security guard was tight as hell. I can picture myself sweating my balls off in one of those. So what’s your take on the backing up difficulties and challenges? Thanks.

  206. truckied on

    Hi Jacob,

    You raise an excellent point. Backing happens to be the most dangerous maneuver that you can do in a truck. More collisions happen during backing than anything else. Mostly relatively minor, but relatively high frequency.

    Backing up a truck is an acquired skill, just like most things. It’s easier for some, and harder for others, but not insurmountable. It’s just a matter of learning the proper techniques, and practicing them until you’re proficient.

    Yes, there are places that you’ll have to back into that are a serious pain. I’ve been in some that have taken ridiculous amounts of time to get backed in, because of the lack of space, or obstacles. The trick is to take your time, and get out and look as many times as necessary to do it safely.

    When I was actively teaching, I was toughest on my students when it came to backing. I gave them challenging situations, and made them practice until they became comfortable doing it. Then, I would cover one (or more) mirrors, and make them do it again. Then again at night. Rain was always a plus to make it tougher. Some learned faster than others, but I never found anyone that I couldn’t teach backing to an acceptable standard.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  207. MACJOHN on

    Good day, I live in Nigeria, I love driving, I love to be a truck driver. Am planning to relocate to the US. Please, how easy will it be for me to get a CDL in US being a stranger.

  208. truckied on

    Hi MacJohn,

    As long as you have legal authority to work in the US, (as in the proper type of visa or legal residency), it then becomes simply meeting all of the DOT requirements. See my post https://truckied.wordpress.com/so-you-want-to-be-a-truck-driver/ for how to go about it.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  209. David on

    I was convicted may 15th 2013 I want to drive I no longer drink no drugs contact me

  210. truckied on

    Hi David,

    Was it a felony? Driving?

    td

  211. David wallace on

    No misdemeanor dui on class c

  212. truckied on

    Hi David,

    Sorry to tell you this, but a DUI is pretty much the kiss of death until it drops off your record after 10 years. Trucking and insurance companies are terrified of negligent hiring lawsuits, which can cost them big bucks. Hiring standards are pretty much driven by insurance companies. While the regulations state that there is a one year disqualification period, I don’t know of any reputable company that would hire you, because of their insurance. You could give it a try, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  213. David wallace on

    No dui on cdl just on ca dl permit for class c said they would hire me for training with houseing so what ya think?

  214. truckied on

    Hi David,

    I would make sure they run your license BEFORE you sign on any dotted lines. If they’ll hire you anyway, and that is what you want to do, then go for it.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  215. doug bryan on

    hello, i studied the cdl test and passed it,(since expired) but never could figure the next step of finding someone to teach me the actual driving part.
    As i recall you had 6 months to take the driving portion. Was i naive or is it possible to skip the indentured servant route. thanks

  216. truckied on

    Hi Doug,

    There are plenty of schools out there who will teach you what you need to know. Trucking is a lot more than “steering and gearing”. There are many local community colleges, commercial schools, and trucking companies that will teach you.

    If you go the commercial school or trucking company route, make sure you investigate them THOROUGHLY before signing a contract or forking over any money. Some are ridiculously overpriced, and others do a poor job of teaching.

    Almost all of them have agreements with one or more trucking companies to refer students, for which they get a pretty good chunk of money.

    The “indentured servant” route really isn’t a bad way to go. If you leave before the contract is up, you just have to pay for the school. Most contracts are for a year. I wouldn’t sign one for any longer than that. They frequently provide housing and meals as part of the deal as well. Makes it a good deal if you’re currently unemployed.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  217. KJ Mc on

    TD, is there a requirement for how long you must have had a normal driver’s license? So, if you got licensed to driver a car on your 18th birthday, can you then get a CDL after completing a class?

  218. truckied on

    Hi KJ,

    You can get a CDL at age 18, but to haul hazardous materials, or to cross state lines, you have to be at least 21.

    The only requirement that I could find is that you have to hold a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for at least 14 days before taking the skills test.

    There are various other requirements that some states require, so I would advise checking with your local licensing authority.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  219. akeem kelly on

    Am a 18 year old Jamaican an i have the skills an basic how to drive trucks

  220. Anne on

    I am 26 and am just learning how to drive at [redacted] , how long do i need to have a license before i can drive trucks?

  221. truckied on

    Hi Anne,

    Have you had an automobile driver’s license for any length of time?

    Drive Safely,

    td

  222. Faheem Uddin Siddiqui on

    Hi.
    i migrated to canada about a year back since then i am working as a security guard.This job has not much to offer .I am 58 years of age with sound health,I am considering driving a tractor trailor as a second career.
    No family liabilities.Any suggestions.

  223. truckied on

    Hi Faheem,

    Just follow the directions in the post.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  224. Geno Iorio on

    Wanted to let you know that your blog was instrumental in my new career has a for driver.
    I am finishing up with my trainer and test-out for my company truck next week

    Thanks!

