Orientation Scheduled For Melton, Maybe A Problem?

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Pokey's Comment
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Well after re-reading my post I can see how you fellas would take it as a dissing on swift. When I said Swift has always been a stepping stone, I meant that when I got into this I viewed Swift as a stepping stone for my career. I have no ill views of swift or their drivers. One of my Instructors at Swift had been a company driver for 10 years and an O/O with them for 5 years before becoming and instructor, he loved the company and it's where he'll finish his career. I know Swift has a ton of drivers that call it their home, It irks me when people on post all the Swift accidents and give them hell. Swift is the biggest trucking company in the US, of course they're going to have more accidents than anyone else, it's simple math. I'm just looking at Melton because I may be a better fit for me. And yes they have a Tuition Reimbursement program and a sign on bonus that should help with the sting of owing Swift all that money.

Pokey's original question'


The only thing I'm not clear on is whether or not I'll need my certificate from Swift.


I'm not speaking for Melton, but generally your training certificate is your only written proof of your 160 hour course. Swift will keep that in a file until you pay them your tuition fee.

Now Melton might pass on a "hiring bonus" that will cover Swift's charges.

Errol, Thanks for answering my question.


Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
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I respect your point about Melton being a better fit. Only you really know, what will work best for you.

Pokey's Comment
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Everyone I've dealt with at Swift has been great, and they've all been honest also, which is a big deal to me. I've still got a few days to kick things around, nothing's set in stone until I show up at Orientation somewhere. I could still very well be at Swift Orientation on Tuesday.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey Pokey, here's something to consider quite seriously. It's common for rookie drivers to get in several little 'dingers' and have a few mishaps that first year. You'll have some late deliveries, you might get stuck in a ditch and have to get towed out, you might dent a guy's mirror bracket backing in at a truck stop.

Swift now has a vested interest in you. They've put down the cash, trainers, trucks, classrooms, and other resources it takes to get you from the street to legally behind the wheel ready to run solo. They really, really want to see this pan out for them by having you around long enough to get their investment in you back.

Sure, you can pay tuition. But they don't want to be a truck driving school. They're a trucking company. They're doing this because they need drivers, not because they need tuition money. They need to move freight and they need drivers to do it. That's how they turn revenues and survive.

If you go to another company, that company will have absolutely nothing invested in you. Nada. If you walk away on day one it's no skin off their back. They'll just plug in the next recruit.

Swift put money on the table in hopes of turning you into a successful driver for them. They will go to greater lengths than any other company to help make that happen.

You may be totally right - Melton may be a better fit. You haven't mentioned why so I'm not sure. But it's important to have your employer firmly behind you in the beginning when the chances are high you're going to need some forgiveness a time or two. Just something important to consider.

Old School's Comment
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Swift now has a vested interest in you.

Hey Pokey, I just wanted to say that I totally agree with Brett's premise here. We see so many newbies come through this web site, and often times the ones who take the approach you're thinking about will have a few "oopsie" moments on their record, and then their career is done.

It's not like you would be committing to Swift for life, but we strongly encourage everyone to stick it out for one year wherever they get started. Since you are thinking about Melton, I must assume you are interested in Flat-bed work. Are you aware that Swift has a flat-bed division? Even if you couldn't get in on that there is nothing wrong with spending your first year pulling a dry-van just to get your "feet wet" with all the nuances of handling a big rig as you run across the country. There is a lot of additional things to learn and master as a flat-bedder. Learning all the load securement requirements would be easier and less stressful if you already had some trucking experience behind you.

I would encourage you to hang in there at Swift, get your first year's experience there, and then make up your mind if you want to stay or move on. Don't do it out of a sense of obligation just because we recommended it, but look at it as a learning experience. Swift has helped many a new driver get started in this career, and they know what it takes to help you along the way to becoming a proficient professional.

I happen to think that Melton has a great operation for new flat-bedders, but I would still recommend you stick with what you started. The fact that they have already invested time and effort in you gives them all the more reason to work with you and help you get to the next level in your career.

Scott L. aka Lawdog's Comment
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Pokey - after weighing the Pros & Cons and talking to drivers and recruiters, if Melton is the best fit for you then go for it. Just be responsible and keep on top of your tuition repayment with Swift. If Melton offers you tuition reimbursement that just shift that over to your Swift tuition repayment. You have a vested interest in your career, your future and your life as a professional trucker.


Bud A.'s Comment
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Pokey, I agree with those who have encouraged you to stick with it and finish your contract with Swift, or at least your first year.

Before I went to Prime, I made up my mind to stick with them for at least a year. I was there for a year and a half before I left for something that fit me better - a regional gig that gets me home more often and that allows me to run my favorite part of the country and stay away from my less favorite places. It pays better too.

But would I have had that opportunity if I'd jumped before the year was up? Hard to say. I've been fortunate not to have any accidents, but I've had a few close calls. What if I'd jumped early and then made a mistake? I might not be where I am now.

A week of waiting at the start of your career seems like a big deal at the time, but likely you will have other frustrating weeks ahead of you regardless of where you go. It happens to everyone. I had two weeks down a year ago because of a silly truck issue. If I had jumped then, I'm sure I would regret it now.

I would encourage you to finish up with Swift and then look around. When I decided to leave Prime, I did a lot of research and had three offers. I took the best one for me. Melton was third of the three, not because they're a bad company (I wouldn't have applied if I thought they were), but because of all the different factors that I knew were important to me after being on the road for 18 months. Some of the companies I thought I'd want to work for when I started didn't even make the list after a year of driving.

After a year or two at Swift, you might not even consider Melton based on the experience and knowledge you've gained. Then again, you might say you wished you'd gone when you first thought of it. But odds are, you won't.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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