Wil-Trans: Company-Sponsored CDL Training

Introduction To Wil-Trans Paid CDL Training Review

At TruckingTruth, we've done a ton of research for you! We've contacted the company recruiters at Wil-Trans and put together a fantastic review of the Wil-Trans 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 Wil-Trans
  • Cost Structure Of CDL Training
  • CDL Training Itinerary
  • Wil-Trans Pay And Benefits
  • Vacation Pay And Home Time

Wil-Trans Will Take You Everywhere

Wil-Trans has a refrigerated fleet that covers the 48 contiguous states. If you're interested in seeing the entire nation instead of being stuck in a small area of the country then Wil-Trans may be the place to be.

Wil-Trans Review

The Wil-Trans family of companies (including Jim Palmer and O & S Trucking) gives potential drivers excellent opportunities for success, with a heavy focus on behind-the-wheel training. Their on-the-road training period is longer than most other programs, and you can expect to be adequately prepared to go solo.

They also offer above-average training and starting pay, as well as a very liberal pet policy. The three divisions also offer new drivers a range of choices for what part of the country they'd rather run, East/Midwest or West.

About Wil-Trans

Wil-Trans Transport company logo

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

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Getting Hired With Wil-Trans

Wil-Trans Minimum Hiring Requirements

  • Must be 21 or older.
  • Must have possessed an active Driver’s License for 3 years or more.
  • Must possess a valid social security card.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or possess an alien registration card.
  • Must be able to read, write and speak the English language, in accordance with DOT regulations.
  • Must be able to verify past 3 years of employment history prior to joining CDL program.
  • Must pass a DOT physical and controlled substance and alcohol test.
  • No DWI, DUI, or reckless driving convictions within the last 5 years.
  • Felony convictions will be reviewed.

Wil-Trans Hiring Areas

Where do you hire from and what are your no-hire zones?

Wil-Trans hires from all 48 lower states.

Where are your schools located?
  • Missoula, MT
  • Springfield, MO

TruckingTruth’s View Of Wil-Trans

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A couple things that stand out about Wil-Trans is that they are a mid-sized, family-owned and operated organization. The founder and various family members are still heavily involved in running the operation.

Their pet policy is also very liberal, with few restrictions and no deposit, along with their rider policy.

Wil-Trans Facility Locations

Wil-Trans CDL Training Facilities

Where are your schools located?
  • Missoula, MT
  • Springfield, MO

Wil-Trans Drop Lots And Terminals

Wil-Trans Terminals
Where are your drop lots and terminals located?
  • Missoula, MT
  • Springfield, MO

Wil-Trans Cost

Cost Structure Of Wil-Trans

What is the cost structure of the CDL school?

Free with one-year contract. No credit check or deposit. $200 per week advance for meals, paid back at $25/week after you start drawing a paycheck.

What are all the upfront costs?

None. Bring money for food and drink for week 1.

Will my meals be paid for?

Lunch is provided at the terminal, students are responsible for other meals.

Is lodging included in tuition?

Yes, housing is included.

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

No, there is no option to pay up front.

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

CDL school and training are free as long as a one-year contract is fulfilled. Drivers who do not fulfill the contract will be responsible for the entire cost of school and training, $3,500.

TruckingTruth's Take On The Cost Of Training At Wil-Trans

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Like many other programs, Wil-Trans CDL school is free with a 1-year driving commitment, and doesn't allow for any other payment methods. So keep in mind you'll be on the hook for the whole amount if you break the contract.

Lunch is the only meal covered, but is made up with the weekly advance, and well worth the $25/week repayment.

Wil-Trans Preparation For CDL Training

Items To Bring To Wil-Trans

  • Birth Certificate (Original or Certified Copy with a state seal)
  • Proof of Residency (only for those who reside in Missouri)
  • Social Security Card
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • 7-10 days changes of clothes
  • Slip-resistant shoes
  • Note pad
  • Raingear/jacket
  • Medications and other personal items
  • Any corrective lenses you need, including readers.

