Profile For Ryan F.

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    2 years, 3 months ago

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Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

Thanks again for the great advice, guys.

I took a drive out in a snowstorm late last night and saw all the semi-trucks cruising along I-69 and parked at the local stop. With my own hands on the steering wheel, I liked what I saw and thought that gambling on a year to save some money and get back into university debt-free wouldn't be the worst idea. Brett's blog and the stories written by other forum members also held a real sort of appeal to me. Even if I wind up struggling with trucking, it's just a year. At the end, I hope to have enough saved to put a big dent in my student loans and maybe take another trip to India to say hello to my old friends.

My recruiter is buying my bus ticket now and I'll be on my way to Springfield, MO, on Saturday. I'm a little apprehensive but am looking forward to a year of new challenges, learning, and an experience to look back on for the rest of my life. I'm sure it won't be easy, but if I have to fight for a year to kill my financial obligations and be able to take my degree and look for jobs that suit me rather than a loan repayment schedule, then it'll be well worth it (and maybe I can replace my Royal Enfield with a Honda or Harley).

If anybody has any advice on studying for the CDL permit test, that'd be great.

Thanks again!

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

Thanks again for all the great advice, guys. I've read through all the replies as well as a few of the chapters Brett linked to in his response.

I also had a long conversation with one of my old company's drivers. He told me to stay ten miles away from Prime and go with Western Express or Heartland.

Well - that's about it. I'm definitely going to stop listening to heresy from other people and just go with my gut. Hopefully I'll be able to complete all the requirements the Prime Recruiter wanted by tomorrow or Tuesday. Getting references over from India is difficult, but I'm trying my best. I'm sure getting through all the training is going to be tough if I do get accepted, but I think the pay-off is going to be better in the long run. Some of the blog entries and stories I read via Brett's links, written both by him and other users, helped boost my enthusiasm a lot.

Definitely keeping the ego in check and adjusting to a different ballgame than I'm used to. Thanks again, everyone! I'm still probably going to keep my distance from CR England (almost all of the reviews I've read on every website have been bad), but I'm going to pursue Prime and go through Swift if that doesn't work.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

If you want to get your career started as a driver you should approach it with a 'boot camp' mentality. It's going to be really stressful, super challenging, and overwhelming much of the time. You're going to face personalities you won't like, you're going to get talked down to at times, and you'll face "the rookie treatment" on a regular basis. Getting through that first year is a trial by fire and not many people can handle it to be honest. For many people it's a gruelling endurance test that requires being in an almost constant state of exhaustion, confusion, and loneliness. And there simply isn't going to be anyone there the overwhelming majority of the time to pat you on the back and thank you for leaving your home and family, working the equivalent of two full time jobs, and risking your life on a daily basis so the people of this great nation can live in comfort. You're just going to have to find satisfaction in your work. That's just how it goes in this industry. It's pretty much a take it or leave it kind of thing.

There are a ton of great companies that will help you get your career underway but you've already written off several of them for trivial reasons so I'm not going to go into making any recommendations. I would suggest you do some reading first to find out more about the challenges you're about to face getting started in driving. Because any experienced driver that reads the stuff you just wrote about your feelings and your expectations would probably give you an average life expectancy as a driver of about a week, maybe less. Almost no one would expect you to even make it through training, let alone survive out on the road. Heck, you're all bent out of shape over a phone call with a recruiter that didn't speak to you properly. You have almost zero chance of enduring what truck drivers go through.

If you want to do this badly enough that you'll endure the exhaustion, loneliness, lack of respect, fear, and stress that goes with this job then go for it. But it's plain to see that right now you're way too sensitive and you're expecting way too much. You start as a grunt from ground level zero and work your way up in this industry by proving yourself over time. If you have the character to handle that then you have a fighting chance.

Have a look at these resources. They'll help you understand the challenges you're facing a lot better:

Thanks for the feedback, Brett. I know driving will be a whole lot different from the office. I'm just trying to stitch my experiences together to form some of background to go work off. Clearly I have a lot to learn, and that's fine by me. Looking back on the situation, I probably did just let myself get bent out of shape over a small difficulty. While I'm not used to being in the position I am not, I suppose I either have to adapt or clear on out and apply to positions in another industry.

