Profile For Tom B.

Tom B.'s Info

  • Location:

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years ago

Tom B.'s Bio

Cdl-holding, zero experience big-rigging, wishful thinking newby, professional driver wannabe.

Page 1 of 1

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

[i apologize for the formatting/proofreading, i typed this quick in a text editor and pasted it...]

Old School, i understand your point about the a$$es who think they are god's gift to their company. i have always tried to avoid them like the plague.

you bring up a great point about the jit loads. my only concerns are:

-knowing when to say to my dispatcher that i can't physically make it from a drop to the next receiver based on my pre-trip plan and have it count against me as a rejected load when the company has forced dispatch, being teamed with another inexperienced driver, especially in the winter, and driving through brutal conditions like 50 mph winds or midwestern black ice so that i'm not late. those are going to be the tough ones...

listen, i know i am going to suffer a lot of hardships, frustrating times, and complete bs. i was only trying to minimize it all by going for the best situation i could put myself in the first year [decent truck, experienced trainer/team driver, and a good dispatcher]. i also agree with you 100% i would not feel comfortable going solo in any less than 1 month, probably more. i have WAY to much to learn yet, and will probably be learning until the day i die. if not, i am doing something wrong.

certainly there has to be SOME disparity between companies in terms of my 1st year experience, so i was just trying to do it the best way i know how, by overplanning it. your advice of forget most of my wishes is completely understood, but u cant blame me for trying:)

i almost have my company list together for those that offer refresher courses, and will then send out my pre-hire requests. when i see which ones are interested in my i will narrow it down from there.

i am going to try and choose the best fit for me. training program, length of commitment to that company [i know 1 year is the magic minimum for future consideration to other companies should i want to switch at that time], divisions and routes, and reputation [that i get from other drivers and forums like this, not the internet].

after my decision, i will do a better job of trying to exhaust every option before i give up in situations like that come up, and make it through my 1st year safely and with a clean DAC:) and maybe from there it will just be an afternoon spring drive in kansas instead of a winter drive over loveland or donner:)

i have to say that this industry is SO much different than every other i have had experience with. there are so many things that mystify me and that seem completely illogical. but, it will all be an adventure and i will have to just call on one of my strong suits a little more often, focusing on the positive:)

thank you once again OS for your candor and all of the time you have taken in replying. i will buy you a $6 junior whopper at a truck stop one of these days:)

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

I hear ya Hudson, personally I hate driving at night for more than a couple hours. I am going to try and avoid that as much as possible. Hang in there Hudson, I am glad to hear that things are going great for you at Prime.

To reply to the previous post about the accident in training at Prime, I think it's unfortunate and of course I don't wish ill on anyone. Just to be clear Prime was fantastic with just about everything. I think I just had an unfortunate situation, and being a complete newbie in the industry, I didn't handle things the way I should or could have. This was a great lesson for me, and I am better because of it. Live and learn as they say :-)

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

OS, Thanks for taking the time to write. I hope you have speech to text, I feel guilty for taking up your valuable time:)

1) Team driving/Logs/etc.: There a few that do things illegally that reflect poorly on a company. Stan did give me numbers to call. (Incidentally, when I left a few messages for me, he never returned my calls.) Nevertheless, I really liked him, he is a great guy. Where I could have done more was to move up the chain of command, even if it meant talking to Mr. Lowe himself. Then I think you're right, chances are things would have been fixed. I didn't mean to imply Prime as an entity was unwilling to correct problems, just the few I interacted with were.

2) The operative here is "still ended up in the division they chose once they were upgraded to go solo." I made the wrong choice with my trainer. No trainer is going to say "By the way, I am kind of a #$%^, I want you to drive at night, do some shady things, etc." All things considered, I hated being forced into something I didn't want to do from the beginning, be it for 1 week or 1 year (in this case it would have only been a few more weeks).

3) This could have been solved at the recruiter level (division-related equipment costs, or a simple "what to expect in your new career guide")

4) If tuition costs are taken out at $400/mo. for 1 year (they told me approx. $100/wk.), then reimbursed at the same rate for the next year, that is a 2 year commitment in terms of the factors necessary in order for the school to be free. I could have quit after 2 months, but I would have owed them $4,000 in order to fulfill my obligation. Money solves a lot of problems...

5) I believe DOT does not allow a CDL Permit holder to drive between 1-4am for the first 3 days, I'm not sure. This is probably my trainer's actions as opposed to Prime's policies. And again, I am sure the company would have corrected things had I moved up the ladder.

