Western Express 3-4 Weeks Training Sufficient?

Topic 30483 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
member avatar
I'm pretty sure only flatbed does OTR with WE. Their dry vans are regional only.. but dont quote me on it. Could you confirm, Old School?

I honestly don't know the answer to that. It has been a good many years since I was with Western Express. When I was there both dry-van and flatbed ran OTR, but there were regional accounts on both sides of the company.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I think some could be with a trainer for six solid months and not be solo ready during the first month alone. Others only needed three weeks with the trainer, but still made a bunch of rookie mistakes (Me!).

I would lean towards Prime as that company has refer, flatbed, and tanker. It's also a private, American-owned company, unlike the student's recommendation.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Are you wanting flatbed or refrigerated ?!?

double-quotes-end.png

Haven't decided. I need more info on the overall difference between the two, pros and cons of each...etc

Flatbed for each gets a few extra cpm... and WE gets a $25 bonus for flatbed deliveries. I'm pretty sure only flatbed does OTR with WE. Their dry vans are regional only.. but dont quote me on it. Could you confirm, Old School?

Western Express dry vans... if you are out of the eastern side you won't generally go west of the Mississippi river, not "regional" so to speak as it's still considered OTR but no lower 48 either. They have a west coast division also that does the western region.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

I am coming up on the end of one year solo in the Prime flatbed division. I did 50,000 miles of TNT before I went solo.

As to your first question, is 3-4 weeks of training sufficient? As others have said, you will not really feel prepared whether you go through 2 weeks of training or three months of TNT. That being said, I felt that I was ready to go solo after about 3-4 weeks of training. IMO, doing it yourself is where you really learn. As far as driving and backing, I began to feel more confident after 6 months. As far as securement, I am still learning things.

Prime TNT. It is brutal and, IMO, too long. But, I would not let that be the determining factor. Put your head down and, once you are out on your own for 6 months, it will seem like a distant memory.

Prime flatbed. You will run all over the lower 48, although, I rarely make it to the east coast. You have the option right out of TNT to do regional or OTR. They have a "Texas regional" that is very popular with the lease operators. There are some dedicated accounts as well. I ran boat loads right after going solo, which was pretty easy. You pick up tracker boats from Lebanon, Missouri. The loads are prestrapped. So, all you need to do is deliver nthem, unstrap, and return the empty trailer to Lebanon.

After that, I had the general run of the mill flatbed loads. PVC pipe, building materials, shingles, SAPA Hydro, Bobcats, CAT generators, HVAC units, cable channels, insulation, onions, etc. For me, the most aggravating part of flatbed is tarping. First, it takes more time. Second, it takes time to learn how to put the tarps on without catching air, of damaging your tarps. Many times, it seems no matter what you do, the tarp catches too much air. And it requires more scrutiny as to your loads checks. If the tarp comes loose you really need to fix it right away.

As far as running, I run pretty hard, but my schedule is reasonable. I generally start with a fresh 70-hour clock Monday and deliver a load that I picked up Friday morning. I get 2 to 4 loads that week before I get my next "weekend load." After I deliver Friday morning, I'll get a load of about 1,000 to 1,500 miles. I get as far as I can Friday and Saturday, then take a 34-hour reset Saturday night through Monday morning. Deliver that "weekend load" Monday. Rinse, repeat.

Good luck with your decision and keep us updated on your progress.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Chief Brody!

That was an excellent way of explaining it.

Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

I am coming up on the end of one year solo in the Prime flatbed division. I did 50,000 miles of TNT before I went solo.

As to your first question, is 3-4 weeks of training sufficient? As others have said, you will not really feel prepared whether you go through 2 weeks of training or three months of TNT. That being said, I felt that I was ready to go solo after about 3-4 weeks of training. IMO, doing it yourself is where you really learn. As far as driving and backing, I began to feel more confident after 6 months. As far as securement, I am still learning things.

Prime TNT. It is brutal and, IMO, too long. But, I would not let that be the determining factor. Put your head down and, once you are out on your own for 6 months, it will seem like a distant memory.

