Flatbed With Prime?

Topic 28389 | Page 1

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DaveDiesel's Comment
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Hello all,

I just got off the Phone with Prime. I really like how their flatbed training package sounds. I've been accepted by TMC but prime's training plan is appealing to me.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

PackRat's Comment
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Have you read Turtle's posts?

He was a new hire through Prime, then progressed to becoming a flatbed trainer.

Rob D. is documenting his Prime flatbed training for the past several weeks in the Diary Section.

Turtle's Comment
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That's a decision only you can make. Either company is top notch, especially on the flatbed side. Both run the same type of freight, often picking up from or delivering to the same customers.

A key difference is TMC is more regionalized, as I understand it. They can often get you home every weekend, whereas Prime is 48 states, typically 3-4 weeks out at a time.

I spent nearly 3 years flatbedding at Prime and loved every minute of it, so obviously my bias will lean towards them.

Ironically I first applied to TMC, but they never called me back.

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.

DaveDiesel's Comment
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That's a decision only you can make. Either company is top notch, especially on the flatbed side. Both run the same type of freight, often picking up from or delivering to the same customers.

Prime:

I like the fact that Prime's orientation is 3-4 days, then out with a trainer for 50K miles. I learn by doing and I think this type of training would suit me.

Pros: shorter orientation and more on the job training.

Pros: different freight divisions available in case my body has had enough of flatbed

cons: less home time

TMC:

TMC's orientation is 12 days, then 5 weeks with a trainer. I've heard their flatbed training is top.

Pros: specialized flatbed training from multiple instructors during orientation

Pros: more home time

Cons: No other freight divisions

Thoughts? Thanks for the help

Turtle's Comment
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There may not necessarily be more home time at TMC when you consider you're only home long enough for a 34 each weekend, vs Prime where you'll be home 4 - 5 days in a row once a month. Think of it that way also. Good points and bad points to both.

DaveDiesel's Comment
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There may not necessarily be more home time at TMC when you consider you're only home long enough for a 34 each weekend, vs Prime where you'll be home 4 - 5 days in a row once a month.

Hmm, I hadn't thought about home time that way. TMC recruiter advertised average home time between 48 and 52 hrs, but I think I'd rather be home longer than more often....maybe??

I think staying out for longer duration's as a rookie might help build proficiency and a better foundation than being home every weekend??

Maybe look for more home time options after the first year?

Thoughts?

Rubber Duck's Comment
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The whole home for 5 days in a row thing is a pay check killer. Sounds great until you got to go without a pay for a whole week. You might think your going to make more staying out for 3 to to 4 weeks but that’s just a myth. What’s really going to happen is your going to lose a ton of money going home for a whole week and at the end of the year your going to be missing thousand and thousands of dollars compared to what you would of made doing resets at your house every weekend. I say go with TMC if your interested in flatbed. The orientation is longer because the company wants you to know the TMC way and not just your trainers way of doing things. Trust me things get lost in translation and trainers don’t always know everything about flatbed. Is primes 50k ran as a team? Is TMC otr training ran as team? Those are important questions if your considering one over the other based on how much you like the idea of 50k miles of training. Is it really training or is it team driving?

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.
Michael W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all,

I just got off the Phone with Prime. I really like how their flatbed training package sounds. I've been accepted by TMC but prime's training plan is appealing to me.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

I trained with Prime in 2015, but not flatbed. A good friend of mine did do flatbed, and he was open about it. I do not know much about TMC beyond what come of their drivers have told me.

For Prime:

If I didn't have a medical issue cut my time with them short, I might still be with them today in some capacity. Good company, still privately owned, EXCELLENT training. Back in 2015, I only had to do 30,000 miles before being released to solo. I had previous experience driving rigs, so that was enough for me. Had I been a total rookie, 30K wasn't enough. I'm glad they raised that to 50K. Hopefully that applies to Reefer side, too.

Anyway, my pal also trained Reefer through them, left for a bit, then returned for flatbed training. Even with 1.5 years of driving experience, he was still required to go with a trainer for 2 weeks. Although they did show him how to secure and tarp at the terminal , there is nothing like gaining real experience. After that, he went solo again and loved it. As he put it, "This is a REAL MAN'S trucking job, man!" After another 2 years, he left Prime to do Heavy haul (which Prime does not do). That man now makes $150K+ per year as a company driver elsewhere (again, heavy haul - big money there).

If you just want experience coupled with awesome training, Prime is an excellent choice. Since Rob Low was a driver and still runs the joint, he's pretty good at keeping the offices respectful of us cranky, stinky, sometimes really stupid road nuts.

Last I knew, trucks are governed at 67-68 MPH. That's Lease. I think it's lower for straight company trucks.

