Advice On Trucking Company For Paid Training Husband And Wife Team

Topic 20654 | Page 1

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Pamela M.'s Comment
member avatar

My husband and I are empty nesters in Florida and want to start a new career as team OTR drivers. It has been a bit overwhelming trying to decide which company to go with. Of course, all the company's websites promise amazing training, pay, etc. However, when we look up reviews for the company, they are 90 to 95 percent negative, claiming pay is/was terrible, lots of sitting around waiting for next assignment, DMs that are horrible, etc. This leads us to conclude that these must be all the whiners and the type of people that wouldn't succeed in any company (for the most part).

So, we are looking for some balanced input. This is obviously a big decision and we want to choose wisely.

The following is our current situation and our career goals: -- We do not have the money to pay for training. -- We can't afford to wait too long to get our first paycheck -- We don't mind having money taken out of our paycheck to pay for the training -- We are committed to staying with the company for the contracted time. -- We want to be able to team drive together as soon as possible, so companies like Prime that require 5 to 6 months of mentoring time are not an option for us. -- We don't mind being on the road for many weeks at a time and we would like to have our home time be at various places throughout the country so we can visit our children, grandchildren, and site see on our days off. -- We don't want to touch our freight AT ALL, so no touch loads are a MUST. Drop and hook is nice, and obviously desirable (who doesn't want that?), but not as important to us. We can sleep or take a walk or something while the truck is being unloaded/loaded. --We really want to make at least 35k each our first year. Is that unrealistic?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Just for the record:

5-6 months training at Prime would be a rare anomaly. Most will complete training in approx 3 months, and often less.

I started orientation on Dec 19, and was handed the keys to my own truck Mar 4th. Just sayin!

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Kat's Comment
member avatar

Prime is a fantastic company, and it won't take that long to get into your own truck. Lots of bonuses for teams too.

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

My husband and I are empty nesters in Florida and want to start a new career as team OTR drivers. It has been a bit overwhelming trying to decide which company to go with. Of course, all the company's websites promise amazing training, pay, etc. However, when we look up reviews for the company, they are 90 to 95 percent negative, claiming pay is/was terrible, lots of sitting around waiting for next assignment, DMs that are horrible, etc. This leads us to conclude that these must be all the whiners and the type of people that wouldn't succeed in any company (for the most part).

So, we are looking for some balanced input. This is obviously a big decision and we want to choose wisely.

The following is our current situation and our career goals: -- We do not have the money to pay for training. -- We can't afford to wait too long to get our first paycheck -- We don't mind having money taken out of our paycheck to pay for the training -- We are committed to staying with the company for the contracted time. -- We want to be able to team drive together as soon as possible, so companies like Prime that require 5 to 6 months of mentoring time are not an option for us. -- We don't mind being on the road for many weeks at a time and we would like to have our home time be at various places throughout the country so we can visit our children, grandchildren, and site see on our days off. -- We don't want to touch our freight AT ALL, so no touch loads are a MUST. Drop and hook is nice, and obviously desirable (who doesn't want that?), but not as important to us. We can sleep or take a walk or something while the truck is being unloaded/loaded. --We really want to make at least 35k each our first year. Is that unrealistic?

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Look into CRST. I have been driving for them for a couple of months now and I absolutely love them. They are a team only company so that is perfect for you all. Not once have I had to unload my own trailer. All but two of our loads were drop and hook loads. The loads that were live unloads the receiver unloaded themselves. So if you want great miles and the best training program to help you get your CDLs then look no further than CRST. They will hopefully get you out here to Cedar Rapids and you will go through NADTA (North American Driver Training Academy). CRST owns that school. If you want first hand experience on how training is at NADTA and your 1st month with your lead driver will be then feel free to read my training diary.

Millionmiler24s CRST/NADTA Training Diary

Also as being new to trucking and this forum I would like to say welcome to TruckingTruth. Here is our welcome kit as we call it:

Be sure both of yall read Bretts book before committing to this industry. If you still think its for yall then study the heck out of that High Road Training Program. That will help you to pass your permit exams on the first try. Also there are essential on the job modules in there that will teach you the HOS (Hours of Service) regulations and also on how to balance the load on your truck. I wish yall the best of luck and if you decide on CRST then I will follow yalls progress on here and if I am not here a Moderator or another CRST driver will be glad to assist you any way we can.

smile.gif

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Mothman's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to assume that since you are posting here, that you have read though the Company-Sponsored Training Reviews here on this site.

I'm kind of in the same boat. I have a list of things that are requirements and things others may care about, that I don't. I'm in the final stages of my decision process and I'm one of those people that needs to really consider "all the things" before jumping in.

I think of personal written online reviews like "yelp reviews" where people (mostly) only take the time to post a review when they want to complain. I find ignoring those and moving on to facts instead have been more reliable (to me anyway). That and I check sites like Glassdoor that will give you some additional details about the CEOs and things like how they treat people in office positions, etc. Which I think can say something about how the company operates as a whole.

So take the list I posted above, make a pros and cons list of the info shown. Pick your top 3 from that list, then double check the info that is important on the company's main website (to make sure policies haven't changed recently)... then search these forums for info posted by those who actually work for those companies.

