Specific Questions For Prime Drivers

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Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

I have some questions about Prime that I am hoping our lovely Prime drivers on here might be able to help me out with.

1. HOME TIME - I'm curious how home time is counted. Let's assume I am scheduled for home time on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (assuming I've been out at least 4 weeks, of course). I understand that in order for me to get home time they will route a delivery reasonably close to my home so that I can just leave from that drop and get home. My question is whether or not the delivery day is considered Day 1 of home time, or does home time begin when my feet are up on my coffee table? Also, if hometime ends on Sunday, does that mean that on Monday I get my truck and start driving again, or could hometime on Sunday be cut based on a delivery schedule? (Short version of question is does home time run on a 24 hour basis or a daily basis?)

2. TRAINING FACILITY - I know they have a big training facility in MO. I live in VA, and was wondering if training is also done in the PA facility. If so I'm assuming proximity to training facility will determine which one I go to. If so, is there any difference in availability of trainers, etc. with the smaller facilities versus the main one in MO? (I'll be getting my CDL from a local CDL school and then going to Prime for training.)

3. ROUTING - Since I live on the East Coast will I be more likely to be assigned routes that stick with the NE area? I think I saw something about NE paying a little more, but I am looking forward to traveling across country. I certainly won't mind anything that can bring in more money, but seeing the rest of the country does have a large appeal as well, since that's the motivating factor for going into this line of work.

4. LIGHTWEIGHT TRUCKS - I have been reading a bit about Prime's lightweight fleet on here and was wondering which models are used. I've been trying to find as many videos/photos of the interiors but without a make/model it's a bit convoluted. I know there are subtle differences between makes/models and I'd love to see more if I can.

5. FIRST ASSIGNMENT AFTER TRAINING - Once training has been completed, and assuming I pass and they hand me my keys to my truck, is there any down time to regroup, buy supplies, outfit the truck, etc. or do they "graduate" you, hand you keys, and send you on your first assignment right away? I'm certainly not needing a long down time, but I was kind of hoping for at least 24 hours from when training ends to when I drive out by myself for the first time.

6. COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT AND SILLY QUESTIONS - Do they require a uniform, or can you wear whatever you want? Also, what's the likelihood I'll get a purple truck? (I know, I know! I'm such a girl! But I do love purple, and I saw one the other day and just LOVED it.) I'm kind of hoping most of their fleet is purple.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Alright, I'll come out of the shadows for this one.

1: A hometime day is a day where you are off 24 hours. If you get home at 0100 and have a delivery at 1600 but you're only gone for two hours that still does not count as a day off since you worked. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Let me give you a thorough example:

I was out on the road for 4 weeks so I have 4 days of hometime.

I get home Monday at 0900. I spend Tuesday and Wednesday at home. I deliver my load at 1200 on Thursday and come right back home. I spend Friday and Saturday at home. I'm available for dispatch on Sunday (usually early morning). Monday I was at home but I worked so it does not count, same with Thursday. So I had Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday off (4 days). While I was at home for the majority of the day, Monday and Thursday do not count because I worked.

2: You will be shipped in a small, cramped up bus often referred to as Greyhound to Springfield, MO. The smaller terminals (Salt Lake City, UT and Pittston, PA) only get students with some experience already. Those being shipped to UT/PA either get assigned trucks immediately after completing orientation or go through a much shorter training period. But you will be going to Springfield, MO I can assure you that. Trainers/Instructors are always a bit tough to find unless you get lucky. Treat it like you're an football player in college being scouted, appear like an All-Star to everyone around you. Lastly, the instructor does not come to you, you come to the instructor.

3: Absolutely do not go on the NE dedicated. That's the dumbiest thing you can do. You'll be OTR and your dispatcher will probably be based out of Springfield but there's a small chance you'll be based out of Pittston. It doesn't really matter though where your dispatcher is from. You'll be all 48 states unless you hope on that NE dedicated which it doesn't sound like you will.

4: I honestly cannot find much about them on the internet. I searched for awhile but they're just not advertised very often. Only a few companies run them so they're not as widely known as the other models. But they run 2014-2016 Eco-49 Freightliner Evolution. Don't worry too much about it, you won't be driving one anytime soon because you'll be in a fullsize truck during your long training process. The only real thread about these type of trucks is the one I created which I'm sure you saw already. For those that haven't, click this link.

5: "Once training has been completed, and assuming I pass and they hand me my keys to my truck"

I'm going to yell at you about what you just said first. Having any bit of doubt in yourself tells me you're not on the right page here. Tell yourself you will pass, you will succeed. There will be trials and tribulations but you will come out on top. Don't doubt yourself for a second, especially around an Instructor/Trainer. They hate that, I hate that and will never pick a student who doubts themselves. It's good to have some fear and to respect this job, but confidence is huge in my book. Quit the doubt, we'll see you solo one day. So let me fix your sentence for you.

"Once training has been completed, and when I pass and they hand me my keys to my truck"

When you get your first truck you'll tell them when you're available for a load. You'll get your 24 hours to get everything ready. They expect that so this isn't a concern. No one gets the keys to their truck and leaves the same day. In any case, you're the one telling them when you'll be ready.

6: No uniform, wear whatever you want. There's quite a bit of purple trucks out here so the chances are decent. But you will get what you get. The worst way to start your solo career is to complain about your first ride. Take what you get and just hope for a purple truck. As far as guarantees - there are none.

Hope I helped.

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

Hi Daniel!

Thank you so much for answering my questions. I really appreciate it.

