Prime Inc: Company-Sponsored CDL Training

Prime Student Driver CDL Training

Introduction To Prime Student Driver Paid CDL Training Review

At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Prime Inc and put together a fantastic review of the Prime Student Driver 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:

  • Student Hiring Requirements
  • Truck Driving School Locations
  • Driver Pay During Training
  • Advantages Of Working For Prime Ince
  • Cost Structure Of CDL Training
  • CDL Training Itinerary
  • Prime Inc Driver Pay And Benefits
  • Vacation Pay And Home Time

Prime Offers Guaranteed Pay of $700 - $800 Minimum Weekly

Once you begin your training on the road with Prime Student Driver, as long as you are available for dispatch they will guarantee a weekly minimum salary of $700, and after you reach 40,000 miles the pay increases to $800! Now that's a lot better than having to pay for the schooling up front, isn't it?

Read on!

Prime Paid CDL Training Review

Prime truck

After researching Prime's CDL training program, I am very happy with how their training is structured. Unlike most CDL training programs, students are sent into the real world with a CDL instructor for one-on-one training while actually performing job functions and transporting cargo. I believe this is one of the most effective ways to truly learn how to drive a truck in real world conditions. As long as you stay with Prime for one full year, your obligation is complete without paying any up front or payroll deducted tuition costs.

About Prime Student Driver CDL Training

Based out of Springfield, MO., Prime, Inc began in 1970 with a single dump truck and grew into one of the largest trucking companies in North America with over 4,000 trucks and 6,000 trailers.

By far, the largest division at Prime is the temperature controlled fleet. But Prime has a flatbed division and a food grade tanker division as well. The company operates in all 48 continental states as well as Canada. In addition, Prime operates their own CDL training program to help keep up with company growth and recruitment.

Getting Hired With Prime Inc

Prime Minimum Hiring Requirements

  • Must be at least 21 years old with a valid license from your state of permanent residence including a tanker endorsement.
  • Be able to obtain United States Passport, TWIC Card, and Hazmat Endorsement.
  • Have a verifiable work history and references.
  • Previous employers and references will be checked and must be verifiable.
  • No reckless convictions in the last three years.
  • No license suspension for points in the last three years.
  • No more than two moving violations during the last year.
  • No more than four moving violations in the last three years.
  • No failed or refused drug or alcohol test in the last three years (this includes DWI’s, DUI’s and BAC’s). Multiple safety-related offenses will be considered according to an individualized assessment methodology.
  • Must present one or more of the following: US Passport, State Certified Copy of Birth Certificate, or INS paperwork that shows US Citizenship or that permanent residence has been established and is current
  • If any failed or refused drug or alcohol related test, must provide proof of completed Substance Abuse Counseling to consider.
  • An affirmative answer to the questions regarding criminal record will not automatically result in the denial of employment. An applicant’s criminal record will be evaluated based on the job for which the applicant has applied.

Prime Hiring Areas

Prime hires drivers from all 48 continental United States, but occasionally has a hiring freeze in Florida.

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The hiring requirements at Prime, Inc seem to be on par with the industry average. As usual, a solid employment history is very important as well as having no recent felonies. Any older felony convictions will be taken on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants will also need to have a good driving record and pass a DOT mandated physical exam, so it's best to have any issues, especially high blood pressure, taken care of before heading to Prime's orientation.

Prime Inc Facility Locations

Prime CDL Training Facilities

Prime school locations and hiring zones
Where are your schools located?
  • Springfield, MO (main training center)
  • Salt Lake City, UT

Prime Drop Lots And Terminals

Where are your terminals and drop lots located?
  • Springfield, MO (Headquarters)
  • Salt Lake City, UT (Full service terminal)
  • Denver, CO (Drop yard with driver ammentities)
  • Pittston, PA (Full service terminal)
  • Altus, OK (Repair shop and driver services)
Prime Inc terminal and drop lot locations

Prime Student Driver CDL Training Cost

Cost Structure Of Prime

What is the cost structure of the schooling?

The total value of the Prime Student Driver Program training fees is $4,375. As long as you drive for Prime for one year (from the date of obtaining your Class A CDL), the entire total of the training fees is forgiven. If you leave Prime before the year is up, you will owe the entire value of the program.

