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At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Stevens Transport and put together a fantastic review of the Stevens Transport 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:
Can you really have the best of both worlds? A large, successful, financially secure company with fantastic equipment and yet a family owned and operated company? Stevens Transport is indeed both!
While Stevens Transport seems to have some advantages over other companies in some areas, there are some initial concerns we’d like to point out. Their CDL tuition repayment plan is a bit complex and somewhat deceiving. The Stevens Transport website indicates there is only a 1yr commitment and the recruiters we spoke with said the same. But upon further investigation, it appears the real commitment is 3 years.
The 1 year commitment only ensures the schooling will continue to be financed, but you will still need to make weekly payments to pay off the loan. This isn’t a free CDL program, rather, it is financed over the course of a 3 year period. Staying for 1 year will enable you to keep the tuition on an interest free loan. In addition to the tuition costs, if transportation and lodging is required, those costs will be placed on a separate interest free loan.
Even though we have some concerns about their tuition payment structure and the 3 year repayment plan, they seem to operate fantastic equipment with a high quality school and have some of the longest average lengths of haul in the industry. They are also a financially stable and secure trucking company. So this could be a great CDL school and company to start your trucking career. As always, we highly recommend you do your own research and explore all options which best suit your personal needs.
Stevens Transport, the 4th largest temperature controlled trucking company in the United States, is based out of Dallas, TX and was established in 1980. Over the past 38 years, the company has grown to more than 3,000 associates with the majority of those being drivers. Stevens operates throughout North America with many dedicated and regional fleets.
Stevens owns and operates a CDL truck driving school in Dallas, TX which is a 70 acre campus. They also contract with private truck driving schools located in Denver, CO and Houston, TX.
Dallas, TX (Stevens Transport Owned and Operated)
Denver, Colorado (Contracted through Careers Worldwide)
Houston, TX (Contracted through Lone Star College)
Terminal locations and drop yard facilities are located throughout North America, including:
The full tuition cost for the Stevens Transport CDL training program is $4,200. Incoming students will make no down payments for the cost of tuition and the tuition cost is financed interest free with no credit checks.
Once a student obtains a CDL and begins collecting a paycheck, Stevens will deduct $26.84 per week for 36 months. If a driver leaves before 1 full year of employment, the entire remainder of the balance is due immediately.
However, if a student leaves after 1 year, the remainder of the loan can be repaid in increments of $26.84 per week regardless of employment status. In other words, Stevens will continue to finance your tuition loan interest free, even if you are no longer employed by them.
Nearly all up front costs such as transportation, lodging, and $10 per day for food expenses can be provided as an interest free loan which will eventually be paid back at $25 per week (which is in addition to your $26.84 tuition loan payment). However, students will still need to bring a non-refundable $100 registration fee on the first day of class and $70 for CDL licensing and testing.
Payment for meals is the students responsibility, but if needed, Stevens will provide a no-interest loan of $70 per week to cover the cost of meals.
If lodging is needed, Stevens will finance the costs for you and you’ll owe nothing up front. The cost of lodging is payroll deducted at $25 per week until the full cost is paid (usually about $200). Most students who require lodging assistance will attend the Texas training academy and will reside at the following hotel with 1 or more roomates: Crosslands Extended Stay Hotel
Yes, the up front tuition fee is $4,200.
A student must remain employed with Stevens Transport for one full year in order to ensure the 3 year loan remains financed interest free at $26.84 per week. If a driver leaves before 1 full year of employment, the loan balance will be due immediately.
In addition, if a student required transportation and lodging, there will be an additional $25 / week deduction until those costs are paid in full.
24 weeks X $26.84 = $644.16 payed into the loan
$4,200 (full cost of loan) - $644.16 (amount already paid) = $3,555.84 (balance)
Total cost due immediately is: $3,555.84
The loan will continue as usual, interest free. The driver will be billed $26.84 per week until the remaining balance is $0.
We have a few issues with the cost structure that Stevens Transport offers and would like to make a couple clarifications. First, the entire loan duration for the school tuition is 3 years, not 1yr. Stevens advertises their program is a 1 year commitment, but it is actually financed over a 3 year period. Staying for 1 year only insures the loan will continue to be financed through Stevens.
