Decided On Pride (hopefully) And Private CDL School

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Vicki M.'s Comment
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I finally made a decision. I had 3 phone calls in to or from to recruiters today. I talked with Roehl, but for the west they are only hiring flatbed drivers. That's okay, after my research, they had fallen a long ways down on my list. My first pre application was to Prime, because...well YouTube lol A recruiter called me back the next day. Since then I have left her 3 messages and finally gave up. I called the main recruiting number and couldn't get a response there either (on a Friday morning and a Monday afternoon). Ok cross them off the list. I get that people are busy, but seriously, return a phone call from 4 days ago lol I don't like corporations that lack communication at any level. My final phone call was to a recruiter at Pride. She was awesome. She spent 20 minutes easily answering my stupid questions (ok, some were smart, but I am sure most were stupid. Just the way of the world when you are talking about stuff you don't know anything about). I am going with Pride. I don't think I need to talk to anyone else right now. For several reasons. I am going to list them and ya'll tell me if you think it's smart or dumb. Be honest. My skin is so thick you could make a suitcase out of it.

1. Though I have ridden in trucks (back in the 70s and 80s), I understand that being a driver is different. There's a lot more to it than being the cute chick (back in those days..) that wears a tshirt that says "A** Gas or Grass....etc). I don't know if I'll like being away from home, day in and day out. If I go this route and pay for my own CDL , if I hate it, I can quit and come home and drive tour buses to the Grand Canyon for old people (ok people my age lol). Or go back into the gaming industry. But I won't be tied to an overpriced repayment of school, or breaking a contract.

2. They have no issue with pets or riders if you want them. She said that if I paid the pet deposit any of my dogs could go (not sure if I can take more than one, definitely sure that one would be enough on the road lol) If my husband or son wanted to come for a ride, no big deal, just a small fee for the insurance monthly. And only the month that they rode with you. So if I convinced either of them to ride for a week or so, it would just be that one month. I liked that. It may never happen, but I'd like the option. $30 is a small fee to me anyway.

3. They have a drop yard pretty close to my house. They also run the I15 corridor a lot. She said that besides home time, I might be able to work it out to spend my 10 hour breaks at home from time to time. That would be awesome actually. My own shower and washer and dryer. I know this would not happen often, but probably more than with the other companies I looked at. She said it would happen more often if I drove the Western 11...so that might be an option at some point. My best friend also lives in SoCal, right off the 15...I can crash at her place anytime. Options. I like options. Her actual quote was "You just drop the trailer at the yard and bobtail on home for your 10 hours when you can".

4. Even before I go to CDL school, or get my permit, she's willing to get me in touch with their clinic to answer my medical questions (hoping to have all that cleared up by the time I apply for my CPL even...but you never know). An inverter for my CPAP is no problem, though I would have to pay to have it installed. That's okay, She's also willing to do all the pre employment background checks etc BEFORE I start CDL school, so I'd be basically approved for employment before I shell out the money for CDL school. Their training is about 6 weeks, 100 hours at $450/week, and 200 hours at $700/week. Then you go solo at $.45 cpm. That pay seems to be on par with all the other beginner companies, but the training pay is better from what I have seen. And it's not 4 months of $700/week like Prime. The long training was a plus for Prime...but they aren't paying my bills at $700 a week. And 4 months in a truck with a trainer. I can only hold my farts in for so long!

5. I am fortunate enough to still have enough left in the bank to pay for school outright. No student loans or ongoing payments. I will even have a bit left to cover the 6 weeks I won't be making much money.

I can't really remember what all else I asked, and I'm sure I'll be talking to her a lot. I just ordered my certified birth certificate (don't know where mine is, it's been 10 or so years since I've seen it). I'll take that and renew my passport (it expired 4 years ago), so I can send THAT in the mail to Social Security to get a replacement card (haven't seen that in 22 years, besides I signed it when I was 12 and used little hearts over my I's :D). Once I get that, I'll be able to sign up for CDL school. One month of CDL school (160 hours). So I'm thinking about 2 to 3 months to get it all together and get on the road. Now I am getting excited! (and a bit scared, I won't lie)

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Your plan sounds solid to me. One thing I would do is confirm with Pride that whatever school you attend, their program is accepted, ie accredited before you take that plunge.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

Your plan sounds solid to me. One thing I would do is confirm with Pride that whatever school you attend, their program is accepted, ie accredited before you take that plunge.

