Tough Choice To Make Swift Vs. Celadon For CST

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Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
member avatar

So last week I was all set to go to swift and start school Sept 30th, I was happier than a hog in mud. Then something happened that I didn't expect... I came across Celadon and their new school. So I did some research that included going to a website that I would not normally go to for trucking advise, but I read a fantastic thread about the school they opened this year. I contacted a recruiter, did all the normal steps of asking questions, filling out an application and even got offered a spot in a class time of my choosing. So what I might do is go with Swift, if it doesn't work out I could easily call Celadon, however if I were to hand pick a company to start with it would be Celadon. From what I have seen is they have smaller class sizes and will give you extra training if required. I know Brett always says the first company doesn't matter but I'm a loyalist. If you help me out I will repay the debt ten fold. I understand there will be days that make me want to crawl under the blankets and weep like a child, but I also know there will be days that I will be on top of the world.

I noticed the biggest reason people seem to wash out from company sponsored training is medical, or lying on the app, or attitude, or being stupid (alcohol, girls, drugs, being late for class) Well I am in great shape at 6'1 210 of solid muscle, don't smoke, don't drink, don't use drugs, I'm not on any meds, I know better than to talk back, and I have no reason to lie...in fact they already cleared my misdemeanor. I do love the ladies but I'm not going to risk everything for anyone.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Aces N Eights, you're not locked in with anyone just yet, so don't stress yourself out. If you like the way Celadon looks then start talking with their recruiters and see if they can get you signed up. There's nothing wrong with having options, in fact options are great to have. I hit some stumbling blocks when I started my career, but fortunately I had several pre-hires lined up already, so I was just able to get on the bus to the next available option and give it another try.

I recently encouraged one of our other members to go with Celadon, simply because from what I could tell about him I thought it was a really good fit for him.

Keep in mind at CRST you will have to team drive with somebody they match you up with. Teaming can be a tough way to get started in my opinion, but I've seen some people who like the idea of having someone else with them for that first year.

Sometimes having too many choices can add a load of stress on some people, so if it helps get yourself about three or four good solid choices and then make a commitment and go for it. But, keep us posted, we'd love to keep up with your progress.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pre-hires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the advice, and just to clarify I was not referring to CRST but rather Company Sponsored Training.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the clarification, sometimes I go through these posts so quickly that I miss the details. I try to post helpful advice when I get the chance to get in here, but sometimes I'm going too quickly and just don't catch the whole picture.

Thanks, and good luck with your decision making process.

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

I hear there are a lot that fail out of school. But most times, from what I understand it is usually because they don't try. They fail because they don't try and then they turn around and blame the school.

As far as for medical reasons. Yes, people can fail for that. I am not in the best shape in the world. But I have passed a DOT physical for my current job. If I don't pass one from school, then they are going above and beyond what is required by DOT.

My "current" employer. I actually should say, my past. I turned in all my keys and stuff last night. Their DOT physical requirements went above and beyond what is actually required. But I did pass.

Yes, there are reasons that people fail. But most times, the school doesn't have anything in it at all. Most times it falls right back to the student themselves.

I am the one that Old School told you about. I am leaving for Celadon at the end of the week. I start my training next Monday.

The reason I picked Celadon. Plain and simple. They pay for EVERYTHING. And nothing is taken out of your paycheck to pay them back.

Your ride up. Meals and housing. They even give you a $50 debit card to use on the weekends when their lunch room is not open.

The training is a bit long compared to some others. 3 weeks in the classroom and in the truck training. More if needed. Then 6 weeks OTR with a trainer. Some of the others are 3/3. But also some are longer.

But with most of the others, while the mileage pay is a little higher, they are taking money right back out of your paycheck to pay for the schooling you just went through.

With Celadon. You stay for 120,000 miles and you are done. No payback. No more requirements. Etc.

And two other factors that sold Celadon to me. Now this might just be a recruiters selling points. But they told me, I would be traveling coast to coast. And a lot of Canada. That means miles. Miles means money.

Most, not all, of the other companies I talked to were mainly midwest and east area. That limits mileage to an extent to me. You don't get as far in a 10 hour day in NE as you would out west.

The other selling point. I met two Celadon drivers out on the road and talked to them. Both of them told me, that Celadon was updating all of the equipment. The old stuff was in the shop too much. In doing that, if I didn't get a new truck right out of training, it wouldn't be more than a couple of months before they put me into a brand new truck of my own.

That to me is a great selling point. Yes, new trucks can break down too. But not as likely as a truck 2 or 3 years old with already 500,000+ miles on it.

Now. I won't say I am looking through "rose colored glasses" but it is something to think about. I am not banking on getting a new truck that soon. If it happens, fantastic.

Keep it safe out there. Joe S

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
member avatar

I hear there are a lot that fail out of school. But most times, from what I understand it is usually because they don't try. They fail because they don't try and then they turn around and blame the school.

As far as for medical reasons. Yes, people can fail for that. I am not in the best shape in the world. But I have passed a DOT physical for my current job. If I don't pass one from school, then they are going above and beyond what is required by DOT.

