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Trucking School

Floatin'

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Learning to drive a big rig is something that I've always wanted to do. I have the time and resources now to pursue it but it's a big commitment. I'm thinking about going to truck driving school to get my CDL. There's a ton of advise on YouTube and Truth Trucking and it's pretty much 50/50 about how to go about getting a CDL-A. Private school (Phoenix in Kingman)l vs Company paid school (Swift or Prime). There is also tons of advise about Company Driver vs Lease vs Owner Operator. So much information and I'm getting paralysis by analysis syndrome.
Anyone been down any of these road have any insight and advise for a wannabe new trucker?
 

ltbaney1

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SWIFT = Stevie Wonders Institute For Trucking / Shit Wish I Finished Training. I dont have a dog in the fight, im a loley CM1 license holder, but alot of friends are CDL holders and they have all told me give any swift truck a wide berth.
 

Danger Dave

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I don't truck or have a CDL but if you have Sirius or XM I would listed to the road dog channel. Kevin Rutherford has a really interesting show Monday through Friday you could learn a lot from.
 

C08H18

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@Floatin'

My wife is a professional recruiter that contracts with companies to hire drivers. She is in high demand, so she is able to do this p/t from anywhere. For the past 18 months she has been sourcing truck drivers for a US wide company that rents construction site equipment (modular offices, tanks, etc.). Her screening questions are straight forward:

1. How long have you been a driver (she won't hire under 2 yrs)
2. How long have you worked for your current employer (red flag if less than a year or two)
3. Do you have a clean motor vehicle record, pass a drug test, and no arrest history (these are automatic disqualification questions)
4. this last question determines if they get an interview:
- willing to do some manual labor or lifting if necessary
- experience around construction sites and driving around these sites
- experience with roll-on/roll-off, winching, towing (tow truck), etc.

This doesn't answer your question about training, but hopefully provides some worthwhile info for you on this new journey.
 

petie6464

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Being in trucking and about to retire my advice is pursue another career. Its not what you think and its the only business that all drivers are expected and will work for free, AKA: "Paid by the mile." Inspections, fueling sitting for hours in road closers, break downs and waiting sometimes many hours or even days without pay all are typical.

Not to mention the health consequences of a seditary lifestyle, none of it is worth it.
 

yard dog

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Learning to drive a big rig is something that I've always wanted to do. I have the time and resources now to pursue it but it's a big commitment. I'm thinking about going to truck driving school to get my CDL. There's a ton of advise on YouTube and Truth Trucking and it's pretty much 50/50 about how to go about getting a CDL-A. Private school (Phoenix in Kingman)l vs Company paid school (Swift or Prime). There is also tons of advise about Company Driver vs Lease vs Owner Operator. So much information and I'm getting paralysis by analysis syndrome.
Anyone been down any of these road have any insight and advise for a wannabe new trucker?
Isn’t as great as you think it is , E.L.D, CSA , traffic, rain , fog, snow , ice , chaining up up at night freezing your ass off, driving all night you are all good until the sun comes up then you hit the wall can keep a wake no matter how you try not to nod out . It’s a 24 hrs 7 day week job , I do 70 hours total time driving and on duty then 34 restart then back at again union line haul on the extra board . If you do a school make that you get of the all endorsements and don’t get restricted license for automatic transmission only. Good luck !
 
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evantwheeler

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Being in trucking and about to retire my advice is pursue another career. Its not what you think and its the only business that all drivers are expected and will work for free, AKA: "Paid by the mile." Inspections, fueling sitting for hours in road closers, break downs and waiting sometimes many hours or even days without pay all are typical.

Not to mention the health consequences of a seditary lifestyle, none of it is worth it.
I'm sure it's like owning/running any business. My neighbor, who is my age at 35, bought his own truck and has been doing the owner/operator thing for about 2 years. He goes out for 2 weeks or so at a time, and then comes back for a week or two. He pays his mortgage on a 1 acre modular in Menifee, pays his trucking bills and has some money left over for decent toys. Says it's stressful dealing with the breakdowns but really enjoys being his own boss and on his own schedule.

Edit to add: He's single. You can get away with a lot more as a single dude with a dog, than with a wife and kids at home while you're away on the road for 2 weeks. Definitely something to consider.
 
