Should I Pursue The Trucking Industry?

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John S.'s Comment
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New here and am thinking about pursuing the trucking industry I've been talking to some recruiters from Prime and Swift and I've been talked out of pursuing this industry from my father in law due to he claims there are no benefits I can gain and its just nothing but horrible to be a trucker. He was an owner/operator for many years and have retired as of recent. I'd like to know if starting out as a company driver is really worth it and what's the best company to work for. I've been told stories of some shady practices so I want to make a final decision. Thank you so much for any advice.

Mr. Jackhole's Comment
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As for me. The possibility of ****ing off the father in law, would be the icing on the cake. But seriously, it is all about how you make it work for you. You're the head of your destiny, follow your heart.

Michael's Comment
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Well, you get paid to see the country, the pay is enough for me to go back into trucking instead of being a network engineer, starter companies are just that (to me anyway). After you have a year experience it opens a whole bunch of doors, for example a company I wanted to drive for but didn't have 3 years exp so they couldn't hire me, but they would have got me to the house twice a week and on wknds. Some company drivers make over $900 a week others more or less depends all on what you want to do and talking with more than just the recruiters if possible to see if that company fits what you want to do.

As far as the best company no one can answer that for you what do you want to make, haul, and hometime.

Good luck

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

John S.'s Comment
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Thank you so much for the replies so far, have you all heard anything negative about prime Inc??

Mr. Jackhole's Comment
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Lol . Heard good and bad about every company. Seriously if you want to know anything about Prime , read Daniel B's diary .

Dutch's Comment
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If you enjoy a game of chess, and can usually stay three moves ahead, you will probably do well dealing with dispatch.

The best thing I like about the trucking industry, and the one thing that probably keeps me here due to my health problems, is that I don't have to work the way I did when I stood on concrete all day in a manufacturing environment. Another plus, is that I don't have an ego maniac standing over my shoulder, who is never satisfied no matter how much production I put out.

No experience dealing with Prime, but you should expect to pay your dues during your first year of driving.

Susan D. 's Comment
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New here and am thinking about pursuing the trucking industry I've been talking to some recruiters from Prime and Swift and ... I've been talked out of pursuing this industry from my father in law... due to he claims there are no benefits I can gain and its just nothing but horrible to be a trucker. He was an owner/operator for many years and have retired as of recent. I'd like to know if starting out as a company driver is really worth it and what's the best company to work for. I've been told stories of some shady practices so I want to make a final decision. Thank you so much for any advice.

So you say you've been talked out of it? Ok, then why are you asking us if you should?

I guess I can put it like this.. the trucking industry certainly isn't for everyone... no shame in that. It's more of a lifestyle decision.

I'm assuming you are married, so what does your wife think?

In my opinion (and I'm positive many here will agree), being a company driver is the only way to fly as owning your own truck (s) is TOUGH, stressful, and involves a huge amount of risk. I've known more than my fair share of drivers who love trucking as well as some who hate it lol. It's a hard life, but a good one.

The best company to work for is the one that meets your needs. Will you have a rider or a pet? What frequency of hometime are you looking for? What area do you live in? You don't have to live near a terminal to work for a particular company, but you must live within their hiring area to be considered.

Oh and I almost forgot. . Shady practices? Like what? Me personally, I want the information in writing and the company that did that from the get go, will have me as a driver soon.

Take a look around this site. It's full of tons of searchable information about companies, schools, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. . As well as frequented by some awesome and experienced drivers.

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.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Thank you so much for the replies so far, have you all heard anything negative about prime Inc??

like Martin said. Read Daniel B's diary.

There are several here that are driving for Prime, or at various stages of training. Any one, would be glad to share their experiences. One post I would read, is Prime truly cares, started by Kenny S.

Jordan E.'s Comment
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I just recently decided to get into trucking. Graduating from Sage trucking school soon and looking forward to getting started. I decided to jump into for specific reasons, #1 being I am tired of sitting behind a desk in a little cubicle for $10 to $15 an hour and spending most of my money on rent and the rest on bills. With trucking I am able to get rid of my rent payment. The money I save from not paying rent goes directly to accomplishing my Main goal of buying a Truck & Travel Trailer. I don't want to be tied down to rent contract of any kind anymore. Once I have the truck and Trailer I will drive local or part time for someone just to maintain what I have. So from a totally inexperienced person joining the industry, I say only do it if it makes total sense for you. Look at the entire picture and make your decision. Again I have no experience, listen to those in the industry and know how it works. I feel its going to work well for me and my goals.