What are all of the up-front costs?

For the Prime Student Driver Program, all new drivers will pay a $100 administrative fee upon arrival at orientation and sign a contract during orientation to drive for Prime for one year. This fee will be refunded once you complete orientation.

Will my meals be paid for?

During Prime’s orientation, you will be provided 3 hot meals per day.

Will my room be paid for?

Yes, Prime covers the cost of lodging, but you may be required to share a room with one other student. If you would like your own room, you may pay a fee of $52.16 per night.

Can I pay for my CDL training up front and have no further obligation?

Prime requires all PSD Program entrants to sign a one-year contract. There is no option to pay for the training upfront.

What are the obligations for paying back the schooling after graduation?

Drivers simply need to stay employed for 12 full months and 100% of tuition costs are paid by Prime. There are never payroll deductions for tuition costs.

You can read more details regarding Prime's career path.

TruckingTruth's Take On Prime's CDL Training Costs

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The tuition for Prime's CDL training program is very straight forward. This is truly a free CDL program provided you stay employed with them for one full year. There are no down payments and no payroll deductions. The cost of the program is about on par with other CDL schools, especially since lodging and transportation is provided.

Prime Student Driver Preparation For CDL Training

Items To Bring To Prime

  • Social Security Card. Must be an original, signed and non-laminated.
  • Cancelled or voided check (if interested in direct deposit)
  • Original birth Certificate
  • Valid Drivers License
  • Work gloves
  • 7 days worth of clothing
  • Bedding
  • Alarm clock and flashlight
  • Any required eye wear
  • Towels / wash clothes
  • Closed toe shoes or work boots
  • Personal Hygiene products

Preparation For Prime

Do I need to get my CDL permit before attending school?

Yes, you will obtain your permit from your home state before you begin training.

Do I need a US Passport?

All Prime Drivers must be qualified to get a U.S. Passport, and they will apply for a Passport after passing the CDL Exam, if they do not already have one.

Which CDL endorsements are required or encouraged?

A HazMat endorsement is required for all company drivers. Prime also runs a tanker division.

TruckingTruth's View On Preparing For Prime Student Driver

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Note that a US Passport is required. If you do not have one and don't have the available funds to obtain one, Prime will assist you in getting your passport once you arrive.

Use our High Road Training Program to prepare for your written CDL permit exams and you'll be all set.

Prime Student Driver CDL Training Itinerary

Prime CDL Training Itinerary

  • Train on site 4 days - Obtain your CDL permit before orientation in your home state.
  • Drive on the road 3-4 weeks with a CDL instructor.
  • Return, pass Skills Test - Obtain Class A CDL.
  • Team with a trainer for 40,000 miles (approximately 2 months) with guaranteed weekly pay of $700 per week, then a minimum of $800 per week for 10,000 miles as long as you are available to drive.
  • Total Cost of Prime’s training fees is $4,375 but is forgiven as long as you stay with Prime for one year.
Week 1
  • Attend a 4-day orientation at Prime’s Orientation Facility in Springfield, MO or Salt Lake City, UT and pay $100 administrative fee. This fee will be refunded once you complete orientation.
  • Prime provides bus transportation to orientation as well as 3 meals per day and hotel accommodations during orientation.
  • Experience hands-on, computer based, & simulator training.
Weeks 2+
  • Train with a CDL Instructor for 3 to 4 weeks and experience a one-to- one student to instructor ratio.
  • Receive a $200 per week loan to spend on food and living costs during this phase of training.
  • Run real loads across the country with your instructor to develop the skills needed to pass the CDL Exam.
  • Return to Springfield, MO to take the final state CDL Exam which includes vehicle inspection, backing skills, and road test.
  • Pass the CDL Exam, obtain your Class A CDL, and get hired on as a company driver for Prime.
  • Earn a $250 bonus if you pass the CDL Exam on your first try.
  • Obtain 50,000 additional team miles with a Prime Trainer.
  • Earn guaranteed pay of $700 per week for 40,000 miles, $800 per week for the next 10,000 miles as long as you are available to drive.
  • Return to Springfield, MO to upgrade to become an “A Seat” solo or team driver.
Explain the grace period Prime gives their students

Since students must experience the trucking lifestyle before they know it's right for them, Prime allows a "grace period" to all students. The trainee may cancel this agreement within seven calendar days of entering the program following orientation. This enables students to "test drive" the trucking lifestyle before they are financially committed.