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MOUZER

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drove for 30 yrs plus...........also owner op big head ache.......love the freedom of owner op but being a company driver they can have the head aches of the truck.....i loved being a truck driver....i knew i always wanted to drive a big rig......its in your blood.....

 

yard dog

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@Floatin'

My wife is a professional recruiter that contracts with companies to hire drivers. She is in high demand, so she is able to do this p/t from anywhere. For the past 18 months she has been sourcing truck drivers for a US wide company that rents construction site equipment (modular offices, tanks, etc.). Her screening questions are straight forward:

1. How long have you been a driver (she won't hire under 2 yrs)
2. How long have you worked for your current employer (red flag if less than a year or two)
3. Do you have a clean motor vehicle record, pass a drug test, and no arrest history (these are automatic disqualification questions)
4. this last question determines if they get an interview:
- willing to do some manual labor or lifting if necessary
- experience around construction sites and driving around these sites
- experience with roll-on/roll-off, winching, towing (tow truck), etc.

This doesn't answer your question about training, but hopefully provides some worthwhile info for you on this new journey.
That’s nothing at ABF it’s the follow, 2 interviews , clean 7 year MVD report, clean CSA , background check, Credit check , must be on the National registry for drug testing
New physical card even if you are current , drug test urine and hair follicle , also PTI done correctly ,driving test and hook up and unhook a set , and then there’s probation time .
 
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evantwheeler

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I don't now what I don't know about the Trucking Business that's how Green I am.. I am wondering if my idea is unrealistic in the trucking business.. So my idea was to get good company training and experience, commit to that company for a least 1 year, then when I know more about the business buy a truck in cash, run that truck hard for 3-4 months straight and then take time off as I want, Wash, Rinse, Repeat...

I don't know if this is a pipe dream or not.??
Doesn't seem like a pipe dream. Anything is possible if you truly want it. My neighbor already had his CDL and driving experience from a previous career in construction. He actually just bought a second truck and trailer and put one of his friends to work driving it. One thing to consider is that the end game with self driving vehicle technology is to replace all the truck drivers. Now, will that happen in 10, 20, 30, 50 years? No one knows.
 

Blackmagic94

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I got mine last year for my job.

I took the permit at the dmv on my own

Called southwest truck driving school and took their driver test only for 1400 dollars. 2 days. 1 of practice and then 1 of test out. Failed test out. Retest was 250 dollars and I passed 48 hours later when you are allowed too.
 

$hot

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Speaking of someone who knows about lot lizards
I got mine last year for my job.

I took the permit at the dmv on my own

Called southwest truck driving school and took their driver test only for 1400 dollars. 2 days. 1 of practice and then 1 of test out. Failed test out. Retest was 250 dollars and I passed 48 hours later when you are allowed too.
 

monkeyswrench

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I have a good friend that started with Swift (So What, I Fuckin' Tried) He actually got his training through the VA, Troops to Transport?. He hated Swift, and after maybe a year switched out to a small company. He became an O/O for the same company after another year. He does lowboy hauls, mostly military equipment to and from bases. He's making pretty good money, but only here in town once or twice a month.

My personal experience was doing trade shows. Weather sucks, and deadlines are difinitive...have to be there when they say. The other thing, union type shops or drop points will not care your clock is running. If they're on lunch...your wasting time.

There are some really cool cdl gigs, but few and far between. Tour bus drivers for celebs that aren't pricks, custom haul for specialty, like aircraft parts or even race teams. Doing the car show circuit was fun. I didn't make squat, but traveled the country on someone else's dime...and I was young.
 

QC22

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I got mine two years ago after being in the truck (engine) business for 40 years. I did the permit on my own, and I used YouTube etc. to get the daily inspection part down. I rented a truck for around $500 from a service that specializes in this. Failed the first time, missed something stupid on the inspection. Passed the 2nd time. Total cost was less than $1k.

