Commercial Driver Training

If you knew all the facts, which would you choose?

Private School
Community School


So called“Free Training”
otherwise known as
Contract Training

Usually 3 to 6 weeks, from 140 to 220 hours, flexible schedules. Usually 3 weeks of training at their facility, training can continue on the road during which students can be expected to drive with their permits. No flexibility in scheduling.
The student pays for their training, usually $3500 to $6500. Most schools have financing and financial aid options. The company that is hiring the student provides the training at no up front cost, but requires an employment contract from the student to ensure they get paid back through payroll deductions. Most contracts last from 9 to 12 months.
Because the student is not locked into a contract, they go to work where they choose. Students not locked into a contract can make from 32 to 45 cents per mile or more. Many drivers make between $800 to $1200 a week, some make much more. Because they are locked into a contract, company trained drivers will work for what the company decides to pay them. Most contract drivers make between 12 to 17 cents per mile. Under contract, $300 to $400 a week is pretty normal.
State or private schools are regulated by state agencies that ensure things like quality of training, hours of training, job placement, truth in advertising and honest recruitment. Because companies that train their drivers are not schools, they are not regulated. There are no restrictions in their recruiting or advertising. They will tell you what they want to get you in the seat.
Because they received their training from a state authorized school, students pick their career paths. From large trucking companies, smaller family owned operations, owner operator, oil field work…you name it. Only the company that trained them will recognize a contract trained students training. If you quit that company before your contract is up, your CDL is worthless for other companies, you have no where else to go.
When a student is not locked into a contract, hometime options are much better. Because the student has their choice, they can work where they want, even for many companies that have local routes where the driver is home every day. Under contract it is not uncommon for drivers to be gone weeks, even months at a time. Because the student is under contract, they have no say so, nor do they have a choice.
Off contract students are not required to drive team with someone they do not know except during their training phase while with their instructor…usually around 5 to 6 weeks. Under contract students are usually forced to drive teams with a stranger for months on end, the entire time under contract.
Off contract students, because they have the choice to go where they want, they are able to pick companies that provide full tuition reimbursement. These companies pay the student back for the entire amount of their tuition costs. Contract trained students do not get tuition reimbursement, just the opposite. While under contract, they have money deducted from their paycheck to pay the trucking company back for their training.
The success rate of students that obtained their training from a private school or Community College is very high. The vast majority are still driving a truck years later and are making more money than ever. The failure rate under contract is incredibly high. Most students never make it through training. The majority of contract students are sent home before completing the training. Studies have shown that less than 5% of students under contract successfully complete their first year.

So a student that attended a private school or community college can expect to make $45,000 to $60,000 in their first year and have a very high rate of success. They can get jobs that have them home every weekend or even every day. They can expect to receive full tuition reimbursement as well. Students that are locked into a contract after going through company training can expect to make $23,000 to $27,000 in their first year if they even stay with the company that long. There is a reason why contract carriers have dedicated fleets of drivers that do nothing but go out and recover abandoned trucks from their drivers that have gotten fed up and walked away from the truck. Contract students can expect to be home a few days every couple of months and have to pay for their training costs out of their very small paychecks.

Getting training done through a contract carrier can cost a student as much as $30,000 of lost earnings and untold amounts of lost hometime in just their first year. They risk almost certain failure and if they want to make a second attempt at getting back into commercial driving, they have to go back a licensed school and start all over again.

Knowing all that…

Why would anyone choose contract training?