She said that both schools here in Vegas were fine. One offers 80 hour, 160 hour and 320 hour programs. If the 320 was more road time, I'd consider it. But it's 4 weeks of classroom and 4 weeks of driving. I'll do the 160 2 weeks of each. The other cool thing is I can keep my current job while in CDL school and have some income. After I graduate and get hired on, I can take a personal leave of absence and a furlough for about 4 months off that will keep my current job waiting for me if it all goes sideways. I may take the personal leave for school and then the furlough for the training period. The other school here only does 160, and most say it's a better school, but I get weird vibes every time I talk to the recruiter there...but we will see how they all react once I am ready and standing there with 70 $100 dollar bills :D

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.
Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Hey Vicki, I think you'll be happy with your decision, although you've still got plenty of time to gather info before you have your license. I've put a few other comments in below under some of yours. Dave

if I hate it, I can quit and come home and drive tour buses to the Grand Canyon

Yes but known that the bus company might not value your semi-driving that highly for the experience. Some will, some won't. At a minimum, you'd have to get the "P" endorsement added (not a big deal...but you can't get it driving the semi). For sure you would at least have your CDL and some large vehicle experience. I have driven about every size and type of bus and about every size and type of group of people and it is a world apart from semi driving. Another option for you should you need it is that there are local trucking gigs in NV, or possibly between LV and one or two other cities not too far away. Pride might even have some available now and then. For sure they do in Reno, or at least they did.

2. They have no issue with pets or riders if you want them.

They have a size/weight limit on pets so you might want to check that. OTOH enforcement of it seems to be lighthanded. They have a minimum age for riders and it is higher in the winter so you may want to check that if you have a young kid you're thinking of taking at times.

3. They have a drop yard pretty close to my house. They also run the I15 corridor a lot. She said that besides home time, I might be able to work it out to spend my 10 hour breaks at home from time to time. I like options. Her actual quote was "You just drop the trailer at the yard and bobtail on home for your 10 hours when you can".

Do a great job for your FM and they'll likely help with that. The trainer I had at Pride lived in LV and he did 10+ there 3 or 4 times while I was with him. He dumped me at a casino (with the truck) and his wife picked him up. Regarding the bobtailing home thing, know that Pride is atypical in that....lot of companies will not let you bobtail far and most of them don't all use of DOT's personal conveyance mode to do so. Pride does and they are very flexible about it. This can be huge in my view. Once they even let me drive about 200 miles (round trip) out of route dragging my load with me in order to make a family event. Granted I had requested home time for the event and they had loused that up but I assure you most companies would just say tough luck on that.

4. An inverter for my CPAP is no problem, though I would have to pay to have it installed.

Actually, Pride doesn't charge for installing an inverter or any other accessories you want, but you have to pay for it. They don't provide inverters and don't allow miscellaneous personal ones - they have a specific one that you have to buy (they'll accept an installment arrangement) and then it is yours. Any pile of accessories you want to buy you can give to the shop and they'll install them. When you get a new truck, they'll yank your accessories out of the old truck and put them in the new one. They also have a cool platform thing to help you walk your stuff from truck to truck.

I just ordered my certified birth certificate (don't know where mine is, it's been 10 or so years since I've seen it). I'll take that and renew my passport

It is nice to have a passport but you don't need one for Pride. They don't cross borders. They also don't haul any hazmat. You might want to ask them if they would like you to have the TWIC - I don't remember - if so you could get that while you're doing your other errands. I don't recall if I ever used my TWIC when I was with Pride. What I do recall is that when I did need it at a few customers it was mighty nice having it and got me out of the dang place a lot faster than the guys that had to be escorted everywhere.

Final thing: Like many companies, Pride does not have a lot of female trainers. Maybe you will get lucky and get one but they'll probably ask you if you care and if you're willing to be flexible it will be easier/quicker to get a trainer assignment. The trainer I had [Eric Campbell] would definitely be fine if he is still there training - I'd have no trouble seeing a loved one ride off with him. Otherwise...if they propose a male trainer to you, you could ask a couple of the female employees at HQ for their opinion and I'd encourage you to do so. There is probably at least one female FM and last I knew there were a couple of women in the safety department. One of them is Rachel - if she's still there she would be a great one to ask. Rachel has been with Pride for many years. I think she started as a mechanic, then became a driver, then became a safety/trainer, and still drives part-time one or two weekends a month. She would know all of the trainers.

\

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

I know that driving a bus and a truck are different animals. That was the excuse I told my husband when he asked what if it doesn't work out :D There are a lot of trucking jobs in Vegas, even now with our economy in the tank. If I decide to come back home at some point, I am not worried. Once we get conventions and stuff like that going again, there will be plenty of work, if I so decide.

I believe the limit on the pet was 40 lbs, and for Pride, only dogs. Good thing, I cannot imagine either of my cats enjoying it lol We have 4 dogs, the old 2 would love it, but they both have bad hips and weigh 70ish pounds. Even if they were allowed, they both hate being assisted up, so I'd never be able to get them in cab. They have a hard time with our 4runner. The other 2 are 40 lbs and 17 lbs. The 40lb mutt hates being in a car. I think a truck would be worse for our nervous Nelly. The pug, on the other hand, is my velcro dog. She will be the one who goes 99% of the time. Mostly because she'll die without me :D Or thinks she will. She loves to travel, and mostly just snorts, snores and sleeps. We are 2 peas in a pod lol Also, let's be honest...if there's an accident in the truck, I'd rather clean pug puddles and poo than any from the larger dogs. On a related subject, my son is 31, so the age limits won't be a problem. I don't do children lol Good info for other newbies who read this thread though!

