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At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Jim Palmer Trucking and put together a fantastic review of the Jim Palmer paid CDL training program.
We'll start you off with our opinion of their paid CDL training program and then we'll take you through all of the key features and important information you'll need to know. Some of what we'll cover:
Jim Palmer has some of the most beautiful black trucks you'll ever find and they're well equipment for comfort and convenience. You'll learn more about their equipment later in this review.
Jim Palmer has the advantage of being a smaller company with a smaller class size, so less students per truck. The three divisions of Jim Palmer, Wil-Trans, and O & S Trucking allow new drivers to have more opportunities to get more regional routes early on.
Not fulfilling the 1-year contract will leave the driver on the hook for the total cost of training, a very reasonable $3,500.
Jim Palmer Trucking was founded over 50 years ago and today is an established operation, with over 500 trucks. The Jim Palmer family of companies also includes O & S Trucking, and Wil-Trans. Each company is run as a separate division, based on shipping lanes, and hauls refrigerated freight almost exclusively.
Additionally, Jim Palmer operates their own CDL schools in Missoula, MT, & Springfield, MO. They are family owned and operated, with a rider program, a very liberal pet program, and high starting pay. Drivers will be assigned to a company/division based on their lane preference.
Jim Palmer hires from all 48 lower states, and will try to fit the driver into whichever shipping lane they prefer.
As with many smaller companies, new drivers may normally be able to receive more personalized instruction during training with small class sizes. They place a high emphasis on being pet-friendly for those who would like to bring their pets along, and also make the investments in newer, updated equipment.
$3,500 CDL training course covered by signing a one year contract with Jim Palmer Trucking.
$200 a week advance for food while in 3 week CDL training course (You pay it back in small $25 week payments once you start earning paychecks.)
No money down, credit check or cost to you – if you opt out before the one year contract you would be responsible for cost of training.
30,000 miles of team driving with trainer after completing 3 week CDL training course. (Pay tiers up .12cpm or $600 weekly whichever is greater and then to .14cpm or $700 weekly whichever is greater.)
There are no upfront costs. Potential CDL holder would need to bring funds to cover food and drink the first week before the $200 weekly advance begins.
Your room comes with a complimentary breakfast and lunch is provided at the terminal.
The Hotel stay will be paid for during the on-site training portion (week 1).
No, there is no option offered to pay up front.
CDL school and training are free as long as a one-year contract is fulfilled. Leaving Jim Palmer before satisfying the contract will leave students responsible for the entire amount of $3,500.
Jim Palmer's obligations are typical of many programs. It is not paid back over time, but forgiven all at once after a year of driving.
Note that not fulfilling the one-year contract will make you responsible for the full training amount. As always, we recommend you stay with your first company for at least 1 year, anyways.
Jim Palmer provides training, transportation and payment to gain your CDL permit once you arrive for their apprentice program.
No, you do not need a U.S. Passport. However, you will be required to provide identification at training and a U.S. Passport may be an acceptable form.
No additional endorsements are required.
Though not required, we always recommend getting a passport. Hauling freight into Canada has become more streamlined, and a passport will give you more options for the future.
The same applies to endorsements. We advise getting all available endorsements up front, which will keep you prepared for future opportunities.
Bring as much paperwork with you as you can, including any medical records or forms which could prove past employment and help with the background investigations. Always be certain that your birth certificate and social security card are ul-laminated originals.
Arrive on a Monday Morning for drug screens/physicals and prepare with in-house instructors to take the CDL Permit test.
Once a CDL permit is held, you will begin hands on practice in the truck with Jim Palmer trainers before joining an OTR professional instructor for a duration of 75 hours minimum.
Once the apprentice has become a CDL holder, they will complete 40,000 miles over the road with a professional driver/trainer before going solo in their own truck.
The entire process from beginning to going solo will take 2-3 months average.
The student and driver/trainer will both be asked for weekly evaluations in multiple categories to ensure there is a sufficient hands-on training in backing and other subjects.
Usually the maximum number of students per truck is 1-2
Jim Palmer's program is designed around hands on training in the truck. The initial 3 days will be spent in the classroom while the rest of the program will take place in the truck itself.
