Schneider, Swift Or PAM?

Topic 22719 | Page 1

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Tim D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys,

I've applied for these three cdl programs/truck companies and I'd like your input to help me decide.

I originally wanted Prime, but they won't give me an opportunity at this time because of my lack of much recent employment history. (I've been living overseas much of the last decade +.)

Since, Prime was not an option, I stopped by a school near my home (160 Driving Academy) and inquired about opportunities with them. I knew that they have affiliations with Swift and Schneider (and possibly other companies). They had me fill out applications with both of those companies online while I was in their office. I also filled out the application for PAM/Driver Solutions later that night at home. All three have contacted me and seemingly want to hire me (pending the background checks, etc...none of which should be a problem, I'm "squeaky clean"...only issue is not much recent employment).

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.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Have you tried CFI? They will train you for free. I was trained by them and drive for them.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Tim, you have some good options available to you. Although I understand Prime was at the top of your list, Swift is also an excellent choice.

I trained with Swift at their Richmond Academy over 5 years ago and continue driving for them assigned to a Dedicated Walmart account in the Northeast region. The opportunities with Swift are numerous and varied. No regrets, if I had it to do over, I'd retrace the exact same path.

There are several Swift drivers on the forum. Don't hesitate to ask questions about their training, mentoring program and career opportunities.

Good luck to you.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I attended 160 driving academy at their Moline Illinois location and was very happy with my experience. If you do the 160 route of having a company sponsor your training there, pay attention to the cost if you don't make it the timeframe the contract is requiring of you. My training was paid for by my employer but other students in my class told me that when they enrolled they had the option to pay $4000 out of pocket or have a company sponsor them. All the conpanies they worked with had it so if you didnt work a year or so with them you'd have to pay the carrier a substantial amount more. USA Truck in particular was requiring a $12,000 buyout.

With the companies you listed you can't go wrong. If you look into Pam more its worth noting that they require you to team drive for your first 6 months.

Tim D.'s Comment
member avatar

Have you tried CFI? They will train you for free. I was trained by them and drive for them.

CFI?

Haven't heard of them yet...

All three of the options I applied for will pay for my school upfront...

Schneider will pay for it upfront and no reimbursement necessary as long as I fulfill the contract. (pass the schooling with 160 Driving Academy, get through their orientation, and drive for them for 1 year)

Swift will pay for it upfront and then take it out of my check over the course of the year contract. They will then pay that reimbursement back to me over the course of a 2nd year driving for them. (schooling will be with 160 Driving Academy)

PAM will pay for it upfront and then take about half of it out of my check over the course of the year contract. (schooling would be through C1 Trucking school)

Tim D.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim, you have some good options available to you. Although I understand Prime was at the top of your list, Swift is also an excellent choice.

I trained with Swift at their Richmond Academy over 5 years ago and continue driving for them assigned to a Dedicated Walmart account in the Northeast region. The opportunities with Swift are numerous and varied. No regrets, if I had it to do over, I'd retrace the exact same path.

There are several Swift drivers on the forum. Don't hesitate to ask questions about their training, mentoring program and career opportunities.

Good luck to you.

Thanks for the input. I'm definitely considering them.

Tim D.'s Comment
member avatar

I attended 160 driving academy at their Moline Illinois location and was very happy with my experience. If you do the 160 route of having a company sponsor your training there, pay attention to the cost if you don't make it the timeframe the contract is requiring of you. My training was paid for by my employer but other students in my class told me that when they enrolled they had the option to pay $4000 out of pocket or have a company sponsor them. All the conpanies they worked with had it so if you didnt work a year or so with them you'd have to pay the carrier a substantial amount more. USA Truck in particular was requiring a $12,000 buyout.

With the companies you listed you can't go wrong. If you look into Pam more its worth noting that they require you to team drive for your first 6 months.

Thanks for the info/reply.

If I go with Swift or Schneider the schooling will be with 160....with PAM the school will be C1.

I was aware that Pam requires team (a little apprehensive, but I'd deal with it).

I'm mainly looking to see how they compare with pay and how much out of pocket costs I'll have upfront and/or how much withholding I'll have later from my pay. Of course how many miles I'll potentially be able to get and the training and how I'll fit in with the company is important too.

Right now I've got Schneider at the top of my list, but they haven't really discussed the pay scale and where I'd fit in with them (it's based on whether you drive OTR , regional , etc). I have a phone interview set up for tomorrow where I hope to get more info fleshed out. The rep at 160 has kinda sold me on them as the best option, but I'd still like to make sure.

I'm looking for OTR and home time isn't really a concern.

Regional:

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.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Here is a link to the CFI website. Check them out. They will train you and they have a tuition reimbursement program. CFI has a one year contract for solo drivers and 6 months if you team. I am very happy with them. If I can answer any questions I will. I'll try to remember to check in here more often.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I started with Schneider right out of school (dry van) and stayed with them two years. Everything they promised me was true. I only left because I found a Southeast regional driving job that pays the same, but gets me home every week.

When comparing companies, Schneider will likely be offering a low starting cents per mile, but it goes up quickly. AND ask if they’re still paying performance bonus. Mine was two cents per mile, paid quarterly. It was easy to obtain and I qualified every quarter from day one. For me it was usually $600/quarter.

If circumstances required, I’d go back to Schneider and I recommend them to anyone who is looking for a solid company with many options.

I hope this helps.

Regional:

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
LoneStar's Comment
member avatar

Hey Tim!

It is always a good thing to have options. My suggestion is weigh the pro's and con's of each company. What appeals to you the most? Hometime? Reefer/Dry Van/Flatbed? Pay? or even what part of the country would you like to travel? Every company has their niche' per-say when it comes to recruiting drivers. I cannot speak to any driver training program other than Prime. However, If I was to pick one of those companies I would go with Swift. Out of those Swift would match my wants and needs best. Above all, I suggest picking one that suits you best and develop your own experience rather than depend on other drivers personal experiences as they will vary greatly. Also, try and remain positive throughout school and your OTR training regardless of who you choose to go with as it will be challenging mentally. It is a big adjustment especially having to share a small box the size of most bathrooms with another human being for 1 to 4 months at a time. Good luck!

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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