Company Trainers Vs Lease Trainers

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Skywalker's Comment
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Hi Folks, I'm almost ready to set a start date for training at Prime Inc. Just got to add a little more $$ to savings to carry me through. I've read some stories on here and from a couple of rookie drivers that had off experiences with lease driver trainers. So I was wondering if it was possible or appropriate to ask for a company driver as my trainer for PSD and TNT at Prime. I guess the thinking would go some lease ops would be worried about wear and tear on the truck from rookie drivers, grinding gears etc... or making truck payments, getting enough miles to make ends meet, focus on bottom line etc... Whereas a company driver wouldn't have those worries. Is that a legitimate summation? I have nothing against lease and really don't know so I thought I'd put this out there.

So questions: In your experience... Is there a difference between company and lease trainers? What is the ratio of trainers at your company? What do/did you look for in a trainer? Did you have a choice of trainers? And any regrets?

I get that at Prime and possibly others the trainers have the pick of the lot as they mill through the pad and have the upper hand during the interview process (because they already have a cdl and a job) but I got to be interviewing them too making sure we are a right fit for the next few weeks or months right? I'm definitely not one to hold up the bus and will likely take first one but just hope he/she is a good solid million miler...good-luck-2.gif

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Farmerbob1's Comment
member avatar

Hi Folks, I'm almost ready to set a start date for training at Prime Inc. Just got to add a little more $$ to savings to carry me through. I've read some stories on here and from a couple of rookie drivers that had off experiences with lease driver trainers. So I was wondering if it was possible or appropriate to ask for a company driver as my trainer for PSD and TNT at Prime. I guess the thinking would go some lease ops would be worried about wear and tear on the truck from rookie drivers, grinding gears etc... or making truck payments, getting enough miles to make ends meet, focus on bottom line etc... Whereas a company driver wouldn't have those worries. Is that a legitimate summation? I have nothing against lease and really don't know so I thought I'd put this out there.

So questions: In your experience... Is there a difference between company and lease trainers? What is the ratio of trainers at your company? What do/did you look for in a trainer? Did you have a choice of trainers? And any regrets?

I get that at Prime and possibly others the trainers have the pick of the lot as they mill through the pad and have the upper hand during the interview process (because they already have a cdl and a job) but I got to be interviewing them too making sure we are a right fit for the next few weeks or months right? I'm definitely not one to hold up the bus and will likely take first one but just hope he/she is a good solid million miler...good-luck-2.gif

I trained with two lease operators at Stevens, but if I remember right, Prime has in-truck training that starts with a LOT less road time than most company-sponsored training programs, so there are likely some differences in the programs and the attitudes of the trainers. You probably want a Prime driver to answer this for you.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Skywalker, your assumptions about lease owner trainers are close. Of course it all depends on the attitude of your trainer. But a company driver doesn't have the money worries of an owner.

I had a company trainer in a company truck when a deer jumped out and hit the truck. Body damage and all, my trainer basically said, OK, let's bring it in, two days off for body repair. Think what an owner would say if that poor, innocent deer had bashed his front bumper!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

There is no clear distinction between a lease operator or a company driver that is training students. You will find some good ones and some bad ones in both categories. Unfortunately most people decide to become trainers to make more money, period. Doesn't matter if it's as a company driver or lease operator.

but just hope he/she is a good solid million miler...

You certainly don't need a million miler to receive excellent training. All they're doing is showing you the basics out there of time management, trip planning, and company-specific tasks like paperwork and fueling. Even someone with a year or two of experience can teach you the ropes.

Prime has in-truck training that starts with a LOT less road time than most company-sponsored training programs

From speaking with the family that owns WIl-Trans , a company that works closely with Prime Inc and also trains students, this method of training is likely to become more popular.

Many companies will have you stay at the yard and practice shifting, backing, and driving around town for several weeks before sending you to test for your CDL. At that point they would send you on the road with a trainer.

Now a lot of companies are bringing in students off the street, getting them their CDL permit right away, and after only a few days of practicing the basics of backing, shifting, and driving send you out on the road with a trainer right away. You'll get one on one training and you will be dispatched as a solo truck for a few weeks. Then you will return to test for your CDL and after obtaining it you will go back on the road with a trainer for about 40,000 miles and you will be dispatched as a team.

