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Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

Vin,

I live in Chesapeake VA and drive for Prime. They have one of the best training programs going. Don't limit your search for a company to drive for just because you are close to one of their terminals.

Ask any questions you may have, we have lots of Prime drivers on this forum that would be more than happy to help. All you have to do is ask.

Not to say Swift isn't a good choice, just making sure you understand you have many options to choose from.

Ernie

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

Oingo's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Earnie! I will look at their website today.

Vin,

I live in Chesapeake VA and drive for Prime. They have one of the best training programs going. Don't limit your search for a company to drive for just because you are close to one of their terminals.

Ask any questions you may have, we have lots of Prime drivers on this forum that would be more than happy to help. All you have to do is ask.

Not to say Swift isn't a good choice, just making sure you understand you have many options to choose from.

Ernie

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

Oingo's Comment
member avatar

Errol. Using Roehl as an example, I seem to get the impression that the closer a driver lives to any terminal , the easier it is for the company to allow them to take advantage of their company's "Custom Home Time" policy, otherwise it may be difficult. Closest Roehl terminal to me is Atlanta GA and the closest drop yard is Darlington, SC. I believe Roehl even states something about this on their website I recall. Any Roehl drivers here that can ad their 2 cents?

Hi, Vin. Welcome to Trucking Truth, and maybe to Swift. Yes, is true, Swift has a "scholarship" for veterans. I benefited from that myself.

Bring a copy of your DD-214 with you. You will still need to sign the financing contract. But that's all you'll see. No tuition payments will be deducted. You must drive for Swift for one year, then your account will be cleared. (You owe $0.00.) But if you stop driving for Swift before that first anniversary, the full amount will be due.

I had/paid the fees for my CDL permit and medical card, so the academy did not ask me for any more money - you may not need to come up with the $300.

Finally, living near a terminal has advantages, but it's not necessary. Any company will make it easy for you to stop by the house for home time. Don't limit your choice of company by that requirement, though of course going to Swift is an excellent decision 😆.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Oingo's Comment
member avatar

Earnie, Wow, even with the closest terminal being Pittston, PA? Also, I think I found as typo on the TT Prime CDL review, or maybe a moderator can confirm this below, is it a typo? "After obtaining your CDL, you will complete a minimum of 30,000 miles with a Prime Trainer to become a professional commercial vehicle operator. During this time, you will be paid $700 guaranteed weekly ($0.14 cpm)."

$700 weekly = .14 cmpm? Is that not 5000 miles a week? $700/.14= 5000?

Also, I notice the TT review says 50% Drop and Hook...does that mean you are loading or unloading the other 50% of the time?

Vin,

I live in Chesapeake VA and drive for Prime. They have one of the best training programs going. Don't limit your search for a company to drive for just because you are close to one of their terminals.

Ask any questions you may have, we have lots of Prime drivers on this forum that would be more than happy to help. All you have to do is ask.

Not to say Swift isn't a good choice, just making sure you understand you have many options to choose from.

Ernie

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

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.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

Earnie, Wow, even with the closest terminal being Pittston, PA? Also, I think I found as typo on the TT Prime CDL review, or maybe a moderator can confirm this below, is it a typo? "After obtaining your CDL, you will complete a minimum of 30,000 miles with a Prime Trainer to become a professional commercial vehicle operator. During this time, you will be paid $700 guaranteed weekly ($0.14 cpm)."

$700 weekly = .14 cmpm? Is that not 5000 miles a week? $700/.14= 5000?

Also, I notice the TT review says 50% Drop and Hook...does that mean you are loading or unloading the other 50% of the time?

double-quotes-start.png

Vin,

I live in Chesapeake VA and drive for Prime. They have one of the best training programs going. Don't limit your search for a company to drive for just because you are close to one of their terminals.

Ask any questions you may have, we have lots of Prime drivers on this forum that would be more than happy to help. All you have to do is ask.