During this first phase of training with the permit, students are given a cash advance of $200 per week. This cash advance can be used for any purpose - food expenses, paying bills at home, or anything else. The funds can be withdrawn from any ATM machine. The advance will be repaid (interest free) via payroll deduction once hired as a full time driver at $25 per week. If a student chooses not to use the cash advances, no repayment will be made.

What happens next?

Once the CDL Instructor feels that the student are ready to come back to take the CDL Exam, they will come back to the terminal and practice on the CDL testing pad until they are ready to pass the state CDL exams. As soon as students pass the tests and obtain their class A CDL license, they are immediately given an offer for employment and become paid employees. If the student passes the entire CDL Exam on the first attempt (known as a trifecta), the student earns a $250 bonus.

How long is the training overall?

The training program takes approximately 3 to 4 months in total from orientation to completion of training.

How much time on the range backing up?

This is entirely up to you and your personal CDL instructor. Each student and CDL instructor creates a custom fit program.

During the practice range phase, how many students share one truck?

After completion of Prime’s orientation, Prime will pair you with a CDL Instructor as soon as possible, and they will get on the road to start training. There is a one-to- one student to trainer ratio for the Prime Student Driver Program.

How much time in classroom?

The first week is spent in an actual classroom. After the first week, students and instructors perform classroom duties from the truck. All instruction is 1 to 1 student to instructor ratio.

TruckingTruth’s View On Prime's CDL Training Itinerary

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This is a very unique program in that CDL training is done out on the road. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The main advantage is students will learn in a real world environment instead of a controlled training environment.

Students will also receive personalized one on one instruction. The disadvantage is students will only hear advice from one instructor instead of hearing advice from multiple instructors like other schools. Real world training can also be a bit more stressful with less opportunity to practice certain maneuvers.

On The Road Training Itinerary With Prime

Is the training period based on number of days, number of driving hours, number of miles, or some combination?

Training period is based on a combination. The Prime Student Driver (PSD) Program consists of the following:

  • 4 Days:

    • 4-day orientation in Springfield, MO or Salt Lake City, UT.
  • On-the-Road Instruction/10,000 Miles:

    • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
    • Get behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio, Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
    • During this time, you will not be paid by Prime. You will be able to take an advance of up to $200 per week. This money is intended for meals only (not to send home to pay bills). Once you are hired, Prime will deduct $25 per week until you have paid back the borrowed amount.
  • Pass Final CDL Skills Test/50,000 miles:

    • Pass final state CDL exam.
    • Obtain CDL with HazMat endorsement.
    • After obtaining your CDL, you will complete a minimum of 50,000 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) for the first 40,000 miles then $800 per week for the next 10,000 miles. You must be available for dispatch to receive this amount.

On The Road Training Policies at Prime

How much will I be making when I'm on the road with a trainer?

Once you obtain your CDL in the Prime training program, you will earn $700 per week guaranteed during the first 40,000 miles then $800 per week for the next 10,000 miles as long as you are available to drive during training.

Do they run your trainer and you as a "team" operations or like a solo truck?

During the first phase of training with your permit, the truck is run like a solo truck, and the CDL Instructor must be in the passenger seat awake and alert any time that the trainee is driving. Once you obtain the CDL, the second phase of training is team driving.

Is there more than one student per trainer and truck?

No, training trucks are always one student per one trainer on one truck.

Do you have a "No sleeping in the top bunk while the truck is rolling" policy?

Yes, Prime has a very strict policy against anyone sleeping the top bunk while the truck is in motion.

Can you get a non-smoking trainer?

Yes, you may choose either smoking or non-smoking trainers.

What is your policy for handling disputes between trainer and student?

Apprentice drivers speak weekly with their assigned fleet manager and discuss their progress and any issues. They may also contact a dispatcher 24/7/365 for any emergency issues. If a new trainer is needed, one will be provided.

What are the company's minimum qualifications to be a trainer?

Trainers for Prime must have at least 9 months professional driving experience including winter driving experience, at least 60 days at Prime as a Lead Seat Driver, no DOT reportable accidents in last 12 months, and meet additional safety and service qualifications.

