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Commercial Driver's License

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by TheBuzz, May 17, 2017.

  1. TheBuzz

    TheBuzz Member

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    Hey all,

    I am a 20 year old Theatre Technology & Design student. I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on getting a commercial driver's license; is it worth having? Even if I'm not planning on solely driving trucks, is it something that would be useful in my line of work?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Scarrgo

    Scarrgo Active Member

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    It could be, if you start out at a shop and you have a license, it could mean you get the gig over the next guy....

    Sean
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Unless you actually WANT to drive commercial vehicles (or need to for a job, in which case your employer should foot the bill), then there is no benefit to having one. If you want to be a driver, go for it, but otherwise, it will just make you "the guy" to go to when someone needs a driver.
     
    ruinexplorer likes this.
  4. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Agreed with Alex ^ plus you can still drive up to a 26 foot truck on a regular license. My company does a lot of fabrication and shipping and we have a bunch of smaller trucks but still just call somebody up and get trucks for the larger shows.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    While it never hurts to have more skills, it's not a skill that is likely to get you a lot more work in this industry. On the other hand I paid for a lot of college driving tour buses in the summer. So you may want to consider it for additional employment between gigs.
     
  6. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Buddy of mine had good luck with this. He would get paid to drive the truck plus his day rate for shows.

    Takes a special relationship with the production company though to make that work so you can grow beyond just being the guy who gets things from Point A to Point B.
     
  7. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Think of it this way. With a CDL and a Captains license you can drive a duck tour! (Amphibious tour bus)
     
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  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    On the list of stuff to have... it is pretty low on there. Most production houses own 24'/26' single axel trucks that you can drive with a standard license. If you are looking for something to get, aim for ETCP cert... that will do much more for you. No one expects you to have this. Also, if you tour... you don't want this. You want to be sleeping in a bus or flying and sleeping in hotels.. NOT spending the 10 hours you have between venues driving.
     
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  9. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Spoken like someone who knows from experience. You've got my vote.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  10. Jeff Lelko

    Jeff Lelko Member

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    Everything mentioned so far is spot on, but since it hasn't been brought up yet I'll also throw in that there are three different classes of CDLs plus numerous endorsements and restrictions that you may or may not need depending on what you need to haul. Nearly everything needs some sort of knowledge test, skills test, or both. Hazmat needs an additional background check / threat assessment. On top of that, the skills testing requires you to test in a vehicle fitting the tested skill...so you'll need access to such a vehicle to practice and test in. So yes, you really need to know what you plan on driving and hauling before getting started. It can get expensive too if you plan on just doing this yourself - wait for an employer to pay for it!
     
  11. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member

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    I won't hurt to have it. You don't need to tell the person who schedules trucking that you can drive. To expand on what other have mentioned.
    -Without a CDL you can usually drive some form of truck, typically 26,000 GVW. There is usually not any size restriction, but this varies state-to-state. You will see up to 26' moving trucks in this category. 26,000 does not allow for much gear though. Check with your state, some have other restrictions or require a chauffeur's license to drive for a business. Usually just a written test.
    -Class C....I think it's for passenger vehicles like buses, but I'm not really sure; It's not useful for driving trucks .
    -Class B Will allow you to drive Vehicles OVER 26,000, towing less than 10,000. This included everything from a Heavy duty version of that single drive axle moving truck, to bobtailing a tractor. You will need to take the Air Brake portion of the written test as well. (because everything has airbrakes these days)
    -Class A lets you drive a vehicle OVER 26,000 towing OVER 10,000. So 18 wheelers and such. There is usually not a lot of need for extra endorsements, but even things like towing double trailers are just written tests.


    Like mentioned above, while it may be useful, you still do need to take a skills test in that particular class of vehicle. You can study the book, and get ready for the pre-trip inspection portion of the test. It's a bunch of parts you have to identify and check that they are not broken. You can get your permit with just a written test, then let a company pay you to drive around and learn. Being ahead on the pre-trip knowledge will certainly help.
     
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  12. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I have been driving up to 26' box trucks for production companies for years, no need for a CDL. Most companies I know that own/lease semi trailers have dedicated drivers for them. So I'd go for other certs before something like a CDL, as others have mentioned.
     
  13. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I know some regional companies that like their guys to have CDLs, if they are off doing festivals over the summer it easier when one of their guys can drive the truck.
     
  14. TimMc

    TimMc Active Member

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    If you work the show you won't be able to drive after, at least not legally. Before you undertake driving and working as a technician you need to have a full understanding of "hours of service". Realize that many non-national employers will want you to load in, set up and run the show, pack it out and then drive again. When you inevitably get caught with 2 or more log books or have a wreck the responsibility is 100% on YOU, not your employer. You will be fired and left to fend for your self in all the legal aspects.
     
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  15. Jeff Lelko

    Jeff Lelko Member

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    Class C is meant for drivers needing to operate vehicles that do not meet the classifications of Class A and Class B but need to carry 16+ passengers or a placarded (Hazmat) load. In my case it's the latter, pertaining to Class B pyrotechnics - the display fireworks you see on the Fourth of July. Any amount of that product must be driven with placards, even if it's just a few cases in a properly-equipped van or box truck (hence the Class C w/ Hazmat). This is why it generally helps to know what you need to drive and haul before getting started. While a Class A CDL would let me do the same thing in this case, the time and expense involved in getting that would be massive overkill compared to a simple Class C with the necessary endorsements in either case.
     
  16. jhochb

    jhochb Active Member

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    Good Morning

    Amen to all the above posts.

    The one thing I should have learned is to drive a fork lift.
    the looks I get these days because I don't......
     
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I've had one for 10 years, never actually needed it.
    I occasionally get paid more for being a better qualified driver but that's it.
    If you intend to drive trucks you definitely need to have a DOT physical card.
     
  18. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I know several companies that will be in big trouble when electronic logs are law for everyone.
     
  19. cbrandt

    cbrandt Active Member

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    All my drivers are chauffer's and med carded. That keeps insurance happy, and lets me at least pretend that they are a cut above your average driver. I'm more likely to hire you as shop help if you have a chauffer's, but it doesn't mean much for my onsite guys. I bend over backwards to make sure that my onsite guys aren't driving the trucks except on the easiest and shortest of gigs. Too many places for there to be accidents or errors in judgement.
     

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