The less than 2 years thing is a real issue. We couldn't even get insurance at first until we paid through the nose. The fact is I was testing some new equipment, so the license and the cost wasn't a huge deal. But if I had been starting for myself, then I am not sure how you accomplish the 2 years experience unless you can get hired. That tells me the Company programs may be the only way to go... Sucks for sure.
 

beerrun

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I have been driving for 32 yrs went to truck driving school biggest rip off out there. Truck driving is hard work long hours and very dangerous but I love it. Its low pay to start I know there are companies out there still paying 12-15 hr look at Robertson concrete they claim that they train. Get in to lowboys heavy equipment pay is good if you can get into a good company. I need a crane operator right now I would train you and get you your class A for free. If I were to start all over again today I would look into hotshot trucking. My name is Chris 619-733-9180 please call me if you have any questions. And take a look at those 53' trailers going down the road and imagine unloading it all by hand by yourself and then doing it again the next day and the day after that
 

MOUZER

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i did tankers for dow chemical.........owner op good money easy unload......then company trucks ltl freight...then specialty item for sams club easy peasy
 

beerrun

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i did tankers for dow chemical.........owner op good money easy unload......then company trucks ltl freight...then specialty item for sams club easy peasy
Yes but is that where you started?
 

infield

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I know lots of people that have local haul rock trailers. Got to have 3 trailers. A belly dump, an end dump and a rough haul trailer. Generally stay busy all the time. And buy tires all the time. Right now charge about $95 to $100 an hour. Lots of work around the wind farms. 10 wheel dump trucks about $60 an hour. Wichita KS area.
 

infield

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I have a semi with a grain trailer. Only use it for farm use so I don't need a CDL just a class A. Grain trailers are not a good way to make money but many, many people give it a try.
 

BlowMe

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December of last year My company wanted me to get my class A combinations and air brakes. It was a "guaranteed pass" class. They set up a class that i believe cost $500. It lasted half a day. It was you and an instructor. You started on the outside of the truck. Went over every thing and then moved on to the inside. He told you what and how to say everything and how the Missouri highway patrol wanted to hear it. Then he had you go over everything yourself and then moved on to the driving portion. You got to practice for like an hour or so and then he drove you over to your appointed at the highway patrol station that they set up as part of the deal. It was a single Axel manual 6 speed tractor with a back window to look through and like a 30 or so foot trailer that was cut in half lengthwise so you could look over the whole thing and see everything. The same truck that you have been practicing with all day is the one you take your test in. It was a very nice and good set up and made it as easy as possible on you. If you did not pass then you got to come back another day and do the whole class all over again. Up to 3 times i believe. I watched youtube videos of the class a cdl test over and over before i went just to help myself. So basically all I needed to practice was my driving and backing and parallel parking. In 4 or 5 hours i walked away with my class a license able to drive a manual big rig here in Missouri.
 

BlowMe

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If you can find a class like the one i took, I highly recommend it. If you are just thinking about it and get it but dont end up doing anything with it, it only cost you a little bit of money and it is just another door opening skill to keep with you that you will always have. Opens the door to a ton of opportunities whether you decide to pursue them or not
 

Your ad here

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Take a good look at it. I offered to get my CDL for an employer that couldn't find a CDL driver with brains. He didn't want me peaking out my position in a seat of a truck. Better opportunity managing a paving company than driving a truck for him.
It's hard, long, and bullshit work.
 
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monkeyswrench

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Pops alway said if you can keep a clean record...both driving and criminal, and have a CDL, you'll always be able to find work. It saved his ass from having to hot mop roofs again. He always kept his and his endorsements. Much better to drive the tanker, than mop out the product in it.

Out here everyone goes to work for the school district for a few months...gets their cdl with passenger and air...quits and gets a job with dumps or concrete. Then bounce out when their boss helps them get A's with doubles. Cheap, but long term.
 

yard dog

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December of last year My company wanted me to get my class A combinations and air brakes. It was a "guaranteed pass" class. They set up a class that i believe cost $500. It lasted half a day. It was you and an instructor. You started on the outside of the truck. Went over every thing and then moved on to the inside. He told you what and how to say everything and how the Missouri highway patrol wanted to hear it. Then he had you go over everything yourself and then moved on to the driving portion. You got to practice for like an hour or so and then he drove you over to your appointed at the highway patrol station that they set up as part of the deal. It was a single Axel manual 6 speed tractor with a back window to look through and like a 30 or so foot trailer that was cut in half lengthwise so you could look over the whole thing and see everything. The same truck that you have been practicing with all day is the one you take your test in. It was a very nice and good set up and made it as easy as possible on you. If you did not pass then you got to come back another day and do the whole class all over again. Up to 3 times i believe. I watched youtube videos of the class a cdl test over and over before i went just to help myself. So basically all I needed to practice was my driving and backing and parallel parking. In 4 or 5 hours i walked away with my class a license able to drive a manual big rig here in Missouri.
granted you have a CDL but do feel that you are qualified to drive a 70,000 to 80,000 semi in all weather conditions and up hill and down 6% grades that sometime 5 miles or longer and heavy traffic conditions and the knowledge of DOT laws and the laws pertaining to E.L.D s. .
 