Finally, while you can pay the tuition fee up front, we see absolutely no advantage in doing so. There is no price break or advantage to doing this so you should take the interest free loan instead.
A U.S. passport may accelerate background checks and make you eligible to haul Canadian freight, though it is not required.
You are encouraged to obtain a HazMat endorsement, though it is not required.
We highly recommend that you obtain a U.S. passport and a Hazmat Endorsement. In fact, it’s best to obtain all CDL endorsements in case future opportunities require them. It is important to make yourself as marketable as possible for any future opportunities which may come up during the course of your career.
Be sure to bring any documentation that may assist in the background check process, including former employer pay stubs and tax records. It’s also a good idea to bring any paperwork related to special health issues you may have. If you think you might need it, bring it with you.
CDL schooling lasts for approximately 3 weeks. The first week is mostly spent in a classroom environment reviewing the CDL study guide and preparing for the CDL written exams. Classroom is a minimum of 40hrs but usually is more than that. The CDL written exams must be passed in order to obtain a CDL driving permit. Those who are unable to obtain a driving permit will be unable to drive until they are able to pass the exams. Students need to have at least $70 for CDL testing and licensing fees.
The remaining 2 weeks are spent driving and practicing precision maneuvers on the special training course as well as studying pre-trip procedures. Students will gradually drive in more congested areas over time, eventually traveling on expressways, visiting truck stops, crossing open DOT Weigh Stations, and navigating city streets.
After 2 weeks of driving and practicing precision maneuvers, students will take their driving exams with a DOT examiner. Upon successful completion, students will obtain their CDL and will be immediately hired by Stevens Transport and placed into the paid company training program.
The CDL course lasts 3 weeks in total (6 days per week).
Students normally rotate between road driving and backing maneuvers. During the two week driving phase of training, approximately 50% of the time will be spent refining backing skills. However, if a student needs more instruction in one area or another, this can be tweaked.
A maximum of 4 students share one truck.
There will be a minimum of 40 hrs in the classroom, but normally students exceed this minimum.
Our overall impression of the CDL training program is positive. Many company sponsored CDL training programs seem to place a lot of emphasis on getting drivers licensed as quickly as possible. While the Stevens Transport CDL program is still faced paced, it’s a bit more lengthy than other programs. Three weeks is a very good duration for a CDL training program.
Training is about 8 weeks long and is split between two phases. The itinerary is as follows:
Phase one (they call it orientation 1) includes 3 days at the Dallas, Texas terminal to go through basic orientation and take a relaxed skills review test where they determine if you need additional training before heading out.
You will then head out with a trainer for 5 to 6 weeks (minimum of 35 days) and a minimum of 8,000 miles driving. During this time, you must travel over three mountain passes and drive in all five regions of the country. You also have to successfully back into a dock in the northeast region of the United States. While Stevens does everything they can to complete this phase in 35 days, if it takes longer, you will continue receiving your normal training pay.
The second phase (called orientation 2) requires you to spend 2 days of classroom training at the Dallas, TX terminal while still collecting your usual training pay. The classroom training goes over proper trip planning, how to correctly read maps, and how to operate the Thermo King trailer refrigeration units. You will also take another skills test to see what kind of progress you’re making.
After classroom training, you’ll be placed with a finisher trainer for three additional weeks. During this time, you will be in control of all major decisions with your trainer there to only oversee everything. Trip planning, routing, paperwork, and all other aspects of the job are your responsibility. Once you’ve done this for 3 weeks, you are then returned to Dallas for another couple days of classroom training, perform a driving test, and are issued a solo truck.
$350 per week for the entire duration of training. Trainees may earn additional bonus pay if they choose to load or unload freight.
Trucks can be dispatched as both solo or team operations depending on available freight.
No, there is only 1 student per training truck.
No, nobody may sleep in the top bunk while the truck is in motion.
Yes, a non-smoking trainer may be requested.
Students have the option to change trainers at any time for any reason, no questions asked. But if a reasonable explanation is not given, trainees will forgo their training pay until a new trainer can be assigned.
