Honest Opinions...

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Fireball's Comment
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My husband and I are getting ready to start truck driving school and have already been looking at what companies to drive for in preparation of a home to go to at the end of school. We are looking for a company that's team oriented with good tuition reimbursement programs and decent CPM. We are looking at driving for US Xpress or Celadon as their is a terminal situated midway of our home and our parents' home. We were looking at USA Truck as well as they are situated in a reasonable distance from our home, but not keen on the idea that they tend to stay typically east of the Mississippi river as we will be driving husband and wife team. I would like to hear what everyone thinks of these companies and their programs outside of what I've read in multiple forums and from people that perhaps drive for them. I am also open to suggestions to other companies out there that we may be overlooking. Oh and I should mention they should have a pet policy.....my husband is attached to our cat :D

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

One of the most common misconceptions is that you need to live near a company terminal. The location of the terminal will have no effect on an OTR job. Don't base your decision on this one factor. This may open up more options and choices for you.

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.

Fireball's Comment
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I'm sorry. I forgot to add we are open to companies with terminals not close to home. :) We stuck to companies with terminals close to home because we liked that we could drive our personal vehicle to orientation and if we had an extensive layover or breakdown in the future at a terminal we could visit family or potentially come home. And we found some companies will not hire you if your too far from a terminal, like for instance, USA Truck so that was another reason for sticking within 500 miles of our home. Celadon, well, honestly, its more because I know of the company as someone close to me drove for them for quite a number of years in the early 2000s and not much to do with a terminal being in Alabama.

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.

Deb R.'s Comment
member avatar

Look at H.O.Wolding. Mid size company out of Wisconsin, has drivers who live all over the country. Runs teams to west coast. Tuition reimbursement. Pet policy although a large deposit, it is refundable.

Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
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People speak pretty highly of Old Dominion freight lines and they just happen to have a line haul team position available out of Birmingham.

http://www.odfl.com/Careers/openingsDriverCo.faces

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
C. S.'s Comment
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My boyfriend and I drive team for Celadon and think they're great. Very team oriented, you'll get all the miles you can handle once you prove yourself competent. Lots of high mile and coast to coast runs. Teams run KW T680s with APUs , factory installed fridge and (1800w) inverter, TV mount. We enjoy working for them, if you have any specific questions I'll try to answer them. Not really sure what their mentor training involves as we didn't train through them.

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.

APUs:

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I drive for prime who loves spouse teams... and pets. They are one of thw highest paying cpm for newbies..teams go coast to coast . And the tuition is FREE as long as u work for them a year. I have been with them 6 mos and love it. I have paid $0 in tuition thus far.... u pay only if you leave.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Fireball, to be honest I've yet to hear any good reasons for picking any of the companies you've chosen. What you want to do is pick a company that has great opportunities for teams and hires from the area you live in. That's where you start. Don't worry about where their terminals are located or who drives for them or what you've heard from people or any of that baloney. None of that is really helpful.

Refrigerated companies generally have the best opportunities for husband/wife teams. Some of the large dry van companies also have very good team opportunities. You can forget about flatbed or tanker for now anyways. So start with refrigerated or dry van.

Do a search in our Truck Driving Job Listings and apply to all of the companies you can find that hire from your area and have team operations. There's no sense in doing piles of research on companies if you don't know who is going to offer you an opportunity and who isn't. So just apply everywhere and get a conversation going with the various recruiters.

And you don't want to rule a company out until you've spoken with their recruiters and have a better feel for the big picture of all they have to offer. Every company has a slightly different setup and different perks they offer to drivers, especially to teams. So make sure you give their recruiters a chance to give you the full picture before deciding which company suits you best.

I think that's the easiest way to go about it. Apply to anyone that has team operations and hires from your area. Figure out who is offering you an opportunity, get a conversation going with all of their recruiters, and then go with the one you feel suits you guys the best.

Here are some great resources we have to help you understand how to evaluate companies and choose the one that suits you best:

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

Fireball's Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. It is very much appreciated it! We have added a few more recruiters to the mix :-)

I do want to apologize though. I know I was a vague on what we had researched in companies thus far and sounding a bit uneducated in what to look for. I am not unfamiliar with the industry. My father has been driving since my birth 35 years ago. I was my 1st husband's "trucketary in the jump seat" throughout our 10 years together and my present husband's father is a terminal manager for a large trucking company. However, I am rusty as to how companies I knew intimately of in the past are doing presently, hence why I asked for honest opinions for the companies I mentioned and other suggestions of companies. I've learned word of mouth will sometimes garner good results or at least will allow us to learn of little known companies that are potentially great to work for :-)

On our own we have looked at companies' DOT safety ratings, age of equipment, equipment setups, team driving setups, CPM , home time, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, and 401k (as my husband has 8 years vested in his current job he wants to rollover), company perks/bonuses, etc. I also did use the website to apply to companies a little over a week ago and had spoken with a number of companies' recruiters since. Some we didn't like because they couldn't give us straight answers on our questions or constantly threw at us you can make $X amount of dollars in your first year instead of giving a straight answer. That is all fine and dandy but $X amount of dollars while you are miserable and signed on to a company for X amount of months to get your tuition reimbursed does not sound appealing. I know its not going to be rainbows and sunshine at times no matter what company chosen but we would like some straightforward answers going into it.

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
That is all fine and dandy but $X amount of dollars while you are miserable and signed on to a company for X amount of months to get your tuition reimbursed does not sound appealing.

I worked for many different companies over a 15 year period. I've driven about every type of truck imaginable, been all over the U.S. and Canada, and hauled every type of freight imaginable. I've worked for companies with over 5,000 trucks and companies with less than 20. I've driven for companies that run 48 States and Canada, and driven for local companies that never left a 50 mile radius.

No matter where I've gone I've had no problem getting good miles and making the money I expected to make. I've never been at a company where I was miserable. In fact, any driver that I've come across that was miserable simply wasn't performing at the level of a top tier driver so they weren't getting the big miles, newer trucks, and special favors the better drivers were getting. Of course poor performing drivers are usually poor performing drivers because they don't have the work ethic, decision making skills, and professionalism that the top tier drivers have. And most importantly, they rarely hold themselves accountable for their sub par performance. It's always someone else's fault, and that someone else is almost always the company they work for.

So it's easy to be mislead by these guys when they say, "Stay away from Company So-And-So cuz they suck." My question to those types is always the same - "How do you suppose they came to be one of the largest, most successful companies in the nation over a period of several decades if they suck?" And of course they'll spew out all kinds of silliness and baloney to try to hide the fact that they were simply a screw-up.

You should take the approach that all of the major companies will be a great place to work once you've been there long enough to establish yourselves as top tier drivers. Some will pay better than others, some will have perks you like a little better, and they all have some unique divisions and various opportunities within the company.

But the idea that you have to watch out for 'bad companies' amongst the major players in the industry or that you're going to do an awesome job but still be miserable is a total fallacy in my book. It's the biggest misnomer that new drivers face coming into the industry. I know you know people in the industry but I can see you're wrestling with the same rumors and misconceptions that almost all new drivers face and I know a lot of that comes from the negativity you're finding on other websites.

So go find a company that you feel suits you guys well and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Every major company has all of the miles, great equipment, and perks you could ever hope for once you've proven yourselves.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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Celadon Trucking H.O. Wolding Becoming A Truck Driver Pets Team Driving
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