Keep Moving and Be Efficient

December 4, 2021
November 2021 Income Report

Summary

Gross Income for November: $1,114.25

Total Expenses for November: $ TBD

Total Net Profit for November: $ TBD

Difference b/t November & October: NA

% of net profit to overall gross revenue: TBD %


Gross Income

November 2021 marks the start of my truck driving career. The income received during the month was a training stipend/allowance and was not based on the miles driven.

The expenses incurred on the road for my three weeks of training were mainly at truck stops and will be tallied soon to complete this month's report.


Total Expenses

  • Travel Expenses - $
  • Licensing & Regulatory Fees - $
  • Medical Exams - $
  • Office Supplies - $
  • Electronics - $
  • Tools - $
  • Clothing - $
  • Sleeper Berth - $
  • Personal Care - $
  • Cleaning Supplies - $

Total Expenses: $ TBD


Total Net Profit for November

November 5, 2021
I'm Now a Licensed Class A Driver

On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, I satisfactorily completed the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) driving test for my Class A Commercial Driver License (CDL).

This is the last step before becoming employed with a trucking company.

As an Arizona resident I need a CDL to drive a commercial vehicle of any kind. I want to drive a semi truck and therefore chose to get a Class A CDL.

I needed to meet a series of eligibility qualifications to qualify for the Arizona CDL. These include both federal- and state-level mandates related to citizenship, residency, health, driving history and testing. I began by reviewing copies of the Arizona commercial drivers license manual to determine what types of license classes and endorsements I need.

CDL Requirements in Arizona

Arizona CDL requirements are designed to ensure that commercial licenses are issued only to safe, legal drivers. To this end, I needed to:

  • Be no less than 18 years of age.
  • Be legally present within the United States (as citizens or authorized aliens).
  • Supply my Social Security Numbers.
  • Be a resident of Arizona.
  • Pass a federally-mandated DOT medical examination.
  • Pass written and skills tests.
  • Pay all applicable testing and licensing fees.

State and federal CDL license requirements expressly prohibit the issuance of commercial drivers licenses to certain drivers. These include those who:

  • Lie on their applications.
  • Do not hold regular driver's licenses, or whose licenses have been suspended, revoked or otherwise discontinued.
  • Have been convicted of felonies, leaving the scene of an accident, drug or alcohol abuse or other designated offenses.
  • Are found medically unsound.

Applying for an Arizona CDL Permit

I began the process of obtaining the commercial drivers license by applying for an Arizona CDL learners permit. I got the permit on October 18, 2021on the first try. Getting CDL permit credentials authorized me to drive commercial vehicles under the supervision of trained and licensed commercial drivers for the purposes of training and practicing my skills they needed in order to pass my licensing tests. I submitted the following to the DMV:

  • A completed application form
  • Proof of satisfactory completion of a DOT CDL physical exam
  • A minimum of two documents evidencing legal presence in the United States (e.g. passport and certified birth certificate)
  • A legal photo ID
  • Proof of age
  • Proof of residency
  • Social Security Number
  • Payment for all applicable fees

CDL Written Test

I passed the CDL general knowledge, combination vehicle, and air brakes tests to successfully obtain commercial driving credentials. The tests were taken in person, at the DMV CDL office in Tucson. 

CDL permit test questions are taken directly from the training materials found in the state CDL license manual. I achieved a score of 80 percent, or higher, in all three tests which is the minimum required to pass.

CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

Arizona motorists are not required to attend a CDL school as part of the licensing process. Instead, they may prepare by:

  • Studying the CDL handbook.
  • Engaging in CDL training and driving practice with independent, trained and licensed commercial drivers.
  • Use printed or online CDL practice test

While attending a CDL Training School isn’t required, I chose to attend a local school which provided me with 14 days of instruction as well as the vehicle that I used for testing.

How I Got my Arizona CDL License

I scheduled a physical with a DOT-approved provider (Concentra) in September 2021. Applicants who do not pass their physicals cannot apply for CDL licenses. Fortunately, I passed and as I started my two-week school, I picked up the application form from the DMV. I complete the form, and gather the necessary documents to demonstrate citizenship, age, residency and safe driving history.