What's funny is that I've had to deal with mountains of other people's bull**** every time I work in India, but I still let myself get worked up about all this. I'm embarrassed! The decisions must be getting to me.

We'll see how it goes. I've worked seventy hours per week before and I'm sure I can do it again. However, I'm definitely a newcomer to trucking and have had my reservations about what the lifestyle might entail. Both of my former bosses, who drove before starting their companies, said that a year-long contract and commitment was going to be every bit as exhausting as you described. So, even if I'm up for a new challenge, I'm going to read through the resources you've provided to ensure this challenge is the right one for me.

Thanks again. I can see it's important to tuck my past work experiences away to build a perspective on something I don't know much about. I really do appreciate the frank opinions and the time you to took to give me feedback.

So far as companies go, I did read a lot of terrible reviews about CR England's training program and some less-than-favorable reviews about Swift (which one of the truckers I've been talking to encouraged me to stay away from).

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

Ryan, you simply can't write Prime off because of this. You are going to have issues because of being out of the country like you've been. I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get my first trucking job. To be honest, I kind of chuckled when I read your post.

Recruiters will go for the low hanging fruit. You are going to have issues that will require extra work. That is why they told you to not call back until you got "x" number of things done. They want to see if you're really willing to do what is necessary to get into orientation. At this point you decided that you weren't.

I'm not gonna bore you wirh my experience, but I can assure you that if you want this bad enough you'll be a little more willing to jump through the hoops that are set before you.

You may find somebody who will bring you on board a little easier, but it will be years until they will be paying you like Prime will at the very start.

Thanks for the insight - I really do appreciate it.

I'll reach back out to Prime and the same recruiter after I come up with the reference letters she wanted. Honestly, I think I was just letting the stress of job hunting hit me around the head. My experience with trucking has so far been limited to the office side of operations, so I suppose I'm just being taken off guard by the first few steps into hauling. It doesn't help that I had a phone interview for a freelance writing gig before doing my call-back - there couldn't have been a bigger difference!

Going off what everyone has written so far, I'll try to readjust my expectations for hiring and orientation. I guess I just had a set expectations of what recruitment should be like, based off my past experiences, and thought something was off when it might not have been.

We'll see how it goes. I have to get three people in India to verify I was there before taking the process forward.

Regardless of whether Prime or Roehl pans out, I'm going to learn what I can and make the best of the experience.

Again, appreciate it a lot! I've gotten a ton of information from this forum and Reddit, which has made navigating all these applications and conversations a lot easier.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

Take a step back and ask yourself, "Was it personal?" Your recruiter may not have been as smooth as she could have been but every trucking company needs to verify your employment history for DHS. There's a good reason - look at what happened in Berlin last month or Nice last summer.

I had the misfortune of working for a company that went bankrupt. I had to track down the CEO at his new job and ask him to vouch for me. Good luck getting the CEO of any publicly traded company to take you call. I got lucky.

Your rep was skeptical - how many stories do you think she's heard over the years? She was just doing her job. If that's all it takes to scramble your bacon trucking may not be for you.

I worked doing dispatch and am more than used to dealing with rude brokers, lying brokers, and rate-cutting brokers. I don't think my bacon is too easily scrambled. Working in logistics and supporting myself as a pizza deliveryman in college taught me not to take things too personally. However, I have a hard time taking a recruiter seriously when they instruct me to call them and then finish that call with, "I don't want to hear from you again until I get pictures of your passport stamps and an employment verification from Random Sandwich Delivery Place."

Dunno. Guess it could be just culture shock. I've spent the last couple years feeling like I was on even ground with my bosses, booking loads, and hiring drivers myself. I'll try not to take that sort of thing personally in the future, but I've never had an interview or hiring situation wherein the recruiter seemingly made a point to be rude.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Bad experience with Prime, Inc., recruiting. What other companies have good CDL training programs?

Using the reports on this website as well as first-hand experiences recounted on Reddit, I've written off CR England and am hesitant about Swift. Considering Roehle but am skeptical of their drug-testing policies (I just spent half a year in a country where weed is decriminalized, cheap, and common).

