Help Choosing A Training Program: Roehl Or Prime?

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LWLegends's Comment
member avatar

Hello! I am (and have been for the past several months) researching which paid CDL training program to choose to begin my trucking/CDL career. I believe I have narrowed it down to either Prime Inc or Roehl Transport.

Each of these offer newbies like myself the opportunity to "Learn while I earn". I would like to ask for information and input from experienced truckers who have/do drive for or went through the training programs from either of these two companies. My specific questions are below but please feel free to offer any other advice you feel may be relevant to a person who has never had a CDL or drove truck before.

1. Who do you currently drive for and what experience do you have with Prime or Roehl?

2. Which Company (Prime or Roehl) do you suggest and why?

3. In your opinion, what are the trainers like? (this is important since I will be spending between 30 and 90 days on the road with them.

4. What is the ratio of time on the road to time home for trainee drivers?

5. With it being this close to the Holidays, should I start now or wait until the new year, and why?

Please understand, these two companies are just the ones I have narrowed it down to so far. Obviously, I have not been able to research every training company out there, so if you feel that you know of one that you believe is better, please let me know what company and why. Thanks in advance for the help! :)

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.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

1) Hi. I drive and train for Prime and love it. I went thru the schooling program 2 years ago and do very well. I'll amswer anything i can. One thing i love is that it is a family feel, we have access to management with an open door policy, and problems get solved. even for newbies.

2) well, prime lol. seriously, our home time is lacking compared to Roehl, but more hometime means less money. so figure what your priority is.

3) no matter where you go, trainers will be good and bad. after a couple months in a rolling closet, you might not like each other anymore. it's a job, not a social club. treat it like boot camp. in the mean time, get the phone numbers of as many prime drivers as you can so when you go solo you have ppl u can call 24/7. Training doesnt end in trucking. every day you learn more.

4) seriously expect to be on the road for 6-8 weeks without going home in training. home time can be determined by your trainer. and the more you go home in training, the longer it takes to go solo. I got to Prime Sept 19 2015. Went home Nov 20th-ish. got back on truck 5 days later. went home dec 22-jan 3 (traimer decided). went solo feb 14th, then home Feb 26th-ish.

once.solo it is 4 weeks driving, 4 days off. if you dont request it, they will.keep you running. if you want to take those 4 days in Vegas or FL or some vacation spot, its no problem. i always get home for the day i request.

5) thats up to you. if you want to be home for the holidays then wait. trainers might be in high demand cause many go home. however, training as much as possible in winter has its advantages.

all in all...prime is an awesome company where you can make good.money and get lots of perks. Our trucks are great and well cared for. i get repaired without questions. i get lots of miles. the down side is the home time policy, but that is not different from most OTR carriers. I had a rough training period, but it was all worth it.

Heres my first year pay totals

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Matt H.'s Comment
member avatar

1). I drive for Roehl. I went through their gycdl program in Conley, GA. 3 weeks of school, then 19 days with an OTR trainer. I've been solo for 6 months December 5th. I've done about 53,000 miles so far.

2) I was considering Prime also. I only applied to Roehl. If I remember correctly Prime has you drive 40,000 miles with a trainer? Roehl's hometime options are convenient. 10/2, 11/3, 18/4, ?.....31/7. I've done various combinations with no issues I simply tell my FM when I'd like to be home next and where. I do my hometime in ME or RI. Prime is obviously a solid company. You'd be fine either way. I've never driven a truck for another company.

3). All my instructors/trainer were professionals. My instructors in Conley (I essentially had 3 which isn't typical. There was a gap in classes so it freed up instructors) were each different. For example one was helpful with regard to shifting at lows rpms for fuel economy another wasn't as concerned about keeping rpms down but was very instructive about tight cornering. The third (head instructor) was very laid back but didn't miss ANYTHING. He would get you talking and let you relax a bit and mellow things out. They all expect to see progress and they all approach teaching from different angles. They want you to succeed. My OTR trainer was great. I wouldn't opt to share a truck any longer then I have to personally, but my trainer refined everything I learned in school while teaching the way the work actually gets done. He really helped with very precise backing moves. He followed the program and made sure I had experience with all common events I would run into on the road.

4). My OTR trainer was northeast regional so he parked every weekend. I spent Saturday and Sunday at home throughout OTR training. It took longer to achieve 19 days but it wasn't a big deal to me. After finishing my 19 days of OTR training I traveled back to GA. I did a "check ride" with an instructor and ran through the backing course. Then I was issued a truck. I was dispatched the following morning and did 11/3 my first shift.

