TRAINERS, LEAD DRIVERS, MENTORS, Whatever Yall Are Called, I Want To Hear From Yall......

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millionmiler24's Comment
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Hello again, I am back. LOL. Anyway in my last post on here, I stated how now CRST has approved me to become a Lead Driver. As the title states: I would love to hear from the trainers, mentors and lead drivers on this forum and I would love to know about yalls experiences training new drivers. Do yall enjoy it? Is it yalls mission in life like its mine to help others? What have been some of your BEST experiences training people? What have been yalls WORST experiences training people? I figure this thread would be a good place to chime in here with yalls experiences. Just like with 6 strings thread on LTL , just like Rainy's thread about things you love about your company, I thought this topic would be a good place to talk about your experiences, good or bad with training people for success in this industry. Feel free to chime in here at anytime. I will stay subscribed to this thread so I can be notified of every new post to it. Thanks.

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LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
PlanB's Comment
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I am no trainer, and in fact only recently completed training. But one thing I have noticed is that you'll have to be prepared for anything....Anything! You have no idea who will be getting on your truck or what their habits are.

My trainer said he got lucky with me. I caught on pretty quick and had no problem running hard. He was taking home checks from 2k up to 4.5k every week! Since I was only being paid 14cpm during training, i made him a ton of money as a lease operator. Our dispatcher said even as a training truck, we were one of the best team trucks in his fleet.

Now another trainer we talk with had pretty poor experiences with his last couple students. One had been caught using his phone while driving and warned to stop. Unfortunately one day while trainer was asleep the student drove the truck off the road and into a field. He was using his phone again.... The truck was totaled.

After getting a new truck and taking a break for a while he took on another student. This one didn't crash, but had a very poor work ethic and little interest to learn. The student asked for home time, which he granted with the requirement that he maintain communication so trainer can plan to pick him back up. After 10 days off the student failing to return any calls or texts... He officially had the student removed from his truck.

Hopefully you will have students who take their new career seriously. Watch out for the ones who don't.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Turtle's Comment
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I've never trained a driver, but my background is 27 years of running my own business, with many many trainees and employees along the way.

First and foremost, treat the trainees with respect. Remember that each one of them is an individual, and should be treated as such. What works for one may not work for another, you may need to adapt your teaching techniques for each student.

Your job will be to provide an atmosphere in which they can actually learn, and you will have a short window of time in which to do so.

You sound like you have the right attitude to be a trainer. I mean that. Too many trainers see it only as an opportunity to make more money. That money comes with increased responsibility, however. Take it seriously, and have patience with the slow learners.

Errol V.'s Comment
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I'm not a trainer. However, I'm waiting for my three years with Swift to be up (any minute now..) to sign on with the Academy as an Instructor. I have also been a school teacher. There is little difference between teaching in school and in a truck. Actually, it is better because the truck students are often more mature than school students.

What is your motivation for truck training? The company often pushes the extra money you make as a trainer. Often Owner Operators take this route to enhance their income, whether they are any good at training or not. If you have the bug to pass on your knowledge - to help a newby become successful in this business, welcome to the club.

You should expect get students in the whole range from non-motivated untrained steering wheel holders to those with some experience that just need a bit of polishing to hit the road. My Swift instructor was comfortable with me that after the initial shotgun seat observation he was comfortable to stay in the sleeper while I drove. He said his last student made him lose sleep because he (the trainer) was nervous leaving his student to his own devices.

I feel that any experienced truck driver can show a student something, but that teaching is different. Teaching (what your job will mostly be about) involves evaluating your student and helping then to fix their errors. It also involves the final evaluation for the company for the student, whether your company can really trust them with a truck and a load and a visit to a shipper/receiver. It really is a big responsibility for you.

As Plan B and Turtle noted, you will end up with drivers who do not respect their job, that think it's OK to fudge the rules. If this happens you need to have an eye-to eye, come to Jesus talk to help your student know how important proper truck operation is to his career. You personally may have shortcuts that work for you in all parts of your job, but as an instructor it is your responsibility to teach the CRST Way. If your student isn't able to see this, you need to consider dropping him off, with a "no hire" recommendation. This is best for them, you, and CRST.