Not to say Swift isn't a good choice, just making sure you understand you have many options to choose from.

Ernie

double-quotes-end.png

It just needs some clarification, it means it's $700/wk or .14/mile whichever is greater. So if you only do 4500 miles one week, $700/wk applies. But if you do 6000 miles, then the .14/mile applies because it gives you a better paycheck. The whole point is to guarantee you get a minimum paycheck minus taxes/deductions of $700/wk.

As for the drop/hook, it varies from week to week. Some weeks I get better than 50/50 drop hook. Most weeks it's mostly live load/unload.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Vin, Ernie beat me to it. Training costs money. So you will get paid something since you're an employee. The larger paychecks come when you're solo/ "first seat".

As for this drop and hook business, most dry vans are pre-loaded, or unloaded by the receiver. So you just drop it off, or hook up to a full one. The job most drivers hate is live load/ unload. That's when you sit there while the shipper/ receiver moves the freight in or out of the box. Drivers sitting, waiting, usually don't get paid while they wait. (A good time to take a 30 minute break.)

Most of the freight business we do will not have your fingerprints on the stuff inside your trailer.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

Oingo's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys! Right now I am considering both Swift and Roehl. I will be deciding by Monday. Also, there was a guy on uTube who really liked Roehl training but then claims they hosed him when he was overweight and despite the fact he let them know. They would not allow him to drive back 20 miles to correct it, and he got a ticket and fine later that day and they refused to pay it and he had to. Now I am just a noob, but it sounds like he is not telling us everything, as from what I understand, and I may be incorrect, but are not you supposed to go to a weigh station asap after picking up your load to get weighed, so that if its overloaded, your not miles and miles away from the terminal? He ended up quitting Roehl and going to Knight and claims its so much better. Another guy who works for Swift said he just got weighed and was fine but later in the day a Maryland cop made him weigh and was 4K over, but he fought the ticket in court and won. Not sure what to think.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

there was a guy on uTube who.......

Another guy who

OMG people kill me with this. Stop worrying about what some random guy says on the Web! You guys don't know anything about these people. You have no idea who they are or whether or not their information is reliable.

This is a performance based business. Not everyone is treated equally at any company. You're going to be treated based on how well you perform. If you perform at a high level you're going to get better miles, better equipment, more home time, more favors, and better runs. If you perform at a low level you're going to be sitting around a lot doing nothing, you're not going to get many favors, and you're not going to have it as good as the top performers.

But make no mistake about it - all of the major companies are great places to work if you're a top performer, and there are no companies that are going to give you top miles, top pay, and top equipment if you're a lousy performer.

That statement is true across the board in this industry. There's no such thing as avoiding a bad company or seeking out a good company when you're talking about the major carriers. These companies are the elite in the industry. They're all the best of the best. There's no such thing as a bad elite company.

You have to learn how to perform at a high level if you want to make top pay. Prepare yourself well, work super hard, learn all you can, and get along well with people. If you'll do those things you'll be happy anywhere you go. If you don't do those things you won't be happy anywhere you go.

Pick the company that suits you well based on their pay, home time, types of freight, and the regions of the country they run. That's it. You'll never hear us say, "Don't forget to check YouTube to see what some random knucklehead says about the company."

Pick a company that offers what you're looking for and go show them you're a top level performer. That's all you have to worry about. Every company has a long list of miserable drivers. Every company has a long list of happy drivers. That always has and always will be the case.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Vin...yes you are a noob, but both of these points are interesting, valid and worthy of a brief discussion...