JDKRXW

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I had a week of vacation left over in the fall of 2016. Having grown up on a farm, I'd driven fairly big stuff from the time I was 16, but that was over 40 yrs ago. I always wanted to say I could jump in a class 8 and be legal to drive it anywhere, so i signed up at a local driving school and about 40hrs later, i had a cdl (air endorsed with no transmission restrictions).
Now, the same CDL that I got is 160 hrs of training.
 

Your ad here

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What's the saying? If you want to make a million dollars in truck driving start with 2 million.
 

beerrun

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Go work for one of the utility companies
 

JDKRXW

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granted you have a CDL but do feel that you are qualified to drive a 70,000 to 80,000 semi in all weather conditions and up hill and down 6% grades that sometime 5 miles or longer and heavy traffic conditions and the knowledge of DOT laws.
Speaking for myself........HELL NO! !
I was thinking driving for some buddies still farming in Saskatchewan where your biggest problem is not getting stuck when you're trying to get a pair of super B's loaded with 42 tons of wheat in them from the field onto a grid road. :)
 

yard dog

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I have over a million miles , I am no super trucker but I tell you there no getting CDL and hitting the road with out proper training and having the knowledge of the laws now days . The most just important thing common sense and knowing capabilities as you the driver and the semi that you Control because it’s not only your life but everyone that is on the road with you .
 

beerrun

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Can you back up a trailer? You wouldn't believe how many truck drivers can't. Can you shift a manual transmission? You wouldn't believe how many truck drivers can't
 

BlowMe

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granted you have a CDL but do feel that you are qualified to drive a 70,000 to 80,000 semi in all weather conditions and up hill and down 6% grades that sometime 5 miles or longer and heavy traffic conditions and the knowledge of DOT laws and the laws pertaining to E.L.D s. .

Absolutely not. Nor do i want to. I practiced in a dump truck and drove with a full load a few times. That was stressful enough. I dont want the responsibility nor the stress of driving a semi. I needed it to drive our f 550 and pull trailers with equipment on it cause they were so heavy.
 

yard dog

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Can you back up a trailer? You wouldn't believe how many truck drivers can't. Can you shift a manual transmission? You wouldn't believe how many truck drivers can't
Will add one more item that is pass a drug test , at ABF it’s a urine and hair follicle now because the hair follicle will show drugs up for months after someone had stopped and they do Random breathalyzers too . Eventually hair follicle testing will become a DOT requirement too .
 
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Rvrluvr

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Get your permit. Come to TX. Ill give you a one week real lesson. If you still want it you can commit & hit a school. You may find out it aint for you. Then you are not out a bunch of $$.
Here are some ez to answer very important ??’s

can you sit in one spot for several hours at a time?
Can you wake up at 2:00 am and drive for 10-14 hours 6 days a week?
Are you ok with not getting paid for sitting around to get loaded or unloaded. If you do get paid it aint much. O/O you will work 50% of your time for free.
do you like to each shit food everyday?
Do you like to piss on the side of the road several times a day?

over the road driver? Do you likenot being home 3 weeks a month?

if no to any of these, dont even startcould go on for hours

It can be fun at times but 80% of the time its just a fucking job. Everyone hates trucks. They are slow and in the way. So get used to being flipped off and cut off

I always wished I pursued something else and drove truck on the side. THAT would be fun!!!
 

Kahunajuice

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I have several family members that drive the big rigs for U P S, and they all make well over $160,000 per year working three to five days a week ( Mon Fri ) without any weekends.
 