5) Start anytime you want. These companies are adept at what they do. The hiring process is no different.

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.

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.

Fm:

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

Matt H.'s Comment
member avatar

My simple reasons for choosing Roehl over Prime was the hometime options and the duration of training. I need the flexibility Roehl offers in hometime and I didn't want to drive with another person for 40,000 miles. That being said, if your circumstances are different then mine Prime might be a better fit. I have no doubt that 40,000 miles with a trainer would leave you exceptionally prepared to go solo. I'm not trying to get rich. I had an opportunity to try something new and I took it. I'm here for the experience as much as the pay. I intend to complete my contract and then assess what I want to do. My worst case scenario was if I didn't want to continue driving and I broke my contract I would still have a class A CDL and I would only be out the $5,000 a private school would've cost anyway. Roehl does commit you to a 120,000 mile contract. If you break that contract you will get a bill for $5,000.

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.

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.

LWLegends's Comment
member avatar

1) Hi. I drive and train for Prime and love it. I went thru the schooling program 2 years ago and do very well. I'll amswer anything i can. One thing i love is that it is a family feel, we have access to management with an open door policy, and problems get solved. even for newbies.

2) well, prime lol. seriously, our home time is lacking compared to Roehl, but more hometime means less money. so figure what your priority is.

3) no matter where you go, trainers will be good and bad. after a couple months in a rolling closet, you might not like each other anymore. it's a job, not a social club. treat it like boot camp. in the mean time, get the phone numbers of as many prime drivers as you can so when you go solo you have ppl u can call 24/7. Training doesnt end in trucking. every day you learn more.

4) seriously expect to be on the road for 6-8 weeks without going home in training. home time can be determined by your trainer. and the more you go home in training, the longer it takes to go solo. I got to Prime Sept 19 2015. Went home Nov 20th-ish. got back on truck 5 days later. went home dec 22-jan 3 (traimer decided). went solo feb 14th, then home Feb 26th-ish.

once.solo it is 4 weeks driving, 4 days off. if you dont request it, they will.keep you running. if you want to take those 4 days in Vegas or FL or some vacation spot, its no problem. i always get home for the day i request.

5) thats up to you. if you want to be home for the holidays then wait. trainers might be in high demand cause many go home. however, training as much as possible in winter has its advantages.

all in all...prime is an awesome company where you can make good.money and get lots of perks. Our trucks are great and well cared for. i get repaired without questions. i get lots of miles. the down side is the home time policy, but that is not different from most OTR carriers. I had a rough training period, but it was all worth it.

Heres my first year pay totals

Thank you for your response! As I said, I've been doing research and have a few follow up questions for you. If I choose Prime, would you suggest choosing Refer or Flatbed after training. What are your opinions on the choice of Company driver -vs- Lease Driver?

Also, as a trainer yourself, I have a more personal question. One of the things I am concerned about is the DOT Physical - I have high blood pressure. I currently do not have medical insurance so I can not get my prescriptions renewed for my BP. My research has shown me that high BP is an immediate disqualifying factor for the DOT Physical. If, for some reason, I get to MO for the training but fail the Medical exam due to my BP, what then? Am I stuck with finding my own way home? Does Prime offer any kind of assistance to help me get my BP prescriptions renewed?

Thanks!

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.

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.

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.

Matt H.'s Comment
member avatar

There's are lots of details I never manage to get into text. I studied this forum before I chose to make the jump into trucking. I'm grateful for all the people that take the time to share their experiences here. You all have profound effect and you're helping the industry by helping people make informed decisions. Thank you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Division is a matter of preference. I drive reefer. Another forum member, Turtle, not only drives flatbed, but also has HBP. Flatbedders are die hard and love the job. Personally, there is no way i could see me climbing up on those trailers, throwing tarps and straps. the tarps are like 100 pounds. People complain that reefers sit getting loaded,.but that is when i catch up on sleep. The tarps and straps are expensive, a couple thousand dollars, including chains, which prime takes installments out of your check. I think reefer was like $500 for the chains, load locks, and trailer locks. That came out in installments.

As for the physical, to my knowledge, they will want medical records and 30 days of regularity. That will be true for any company. Turtle might be better to answer the physical questions. Expecting a company to pay for your meds before you are employeed is asking a little much.You dont get hired until after you get the CDL. You might be able to pay our doctors cash for the Rx. Prime advances students $200 per week for food etc. that gets paid back $25 per week once hired. The doctors aee at Trinity Healthcare springfield Mo. maybe you can call them and ask.