The driver in most cases is responsible for paying any citation and has the option to fight them. But ultimately the driver is responsible for the safety and legality of the truck. And yes,...as a rule if the weight of the load is documented at 32k total or above, it's advisable to scale within a short distance of the shipper. "Scaling" does two things; determines total weight (GVCW) and the axle weights as follows, steers, tractor driver, and the trailer tandems. Legal maximum in all of the lower 48 is 12k on the steers, 34k on the drives and tandems. That said, if the total weight scaled is less than 80k you're good to go,...almost. However axle weight must also be legal, and optimally balanced so the drives and tandems are close to the same weight. Sliding the tandems forward moves weigh off the driver and onto the tandems. Moving them back achieves the opposite, moving weigh to the tractor drives and off the tandems (confused yet?). Balance greatly improves handling. Scaling is important, necessary and documents your weights. This is something you'll learn during road training and have many opportunities to practice while on the road. Sounds complex, but once you have scaled a few times it will make sense.

First and foremost, if the Roehl driver was overweight, had the scale ticket to prove it, considering he is the captain of his or her ship, has final say if he moves an overweight truck or not. His ONE safe option? Use of the his phone and Qualcomm (or whatever electronic communication device Roehl uses). His simple, to the point reply to Roehl dispatch should have been something like this:

Okay, so I am overweight by XXXX.XX pounds, I sent a photo of the scale ticket documenting that. Based on that fact, are you going to pay for the ticket if I get pulled into a DOT scale? Are you authorizing me to drive an overweight truck when it's a clear and obvious safety violation? Please put that in writing before I proceed.

Vin, I guarantee they will allow him to return to the shipper to rearrange/reduce his load, authorizing that move through the Qualcomm. CYA at all times.

The Swift driver? If he weighed at a CAT scale (at most truck stops), he would have a receipt/scale ticket with his weights printed on an official document, proving his claim of being legal. Now, if I were to guess his total GVCW was 80k or less (legal), but one of his axle sets (likely the tandems) was overweight by 4k and that's what they got him for. With that said, if he was legal on his total and all axle weights, handed the CAT ticket to the MD DOT officer in response to the 4000 pounds "overweight", he would not get a ticket. Not sure if I believe his claim of fighting an overweight citation, unless he realized after the fact that he had the scale ticket and did not realize he should have presented that to the officer. Not sure how this is a Swift issue...

First rule when researching this as a career...don't believe all the negative "head-trash" you read on the internet. Look for it and you'll find it, lots of it. It's usually nonsense and written by individuals casting blame on their company as they side-step personal accountability and responsibility.

What to think? Nothing of it. Proceed as planned!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Oingo's Comment
member avatar

You are right Brett. BTW, I read your book last night and enjoyed it very much! Thank you for the book and this website, my head would have exploded without it.

double-quotes-start.png

there was a guy on uTube who.......

Another guy who

double-quotes-end.png

OMG people kill me with this. Stop worrying about what some random guy says on the Web! You guys don't know anything about these people. You have no idea who they are or whether or not their information is reliable.

This is a performance based business. Not everyone is treated equally at any company. You're going to be treated based on how well you perform. If you perform at a high level you're going to get better miles, better equipment, more home time, more favors, and better runs. If you perform at a low level you're going to be sitting around a lot doing nothing, you're not going to get many favors, and you're not going to have it as good as the top performers.

But make no mistake about it - all of the major companies are great places to work if you're a top performer, and there are no companies that are going to give you top miles, top pay, and top equipment if you're a lousy performer.

That statement is true across the board in this industry. There's no such thing as avoiding a bad company or seeking out a good company when you're talking about the major carriers. These companies are the elite in the industry. They're all the best of the best. There's no such thing as a bad elite company.

You have to learn how to perform at a high level if you want to make top pay. Prepare yourself well, work super hard, learn all you can, and get along well with people. If you'll do those things you'll be happy anywhere you go. If you don't do those things you won't be happy anywhere you go.

Pick the company that suits you well based on their pay, home time, types of freight, and the regions of the country they run. That's it. You'll never hear us say, "Don't forget to check YouTube to see what some random knucklehead says about the company."

Pick a company that offers what you're looking for and go show them you're a top level performer. That's all you have to worry about. Every company has a long list of miserable drivers. Every company has a long list of happy drivers. That always has and always will be the case.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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