Newbie Here! Best Advice For A Woman Thinking Of Jumping In...

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Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey y'all!

I've been lurking and reading for a bit and figured it was about time to hop in, introduce myself, and ask a few questions.

I've filled out the interest form for driver training and have been contacted by a couple of companies. But-- I don't want to just jump blind so... here goes.

1. How much money should I have saved up to cover my butt while I'm in training? The main companies I'm considering who have also expressed an interest in me at this point are Veriha, Prime, and Wilson-- all of which offer some form of paid training, but of course, I assume that doesn't necessarily mean from day one. While my kids are all grown and.. with the exception of one... are out of the house-- I am the primary income for the household so-- having a good idea of how long I may be without an income is pretty important.

2. How hard is the transition from driving a regular vehicle to driving a big rig? I mean... thats 80,000 pounds of metal right there and to be honest, its a little terrifying. I love love LOVE driving.. and have been a courier in my little vehicle for quite some time-- and travel cross country a couple times a year as it is... so I know I enjoy being behind the wheel-- so I guess I'm wondering.. what was the biggest change you found yourself having to make when jumping up to the big boy trucks?

3. How difficult is the physical for those of us who are a little older? Now-- I'm not old old.. but at 44, I'm not a spring chicken, either. I don't have any of the major issues--- no diabetes, no blood pressure issues, etc. But I'm just older and not in the greatest shape in the history of mankind.

4. What happens if you go to one of these company sponsored training classes.. and they decide you aren't good enough? Are you then on the hook for the cost of training with no way to actually earn it?

That's about it for now. Most of the other common concerns aren't an issue for me... no drinking, no drugs, no smoking. I haven't had ANY accident, regardless of fault since 2012 (interestingly enough, I was hit by a truck) and I haven't had an "at fault" accident since 2003. No tickets for moving violation since 2013. No criminal record.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi Brandie, and welcome to our forum!

1- The amount you should save is really subject to your needs. That said, I can't speak to the particular training policies of every company. However, I started my career at Prime, and they are very good at making sure cash flow isn't one of your problems during training.

You'll be advanced $200 a week during your orientation and PSD phase, to be repaid at the rate of $25 a week once you are hired. Upon hiring you'll receive the guaranteed minimum pay of $800 per week for the entirety of the TNT phase. (It was $700 when I was there, but I heard it was recently increased.)

2- Again, subject to the individual. For some, driving a big truck is very intimidating, thus harder. Situational awareness becomes much more important when you're piloting such a huge machine. There's no room for distraction or hesitation, you have to be in complete control at all times. For those who have a natural ability to operate vehicles, the challenge will be minimal. Others may struggle a bit with the transition. Either way, the ability to focus on safety is the biggest requirement.

3- Age will not be a factor. I started at 48, others have started much older. The physical is hardly more than a simple check for diabetes, high bp, etc. Don't sweat it.

4- First, don't go into this thinking there's even a possibility of being sent home. Walk in there, do what you're supposed to do, and knock it out of the park. A gazillion folks do it everyday, you're no different. That said, there are some companies who, after multiple attempts to train someone, finally have to give up and send them home. In those cases yes it's a possibility you'll be on the hook for the training cost. Don't worry about that though. If you are capable of listening and learning, you'll be fine.

The vast majority of those sent home are booted for reasons of their own doing; ie bad attitude, drugs, failure to disclose a criminal or driving record, etc.

If you go in there with a willingness to win, and an honest effort to do so, you'll come out of the other side with a CDL and a job. Easy peasy.

Let us know how it's going, and stop back in with any questions. Will do everything we can to help. 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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.

Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Brandie, and welcome to our forum!

1- The amount you should save is really subject to your needs. That said, I can't speak to the particular training policies of every company. However, I started my career at Prime, and they are very good at making sure cash flow isn't one of your problems during training.

You'll be advanced $200 a week during your orientation and PSD phase, to be repaid at the rate of $25 a week once you are hired. Upon hiring you'll receive the guaranteed minimum pay of $800 per week for the entirety of the TNT phase. (It was $700 when I was there, but I heard it was recently increased.)

