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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:
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.
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.
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.
Wil-Trans hires from all 48 lower states.
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.
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.
None. Bring money for food and drink for week 1.
Lunch is provided at the terminal, students are responsible for other meals.
Yes, housing is included.
No, there is no option to pay up front.
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.
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.
No. You will get your permit after arriving at their facility.
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.
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.
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.
CDL school is 3 weeks.
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.
1-2 student per truck.
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.
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.
The training program is based on safe completion of verifiable miles. (30,000 miles with 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.
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.
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.
Absolutely, non-smoking trainers may be requested.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Wil-Trans offers a fuel incentive that allows drivers to earn up to an additional $.05/mile.
Wil-Trans offers the usual medical, dental, vision plans, including family, as well as:
Benefits will go into effect within 90 days of becoming a Wil-Trans employee.
Benefits can vary from $11/month and up, depending on the package and premiums selected.
After 1 year to 2 years: 1 week + $500
3-4 years: 2 weeks + $1000
5 years+: 3 weeks + $1500
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.
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.
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 safe and reliable service. Drivers typically run specific lanes that have been determined to be profitable by the company.
No. Company drivers have the option to refuse freight based on safety and service conflicts. Lease operators have the right to refuse freight.
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.
Wil-Trans hauls primarily refrigerated freight – as such, drop and hook freight is about 15-20% of the loads.
Yes, Wil-Trans has a lease program. There is a pay incentive for lease operators for taking on additional responsibilities.
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 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.
Late Model Freightliner Cascadia’s & Peterbilt 579’s and 587’s
Company drivers 62mph, lease operators 65mph.
All trucks come with APU units.