Sometimes more can be learned by reading stories from first hand accounts in here than will ever be "written" in a direct review/complaint.

When you feel that your list of the top choices is solid enough, reach out to recruiters and actually discuss your needs, your concerns, etc.

I think (from my research) that the process of weeding the list down, then handling additional questions and concerns directly with the company has helped me feel comfortable and taken away the "overwhelm" of information in the process. It has also allowed me to talk to family/friends in the business and I was shocked by how they all have a buddy that drives for "XYZ Company" and is willing to visit with me.

And I think you posting questions like this one are good also. Though I think if you can narrow it down, then tailor the question to the specific top choices, you might get better returns from members. (This is based on me lurking here for a while while doing my own research) When you can mention a company in question it's like a moth to a flame of forum members related to that company jumping in. ;)

Lastly, I'd say "do what financially works for your current position" more than worrying about what they will pay you a year down the road. I'm of the opinion that someone looking for the career and trucking lifestyle (as vs. someone chasing the money), that from everything I've read, it all evens out years down the road anyway. If you pay your dues, do a good job, live the lifestyle, that you will be rewarded (within the company or with a future opportunity)... maybe I'm in the mindset of "instead of planning for my trucking career long goals, I'm planing for what fits me now, knowing in the long run I can adjust when it no longer fits my needs"

I didn't expect to be so long winded here, but that's my 2ยข anyway regarding the process. I apologize I don't have a direct answer to the "best for you" but I hope it may help. Good luck!

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Mothman, pretty much everything you said was fine except this:

I check sites like Glassdoor that will give you some additional details about the CEOs and things like how they treat people in office positions, etc. Which I think can say something about how the company operates as a whole.

You're not going to learn anything of value about choosing a trucking company from sites like that. It says nothing about how the company operates as a whole.

People get this idea that a company is one single entity. It's not. It's a massive number of individuals all working together, and yet separately. You can be at the greatest company in the world and have a lousy dispatcher and your experience there is going to be lousy. The opposite is also true.

98% of the communication most drivers have with their company is through one person - your dispatcher. The miles you get, the pre-planning, the home time, schedule changes, special favors or requests - everything you do goes through this one person. That person may not have the authority to make most of the decisions themselves, but they're the communication hub for the driver. To try to figure out who the CEO is or whether or not the company treats their office personnel well and that stuff - it's all going to amount to diddly squat about how you experience the company as a driver on the road.

The same applies with, "Make sure you get experiences from people who actually work there." The turnover in this industry is astronomical. So many people take a shot at trucking that really don't belong there at all. Others may be well suited to trucking but simply do not have the wherewithal to figure out how this industry operates. This industry is loaded with mediocre drivers and underachievers I'm sorry to say. But that's the truth. So to speak with 5 or 10 drivers from a company with 4,000+ drivers isn't going to tell you anything about the company, but will tell you everything about those drivers themselves.

Great drivers almost universally have great experiences at the major companies, lousy drivers have lousy experiences. It's a performance based industry. If you're a top performer you're going to get great miles, great equipment, better loads, and special favors along the way. If you're a lousy driver you're going to be spending a lot of time sitting around truck stops, you're going to get lousy miles, and you'll almost never get any special favors.

This industry doesn't treat everyone equally. They'll treat you based on your performance as a driver, and also to a lesser extent on your attitude and how well you get along with people.

Just stick with the basics when choosing a company. Things you can quantify:

  • Pay and benefits
  • Home time options
  • Types of freight
  • Regions of the country they run
  • Opportunities they may have down the line

Sites like Glassdoor and RipoffReport and all that aren't going to help you in the least. That first year you're simply trying to learn your trade, understand how this industry works, and get your career off to a great start. After you've been with your first company for a year you'll understand how things work in this industry and you'll know where you want to go from there.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Pamela M.'s Comment
member avatar

I guess I misunderstood how long it takes to train with Prime, but 3 months is still longer than my husband and I want to wait to team drive.

We were considering PAM and CRST since they both have training schools here in Florida, but we've been leaning toward CRST (We saw PAM's training school through Driver Solutions here in Lakeland and the place looks like a total dive. We also realized that PAM's routes are more limited) CRST is an affordable option with only a 10 month contract, so I think this will be a good option for us.

Great drivers almost universally have great experiences at the major companies, lousy drivers have lousy experiences. It's a performance based industry. If you're a top performer you're going to get great miles, great equipment, better loads, and special favors along the way. If you're a lousy driver you're going to be spending a lot of time sitting around truck stops, you're going to get lousy miles, and you'll almost never get any special favors.

My husband and I couldn't agree more with that statement. We both have a strong work ethic and are committed to excellence, so we're quite confident that we will be successful no matter who we choose.

Thanks for the advice and we are still open to any advice anyone wants to give. We've already passed our DOT physical, are in process of applying for passports, and will be taking the written exams, including tank endorsement, this coming Wednesday (been studying for a few weeks now)

We're very excited for this new adventure/lifestyle!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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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