Help Choosing A Training Program: Roehl Or Prime?

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

A couple of things here LW, the high blood pressure is definitely going to cause issues for you. If you were taking medication to control it in the past, it's likely you will need to be back on the meds for a while before you'll be at or under the maximum of 140/90. Until you address that, entry into the trucking industry is next to impossible. Whatever it takes, get to your Doctor.

You mentioned burn-out at 6-12 months. That situation is common at every company, not just Prime. Most people enter this profession with false expectations and lack of knowledge.

We recommend investing time with the following three links:

Good luck!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry i.misunderstood. you wouldnt believe how demanding some people are.

and about the burn out.. 75% of Prime drivers are lease ops. .Lease ops stay out longer than company drivers because they have that huge $1000 per week truck payment. Especially newbies because they cant train new drivers. The majority of lease ops team or train just to stay afloat, then brag about their money that is actually nickel and dimed to death. It is quite common for a lease op to not go home for months at a time. I admit, I have done so but by my choosing, not because i have to. For the most part, company and lease make about the same money, and we each try to convince the other they are stupid for choosing what they did. I do find that most lease ops have no clue about being company and believe the lies others told them. (They say company drivers are forced into lightweights, dont get miles, have to take certain routes, have to park/fuel at certain locations, that security searches our trucks every 60 days, cant turn down loads...all lies and misinformation).

To keep from burnout, i take 34 hour breaks when I want to and where i want to. I tell my fleet manager to slow me down or give me a little extra time between loads when i need it. I get hotel rooms on loads that i have time and sit in a jacuzzi and relax. Its easy to get to our terminals, and our main one is amazing! seriously, i get my hair colored, massages, facials in the salon/day spa with a steam shower. Theres a movie theater and indoor basketball court, pool tables, and shuttles to various restaurants and local attrractions. The doctors are there as well, so I usually bring my truck in for work then hang out and relax. Get a load out when i want and it is not "home time".

I also.think burnout occurs when people dont learn to work their clock and utilize their time properly. They get stressed trying to run more miles for money, but burn their 70 on stupid things, or waste too much in other ways. Just one more reasom why a newbie shouldnt go lease. I know new drivers who struggle to.make money because they dont want to take advantage of overnight parking at customers. doing so can greatly help with time management and get you more miles per week, hence more money. More money = less stress, less burn out.

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.

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.

Fleet 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.

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

HI LW, and welcome to the forum.

I'll throw my $.02 into the ring here as well. I've been with Prime nearly a year now, and I can honestly say they've met and exceeded all my expectations. Everything Rainy said regarding Prime is completely spot on.

The training program is lengthy yes, but in comparison it's only slightly longer than others. Whichever company you choose will require at least a few weeks of training. So the small fraction longer at Prime is really a non-issue. I began orientation Dec 19, and received the keys to my solo truck Mar 3, and that's with about 7 days off due to my trainer taking a vacation. So in the big picture, when you're considering a career that involves driving every day, the training period is but a tiny hiccup in time.

As mentioned, I trained over the Christmas holiday. Due to my former business dealings, this was the right time for me financially and otherwise. But it really worked out in my favor in a way I didn't expect. A normal class size is anywhere from 80-120 students, but mine had only 23 to start, giving us a huge advantage with one on one time with the instructors, as well as a more efficient process overall.

As for the BP, you don't want to play around with that. Get it under control before going to any company. 140/90 is the upper limit, and you will not make it past the physical if it's higher than that.

You can read all about my orientation, physical, and training here if you'd like. The skinny is my BP was high for the first couple of tests, but I was able to bring it down through exercise and diet. I still check it periodically, and I've managed to keep it down to acceptable levels without medication thus far.

They don't call HBP the "silent killer" for nothing. You don't feel anything is wrong until....

So try to get a handle on that.

I'm a flatbedder here, and wouldn't have it any other way. Sure, we deal with some weather every now and then, but life is meant to experience, so I enjoy the weather too. There is no shortage of miles either. I run hard every week, and as a result I get to enjoy a 34 hr reset nearly every week. That day off let's me relax, Uber somewhere interesting, and generally recharge. "Burnout" has never been an issue with me. My wife rides with me, and I often say we are simply paid tourists getting to see the country on the company's dime.

Hometime for me is pretty much whatever I want, within reason of course. I bust my tail for my FM , and in return I get awesome miles and no hassles taking hometime for as long as I want. This will probably be true at any company. If you give your all, you will get to enjoy the perks that others don't.

Whatever you choose, good luck and definitely keep us posted on your progress.

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.

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.

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.

USMC AAV's Comment
member avatar

I've been reading this whole forum from start to finish because of late I have found myself wanting to get away from Flatbed. All these comments are awesome and so much knowledge and feedback. I really appreciate yall going into such detail about your experiences first hand knowledge. It makes my upcoming decision so much easier.

Colin K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello LWLegends.

I am in your boat. I was laid off due to outsourcing and lost my health insurance and my meds. I got bounced from my first OTR training school because my blood sugars were too high - over 300. (Type II Diabetic)

Here is what I did: I telephoned my regular doctor, explained that I lost my insurance, and asked if I could pay cash to come in for an office visit so I could get my prescriptions renewed. The office visit was $80. I found Walmart was the cheapest pharmacy and pay cash for my meds. My blood sugar level is now 140. It still needs to go down a bit, but well under 300 so I will pass my physical. I hope this helps.

I'm still working out a few things but I hope to start school either late January or early February.

Good luck to you! Colin K.

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.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Please don't report for training until you solve the BP problem. Whatever company you go to, they'll send you away immediately.

BP meds are inexpensive. If you can come up with $125-200, you could go to a clinic like the ones Target/CVS has...or countless others...and get at least a one month script for an appropriate medication. Maybe someplace would have some samples to give you if you explain your problem. If you can't come up with that money, you could try a free clinic. Most communities have them.

double-quotes-start.png

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

double-quotes-end.png

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.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Roehl and Prime are both great companies.

The answers to your questions have already been provided by others.

I'll just add that the road phase of training differs greatly between these two. Prime runs you as a team for a long time. Roehl dispatches training as if it were solo or super solo trips (super solo means the student runs up to 11 hours and the trainer drives whatever is left of the student's 14)

So with Roehl, you'll never sleep in a moving truck, or drive without the trainer in the right seat.

With Prime, you'll get much more time to learn.

Roehl expects you to be a quick study. If that applies to you, you could save yourself some time and having to sleep while rolling if you go to Roehl. If you think you may need more time to learn, Prime may be a better choice.

You didn't ask about post-training issues, but others have mentioned the home time options. Roehl has many home time options. Prime's options are more like most carriers.

As for other company recommendations, I highly recommend my current company - Pride Transport. I couldn't say enough about how fabulous Pride is to work for. As far as training and home time, their structure is similar to Prime's. But Pride pays better and runs western states a lot which I like. It is 100% reefer...I nearly always receive my next trip the day before I'll be empty...Friday for Monday delivers..they pay daily...pay extra for the short legs almost every trip has...match 10% of 401k, great benefit plan that they pay much of, etc. I become a trainer as of 1/1...really looking forward to it.

Pride is not for someone wanting frequent home time unless you land a local gig or dedicated run , but that suits me fine because I want to run all over. I've been in 30 states this year.

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

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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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