Pros And Cons Of Swift

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Nathan G.'s Comment
member avatar

I hear a lot of people talk bad about swift. I just wanted some honest input on swift. the pros and cons I will be going thru there training program at crystal lake Illinois. the school is eagle training services. Any input on swift would be helpful thanks guys

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, Nathan! I've driven for Swift for just about a year. You will read lots of BS slamming the company, mainly because it's very big (easier target) any they're a "starter" company, meaning they hire and train total newbies, like me.

In the other hand, I've found them to be fair and honest and even a bit patient with the drivers. But don't forget Swift is a very competitive company, so it's not a place to mess around.

Here's my diary of the Swift Academy in Memphis, TN.

Also, my experience in their Mentor Road Training

In this last year, I've driven OTR , shuttle (you're home every day but I drove 512 miles each day) and regional dedicated (this account's home on weekends).

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Nathan, we have had a lot of drivers in here go through Swift's training and then go on to have successful trucking careers. Look, you are going to find all kind of negative things about any of these larger companies, and Swift is one of the largest ones out there.

Here's the deal: There are a lot of people who jump on the "truck driving band wagon" because they think this career will be an easy paycheck - after all when you go looking for available jobs there are always truck driving jobs advertised. Then you've got the misconceptions of truck drivers making money hand over fist, and it all comes together to produce a vast array of folks trying to make a start into a business that they have no understanding of at all. That is where the proverbial "poo" hist the fan - and it happens a lot at these larger companies just because of the sheer volume of people who start and fail very quickly at them. Then, their frustration at failing leads them to believe they were somehow misled or mistreated, when in truth they were totally unprepared for what they were getting into. That is when they find that there are entire websites and forums which seem to be devoted to slandering the big truck driving companies for mistreating their employees, so they jump right in there and share their exaggerated tale of woe to see if they can top the last guys disparaging remarks about the big trucking company, and it just becomes a big bunch of crybabies trying to out do the other one with the worst tale of "woe is me" - look what Swift/Schneider/Werner/Prime/C.R. England did to me!

You've got nothing to worry about with Swift - if you want to get into this career and you are prepared to do what it takes to get it started, they will train you and put you in a really nice rig, but brother you had better be prepared for a fast ride! They will expect you to learn quickly, and they just don't have the time to babysit you or hold your hand. That is just how it works out here - doesn't matter who you go to work for - you will only help yourself if you are a self starter who can figure out how to get things done. We use the word solo a lot when we are talking about truck driving. After you spend some time with a trainer at a company, then you will go "solo" in your own truck - solo is a good word when describing this career. You are on your own much of the time, you will have a dispatcher , but they can't help you make the proper decisions. So many people when starting out in this career make some poor decisions, and they come back to bite them. If you'll hang around in this forum and soak up some of the valuable assistance you can get here, you will be just fine when you go to Swift, or whichever company you end up starting with.

If you haven't done it yet, you should take a look through our Truck Driver's Career Guide, follow all the links you come across, there is a lot of valuable information in there for someone like yourself who is just getting started in this business.

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.
Daniel's Comment
member avatar

I second that. My trainer (not going to personally slander Joseph; Although he does belong in a mental facility) NEVER showed, nor let me back the truck up once; I was also on his truck for 2 extra weeks (free of charge to him). To top that off: I might have done partial paperwork (see: Qualcomm messages & protocol) 3 times total.

I was then put in a truck with a complete imbecile for 2 weeks, then it got better after I got a new co-driver (who I remain in contact with monthly).

Definitely thrown to the wolves with CRST! Thankfully I'm a fish out of stones in a river. :)

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Nathan G.'s Comment
member avatar

thanks a bunch makes me feel better knowing some about the company. trucking has been in my family years. I already have a jump start I went got my permit on my own. I studied my butt off walk out of dmv only missing 1 question on the whole test. I was pretty proud of that. not that what I just said had anything to do with swift. I have the mind set to follow thru with what I have started. I just wanted to get some advice from you veterans. I tried to get advice on facebook but to many people putting me down for wanting to drive for swift. thanks for your support and advice I will keep you posted on my progress.