As for company or lease....COMPANY. there are so much liability issues with lease. Its like going to your first year of law school and expecting to try a murder case at the end of that year. no way are you prepared. we have many, many threads here about that.

Training at Prime is usually 2-3 weeks driving solo runs with the instructor sitting in the seat beside you. I did 10,000 miles this way with the permit. Then I had a different trainer for team driving and did 30,000 truck miles. so i myself didnt drive those 30k, its combined with the trainers miles.

As long as you stay the year, you make no payments for the schooling portion.

If you do pass the physical and training, health insurance would not kick in for 90 days. I believe you get a 60 day DOT card and they retest you to make sure you are stable. I hope Turtle responds. We have doctors in the terminal that will call in prescriptions to Walmart so you can pick up ur drugs nationwide. they also accept our insurance. So once you get settled, you can get the drugs OTR

My personal opinion is that BP is going to be your biggest hurdle right now. At any company.

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

I was trained by and drive for CFI. Here is a link to my training diary. I love CFI and their home time policy.

Trainers are people, you may or may not get along 100% with yours, however your job is to learn.

High BP. This will be your biggest hurdle. There are ways to lower BP without drugs. Here are the results from a search on this site about blood pressure.

It's important to choose a company you will be happy with, that you can stay with. When I left for training I was on unemployment and getting into a financial hole. Everyone's situation is different. Get your BP under control nefore getting your DOT physical. Good luck.

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.

LWLegends's Comment
member avatar

If you'd like to know more about my experience here at Roehl you could give me a call. Here's my email if you'd like to exchange phone numbers. mhowarth3@gmail.com There's are lots of details I never manage to get into text. I studied this forum before I chose to make the jump into trucking. I'm grateful for all the people that take the time to share their experiences here. You all have profound effect and you're helping the industry by helping people make informed decisions. Thank you.

Thank you for the replies. Roehl's home time options is a big draw for me, as well. It is not entirely about the money for me, either. In addition to watching the videos on Youtube about Prime, I have spoken with several people who drive for Prime, and I've noticed they all have one thing in common... They seem to get burned out within 6 to 12 months. In your opinion, does this seem to be the case for you or other Roehl drivers you know? Or does Roehl's home time options help to alleviate that issue some?

I did send you an email requesting your phone number so we could talk in person. It will come from LWLegends@gmail.com

Thanks and I look forward to hearing back from you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Division is a matter of preference. I drive reefer. Another forum member, Turtle, not only drives flatbed, but also has HBP. Flatbedders are die hard and love the job. Personally, there is no way i could see me climbing up on those trailers, throwing tarps and straps. the tarps are like 100 pounds. People complain that reefers sit getting loaded,.but that is when i catch up on sleep. The tarps and straps are expensive, a couple thousand dollars, including chains, which prime takes installments out of your check. I think reefer was like $500 for the chains, load locks, and trailer locks. That came out in installments.

As for the physical, to my knowledge, they will want medical records and 30 days of regularity. That will be true for any company. Turtle might be better to answer the physical questions. Expecting a company to pay for your meds before you are employeed is asking a little much.You dont get hired until after you get the CDL. You might be able to pay our doctors cash for the Rx. Prime advances students $200 per week for food etc. that gets paid back $25 per week once hired. The doctors aee at Trinity Healthcare springfield Mo. maybe you can call them and ask.

As for company or lease....COMPANY. there are so much liability issues with lease. Its like going to your first year of law school and expecting to try a murder case at the end of that year. no way are you prepared. we have many, many threads here about that.

Training at Prime is usually 2-3 weeks driving solo runs with the instructor sitting in the seat beside you. I did 10,000 miles this way with the permit. Then I had a different trainer for team driving and did 30,000 truck miles. so i myself didnt drive those 30k, its combined with the trainers miles.

As long as you stay the year, you make no payments for the schooling portion.

If you do pass the physical and training, health insurance would not kick in for 90 days. I believe you get a 60 day DOT card and they retest you to make sure you are stable. I hope Turtle responds. We have doctors in the terminal that will call in prescriptions to Walmart so you can pick up ur drugs nationwide. they also accept our insurance. So once you get settled, you can get the drugs OTR

My personal opinion is that BP is going to be your biggest hurdle right now. At any company.

Thanks for the info... I wasn't really asking if they would pay for my meds.. lol. I can pay for them... BP meds are pretty cheap. It's the matter of getting in to see a doctor without insurance so the doctor can write the prescriptions. I will look into alternative options for that, but I think you are right.... my BP may be the biggest hurdle I have at this point other than choosing a company.

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

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