Schneider, Swift Or PAM?

Topic 22719 | Page 2

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Tim D.'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.

Thanks.

Tim D.'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.

Every little bit of info helps. Thank you. I appreciate it.

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.
Tim D.'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!

Thanks for the reply and the info.

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.

Tim D.'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!

To answer your questions...

I'm not really concerned with hometime much...my wife lives overseas (hence why I was living overseas and don't have much of a recent work history). I'd like to get through my first year of trucking, as is recommended here, and then after we'll see what I can work out as far as an extended period of time off (at least a month or so) to go overseas and see her. I'm willing to quit and then reapply if necessary...I'm not concerned with "paid" time off (just time off).

I would probably prefer dry van or reefer I'd imagine, but I don't know enough to know yet. Mainly whatever will get me OTR and lots of miles. Pay of course is a concern, but I don't need a whole lot...I'd be happy if I could make at least $30k over those first 12 months. I'd prefer not going to the NorthEast, but whatever comes my way I'll try and deal with.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

You would most likely have to do some North East driving. If you are with CFI and are in good standing, you could take that time off. I don't know how often they would want to do that. As far as pay, here is a link to My pay as a rookie driver. So, yes $30k would be possible.

Heath L.'s Comment
member avatar

Tim D. I would have to agree with G-town that Swift would be a good choice. They have a pretty good mentoring program. Swift also offers more than just OTR as well. Like G-town I was on a Walmart dedicated account for about eight years out of Robert, LA. That was a great job to say the least.

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.

Tim D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for your replies....

I went ahead and started the ball rolling with Schneider...I start school on Monday.

Schneider got back to me and I (mostly) liked what I heard...They seem to have the best pay starting out and I like what I've seen/heard from the school (160 Driving Academy). The person in the office at the school who I talked with and is handling all the paperwork has also been pushing me towards Schneider (whether she actually thinks that's the best fit for me or because they get some sort of extra compensation compared to me choosing Swift remains to be seen). I may be moving too quick for my own good here, but my bills are gonna' start backing up soon while waiting for a paycheck, so I'm anxious to get the ball rolling.

I appreciate everyone who chimed in. You guys helped make it an even tougher decision. Even though I didn't end up choosing Swift I'm glad you guys spoke up. Thank you.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

FYI with CFI it was about six weeks from the time I left home to the day I got my first pay.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
They (Schneider) seem to have the best pay starting out and I like what I've seen/heard from the school (160 Driving Academy). The person in the office at the school who I talked with and is handling all the paperwork has also been pushing me towards Schneider (whether she actually thinks that's the best fit for me or because they get some sort of extra compensation compared to me choosing Swift remains to be seen).

A few thoughts here:

The school; all of the schools main purpose is to teach you just enough to pass the CDL. That's pretty much it.

The individual influencing (pushing) you to go to Schneider is likely getting a better finders fee than what Swift or PAM pays. What does she really know about all three choices? Schneider is a great company no doubt, however you might ask why she believes they are a better fit for you. I also suggest asking her how Schneider's road training compares to Swift and PAM. IMO, unless something has changed Schneider's road training is about one week, Swift is 200 hours. Not sure about PAM.

The pay...rookie pay between companies does vary, but not enough to make a significant difference. No matter who you work for, 40k for the first year is a reasonable expectation.

Try to look at the bigger picture with these three companies and don't let the financially motivated opinion of someone influence your decision. Use her for gaining accurate and objective information.

Use this link to review your three choices and many, many others:

Trucking Company Reviews

Good luck!

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.

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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