Nathan, we have had a lot of drivers in here go through Swift's training and then go on to have successful trucking careers. Look, you are going to find all kind of negative things about any of these larger companies, and Swift is one of the largest ones out there.

Here's the deal: There are a lot of people who jump on the "truck driving band wagon" because they think this career will be an easy paycheck - after all when you go looking for available jobs there are always truck driving jobs advertised. Then you've got the misconceptions of truck drivers making money hand over fist, and it all comes together to produce a vast array of folks trying to make a start into a business that they have no understanding of at all. That is where the proverbial "poo" hist the fan - and it happens a lot at these larger companies just because of the sheer volume of people who start and fail very quickly at them. Then, their frustration at failing leads them to believe they were somehow misled or mistreated, when in truth they were totally unprepared for what they were getting into. That is when they find that there are entire websites and forums which seem to be devoted to slandering the big truck driving companies for mistreating their employees, so they jump right in there and share their exaggerated tale of woe to see if they can top the last guys disparaging remarks about the big trucking company, and it just becomes a big bunch of crybabies trying to out do the other one with the worst tale of "woe is me" - look what Swift/Schneider/Werner/Prime/C.R. England did to me!

You've got nothing to worry about with Swift - if you want to get into this career and you are prepared to do what it takes to get it started, they will train you and put you in a really nice rig, but brother you had better be prepared for a fast ride! They will expect you to learn quickly, and they just don't have the time to babysit you or hold your hand. That is just how it works out here - doesn't matter who you go to work for - you will only help yourself if you are a self starter who can figure out how to get things done. We use the word solo a lot when we are talking about truck driving. After you spend some time with a trainer at a company, then you will go "solo" in your own truck - solo is a good word when describing this career. You are on your own much of the time, you will have a dispatcher , but they can't help you make the proper decisions. So many people when starting out in this career make some poor decisions, and they come back to bite them. If you'll hang around in this forum and soak up some of the valuable assistance you can get here, you will be just fine when you go to Swift, or whichever company you end up starting with.

If you haven't done it yet, you should take a look through our Truck Driver's Career Guide, follow all the links you come across, there is a lot of valuable information in there for someone like yourself who is just getting started in this business.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I tried to get advice on facebook but to many people putting me down for wanting to drive for swift.

Yeah, totally ignore that kind of baloney. It really is just a matter of Swift being an easy target because they're the largest company in North America.

I mean, if someone wants to take the time to make fun of you because you're driving for one of the largest, most successful companies in North America then great! In fact, maybe if they get on a roll they wouldn't mind taking the time to make fun of you for other great things like being good looking or being a true professional or having a wonderful family. I mean, if they're gonna 'give you the business' they oughta lay it on thick, right?

The world is full of knuckleheads and plenty of them drive trucks. That's just the reality of it.

smile.gif

AdkMatt's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to sprinkle a little bit of pessimism into the mix here. I attended Swift's driving academy in Memphis this past November, went to orientation and 200 hours behind the wheel with a mentor in December, and now I've been solo with for a little over a week. So since you are going to do 3rd party training, I'll leave that part of the experience out.

The mentorship was alright. I actually kind of enjoyed it for awhile. However, my trainer was different from most. We didn't drive teams like most students do after the 50 hour mark. Because I was the only one that drove, there was a lot that I didn't get to do because he wanted to keep running as much as possible. He did all the trip planning, he dealt with almost everything on the qualcomm , and he seldom let me back the truck on my own without some kind of input. The bad part is that now that I'm solo, things are rather scary for me at the moment because I never really got to do anything on my own.

So speaking of going solo... well, it's not going great to be honest. Firstly, I'm technically running without a driver manager at the moment, because I was told that there "aren't enough DM's" to handle anyone new at the moment. What? If that wasn't bad enough, they didn't have a truck available for me at the terminal when it was time for me to go solo. So they gave me a bus ticket to Jackson, Mississippi, and gave me an address of where I'd find my truck. I wasn't informed of it, but this truck has been abandoned by the previous driver. Garbage everywhere, reeking of cigarette smoke, batteries drained, all the permits were out of date, equipment missing, broken vent in the sleeper (so freezing cold air bellows in all night). You name it, there was something wrong with it.

