PRIME, Advice And Questions

Topic 23035 | Page 1

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Adam J.'s Comment
member avatar

I am going to say sorry now if this post is long, but I feel I need to explain my situation a little and ask for advice before I jump. I currently work in mental health and have since 2004. I am fried....burnt out however, money is tight being a single parent. On the good side my daughter (who I have had for the last 9 years) has graduated high school, went away to college (flunked out) is back home and working in fast food. I have been looking into trucking and think I have found the best fit for me. I have spoken to the kiddo and she is going to stay home to take care of the house and cats. One of the big things is the pay. I have spoken to recruiters (I know....they will say almost anything to get people to sign in). I have a couple of questions. The biggest one is the pay... In my reading the information it appears that I do not get paid for orientation while I am in Springfield, MO but they do pay for my transportation out there and meals. "orientation" is approx 4 days (to get my permits and line up trainers for the next phase I would assume) . After the first 4 days the way I read it I will be assigned a trainer and will be on the road. At that point do I start getting paid? I can skim by with 4 days of no pay (as my current job holds back 2 weeks on my pay). This is my biggest concern, going several weeks without any pay which I will fall further behind in my bills. I have been studying the manual and trying to gear my self up for the change as it is huge. My huge concern is the financial aspect, I plan to be a company driver and know that the first year is the hardest, but I feel ready for the change and look forward to at least trying. I know a lot of people from PRIME are on here and hope they will be able to help ease my mind.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
After the first 4 days the way I read it I will be assigned a trainer and will be on the road. At that point do I start getting paid?

The short answer is no, you don't get paid until you have your CDL , and are an employee of Prime.

Here's the longer version...

During that first few weeks (PSD) with your initial trainer Prime will "advance" you $200/week. After you pass the driving test, have your CDL, and are on the road for the second phase of training (TNT) then you will start getting paid a minimum of $700/week. They will start taking small weekly deductions from that pay until you've paid back the advances.

If you can't swing that, try to come up with a few things you could sell - get creative. A lucrative future lies ahead if you can muster the commitment to become a Top Tier Driver.

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Here's a tip that will greatly help you prepare for the permit tests. You said...

I have been studying the manual and trying to gear my self up for the change as it is huge.

I would ditch that plan and go with studying the High Road CDL Training Program. That will make a huge difference in your ability to grasp and retain all the information you need to know. It will give you a tremendous headstart over the other students and will likely get you connected with your first trainer much quicker.

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.
Adam J.'s Comment
member avatar

I have started reviewing the High Road CDL and have found it very helpful. I am only around 13% but I find that it is very helpful so far. I am not sure what I have I can sell, but I should figure something out as this is something I really want to do. Even if I fail, at least I tried.

Here's a tip that will greatly help you prepare for the permit tests. You said...

double-quotes-start.png

I have been studying the manual and trying to gear my self up for the change as it is huge.

double-quotes-end.png

I would ditch that plan and go with studying the High Road CDL Training Program. That will make a huge difference in your ability to grasp and retain all the information you need to know. It will give you a tremendous headstart over the other students and will likely get you connected with your first trainer much quicker.

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.
dege78's Comment
member avatar

If the financial aspect is your biggest concern, which is understandable, have you considered Roehl? I only ask because it’s my understanding that you are paid throughout their training program. If they offered flatbed out of FL they’d likely be one of my leading choices, I was hoping to go into flatbed or tanker personally. I just thought it might be an option unless you are dedicated to PRIME. Keep in mind that I am not currently a driver, nor do I have any experience in the industry.

Adam J.'s Comment
member avatar

Dege78- Yes I have looked into Roehl and that is one of the options that I was considering. I was leaning toward PRIME because I have seen a number of their trucks up here in Maine. I was thinking it makes no sense (to me anyway) to try to get with a company that does not run in my area. I was also thinking that a larger company like PRIME it would be easier for me to get hired and not stand out if I make errors (which is part of the learning curve)

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Adam...you are going to screw up and they expect it. all carriers training new drivers will expect it. and in this job you want to stand out to make money. be better than the other drivers.

Dont get hung up on the two to three weeks of school time. i sat and figured it out between Prime and Roehl. Because Roehl pays less for weekly training and less for cpm once solo, over the first 3 months it pretty much evens out.

I broke it down on another thread but you have to read through it. i love prime, but you need to find the company that suits you. As for loads to Maine, yes i have been to Lewiston and Easton many times. often i pick up Lindt chocolate in NH and Ben n Jerryd in VT so getting you home is no issue.

Roehl vs Prime thread

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Adam J.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you,Rainy. I read through that other post. I guess the biggest thing is going without a paycheck for 2-4 weeks. It would be different if I had a spouse who was working, but being a single guy (who is already behind on some bills due to fluctuating work schedule as it is) do I want to really risk losing my phone, having lights turned off or anything else (looking worst case). I was leaning toward PRIME (I have heard and read alot about them and the training) and I hate to look at the hard reality of the weekly pay while in training. It may be better to go with a lower CPM to start and just try to run harder then to risk falling further behind.

Everyone here has been helpful and I appreciate that. There are a lot of things to take into account and I have got some more homework to do I guess. I have been able to whittle my bills down but not sure if I can swing the couple weeks without a check. Who ever said adulting was easy.......lied. it is almost too much to absorb at times.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

The training period is the hardest, financially. I was in a lucrative career for 21 years, before getting laid off in 2015. I had credit cards, and a pretty hefty house payment to deal with. After struggling through 700 a week (gross) I got my own truck and have been busting my ass ever since. In that time, I've refinanced my house and paid off all the credit cards. I have extra taxes taken out of my check, and still take home 800 - 1200 a week.

If your a runner, you'll get miles. But if your a person who constantly turns down loads or needs to be home every couple of weeks, you're gonna struggle.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Agreed.

I was nearly bankrupt when i came to prime but couldnt afford the $2500 to file for bankruptcy! lol

When i went into training, i negotiated lower payments on the credit cards for one year, got a two month deferment on my car, got my car insurance reduced due to reduced miles being driven, and the utility companies put me on a budget plan to reduce my payments. i even gave my landlord half at a time instead of one lump monthly payment.

Talk to the creditors. see what they say. most will work with you because it is cheaper than chasing you for it. but keep to your promise and call to re negotiate. if you promised $50 but can only give $25 this.month, call ahead and tell them.

i paid off $62,000 in debt and am now free and clear!!! whoo hoo!!! My credit score went from 505 to 766, and i now have $$$$ in high yield savings accounts and $20,000 in my 401k. life is sweet.

it takes innovation and determination. i ate quite a few deli sandwiches the first couple of months. even though im at one of the highest paying companies for newbies and i got miles, i still needed to tighten my purse strings. all well worth it.

Plus, many new drivers get wrapped up outfitting the truck with toys like TV and fridge instead of paying bills.

this sounds like an article is needed lol.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

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