Preparation For Wil-Trans

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

No. You will get your permit after arriving at their facility.

Do I need a US Passport?

No, but it can be used in place of birth certificate. While a passport is not required, we always encourage drivers to get one for future opportunities.

Which CDL endorsements are required or encouraged?

No additional endorsements are required, though we always recommend getting all endorsements.

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.

Wil-Trans Itinerary

Wil-Trans CDL Training Itinerary

Describe the CDL school itinerary:

Arrive on a Monday morning for drug screens/physicals and prepare with in-house instructors to take the CDL permit test. Once you have your CDL permit, you get in a truck and begin hands-on training with trainers. Covered will be shifting, vehicle inspections, backing maneuvers, and safe driving.

Friday, you hit the road with your personal CDL Instructor for one-on-one, on-the-job training. You will spend the next two weeks over-the-road working on your pre-trip, backing, and driving skills. You will receive a minimum of 75 hours behind-the-wheel drive time and 120 hours of total instruction

After training and learning about the industry over-the-road, you will return with your instructor to take your CDL driving exam. Once you have your CDL, you complete 30,000 miles over-the-road with a trainer before getting your own truck.

How long is the training overall?

CDL school is 3 weeks.

How much time on the range backing up?

During your first week you will dedicate an entire day to backing skills. You will receive one-on-one training and instruction while backing up. You and your over-the-road instructor will spend time working on backing before you leave on Friday to make sure you are both comfortable before you head out.

After you hit the road, the student and trainer will be asked for weekly evaluations in multiple categories to ensure there is a sufficient amount of hands-on training in backing.

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

1-2 student per truck.

How much time in classroom?

The program is designed around hands-on training in the truck. The first two days will primarily be classroom, while the bulk of the training from there on out will be in the truck.

TruckingTruth’s View On Wil-Trans Training Itinerary

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The CDL school itself is on the shorter side at only 3 weeks. Their class sizes also seem to allow for more individualized instruction.

Wil-Trans program is kind of unique in that the classroom time is held to a minimum. The vast bulk of the program will be spent in the truck or on the range. They emphasize a "hands-on" approach, which seems to be working just fine.

On The Road Training Itinerary With Wil-Trans

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

The training program is based on safe completion of verifiable miles. (30,000 miles with trainer).

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

For your first 10,000 miles, you will be paid $.12cpm or a guaranteed $600 per week, whichever is greater.

For your final 20,000 miles, you will be paid $.14cpm or a guaranteed $700 per week, whichever is greater.

On The Road Training Policies at Wil-Trans

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

Initially, before you have a CDL, your trainer acts as an instructor while you drive. Once you have a CDL, there is an evaluation period of approximately 2,500-3,000 miles where the trainer ensures that the student is adequately trained to perform as a team.

Is there more than one student per trainer and truck?

No.

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

Yes.

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

Disputes are handled on a case by case basis by management. Great efforts are made to ensure that compatible personality types are matched between student and trainer. Wil-Trans also abides by all federal guidelines related to hostile work environment.

Can you get a non-smoking trainer?

Absolutely, non-smoking trainers may be requested.

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

Trainers are selected according to tractor-trailer history, safe driving records, and ability to pass our trainer driver course. Our training department is very carefully selected and held to above average standards.

TruckingTruth’s View Of Wil-Trans On The Road Training

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Wil-Trans on-the-road training period could take around 3 months, which is longer than most programs. Wil-Trans places a high value on making sure that new drivers are safe and fit for the road.

Most of the on-the-road training will be as a team, but by then you will have had a lot of time behind the wheel.

Working For Wil-Trans

Advantages Of Working For Wil-Trans

  • Family-owned and operated.
  • Friendly pet and rider policy.
  • New, updated equipment with APU’S, 110 Power and Epicvue satellite system available.
  • Hands-on training with a reputable company.

