And I Thought Choosing My First Company Was Hard!

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Daniel B.'s Comment
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What little time I've had lately, I've used it to apply to other companies.

And everywhere I apply, I get a call immediately. So now I have a million choices. And its so difficult to choose!

I got accepted into Prime. But at the same time I got accepted into regional jobs that would get me home every weekend.

I got a job offer from GTI Gordon. Famous for their baby-blue trucks. They offered me a position where I would only be driving in CA, NV, AZ, and NM. I would also be home every weekend. Sounds great! But the starting pay is .30cpm.

So here I have it. I have a wife that wants to see me more. I have a job offer that will get me home every weekend and I also have a job offer that pays amazing and gives me the opportunity to become a trainer, but I will continue to never see her.

So, this is a classic case of Money vs. Hometime.

I spent many long days thinking about this. I've called friends and family to get their opinion. I am 50/50, one hour I lean towards Prime the next hour I lean towards Gordon.

Finally, me and my wife decided that going to Prime would be a better choice right now. My starting pay at Prime will be .44cpm. I will make a lot more money. I will have the opportunity to become a trainer and maybe be Guy Decou's TNT trainer, as long as he doesn't go writing his name and date on my truck like he does at restrooms apparently.

I will continue to hardly ever see my wife and while this is disappointing, its also for the best. She is going fulltime in college to study anthropology and working part time. She works fulltime right now so she won't be bringing in as much money, so I need to step up and make more money to pay the bills. And Gordon will probably lower my income.

This decision has been on my mind for a long time. My radio broke a week ago. Yep, I've been driving with no radio! So I'm in my thoughts all day long thinking about this decision. Picking my first company was so easy compared to this. Just ask Tracey, he will tell you how puzzled I was haha!

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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.

Anthony R.'s Comment
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I chose Prime for similar reasons-the pay is very good. Am upgrading to solo this week-maybe Ill get to meet you some day. There is a disadvantage in the home time but that can be worked out in time. Since I am single that is not a factor with me. I was actually given the choice of a dedicated run in Maine where I am from but chose to stay nationwide. Hope it all works out well for you.

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, since your wife is going to school full time and working part time I agree with you - it might be the better choice for the two of you overall in the long run to go with Prime right now. You can focus on making money and advancing your career while she can focus on her school work.

I can tell ya right now that if you started getting home on weekends you would find yourself and your wife in conflict quite a bit over what to do with your time. She's going to have very little time to spare and most of the time you're home on weekends you'll be sleeping anyhow. And what are the chances that you'll both find some free time at the same time and can agree on what you'd like to do together? Pretty slim.

Let her focus on doing her thing and you focus on yours. It won't be long before she'll be out of school and you'll both benefit from you getting home more often. When that time comes you'll have no problem finding the right job.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Anthony, I'm going from .31cpm to .44cpm. A huge pay increase! Plus I've always wanted to be trainer and with Central I cannot have that opportunity because only lease drivers can be trainers. Which is frustrating to say the least.

Brett, exactly what we discussed. We are 22 and 21 and we still have a long way to go. I have my career established, now we just got to get her established in her field. Having said that, this isn't the time to be decreasing my pay especially with the cost of college. As much as I miss hanging out with my friends all day, going to the gym, and playing video games - there are more important things.

Consider this. I'll have 1 year of experience with Central Refrigerated. And on top of that, I'll have 1+ years of experience with Prime Inc and having the 'Certified Trainer' at Prime on my resume will make my resume glow when I'm through with Prime. I can only imagine the opportunities that will present themselves to me in a few years.

Just an update. Got a hold of my recruiter. That wasn't very difficult. I left a brief message and got a phone call quickly afterwards.

My final hometime is set for January 3rd. That is the day I will go home with my truck and then drive it to the Lathrop Swift terminal in CA and turn in my truck. I want to turn it into a terminal to prevent a "truck abandonment" showing up on my record.

On January 5th at 0330AM I will be departing from the Sacramento Greyhound terminal headed to the Prime terminal in Salt Lake City, UT and will arrive at approximately 1800.

I start orientation on the 6th. My recruiter says that I will not be going out with a trainer at all. So as soon as I finish orientation I get my own truck and my first load and I'm off to paradise.

I am relieved to not have to spend time with a trainer. Yes, it will be a little tough learning the macros by myself and all the other good things. But I met Ernie on the road and he gave me a nice tutorial on how they do things on the qualcomm. I must have looked through almost every macro and the information has stuck with me. I still remember how to do mostly anything on the qualcomm so long as I can find the macro. A huge thank you to Ernie for taking time out of your sleep to educate me for my future. Thank you sir!

I am pretty excited. Right now I'm at the Central terminal in Utah getting repairs done on my truck. Radio broken, window shattered, bumper damaged and needs replacement, water leaking from windshield seal. Since the truck found out that its master is leaving it, it has been breaking down!

Its a long list. Though I have less than 2 weeks with the truck, I don't want to leave it broken down for the next driver. Just not a nice thing to do. Besides, I've been doing 600 mile days for the past week I wouldn't mind a resetrofl-3.gif

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anthony R.'s Comment
member avatar

You are in the right place if you want to train-you may be eligible to train in 3 months-train those who have a cdl but need to go through the second phase. In a year you will be eligible to train new students with just permits to get their cdl.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

You are in the right place if you want to train-you may be eligible to train in 3 months-train those who have a cdl but need to go through the second phase. In a year you will be eligible to train new students with just permits to get their cdl.

By a year do you mean:

A year with Prime?

Or a year of OTR Experience?

By the time I become a trainer, I'll have well over a year under my belt. But only 3 months of it with Prime.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hey I applied at Central and Prime this weekend.. Where you going to drive @ dang was gonna Stalk U..LOL Merry Christas... JC

Got a good answer back from Melton's got the name of the recruiter in an email.. Its flatbed but being a rookie I was thinking going towards my biggest fear 1st.. Then moving into something else mayb down the road after I get the miles and fear out of my system...

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey I applied at Central and Prime this weekend.. Where you going to drive @ dang was gonna Stalk U..LOL Merry Christas... JC

Got a good answer back from Melton's got the name of the recruiter in an email.. Its flatbed but being a rookie I was thinking going towards my biggest fear 1st.. Then moving into something else mayb down the road after I get the miles and fear out of my system...

Not a bad idea. If you want to learn to drive and then drive a flatbed then Prime would be better for you because they have a flatbed division so you wouldn't be having to switch companies. Central doesnt do flatbed. Look into Swift also because they also have a flatbed division.

You could start with flatbed, but if you don't feel comfortable about it then dont. Only do what you can handle and feel comfortable with. Starting out with hauling a box and then going to flatbed when you feel you have enough experience is a perfectly good idea.

Logan T.'s Comment
member avatar

If your checking out Swift flatbed here is a heads up. If you go flatbed with Swift and don't like it you can't just switch back to dry van you have to stay or quit and hope they hire you back. Swift is trying to build up their flatbed division because it is small and there aren't many of them. I can count on one hand how many Swiftie flatbedders I've seen since I've started working for them.

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.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

I am relieved to not have to spend time with a trainer. Yes, it will be a little tough learning the macros by myself and all the other good things. But I met Ernie on the road and he gave me a nice tutorial on how they do things on the qualcomm. I must have looked through almost every macro and the information has stuck with me. I still remember how to do mostly anything on the qualcomm so long as I can find the macro. A huge thank you to Ernie for taking time out of your sleep to educate me for my future. Thank you sir!

Daniel,

You are very welcome. Was glad to do that. If you should have questions once you get over to Prime, don't hesitate to call me. Will be glad to help if I can.

Ernie

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
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