Trainers must have at least 1yr of driving experience and 90,000 miles with no major accidents and a good safety record.
The company paid CDL training program at Stevens Transport appears to be a very good program. It is well structured with checkpoints during your training to be certain you are learning correctly and are being prepared for a successful career. You are also allowed to change trainers at any time for any reasons which is a rare benefit.
While the training pay is a bit low compared to the industry standard, remember that training is only temporary. You’ll likely make $30,000 to $35,000 your first year and even more during subsequent years. So the temporary training pay should not influence your decision one way or another as it’s fairly irrelevant in the long term.
Stevens operates more terminal and drop yard locations compared to most companies its size. While they do contract to a couple local driving schools, anybody outside of the Denver or Houston metro areas will attend the Dallas, TX location.
Hiring requirements are about average when compared with the other paid cdl training programs. Be up front and honest about your criminal history as they only perform a preliminary background check before arrival. Once you arrive at the Stevens training facility, they will complete a more thorough background check.
After training, you will receive a pay increase at 6 months, another at 9 months, and finally at 1 year. From there, you will receive a pay increase each year up to $0.405 per mile.
Many different plans and price ranges are offered.
Coverage begins 90 days after employment with 401k available after 1yr.
Vacation is available after one year. Drivers earn 5 paid days off after 1 year and 10 paid days off after 3 years.
While starting pay is a bit lower than the industry average, there are several pay increases in the first year. We always recommend drivers stay for 1 year and by that time, you’ll be making what is considered an average mileage pay. Keep in mind, however, that Stevens Transport claims an average length of haul around 1,500 miles for solo drivers.
This is significantly greater than average and could result in more mileage which equals greater pay. Their benefits package appears to be right on par with what most other trucking companies are offering.
No pets are allowed on company equipment.
After a driver has completed 90 days solo, he or she may have a passenger who is 18 years of age or older. During summer months riders may be 10 years of age or older. In order to have a rider, a monthy $30 insurance fee is due (can be payroll deducted).
Generally, no. most new drivers run in the OTR division for at least 6 months to 1 year. Obtaining a regional or dedicated account depends entirely on where a driver lives, how close they are to a company terminal or drop yard, available freight in their area, seniority, safety and service records.
While NYC freight is not common, drivers will be expected to pick up or deliver in NYC at any time.
Yes, Stevens company drivers are assigned loads based on greatest utilization, efficiency, and profitability for both Stevens Transport and the driver. Lease operators and owner operators are not forced dispatched.
Hometime depends on the type of route you are assigned. Local routes get you home every night, regional and dedicated routes allow drivers to get home every 7 to 10 days, and drivers on national routes get home every 3 to 4 weeks.
About 60% of Stevens freight is drop and hook but drivers on dedicated accounts can have up to 100% drop and hook.
A leasing program does exist and drivers are strongly encouraged to join the leasing program as an independent contractor.
Stevens Transport only operates 53ft temperature controlled trailers. While they do have a limited number of dedicated and regional opportunities, the majority of drivers remain in the OTR division while with Stevens.
While Stevens Transport does offer some local, dedicated, and regional freight, these opportunities are not abundant. Some areas have more opportunities than others, but it sounds as if drivers for these limited positions are hand selected. You must have seniority and a very good service and safety record to even be considered. So don’t plan on these opportunities becoming available as Stevens Transport is mostly an OTR carrier.
We also highly dischorage anyone from participating in Stevens Transport's leasing program (Independent Contractor Division). Through our research, you will always be better off as a company driver.
Stevens offers late model Kenworth T-2000 trucks equipped with 75’’ condo sleepers and have recently begun adding Peterbilt and Freightliner tractors to the fleet as well. The average age of a Stevens Transport tractor is 16 months old. Trucks are equipped with satellite dispatching systems, turn-by-turn navigation, and in-cab email. All trailers are 53’ refrigerated trailers.
Yes, Stevens Transport uses electronic logs on all trucks.
Yes, all Stevens trucks are either equipped or will soon be equipped with APU units.