SWIFT Corsicana, Texas CDL Academy Log

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bwr5000's Comment
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Day 6 of academy. Saturday morning we again went through full pre-trips. Then we drove until 11:30 am working on all the different backing maneuvers. Our group is doing great and we are getting better each time. After lunch we did full pre-trip and again worked on all the backing maneuvers. We finished the day with instructors going over testing. We are now finished with these two instructors. Sunday morning we get to sleep in and have to arrive for class at 7:45. Sunday will be classroom testing. Beginning Monday we switch to summer hours (to avoid as much heat as possible) by starting our day at 3:45 am. Then we will go out on the road with instructors to begin working on double shifting. There will be 3 students to a truck. I will be writing a single entry that has the schedule for first full week so prospective drivers can look at. Until next time, forge ahead!

bwr5000's Comment
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Day 7 of academy, Sunday. Today we only did classroom testing. Very easy day. If you read and do the assignments you will have no problems passing. Ten tests today. 4 tests on logs, shifting, speed, and safety. 4 tests on logs, hours of service, etc. Then final 3 tests on mapping. Heading to the mountain bike trails to run somewhere besides treadmill at hotel! At least 4 guys in our class workout and are health conscious so we have a good group going today. I will update my log with first day of road driving tomorrow. Until next time, forge ahead!

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
bwr5000's Comment
member avatar

Day 8 of academy. Monday morning we started at 4 a.m. (summer hours to help avoid baking in the heat). So we did not go out on the road today. Instead we continued practicing all of the backing maneuvers. Today we were able to start testing on the maneuvers. You are allowed 1 fail, then if you fail a maneuver a 2nd time you automatically repeat this week. Our range instructors are very good. I went first and tested out of the 300 foot straight line backing and my blind and sight side offsets. I will be doing my blind and sight side parallel maneuvers on Wednesday. That will give me all day on Tuesday to work on them. The instructors have us do a full coupling and pre-trip each morning and after lunch. Practice makes perfect! Until next time, forge ahead!

bwr5000's Comment
member avatar

Day 9 of academy. Tuesday morning at 4 am. Today we continued to practice on our backing maneuvers. We are down to 14 students from 18. We have 8 trucks set up on various maneuvers. So a ton of time practicing. I worked on my parallel (both sides) all day today. I drove for at least 7 hours today on the maneuvers. At this academy you do not need to worry about practice time. Tomorrow I will test my parallel maneuvers. Thursday all students must test all of the maneuvers. Those who pass get Saturday and Sunday off. Those who don't will simply get another week of practice. Early mornings equals early bed time! Until next time forge ahead!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, bwr, welcome to Swift!

My only advice it to be prepared for the most frustrating experience of your life. Most of the time on the range is for you to practice backing. Until you tame that beast, you'll be pulling your hair out, and questioning your reality. Fear not, happens to most people.

If you want to read about my experience, read here: Swift Academy, Memphis

Question for you Errol Is there any way we can do a 1 on 1 talk about Swift? I ruled them out but I talked with the recruiter again so they're back in the mix I'd like to talk to a driver

Thanks in advance

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian C asks:

Question for you Errol Is there any way we can do a 1 on 1 talk about Swift? I ruled them out but I talked with the recruiter again so they're back in the mix I'd like to talk to a driver

Thanks in advance

Brian part of the goal of this forum is to put information out for the benefit of everyone. Having a private conversation although beneficial to you, would not help anyone else faced with a similar question or concern.

There are a bunch of Swifties on this forum, me included: what do you want to know?

Brian C.'s Comment
member avatar

Brian C asks:

double-quotes-start.png

Question for you Errol Is there any way we can do a 1 on 1 talk about Swift? I ruled them out but I talked with the recruiter again so they're back in the mix I'd like to talk to a driver

Thanks in advance

double-quotes-end.png

Brian part of the goal of this forum is to put information out for the benefit of everyone. Having a private conversation although beneficial to you, would not help anyone else faced with a similar question or concern.

There are a bunch of Swifties on this forum, me included: what do you want to know?

He's really pro swift and I'm just wondering what is so special about Swift compared to other companies? (I'm not bashing Swift or anything) Do you have to wait for a truck or trainer after you finish up in the classroom? How are the dispatchers to work with?

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian C wrote:

He's really pro swift and I'm just wondering what is so special about Swift compared to other companies? (I'm not bashing Swift or anything) Do you have to wait for a truck or trainer after you finish up in the classroom? How are the dispatchers to work with?

Yes Brian, Errol has done very well with Swift but also has an objective viewpoint on the bigger picture of available options for a Newbie. There are many examples here of successful Swift drivers. I have worked for them for over 4 years, trained with them and continue to drive for them by choice.

We (including Errol) consistently convey to people that for the most part, no matter what company you chose as your first employer, a good driver can be highly successful and happy. That's not to say there won't be challenges and hurdles to jump, but that's anywhere, part of the job.

So then, why Swift? I made my decision to go with Swift because they best fit my requirements and IMO had excellent schooling/training (pre-CDL and post road training). My Swift recruiter? Professional, honest, with great follow-through. I also had access to a 10+ year Swift veteran driver (million miler, running NE Regional) who gave me the truth about them as an employer. Currently I am running Dedicated on the Walmart Grocery account and have no plans to make any changes. I enjoy my job, make excellent money, drive new equipment, never sit and have "built" excellent relationships with my Driver Managers and Planners. We are a solid team, working together to efficiently move the goods for our customer.