Have to vent a little about my experience with Prime:

Prime seemed great and like a done deal until Friday. Good God - my recruiter was impressively unprofessional when I followed her instructions to call a day after our first conversation. While I suppose I can't reasonably expect her to remember my name, who I am, or that she'd asked me to ring, I would have hoped that courtesy might be in the cards. Unfortunately, she really ruffled my feathers when asking for me to provide verification that I'd worked for one summer in India. She essentially called me a liar without saying the words ("not to be nasty, but am I supposed to believe that you just hopped on a plane and flew to India or what?" - I've been to 30 countries in the past four years and lived in India for a year and a half! Part of the reason why I wanna pay for college by trucking is because I love life on the road!!) and made a handful of very unprofessional comments. By the time we ended our conversation, I felt like she had no respect for me or my desire to work with Prime. It's not even like I have a bad resume. I have, in fact, worked to recruit drivers for two small trucking companies! I get how the game works, and it's not like that (unless big companies are really just so inundated by applicants they don't care about prospective employees at all).

I don't want to let my ego get in the way of a potential job - working for a year would let me accomplish a lot, including paying off all of my personal debt and much of my student debt - but I really feel mistreated. Nobody ever talked to me like that, even when I was a teenager and interviewing for McDonald's and pizza delivery jobs. I'm probably going to call the Prime hotline on Monday and see if I can switch to another recruiter, but I'm looking for alternatives.

Sorry for the Prime rant. Just needed to vent and get that off my shoulders.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking as a way to help pay for college?

Brett wrote in response to Ryan:

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If you intend to go back to school in September I would say forget about trucking for now. If anything I would shoot for a job in an office of a trucking company because you have experience there already. You could jump in and contribute rather quickly and wouldn't have to worry about paying back any tuition for schooling.

But you don't enough time between now and when school starts in September to make it really pay off financially. You'll be roughly six months into your rookie year of driving and that's about the time people really just start putting it all together. That's when you've gotten better at managing your time and resources on the road, you've developed a decent relationship with your dispatcher , and the company is trusting you with more important freight and higher miles.

I would only consider going into trucking if I had a minimum of one full year to put into it. Otherwise the slow start that rookie drivers usually get and the contracts that have to be paid off if you don't stick around long enough would prevent the endeavor from being financially worthwhile.

double-quotes-end.png

Ryan I totally agree with Brett on this. Perhaps what you are not taking into consideration is the un-paid time while in school, some un-paid time between graduation and getting the CDL, and then any wait for a mentor (trainer). Once mentoring (road training) you are paid about $10 per hour for any time you drive. 200 hours is the minimum training drive time with Swift.

From the time you start school to your first check (assuming you graduate on time and pass the CDL on the first attempt) you are realistically looking at a minimum of 6 weeks until your first paycheck.

Your only other option would be to look into Roehl. They will pay you while in school. But again if your long-term goal is to drive, the time you are not driving while in graduate school may require you to retake all of the schooling before any company will promote you to solo status.

My bad - I didn't realize I had a second page with replies.

The company I'm talking to right now is Prime. They said they provide $200 advances per week for the first 14 to 30 days and then guarantee at least $700 per week for the second phase of training (60 days running teams with a trainer). After that, they said you can choose to go solo and gave a rate of $.43 cpm for flatbed, which seemed a little high for such a large company.

If I do this, I'll put school on hold for another one or two semesters. I've already been out for a year; I doubt another year is going to kill me, or my motivation to finish (I really, really just want to get my damn degree).

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking as a way to help pay for college?

I would only consider going into trucking if I had a minimum of one full year to put into it. Otherwise the slow start that rookie drivers usually get and the contracts that have to be paid off if you don't stick around long enough would prevent the endeavor from being financially worthwhile.

Thanks for the feedback. I sent in an application to Prime and was told to call back tomorrow to see whether I'd be approved. The recruiter seemed optimistic and said she couldn't think of any reasons I might be rejected. She also said, tentatively, that I could be enrolled for the next course, which begins on January 16th.

If I were to accept any possible offer and go down to Missouri for training, it'd be with the intention of completing the terms of the contract. I like the thought of taking a year to re-consider my career path, pay off my debts, and focus on school without so many loans hanging over my head. Since I've already been out of education for a year, I don't think another is going to make a big difference.