So I got a load and took it back to Memphis (also finding out that the truck shakes violently around 55mph or so). I told them what was wrong with it, but nobody was interested in getting any of it fixed (comfort nor mechanical issues). So all I have to work with is a filthy truck that's falling apart and my mentor's DM to help me with some issues if I need him. Just yesterday, I was given two loads: one delivering in Philadelphia tomorrow, and the other going to Atlanta. This load had an issue and couldn't be delivered today, so I declined the next GA load. I was sent a message back basically forcing me to recommit to the load, even though I KNOW it was going to be late. So I contacted my interm DM and he told me that I was being played by the load planners and to re-decline the load.

So at this point, I'm not really sure who I'm supposed to trust at this company (besides other drivers, they're pretty good people). I didn't want to write a whole topic on this because I know the other forum users would look at it as another Swift-bashing post. I'm not ready to say that I hate the company, but this first impression has certainly made things sour for me so far. I'm going to stick with it though. I know how important getting that OTR experience is to getting new opportunities.

So if you made it this far and still want more information, ask away, haha.

(By the way, Errol, congrats on the 1 year at Swift! Yes, I saw your name on the anniversary board, haha)

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

AdkMatt gets a laugh:

ask away, haha.

(By the way, Errol, congrats on the 1 year at Swift! Yes, I saw your name on the anniversary board, haha)

Yup, every trainer/mentor is different. After my 50 hours it was straight team. My mentor even got out of the truck to watch me back up. I did 10-11 hours then we swapped. I know, I seemed to have lucked out. And they had a KW for me the day after I upgraded. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

I can't believe you don't have adm ask to work with Jackie Collins - she used to DM the rookie fleet. Yeah - ASK!

Take the planners assignments. Countering and declining loads is not a good idea. You're new and don't quite get the pattern. If you get picky, planners and DMs will let you sit, and you know how much you'll make with 0 miles! Right now I'm sitting on a drive-all-day then deliver, in the evening, then pick up a load that's drive all night (allowing for the 10 hour break). And then do another overnight again!

If it looks like you're going to be late, use Macro 22 Running Late. Believe it or not, you're the boss of the load and if you're doing your job, keeping the DM posted with your arrival time is the thing to do. Often they call the receiver and reschedule for when you'll get there.

I don't know what you did with the shop. The Memphis shop is one of the better ones. You tell 'em what's wrong, they fix it. No attitude on their part.

I'm sending you a PM. Check your email and spam.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Ok everybody, AdkMatt's report is another example for you to see of how a rookie doesn't really understand the whole protocol of how you get things done. We had Christine give us a similar experience just the other day.

He's appalled at the condition of a truck he had to "recover" and considers it as a sign of how bad the company is. But any experienced driver knows that they're likely to find feces smeared all over the inside of an abandoned truck or even worse. Pristine tractors don't ever need to be recovered - it's the whacko drivers who leave their tractors somewhere odd and then quit and go home. They've usually failed badly and target their misguided frustration at the company by leaving them a ridiculous cleaning job.

Errol pointed out how to use the proper macros to communicate successfully. Most rookies want to talk about things with their managers, but soon you learn that electronic communications usually do not get ignored due to the fact that there is a written record of how the communication went.

There are things like what these two "new to the industry" folks are experiencing that turn many away at the beginning of their careers, but if you hang in there long enough and learn from the kind of folks who are here at Trucking Truth you'll find out how to get yourself to a level of experience in this business that is both rewarding and very satisfying.

It's tricky at best when you first get started, but being humble and teachable will go a long ways toward helping you lay hold of success in your initial trucking job.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School points out:

Errol pointed out how to use the proper macros to communicate successfully.

A further thought on "Running Late": being late for a pickup or delivery is not necessarily a failure on your part. Everybody knows things happen, from traffic jams to snow storms, even too-tight scheduling. It's just nice to keep the receiver updated so that they know when to expect you.

A week or so ago, I was late to a pick up. But I was scheduled so tightly that I had to "Run Late" for several days before I could catch up. No sweat, no tears for all those late stops.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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