TruckingTruth’s View On Prime's CDL Training Itinerary

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The training program at Prime is longer than the industry average, but the pay is also above average. This does appear to be a high quality training program and is right on par with what we'd expect from a company of its size.

Working For Prime Inc

Advantages Of Working For Prime Inc

  • Top industry pay
  • Incentives, rewards, and bonuses offered
  • Free tuition with a 1yr contract
  • Guaranteed job upon CDL school completion
  • Passenger and pet policy
  • Transportation, lodging, and meals provided
  • 1 CDL instructor per 1 student
  • No payroll deduction for CDL school tuition
  • Stable recession proof freight
  • New and well maintained equipment
  • APU's and power inverters installed on all trucks
  • Major medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as 401-k Success Sharing Plan

Prime Inc Company Driver Pay And Benefits

Prime Company Driver Pay

How much will I be making once I'm running solo in my own truck?

Solo drivers for Prime start at the following rates:

  • Refrigerated: $.41 cents per mile, with addititional 5 cpm in lightweight tractors (solo only), and 5 cpm for northeast regional division.
  • Flatbed: $.43 cents per mile.
  • Tanker: $.48 cents per mile.
Company Pay Reefer Division
  • 0 to 80,000 miles: .41 cpm
  • 80,000 to 120,000 miles: .41 cpm
  • 120,000 to 180,000 miles: .42 cpm
  • 180,000 to 250,000 miles: .425 cpm
  • 250,000 to 310,000 miles: .43 cpm
  • 310,000 to 430,000 miles: .435 cpm
  • 430,000 to 570,000 miles: .44 cpm
  • 570,000 to 720,000 miles: .445 cpm
  • 720,000 to 840,000 miles: .45 cpm
  • 840,000 to 975,000 miles: .455 cpm
  • 975,000 to 1,100,000 miles: .46 cpm
  • 1,100,000 to 1,350,000 miles: .465 cpm
  • 1,350,000 to 1,560,000 miles: .47 cpm
  • 1,560,000 to 1,700,000 miles: .48 cpm
  • 1,700,000+ miles: .49 cpm
What other pay and bonuses do you offer?
  • Fuel bonus: Earn an additional 1.7 to 8.2 cpm for reaching fuel mileage goals over 7.75 mpg.
  • Lightweight Fleet: If you drive a lightweight truck which are smaller with single bunks and no passenger seat, you will receive an additional .05cpm.
  • Detention, layover, and stop pay.
  • Team Incentive Pay: Team drivers earn 20 cpm bonus on any miles 3,000 and over in a week, split 50/50 (10 cpm to each) for 2 A Seats.
  • Driver Referral Program: Earn extra money by referring new people to Prime.
  • Training Program: Become a Prime Trainer to earn more money by helping others develop the skills needed to be a professional truck driver.
  • Safety & Service Incentive, earn extra for meeting safety and service goals:
    • A Seat Solo Company Drivers: 2 cpm extra for condo drivers between 2,400 and 2,900 miles, 2,100 and 2,600 for lightweight drivers.
    • Team Company Drivers: 1 cpm extra for all miles over 4,000 for the week.
Prime Company Pay Flatbed Division
  • 0 to 80,000 miles: .43cpm
  • 80,000 to 120,000 miles: .43 cpm
  • 120,000 to 180,000 miles: .44 cpm
  • 180,000 to 250,000 miles: .45 cpm
  • 250,000 to 310,000 miles: .46 cpm
  • 310,000 to 430,000 miles: .47 cpm
  • 430,000 to 600,000 miles: .48 cpm
  • 600,000 to 720,000 miles: .485 cpm
  • 720,000 to 840,000 miles: .49 cpm
  • 840,000 to 975,000 miles: .495 cpm
  • 975,000+ miles: .50 cpm
Prime Company Pay Tanker Division
  • 0 to 78,000 miles: .48cpm
  • 78,000 to 156,000 miles: .49 cpm
  • 156,000 to 234,000 miles: .50 cpm
  • 234,000+ miles: .51 cpm
Prime Inc Vacation Pay

Vacation time is based upon the number of miles driven after training.