My biggest reservations are just with the contract and any possible problems with expected pay not matching up to reality. I'm an adventurous guy too - I went off and lived in India by myself for a year and a half, earning money writing magazine articles and being an extra in Bollywood movies. Change isn't something I mind, but a year-long obligation is intimidating.

What do you all enjoy about doing trucking that makes you love it so much? It's just hard for me to get a good angle on looking from the outside-in. I asked my parents for advice and they just recommended doing whatever I thought would be best.

Appreciate all the advice from everyone. I have thought about the military long and hard as well, but like I said, I'm very contract-averse.

Thanks again for all the advice. Trying to make sense of this idea is tricky. Everything I read online contradicts everything else.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking as a way to help pay for college?

You want to drive to make money for school?

It's possible, if you are frugal. However, there are two things to consider.

First, you will want to reduce rent and utilities costs. Do you rent or own? If you rent, can you move all your stuff into a storage facility? That will save a bunch of money. If you own a house and have a mortgage, things get uglier for short-term money saving.

Second, company sponsored training costs money. You (typically) either have to work for X period of time at a reduced pay rate, or you have to repay them from earnings. This normally takes a year or so, and will take a big chunk out of the money you would have wanted to put aside for school.

If you store your stuff, live in the truck, and are frugal, you can save a decent chunk of money in a year.

Thanks for the response.

I currently live at home. My mom lived with her parents while earning her masters degree and has encouraged me to do the same for as long as I'd like. Rent won't be an issue, although I'm planning to shift away once I resume taking university classes. At the very least, earning enough to pay off a loan I took on a motorcycle and for rent would be amazing. The less stress I have when I'm back in college, the better.

I think I'd be fine doing a contract for up to a year, as long as I were earning somewhat decently. I don't need a lot. Recently broke up with my girlfriend, too, so thee's no reason for me to get much home time. Frankly, I'd love to just work and pay off the majority of my bank-held debt and student debt. Another year of university isn't going to cost me too much - graduating $10,000 in the hole would be better than the $25k I've already amassed.

Otherwise, I don't spend much. I've traveled overseas a lot since I was 19, and that was all through throwing my paychecks into the bank. Might not have been the best use of money according to some, but I know how to budget when I've got a goal to reach.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking as a way to help pay for college?

Hey guys,

I'm a neuroscience student up in the Rust Belt. I've spent the better part of the last three years traveling, taking classes, and working dispatch. Not too long ago, I was struck by the realization that I don't want to spend my life working in a laboratory. While I do plan on switching majors and wrapping my degree up, I still need to make money to fund my education.

I'm 23 years old now. I've talked over my options with a couple of my old bosses, both of whom used to drive. They suggested that I could do a training program with a large carrier like Swift, get my CDL, ride out my contract, and then use what I earn to pay tuition and loans. Honestly, I don't think it sounds like a bad idea - I won't be able to enroll in courses again until at least September, and have bills that need to be paid in the interim. I've always enjoyed traveling and wouldn't mind being able to see some more of the country. It'd beat flipping burgers, wouldn't it?

However, I do have some reservations. Nothing I can come across online seems to paint a clear picture of what trucking is like for newcomers. People either say that it's a solid path forward, or that you'll get stuck forking out all sorts of costs - tolls, meals, whatever - just as a beginning company driver. Moreover, a lot of the "get-your-CDL-and-drive-for-nine-months" deals seem a little fishy. What I read online about CR England's program is that they push newbies to lease and punish those who don't. On the other hand, the reviews I read on this website and others are more favorable towards Swift Transportation, for instance.

My intention is to eventually finish my degree and get an MBA. I've worked my ass off since I was 18 to avoid debt and travel overseas; now is the first time since then I've been job-less.

Does driving for about a year seem like a realistic path to paying for tuition? Will the beginning wages be too low for me to get much out of?

I know a bit about the lifestyle because I did dispatch and hired a couple drivers for my last company, but I'm way more familiar with the office side of things than not. My biggest fear is signing up for a CDL training course with a large carrier and getting screwed by the contract or given no miles after not leasing.

Sorry if any of this sounds stupid. I've been working around truckers for years now, but don't know if getting a CDL is going to help me out or screw me over.

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