I will warn you, though. Don't go Lease. I went Lease. I did okay, but ONLY because I had no actual home and only a storage fee for expenses. If you intend to be out ALL THE TIME with a rare few days off aside from the reset, then it may be a good choice. I do mean all the time. Not exaggerating. The Lease payments are WEEKLY and the payments do NOT stop if you take a few extra days off. If you are out 4 weeks and then go home for a week, Prime will not stop you. HOWEVER, that payment is due and if you have nothing to pay that week off you WILL pay it the next week PLUS that week's payment. You can be in the hole for two weeks. Most fail because they don't work long enough to pack away the money to pay for the lease during the week off. They provide a way for LeaseOps to do exactly that, but they kinda avoid telling you that you'd really have to be out 4 - 8 weeks straight just to have one week packed away to go into a 4 on 1 off rotation. You CAN ask them to pack away more to get that done quicker, but most cannot afford to do that right away. Just be aware of that.

Also, their Lease payments are pretty high. The average when I was there in 2015 was $650-$800 each week, and that's JUST THE TRACTOR (not the related fuel and maintenance expenses).

For TMC:

I have zero experience with the company and only limited to what their drivers have told me. I will also refrain from putting in any and all whiny driver complaints (there are always a few). Only the good things and friendly warnings.

I do not think they offer a Lease option. I may be wrong.

Anyway, they still govern their trucks at 61-62 MPH. To balance that, they seem to know how to schedule dispatches accordingly, even for long hauls. TMC doesn't usually sit around for very long in between loads. The company does like to pre-plan loads, sometimes 2 loads in advance.

They do allow a choice to be home weekly or weekends, but your check WILL reflect that. They prefer you stay out 10-14 days for a reset at home, or 3 weeks out with 2.5 days at home.

They train TOP notch. They take care of their equipment. And...they require that of you, too, even on the inside. There seems to be a consensus that attitudes from the offices are not what they should be. That's all I know from what TMC drivers have said.

Honestly, if you want to train for flatbed AND be paid very well, look into Maverick. I do not know if they train for get CDLs, but they will take rookies. If I ever go back to flatbedding, that's where I'll go.

Good luck!

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

Michael W says:

Last I knew, trucks are governed at 67-68 MPH. That's Lease. I think it's lower for straight company trucks.

Lease is governed at 65 mph on the pedal and cruise. However, I've been in two lease trucks and both are 2 mph slower than the speedometer. So you're really governed at 63. Company is governed at 62. If the same speedometer error applies, you're governed at 60 mph.

Also, their Lease payments are pretty high. The average when I was there in 2015 was $650-$800 each week, and that's JUST THE TRACTOR (not the related fuel and maintenance expenses).

See the current inventory and weekly lease rates:

Success Leasing (Prime) Inventory

Had I been a total rookie, 30K wasn't enough. I'm glad they raised that to 50K.

I disagree with Michael W. I'm 35,000 milesinto TNT and feel that is PLENTY to learn this job. I have not secured steel coils or structural steel yet, but once you haul a variety of loads with both straps and chains, you pretty much figure out what to do. My trainer had never hauled Bobcats, but I figured out how to secure them while my trainer was talking to the Prime securement trainer on the phone.

As far are Prime respect for drivers, I agree with Michael W's perspective on the company philosophy:

Since Rob Low was a driver and still runs the joint, he's pretty good at keeping the offices respectful of us cranky, stinky, sometimes really stupid road nuts.

As stated above, my trainer calls the Prime securement trainer on a regular basis. So far, the guy has answered the phone immediately. No, leave a message and call back later. I have had interaction with benefits, logs, flatbed equipment, inbound, outbound, road safety, dispatch, and road assist. Their respect towards drivers is always the highest.

With regard to Road Assist, Prime has this app for your phone. There is a Road Assist form that you fill out if you need repairs. We had a flat on the trailer. When I followed up with a phone call to Road Assist (again answered directly) our Road Assist manager had already submitted the authorization for the work to the Love's Connect to get the work done. While I was sitting there waiting for the work to be done, I heard another driver talking to the Love's mechanics trying to get work authorization for his repair.

However, with regard to training, don't expect a trainer. Expect a "host." Someone that gives you a place to sleep, a truck to drive, and loads to secure. If you get any actual training that would be a bonus. If fact, expect to be told things that are flat out wrong. As I mentioned, we have secured Bobcats. My trainer remains adamant that the symbol in the picture below does NOT indicate "tie down" point and refuses to use these for tie downs:

0740562001594034156.jpg

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Rubber Duck states:

What’s really going to happen is your going to lose a ton of money going home for a whole week and at the end of the year your going to be missing thousand and thousands of dollars compared to what you would of made doing resets at your house every weekend.

Whether someone takes a 34 every weekend or instead takes several days off in a row at the end of the month, the amount of days taken off are the same. So the argument that you'd lose thousands and thousands of dollars is false.

Income potential at both companies is largely identical, and based on a driver's effort.

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