2016 Prime Training Update I

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Dutch's Comment
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Here is an updated experience at Prime Inc. trucking school. First, a little back ground about myself. I served in our military and then become a successful business person, however, with todays generation, most have no idea what hard work is and many of them want things to be handed to them on a silver platter. After long hours at the office and unneeded stress, I decided to hit the road.

Why Prime? It was location for me. So here is how it works: Of course you will speak with your recruiter on the time you will arrive to Missouri. If you live out of state, expect to ride a bus. If you live in Missouri or near, bring your ride and have someone pick it up.

Depending on where you are coming from you should arrive during the weekend. You will check in and receive a room, you will have a roommate! You will receive a meal card for your time there. Meals are not bad. Bring cash if you want extra food or save your cash and head to Wal-Mart (right down the street).

Your first day of class will be early morning Monday, expect to see all walks of life there. The meeting room in C-4 will be crowd and it will be a long day. Don’t stress when you see the list of tasks that you must complete, this is why I’m writing this. Monday class will involve the following:

-Paperwork -Medical/ Physical -Drug testing -Simulation -CBT (Computer Based Training)

Tips: Paperwork - be sure to bring all documents that your recruiter told you to bring. If not, your going back home! If you have a criminal record don’t waste your time - talk to your recruiter, Prime will conduct a second background check. Right down your dates for work - if you have gaps be sure you have a contacts that can verify that. Prime does not like surprises!

Medical/ Physical- this is the longest part of your day! It is a hurry up and wait process. Some advise, you don’t need to share every aspect of your life - if you do, you better have documentation or you are put on hold.

Drug test - If your a drug user, please don’t waste your time. When you are going for your test please be sure you can fill the cup before going in!!! Others will become angry!

CBT - Bring your laptop!! There is free wifi! You can complete your CBT’s in your room during lunch and the evening (also, you cannot forward the video’s and pay attention to the test you will see the following hint: that is question you got wrong). There are many videos you must complete before you can leave with the trainer.

Receiving your CDL permit - If you live in Missouri, obtain you permit before you leave for school, this will buy you extra time. If you are coming out of state, you will be taking your exams at the DMV , however, on Thursday the DMV will come to Prime Inc. GO TO Missouri DMV online, take the practice tests over and over, the test questions are very similar. If you cannot pass, your going home! I suggest you study before school. Simulator -Yes, Prime uses simulators and yes they know it is not the same as driving a truck. The purpose of the simulator is to teach you the shifting pattern of the truck and double clutching. By understanding the shifting pattern, it will help greatly on the road. Don’t be that know it all - and always ask the instructors for help. Now, they have an advance program - if you are asked to attend - say no!! You will stay on the campus, practice on the simulators, drive on the pad and test out. You will not receive the experience needed to hit the road with a trainer. Doing your 10,000 miles with the trainer you are building trust that is needed to drive team!

So now you have passed your tests, completed your CBT’s and passed your physical now you must hook up with a trainer to complete the 10,000 miles before testing for your CDL test. More tips:

Meeting your trainer - The Trainer will find you! Dress as you are at job during the orientation process! This is an interview for BOTH of you! Don’t just hop in a truck. I did and it was the worst experience I had. If you are a clean person - then look for a clean trainer - if you are the opposite - then look for that type of style.

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

10,000 Mile Run - Now, your 10,000 mile run will be ran mostly by you with the trainer in the passenger seat. Your job is to drive the truck and study your pre-inspection (you will need to know this for your CDL test - word for word! TIP: drill yourself on paper - write it over and over, like spelling words). Do not worry about backing the vehicle - your backing practice will be conducted at the training pad. You will be receiving a loan from Prime Inc. during your training, 200.00 week. Don’t spend it all - save what you can, again, it is a loan and you will repay that loan. TIP: save 70.00 you will need this for your CDL, grab this before you pull back into Prime Inc. Showers will be given to you - and they are free due to the truck getting fuel. Laundry - bring enough clothes for 7 days! TIP: You will have the top bunk - it is not very big and it is also your storage area! Be wise when you pack. (if you would like details in what to pack for food and clothes, i can provide that)

CDL Test - you have completed the 10,000 and feel pretty comfortable with driving the truck. Depending on your trainer, you should come in two days before your test. You will spend a lot of time on the pad. TIP: Listen to the trainer! There are certain techniques used to back the truck to meed the CDL test. (example: pull truck forward until yellow line is under 10- 2 spread. Turn wheel to the left 3 times….understand what I am saying?). If you pass your backing practices which will be 3 exercises, you will be doing your drivers test. TIP: Drive the truck just as the same as you did on the road! You will go over a bridge, drive on the interstate , drive through town, complete a emergency stop. This can take 15 - 45 minutes. Again, don’t change your style of driving!! TIP: ask your trainer to remain with you while waiting for the examiner to come test you! If not, you will start changing steps in your mind!

