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Knight or Swift?

Topic 2282 | Page 1

Home State: FL
Considering A Career
Posts: 11
Joined Us:
1 year, 6 months ago
10 months, 1 week ago

I live in South West Fl. and am considering a career driving 18 wheelers. Living in this part of the country presents me with unique circumstances. After much research I've settled on either Knight Transportation or Swift Transportation. Both companies hire from this area. Both companies will put me through their school and train me. Knight pays while in school and Swift does not. I think I might get more miles out of Swift but not certain if this is true. Both companies have late model equipment, and no APU's. Anyone with experience with either company's schooling/training, and miles have any input? I'd like to hear from anyone who can offer an experienced opinion.

Special thanks to the staff of this website. I have used it extensively for researching my options as a driver. The info has been extremely helpful.

Thanks,

Pete

5 Star Advisor
England, AR
Experienced Driver
Posts: 2269
Joined Us:
5 years, 8 months ago
10 months, 1 week ago

The miles at each company will soloey depend on you. How you work and how you get a long with your DM. Work hars d and prove that you can do the job and you can do great at either company.

Now you have done a little comparison shopping now you have to desire which company fits you best with what you are looking for. Only you can answer that. What's fits your personality more. Which fits more what how you run your personal time? These are question only you can answer.

Home State: FL
Considering A Career
Posts: 11
Joined Us:
1 year, 6 months ago
10 months, 1 week ago

Guy, thanks for the reply. From what I've read, both companies would fit my needs. I'm looking for OTR for a while then maybe regional or dedicated.

I've heard Swift has a good Wal-Mart dedicated account in Florida. But Knight will pay me while I am in school, that is a big deal for me. I'm leaning toward Knight, the recruiter called me the morning after I applied on-line. She told me once I get my CDL A permit to call her and she will set me up an orientation date. I haven't applied with Swift yet. Either way I am looking at mid January before I go anywhere (son goes back to college then).

I don't want to wait to long because I want to get some winter driving under my belt while I am with a trainer. Born and raised in south Fl., mountains,snow and ice isn't exactly something I have a lot of experience with.

I located a Florida Trooper at a gas station the other day, and asked him about both companies. He just happened to be on their commercial vehicle enforcement team. He told me both are good, hasn't had any real issues with either company. Equipment was up to par. That was good to hear.

Thanks again for the reply, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Pete

Terre Haute, IN
Rookie Solo Driver
Posts: 428
Joined Us:
1 year, 1 month ago
10 months, 1 week ago

I've only been with Knight a couple weeks, so don't know how much I can help.

I've gone through orientation and one week out with my trainer. Was planning on posting here during my training but frankly I have been way to busy. Other than Sunday when between two shippers we spent about 8 hrs at docks we have been running almost the entire time. In one week starting I Indiana we went to Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and back to Indy to be home for Christmas. I have already had a day where I logged 649 miles on my own.

This does NOT mean that. Will be getting miles like this when I go solo. It will take a while to build up to that. But at either company much of the miles will depend on the relationship you build with your DM.

I did not go through Knights school. I wanted to but could not continue to wait for the one in Indiana to open. So far the only thing that has upset me has been the requirement for tuition reimbursement that I found out about after being hired. They reimburse up to 5500 I think at 35 a week. But when I signed up. Saw the stipulation that you must run 10800 miles a month to qualify. I don't have a problem with the mile, heck. Hope I get them. But I will be upset if I don't get the miles offered to me and then they don't want to pay the reimbursement.

As I've stated before o the subject, it's m fault I didn't ask more questions. And Im Not saying if I had known I wouldn't still be where I am. I chose Knight for several reasons, the big one being home time options and what seemed like reasonable pay for a starting driver.

This will have no effect on you if you go through their school. But you will pay back the entire coat of tuition. Like Guy said, you have to figure out what is important to you. My plan is to run for Knight for a year and then reevaluate where I stand at that time.

One thing to consider being in Florida, you may want to run in the reefer decision. By far the longest and most common loads out of Florida will be reefer. From everyone I have talked to Knight works hard at getting drivers their home time, but running reefer out of Florida might make it even easier to get home.

Woody

5 Star Advisor
England, AR
Experienced Driver
Posts: 2269
Joined Us:
5 years, 8 months ago
10 months, 1 week ago

While first starting out in trucking the tuition reembrusement may see like a big deal but its not really in the grand scheme of things. Sure it would be nice to have someone pay for it but if you have to pay it out over its still no big deal even if out of your own pocket.

Your not going to get rich in trucking but I have always been able to pay the bills and have more than enough leftover. You can easily have schooling paid off within the firs year even if you have to pay it back out of pocket.

If either company will suit you just fine and reimbursement is a big deal then go with which one suits your needs right now.

Thurthfully no matter where you going do at least one year with them and keep your driving record clean and ticket free and you can go anywhere after the first year.

Over the years I have driven for Oneer Ops,big companies and small and I have done well at all of them.

So I guess the question is do you look at short term goals or long term goals.

Home State: FL
Considering A Career
Posts: 11
Joined Us:
1 year, 6 months ago
10 months ago

I really appreciate the responses.

I have long term goals in mind. I definitely plan on paying dues as a new driver. Going without a paycheck for a few weeks might be something I can't do (Swift school). That is why I'm leaning toward Knight. I guess that is the main question I was asking. Swift is a huge company with many avenues of driving opportunities available. I am apprehensive about whether or not Knight can offer similar opportunities and more importantly, miles. If either company provides the same opportunity, and it is up to me on how hard I run, then there is not an issue.

I realize I will be a new driver. I expect to be tested, and I am willing to take loads others may not be willing to take. My work ethic is mainly to keep my mouth shut, do what I am asked to do to the best of my ability, and the rest falls into place. The company will either see me as an asset or not.