Blackmagic94

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Lol at crying about not getting paid to sit around. Boo fucking hoooo
 

snafu

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Had the same dream, thought I would do it after retiring in LE. I got my permit on my own had an acquaintance with company trucks and trained with his guys and signed off third party. When I retired (2012) I went to Vegas convention and spoke with companies. A company offered to take me on, $400 wk for two months while training, 1 day off for every 6 days on, probably home once a month. Top driver make 50+ k. Wasn't ready to sell the house and completely downsize for that. Decided to try local, drove a box truck for $9.50 HR fingerprinted every load.,sat at grocery distribution for hours. Found working PT for $25-30 HR in security and sleeping in my own bed/home and spending time at the river was better than the dream.

Followed a blog where the guy went to school for Knight Trans, for a year he blogged about short runs, no runs and sitting in the truck for 2-3 days, said he made about 19k first year.

Research, research, good luck with the adventure. For me a dream no more, giving up the CDL in 2021 (had it and all endorsements for 22yrs)
 

1tonfun

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Don't buy into the owner operator program some companies offer. They offer to finance a truck for you and you end up tied to them until the truck is paid off and they will work you to death since they have you locked in on a finance contract. Really read the fine print on those offers. I drove for 15 years, started in a 10 wheel dump, then end dump, then heavy haul for the last 12 years before I got tired of working hard and decided working smart was easier. Went back to school while driving and got a degree and now work in corporate management for a large company with a trucking division. I have kept my medical cert. and CDL current. The trucking experience helped with getting the position. I still get in a truck from time to time to pick up or drop off at a shop, pick up new units, etc. when a driver is not available. Getting into a specialty is where you can make the most money driving, over the road with a company like swift will earn you a meager living.
 

teded

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debbie dootson......lol.those that remember will get it
I went to Debbie Dotson in the 90’s.
Driving test at the Montebello Dmv.
Air brake test and the inspection part was a little tuff but I passed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

1tonfun

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Get your permit. Come to TX. Ill give you a one week real lesson. If you still want it you can commit & hit a school. You may find out it aint for you. Then you are not out a bunch of $$.
Here are some ez to answer very important ??’s

can you sit in one spot for several hours at a time?
Can you wake up at 2:00 am and drive for 10-14 hours 6 days a week?
Are you ok with not getting paid for sitting around to get loaded or unloaded. If you do get paid it aint much. O/O you will work 50% of your time for free.
do you like to each shit food everyday?
Do you like to piss on the side of the road several times a day?

over the road driver? Do you likenot being home 3 weeks a month?

if no to any of these, dont even startcould go on for hours

It can be fun at times but 80% of the time its just a fucking job. Everyone hates trucks. They are slow and in the way. So get used to being flipped off and cut off

I always wished I pursued something else and drove truck on the side. THAT would be fun!!!
That's a solid offer and kind of how I got started. Started helping my neighbor that owned dump trucks when I was in high school and got my start driving local for him at 18.
 

yard dog

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I have several family members that drive the big rigs for U P S, and they all make well over $160,000 per year working three to five days a week ( Mon Fri ) without any weekends.
I am driving for the good union ,I do get paid per mile at a comparable rate as ups any on duty time is at pay at hourly rate , hooking up sets and unhooking when there is no yard Hustler at night at some terminals , wait time , half hour mandatory break paid great Insurance and retirement . I have had Conversations with ups drivers they have to be a van route driver for quite a while before being considered as line haul driver and prefer you don’t have a CDL because they train you to do the ups way and have no bad habits as cdl driver so they start at ground zero .
 
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LowRiver2

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My ex’s biz were Local 12 operators first (asphalt grinders), then got CDL by OTJ training.

They make north of $38 an hour with HS diplomas
I did it as side gig to help the biz, now move our big stuff for the squad around when needed.

I’m going after passenger bus next year so I can drive our jail bus on days off: 4 hours time and a half for 2 hours of work.

I have hazmat endorsement and have been offered some decent retirement jobs moving nuclear waste and classified govt. stuff (armed) .

CDL is what you make of it, fwiw.
 

77charger

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My uncle runs some dump trucks usually hauling off freeway construction work in az. Said if I got a cdl he can put me to work ASAP and train. Seems like most trucking businesses are busy. Also have other uncles in trucking but they are now local deliveries and get paid well.
 
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