Prime flatbed. You will run all over the lower 48, although, I rarely make it to the east coast. You have the option right out of TNT to do regional or OTR. They have a "Texas regional" that is very popular with the lease operators. There are some dedicated accounts as well. I ran boat loads right after going solo, which was pretty easy. You pick up tracker boats from Lebanon, Missouri. The loads are prestrapped. So, all you need to do is deliver nthem, unstrap, and return the empty trailer to Lebanon.

After that, I had the general run of the mill flatbed loads. PVC pipe, building materials, shingles, SAPA Hydro, Bobcats, CAT generators, HVAC units, cable channels, insulation, onions, etc. For me, the most aggravating part of flatbed is tarping. First, it takes more time. Second, it takes time to learn how to put the tarps on without catching air, of damaging your tarps. Many times, it seems no matter what you do, the tarp catches too much air. And it requires more scrutiny as to your loads checks. If the tarp comes loose you really need to fix it right away.

As far as running, I run pretty hard, but my schedule is reasonable. I generally start with a fresh 70-hour clock Monday and deliver a load that I picked up Friday morning. I get 2 to 4 loads that week before I get my next "weekend load." After I deliver Friday morning, I'll get a load of about 1,000 to 1,500 miles. I get as far as I can Friday and Saturday, then take a 34-hour reset Saturday night through Monday morning. Deliver that "weekend load" Monday. Rinse, repeat.

Good luck with your decision and keep us updated on your progress.

Wow! Thanks for all that chief!

I'm totally making it the determining factor, but you're right, it really shouldn't be. ...But 40K+ miles is still intimidating as hell. I have noticed it takes me a while to get a hang of things I'm completely new to, so maybe all that training is for the best. I've been a chef for the past 8 years so this is going to be very, very alien to me.

You're current schedule sounds pretty sweet man. How much experience did it take to get a nice schedule like that? Just out of curiosity

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar
You're current schedule sounds pretty sweet man. How much experience did it take to get a nice schedule like that? Just out of curiosity

I pretty much ran that schedule right off the bat. Because the boat loads were easy, I could settle into a good schedule. Now ,there are some weeks where I spend more time securing, but for the most part the schedule works well for me and my FM. It's nice for me and predictable for my FM.

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.
CM59's Comment
member avatar

Putting my two cents out there, though it doesn’t even equal a penny yet.

I went to a large private driving school for a month that put us through backing, road driving, etc. before being direct hired to the company I’m at.

My training with my mentor was two weeks long. Ten days and a 34 to be exact. Most of what we focused on was getting used were daily routines, the Qualcomm and macros we need to send dispatch, getting used to driving 600 miles in a day, and backing.

For me all but the backing went smooth. I had trouble at first getting used to backing versus what I learned in school. I didn’t get many chances to back in training but once I was out I picked it up quickly.

I wouldn’t say it was necessarily sink or swim, rather like people are saying there is so much to learn outside of training that as long as you feel comfortable then go for it.

There’s been several situations I go what the hell I get myself into this for, think and maneuver for a while, then say to myself I’m never doing that again!

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.
Garrett J.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You're current schedule sounds pretty sweet man. How much experience did it take to get a nice schedule like that? Just out of curiosity

double-quotes-end.png

I pretty much ran that schedule right off the bat. Because the boat loads were easy, I could settle into a good schedule. Now ,there are some weeks where I spend more time securing, but for the most part the schedule works well for me and my FM. It's nice for me and predictable for my FM.

You're home during your 34 hour reset, correct?

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.
IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

You're home during your 34 hour reset, correct?

While I realized your question was directed to Chief Brody, I'm taking it as a generalized question.

You can take it at home or you can be out on the road and take it. Your scheduling is what you determine it to be. I have taken a 34 hour reset out on the road and visited with a brother. Most of the time I am home, like I am now because I am on a dedicated cheese run from Idaho to Greensboro NC. I was out 10 days this last time and because I have a doctor appointment tomorrow, I'm home a bit longer than 34 hours. I do pick up Thursday and deliver Monday. It's not a bad run and getting three days off in 10 days allows me to get things done around here.

Laura

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