You will spend very little time in a classroom during CDL training, compared to many other programs. Most of the program will be in-truck activities to prepare you for driving solo.
As Jim Palmer is a smaller organization, you will have the advantage of small class sizes, and fewer students per truck in training.
The training program is based on safe completion of verifiable miles. (40,000 miles with trainer)
Once you are a CDL holder, you will make .12cpm for all miles dispatched or $600/week prorated when you get in the truck (whichever is greater) for the first 10,000 miles. Once the first 10,000 miles are completed, you will be paid .14cpm for all miles dispatched or $700/week prorated when you get in the truck (whichever is greater) for the remaining 20,000 miles.
Initially, before a student has a CDL, the trainer acts as an instructor while the student drives. Once the student has a CDL there is an evaluation period of 2,500-3,000mi where the trainer ensures that the student is adequately trained & experienced to perform as a team.
No, one student per trainer & truck.
Yes, nobody is allowed to sleep in the top bunk while the truck is in motion.
Disputes are handled on a case by case basis by management, and Jim Palmer abides by federal guidelines regarding a hostile work environment.
Yes, a non-smoking trainer may be requested.
Trainers are selected according to tractor trailer history, clean safe driving records and ability to effectively pass a trainer driver course.
The length of their training is longer than the average program, but it's an excellent program. We like the way they send you out on the road right away with your permit and help you learn out in the real world instead of in a parking lot or on a handful of back roads. You'll also be making money more quickly with this type of setup than you will at some of the other paid CDL training programs.
Company Drivers are paid at top scale of $.40/mile solo or $.44/mile team.
Pay increases are based on verifiable miles and driving history. Drivers are paid at top scale upon successful completion of the training program (3-4 months on average).
JPT offers a fuel incentive that allows drivers to earn up to an additional $.05/mile
Jim Palmer offers health insurance with all major standard benefits and options including life insurance and 401k retirement plans, vacation time, and optional per diem plan.
Benefits can vary from $11/ month and up depending on the package and premiums selected.
Benefits will go into effect within 30-60 days of becoming a Jim Palmer employee
Jim Palmer's starting solo pay is on the higher side compared to others, and they offer very generous fuel bonuses and vacation plans.
Jim Palmer has a flexible pet policy with no pet-deposit. As a general rule they have a “three-heartbeat” policy. 1-2 pets are fine, additional pets need to be approved on a case by case basis. Students are not allowed pets for the duration of the training program and must complete a 60 day solo probationary period before they are allowed to have a pet on board.
Each rider must be approved to ensure they are covered by insurance; students are not allowed to have riders until they have passed a 60 day solo probationary period.
Dedicated runs are reserved for proven drivers that have earned them with consistent safety and reliable service. Company drivers typically run specific lanes that have been determined to be profitable by the company.
No, Jim Palmer Trucking doesn’t operate in New-England except to get drivers who live there, home.
Their policy is to not force dispatch. Company drivers have the option to refuse freight based on safety and service conflicts.
Company driver home-time is earned at the rate of 24hrs (1 day) at home for every 168hrs (7 days) on the road.
Jim Palmer Trucking hauls primarily refrigerated freight as such, Drop & Hook freight is ~15-20% of the loads.
Yes, Jim Palmer Trucking has a lease program. There is a pay incentive for lease operators for taking on additional risk.
Jim Palmer Trucking is approved through the United States Department of Labor as a registered sponsor for the Military Apprenticeship Program. Jim Palmer Trucking's fifteen month on-the-job learning apprenticeship is designed to help military veterans transition from military life to civilian life successfully into a new career.
You may use your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to get your CDL, and as a qualifying Veteran, you can earn up to $1,104.75 monthly, tax free, in addition to your professional driver wages, while participating in Jim Palmer Trucking OJL (on-the-job learning) apprenticeship training program.
What sets Jim Palmer apart with the opportunities that they offer is that because of the 3 different divisions they operate, they can get a new driver into a regional or dedicated position rather quickly, compared to other companies, and will work with drivers to fit their preference.
Late Model Freightliner Cascadia’s & Peterbilt 579’s
Yes, e-logs are required for every JPT driver
All trucks come with APU units