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the home time because when I am home, my husband will try to have his work schedule accommodate me being home so we can spend some time together. I'm guessing that with your scenario I'll know the schedules ahead of time? I guess the key will be to try to have as many weekends be my home time, since he works a typical daywalker office job with weekends off. I'm not sure how possible that will be, but might be a good target to work towards over time.

I have read a lot about going after the trainers and not being shy about it. I'm not one to sit in the shadows waiting for someone to come to me. So hopefully that personality trait will be to my advantage.

I would like to not have to be on the NE regional if at all possible, and if it sounds like it's not something that is likely then I'll not worry about it. I really was wanting the OTR experience. I'm also not concerned about where I'm based out of so long as the miles are good and my home time is as their guidelines state.

Yeah, I had read the various threads on here about the lightweights. This question was more for curiosity than anything else. I'll be happy to have anything, really, so whatever they put me in is what I'll be driving. My understanding is that since I'm not interested in flatbed, and I'm not qualified (yet) for tanker (which I believe requires 1 year of driving experience), I'll likely be assigned a lightweight truck. I guess I'll find out for sure when I get the keys.

Thank you for that quick kick in the butt. I'm a fairly confident person, and I try to make sure that confidence doesn't spill over into ****iness, which is why I phrased my statement as I did. I'm very much a go-getter, and I have confidence in my intelligence and my ability to learn things fairly quickly. I spend 97% of the time being extremely excited about the prospect of trucking and all my plans definitely are phrased as "WHEN I am driving..." But I will admit that every once in a while, when I'm stopped in traffic next to an 18 wheeler, my brain says "Are you NUTS? What makes you think you can drive THAT thing??" But then I remind myself nobody just "knows" how to drive something like that and I'm just as likely to learn as the next person. I'll be sure to keep my confidence levels up when I'm training.

Oh, I certainly wouldn't complain about any truck. Full size or lightweight, no matter the color, I'm good. Like I said, it was a completely irrelevant and silly question.

Thanks so much for all the information!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Hudsonhawk's Comment
member avatar

Primes a good outfit, the home time leaves more to be desired but they are upfront about that part.

I'm about to head to springfield today for my upgrade. It's been a long process but I finally got the confidence for this. The job gets easier every day.

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

I was definitely well aware of the home time issue, but the company has a lot of things that I was looking for so I figured it was worth the sacrifice. Can't make money if the wheels aren't turning, right?

Good luck!!

Justin G.'s Comment
member avatar

A quick question about Prime for Daniel: I have heard talk of a waitlist for flatbedding. Any truth in this? if you are interested in going the flatbed route is there any problems or challenges in getting into that division? Thanks you, I hope I'm not thread bombing here.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

A quick question about Prime for Daniel: I have heard talk of a waitlist for flatbedding. Any truth in this? if you are interested in going the flatbed route is there any problems or challenges in getting into that division? Thanks you, I hope I'm not thread bombing here.

Well, it can be an issue. Heres why, there's a big shortage of instructors at Prime. Of those instructors, about 25% of fletbedders. So now you're even limiting yourself even more.

But I have a solution for you! Go on the reefer side for the PSD phase. Then go flatbed for the TNT phase. Make sense? So while you have a permit you'll be pulling a reefer. As soon as you get that license and will be team driving look for a TNT trainer that's a flatbedder. There's no shortage of flatbed TNT trainers.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Justin G.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow! That does make sense, thanks you!

ShortRound's Comment
member avatar

Hi Missy,

Daniel B. answered your questions pretty thoroughly, but I'dvlike to add a few things, as I followed a very similar path as the one you are planning.

2. Since you are coming in with your CDL , you CAN do your orientation at the Pittston terminal ( you may need to request this from your recruiter). You will not need to go through the PSD phase of training if you already have your CDL. Pittston will assign you a TNT instructor, based on a few questions/waivers you will take care of in orientation. You will get a chance to meet your trainer before you leave out. Pittston doesn't have trainers hanging around the terminal/hotel like Springfield does. The orientation experience was moreblaid back and "small townish" at Pittston, than what I've heard others descride of Springfield.

3. Your dispatcher will have the greatest impact on where you run. When you meet your dispatcher, you will discuss your/their strengths, weaknesses, goals, expectations, etc. Keep in mind that it should not be a boss/subordinate relationship, it should be a partnership, as you will earn/lose money together.

4. The LWs are definitely smaller inside, mostly lack of storage, but with some creativity, they can be made to be reasonably comfortable for a solo driver. I HIGHLY recommend you have the passenger seat removed, if it isn't already. If you want to PM me I can send a few pictures of what I have done to set mine up. The more self sufficient you make the rig, the cheaper it is to live on the road.

5. When I upgraded to my own truck, I had time to thoroughly inspect it, and have the shop repair a few minor things. I was able to get the truck set up with the few things I had with me, then let my dispatcher know when I was ready. She got me a load, that allowed me to get a good rest, and pickup early the next morning. That first load took me near my home for some much needed home time after TNT. There you can finish getting set up for life on the road. Something I wasn't told about upgrade...the guaranteed pay stops when you go for upgrade. You only get paid $100 that week for the Smith System class. The longer you take getting ready, the longer you are not getting paid.

6. You will be ASSIGNED a truck, BUT if there are several available you can talk to Paul if you have a preference. He does not HAVE to care, but he is pretty cool and will usually work with you (hint: finish your CHRetien as quickly as possible, you MAY get a sneaky peek at the list of available trucks).

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all the information!

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