Company sponsored CDL training is a great option for the right person in the right situation. Basically the company will either train you or have a trucking school train you at their expense in exchange for you to drive trucks for the company for a specified amount of time, usually 1 year. But (lol yep, there's a but) you need to know what to expect.
I will fill you in on what that means shortly...
Question: What is the best company sponsored program to go to?
Answer: There is no 'best' company sponsored program to go to. You have to weigh what they offer against each other taking into account how that fits into your needs, desires and future plans.
I will explain more below so that you can make a more informed choice. Also, I will help you get in the right mindset to make it a successful option. #1 advice... Talk to someone that went through it.
What you need to do is find drivers who have gone through the program and listen to their experience about the program.
As I said, when a company says they will sponsor, give you free CDL training or pay for your training to get your Class A CDL, what they require in return is for you to sign a contract to work for them for a specified period of time after you are licensed.
Usually, it is around 1 year. At some trucking companies it's 2 years.
You need to do everything reasonably possible to stay at that first company that trains you for the contracted period of time in order to have your CDL training fully paid for by that company or to keep from owing them extra money in penalties.
Plus, staying at the first company looks good on your work history which makes you a more likely candidate for better higher paying trucking jobs if the first one who trained you is not treating you right after 1 or 2 years of trucking.
Read through these questions to ask trucking companies with free company sponsored CDL training. Some will be important to to you and others will not. The ones that matter to you make sure to ask for comparing. Weigh the answers based on level of importance to you according to your needs.
This is a tricky question. That person my run differently than you and go home more often or less than you want to. Plus they might live in a place where it it easier to get home and get loaded out from home. Everything matters, but now, at least you know how to look at it.
Those are some of the reasons why one company might be better for one person than another! You can see how a driver might be incompatible for the company that he/she choose due to not knowing the questions to ask.
But now you know some questions to ask. But keep reading.
There's more....to help you get in the right mindset for success....
Realize that as a new driver, the grass will easily look greener at other companies because you don't know the game yet and indeed that first company might be a little challenging but you will run into a lot of the same things at any company that will hire a brand new driver.
Most of it is just part of the process of getting experience.
A lot of people wonder this because of all the negative you might here about getting into trucking this way.
Question: Why so many bad experiences with Free Company CDL training? Is it a good choice?
Answer: Because usually these are huge companies. With any large company it's hard to keep up with the people working for you. (Depending on how well it's ran of course, the better it's ran the better they are at it, I digress....)
Because of this you might have a sorry dispatcher who only wants a paycheck vs the next guy might have a great dispatcher who actually views his/her job as artwork. We are talking about attitude and work ethic.
I have a page that tells you what to do about what to do if you end up working with bad people instead of quitting. First talk to dispatch and then see if you can switch....
It can go both ways......
You will hear a lot of negative information about trucking company sponsored truck driver training programs. Some of the negative feedback about company sponsored training is legitimate and stems mostly from people/personality conflicts between driver and dispatch.
In case you have not figured out, this means some of that is manageable by the driver's ability to deal with people and his/her attitude. (Especially when those people themselves might not be all that good at dealing with people, lol)
Some of the negativity comes from unrealistic expectations or
misunderstandings. A lot of the negativity comes from our perception
and the way we view life. The process is not designed specifically for
each person. The program simply is what it is. You fit the program and reality of trucking, it doesn't fit you.
You can't know what you're getting into and then be mad because it isn't what you would like it to be. You also can't sign it and not know what you're signing and get mad because it is not what you want it to be.
See many of trucker didn't do the research that YOU're doing. So they thought it would be a fun, walk in the park. You on the other hand already realize that it is indeed challenging.
You also realize that you might have to deal with some unpleasant personalities. So if you do encounter these things you will be mentally prepared instead of taken off guard. Best of all after leaving this website you'll know exactly how to be a professional truck driver and turn this trucking job into a successful career.
I commend you for being here and reading this information. You will be just fine, if you go this route. Because you are well informed!
Some companies run a great training program and others could care less how effective their trainers are. Some companies will charge you a certain amount each week for the truck driver training. Some won't charge you anything unless you break the contract by quitting. Then your credit is dinged and you probably will have something put on your DAC Report.
Other companies will charge you per week for their training. It comes out of your checks. This means that you will make even less money than your already 'lower than expected' weekly amount as a trucker. If you fail to complete the training period you owe the balance of what they charge you for training.
If you complete the training and if they hire you, they will then add that same amount back to your check until what they took from you is paid back to you.
Notice that I said if they hire you. Some companies will let you go through all of this training before doing a thorough background check. If you are half through when they discover you lied on the application and you have stuff on your record that will not allow them to hire you....you owe them the prorated amount for the time you spent training. You now have a bill that is due without that job to pay for it.
Don't lie on the application or it could bite you in the end.
Beware though, some drivers have told the truth, get trained and the company still doesn't hire them permanently because of the criminal or driving record that they should have been aware of.
(Note: If your record is bad and the promise to hire seems to good to be true, call trucking companies and see their response to your record. Do this despite what you are told by the recruiter. Also get an idea of what is likely to cause you problems getting hired for a truck driving job here.)
You want to make sure you read the contract. Call many trucking companies that offer free or company sponsored training to compare the length of time you must work to pay off the CDL training.
Also, see how much they will charge you should you quit or get fired.
It DOES cost money and time to train you to become a trucker and so the word free is great for marketing but the reality is someone must pay for this expense in some way. In life very little with value is actually free.
Always read the fine print. Company sponsored CDL training is strategically designed to enable a person wanting to become a trucker with no resources to do so without money but also without costing the company more than necessary. Some companies may even view their training itself as a revenue producing operation instead of producing loyal and professional drivers.
There ARE a few shady players in the trucking game, another reason to talk to drivers, ask questions and reading the contract. Try your best to get along with people (dispatch, other office personnel) and work for the company who trains you for the contract period. Less problems, less drama, less stress.
However, if they abuse this arrangement by trying to manipulate you into consistently running illegal or taking abuse from a trainer, or seem to not really care about you getting trained properly....don't let it slide without taking action to get things corrected. Always do it tactfully because you are not in the position of leverage.
First see if you can change your dispatcher through the procedures that they might have set up to do so. If there is not procedure in place, have an adult conversation to your dispatcher or his/her about working with someone else.
If they are actually shady as opposed to just not being aware, they could retaliate because you are causing problems by not just going along with what is dished out to you. This shouldn't be the case but you know as I know that there are bad people in all job sectors who shouldn't hold their jobs, so it happens.
Protect yourself as best you can. Keep a journal of these incidence as they play out. Take snapshots of qualcomm messages that go back and forth from people trying to get you to do things illegally.
Retaliation for you reporting the trucking company trainers unsafe behavior is a crime. Contact the EEOC, DOT, Labor Board
Pro's and Con's of Free or Company Sponsored CDL Training
Advantages of Free or Company Sponsored CDL Training (Pro's)
Disadvantages of Company Sponsored CDL Training (Con's)