So, yes, I could have continued to whistle, ring bells, and take matters higher until the situation was solved, and I think most likely they would have been. But being put in a situation where I have to battle for fairness as part of some "test" to see if I can make it in the industry, is a goofy approach, IMHO. I believe there is a difference between the driving side and the admin side of the industry. I will do my best to be a safe, productive, reliable driver, and get as much out of the experience while doing it. At the same time, I will pursue companies who have been up front with me, treat me with respect, handle issues in a timely fashion, and who are team players in every capcity.

Summary: I am going to be good at this career. This career will be trying at times, and the tests I will have to face and pass in order to succeed are not intimidating to me, as long as I am calm about them, perservere, and am as safe as humanly possible. However, I am unwilling to put up with goofy things on the admin side. I know that every company will have policies, dispatchers, loads, etc., that I will disagree with. I understand that, and will put up with a reasonable amount of it, it's the nature of the industry. But only within reason. For the unreasonable it's easy, I quit them and move on. The industry preaches 1 thing over and over: Honesty. It's a 2-way street. In my mind, it's quite simple. I will be honest about myself, and give 100% to my employer. In exchange, I expect they are honest and up front ahead of time about the things that matter most (pay, divisions, training policies). That's not too much to ask. In retrospect, I could have pushed my issues higher up the ladder rather than bail after 3 or 4 days of trying to work things out. I am a little wiser for the whole deal, and so for that I'm grateful. After 4 pages of posts, this is what I have gathered:

1) I should have given Prime more opportunity to fix problems, I just didn't think it would take so long to do so, and I am pretty sure they would have, based on what I believe to be true about thei company. (I suppose if this happens in the future, I should be prepared to give things the amount of time it takes to resolve them, as though I were in a government beaurocracy.)

2) This industry operates in a fashion unlike any other I have seen. I should throw out any preconceived notions of how I think a prototypical employer operates, and make the necessary adjustments.

3) I have to achieve a balance between finding a company I am happy with, and the expectations I may have for them. Again, I wholly disagree with the notion that putting someone in a position they shouldn't be in to begin with is somehow a test of character and resilience, and translates into that person being a good fit for the industry. My challenges should come in maintaining safety 100%, always being on time, driving in harsh weather and traffic safely, etc., not in seeing if I can deal with some goofy situation (only an example) where my first check is $200 short and payroll arguing with me over it, and it taking 2 weeks to resolve. That isn't a test as to my being fit for the industry, it's an expectation I have for ANY industry, and non-compliance will always result in my leaving that company.

4) I will pursue a team situation, w/0-6 mo. commitment, in order to gain enough exp. to solo in 11-western, dry van.

5) I WILL succeed, and will have as much fun with it as I can. I always make my way of life as enjoyable as I can:)

I hope to have good news one day. Thanks OS, and all

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Wow Errol, what a great app! That is going to make it so much easier to applied to several companies. It looks like it's preformatted and everything!

I would just like to thank everyone for their input, I really appreciate it. This is definitely helped guide me in the right direction.

So this is my plan at this point: as soon as I receive the free DAC report I ordered, I'm just going to double check my information and make sure everything is in order. Then I'm going to use that awesome app you showed me to apply to all the companies I think I'm interested in working for. I hope that anyone that's been following this post that is interested in what happens to me will see some good news posted in the not too distant future!

Drive safe everyone and I hope to talk to you soon:)

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Thanks Doug and Robert, you are right. That's the route I will take. All user's input on this thread has been much appreciated:)

I will look into the pre-hire letters and processes [i just saw that term for the first time today], and I am hopeful that like you have said, I will have some choices and can make an informed decision from there.

I am wiser because of all of this, and so hopefully will do things better, and ask the right questions beforehand, the next time around:)

Thanks all

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Robert,

What about this approach: When I list my current state license and any past ones, only Missouri will show up. Couldn't I say that I was accepted but decided not to go to Prime's school during orientation, that it was not what I expected? That I simply decided to return to my state, get my CDL via 3rd-party testing, and try again?

I am not familiar with DOT regulations [there seem to be MANY], but it seems to me that any DOT-regulated company that I simply applied to, but was never hired with, would not be listed on my DAC. I did not violate any DOT regulations when I drove for that short period with Prime, so I would assume my DAC is clear since the day I got my CDL A Permit.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Ya Robert I was leaning that way. I figure if I'm honest about it a prospective company will either accept or reject me, but at least it's all up front. Thanks for your input, it is appreciated.

Maybe I should apply with a company I have no intention of working for, just to see how they react and if I pass their pre-approval process? It seems a bit devious, but I could always say I decided on another company after the fact. I just don't want to blow it with my first choice right away.

