Prime Inc Upgrade Process

Topic 30716 | Page 1

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NightOwl's Comment
member avatar

Hi, I'm new to the forum but I've been around the website for a while. I mostly come to read the articles here, as they've been informative and entertaining. I've decided to make an account because I'm a new driver in this industry and I need help. I have my CDL , I've completed 40000 miles here at Prime with a trainer, and I'm currently slated for upgrade. I've been sitting here at the Pittston terminal for a week after my trainer disappeared on me. I've completed all my courses, the prime safety course (psc), the elogs class, my computer modules, and the virtual training assessment. I even completed an inspection on a prospective truck yesterday and got acquainted with my fleet manager/dispatcher. However, now I'm at a loss. Sorry, but nobody has been helpful throughout this entire process. Maybe it's just me but it feels like I'm just a nuisance to people here at this terminal. I'm not trying to cause problems, just find answers. So, before I have another horrible exchange with someone here, I thought I'd take to the forum and ask you all what I ought to expect moving forward. The guys in the office and shop have my number, but I doubt I'll hear from them unless I go out of my way to speak to them face to face. Should I just hang out here in the bunk and wait for a call that most likely won't come, or should I put on my big boy pants and try to speak to someone directly about how I should proceed? Put another way, what should I expect moving forward at this point? Am I being paid trainee pay for sitting around and twiddling my thumbs here at the terminal? I really just want to get rolling already, so any feedback would be appreciated.

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.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

You need to talk to your fleet manager about that. If you got a truck he should want you rolling. This is my 8th year at Prime, when I get assigned a truck the process goes:

- inspect truck - turn in inspection to shop - tell my fleet manager I'm ready to roll

It's slightly different in Springfield because there is a driver lineup to get outbound loads but I usually ask my fm if he wants to get me a load or he wants me to get with lineup. I don't think there is anyone in Pittston to get loads from, but if there is your fleet manager will you that when you tell him you are ready to roll.

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.
NightOwl's Comment
member avatar

Well, I think I figured things out. Upgrading is as follows, as based on my own experience and powers of observation:

1. Complete requisites, the psc course, elog course, modules, and the virtual training assessment. Once these are done;

2. If you're in Pittston, speak with Joe over in the office that is adjacent to the classrooms, he will get you signed up for a truck. Barring any unforseen circumstances, you will be given an inspection form to fill out. Find the truck at the terminal and complete the inspection. In order to get the keys, head to the tractor shop and get them from reception in the "Parts" room. Once the inspection is done; 3. Return to the tractor shop and give your completed inspection form to Mario, he's in the main office just next to the room where you got the keys. 4. Wait. If there are any repairs to be done, wait for them to be completed. Return and verify that the truck is good to go, then contact your fleet manager , who will assign the truck to you.

And that's basically what you have to do. Helpful tip: Keep in mind that you can stay in one of the bunks upstairs for an extended period if you are upgrading and the company can't accommodate you elsewhere. You just have to clear it with instructor Tony and the innkeepers there. Another tip: the shuttle doesn't work like in Springfield, where you just show them your comdata card and they take you merrily along; here in Pittston you have to call the shuttle to schedule a drop off or pick up, and it only operates from 7am to 7pm, so you're on your own if you're like me and you'll be off site the day prior to an early 7am class.

It was an ordeal to figure all this out because I get nervous while speaking with people. I feel like things may be done differently in Springfield, everyone there is very quick to offer as much help as they can with detailed information and documentation that explains what is expected. Here, I felt like everyone already expected me to know how things work, and since my trainer is of no help, I had to conduct investigations on my own.

If someone can give a more detailed explanation, by all means go ahead, but at this point I've learned that, as unpleasant as it may be, sometimes you have to face people and deal with your own machinations enough to find out what you have to do to get things done. This isn't a new lesson, but maybe I would rather not apply it so it bears repeating.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.
Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

Good job figuring it out. I didn't know being assigned a truck was different in Pittston. Anytime you are unsure of who to speak with or what to do your fleet manager can tell you or find out.

I think this will be a good job for you, in the sense that all the different shippers and receivers and their different processes will break you out of your shell so to speak. I have often found myself waving down yard dogs or random workers or even other drivers to figure out where offices are and such. Some are nice, some are surly, but I always get the info I need.

Good luck to you.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.
NightOwl's Comment
member avatar

Good job figuring it out. I didn't know being assigned a truck was different in Pittston. Anytime you are unsure of who to speak with or what to do your fleet manager can tell you or find out.

I think this will be a good job for you, in the sense that all the different shippers and receivers and their different processes will break you out of your shell so to speak. I have often found myself waving down yard dogs or random workers or even other drivers to figure out where offices are and such. Some are nice, some are surly, but I always get the info I need.

Good luck to you.

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I hope I can do well in this industry. I'm still reeling from training and to be honest I don't feel ready but I will try my best to learn while I go along. I've got a feeling that it's going to be an exhausting few months ahead of me. Not to go on a diatribe but my trainer wasn't exactly the greatest so I feel like it's sink or swim at this point. On the other hand, I've read articles here that speak of how liberating it is to be on one's own and in control of their own development, so I'm hoping it'll be that way for me.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.
Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

I think you will be just fine. You appear to have a great attention to detail and if you are really a night owl you are gonna love reefer work. I like the hoot hours myself.

I felt the same way when I went solo. I didn't really feel ready, but I knew I wanted off my trainers truck.

I only backed twice (literally two times, no joke) in my TNT , had to learn it all solo. There was a couple of times in that first few months I was ready to hang myself in the truck. Now I can back circles around people. I even blindside back on the regular, doesn't phase me at all.

I just hit my "million miles" with Prime and I'm still learning new things. I think it's a rewarding career and a fine company. Sure as heck beats staring at spreadsheets in a buying office.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

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 14ยข 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.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Now I'm going to tell you, I know nothing about prime or how they do things but I have some great advice for you. #1- avoid anymore horrible exchanges with established workers! It serves no purpose other than to make YOU look bad. Im assuming it was due to a verbal exchange? Prime has already invested a ton of money in you, they want you in a truck turning miles ASAP. If you've done everything you are supposed to then you are probably waiting on a truck. Id say as soon as they have one available you will be rolling. Patience grasshopper. No company is gonna purposely train you then let you sit for an extended period just to mess with you, they want a return on their investment quickly. So, calm down, don't make a nuisance of yourself and don't fight with the staff because you're bored. You'll find that in this Industry you will be expected to be able to figure things out by yourself quite a lot. If you've done what you're supposed to and those that need to know know that your ready, again, settle down and relax. It'll happen sooner than you think so you might as well enjoy the stress free time before the storm. You should still be getting trainee pay I'd guess but it never hurts to call or visit payroll and ask. You seem to have figured out that you are expected to be self sufficient, there's nobody here to hold your hand and walk you through everything each day. Good luck and relax.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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