I then took my CDL application forms and corresponding documents to the Tucson DMV CDL office for processing. That’s when I got my CDL learners permit and attended CDL school.

CDL Driving Test in Arizona

The Arizona CDL driving test is comprised of three sections, including vehicle inspections (took me about 50 minutes to complete), basic controls (took about 30 minutes), and on-road skills testing (about 40 minutes).

Types of CDL Classes in Arizona

If you are interested in an Arizona CDL, there are three classes of Arizona commercial drivers licenses for which you may apply. You will need a Class A license to drive a combination vehicle (such as a tractor trailer) with a combined gross weight of more than 26,00 pounds. This is what I now have. You will need a Class B CDL license to drive single vehicles with gross weight ratings of 26,001 or more. If you intend to drive hazmat or passenger vehicles carrying more than 16 total persons (like a school bus) need a Class C CDL license.

Types of CDL Endorsements in Arizona

CDL endorsements are supplemental provisions added to commercial licenses indicating that motorists are trained and authorized to operate specialty vehicles within their license classes. Examples of standard Arizona endorsements include the below:

  • Passenger Endorsement (P)
  • Hazmat Endorsement (H)
  • Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement (T)
  • Tanker Endorsement (N)
  • Combination Tank and Hazmat Endorsement (X)
  • School Bus Endorsement (S)

I did not add any endorsements.

October 15, 2021
Next Week I Start CDL School

A Career Change

Monday, October 18, 2021, I begin a two-week commercial driver's license (CDL) course to help prepare for my Class A CDL at a local trucking company. The course will finish the first week of November and each day I'll begin at 6:00 AM until at least 2:30 PM. This includes Saturdays and Sundays.

Currently, I am a digital marketer and website developer. In early 1996, I began designing websites and after a few employment stops, started my LLC in 2007. Over the years I added more and more digital marketing capabilities to provide many of the products and services my clients have enjoyed. I built websites, created and managed email campaigns, created and manage social media campaigns, created graphics for online and offline purposes, helped edit audio and video files, and a whole host of other technical digital tasks.

It has been a wonderful 25-year experience and I still enjoy the work very much but with what appears to be rough national and regional economic times ahead, my family has agreed that income from my efforts has not been enough to sustain the anticipated challenges of rising inflation.

So with my family's blessing, I have decided to leave the digital marketing/website design industry as my primary focus. I will, however, continue to serve the clients I currently work with. To continue full-time in digital marketing would mean:

  • I have to begin charging my existing clients a lot more; about 3 times more. OR
  • I seek out a much different type of clientele (with big pockets) and then I likely would need to be available 24/7 to properly serve their needs. This is not appealing to me.

And I am actually too old to get a job in my industry. Most employers are willing to sacrifice the knowledge, education, and experience from someone like me for the youth and inexpensive labor of those coming out of college. So I am increasing my income with this career change.

Therefore, on my wife's urging and recommendation, I began researching what it takes to professionally drive a semi truck, what commercial driver license schools are available in the Tucson area, and what life on the road might look like to me, my family, and for my current clients.

What I discovered, commercial driving reminds me a lot of my service in the military more than 23 years ago. I will be solely in charge of safely operating a large vehicle over hundreds of miles a day delivering cargo to people around the country. To me this is significant and noble work and work I want to do the rest of my working life. It will not be easy but I am familiar with the fortitude required of it.

To my family, commercial driving will mean a lot of time away from home but I will be earning good pay. We will be able to pay off our auto loan and mortgage within about 5 years, increase savings, and participate more in our retirement plans.

For my current clients, I will still be able to provide the same services they have come to rely on. However, with an erratic schedule and being on the road we will all have to be more proactive in scheduling tasks and requests of each other; knowing that I won't be able to respond quickly like I typically do.

Shortly after I receive my CDL, I'll be on the road for weeks at a time. My days will likely be 14 hours a day and each day will have its own unique schedule. One day I could be off duty in Atlanta by 3:00 PM and the next in Dallas or Omaha at midnight.

I may loose a client or two should this schedule become too much for us to work with (hope not!) but my family will more than double our income and I will find new purpose and motivation to serve.

So wish me luck as I work to earn my CDL.

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