Woody, I would very much like to read about your experiences with Knight. I still have a few weeks before I make a final decision, and all the information I can get will be beneficial in making the right decision. What ever I decide, I will stick with that company for at least a year.

Also, I've looked at reefer vs. dry van. From what I've read it looks like the miles even out because of the live load and unloading of reefer vs. a lot of drop and hook for dry. Please correct me if I am wrong. Home time is important but not a catalyst. Every 3-4 weeks would be okay with me. Maybe after a year I might like more home time and look at regional or dedicated.

Swift has Wal-Mart dedicated account out of or near Arcadia Fl. which is less than an hour from me. Their terminal is Ocala Fl. which is about 3.5 to 4 hours. And Knight's terminal is Lakeland, about 3 to 3.5 hours from me.

Thanks again,

Pete

Terre Haute, IN
Rookie Solo Driver
Posts: 428
Joined Us:
1 year, 1 month ago
10 months ago

No problem Pete, I will tell ya what I can but my days are so busy they are running together so I don't know how much I'll remember lol.

As far as available miles, I think that has more to do with the driver and his relationship with his DM more so than the different companies. Sure some small companies may not have as many miles, and Swift MAY have more than Knight but I'm too new to say. All I can tell you is yes, I have heard a FEW drivers at knight say they aren't getting the miles. But in 10 days of being out with my trainer tonight is the first night we got off the road by 8pm. And that is only because he wanted to stop in Memphis and have dinner with his sister. Otherwise we would have pushed farther to get this load off our truck and pick up the next one already on our schedule. One time in our first week they offered him a 180 mile load. He pressed a little bit and instead we took a load of about 1100 between deadhead and loaded.

Knight is NOT forced dispatch. Of course you have to be careful, if you try to be too picky you could be one of the guys saying you don't get any miles. But it's like most things in life, you do them a favor when they really need it and a good DM will take care of you for it. They will also throw a little extra money on some of the short loads. This is on top of the already higher CPM pay for shorter loads.

As I have said there were a few reasons I picked Knight. Pay while in school originally was one, but I couldn't continue to wait for the school to open so I chose to go private school. Home time options was another big one for me. Originally I was going to do the 14/7 option but have decided to run a different plan so I would not be slip seating but the options are still there.

Another thing that was important to me was being dispatched as solo instead of team while with my trainer. I did not want either of us to be trying to sleep while driving was going on since I can't learn from him when one of us is not awake. Now make no mistake about it, depending on the trainer you will be having some long days with the trainer. But it is different than team driving. I do not know how swift handles this.

I also looked at time with a trainer. This one is a double edge sword. Too short and your not ready. Too Long and your still stuck in training pay and spending all our time with a trainer that may or may not be a nutjob. knights time with a trainer is a minimum of 21 days, up to six maybe seven weeks. Now lets face it. Your not going to learn everything about trucking in 3weeks. But even if you were with him six months you wouldn't know everything. My trainer discussed this very early on. He said in 21 days if he thinks I'm ready he will ask me what I think. If I want more time its fine, if he doesn't think I'm ready he will not release me. I told him I would not risk my career by trying to get out of training too early if I do not feel I'm ready. The way it is going I will most likely be heading out on my own after 21 days.

Everyone will tell you that you must make your own choice. So far I'm pretty happy with mine.

Woody

Home State: FL
Considering A Career
Posts: 11
Joined Us:
1 year, 6 months ago
10 months ago

Woody, sounds like you chose Knight for a lot of the same reasons that I am favoring them right now. I would much prefer solo training vs. team driving while training. And getting paid while in school is an added bonus. I realize that you are busy learning your new profession. So whenever you get a chance to update will be much appreciated.

I saw that you mentioned you drove deadhead. Does Knight pay deadhead miles?

Thanks,

Pete

Terre Haute, IN
Rookie Solo Driver
Posts: 428
Joined Us:
1 year, 1 month ago
10 months ago

Yes Knight pays all dispatched miles. That includes deadheading either with a loaded trailer or bob tailing.

This week was a rough week. Had the loads all set up to get us back to Indy, made our drop in Oklahoma and spent the night. Was picking up a load going back the next day, but when we got up that morning the load had been cancelled. Long story short we were do back on Monday but due to some issues with the truck that I will detail in another thread I pulled into m house at 10pm tonight (Tuesday).

Another thing I thought I would mention to compare the companies, and this is any of the companies. What are the trucks governed at? I can tell you with Knight it is kind of a sliding govern. As long as your idle time is within line (not idling the truck too much at night compared to the miles your driving) the trucks run at 65 mph. If your idle time is too high, showing up in low mpg's, the truck can be governed down to 62, mph.

When we first got our truck back after service it was running at 62, after he made a call and got them to reset the system we were back running at 65. I much preferred being able to run at 65 lol.

Hope to post more tomorrow. If you have any questions your welcome to pm me or post them here and I'll reply when I can. I'd be happy to try to help.

Woody

Home State: FL
Considering A Career
Posts: 11
Joined Us:
1 year, 6 months ago
10 months ago

Thanks for the update.

Swift told me they don't hire this far south. And now Knight recruiter didn't respond to my last email 6 day's ago. I hope it's just because of the holiday's. I called Werner, after attending road master in Tampa, they would only offer slip seat out of Atlanta terminal and I would have to ride a Werner bus back and forth between Atlanta and South Florida everytime I took hometime, or slip seat "van jumper fleet" out of Lakeland, Fl. Both are supposed to be drop and hook though. Jumper fleet is 3 weeks out which isn't bad, the slip seat stinks though. I hate south florida! I'm literally closer to Cuba than I am to Georgia!!!

Knight still sounds good, but at this point I'd jump at just about any offer to drive.

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