Solo Vs. Team During Training

Topic 16849 | Page 1

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Florida Phil's Comment
member avatar

Greetings TT Forum, Greatly appreciate your time and efforts. What's the good/bad/ugly about running Solo vs Team during your training phase with your first company. Quick background; recently received my CDL A permit, will be attending a private schools (via a local community college), then hopefully move right on to the OTR training phase with a reputable company.

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.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

During the training you will be teamed with your trainer. At least at Swift you are. There isn't any option. It lasts about 5 weeks. The good, bad and ugly vary widely based on the quality of the trainer and the attitude of the learner.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Every company will send you out with a trainer when you first get hired on. How long you're out with a trainer and whether or not you're dispatched as a solo truck or a team truck while you're together will vary from company to company. Also, some companies will have you run solo after training, others have you team with another driver for a few months after training. Every company is a little bit different.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Phil, I drive for Schneider and we were only OTR with the Trainer for 7 days. It doesn't sound like much, but the first five days (before going OTR 7days) was with a Trainer driving and backing with a full-size truck (sleeper) and 53' trailer. We did that all day, everyday before going getting the okay to go OTR with the Trainer. After coming back and finishing up training and testing out, we got our trucks and went SOLO.

I preferred this and it worked well for me. It's not for everyone, but the "good" of it was that it meant I was earning my own paycheck very quickly. I had no interest in teaming. The "bad" of it is that once you're okay'd to go solo, you are really on your own. Yes there's support via phone if you need it, but if you're not ready for it, it can be a real challenge. I guess the "ugly" of it is that some of the parking didn't look so great early on, but that's gonna happen no matter what.

If you're going community college, my understanding is those classes are a few months vs. a few weeks at a private school. So, you should be well prepared for the driving/backing part of this career when you get to your company.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Florida Phil's Comment
member avatar

Appreciate everyone's replies, sincerely do. Here are some of my own thought on the matter. I strongly encourage everyone to add comments and please do correct me where I am wrong.

SOLO Good trainer is focused on your driving Good more time behind the wheel, gaining experience, & building stamina Good better rest because truck shut down Bad no brakes longer shifts Ugly peeing in a bottle/crapping in a bucket w/ trainer on board

TEAM Good learn to sleep on moving truck Good brakes w/ shorter shifts Bad poor rest because moving truck Bad stamina does not increase Bad trainer must sleep (left alone) Ugly peeing in a bottle/****ting in a bucket w/ trainer on board Ugly more loads putting big bucks in trainer's pocket

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Phil, it looks like you're getting ready to start your trucking career. Best of luck in your new adventure. But you've made some assumptions here that are incorrect.

Your idea of "shifts" is off because OTR drivers mostly work with 24 days and Hours Of Service (HOS) limits on how much driving you can do in those 24 his.

Using the sleeper area as a restroom should not be part of the plan. It's unsanitary, of course. And I don't care how many windows are opened ... well you know. If anyone ends up with a trainer or a team partner that insists that the sleeper is also a restroom, you need a different partner.

Finally, it's true trainers are compensated for training by the miles you drive. But by the time you are getting your road training, you are an employee of the company and are being paid while you learn.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Florida Phil's Comment
member avatar

Greetings Errol, Thanx for taking the time to reply to my topic. The intentions behind my post was to stimulate conversation about the PROS & CONS of being dispatched SOLO vs TEAM during the training phase of a trucking career. My assumptions are probably riddled with inaccuracies yet this allows for the veterans of this forum to correct my thinking and thus teaches me a thing or two about said topic. Anywho, since I seem to have your attention would you please be kind enough to chime in on this conversation.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, for training, you will be paired up with an instructor. Not negotiable. Even when he's in the back, you are under his tutelage. Cons for getting road training solo? From the company point of view, a pre-rookie alone with a truck is a dangerous thing so it won't happen.

Now, you may end up with a "good" trainer, and most really are. My 6 weeks with my Swift trainer went by quickly enough, and I did learn lots of the finer points of a truck driver's job from him. He made sure I was driving as much as possible (banking the 400 hours I needed), even just driving around town at 3am for the experience and the miles.

On the other hand you may get a trainer that uses you like you mentioned (when your trainer is in the Ugly more loads putting big bucks in trainer's pocket category. These guys are out there, but your chances for this experience is way down. And you can always contact the office to request a different trainer.

Florida Phil's Comment
member avatar

Hey there, Errol. I may have caused a bit a confusion when I used the term SOLO. I was not implying that I would be alone in a truck during training. I was implying that I would be the only driver with a trainer in the passenger seat supervising. I am in no way looking to avoid the trainer/trainee phase of this new career I hope to embark on. On the contrary, I actually look forward to having a top notch trainer as a mentor figure to guide my during the infancy stage of my new career choice. As I have been researching companies on TT I come across the statements that during training you are dispatched either as a TEAM or as SOLO. From what I gathered is that as a TEAM both myself and the trainer will take turns driving versus being dispatched SOLO wherein only myself (trainee) does all the driving. Both scenarios appeal to me yet I'm sure one may be more suitable to my personality than the other. I hope this clarifies what it is I am inquiring about. Again, thank you for time and all your feedback that's far. Do keep it coming thank-you.gif

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

"Keep it coming" No problem, Phil. I re-read your original post. Looking for a "reputable company"? Sure, there are some companies that don't make that "reputable" cut, but they are mostly smaller companies, and often just don't have the resources that we list on TT's Trucking Company Reviews. Any of these would make a fine choice. On the flip side, though, you need to look for a company that hires from Florida. And, the further south you live, the harder it will be to find a company that will hire you. Nancy F,, another TT member is getting frustrated in finding a company, and she lives near Ocala.

OK, to expand on your SOLO vs TEAM training thing, this is how it goes at Swift (who is not hiring in Florida just now.): Your first week or so with your trainer, you are the "only" driver. You do all the driving, like solo, and your trainer (hopefully bored because you are so good) sits in the passenger seat. After 40 hours On Duty Driving, your truck switches to Team, and off you go! Then you build those hours to make your 400. As a team truck, we still did plenty of stops, not only for fuel, but showers, shopping and the occasional sit-down restaurant.

Other companies have different training regimens, but this is how I got into Swift, at least.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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