Needing some advice

teddy_bear65

Seasoned Expediter
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I am hoping to get into the expedited industry and have had a couple of "promising" leads, until it was discovered I had no experience.

How do I go about getting experience if nobody will hire without it? I only have a standard Class F drivers license; do I need a Class E (chauffer) license to drive a cargo van or sprinter?

Is it easier to get in to a cargo van/sprinter than it is a Non CDL straight truck?

I have put an ad here in the "Driver Available" section, and have a few hits on it, but only one contact. The other was for a straight truck, and we were all set to go until it was mentioned we had no experience.

I am really wanting to get started right away, but I am not sure what more to try. I can't afford to lease or purchase my own vehicle, and I would love to drive for an O/O, so I can get the experience needed.

Am I being unrealistic in my hopes/expectations?

Any advice that you experienced drivers could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.
Terri
 

Zoli

Veteran Expediter
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First get a CDL . If you have a CDL you will find easy a job. Succes!
 

Turtle

Administrator
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Retired Expediter
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If you want to be a professional driver, you need a professional driver's license. Even with no experience, if you have a CDL, people will at least think you're serious about this job because you will have invested the time and effort into learning about it and preparing yourself. You need to do a lot of readng here, go to truck stop and talk to a lot of drivers, lean how the business works. If you owned your own van or truck, people will think you're serious, but in lieu of having your own truck, you have to give them another reason to think you're serious, and that's a CDL. If you want to be an expediter, a Class B with a HAZMAT endorsement is serious. Class F is not. The reason is, the average shelf life of an expediter who does not own their own truck is about 6 months. Those that do not have CDL, the shelf life is half that. Not many fleet owners will take a chance on someone with no experience and no CDL.
 

teddy_bear65

Seasoned Expediter
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I tested for and passed my Class E (Chauffer) license today, and actually got a lot of good info from the DMV. I now know that I can test in a tractor with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. When I told the I had attended a driving school and did not pass my Class A skills test, they asked why I didn't just take my Class B test. I told them this particular school did only Class A. They informed me the school could have let me test for my Class B, all that had to be done was take the trailer off. Now that I know this, I have a friend who has a rig that meets the GVWR and will let me test in it. All I need to do is get out and get a little practice in it before I do a road test.

Even though I already have my Class A permit and have passed the Pre-Trip on the test, I will have to do the Pre-Trip again for the Class B. I pulled out my study guides and began brushing up on all of it again. It would have been helpful to have known all this before I've wasted the past few months trying to figure all this out on my own...he he he. Would also have been nice if the school had told me I could test for a Class B, also. I never new anything about Expediting until July when I was out on the road with a friend for a few weeks. I talked to a few drivers who told me about it and said I should check into it until I could get my Class A.

I appreciate all the helpful hints you all have given me, also. It's a good feeling to know there are people who are willing to help others. Thank you all so much.
Terri
 

greg334

Veteran Expediter
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STOP.

Sorry this is not directed right at you, but to the people who want to do this in general.

We don't need any more "I took the test and passed it, now I am going for my road test but never drove a truck, how do I drive a truck?" people out there.

I recently had a bit of a serious problem with an inexperienced driver who almost cost my truck and a truck of someone else who was parked next to me. Her and her husband just got their license a few months ago and never driven a truck before that. I won't give details other then she lost control in the parking lot and hit something hard.

Safety matters, it is that experience that they lacked but refused to get by taking short cuts that would have prevented the accident and more importantly the BIG RISK the owner, the company and the public takes by having them on the road.

If you have driven a truck before for a living, not renting a U-Haul to move stuff, then what you are doing is the first step - getting the information.

The second step is not trying to shorten the time to get on the road but to make sure you, the person who controls that large vehicle, can actually control the vehicle when you need to control it. Just because you think you know how to drive the thing, it might surprise you that you may not. Most of this is not knowing how to back the thing up into a dock or how to load the thing (another subject GO TO SCHOOLthat isn't talked 'bout much) or even how to drive it but to know what to do to mitigate the damage or injury to others when something happens.

GO TO SCHOOL
GO TO SCHOOL if you can, IF YOU CAN'T - save to GO TO SCHOOL. Learn from others and have someone correct your bad habits before they cost you or more importantly someone else.

OH and I find people who have been driving for a while sometimes passes on bad habits, so dnob't have someone take you out in their truck and expect to learn anything, GO TO SCHOOL.
 
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Turtle

Administrator
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Retired Expediter
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I don't have a CDL and own a straight truck, Does that mean I am not a professional driver :rolleyes:;):p
Based on the limited scope of your query, yes, that's exactly what it means. Mere ownership of a straight truck does not make you a driver of any kind, much less a professional one.

My comments above were in the context of the original poster's comments. They were not comments for all people in all situations. That should have been clear enough. However, if you wish to take it further, let's do that.