  • At 125,000 miles = $700 (one week)
  • At 375,000 miles = $1,400 (two weeks)
  • At 625,000 miles = $2,100 (three weeks)
  • At 1,125,000 miles = $2,800 (4 weeks)

Prime Company Driver Benefits

What health insurance and benefits do you have?

Prime offers health, life, dental, and vision insurance plans to all company drivers along with vacation pay and a 401k plan with company match.

Basic Life Insurance: $15,000 Natural Death / $30,000 Accidental Death Benefit

Workers' Compensation Coverage is provided by Prime. In addition, Prime pays a portion of the medical and life insurance premiums.

401-K Success Sharing Plan is available to company drivers beginning the first full quarter after being with Prime one year. Associates can place up to 75% of their pay into the plan pre-tax. Prime's 401-K profit sharing matching amount* is 100% of the first 3% deferred; 50% on the next 2%. Prime associates are able to select the investments and the percentage placed in each investment.

What is the average cost of benefits?

Insurance costs vary depending on the type of coverage.

How long until you qualify for benefits?

90 days after hire.

TruckingTruth's View On Prime Company Driver Pay And Benefits

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Compared to other companies we've researched, the starting pay at Prime is above average. Generally, refrigerated carriers pay a bit more due to some of the hassles that go along with refrigerated freight, but the pay is even above that of other refrigerated carriers.

The benefits also appear to be about average and competitive when compared to the industry standard.

Prime Inc Employee Policies

Pets & Travelers Policy

Prime Inc. is pleased to allow driving associates to have a single pet on their truck. The pet policy provides a weight limit of 30 pounds and requires a refundable pet deposit. The deposit can be paid in full up front or financed over a 6 week period.

Drivers may have 1 rider at least 12 years of age or older.

Prime Dispatching Policies

Can a new driver run regional or dedicated right after school?

Generally no. Prime does not currently have many dedicated or regional positions. Prime does have a western regional (western 10 US states) as well as a Northeast regional fleet, but most drivers will remain OTR at Prime.

Will there be any NYC? How soon would a new solo driver be expected to go there?

While Prime does have freight going to or from NYC, it is very rare and drivers going into NYC are paid extra.

Are you forced dispatch? Is the driver given any options for different loads?

Company drivers are forced dispatched. Lease drivers are not forced dispatched.

How often can I expect to be home? For how long at a time?

Drivers earn 1 day off for each week out. Minimum time out is 4 weeks and maximum home time is 4 days.

What percentage of freight is drop and hook?

Approximately 50% of freight is drop and hook.

TruckingTruth's View On Prime's Dispatching Policies

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Prime offers very little in the way of regional or dedicated freight, to the point it's almost non-existent. If you decide to drive for Prime, plan on driving in the OTR division with only a small possibility of moving into a regional or dedicated position. Home time is average for OTR carriers and drop and hook freight is below average.

Prime does offer 3 separate divisions including refrigerated, flatbed, and tanker positions. Students may choose either the refrigerated or flatbed division while tanker positions require a minimum of 1yr experience.

Prime Company Opportunities

Do you have a leasing program, and will I be persuaded or incentivized to lease?

Yes, a leasing program is available but drivers are not persuaded to lease.

What divisions do you have? (local, dedicated, regional, tanker, flatbed, reefer)

The main division at Prime is OTR refrigerated. However, prime does offer a limited number of regional and dedicated freight as well as a flatbed and food grade tanker division. Students may join either the refrigerated or flatbed division while tanker is restricted to drivers with at least 1 year of experience.

Learn more about Prime Reefer Division

Learn more about Prime Flatbed Division

Prime Inc Equipment

What kind of trucks do you have?

Prime has a mix of Freightliner, Peterbilt, International, and Kenworth trucks, with Freightliner Century and Cascadias being the most common for company drivers. The average age of the fleet is 18-months.

Do you run electronic logs?

Yes, all drivers use electronic logging system.

What are your trucks governed at?

Company drivers are restricted to 62mph while lease trucks are restricted to 65mph.

Do you have APU units?

Yes, 100% of the OTR fleet at Prime is equipped with APU units and power inverters.

TruckingTruth’s Take On Prime's Equipment

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As with most companies of its size, equipment appears to be well taken care of and regularly replaced. Prime is one of the few carriers to equip 100% of their OTR fleet with Axillary Power Units and power inverters.

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