  225. truckied on

    Hi Geno,

    Thanks for the kind words. It’s nice to know that I’ve helped in some small way.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  226. Mike on

    Great article, ok, here it is, not a “spring chicken” do companies look at this as a bad thing. Currently disgusted in my current career choice, been for a while now. What is the age companies start to shy away from hiring new drivers??

  227. Chris on

    Hey Truckie-D!

    Wow, what an informative post!

    I’m a 22 year old with a clean driving record and no criminal history. I *love* driving, and I’m very comfortable with spending a lot of time alone. In fact, I struggle with social anxiety, so it’s almost a requirement. As a result, my employment history is embarrassingly empty—just one temp job working for my community college as an administrative clerk. And that was two years ago. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like they enjoyed having me there, but they couldn’t keep me on because the higher-ups wouldn’t approve another permanent position in my department.

    Do you think my barren employment history would disqualify me from consideration with all or most truck companies? Or could hard work in training make up the difference?

    Thanks in advance for your time. I really appreciate this post and any advice you have to send my way.

    ~Chris

  228. truckied on

    Hi Mike,

    As long as you have a reasonable employment history, clean driving record, and can pass a DOT physical, you shouldn’t have any problem at all. Most companies are so desperate for drivers that you should be golden. In fact, most companies prefer older drivers — they generally have a better work ethic, and are usually safer.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  229. truckied on

    Hi Chris,

    Your problem is not going to be so much the employment history itself — it’s going to be verifying your history going back 10 years. Not particularly easy to do if you haven’t been employed. That being said, it’s not impossible; merely difficult. The trick is to find a company willing to work with you to meet the 10 year history requirement.

    I would suggest checking first with the companies that offer some kind of deal on training. They’re usually more experienced at dealing with that kind of issue, since they generally hire fairly large numbers of drivers.

    The important thing is to be honest on your application. Don’t make up history. Talk to the recruiter and explain your situation, and I think you’ll find at least one company that will sign you up. If you get a no from a company, don’t give up. Move on to the next one. Different companies have different hiring standards, so it’s simply a matter of finding one that’s compatible with your situation. Keep trying, and I think you’ll be successful.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  230. Michael Bradley on

    Hi, I have a question about being a driver. I know this might sound strange but I play a simulator, called American Truck Simulator, and before that I played Euro Truck Sim. Both very cool. Now, I’d like to be a driver its been a thing in my family for a long time but i’d like to have more of a home life and also do the job I already do.

    Im wondering if theres like a type of company that works with “drivers for hire” – like, you say I can drive these days or these times and you take 1 to 2 day trips for them using a provided truck to make extra money on the side or some such. I just thought that would be a really cool thing to do, you could build up a reputation that way as well and also build up money while helping random companies get out extra loads.

    If you don’t mind shoot me an email with your response. I’m greatly interested. I dont wanna drive because of the game, i play the game because i waanna drive hahaha.

  231. truckied on

    Hi Michael,

    Yes, there are companies that do that. Also, some carriers will hire you as part-time or casual. The thing is, you generally need at least 2 years of OTR experience, or alternatively, be trained by the company you’re working for.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  232. James on

    I’m 18 and I want to be a truck driver, how should I go about things with the insurance rates being so high?

  233. truckied on

    Hi James,

    Read the posts.

    td

  234. Anand Jesh on

    Sir,
    I am post graduat Indian from India… I wana become a trucker in USA…
    I just to know about that which /where and how I got CDL license.
    Means which institute/school I take addmission..?
    Course Duration ?
    Fee?
    Age?
    And student qualifications?

  235. truckied on

    Hi Anand,

    First, you need a visa entitling you to work in the USA. After that, read the post “So, you want to be a truck driver” for the details.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  236. 2 Tall Paul on

    At the end of the driving day, is it more or less required that you stay with the rig or is there the opportunity to do something away from the truck? In other words, if you didn’t feel like eating the regular truck stop food or didn’t want to cook something, could you call a taxi or an uber to go to a restaurant or even a movie? Is this a company by company policy decision? I understand most days will be tiring and so most drivers will simply choose to stay near/in the trucks, but if you had a light driving day the next day with a late delivery time what options best fit to fill the gap? What about if you had one of those dreaded resets?

  237. 2 Tall Paul on

    Does having any other licenses or certifications make a difference in a companies interest in a driver? For example, I have a private pilots license with ratings in single and multi-engine airplanes, as well as in helicopters. What about hobbies like scuba diving? Do these type of licenses show an employer and/or their insurer an ability to perform tasks which require attention to federal and safety regulations? If not these, are there other licenses outside the trucking industry which would be desirable by any companies? Other than personal friends working for a company is there anything an applicant can do to make themselves stand out amongst the crowd?

  238. truckied on

    Hi Paul,

    Whether you stay with the truck mostly depends on company policy. Most companies will let you get away as long as you don’t have a high value load, or you’re not in a high crime area.

