Prime Or TMC For Someone Who Is New To Trucking.

Topic 24270 | Page 1

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JJlearner's Comment
member avatar

Hi all need some help. So this is my background. I am 39 and worked in office all these years and recently I got laid off and decided that this is the perfect time to go for my childhood dream. I am a hard worker and when I was going to full-time college I worked overnight in Walmart for 5 years and was sleeping only 2 or 3 hours a day. So I am not worried about working hard to achieve my goals. After few weeks of research I decided to go with one of these companies but it would be great if someone could give me some more advice on one these companies.

I really liked both Prime and TMC's training programs but now I am confused whether I should go for flatbed or reefer. How hard is flatbed for a beginner, I am more worried about securing a flatbed load. I heard that reefers you may end up waiting for unloading and waste so much time. How about the home time plans for these companies. I know it depends on the state we live and I wonder which one is better for a Connecticut or tristate resident. Actually more than home time I am worried about which one of these is better for a Tri- state resident for getting more miles or the state you live in doesn’t matter? The reason I asked this is because i read that these companies don’t hire from certain states.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to our forum!

Just going by your concerns I would recommend you go with Prime. Here's my reasoning: You can start as a reefer driver and get some experience just learning to handle a big rig without having to also concern yourself with load securement. At Prime they will be very agreeable if you want to switch to flatbed when you're ready.

Or you could decide you love pulling refers and just stick with it. I still remember a member we had who always wanted to be a flat bed driver. He started at Prime intending to be a flat bedder. Unfortunately they didn't have any flat bed trainers when he was ready so he started his training with a refrigerated trainer. It turned out he loved it so much that he never turned back.

TMC is a great operation and their load securement training is top notch. If you're needing more hometime than about three days a month, then TMC may be the better choice for you. They can probably get you home every weekend or maybe every other weekend depending on your home location.

Don't get all hung up about waiting for loads as a reefer driver. You can make just as much money pulling a reefer as you can pulling a flat bed. You just have to learn to manage your time properly, and that's a skill you'll be learning no matter what type of trailer you are pulling.

If you haven't seen these links, I highly recommend spending some time reading them. You'll learn so much that will help you in your decision making process.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Jason P.'s Comment
member avatar

Spoke with a TMC recruiter briefly; knowing flatbed really wasn't for me but out of curiosity.

They require you to lift 80lbs regularly, easily or something like. If you've worked in an office most of your life and aren't in great physical shape...

Something to keep in mind.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Hi JJlearner, and welcome.

I started to answer your question last night, but I was so tired that my eyes kept closing. So I chose to wait till this morning. Glad to see Old School came in and gave you the answer.

Yup, I completely agree with OS. If you aren't 100% committed to flatbed then TMC is not going to be the right place, and once you start there you have to fulfill your commitment to them.

As a new student I think you'd be better served by going to Prime also. Training is top notch, and you have your choice of three divisions to go into once solo. I too would suggest pulling a reefer first. Flatbed only adds an extra layer of difficulty to an already difficult learning curve. Not that going straight into flatbed can't be done.

Hometime at Prime accrues and the rate of 4 days per month, and they "officially" don't want you taking more than 4-6 days off in a row. However, if you are busting your tail and getting it done you can pretty much do what you want within reason. I haven't kept track of my days off in over a year. My dispatcher just tells me to take off when I want and to let him know when I'm ready to come back. I've taken as much as 11 days off in a row before, but that was after staying out two months. You see my point.

As far as where you live I don't think you'll have any problem getting hired. There's a lot of freight in your area.

Dispatcher:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi. As a Prime reefer driver/trainer i can emphatically tell you Prime will get you home. I have pwrsoanlly delivered to Boston, NH, VT, NY, and all over NJ in reefer. Not a big deal.

My FM is more strict on home time trying to keep it to the 4 days after a month out. However, i too have stayed out longer and gone home longer. Its all about your productivity and your relationship with your fleet manager.

In reefer we do sit a bit more but we get paid detention after 2 hours in most cases and we can use that time to catch up on much needed rest. So i get paid to sleep lol big deal. We still rack in the miles. And despite what you heard...everyone can still only work their 70 clock...so break now or break later doesnt matter. learn to manage your time and you can rack up the miles.

Prime hires from all 48 states, and your home terminal means nothing. Im dispatched out of Missouri but home is NJ. Doesnt matter. ask any questiins you have and we will answer. good luck!

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.

Fm:

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

JJlearner's Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for your insightful responses. It is great that you all are here to help others. I decided to go with Prime and just applied.

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