Wil-Trans Company Driver Pay And Benefits

Wil-Trans Company Driver Pay

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

Company Drivers are paid at top scale of $.40/mile

Lease Operators are paid a 70% of the line-haul and 100% of the fuel surcharge on loads they haul. They are responsible for the fixed and variable costs of operating their tractor.

When will I receive pay increases?

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).

Do you offer a fuel bonus?

Wil-Trans offers a fuel incentive that allows drivers to earn up to an additional $.05/mile.

Wil-Trans Company Driver Benefits

Wil-Trans offers the usual medical, dental, vision plans, including family, as well as:

  • $10,000 Longevity Bonus After 5 Years of Service.
  • Retirement planning available.
  • Driver referral bonus.
  • Life and disability available.
  • Ministry service available.
  • Spousal support system.
How long until you qualify for benefits?

Benefits will go into effect within 90 days of becoming a Wil-Trans employee.

What is the average cost of benefits?

Benefits can vary from $11/month and up, depending on the package and premiums selected.

What about vacation time?

After 1 year to 2 years: 1 week + $500

3-4 years: 2 weeks + $1000

5 years+: 3 weeks + $1500

TruckingTruth's View On Wil-Trans Company Driver Pay

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Wil-Trans guaranteed training pay and starting solo pay are certainly on the higher end for company-sponsored programs, and should allow drivers to immediately start making decent money.

The health plans are generally average for any company, while they offer very generous vacation time.

Wil-Trans Employee Policies

Pets & Travelers Policy

Do you allow pets?

Flexible pet policy with no pet-deposit. As a general rule they have a “three-heartbeat” policy. One or two 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 onboard.

What is the company’s rider policy?

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.

Wil-Trans Dispatching Policies

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

Dedicated runs are reserved for proven drivers that have earned them with consistent safe and reliable service. Drivers typically run specific lanes that have been determined to be profitable by the company.

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

No NYC.

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

No. Company drivers have the option to refuse freight based on safety and service conflicts. Lease operators have the right to refuse freight.

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

Company driver home-time is earned at the rate of 24 hrs (1 day) at home for every 168 hrs (7 days) on the road. Lease Operators can take as much time off as they can afford to take.

What percentage of freight is drop and hook?

Wil-Trans hauls primarily refrigerated freight – as such, drop and hook freight is about 15-20% of the loads.

Wil-Trans Company Driver Opportunities

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

Yes, Wil-Trans has a lease program. There is a pay incentive for lease operators for taking on additional responsibilities.

What divisions do you have? (local, dedicated, regional, tanker, flatbed, reefer)
  • Wil-Trans Trucking, East Coast & Midwest, Reefer
  • Jim Palmer Trucking, West of Ohio, Reefer
  • O&S Trucking, 48 contiguous, Reefer, Regional & Local (Springfield, MO)

TruckingTruth's View On Wil-Trans Company Driver Opportunities

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A couple things stand out about Wil-Trans' policies and opportunities. Their pet policy is much more open-ended that at most companies, so is ideal for those drivers who will be, or are considering, taking their furry friends on the road.

The Wil-Trans family of companies (including Jim Palmer and O & S Trucking) also provides drivers the opportunity to drive in more specific lanes rather than full-on coast-to-coast.

Wil-Trans Military Apprenticeship

Wil-Trans is approved through the United States Department of Labor as a registered sponsor for the Military Apprenticeship Program. Wil-Trans'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 Wil-Trans OJL (on-the-job learning) apprenticeship training program.

Wil-Trans Equipment

Wil-Trans stars and stripes american flag truck
What kind of trucks do you have?

Late Model Freightliner Cascadia’s & Peterbilt 579’s and 587’s

Do you run electronic logs?

Yes

What are your trucks governed at?

Company drivers 62mph, lease operators 65mph.

Do you have APU units?

All trucks come with APU units.

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