Once you are finished with initial schooling and pass your CDL tests, Swift will invite you to a three day orientation (paid), starts on a Monday morning, finishes up on Wednesday afternoon. Consider this a three day interview. Upon completion of orientation there are usually trainers available. If there is a wait, it's typically no more than a few days. If you don't mind a trainer who smokes it's likely you will not be waiting at all.

Swift doesn't really have dispatchers per say, they have Planners and Driver Managers (DM). The DMs dispatch the loads to available drivers. You will be assigned a DM who works exclusively with you, but also you will interact with other DMs on weekends and off-hours. Your professional relationship with the DM is the most important one you will have. Work on it constantly, keeping in mind their job is to keep you moving. Your job is to proactively communicate, make your deliveries safely and on-time with a limited amount of intervention from them. Stay positive and trust me, they will notice you. During my four years I have had 3 different DMs assigned to me, all with previous driving experience. Never had a problem.

Good luck Brian, hope this is helpful. Let us know how else we can assist you in this process.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian C.'s Comment
member avatar

Brian C wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

He's really pro swift and I'm just wondering what is so special about Swift compared to other companies? (I'm not bashing Swift or anything) Do you have to wait for a truck or trainer after you finish up in the classroom? How are the dispatchers to work with?

double-quotes-end.png

Yes Brian, Errol has done very well with Swift but also has an objective viewpoint on the bigger picture of available options for a Newbie. There are many examples here of successful Swift drivers. I have worked for them for over 4 years, trained with them and continue to drive for them by choice.

We (including Errol) consistently convey to people that for the most part, no matter what company you chose as your first employer, a good driver can be highly successful and happy. That's not to say there won't be challenges and hurdles to jump, but that's anywhere, part of the job.

So then, why Swift? I made my decision to go with Swift because they best fit my requirements and IMO had excellent schooling/training (pre-CDL and post road training). My Swift recruiter? Professional, honest, with great follow-through. I also had access to a 10+ year Swift veteran driver (million miler, running NE Regional) who gave me the truth about them as an employer. Currently I am running Dedicated on the Walmart Grocery account and have no plans to make any changes. I enjoy my job, make excellent money, drive new equipment, never sit and have "built" excellent relationships with my Driver Managers and Planners. We are a solid team, working together to efficiently move the goods for our customer.

Once you are finished with initial schooling and pass your CDL tests, Swift will invite you to a three day orientation (paid), starts on a Monday morning, finishes up on Wednesday afternoon. Consider this a three day interview. Upon completion of orientation there are usually trainers available. If there is a wait, it's typically no more than a few days. If you don't mind a trainer who smokes it's likely you will not be waiting at all.

Swift doesn't really have dispatchers per say, they have Planners and Driver Managers (DM). The DMs dispatch the loads to available drivers. You will be assigned a DM who works exclusively with you, but also you will interact with other DMs on weekends and off-hours. Your professional relationship with the DM is the most important one you will have. Work on it constantly, keeping in mind their job is to keep you moving. Your job is to proactively communicate, make your deliveries safely and on-time with a limited amount of intervention from them. Stay positive and trust me, they will notice you. During my four years I have had 3 different DMs assigned to me, all with previous driving experience. Never had a problem.

Good luck Brian, hope this is helpful. Let us know how else we can assist you in this process.

Thank you G-town very helpful,I've heard some bad things about Swift (from other companies and their drivers) Would you know anything about XPO,I haven't seen anything here from a veteran driver? After what you said Swift is definitely back in My recruiter is Annette and she's great when I informed her my dad passesd away last week she said she'd leave me alone to get through this and she has,other companies have been blowing up my phone trying to get my final decision on a training date

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian C replied:

Thank you G-town very helpful,I've heard some bad things about Swift (from other companies and their drivers) Would you know anything about XPO,I haven't seen anything here from a veteran driver? After what you said Swift is definitely back in My recruiter is Annette and she's great when I informed her my dad passesd away last week she said she'd leave me alone to get through this and she has,other companies have been blowing up my phone trying to get my final decision on a training date

You're welcome Brian, happy to help.

The bad things you have heard about Swift? I still hear it too, I laugh at it. It's a source of entertainment. Fact is Swift is an easy target, a huge company that hires many, many entry level drivers. Thus they release many, many entry level drivers who for whatever reason could not make it. Even so, try not to believe everything you hear, sprinkle everything with ample grains of salt. The Trucking Industry has corned the commercial market for misinformation, much of it embellished hearsay, primarily initiated by disgruntled ex-employees venting their anger and frustration for failure. Christopher Columbus heard the world was flat when he set sail for points unknown. He knew better than to believe the naysayers and so do you.

If a competing company recruiter badmouths Swift, that is nothing more than a Junior Varsity sales tactic designed to scare you into committing to their company. Next time you hear that sort of thing, if you are so inclined, ask them how long they worked for Swift. This is highly unprofessional behavior, fortunately not that common.

My suggestion on XPO? Head to the General Forum side and post the following in the Subject Line: "Looking for information on XPO". There is a driver named Sam (The Wrestler) who recently signed-on with XPO, he would be happy to offer his thoughts. You can also enter the word XPO in the search bar found in the upper left-hand corner of this page, press enter. The search will return matching discussion threads. You can also search on "Con-Way". XPO recently purchased Con-Way.

These links may also benefit you in this process:

Trucking Company Reviews

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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