I was thinking of keeping it simple and saying things just didn't work out, but that may appear unlikely in their eyes, that something must be wrong, ya know? It's going to be tricky to explain without telling the truth AND without seeming like I am badmouthing Prime, which I don't want to do.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Robert B, thanks for replying. (Like Old School, you have a lot of great posts and advice:))

Thanks for the input. These are the companies that appear as though I might be eligible for the training phase with (and maybe a shorter term or no commitment than as a student driver getting my CDL through them)------------

Western Express, May, Gordon, Schneider, Werner, KLLM, or Conway.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to simply call and talk to the recruiter(s) at these companies? (Like Shiva mentioned a few posts ago)

In your opinion, should I disclose my Prime details, or lie by omission? This is a big dilema for me, and confusing part to my next step

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Errol,

Make no mistake, this is exactly what I am trying to do, get my ducks in a row. Hindsight is always 20-20. I am in this postion because I made a judgement call based on life experiences with past employers (both positive and negative), none of which include life as a professional driver.

I am simply trying to figure out my best plan of attack from this point on, and would be uncomfortable trying again with Prime. I may or may not have made a wise decision, but I am sure that eventually I will be successful in this career, even if I have to figure it all out on my own.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Thanks for replying Rainy.

Everyone at Prime was great. Training was great, equipment, facilities, etc. Where it all fell down was the trainer, the loan structure, changing of division, and cost of flatbed equipment. I understood that I could have dealt with the trainer for 1-3 more weeks, that was the easy part.

When I was told by the powers that be that I would have to remain in the flatbed division for 6-12 months, that I would have to pay $100 a week for a year to satisfy my loan (it would be reimbursed to me at $100 a week for a year, thus the 2 year obligation), and that the flatbed equipment would cost me $3,000, I wasn't interested in a host of IF's and unknowns for 23 more months. So I left in order to pursue a better opportunity.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

The $3,000 commitment was for the flatbed equipment I would have had to pay for.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Thank you for replying Errol.

With Prime you can finish the 1st week of orientation, go out in Phase 1, then return and test out, at which point you would receive a Missouri CDL. THEN you would be obligated for 2 years in order for the school to be "free". I did not earn any pay, so was therefor never an employee. I have NO further obligation to them, period.

YES, all of the reasons I quit were because I was suprised. The recruiter lied in terms of the commitment and choice of division, and after I arrived the personnel lied about the commitment structure AND lied by omission the cost of flatbed equipment. I don't care to work for anyone who blatantly lies about such important details. When said matters were addressed, for personnel to tell me I can "like it or lump it", is a red flag and I wasn't willing to chance 2 years of who-knows-what's-next worrying. Even if I was ok with the contract and dealt with the trainer, I wasn't able to change from flatbed (I said from day 1 I wasn't interested in that division). Why would I in my right mind continue when at worst I could learn from this, and choose more wisely next time? I am failing to see my "disasterous" consequences here people...

I have a CDL. I have not graduated from a driving school. I chose not to continue with Prime. I have learned a lot from all of it. I am now back to square 1, the difference is I have a CDL and have spent money instead of making it.

I still don't even know if I qualify for a "refresher" course and start team training with another company, like Western Express, or what the best approach for me is at this point...

I appreciate everyone's opinions, yet nobody is helping with a solution or advice. I can not go back in time. What would you do if it was you in my situation?

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Thank you for replying Shiva.

I started with a school, I chose to quit that school, I am now with a CDL and unsure what to do. If I made a bad decision and decided to suck it up and take a chance on things working out for 2 years so as to not be liable for the cost of the school, as opposed to what I chose to do, then so be it. I may or may not regret it in the future.

The bottom line is this [as I stated in my huge post]... I said it simply sounded to me like that IF I had a preference, western 11 and dryvan sounded good. I hope I am able to find a company to start with [i forgot to mention western express] where I could start in a team situation in order to gain the experience necessary to be a reliable solo driver, where the pay during that training is ok, and where the commitment to that company is 1 year or less.

Perfection is always desired, never expected. I completely understand I will have very little choice as to route, region, etc. I simply noted my preferences in order to enlighten anyone who cared to comment, as to my current situation, and my future goals.

I am always happy to receive criticism, I just hope it is constructive. I am still hoping to get any actual valuable advice, and perhaps this thread would then be able to not only guide myself, but others in the future:)

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Dang it Tom, why didn't you participate in the forum before you got yourself into this predicament? We could have helped you get through the things at Prime that you perceived as insurmountable problems, and helped keep you from messing up your first year. You keep saying you know how important your first year is and yet you did everything you could to give yourself a black eye.

I'm sorry, but this first post of yours aggravates me. We could and would have done everything we could to help, and now you've decided you'll come to us after screwing everything up. I'm flustered to say the least, and I'm on the road today taking my thirty minute break right now. I'll jump back in here tonight and see if there's anything I can offer to help you redeem yourself.

