If I Have To Go With A One Year Contract, I Like What I Have Found About Driver Solutions And USA Truck

Topic 1022 | Page 1

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Tim L.'s Comment
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It is still up in the air about whether I will be able to come up with money in advance to go to CDL school at the JC, or if I end up having to go Company Sponsored. I won't know until my mother's estate is settled, and if I have any inheritance after all her medical and legal bills are paid.

If I am forced to go company sponsored and a one year contract, I am now leaning toward Driver Solutions and a job with USA Truck or PAM. I would hope of the two I could go with USA Truck, but I am not sure if Driver Solutions gives one a choice. Either would be okay. I would have to come up with very little up front costs, mainly for food.

What attracts me to USA Truck is they seem to care more for their drivers happiness and well being then some of the others that have no up front cost. They don't have a leasing program that they want to shove down your throat. The drivers I have talked to seem to be reasonably happy with their mileage and equipment. Many of the trucks have APU'sand 1500W inverters. For the few that do not have APU's , they allow idling. I guess the main con would be the majority of the mileage comes from the eastern part of the country, but that is the parts I have never been to.

Can anyone give me any opinions on this option, USA Truck, and PAM? Has anyone been through any of the schools in the Driver Solutions system?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Starcar's Comment
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Tim, I seem to remember that USA is one of the companies that have all automatic trannys in their trucks. now I have nothing against autos..(tho I wouldn't want one in my truck). But if you are only trained on auto tranny's it would severely limit you if you ever wanted to move to another company. I think it should be a question that you ask the recruiter. I know Redgator started out in a truck with an auto tranny, and now is changing to a standard shift truck. Her schooling taught both, so she isn't having any problems with the change. But I urge you to be sure that they train you in a stick shift truck...if they also train you in an auto shift truck..cool beans..But the majority of the trucking companies run standard shift trannys in their truck. Get all the training you can...you will find that you will use it all, and wish you had more. But the most important learning you will do is when you go out with your trainer OTR > Good Luck...and keep us updated on your progress. !!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

BuckeyeCowboy's Comment
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Tim,

I recently went through C1 Driver's Solutions. I did not pass the road test. First thing to keep in mind with them. If you do not pass the school's requirements or pass your road test and get your cdl , you owe them money. That needs to be your first thought. Secondly, it is a 3 week program. They will give you 5 weeks, if you need it, but they like you to do it in 3. If you go to the Indianapolis school, when I left there at the beginning of May the state had come in and shut down a bunch of the trucks that they had to go on the road, including the two you tested at state in. So, be aware of that too. I believe they have them fixed now though. You will be assigned PAM or USA by the recruiter, but many of my friends asked to change and they let them, so if you get assigned PAM, you can asked to be switched to USA Truck.

In regards to the automatics, USA truck has a few, but most of their equipment are sticks. I have several friends with USA Truck and they all have manual transmissions. I think USA does give you a choice once you get a new truck. Also, I have heard whispers, mainly on the internet, but they are whispers that USA stock is in trouble and they could file for bankruptcy. I don't know how true it is, again a rumor, but I would check on that before you make up your mind. In regards to PAM....I have a friend that left them in the first month and went to CRST. He just paid the bill from Drivers Solutions. One other driver was complaining about their truck being in the shop for 6 days for something minor and having to wait on loads, but all my other friends seem to like PAM.

Also, one more thing with both carriers. You will be required to team drive for a minimum of 6 months. You can choose your partner, but if you don't want to team that might not be what you are looking for.

As for me, I am in a private non-JC trucking school and I love it. I am getting so much more knowledge than I did before. With JC's you can choose who you want to work for and often times recruiters from other companies will come in and try to get you to work for them. If you can't get the funding, ask about the WIA program or whatever your county has. They will pay for your education and all expenses related for you to go to school.

I am not trying to influence you either way. I wanted to give you my experience so you can have some information. Keep in mind, my experience will be different than yours. Drivers Solutions is a good choice if you have no other options. But just do your research. My biggest problem is I never researched anything and went in feet first and got hosed while doing it. However, like I said Driver's Solutions may work for you. I know several people went through them and are happy. Good luck in your search. If you have any other questions please let me know.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I am in a private non-JC trucking school and I love it

What is a "JC trucking school"? Never heard the expression.

Brock Monday's Comment
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I think it means non junior college trucking school

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, it was a moot point, as USA Truck/Driver Solutions does not hire from my area in Texas. Apparently, you must reside in Texas closer to the freight lane of I35 in south Texas as I am about 80 miles away.

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

Well, it was a moot point, as USA Truck/Driver Solutions does not hire from my area in Texas. Apparently, you must reside in Texas closer to the freight lane of I35 in south Texas as I am about 80 miles away.

Try Truck Drivers Institute (TDI). They have several schools. You will only need a couple hundred $$ up front and many of the companies that hire from them have a tuition reimbursement program. I graduated on the 26th of July and am now in orientation with Averitt Express.

Hope this helps

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Hey Tim....they ain't the only skunk in the woods...keep huntin"....

Tim L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Tim....they ain't the only skunk in the woods...keep huntin"....

I will. I am posting my diary in the Diaries forum. I am applying for several of the company sponsored training companies in the next day or two and will see what they offer. I still believe Con-Way would be my best fit, but I don't know if I can swing the training up front costs at Crowder College. I think I would be content at Swift about as much as most of the others I have to choose from, and they have already done my preliminary background checks and asked me to go to their academy. My only real concerns are their idle policy, and their pay scale is not as straightforward as many other companies. I might not make as much money either, but for the first year, I am not really that concerned about that either. As I mentioned in the other thread, they also have the advantage of having terminals all over the place and should allow me to easily travel from coast to coast. I want that experience.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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