Does Anyone Have Any First Hand Experience In Working And Training At Knight Transportation In Phoenix Az?

Topic 19674 | Page 1

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Ray A.'s Comment
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Starting a career change and dont want my first experience to be a negative one.

Old School's Comment
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Welcome to the forum Ray!

I've got to tell you, for some reason when I opened up the forum today after knocking down about 600 miles, I just couldn't respond to anybody just yet...

I felt like I was the main character in that movie, "Groundhog Day!" Trucking seems to have the same issues and problems affecting people every single day. Some days it is just like a broken record playing over, and over, and over, and over, and over! I don't want to say I get tired of it, because I really don't, I have a passion for helping people find their way through this maze of misunderstanding about a career that I thoroughly enjoy. What is frustrating about it is that our very own community of truck drivers keep the lies and misinformation flowing so freely because there are so many of us who attempt making this career change while having totally skewed expectations of what to expect when we jump in, and then when it all blows up in our face, we go screaming like crybabies straight to the internet. Unfortunately, that is the place where everyone is looking for advice on how to break into this career. So...

I decided to take a little nap first... So, now about two hours later, I'm feeling a little better, and maybe I can be helpful.

You made a simple, straight forward statement...

Starting a career change and dont want my first experience to be a negative one.

Am I correct in assuming you threw that part about not wanting it to be a negative experience in there due to the fact that you have read of so many negative experiences? If I am correct, then please allow me to address your concerns.

It seems that every new person who comes in here wants to here from someone with "first hand" experience at which ever company or school they happen to be interested in. By the way, I am employed by Knight Transportation, I love working for them, and they sure seem like they like having me around. But let me just try to tell you that this trucking business is so uniquely complicated when it comes to breaking into it, that you can quite possibly get 20 different opinions from 20 different drivers who all claim to have first hand experience at whichever company you are looking into!

I know absolutely no one who broke into a professional driver's career and didn't experience some degree of negatives on their way to success. in fact, to be honest with you, most folks would have completely buckled under some of the stuff that I went through just to get where I am today. That is not a brag, it is just based on all the stuff I see in here on a daily basis, and the manifold experiences of folks that I see while I'm trying to help them find their way into this career. There are problems with starting this career, and one of the best things you can do at the start is make up your mind that there are going to be some very difficult parts of it to get through, and training is, and will always be one of those toughest parts. It is a tough career in many aspects, but man it has rewards that blow all that stuff away like chaff in a stiff wind. I am loving life out here on the road! This career and lifestyle suit me perfectly, I am such a happy man! But if you would have seen me during my time with my trainer, you would have seen a guy keeping a stiff upper lip, and a determination in my face that said "you'd better not mess with me, I'm in no mood to entertain fools right now!"

I was determined, I was focused. I had a goal and a prize before me that wasn't going to be denied me. I didn't care if I had to fight off wild beasts to get there. That is the truth, and there are folks in this very forum watched me from a distance as I went through it all, who can verify those things.

All I'm trying to point out to you is that going into this saying that you don't want to have a negative experience is a good way to set yourself up for disappointments. You are going to experience some rough and difficult times trying to make this happen. They don't hand out participation trophies in this business. It is slam-bam, "git er done," or go home with your tail tucked in between your legs. It is fast paced, and can be brutal at times. One descriptive word that comes to mind during that initial three months is exhausting, I'm talking mentally, physically, and emotionally. The folks who can't cut the mustard often go back to their miserable jobs and lick their wounds.

Brett has done some really informative and helpful pod-casts on the subject. I highly recommend them for anyone just thinking about getting started at this. Check them out...

Do You Have What it Takes?

The Boot Camp Approach to Trucking

Why is Truck Driver Training Done In Such A Rush?

Hopefully those things will give you some better insight and understanding of what it is like to get started in this business. Some things are worth fighting for, and this career is definitely one of those things for me. There is a freedom to this job that is so rewarding, but few press through the barriers that keep them from enjoying it like I do. I hope you have that fighting spirit in you, because if you do, you will be rewarded many times over!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tim H.'s Comment
member avatar

Very much what I needed to read too Old School. Thank you for yet another straight shootin' yet encouraging post. I finish with my trainer tomorrow, probably around 18:00, and it's likely I'll be put on a plane right away. From Miami most likely. Then back to Dallas for grad class and into my own truck. I too keep asking myself lately "what have I gotten myself into?"

My trainer has been ok we get along well enough to get the job done. My first trainer and I got along famously. Would have liked to stay training with him but he was dedicated. Anyway, I keep going. Ray; Old school is right. Exhausting is the word. It's been go, go, go, for almost 3 months. Bus, school, DOT exam, backing practice, DMV for permit test, backing practice, road practice, more backing practice, paper work, more backing, more road, road test, DMV for CDL , bus, orientation, plane, taxi, truck, taxi, plane, yard, taxi, plane, truck, and now going back on a plane again to the yard for more information/tasks galore.