As an example, Plan B's "phone" student. If I was the trainer, and I the first time caught a student driving with a phone at his ear, the whole world would stop, not just a warning, until this guy understood it is #1 illegal, #2 unsafe and #3 against company policy.

In the Swift terminal trailer yard I watched a trainer help his student practice backing "alley dock" style. He was having trouble in just "getting" it. At one point he got out of the truck to see what his trailer was doing. He saw me watching , smiled a bit and shrugged his shoulders. That told me this guy wasn't going to be driving very long, if he even got that far.

MillionMile, you are eager to take on a huge responsibility. I hope you can go the distance and turn out some fine, polished drivers for CRST.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I was a trainer for awhile. 3 things I think are important. 1) find out what your students expectations are of this industry. Dispel any myths. Some questions I was asked; a) $100,000 my first year possible? b) 34hr resets every week? When you find out their expectations are reasonable, help them achieve their goals. When the student becomes successful, they gain confidence. Point out when they are successful. 2) Figure out how they learn. Are they a visual learner or audio, combination of both. Find out fast and teach them that way. Then all time will be productive. 3) lastly, be serious but make it fun. Tell your stories and stupid mistakes you made. It will help them relax. Their stress level is high already.

Good luck

millionmiler24's Comment
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What is your motivation for truck training?

Great question, Errol. I want to pass along what I have learned to other new drivers out there and hopefully begin to prepare them for life on the road. The extra pay is nice, however I do just fine for myself as a co driver. I don't have any other expenses other than food, T-Mobile and Verizon. The rest of my money I do with what I want. The main reason I want to do this is because its my mission in life to help others. Sure the extra pay is nice, however I am not going to be one of those trainers that all they have the student for is extra miles. I won't release a student until I am a million percent sure that they can SAFELY and LEGALLY do this job. The normal training program is 28 days on a Lead Drivers truck at CRST. If I feel confident enough in their abilities, I can sign off on them as soon as 21 days is up as long as they got all their backings done and I am confident enough that they will be safe out there. I know when it comes to the extra pay that yes sure I will save up money quicker to achieve my financial goals, however whether or not I am a Lead Driver or a Co Driver, I will achieve my financial goals if I set my mind to it. That isn't whats important out there. What is important is making sure we are SAFELY and LEGALLY delivering our loads and while doing so, my student is getting experience that he/she would need to be successful out there. NO set amount of training can truly prepare you for what you will deal with out there, however if I get my students much more closer to being fully prepared out there, then I feel that I did a good job with them. I still can't believe I am about to take this road however I feel that if I can help others out here be successful and prepared, then I am satisfying my life's mission. Just like yall do here with TT, I am going to do that with CRST on these nations streets and highways while being as SAFE and LEGAL as we can possibly be. I will let my students know about TruckingTruth and make sure that if they want to succeed out here, then learn not just from me but from other drivers out here. This forum has the most true and accurate information about how to be successful in this job. I hope that my students can use TT here as a tool for whenever I am not always around to answer a question or after they successfully complete their training and they are no longer on my truck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
millionmiler24's Comment
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Bump

millionmiler24's Comment
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Bump

RealDiehl's Comment
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Millionmiler,

I'm currently waiting to meet my trainer TONIGHT. I can honestly say I'm a nervous wreck right now. I really hope my trainer's goals and approach to training are very similar to yours. Let your trainee read what you wrote, or tell him. I'm sure that hearing that will make him/her feel a lot more at ease. It would for me.

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Millionmiler,

I'm currently waiting to meet my trainer TONIGHT. I can honestly say I'm a nervous wreck right now. I really hope my trainer's goals and approach to training are very similar to yours. Let your trainee read what you wrote, or tell him. I'm sure that hearing that will make him/her feel a lot more at ease. It would for me.

Who do you drive for?

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