Wait, your trainer went home and left you at a casino? lol definitely not bad, but I'd be like, grab your stuff, we're going home and I'll cook you dinner :D Of course I have a huge house that would accommodate an extra person for a few hours pretty easily. Just the fact that anything like that is available is a huge plus. Honestly, I'll probably rarely bobtail to my house. I live in suburban h*ll and I think my HOA would have a fit if a bobtail was parked for longer than it took to load up my personal things. There is a shopping center and Lowe's right down the street where I see trucks parked, but I don't know if they are there waiting to unload or whatever. I've never asked. There is a feed store about 4 miles from my house that I have done business with for years and have become friends with the owners that might allow me to park in their yard, but really the Pride yard isn't much further (it's like 9 miles further). I'd probably just park the truck there and have my husband pick me up or Uber home. Freight is safe, truck is safe, HOA is as happy as they can ever be... win/win. I love that they let you haul your load to a family function. That is the kind of company I want to work for. Even if it's not as true now, the thought that they tried to fix their own error speaks volumes.

I misunderstood about the inverter. I know it's $400, payable in installments. I wasn't sure if it was to buy the inverter or to install it. Thanks for clearing that up. I have a short list of things I'll want installed if they aren't on the truck already. I'll want the inverter, a fridge, a good gps (though I could probably use my iPad for that) and a CB. Though I will have to change my handle. Back in the early 70s my mom drove pilot car for wide loads going over Snoqualmie Pass...her handle was "Cuddles". If there was an emergency (I was around 4 years old lol) I was to get on it and say I was "Little Cuddles" so dispatch would know how to get help for us. I am no longer little or cuddly :D Maybe Big Prickly? :D Do they even use handles anymore? oh my, so much research lol

The main reason I am renewing my passport right now is because with the Social Security offices closed, you have to mail in your ID with your new card request. That's all fine and dandy, but I really don't want to be driving around town without my license until they deem it necessary to get it back to me. Besides, it's a "Real ID" and I don't want to risk losing it and having to go back to the DMV. I figured I'd get my passport, send that, and also it would be a form of ID for me to carry around for any little side trips I might take on a 34 or something. But either way, I need something to send to SS. I will look into the TWIC card. I'd rather get all this stuff out of the way before I get into school so I can just concentrate on that.

The female trainer. This one has been haunting me a bit. As a rule, I get along better with men than women, but that being said, the kind of women that get into trucking are usually the type I get along with. From what i have seen, they are a mentally tough group, and my kind of people. I became a crap dealer back when they hated women in the pit and in most places I was the only female dealer...I'm used to a certain amount of misogyny, and can take it in stride. That being said, I know 8 hours on a crap game is a lot different than living together in a small cubicle for a few weeks. I'll definitely ask the girls there. I don't worry so much about creeps, I can handle myself. But I'd rather just have it go smoothly and not have to deal with it so I can concentrate on learning to point the truck and trailer in the right direction :D I do love that a couple of the people that I have talked to (or you mentioned) have been drivers there and when it didn't work out, ended up in other departments. Not because I plan on doing that, but because it shows there is company loyalty, something you rarely get when it's a crappy company to work for in general.

Thanks for all the info, now off to research some more :D

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Yes, we still use CB handles....

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, we still use CB handles....

Oh boy, I have a horrible time picking names. Better start thinking on it now :D

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Yes, we still use CB handles....

double-quotes-end.png

Oh boy, I have a horrible time picking names. Better start thinking on it now :D

Sometimes, the best CB handles are picked for you, by others. Like my guy & I .. we are Tomcat & Momcat ... LoL!

I'm excited for you, m'lady. I've got one more YEAR until 'freedom' of the son, hahaha~!

Again, kudos~!!!

~ Anne ~

ps: I'm super glad that Mr. Reid came back 'up in here' to help y'all looking to going w/ Pride. That's awesome!

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Yes, we still use CB handles....

double-quotes-end.png

Oh boy, I have a horrible time picking names. Better start thinking on it now :D

How about "Casino Mama"?

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Rhino's Comment
member avatar

I’m on my 4 th day at southwest truck driving school in Vegas. 2 weeks class and 3 weeks driving ant range (5weeks because I’m in night class).

double-quotes-start.png

Your plan sounds solid to me. One thing I would do is confirm with Pride that whatever school you attend, their program is accepted, ie accredited before you take that plunge.

double-quotes-end.png

She said that both schools here in Vegas were fine. One offers 80 hour, 160 hour and 320 hour programs. If the 320 was more road time, I'd consider it. But it's 4 weeks of classroom and 4 weeks of driving. I'll do the 160 2 weeks of each. The other cool thing is I can keep my current job while in CDL school and have some income. After I graduate and get hired on, I can take a personal leave of absence and a furlough for about 4 months off that will keep my current job waiting for me if it all goes sideways. I may take the personal leave for school and then the furlough for the training period. The other school here only does 160, and most say it's a better school, but I get weird vibes every time I talk to the recruiter there...but we will see how they all react once I am ready and standing there with 70 $100 dollar bills :D

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.
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