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

30,000 Mile Run - Congrats you passed your CDL test and you are now an employee of Prime with pay! Now it is time to drive! During this time you may or may not be with the same trainer, if you are with the same trainer, that is awesome due to the fact you two have started building trust which is needed during the period of the training. The truck will be dispatched as a team truck - so what does that mean? The truck doesn’t stop unless for scheduled stops! Here are some tips to help ensure you are comfortable.

Try to stay on a driving schedule (example: I drove nights for two weeks, then we switched). Night driving for us was a bit harder due to delivery and pick times during the day (flatbed). Don’t be afraid to wake up the trainer!! For any reason!! Trust me, they will want you to wake them up and will appreciate it! Instead of yelling the trainers name, we established we would turn on the lights in sleeper, it worked great! During your downtime you have 10 -11 hours off, can you sleep that long? Plan your downtime according to your schedule. I would take a baby wipe bath, mess around on my phone, go to bed, wake up about 45 minutes before shift, dress and eat. Worked great. Have a drivers bag. What that? I carried a back pack which I put all my snacks in, baby wipes, cell phone charger, sunglasses, basically everything I needed for my shift. So you do not have to go to the sleeper and wake up your partner. Treat the truck as if it is yours! Ensure you take out the trash, clean the cab, at a truck stop?clean the windows at the end of your shift - show respect! Food - Plan wisely - I ate out once a week. Don’t be surprised if the trucks stop and you trainer wakes up and sees what is going on through out your shift. They are doing their job and still building trust. MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t be afraid if you cannot complete your shift due to exhaustion or not being comfortable driving due to the conditions! You are trusting each other with your lives!!! One night I only completed 7 hours of driving - I was exhausted - I pulled over and told the trainer. Expecting the trainer to be ****ed off - instead i received a thank you and that built our trust even stronger! No load is worth your life!!!!! Now, I was thankful to have a great trainer during this phase of the training - the trainer and I worked as a team. There were many teams I saw where the trainee did all the work and the Trainer sat in the truck - my opinion that is BS! You are a team and the trainer should be out there with you ensuring you are doing it right. Don’t be afraid to speak up - do it respectfully - no results call your fleet manager.

The Upgrade - You completed the 30,000 with your trainer and now you are ready for own truck! Congrats! You will spend 3 -5 days at the Campus Inn, cool thing you will get your own room! It’s nice to have that privacy! ( there is no hurry up and wait actually, you will have a lot of down time!) Just like at the beginning of your training you will be required to complete the following:

CBT’s Simulator Classes

CBT - Yes, I know! Bring your computer you can have them done in a day!

Simulator - I know I told you it was about shifting pattern at the beginning - well it still is! You will complete 2 exercises. One graded by your group and the other graded by the computer. The first exercise - you will crash!! Second exercise, watch for people and you will be completing a backing exercise, not bad at all! Yes, you can float the gears!!!

Classes - Depending on your division and going company or lease will depend on the classes you will take. I had to take one class and then I was waiting for my truck! I am currently a lease operator for the flat bed division and love it. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!!

Timeframe for program: Orientation: 1 -2 weeks (depends on when you hook up with a trainer). 10,000: 2- 4 weeks (depends on you, the Trainer will give the go if you are ready to test). 30,000: 5-7 weeks (depends on season - remember winter means snow - spring construction is starting (flatbed).

I hope this helps!

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.

Float The Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Fleet 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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

Opps...sorry about the spelling...

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all that info.

Joe Rayz's Comment
member avatar

Dutch,

I can't thank you enough for pointing me to this post you made!!!! Absolutely awesome. So much pertinent info I am going to look over it a few more times before Sunday. I have also been considering a lease option and have been weighing the pros and cons of doing this. Can you tell me what your experience has been leasing so far? Again. Thanks for pointing me to your post and thanks for your service to our nation!

