Swift Training Program Discussion

Topic 23515 | Page 1

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Alex H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Everybody,

I know you all were expecting me to be leaving form Prime's PSD which I would start on Monday, October 1st. But I had something that I wanted to talk about and get some guidance on.

Prime would have me in Springfield for around 1 week, and then I would go out on the road for 2-4 weeks, come back, take my CDL test, and then go out for another 30,000 miles. I would have to pay $155, upfront, and then another $70 to obtain my CDL in Missouri. I would have to work for Prime for one year to fulfill my contract for going to their school. I would be home every 4-6 weeks for 3-4 days.

Swift called me, today, and they offered me to start with them, October 1st, in Richmond (2 hours from my house). They are paying for the Hotel, DOT Physical, and Drug Screening, as well as all of the school. I am only required to pay back $40 a paycheck for 13 months and then I am free. The recruiter I spoke with said that, if I chose to leave before, I would have to pay back my remaining balance but that's it. He also stated that I would have to cover the DMV cost ($64 for CLP and CDL) as well as my own food (which is fine, I eat like a rabbit). I would be home every 2-3 weeks, 2-3 days at a time. The CPM is a little bit lower; however, I am willing to trade that for a national company (all 48 states) and a little more home time.

What is y'alls experience with Swift's Training program? I know we have a mod who went through the program and loved it.

I am also not asking for life advise but, given the same situation, what would you all recommend a newbie does as far as training? Prime or Swift?

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Alex your question can only be answered subjectively; based on someone’s opinion or experience. There is no right or wrong answer.

My experience with Swift’s Richmond Academy was very good, no regrets with my decision. I’d suggest however, if I went through Prime’s training my experience would likely be similar concluding with a positive outcome.

Both companies offer top shelf training. And both will enable a safe and effective start in this career. It comes down to you, what is most important to you.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

"I would have to work for Prime for one year to fulfill my contract for going to their school. I would be home every 4-6 weeks for 3-4 days."

In training you would be out 6 weeks before home time, but once solo you get 4 days every 4 weeks. if on a regional or dedicated you might get every other weekend. depends on where you live.

"The CPM is a little bit lower; however, I am willing to trade that for a national company (all 48 states) and a little more home time."

Both are 48 states so idk what you mean?

I am also not asking for life advise but, given the same situation, what would you all recommend a newbie does as far as training? Prime or Swift?

you made a point to say swift is 2 hours away. Dont take that to mean you will be going home during training. the whole point to these programs is to submerse you into trucking life. training is intense and requires your full attention. living near a school or terminal means nothing.

all of us here love our companies. someone who works elsewhere would say their company is the best choice and to forget prime or swift lol

i needed the higher training pay, totally free schooling, and a pet policy. swift has one now, but didnt when i started. and their pet deposit is cheaper. i also thought having an APU and inverter was a neceasity, but these guys say it doesnt matter.

whatever works for you. worst case scenario, next year you swap to the other company and test them both out. then report back to us on your thoughts.

rofl-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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

A note about home time. Most companies give you one day of home time credit for every seven days on the road. Some companies limit how many you can save or how long they are good for. Some companies limit you to four days max at a time for home time. Some give you as much as you want. Some companies guarantee you to be home on the date you request, some will get you there as close to the date as they can.

When you take home time, you have to plan for a one to three week pay reduction. To get you home on time, they will keep you closer to home the week before home time and you don't get paid for the home time days. Also, depending on what days you take and how those days fall in a pay cycle will determine what kind of potential pay you can get coming off home time.

Good luck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

If you plan on going home every two to three weeks you wont be doing much OTR at Swift. You will get a load to the other side of the country once in a while but they will keep you somewhat close in order to be able to get you home.

The training at Swift is avg about four weeks depending on mentor and loads plus school. Hitting your mentor's truck near the end of October could make it longer depending on weather.

I can tell you two things about Prime. 1. We do not get many people in orientation that jumped from Prime.

2. I am a mentor on the OTR reefer fleet at Swift and there is almost always a Prime truck at my customers as well.

I don't think you can go wrong with either company.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm an instructor at Swift's Academy in Memphis. The CDL course lasts 4-5 weeks mostly M-F. You get weekends off. (Living 2 hours away you can get home Friday night.)

Once you get your CDL, Swift will hire you and put you on a mentor's truck for 4-5 weeks of driving experience. During that time when your mentor gets their home time you get a local hotel. You may get to go by your house if you are lucky.

After all that, you get your own truck and head out OTR. As G-Town says, if you want to get home every 2-3 weeks you end up with lots of regional loads. To see the USA you'll need to commit to 4-6 weeks out and about that many days back home.

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.

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.

Alex H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your replies, everybody!

I understand the home time thing. My goal is to get out and travel around and see the sites of this wonderful Country and I am not opposed to being out for 4-6 weeks, at a time. I am also just kind of reporting what my recruiter told me, haha.

I chose to go to Swift. I start with the CLP program, tomorrow, and then the week after that I start the actual CDL program.

I am not worried about being away from home for extended periods of time, I have been out six to eight months before. I actually plan on staying in Richmond the entire time I am in class, so I can focus on the task at hand, that be: studying. I have been studying hard for the past 4 weeks and I am getting an average of a 97% on the online tests, but we will see how it goes when the real thing happens.

I want to thank everybody for your time and words of advice - I will keep you all posted in the School Diaries!

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

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