Swift Vs. Knight Transportation? Who To Choose!?

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Jason E.'s Comment
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See also:

Swift Transportation Paid CDL Training Review

Knight Transportation Paid CDL Training Review

Hey Folks, I've basically narrowed down my choices to Swift vs. Knight, but I'm not sure who pays better and will keep me busy. I've been hearing in a few corners of the internet that Knight doesn't have the availability to keep it's drivers busy, but Swift seems to have somewhat of a bad rep. That aside, I need my tuition sponsored so I've broken down the pros and cons that I've identified, and I'm leaning more towards Knight. I just don't wanna short myself income wise because I can't be kept busy. Any input?

Knight & Swift 2 Week Training/4 Week Training Pay Your Transport & Lodging / Transport Lodging Paid Skip To Trainer If You Test And Get Permit / No Training Skip 0.28-0.36/mi. first 30k then 0.36-0.44/mile / Swift Unknown (Confusing Payscale) I like the idea of Knight's shorter training even if I have to lodge myself (I'd rather not share a room anyways), and considering that I can just get my permit and hit the road with a trainer, I like this idea too because thanks to TruckingTruth I KNOW I can pass the written. Only thing is, my experience in driving rigs was limited to no trailer around the yard of "Peterbilt of Las Vegas" when I worked there as an assistant in the shop. So, I have no idea how to drive a truck (I can drive stick) but after prepping for CDL, is there anything they can really teach me in two weeks about driving these monsters? Or am I better off saving the hassle and getting the permit and just hitting the road with a trainer? For what it's worth, I'm licensed and consider myself skilled at driving/piloting Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, and Planes. I'd like to think I could pick up the semi fairly quick. Thanks in advance!

Best Regards, Jason E.

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.
Woody's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I had planned on attending Knight's school in Indiana last year but after several delays in getting the school open I went to private school then joined Knight after graduation. But here may be a couple tips to help you decide or at least things to compare.

Unless things have changed Knight does not sign you into an employment contract to pay for training. Meaning that if you attend their school and leave before it is paid off you just have to maintain your payments with them for the schooling. While I do agree with the mentality of staying with your first company for a year, you never know what might come up. I drove for them for 4 months and then had the opportunity to get into the company that I knew I eventually wanted to work for. When I started this company did not accept new drivers but due to driver shortage the policy had changed and I was able to make the jump. Even if I had went to Knight's school this would have been an option because of their "no contract" policy.

Knight dispatches its trainee trucks as solo not team. This was important to me. I wanted my trainer awake when I was driving and me awake when he drove so I could be learning. I call it more of a modified solo dispatch as your trainer may still drive some after your hours are used up but it typically wont be as much as if dispatched as a team. Depending on the trainer your experience may vary.

While training is important don't let your choice be totally dependent on the schooling or length of time in training. That is a small portion of the time spent if you stay with your first company for a year. Figure out what things are going to be important to you once you are solo and use that to be your guide. Frankly most of the OTR companies are very similar and your success will mainly depend on you.

I would have stayed with them longer but I was able to move into a union company which gave me pay and benefits that most companies cant match, especially for a new driver.

Woody

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.

Bart's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Doug, you say "I heard..." if you don't know what you're talking about from first hand experience, kindly keep your romur mongering to yourself. I have been with swift for nearly a year and have had little to no problems with money or miles. Yes they can be classified as a starter company but that is what most people on here are. Starting out! Swift gave me a shot when some others wouldn't. They have freight that goes right through my little hometown where most others don't. I became a top driver for swift making Platinum driver status in 3 months. I'll will put my miles and pay up against any body else on here with 10 mos. Otr.I'm not trying to be belligerent but if I wanted to read company bashing I will go over to the truckersreport. I also know many drivers here who have been with swift for many many years. Good drivers who could take their experience and go anywhere. Yet they remain with swift. Why do you think that is?? I anyone has any questions about swift I will give you the real deal good and bad

Thanks for letting me vent.

Bart. A happy swift driver

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.

HAMMERTIME's Comment
member avatar

Hey Folks, I've basically narrowed down my choices to Swift vs. Knight, but I'm not sure who pays better and will keep me busy. I've been hearing in a few corners of the internet that Knight doesn't have the availability to keep it's drivers busy, but Swift seems to have somewhat of a bad rep. That aside, I need my tuition sponsored so I've broken down the pros and cons that I've identified, and I'm leaning more towards Knight. I just don't wanna short myself income wise because I can't be kept busy. Any input?

Knight & Swift 2 Week Training/4 Week Training Pay Your Transport & Lodging / Transport Lodging Paid Skip To Trainer If You Test And Get Permit / No Training Skip 0.28-0.36/mi. first 30k then 0.36-0.44/mile / Swift Unknown (Confusing Payscale) I like the idea of Knight's shorter training even if I have to lodge myself (I'd rather not share a room anyways), and considering that I can just get my permit and hit the road with a trainer, I like this idea too because thanks to TruckingTruth I KNOW I can pass the written. Only thing is, my experience in driving rigs was limited to no trailer around the yard of "Peterbilt of Las Vegas" when I worked there as an assistant in the shop. So, I have no idea how to drive a truck (I can drive stick) but after prepping for CDL , is there anything they can really teach me in two weeks about driving these monsters? Or am I better off saving the hassle and getting the permit and just hitting the road with a trainer? For what it's worth, I'm licensed and consider myself skilled at driving/piloting Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, and Planes. I'd like to think I could pick up the semi fairly quick. Thanks in advance!

Best Regards, Jason E.

Knight kept me pretty busy!