Old School, I see your posts all of the time, and you always help with great advice. Thank you for replying.

I understand your point completely. I could have done more to try and work things out, and patience is definitely a virtue in this industry. I felt like staying there would have been a constant battle, and since I had a relatively low investment up until that point I decided to cut my losses and pursue better options. Staying there, IMHO, would only lend itself to possible greater problems, not to mention that if I had obtained my CDL through them I would be on the hook for $5,500 less the prorated portion of time I drove for them. My actions resulted in no financial commitment to them, and a neutral departure. Perhaps I made an unwise choice, I am new to everything related to trucking. I am sure I will make more unwise choices, but I am trying to start my new career under the least stressful conditions possible:)

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Some of my research has shown that some companies, Maverick for instance, will hire straight out of private schools. They have about a 6 week driver training program then put you out on your own. Others may have more info.

Thanks for your reply Scott. I did not graduate from any school, I simply have 3,000 miles experience before I quit Prime, and then obtained a CDL a week later through a private DOT tester for $300. This is the problem, there seems to be no category for my situation, so I am unsure as to how to proceed with my applications, and what to put on them even if I do qualify for another company in any capacity.

Posted:  4 years ago

View Topic:

New CDL A, passed private CDL test (no school), now what?

Hello everyone!

Let me see if I can explain this in 5,000 words or less...

I got my CDL A Permit 6 weeks ago. I went to Prime's Student Training school (the one I chose after 1 week of reading forums here). I then went to Orientation for 1 week (where I excelled), and on my 8th day there, I had a trainer and drove Team OTR for a week (where I also excelled). After only 2 weeks I quit, but we parted ways neutrally. This was due to my dissatisfaction of being forced into flatbed (with a $3,000 commitment), a trainer who "asked" me to drive on his logs, and being forced to drive 8p-4a only, as well as a 2-year commitment to have the tuition fee paid. Anyway, I decided to leave that school, I returned to my home state, and switched my CDL Permit from Missouri back to my home state. A few days ago I tested through a private tester ($300), and now have my CDL A license. Here is where I am getting completely lost:

I have an excellent employment history, 1 misdemeanor DUI and 1 misdemeanor marijuana possession charge (both are 9 years old), 0 accidents, 0 tickets, 0 failed drug tests, and am in my 40's. I have 3,000 verifiable OTR miles in a Cascadia 10-speed (I printed out my 8-day e-log from Prime). I also was an excellent driver, given that was my first week in a truck, ever. Obviously, I will need experience in weather, backing, Qualcomm, policies and procedures, etc., etc... But NOW what do I do?

I have spent many hours reading through this forum (awesome forum and website!), but am having trouble figuring out what to do next. This is how I understand things to be at this point, so is there anyone who can take a few minutes to correct me and/or offer me advice in terms of what to do next? I would be so grateful:)

1) My first year is VERY important in terms of starting my new career, so I would love to have the luxury of making the right decision so that I can maximize my experience, pay, and overall happiness.

2) I MAY be able to start with May, Gordon, Schneider, Werner, KLLM, or Conway, but would they even accept me under my circumstances?

3) I think I want to be a dryvan driver. I hated driving in the east (traffic, time, roads), and I am partial to the West anyway since it's where I grew up (less traffic, better roads, partial to the geography, etc.). Is it a pipe dream to think I can be a dryvan driver in the western states?

4) I have no problem going through any company's schooling, being a team OTR driver for their requirement period, and suffering with less pay, so long as it's good training and a decent company to start with. My preference (if I could choose that is) would be:

- any training course/timeframe that the company requires (so long as it is paid and my commitment is 1 year or less to that company)

- dryvan western region, solo (team OTR anywhere is ok, but the shorter the training requirement the better)

- the best combination of: pay during training and then solo, perks and equip/routes, and training that makes me the best driver I can be after that 1 year so that I have the experience to perhaps move up.

5) Also, should I even mention Prime? I don't want to lie, but I don't want to seem like I might be a difficult employee or a quitter either. I am guessing any company would know I had a Missouri license so I better be honest about that, but Prime can not legally divulge why I quit, so I am wondering what to even say about that....

6) Should I apply to as many companys as possible, or are companies aware of who I have applied to and would that look bad? Should I consider a service where a 3rd-party company will match me with a trucking company? (I don't know anything about this, or if it's even a viable option in my case).

SOOOO... do I have options in terms of choosing a company that's right for me?

This WILL be new career, I just don't know how to best approach the next stage and what to do. After my 1st year of OTR I am under the impression that everything else will take care of itself and most of my questions will be answered, but right now I am so confused and stuck!!!

I hope these aren't dumb questions, and any advice is welcome!

Thank you all :)

Page 1 of 1

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More