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

Dutch,

I can't thank you enough for pointing me to this post you made!!!! Absolutely awesome. So much pertinent info I am going to look over it a few more times before Sunday. I have also been considering a lease option and have been weighing the pros and cons of doing this. Can you tell me what your experience has been leasing so far? Again. Thanks for pointing me to your post and thanks for your service to our nation!

No problem dude! First, I wish you the best of luck! Just remember take the bad in with the good! As far as the lease program, where do I even start! I guess the first question would be, what division are you planning on going into? I am part of the Flatbed Team, so our division runs a lot different than the other two.

The first rule of lease is to remember it is a business! You must run it as a business! No and if or buts about it! You will file your quarterly taxes, invest your retirement in a Solo 401k or IRA. You will have to put your money into different accounts, ie. tire fund, emergency fund, saving, and tax fund. Yeah, I know so many places to put your money and what is left? Remember your tractor is your money making machine!

Secondly, I highly recommend opening your business as an LLC, this will greatly help you with taxes and of course it will protect you if some try's to come after you.

Third, I would hire a CPA for truckers - you will have the opportunity to use our Company's CPA's. My thoughts - they are looking out for the best interest for the Company, not yours! The Company is a business too! and they want as much money as they can get! Turbo Tax also has a great program for truckers and they also provide help if you need it.

There will always be con's to lease and company! You must decide on what you want. As a lease operator I do make a lot more than the company drivers, however, I also must work as twice as hard to ensure my business is top notch.

The things I believe that are pro's are; I have my own freedom, I am not forced dispatched, I can chose the route I want to take, I can chose when I want to take home time, and of the satisfaction of running my business!

As for my experience a am i "rookie" in this industry, however, I have plenty of successful business experience - I believe that helps me out a lot! However, I know of some drivers who have never ran a business and are doing great - it comes down to common sense and knowing to always ask questions!

You will always here lease is not the way to go, they steal your money. For those folks - I believe they are wrong! Somewhere down the line they made the wrong business decision or didn't want to put the extra work in to ensure their business is running top notch! One day I heard a driver talking bad about our company, I sat there and listened - he stated..he told his fleet manager he wasn't going to run the east coast and he doesn't drive at night....and I thought to myself, you just made the worst statement and you wonder why you are not making money! You have to remember, trucks go where the money is being made, we are the United States mobile warehouse. People rely on us to bring them their goods. If you have to drive downtown NJ - guess what do it!

But the one thing to remember - understand how your logs work!!!!! Know when to take the 8-2 spilt, know when you will receive hours back! Know how to play the e-log (I can give you tips). Your logs will also make you or break you!!! Know when to re-power that load - because the customer is first period!

I hope this info will give you a better understanding! If you choose to go lease let me know. I can tell you have to save some cash on your start up and some of the do's and don'ts! Again, good luck! Maybe I will run into at the Campus Inn....on a reset and tractor going into the shop no leaving until Tuesday!

Fleet 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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

John B.'s Comment
member avatar

I apologize for the one month bump. I'm going to prime tomorrow in MO. I have my cdl class a permit from OK, and was told by my recruiter that I would have to take the tests all over again. The only thing I'm nervous about is the hazmat written test. Would I be taking my endorsement tests along with the original cdl permit test on Thursday?

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

John B.'s Comment
member avatar

I apologize for the one month bump. I'm going to prime tomorrow in MO. I have my cdl class a permit from OK, and was told by my recruiter that I would have to take the tests all over again. The only thing I'm nervous about is the hazmat written test. Would I be taking my endorsement tests along with the original cdl permit test on Thursday?

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dutch's Comment
member avatar

Your recruiter is right, you will have to retest. They only tests you will have to take are the following CDL -combo, air brakes, and tanker. You do not have to obtain your Haz-mat. It is nice to have! If I were you, test for every endorsement! Use this link...http://driving-tests.org/missouri/mo-cdl-practice-test/ these questions are very, very close to the same as the test! Remember your first couple of days are going to be busy. Stay cool, relax, and everything will go fine. Refer back to my first post to help you out. And by the way the DMV should come down to the campus inn, I believe on Wed., just study that link and you will be cool! Let me know how you are doing and if you have any questions, just ask! Also, word of advise, watch out for the Campus Inn Lawyers (people who know it all)!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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