Being A Mentor/trainer

Topic 21009 | Page 1

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Chris M's Comment
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At Swift they're called Mentors, but I know other companies have different terminology. I also know that there are people on here who've been trainers. All new drivers at some point ask about what it's like being with a trainer, I'm wanting to hear more from people who have been trainers, and what your experiences have been like.

My DM asked me today if I've thought about being a mentor. I told her that it has crossed my mind, but I also told her that if I decide that's something I want to do, it will be after winter. I was out of the truck for more than 2 years so I want to get through this winter without that added stress.

So from those of you that have that experience, what are some things you like, and dislike about training new drivers? What is some advice that you would give someone who's thinking about becoming a trainer in the future?


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
MC1371's Comment
member avatar

Buy Depends, and find a religion!

I've talked with a few Swift mentors. Your students are going to vary a bit depending on your home terminal. *You could catch a stray, but by and large they try and match out of home terminals.

Never even been broached with me due to our driver population being over 70% ESL drivers.

I've coached a few newer drivers at the terminal , and Costco DCs, but no desire to invite a stranger into my house and put my life in their hands.


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.

Errol V.'s Comment
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I'm not doing OTR now, or I'd be "Mentoring". My mentor said he had some rookies where he was almost afraid to get into the bunk. (I was one of his better students - he had to set his alarm clock to be awake for my p/u's and delivery.)

Please go into this looking to be a teacher. Some do get a trainee, but mainly for the money.

As with trucking company "reviews", the horror stories get the ink. The good ones (and the average ones) just get their own truck soon enough.

Remember, after that first week, it's team time, but you get all the money!! Plus a Mentor spiff. Go for it!


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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Here is a series of articles written by a trainer that you'll find interesting:

The Trainer's Viewpoint

Susan D. 's Comment
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Lol MC. I enjoy teaching but it's very challenging.

I want my trainees to be as comfortable as possible, and I'll do my best to try to ease any tension or nervousness, but what I really dislike is:

Trainees who don't listen or want to argue. You're in company training because you need it. If I ask you to do something, just do it. Don't argue. I'll gladly discuss any questions later.

Trainees who are slobs. You're a guest in my truck. Don't trash it up and help keep it clean.

Trainees who are lazy. You cannot pretrip from a drivers or passengers seat. Trip planning does not take care of itself. I expect you to know where you are going, or at the very least attempt to know, BEFORE you ever move the truck. I'm here for you to answer questions. If space is tight at a customer, we may have to just head to the nearest rest area or truck stop to plan the route.

Trainees who are dishonest. This doesn't bode well at all for a long-term position with my company.


I have a lot I need to teach you in a very short time. Ultimately, however, what you take away from your training time is up to you. IE:. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

If you aren't actively interested in learning, a trainer is probably going to be losing interest in teaching you.

I'm going to expect you to study a little during your breaks. It's the only way we're going to be able to cover everything that you need to know in only 30 days. At the end of 10 hours breaks, be ready to roll. If you need 30 minutes in a restroom, fine. Just wake up earlier.

If you are not sufficiently improving, I won't be teaming with you. At my company, at my discretion, I can have you team after 2 weeks. I need to know I can go to bed, get REAL sleep, and wake up in the correct place in one piece. Only then can we team.

I'm going to be "testing" you to make sure you are a good fit for my company. The expectation is that you will be capable of running a truck solo and managing your clock before I bring you in to test out with our safety department. If you can't handle a load from start to finish after 30 days, you may not be a good fit for our company. If you're showing promise, they'll give you 2 more weeks with another trainer before they send you home.

I very much want you to succeed and to become a safe driver for my company. It's a great place to work, but they do expect you to work. Even if you're going Regional home weekly, expect to almost completely burn through your 70 in 5 to 6 days. During training it's expected that you'll do the bulk of the driving, backing, pick-up and delivery. We need you to get the road time and experience. Because I love to drive, this is hard for me.


Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.


Operating While Intoxicated

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

I appreciate the responses and thanks a lot for that write up Susan.

I definitely would go into it as a teacher first. I've got a lot of training experience in my background. I worked in a steel fabrication plant for a few years as a department supervisor. I was trained quite a few full time employees on operating CNC equipment, and trained many many temporary employees on manual equipment. I feel like I've got a good background as far as knowing what it takes to really explain a task to someone. The people I was training then, typically had no idea what the machines were or what the product was supposed to be when they started. I had to be able to answer every question they might have, and give detailed reasoning for why I would do things a certain way or in a certain order.

So I feel like I'm good at giving those detailed reasons for why I do things the way I do out here on the road, and for explaining things to people that are essentially clueless, without making them feel clueless. Honestly, and this may sound weird, but I find myself explaining things to myself periodically. Almost like I'm my own trainer, and student, all wrapped up in my strange mind lol. I think it helps me work through plans and keep myself in a more focused state of mind.

So I'm definitely thinking about it, but as I said before, it will be a few months before I make a final decision. I'm the kind of guy that likes to get as much information as I can find and just process it for a while before I make a decision. But so far, it's kind of like pulling teeth getting this information from Swift. I tried to get the information on the pay breakdown for a mentor from my driver leader today, but she said she apparently took the paper home with her last night accidentally. She meant to give it to me today. So I asked her if she could just email it to me, thinking that it must be on their server somewhere, and she told me just to let her know when I get to a terminal and she will fax it to me. Seems odd lol. I definitely won't be getting into it for the money alone, but I want to know how the pay is so I can factor that into my decision making process to figure out if I think it's even worth the enhance risk.

But anyway, I'm gonna keep researching and talking to myself and we'll see what happens lol


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

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