But something to be said for that freedom out here. That's what I keep reminding myself. I can't believe I get paid to do this. I keep focused on what I am grateful for and my eye on the horizon. Hasn't been roses but, hard work, commitment and a little bite my tongue from time to time. That's not too much to ask of a person. When in doubt I remember my old stand on my feet all day behind a counter job. God willing I'm not going back with my tail between my legs.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

Sambo's Comment
member avatar

Cool, you're out of the Dallas terminal? I am too. U14154 (currently), grey volvo, if you ever see me around there, say hello.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Ray A.'s Comment
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Finally a sense of sanity in an insane industry. Thank your all brothers.

Phox's Comment
member avatar

I used to work for Knight. I was out of the Katy terminal. This is all going to sound mostly negative at first, but read all of it and you'll see I'll talk about the positive sides as well. This is as honest and non disgruntled type former employee as I can be. Trust me when I say Knight is not bad as a company just some terminals are and some are worse than others in various ways (Tulare shop is bloody awesome, but 98% of the other staff not work out of Phoenix terminal).

My experience was mixed. Overall it's a decent company, but each terminal is run as it's own operation so your expreience at say the Dallas terminal most likely would be different than someone out of Katy, Charlotte, vegas, etc.

In the begining everything (except my training, I had a rather bad trainer and if I was to right a detailed post most would agree) was great. Then our terminal manager was murdered (1 year anniversary of that earlier this month) and things started going downhill. New TM worked in the corp office prior and had a tendency to do a lot of corp double talk... that stuff annoys the hell out of me... basically tell you what you want to hear. That's not Knight's fault though and doesn't reflect on the company as a whole, just Katy terminal. beginning of June 2016 I got a new dm for 2nd time (1st time I got a new DM was late April... didn't like him much but also had no major issues, he just wasn't much of a people person... hard as hell to make him laugh or smile and didn't like small talk). she was brand new... so green she made a cucumber look white in comparison, but I gave her a fair chance and she learned the ropes quick. My only major problem with her at first was that when I wanted to take home time, the week prior she would keep me super close to home and I would get really bad miles, like less than 2k in a week. and same for week after.

Towards the later part of the year things started going more down hill. miles were not very good, breakdown got worse, charlotee claimed to of fixed something that could put me out of service but didn't and I had no way to know because I'm not a mechanic, dm started micro managing in the worst way, list goes on.

Fast forward to December and Jan and I was having to call one of the planners directly if I needed a load because dm kept saying things like freight is light in the area and I'd sit for more than a day. Finally I got to the point of just calling a planner directly who would get me a load right then and there... sometimes I had to deadhead 100-200 miles for it or it might not pick up till next day but at least he got me a load. Only problem is he only worked fri, sat, sun and mon so lord help ya if you needed him tue-thur haha.

By the time Jan this year rolled around, almost a year in with Knight, my miles were so bad and relations with DM were so bad that I was losing more money than I was making so I jumped shipped. I even tried changing terminals and divisions beforehand but TM wouldn't let me. first tried in Nov, told me he needed to fill trucks on the yard first, had 13 empty trucks. tried again after christmas... had 14 empty trucks.

As for some positive stuff (see I told ya!)

My truck, not good if you were training or had a passenger (I had a passenger and made it work) as I had a Volvo 670... bit small for more than 1 person... doable but tight quarters. I got a brand new 2016 Volvo with the ishift auto tranny. that tranny is soooo awesome. very smooth shifting, very smooth backing. and a brand new truck for a brand new driver... yeah pretty awesome.

Lots of terminals all over the usa. couldn't throw a stone without hitting the fence of one (although I avoided atlanta because it was in such a sketchy area) my current company has 1 terminal in SLC and a handful of drop yards.

Most of the DMs are really good about getting you home on time if not early. I hear all the time about other companies getting people home late. Like many other issues though this is a terminal / DM specific thing.

They run freight pretty much everywhere... so if you want to go somewhere, your dm can probably make it happen. your home time doesn't have to be at home... if you want to go to florida, get a load to lakeland. You wanna go to NE get something to Carlise area... california... options are limitless. With my company now it's not as easy. we don't do freight in the south or florida or east coast.

Sliding pay scale sucks but it's still a decent rate. I was making 38-44 cpm when I was there. 38 for anything over 500 miles... sadly 90% of my loads were over 500 miles. Still not a bad pay rate.

Hopefully this was a fair enough review of m y experience. every company has it's ups and downs... even my current one (they just have less downs haha)

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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