Why I Quit Prime's TNT Program

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Lil Stevie's Comment
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I worked two months for Prime Inc right after CDL school. I left because I was exasperated with training (which required 40K mi in teams). In the tanker division, during winter, 40K mi can take up to 4 mos! I got tired of making money for the trainer and dealing with the odor of ass, perspiration, garlic and his smelly exotic dishes! This is not rocket science people! I learned the job in less than 5K miles; the rest just seemed like fodder to lower the cost of insuring a new driver.

Don't get me wrong, Prime is a good company. I was paid $700/wk, trucks are well maintained, they have great support personnel, APU's , Qualcomms, pre-pass, EZpay and the dispatchers are courteous and competent. My worse experience was with payroll. I was underpaid 3 times in a 7 wk period (i.e. 42% of the time). I didn't get the sense it was malicious. They are either overwhelmed or need a refresher course in payroll mgt.

Anyway, if you're newly licensed, a fast learner, responsible driver and eager to cut your own way, then I'd recommend you get miles with a company that has a shorter trng prgm; then switch to Prime. If you go to Prime with experience, you may only be req to drive 5-10K miles with a trainer (1-3 wks) in order to go solo.

I resigned via 2-wk notice; so I should be eligible for rehire. It took me 7 weeks to get 18K miles... I just didn't have the strength or the patience to stay crammed-up with another dude for 8 more wks. Good luck.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

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.

APU's:

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Unfortunately, Prime is making me team-up with a trainer for 40K miles which equates to about three to four months but if I can make it in the military, I'm sure I can handle THIS.

Steve, that's a quote from your first post in here. Now today we've got your second post. What happened to your "can do spirit?"

I understand the problems with teaming, it's really tough. We tell folks this all the time. But you knew what you were facing, you knew the mission, and in terms of the training time frame of what is considered one of the top 10% of dangerous careers, it should be considered short.

I wish you would have stuck it out, simply for the reason it's gonna say something about you to potential employers from here. You don't want to be known in this business as a guy who cuts and runs when it gets tough.

So, what's next. Have you got some other applications working? You're probably going to be put with another trainer, but maybe they can find one without as many odors this time! We can always hope for the best!

Good luck man, and please keep us posted. We're here to help if we can.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I learned the job in less than 5K miles

Steve, that statement right there...

Well, frankly it scares me! I've got close to a half a million miles and I can tell you about several things I learned this week. I have yet to keep learning things in this business, and if I do, it's going to make me very nervous. In fact I will probably give it up when I think I've got it all figured out. That is a dangerous place to be in, especially for a guy who is still working on his training.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I learned the job in less than 5K miles

double-quotes-end.png

Steve, that statement right there...

Well, frankly it scares me! I've got close to a half a million miles and I can tell you about several things I learned this week. I have yet to keep learning things in this business, and if I do, it's going to make me very nervous. In fact I will probably give it up when I think I've got it all figured out. That is a dangerous place to be in, especially for a guy who is still working on his training.

Totally 100% agree. The day I climb into the cab thinking I am above learning, is the day I must retire.

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

I'm a bit afraid to read Rainy's response to this post. She truly had a nightmarish training experience with Prime. Be warned......Rainy tells it like it is! Good luck to you in your future endeavors!

smile.gif

Kanelin's Comment
member avatar

Have to reply to a couple of your statements. TNT is 30k miles, unless you're going tanker, where the miles are much needed I think. Running as a team, which is how TNT is supposed to be run, you should be able to do it in about 8 weeks, give or take. If you're not running team miles, your trainer isn't "making money" off you. Your pay comes our of the trucks settlement. So if you're only running 3-4k a week, then your trainer is losing money.

As for learning this job in 5k miles, that's a scary statement! Especially in tankers. There's no way to even scratch the surface in that amount of miles, or even 40k miles.

I do wish you good luck in wherever you end up.

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.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Since you were military you will get the next joke. This joke is in reference to saying you have this job figured out in 5k miles.

Q: What are the 5 worst sayings in the Army?
A: A 2nd lieutenant saying: "based upon my experience."
A 1st lieutenant saying: "I have the map, follow me."
A Captain saying: "I have a plan."
A Major saying: "I have an idea."
and A Warrant Officer saying: "Watch This!"

Simply put, in 5k miles you are still the 2nd lieutenant. You don't have the experience.

Nacho B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm very intrigued by this post and to hear other responses. I am two weeks away from completing my school (if all goes well...NO, all WILL go well). I, too, find myself a self-starter, quick learner, with natural abilities. That said though, we recently had a recruiter at my school who said their training period with another driver before going solo was three weeks. THREE WEEKS! I sat there with my mouth open and asked I think 3 or 4 times if I was hearing correctly!! There is no way in hell I'd be ready to have my own truck after three weeks. Dunno, maybe it's my school. When starting something completely knew and foreign, you really don't have anything to compare it to. My school basically trains you to pass the state test. That said, I'm only looking for companies that have a nice lengthy training program!

On a side note, I was so proud of myself yesterday on my fourth time out on the road (we drive in two hour increments). My time slot was right smack in the middle of Chicago Friday evening rush hour where two inches of snow had fallen during my two hour stint behind the wheel and it went off without a hitch. Note to self: Do some squats or something to build up those sorely lacking left leg muscles! Holding that clutch in for pretty much the entire two hours due to traffic, freight trains, etc. was a KILLER! ;)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Note to self: Do some squats or something to build up those sorely lacking left leg muscles! Holding that clutch in for pretty much the entire two hours due to traffic, freight trains, etc. was a KILLER! ;)

I figured out why do many truckers limp...their left leg is so strong it over powers their right!!

rofl-2.gif

Congrats on safely running the other day!

As for this original post...Shakespeare one said, "This too shall pass...". I've used this quote SEVERAL times during my brief training time and I'm sure I'll use it many more times. Just going to keep my eye on my goal - get training over with, go solo, and get my wife on board as quickly as possible!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Since you were military you will get the next joke. This joke is in reference to saying you have this job figured out in 5k miles.

Q: What are the 5 worst sayings in the Army? A: A 2nd lieutenant saying: "based upon my experience." A 1st lieutenant saying: "I have the map, follow me." A Captain saying: "I have a plan." A Major saying: "I have an idea." and A Warrant Officer saying: "Watch This!"

Simply put, in 5k miles you are still the 2nd lieutenant. You don't have the experience.

Patrick, I copied and pasted this and sent it to my Son. He Served in the Army for 6 Years. I'm sure he is familiar with it. It made me laugh!

smile.gif

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