My "current" employer. I actually should say, my past. I turned in all my keys and stuff last night. Their DOT physical requirements went above and beyond what is actually required. But I did pass.

Yes, there are reasons that people fail. But most times, the school doesn't have anything in it at all. Most times it falls right back to the student themselves.

I am the one that Old School told you about. I am leaving for Celadon at the end of the week. I start my training next Monday.

The reason I picked Celadon. Plain and simple. They pay for EVERYTHING. And nothing is taken out of your paycheck to pay them back.

Your ride up. Meals and housing. They even give you a $50 debit card to use on the weekends when their lunch room is not open.

The training is a bit long compared to some others. 3 weeks in the classroom and in the truck training. More if needed. Then 6 weeks OTR with a trainer. Some of the others are 3/3. But also some are longer.

But with most of the others, while the mileage pay is a little higher, they are taking money right back out of your paycheck to pay for the schooling you just went through.

With Celadon. You stay for 120,000 miles and you are done. No payback. No more requirements. Etc.

And two other factors that sold Celadon to me. Now this might just be a recruiters selling points. But they told me, I would be traveling coast to coast. And a lot of Canada. That means miles. Miles means money.

Most, not all, of the other companies I talked to were mainly midwest and east area. That limits mileage to an extent to me. You don't get as far in a 10 hour day in NE as you would out west.

The other selling point. I met two Celadon drivers out on the road and talked to them. Both of them told me, that Celadon was updating all of the equipment. The old stuff was in the shop too much. In doing that, if I didn't get a new truck right out of training, it wouldn't be more than a couple of months before they put me into a brand new truck of my own.

That to me is a great selling point. Yes, new trucks can break down too. But not as likely as a truck 2 or 3 years old with already 500,000+ miles on it.

Now. I won't say I am looking through "rose colored glasses" but it is something to think about. I am not banking on getting a new truck that soon. If it happens, fantastic.

Keep it safe out there. Joe S

Joe I have to tell you that everything you said its right on the money with what I have found while doing my homework. I'm not one of these guys or gals that think they can learn everything in two weeks and just start raking in the money. I want that extra time training, I want that extra hands on with someone there to smack me if I need a smacking.

My brother paid over 10,000 dollars for a well known private company, he was hired by a major company out of Wisconsin, he has been solo for a month and a half and has already hit a pole and is currently home because he some how managed to get his trailer off the road and in a ditch leaning against a rock cliff.... they called a tow truck driver and the driver simply drove the truck out of the ditch for him. His company sent him home while they decide what to do. He thinks he can get a local job with a major package shipping company but with only three weeks solo (he missed time with a back injury) I doubt he has a chance. To me its partly his fault for poor driving and partly the school for passing him....on his Driving test he hit a concrete block with a light pole and still passes somehow. The school told him that they had to retire the trailer after that. I'm shaking my head as I type this because its scary to think that drivers like this are out there without proper training, and this is my brother.

Please keep us updated on how it goes with Celadon, I have to call my recruiter tomorrow to talk about possible dates for school.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

I will post as I can Aces. But as everyone knows, school is busy. But I do plan on keeping others updated in case they want to go to Celadon.

Now, as far as school goes. Yes, it is helps. But it is far from enough training. You get your training on the road. Just as a guess, I would say 95% or more of your training comes after school.

School is to help you get your CDLs. But in saying that, yes, there are many people that get graduated from these private schools that maybe should not be. Too early or something.

With company schools, I really doubt you graduate until you are ready. I mean the company wouldn't graduate someone that can't drive and put them out there on the road. Too much liability.

Keep it safe out there. Joe S

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.
RedGator's Comment
member avatar

Before I became a driver I took a ride on with a friend. We ended up at a Celadon terminal for 3 days. Being a friendly person I chatted up tons of drivers and listen to tons of feed back. Sad to say I didnt find a happy soul in the place. Now that was last summer so I cant tell ya anything new just an experience. I have talked to quite a few happy Swift drivers though. Imagine that. Lol

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.

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

Red, which terminal did you stop at? I have heard other drivers say, stay away from the Indianapolis terminal. Even a Celadon driver told me that.

If he has a problem with his truck and he is near Indianapolis, if it can wait, he does till he gets to another terminal.

And the funny part is. That is their main terminal. rofl-3.gif

Maybe too many bosses around there. smile.gif

Keep it safe out there. Joe S

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Red, which terminal did you stop at? I have heard other drivers say, stay away from the Indianapolis terminal. Even a Celadon driver told me that.

If he has a problem with his truck and he is near Indianapolis, if it can wait, he does till he gets to another terminal.

And the funny part is. That is their main terminal. rofl-3.gif

Maybe too many bosses around there. smile.gif

Keep it safe out there. Joe S

Same way at Central! Our repairs in our main terminal in Utah are not trustworthy. I have nothing but bad experiences. Sure they can do things and replace things other shops can't but it seems that every mechanic there hates his job. Last time I went there was for a hub leak and my air dryer. Well the hub is still leaking and the air dryer is making a noise, in other words its now leaking air. Our smallest terminal in Denver is the best. Probably because they just don't care. They replaced my drive tires with brand new ones! I see those guys every week they basically know me hehe! Some real characters there.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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