Regardless of your experience, if you have not amassed the knowledge with which to blindly pass the CDL written test and fully understand the information behind it, you are not likely a professional driver in the scope of a noun. You are instead the ubiquitous steering wheel holder, regardless of whether or not you have a CDL. What about HAZMAT? Whether you carry it or not, the HAZMAT regulations contain information that can save the lives of you and others, and if you don't know the basics, you're not doing your job as a professional driver. We have people in this industry who call themselves professional drivers, but who clearly are not. They don't know the basics of the rules and regulations that makes them a professional. For example, whether or not a given crack in a windshield will put you out of service is confounding to many people, yet there are very specific rules that determine service status. To know these rules is to know your job, to be a professional. There are people who think you can't carry cough syrup, mouthwash and aftershave in the truck because it might violate the alcohol transport rules, yet the rules are very plain and very specific. To know these rules is to know your job. And if you don't know them, you don't know your job, and are much of a professional, no matter how much of a professional you may think you are.

In the "adjective" sense, a professional is merely one who gets paid for doing something. So in the most limited sense, if you drive for money you are a professional driver. But also in that sense you are simply engaged in an occupation ordinarily engaged by others as a pastime. Whoop-ti-do. That's exactly the category that an awful lot of people in this industry fall into. On the other hand, in the "noun" sense, a professional is an expert in their work, doing things in ways that the rank and file amateurs cannot or do not do.

So, you may get paid for driving, and thus are a professional driver. But does that alone make you a real professional? Not even. But obtaining a professional driver's license is a good first step towards being a professional. That's not to say that those without CDL's aren't professional, because some are. Nor is it to say that having a CDL makes you a professional, because it doesn't. I still maintain, however, than in the context of this thread (and not to be directed to all people in all situations), that someone with no experience who wants to be a professional driver needs to first get a professional driver's license.
 

fastrod

Expert Expediter
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I drive a van and do not have a cdl. The way I see it is that I could not charge a higher rate just because I had a cdl so why bother to waste the time or money getting one.
 

Turtle

Administrator
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Retired Expediter
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I drive a van and I have a CDL. Whether or not I could charge more for having a CDL played no role in my decision to bother with investing the time, effort and money to educate myself on my profession and obtain my CDL. I do not see it as wasted time at all, and the paltry amount of money involved in getting a CDL, versus the knowledge obtained in the process, does not see much of a waste, either. There are van drivers with Class A CDL's who could easily drop their CDL and go back to a regular operator license. Most don't. There's a reason for that.

I'm not saying you are unprofessional in the least. You may very well be, I dunno. But there is a reason the stereotype of a steering wheel holder exists, and the van expediting world is just loaded with 'em. On the other hand, I have a good friend who drives a van and does not have a CDL, and he is, without question, highly professional.

There are always exceptions and generalities are wholly unfair. All I'm saying is whether you have a CDL or not, if you want to be professional about your job, you should take the time and make the effort to fully educate yourself about your profession. Some drivers do, some don't. Most van drivers don't.
 

teddy_bear65

Seasoned Expediter
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I have no intention of just giving up on my Class B license. I've got way too much time and money invested in this to just stop at getting my Chauffer's license. However, at least I can now drive a van "for hire" if that is all that comes along for employment.

I am also in the process of studying for my Hazmat endorsement. I know that isn't necessarily needed, but I figure I may as well get it if I can.

The last thing I want to be is a steering wheel holder. Believe me, I want to know and learn everything I can. I don't give up easily on the things I want, and I've wanted this for a long time. One of the reasons I don't continue with just any training company taking me on for my Class A is I don't feel 3-6 weeks training for 18 wheels is enough. I am holding out for a trainer in April who will keep me for 3-6 months. In the meantime, I would like to learn what I can in the Expedited business, be a professional, and who knows, I may decide I love it and don't want to go with the Class A.
 

davekc

Senior Moderator
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Fleet Owner
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At the end of the day, one would be well advised to understand the business side as much as their driving skills.
That is what separates the "professionals" from steering wheel holders.
No need to complicate the simple.
 

guido4475

Not a Member
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I realize that, but I don't have a truck in which to take the test.

Back in 89 when I took my test, the dealer that I was ordering my straight truck from let me use one of his new cab/chassis setups to take my test in.It was funny, showing up at the test site without a body on it.Made the test alot easier, anyway.
 

teddy_bear65

Seasoned Expediter
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At the end of the day, one would be well advised to understand the business side as much as their driving skills.
That is what separates the "professionals" from steering wheel holders.
No need to complicate the simple.
In my opinion, learning the business side is part of "learning everything there is to learn". I don't want to learn just how to drive the vehicle. There is a lot more to it than just getting behind the wheel and putting it in a gear, then driving.
 
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