TRIFECTA! Officially A Prime Employee Now

Topic 2357 | Page 1

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Paul H.'s Comment
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So I passed all three parts of my CDL exam in one go, with a perfect score on backing. I got straight line, left offset, and alley dock. Oddly enough, the alley dock was my smoothest one. I had a great instructor who made backing seem somewhat easy. So starting today, I'm finally making money, plus the bonus I get for the trifecta. Unfortunately my CDL photo looks like Vern from Stand By Me. So I'm looking forward to getting it transferred to Florida.

It's been an eventful month out on the road for CDL training. I can't imagine what the next phase of training and my first year will hold. I've seen more snow than I ever have in my life, and come to learn that the worst places to drive in the snow seem to be in the South. I guess up north they prepare for it. In Texas they don't do anything. We sat in a traffic jam a couple of weeks ago coming into Amarillo for 10 hours. 25 miles in 10 hours. We actually got our 10 hour sleep break while sitting in traffic. The road was covered with bumpy ice. And the thing is, they knew the storm was coming! In Missouri, when it snows the roads are cleared by the time I wake up in the morning. I've been working on my photography and have an OTR album going on Facebook. Running reefer I'll probably have less time to take pictures. I'll take the opportunity whenever I can, though. I was on a flatbed for CDL training, but now I'll be training for reefer. So I haven't even towed a reefer trailer yet. I'm ready to get this done, get my truck, and get my dog back with me. I miss her like crazy.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations! Hope you enjoy this new lifestyle, and we'd love for you to keep us posted on your adventures.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey congrats Paul! That's awesome news!

You're right about winter in the South - God put it there and God will take it away when She's good and ready - that's how they see it.

smile.gif

Certainly hope you'll keep us informed about how things go for ya!

Paul H.'s Comment
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Thanks Brett and Old School! I really think I will enjoy it. I have so far. I'll enjoy it even more when I have my own truck and nobody's farts to smell but my own!

Time to get started on the logbook and weight portions of the training program. I thought I understood the HOS rules well enough, but I was completely baffled as to how my instructor kept us driving the way he did. I understand that for the week the Qualcomm was down and we were on paper logs he was able to do what he wanted (we got a LOT done that week!), but I don't understand how he did what he did with the electronic log. So hopefully the program here will help me understand how to get the most out of your hours. The sections that prepared me for the permit test were great. It got me 80% ready for the Missouri test (literally; there were exactly ten questions on the test that weren't on this website - the Missouri manual got me the rest of the way there). So thanks for the training and the great forums and articles. I'll definitely keep ya'll posted.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Congratulations on acing your test and getting your CDL , Paul.

As for being a Prime employee, I will reserve comment and see how you feel about that 9-12 months from now.....

All I will say (from experience) is once you finish TNT and do your upgrade DO NOT allow yourself to be suckered into the Prime lease program!

good-luck.gif

Cheers, Howard

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.

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.

Paul H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Howard. I have no intention of leasing. Ever. My PSD instructor is a company driver, and he makes a LOT of money. Being an instructor adds a lot to his paychecks, but even without that he would be doing very well.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Prime has one of the best pay grades out there so you can definitely make solid money with them.

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.
Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

Hello, I am new to the forum. Congratulations on your recent success! If I may hijack your thread a bit, or if you can point me to another one of your threads, I have a few questions.

I am a career paramedic. It is time for a change. I am considering Prime or Roehl to start my career. How do you feel about the Prime program? How much experience did you have before getting in a big truck? The biggest vehicle I have driven is a fire truck. How much research did you do about different companies before deciding on Prime? Thanks for the help.

Paul H.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. My laptop has been packed up in my suitcase all day while I waited for my new trainer to pick me up, and I couldn't log in on my phone. Now I'm on his truck, and we're staying at the Prime terminal until six in the morning, when we will leave for North Carolina.

I had no experience before. The biggest thing I ever drove before this was a humvee when I was in the Army in South Korea. Which, over there, is huge compared to their cars! I remember one time after the first snow of the year, when I was starting up the humvee, the transportation NCO was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. He said, "So Paul, where are you from again?"

"Florida."

"So have you ever driven in snow before?"

"Nope."

He then proceeded to double-check his seat belt and probably said a prayer, though he remained silent. It went fine, because I was too scared not to be as careful as possible. We were driving on narrow roads in the mountains, which is scary to drive on even without snow. But it went fine.

Anyway, that's the extent of my experience before Prime. Not even close to the same thing. I was nervous about backing, especially since my instructor didn't let me do any backing at all on the road. I thought I would take forever to learn it, because I had a horrible experience on the simulator during orientation. But after three days of practice on the pad, I got a perfect score on backing on my exam. My road test could have been better, but it wasn't bad. My advice is to insist that you get more city driving when you're on the road with your instructor. Mine babied me too much. I did well overall on my exam, but I would have been more confident had I done more off-highway driving (a monkey can learn to drive on the highway). It's hard to get better at shifting when all you do is drive 65 mph down the highway all day or night (though driving in the mountains or through a major city gets you some shifting practice, even on the highway). I did a little bit of gear grinding on my exam, but my actual exam went better than either of the practice runs I did with my instructor. On the other end of the spectrum, I've heard of instructors that have their students do ALL the driving and backing, no matter what the situation. So you don't know what you'll end up with. My instructor was a great teacher, and a very skilled driver. I think he just gave me too much credit for being able to catch on, and didn't work me as hard as I feel he should have. And I should have asked him to. We didn't do much work on pre-trip, because he said I was book smart so I would have no problem with it. Well, I may be book smart, but I still need to get a hand on things in order to internalize the information. But I did learn pre-trip very well, because I took pictures of everything and studied. I only missed three things on the exam, and I attribute that to nervousness. I know all of it.

I did a LOT of research on companies before deciding on Prime. Truckingtruth.com was my starting point, but every time I found a company on here that interested me, I did further research. Prime initially attracted me for two reasons: They have CDL training, and they allow pets. Those were my two dealbreakers, as I can't afford school and I will not abandon my dog for anything in the world. If I recall correctly, I believe Prime was the only company that satisfied both of those requirements. Fortunately, it turned out that they also pay more to beginners than any other company I've seen. They're a very big company, they have lots of customers and lots of miles. It's a good place to be. I know Roehl has flexible home time options, so if that's your most important criteria then there's nobody better than them. Prime keeps you out for a long time. But that's how the money is made. I'm single, so once I get my dog with me (she's staying with my parents until I get done with training) then going home is just gravy for me. It'll be great to hang out with my friends for a few days and all that, but there will be no one back home that I can't stand to be away from for weeks at a time. I hope to find someone like that, but as my ex-girlfriend made me painfully aware, I am in no financial situation to have a family. That's what this job will change, and not having a family yet and not having rent or a house to pay for means it will be that much easier for me to do this and stack up the money.

So that's my situation. I don't know what yours is, but hopefully what I've said will help you understand what this company has to offer, what the drawbacks are, and how it will or won't work for you.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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