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.
USMC AAV's Comment
member avatar

Knight is a really good company. They believe in the Three "L"'s. Dont be late, Dont be lazy and Dont Lie! You will get some solid training, they have some really great trainers also! Their pay package is pretty good also, and their trucks are VERY well kept and in good condition. They really do believe in upkeep and appearance of their Rigs and trailers!

Swift on the other hand! Is a complete different story! Ive heard alot of bad things from some friends who started with them. My recommendation is go with Knight! Swift is a starter company plain and simple. You are a number to them til you prove you can handle the truck. Miles will be off and on. A buddy of mine who was a recruiter for them for three years told me once that he wouldn't recommend Swift to any of his "Good Friends".

Woody's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I had planned on attending Knight's school in Indiana last year but after several delays in getting the school open I went to private school then joined Knight after graduation. But here may be a couple tips to help you decide or at least things to compare.

Unless things have changed Knight does not sign you into an employment contract to pay for training. Meaning that if you attend their school and leave before it is paid off you just have to maintain your payments with them for the schooling. While I do agree with the mentality of staying with your first company for a year, you never know what might come up. I drove for them for 4 months and then had the opportunity to get into the company that I knew I eventually wanted to work for. When I started this company did not accept new drivers but due to driver shortage the policy had changed and I was able to make the jump. Even if I had went to Knight's school this would have been an option because of their "no contract" policy.

Knight dispatches its trainee trucks as solo not team. This was important to me. I wanted my trainer awake when I was driving and me awake when he drove so I could be learning. I call it more of a modified solo dispatch as your trainer may still drive some after your hours are used up but it typically wont be as much as if dispatched as a team. Depending on the trainer your experience may vary.

While training is important don't let your choice be totally dependent on the schooling or length of time in training. That is a small portion of the time spent if you stay with your first company for a year. Figure out what things are going to be important to you once you are solo and use that to be your guide. Frankly most of the OTR companies are very similar and your success will mainly depend on you.

I would have stayed with them longer but I was able to move into a union company which gave me pay and benefits that most companies cant match, especially for a new driver.

Woody

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.

Bart's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Doug, you say "I heard..." if you don't know what you're talking about from first hand experience, kindly keep your romur mongering to yourself. I have been with swift for nearly a year and have had little to no problems with money or miles. Yes they can be classified as a starter company but that is what most people on here are. Starting out! Swift gave me a shot when some others wouldn't. They have freight that goes right through my little hometown where most others don't. I became a top driver for swift making Platinum driver status in 3 months. I'll will put my miles and pay up against any body else on here with 10 mos. Otr.I'm not trying to be belligerent but if I wanted to read company bashing I will go over to the truckersreport. I also know many drivers here who have been with swift for many many years. Good drivers who could take their experience and go anywhere. Yet they remain with swift. Why do you think that is?? I anyone has any questions about swift I will give you the real deal good and bad

Thanks for letting me vent.

Bart. A happy swift driver

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.

Rhonda's Comment
member avatar

Whichever company will best meet your needs.

We don't know any Knight drivers, have no opinion of them except their tractors and trailers on the road look in good shape.

We've met some nice Swift drivers, they seemed happy.

If you do go with Swift, please grow a thick skin because Swift has a bad reputation among drivers out on the road....drivers make lots of mean comments to and towards swift drivers on the CB. They enjoy making jokes about swift drivers. "See What I can f*** up today" "Sure wished I'd finished Training" are popular sayings.

It irritates me how drivers put swift down, swift has good people.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Bart's Comment
member avatar

Rhonda. My favorite is " swing wide it's a flippin trailer"! And yes I have a thick skin and a broken cb. Think I'lleave it broke

Rhonda's Comment
member avatar

Rhonda. My favorite is " swing wide it's a flippin trailer"! And yes I have a thick skin and a broken cb. Think I'lleave it broke

Lol

I leave my CB off 99.9% of the time. I would hate to hear their comments to me if following me through those narrow construction zones with the concrete walls, because I go slow and take my time. I'm no Super trucker!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Doug, you say "I heard..." if you don't know what you're talking about from first hand experience, kindly keep your romur mongering to yourself. I have been with swift for nearly a year and have had little to no problems with money or miles. Yes they can be classified as a starter company but that is what most people on here are. Starting out! Swift gave me a shot when some others wouldn't. They have freight that goes right through my little hometown where most others don't. I became a top driver for swift making Platinum driver status in 3 months. I'll will put my miles and pay up against any body else on here with 10 mos. Otr.I'm not trying to be belligerent but if I wanted to read company bashing I will go over to the truckersreport. I also know many drivers here who have been with swift for many many years. Good drivers who could take their experience and go anywhere. Yet they remain with swift. Why do you think that is?? I anyone has any questions about swift I will give you the real deal good and bad

Thanks for letting me vent.

Bart. A happy swift driver

I've had a great experience so far. My recruiter has been very pleasant, understanding, and even honest. I have to second what Bart says, Swift gave me the opportunity with almost no questions asked. It felt really good and welcoming to be asked, "When do you want to get started?" I realize there is no such thing as a "perfect job" but a company willing to give me a chance is worth something.

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.

Matt S.'s Comment
member avatar

Rhonda. My favorite is " swing wide it's a flippin trailer"! And yes I have a thick skin and a broken cb. Think I'lleave it broke

Have you thought about getting your amateur radio license? It isn't terribly difficult and a whole new world of communication is open to you. People are pretty friendly too. Check out QRZ.com. My call sign is KF7SVX and I fully plan on being on using my ham radio. The ham radios tend to attract real serious radioheads.

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