Jordan

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Michael's Comment
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As far as Prime goes here is what I can tell you of how I see them and each one of us will tell you something different some good, some bad, but you can't go by just what someone says all the time either.

Overall don't believe everything you hear my situation is a little complicated atm. I was living in south carolina, and in the process of moving back to indiana. Not being sure and my fault as well, was told when you get the hard copy CDL just go back and transfer it to what ever state your going to be out of. So I got a TNT trainer from South Carolina and just found out this week that I cannot transfer to South Carolina, Why? I cannot show residency there anymore, no utility bill or rent receipt can be produced anymore which is required to do so. Since me and my Dad have the same name and some bills are still in his name Indiana is going to have to be my choice. Again that is my fault. So next time I get to Springfield I will be looking for a TNT trainer that lives close to Indiana. I have 3yrs experience and my trainer has been driving 1.5 yrs which really limits conversation since I attended TDI back in the 90's, I do not like how the trucks do not have a johnny bar(trailer brake handle) as being able to control the trailer separately could you show you how the trailer would react on snow roads under a hard brake and could make adjustments. So there's a lot I don't talk with my trainer about. I could catch fire for this one, but it's one thing to be a steering wheel holder(as some where called in my time) and a driver.

I got sick at orientation and didn't know who to talk to over the wknd and you are told if that happens stay in your room, so that is what I did aside from letting the instructors know and they can pass it on. I was starting to get a little worried called my recruiter and she told me who to get in touch with and all she told me was I needed to let her know everyday if I was going to class or not. I had streph and would just send her an email every morning and she would ask if I was going or not. I let her know when the doctor appointment was so she knew I was getting it taken care of and was not given a hard time and when I started to feel better let her know and was informed of what to do.

While at Prime East while everybody else would be huddled in a group talking or whatever I would go out on the pad and talk with the trainers not to chit chat, but to find out what they were having there students do to maneuver the trailer. I always watched the back of the trailer when I was backing and wanted to find out what the students were being shown.

Orientation was awesome, they have a truck/trailer at the campus where students stay so going over pre trip is anytime you want to practice it when you have free time. The 1st week will want to make you pull your hair out, standing in line for 3-4hrs, asking people to hold your place so you can get something to eat before they go home at 5pm, then taking all the CDL tests, getting to the DMV before they close and so fourth. I had everything done in 3 days some where still working on getting everything done on the 5th day(Friday).

Next is either getting a trainer to complete the PSD portion and moving onto the TNT portion. I took the first trainer I could get there really was no interview I wanted to get TNT done and over with, but since SC will not work and thought I would give reefer a try again after doing that for 2 years am so bored with it it's not even funny. The miles started off great, 6500, then 5100, and now 2200. I am not going to be running reefer when a team is running solo miles. I have always wanted to go flatbed and that also helped with making my decision.

Also interview the trainers as they will be observing you as well, mine use to pay a little extra on top of what prime pays during the TNT phase, but instead will only be buying the starter kit for his students after completion of TNT. Some of the trainers run the trucks 65 and some run them 55.

The only negative thing I have to say is concerning dispatch considering I made the call to let him know that I didn't want reefer anymore and was going to switch to flatbed and there was a little bit of an attitude that started to come out and after mentioning a few things he dropped it, not to mention when you start asking whats going on with only 2200 miles. I didn't get rude or anything of the such, and the call ended with cracking a few jokes.

Thats about all I can offer and even though Prime isn't what I remember back when they were considered left lane trucks and some I got to know 15 years ago are still there and it great seeing them and talking with them again, it does make me wish I would have come to them back when they were twisting my arm.

But overall, even though now I consider them to be a starter company everyone there has been helpful and you will just have to talk with them and see if it's a company that will work for you.

Good luck

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

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