Considering Offers - Werner Vs. Prime - What's The Catch?

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Seva L.'s Comment
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Ok, So I am fresh out of CDL school, just got my class A, looking for my firs OTR truck driving job. I got offers from Werner and Prime, and Prime is offering, well, a lot more per mile than Werner. I'm not sure if this info is confidential, but let's just say a third more. A difference between alright money and damn good money, if you ask me. My question is, what's the catch? Why would one company offer that much more for the same qualifications to do the same exact job? Makes me suspicious, somehow. Are there hidden costs/disadvantages to working for Prime that the higher pay is trying to compensate for? Any (preferrably unbiased) opinions would be much 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.

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.

James R.'s Comment
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First a lot of these companies are pretty public about their pay so no need to hide behind covers. If you drive with prime you'll almost certainly be in a lightweight truck for starters. A lot less space, but a lot more efficient.

Chris L.'s Comment
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Prime pays more to drive their lightweight trucks, smaller lighter trucks so they can haul more in the trailer. The sleepers are smaller as well. Daniel B. has posted pics of his lightweight truck if you want to see. I drive for Prime 4 months now but I do flatbed in a full size truck and I think they are a great company. I have no regrets with my choice so far.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Ok, So I am fresh out of CDL school, just got my class A, looking for my firs OTR truck driving job. I got offers from Werner and Prime, and Prime is offering, well, a lot more per mile than Werner. I'm not sure if this info is confidential, but let's just say a third more. A difference between alright money and damn good money, if you ask me. My question is, what's the catch? Why would one company offer that much more for the same qualifications to do the same exact job? Makes me suspicious, somehow. Are there hidden costs/disadvantages to working for Prime that the higher pay is trying to compensate for? Any (preferrably unbiased) opinions would be much appreciated.

Yes there is a catch but not a major one. I am sure Prime offered. 40 cpm to .45 cpm. And it's true but you have to drive a light weight truck and be willing to run the northeast also. Daniel will be the best person to ask about this since he is a solo driver with Prime.

Prime you can make pretty good money starting out but .45 cpm is pretty much the top of the pay scale.

I run teams with Werner and make .40 cpm and team with my brother. Now this next part is a mixture of my opinion and facts dependent on the numbers that some of us have posted from our pay checks.

I gross $1200 to $1400 a week and bring home right at $900 a week @ . 40 cpm. And depending on the miles. According to Daniels numbers he posted that is about the average he was making as a solo drive for Prime.

Now you may ask how is it that Prime pays more but I bring in about the same amount of money each week. Now that is where it is different and pretty much comes out in the wash. Prime, being refer trailers have a bit of a longer wait time at shippers and receivers where I am totally 100% drop and hook. I have no waiting time. I seriously mean that. I am on an account where the union dock workers hook and unhook the trailers and all I do is show up and get the trailers and go. We have about a 45 minute turn around at each yard. No delays. So I am sure that has a lot to do with evening out the pay.

Wait times are a pay check killer. The guys and gals doing the refer trailers get lucky every once in a while and get to drop and hook but most can count on being stuck in a dock on both ends of the trip from 1 hour up to 3 or 4 hours or maybe longer. Rarely do refer drivers get to deliver early. Most times its a hard appointment. Dry freight, which I do, and vary from appointment times to you can delivery when you get here which means early most times.

In closing whether or not you are doing refer, flatbed or dry van and even with different pay scales it all comes out to pretty much the same paycheck due to the way each freight type has to be handled. One is not better than the rest. They are just different enough to set themselves apart but equal out in the end where it counts.... The paycheck.

There are so many different parts of trucking and types of freight that you may never even hear about some of them that pay much better than the types I have talked about here but that is a whole different story and meant for a different time and post.

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.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Seva L.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, if the pay scale is not considered a private matter, I'll come out and say it: 30cpm for werner, 40cpm for prime. Prime is also offering more training pay, $600 vs $400, but their training is really long, up to three months. Werner is ~6 weeks, which seems more reasonable. Also, the extra wait times for the refrigerated freight makes sense, I can see how that could even out the pay. One question: you guys said that Prime runs lightweight trucks. What are their disadvantages? Are they harder to drive? How much smaller is the sleeper?

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Chris L.'s Comment
member avatar

Search Prime lightweight it will bring up some posts with pics and descriptions. As far as driving them, should be easier to maneuver being a smaller wheelbase. The biggest difference I believe is the sleeper space being smaller.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, if the pay scale is not considered a private matter, I'll come out and say it: 30cpm for werner, 40cpm for prime. Prime is also offering more training pay, $600 vs $400, but their training is really long, up to three months. Werner is ~6 weeks, which seems more reasonable. Also, the extra wait times for the refrigerated freight makes sense, I can see how that could even out the pay. One question: you guys said that Prime runs lightweight trucks. What are their disadvantages? Are they harder to drive? How much smaller is the sleeper?

No. Matter of fact due to their smaller size they can be easier to drive. More maneuverable. They are smaller on the inside but I drove a truck similar when I drove for JB Hunt and really it's not to bad. Most remove the passenger seat to have more room inside.

Either way, in my opinion, is about the same but since I do know the training practises and since I was also a certified trainer at a different company and would only give this recommendation cause if I was to ever train again it's where I would go cause I love their training I would vote for Prime. Not saying Werner has bad training . It's based on the same training programs as every other trucking company out there. Prime has longer trainer for a reason. I like the two stage training Prime has. Much like where I was a trainer at.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Seva L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hmm... here's a question about training. The Prime truck seems like it's got very little space, and even the full size warner trucks seem to have a single bed. How will it work for training? Will there be a a double bunk bed setup? Or will we be having to take turns sleeping, like in a team driving situation, not to mention share the tiny cab if I go with Prime? And if the latter is the case, doesn't it defeat the purpose if the trainer is in the back snoozing away?

P.S. You have been very helpful, I appreciate all the information.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Hmm... here's a question about training. The Prime truck seems like it's got very little space, and even the full size warner trucks seem to have a single bed. How will it work for training? Will there be a a double bunk bed setup? Or will we be having to take turns sleeping, like in a team driving situation, not to mention share the tiny cab if I go with Prime? And if the latter is the case, doesn't it defeat the purpose if the trainer is in the back snoozing away?

P.S. You have been very helpful, I appreciate all the information.

In the training trucks there are two beds. No worry there and the first phase of training the trainer sits in the passenger seat while the student drives. Not sure about the second phase.

Those that have went through the training will chime in when they can.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Trainers drive full size trucks with double bunks. After training you will be assigned a lightweight truck when you go solo. During PSD training your trainer will always be in the front with you while you drive, TNT training you will drive as a team.

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.

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