Ok.. I guess I should have worded this question better. Lets say I end up coming on board with Prime-- how long should I be prepared to be without an actual paycheck? (2 weeks, 3 weeks,etc). That'll give me more adequate ability to know what I need to have put back in reserves. From what I understand from reading.. that $200 is for food, etc... and can't really be used for things like my car payment, etc.

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.

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.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

good-luck.gif Hi Brandie,

As you get into this, you can go through Trucking Truth to apply to for company paid training.Paid CDL Training ProgramsApply For Paid CDL Training

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs Most companies that train their own recruits pay you while you are in training. I believe Schneider pays 700 per week, Veriha pays 500, etc. Pick out a company, call a recruiter and ask what their pay policy is for new recruits. All it costs you is a phone call with no obligation.

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.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
how long should I be prepared to be without an actual paycheck?

Typically it can be between 2 to 4 weeks from the time you arrive at orientation to receiving your first paycheck. I got my first check exactly 3 weeks from the day I arrived at Prime, but that was back when there was a 14-day waiting period before you could take the CDL exam.

You could potentially go out for a week or so with your PSD trainer, and then come back to test out for your CDL, at which point you'll be officially hired. You'll receive your first $800 check the first pay period after that.

If it takes you longer to feel comfortable enough to take the CDL exam, it'll be longer for your get hired and receive your first check. No matter how long the PSD phase takes, you'll still receive $200 a week during that phase.

From what I understand from reading.. that $200 is for food, etc... and can't really be used for things like my car payment, etc.

Well you could use it for your car payment if you wish, but you're right it's intended for food and such during training. However, if you have enough money set aside in advance, you won't even need the $200. But it'll be there as a safety net if you need it.

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.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Primes training was raised to $900. ($800 if you come in with a CDL)

Figure 1 week orientation. 2 weeks for driving and 1 week for testing. Will you use all that? Maybe not. Could you use longer? Yes. Better to be prepared. Truck repairs, wait for a trainer or other things do happen. The $200 per week is given at any ATM on the road.... So how would you deposit it to pay a bill? Western union that would cost more $?

I learned back on a manual. So I got to Prime September 21st and failed my test a couple times. I passed Oct 30. Got my first check a week later.

Unlike some other companies, prime will give you extra help to make sure you pass. The pretrip is the one thing you need to learn yourself... We can reach you tips but if you dont do it over and over to learn and memorize we cant help. Most people who fail do so because they didnt take pretrip seriously

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.
Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Primes training was raised to $900. ($800 if you come in with a CDL)

Figure 1 week orientation. 2 weeks for driving and 1 week for testing. Will you use all that? Maybe not. Could you use longer? Yes. Better to be prepared. Truck repairs, wait for a trainer or other things do happen. The $200 per week is given at any ATM on the road.... So how would you deposit it to pay a bill? Western union that would cost more $?

I learned back on a manual. So I got to Prime September 21st and failed my test a couple times. I passed Oct 30. Got my first check a week later.

Unlike some other companies, prime will give you extra help to make sure you pass. The pretrip is the one thing you need to learn yourself... We can reach you tips but if you dont do it over and over to learn and memorize we cant help. Most people who fail do so because they didnt take pretrip seriously

Yeah-- that's what I was meaning about that $200 being for food, etc on the road. No real practical way to pay bills with it. So.. my smart money would be to make sure I have a month in reserves before I jump. So with that being said-- at what point do I start getting serious about applying-- I don't want to waste the recruiters time by bugging them too early.

Would I be correct to assume with you saying you learned back on a manual-- that they've gone automatic? I'm good either way-- but it certainly seems like it would be a lot more convenient on an automatic than a standard.

Another "dumb bunny" question.... In most of the blurbs I've read-- it mentions going back to the terminal to take your CDL driving test... so-- unlike the permit test, I can take the driving portion anywhere, and don't have to return to my home state to do it? Or am I misreading?

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.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

What's your home State?

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

What's your home State?

Laura,

She hails from Ohio... and WE DO accept CDL's reciprocity ... (or at least did, last I knew!)

Call ya soonish;

~ Anne ~

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.
Brandie W.'s Comment
member avatar

Yep.. I'm an Ohio girl (just barely-- couple miles over the border).

Its good to see Ohio's reciprocity is finally worth something. I had a cosmetology license when I moved here-- and the reciprocity was such garbage that I just let it go.

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