    As far as other licenses or certifications, not really. Companies mostly want a clean driving record, clean drug test, and relatively stable work history. It’s mostly not necessary to stand out in a crowd. Most companies are hiring anyone they can get to sign on who meets their basic requirements.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  239. Jeffrey Sample on

    Excellent article. I am 63 and looking into getting hooked up with the local community college. I don’t have a spotless driving record or background. About I year ago I received a speeding ticket for 5mph over the limit. The cop cut me a break. About 4 years ago I received a seatbelt violation. About 3 years ago I was in an accident on snow and freezing rain covered roads. I did not get a ticket. Back in 1973 I was arrested for possession pot.
    I know it is over 40 years ago and I don’t know if it will come up on a background check at this point or not. Any advice please?

  240. truckied on

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Research companies that provide training for free, and apply with them BEFORE shelling out money for a course.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  241. Jan stocki on

    I take prescription drugs for bipolar . I’ve held cdls in the past, until starting these Medes. I have an exellent driving record with no arrests..do you think I have a chance..also to know I am 56. Thanks. I still have my mc lic.

  242. truckied on

    Hi Jan,

    As long as you can meet the DOT physical requirements, you shouldn’t have a problem. As to whether you meet them or not, you’ll need to talk to a DOT certified doctor regarding your specific meds.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  243. Dave on

    You forgot the most important part, the rip offs and being forced to operate illegally. Do yourself a favor, forget about trucking. They will ruin your driving record, chew you up, spit you out and say, NEXT. They will send you out to the middle of nowhere and make you hang out at truck stops waiting for loads that only they deem profitable. It costs a lot of money to “live” on the road. You’re paid by the mile and it costs them nothing to make you sit while they look for loads they want you to haul.

  244. truckied on

    Hi Dave,

    If it’s that bad, you’re working for the wrong company.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  245. Larry on

    Hey everybody. Just checking in from me posting a couple of times in the past. I noticed the comment from Dave, im sorry your having that bad of a time out here man. But you should really look into some better companies. The bigger companies that I bet that your commenting about, has so many driver and fewer loads to keep you running like you need to to support your family. Let me suggest a smaller company or look into being a lease/owner operator. That is where your money is at. Yes, you have to pay for your truck, fuel, tolls, and other expenses. But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. You won’t use but 30-40% of your weekly check to cover your cost, and with the right company, you can still bring home over $2000 a week as I do and be home often. I would put the name of who I drive for on here, but it would be redacted. But just keep looking. There are awesome driving jobs out there that pay really well, and you can still go home all the time. Look for fuel surcharges, fuel discounts, and good warranties on brand new trucks. I get between 8 and 9.5 miles to the gallon all the time with my light loads, with no northeastern states and no Cali. I couldn’t ask for a better company. I’ll retire from here, that’s for sure. Good luck and be safe out there drivers. God Bless.

  246. truckied on

    Hi Larry,

    Well said.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  247. Starr on

    What kind of driving Class* you’ll be needing

  248. truckied on

    Hi Starr,

    As in what class of license? For semi trucks, you’ll need a class A license.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  249. Dale on

    TD, I am not CDL or hired yet. But on average, the first year, what do you think would be an “average” amount earned for the year?

    I know it varies a lot depending on company, but just looking for a guess.

    Am wanting to drive, but my wife can’t work and I have to make enough.

    Thank you for this blog. It was absolutely great to read.

  250. truckied on

    Hi Dale,

    Too many variables to guess. Depends on company, type of hauling etc. For OTR, I’d guess between 28,000 and 35,000 for the first year. Your mileage may vary. Batteries not included 🙂

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  251. Tyler C on

    Thanks for posting this info! I’ve been in contact with a recruiter for one of the larger trucking companies, and today I passed my tests and got my CDL learners permit. I have a job offer, conditional upon graduating from their school, and I’m pretty excited about the whole thing. My question for you is, my job offer is for a regional intermodal position. How would you say that type of work differs from traditional OTR driving, and do you have any opinions on that?

  252. truckied on

    Hi Tyler,

    Regional generally means you’ll be home more. Intermodal means you’ll likely spend a lot of time waiting at rail yards. Also probably pays less than 48 state OTR. As to opinions, you know the old saying about opinions….

    It really comes down to what you would like to get out of your job. What might be a good fit for you, may be a bad fit for someone else.

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td

  253. david wallace on

    I have 3 dui’s 2 of them happened 18 years ago last one 4 year’s ago never been a truck driver but interested. Can you give any advice on who will train and hire me.

  254. truckied on

    Hi David,

    Until your latest dui drops off of your driving record, you don’t have the chance of the proverbial snowball. Even after then, with multiple dui’s on your record, your chances of getting a driving job are pretty close to zero.

    Come back and let me know how it goes.

    Drive safely!

    td

  255. Len on

    I’ve wanted to be a truck driver for as long as I can remember. I am 38 years old now and I feel time is running out. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I smoke pot. If I could only give that up. I’ve failed to do so many times over the years.

  256. truckied on

    Hi Len,

    Then you really don’t want to be a truck driver. If you did, you’d quit. Life is a series of choices — what are you going to choose?

    Come back and let us know how it goes.

    Drive Safely!

    td


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