The theory behind sending drivers out right away with their permit instead of waiting a few weeks for them to get their full CDL is that no one knows if a new driver will be able to handle life on the road until they experience it. You can talk until you're blue in the face about what it's like out there, you can tell stories, give advice, and encourage people to stick it out when times get tough but no amount of preparation can really ensure that a person will be able to handle life on the road once they get out there.

So now there are more companies sending people out right away to see if trucking is really the type of job and lifestyle they want. And often times people find it is not. So why spend all of that time and money and other resources working with students for weeks if they might quit after a week on the road? Get em out there, see if they want to pursue it after experiencing it, and then train the heck out of them.

Another perk to doing it this way is that it very much calms the nerves for the CDL driving exam itself. Once you've driven around with a trainer for a few weeks hauling real freight to real cities in really terrible traffic and weather it isn't nearly as daunting to drive around town for ten minutes with a CDL examiner. It's far easier than what you've been doing to that point.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

There are company trainers in it for the money as well as some outstanding lease trainers. I wouldn't worry about that, if you find a trainer you like don't say no just because they are lease or owner/op.

There are some very minor differences in the way company drivers operate, but nothing that won't be easily picked up or explained by your dispatcher at the end of your training period.

Good luck!

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Just to offer some additional fodder to this, my Swift mentor was an L/O. He was a fantastic teacher. Matters not whether company or L/O, there are good and bad either way.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

First off welcome to the Prime family, as a lease operator and certified CDL instructor I can assure you that 90 % off the instructors have your career in mind when teaching you at Prime. Our only mission is to teach, so you have the tool necessary to be a safe and reliable asset to the Prime family.

Speaking for myself, I have no horse n the race when I instruct a student whether they be a company driver or lease. I still will perform my instruction the same. The key is to have an instructor that is not only successful as an instructor but also as a driver. Both company and the lease side have many of them. The way instructors receive students has changed and we no longer pick like we use to. The company gives us one name and we only interview that one student to see if it's a right fit. Good luck on your journey

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.
Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

I would just like to note that their are many people on this forum that assume the major motivation for lease operators to instruct is greed. I couldn't disagree more. Whether you are a lease operator or company driver you motivation is only to do you job to the best of your ability.

Let me ask company trainers would you have students on your truck if you weren't compensated more. I doubt it! A successful trainer is a successful trainer no matter what cloth they come from.

In fact at Prime lease operators have more to lose than gain by not educating their students properly. Anything happens to that truck who pays for it? The lease operator. Of course not being naive I understand some lease and company drivers are not up to snuff, people that perform badly are a double edge sword and come in both flavors. A bad company driver is a horrible lease operator and a horrible lease operator is a lousy company driver end of soap box.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian wrote:

Whether you are a lease operator or company driver you motivation is only to do you job to the best of your ability.

Unfortunately Brian, not all trainers aspire to your professional approach to the job. There are definitely too many trainers simply in it for the money. We see the result of it played out many times in this forum. I wish they all had your attitude towards the job. We'd all be much better off. We consistently tell people do not become a trainer if money is your primary motivator.

Thanks for putting it on the line to teach student drivers what's right and what's wrong and what's smart and what isn't. Props.

Joe Rayz's Comment
member avatar

First off welcome to the Prime family, as a lease operator and certified CDL instructor I can assure you that 90 % off the instructors have your career in mind when teaching you at Prime. Our only mission is to teach, so you have the tool necessary to be a safe and reliable asset to the Prime family.

Speaking for myself, I have no horse n the race when I instruct a student whether they be a company driver or lease. I still will perform my instruction the same. The key is to have an instructor that is not only successful as an instructor but also as a driver. Both company and the lease side have many of them. The way instructors receive students has changed and we no longer pick like we use to. The company gives us one name and we only interview that one student to see if it's a right fit. Good luck on your journey

Hey Brian,

Question, do you have a trainee that your are working with at this time? Cause if not, I am in Pittston Yard ( reefer div.) waiting for a trainer and would love to interview with you. here's my email if its something you want to discuss and if not thanks for your hard work out there! jr.raysor@gmail.com

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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