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Terry M.'s Comment
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I stumbled upon the forum a couple of years ago when I was working at a job close to 30 years that I had come to absolutely hate. Each day for 3 months I would read the forums and do the practice CDL tests. Just when we were about ready to pull the trigger, we find out my wife has cancer. Yup, sometimes life gets in the way. So I continued with my job and even got a second one with benefits to take up the slack. 2 months ago the doctors and oncologists pronounced her cancer free. Praise the lord. During this period I had quit my day job of thirty years as the owners son had turned it in to a toxic atmosphere and had to declare bankruptcy. Present day: working 4 days a week but with no financial responsibilities apart from mortgage and car payment which we've negotiated to a manageable payment. Will be 56 the 8th of February and (thanks to my 4 day a week job) am in great physical condition and seriously considering trucking again. Through research I've narrowed my considerations to 3 companies that offer training, they are Jim Palmer, Swift, and Prime. I know Trucking Truth has reviews of these companies and they were a big factor in my decision but I would love to hear from people out there who have gone through the training and have good or bad opinions on the companies. This is a HUGE jump for me and my wife and I have no doubt I'll land on my feet but I gotta be sure....so, please, help. Looking forward to all responses and will all ways respond in kind. Again, I'm very grateful for any and all help.

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.
OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
member avatar

Hello Terry, what a blessing for you and most definitely your wife. You sound like a solid candidate for Jim Palmer. If you have some past experience the program may suit your ability and JPT's fast paced training. JPT has been up front and fair too me. Give them a ring and have a chat...Best of luck!

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Terry congrats to you and your wife for beating that awful disease. I know the stress it can cause as I too went through it with my wife this past year. I also know the joy you both felt when you got the word she was free of it, I cried like a baby in the dr’s office and it felt like a building was lifted off my shoulders when we got the happy news. It’s very rough to go through. May god always bless the both of you. I don’t have any experience with those companies, but I know what it’s like starting in the career at a mature period in your life!!! I was 53 when I started and now 57. It is an adjustment like no other you have likely experienced. Folks from our generation have a totally different outlook on life and work ethic. However it is performance based and hard work and dedication pay big dividends. I wish you the best

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

First let me say that I am so glad your wife is cancer free!! That is the best news anyone can receive in that situation, a weight has been lifted. So glad to see that you are now able to focus on your dream of driving, I am also doing the same thing currently so we are both on similar journey's. I have looked into Wil-Trans a sister company of Jim Palmer, TMC and Roehl but have not talked to Roehl yet. Good luck in your pursuit and making the choice for schools that will help you achieve your goals.

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Terry M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for the kind responses and well wishes. 2 of the companies I've mentioned (Prime & Jim Palmer) have facilities in Springfield Mo. that would be extremely convenient as my wife and I live in NE Oklahoma. I believe Swift nearest is in Texas so I'm leaning more towards Prime and Jim Palmer. I was hoping to hear from people who've been through the training and have been on the road for a few months. I'm positive training from each company would be comprehensive I just want to be sure that when the rubber finally meets the road the company I decide to go with will be there when rookie mistakes are made and wont be to quick to judge.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for the kind responses and well wishes. 2 of the companies I've mentioned (Prime & Jim Palmer) have facilities in Springfield Mo. that would be extremely convenient as my wife and I live in NE Oklahoma. I believe Swift nearest is in Texas so I'm leaning more towards Prime and Jim Palmer. I was hoping to hear from people who've been through the training and have been on the road for a few months. I'm positive training from each company would be comprehensive I just want to be sure that when the rubber finally meets the road the company I decide to go with will be there when rookie mistakes are made and wont be to quick to judge.

I suggest you try the diaries section for people's accounts of how their training went with each of those companies you're interested in. That's what helped me decide. Just an FYI, CFI also has their orientation in Joplin, MO then once all the paperwork is done you go to Crowder College Campus in Neosho, MO for CDL training. Good luck! God bless & stay safe. Swift operates 5 fully functional CDL Truck Driving Schools in the following cities: Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Lewiston, ID Memphis, TN Corsicana, TX Richmond, VA

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
member avatar

I can only speak from my experience with my company. That said, I expect similarly successful outfits operate alike.

Its understood "rookie mistakes" are part and parcel to this environment. Crawling before walking makes for sore knees aye....

A couple things YOU can bring to the table that if practised will help towards successfully getting in the game:

Honesty: Make a mistake and own it. Learn from it. Constructive criticism: Be able to accept. Don't personalize as being professionally criticized is part of the coaching process. Communicate: be straight forward. Discuss your concerns. Work hard: show your ambition and demonstrate your desire to learn.

This is a rough business. Think of the liability and risk these companies take. They've seen and heard every excuse and hard luck story in the book. If your hearts in it and you've got "stick to it" in ya, trust me the company will see it!!

I've surely made my mistakes in the short time I've been with company. No judging, in a negative sense, just help in making proper adjustment and on to the next challenge around the corner, litteraly...lolol..

Again, best of luck too you!

Terry M.'s Comment
member avatar

ReynR & OtrEscapeArtist thank you very much for your suggestions and insight. OtrEscapeArtist I've read your account of training and found it very useful. One question I hope you or someone else could answer....How long did it take to get your first real paycheck and (ok, two questions.) was it what you were expecting? I know there will be a period of no income possibly for a month so we are prepared for that. Any info is a tremendous help.

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.

OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
member avatar

Plan for 4-5 weeks with no pay. Could be a tad less but I suggest to put some cushion in it if you have the ability to. You can draw $200 weekly advance paid back at $25 per paycheck.

By law (Montana), a CDL permit holder cannot test prior to 14 days post permit issue date.

I have a permit holder with me know. He spent a week training at terminal. I picked him up and we hit the road!! It will be approx 3.5 weeks total for him until CDL testing...He has had wheel for over 30+ hrs in one week covering city, mountain passes, day, night, docking, backing practise etc etc.

Once passing CDL A he will be an employee of Jim Palmer/Wilson Logistics and start his C and B seat class steps.

Rule #1 is plans will change. Not drastically but being flexible is a must... The dynamics of moving a ton of freight, equipment and people around 48 states 24/7 non-stop is challenge..lol...

*The learning curve for everyone is different. When with trainer on road its obviously a "close" training environment. We are a live truck moving goods!

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.

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.

OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
member avatar

I came in with very little expectations. Of course I expected "training" but really left it there. I "trusted" I was with a group that had my success in their (out) best interest.

My expectations were put upon myself by myself. If that makes sense....lol..I expected to succeed and expected JPT had the tools and interest to facilitate that.

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