Company Sponsored Training

Company sponsored CDL training is a great option for the right person. If you can't pay or get financing at a private trucking school or community college  for example.  It's very smart of you to be here reading to learn what a free or company sponsored  CDL training program is all about.

A company says they will sponsor or pay for your training to get your CDLs.  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.

You need to do everything 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 higher paying and better trucking companies if that first one is treating you right after 1 or 2 years of driving.

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.

More About the Free Training

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 hit up 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 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.)

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.

Is Free CDL Training A Good Choice

A lot of people wonder this because of all the negative you might here about getting into trucking this way.

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.  (Especially 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 choose to enter the agreement or you don't. 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 those people didn't do what YOU are 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.

I commend you for being here and reading this information.  You will be just fine, if you go this route.

Why Do Companies Make You Sign a Contract.  Free is Free...

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.

Contrary to current common sentiment, businesses exists to turn a profit (hopefully while doing good in some way) not to create jobs, give away services, products, training, etc. If they don't turn a profit they will cease to exist and who does that help? No one. Who works at a company that does not exist? No one. Ok, sorry, didn't meant to get all into that aspect of things... You must look at things from their angle as well as yours (and the millions of other who will take advantage of free training. If there were absolutely no protection in the contract for the company, it would put them out of business. Know what you're signing and do it with the intentions of fulfilling your end of the contract or don't sign.

What If The Company Is Actually Bad

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

Report - Research Trucking Companies From Here

Summary - Pro's and Con's

Pro's and Con's of Free or Company Sponsored CDL Training

Advantages of Free or Company Sponsored CDL Training (Pro's)

  • It won't cost you out of pocket for the training - You have a job most times after training

Disadvantages of Company Sponsored CDL Training (Con's)

  • You will sign a contract to work for the trucking company who sponsored/paid for or provided the training for a specified amount of time, usually 1 year. If you break the contract you may own fines in addition to the tuition. There are ugly stories associated with this. If you go this route do what you can to NOT BREAK the contract.
  • If you don't like the company you feel obligated to stay until the terms of the contract is done. It may well be in your best interest to stay whether you want to or not. If you have a poor relationship with the dispatcher or company this obviously would be stressful. However most drivers don't mind staying and don't have a serious problem with the company or dispatchers at the company.(Yes you Will see/hear some horror stories out of hundreds of thousands of drivers)
  • You may be promised a job but in today's economy some trucking companies are training drivers and having them wait around (not at the trucking terminal) to began driving weeks or even months after training.
  • Some trucking companies don't pay much during the training period.  Also, there different expenses such as meals, hotel, or travel during training that some companies are not paying now. Know what expenses will be covered, ask questions and see it in writing so you will KNOW what to expect.

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