Prime Trucking: Good Or Bad

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Steven M.'s Comment
member avatar

My question is with all the trucking companies out there is prime a good one or a bad one. You hear alot of yes and nos but lets be truthful is prime good or bad. i would like some good and bad feedback THANKS TO ALL FELLOW DRIVERS

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Steven, welcome to the forum!

We get this question a lot - people wondering if a company is good or bad. Unfortunately the internet is rife with all this trash talking about trucking companies. It's totally unreliable information that cannot be verified in any way. You said you wanted some good and bad responses, but I mean how is that going to help you? Are you just gonna add up the good ones and the bad ones and see which column totals out with the most so you can base your decision on that?

Here is the way you should approach it - you will make this job what you want it to be by your work ethic and willingness to push through what ever difficulties arise to hinder you. As far as which companies are "good or bad" I just consider them all to be trucking companies - they've all got the same issues, because they are all trying to do the same thing, move freight from point A to point B.

So many people jump into this career with false assumptions based on foolish reports and notions that they have picked up from internet "review sites". Have you ever noticed how 99% of the people who post reviews are people who are dissatisfied in an extreme way? That in itself should be a big red flag to any thinking person. This business of being able to be anonymous, and being hidden behind a keyboard, has emboldened a bunch of people, who are generally failures at most things they attempt, to lay the blame for their ineptitude at the feet of "big greedy trucking magnates who are still practicing slavery in their business models".

What I'm trying to say is choose a company that you seem to like, and then get out there and prove yourself to them. Don't be looking for them to prove themselves to you - that is the current trend of thinking and it is so backwards that is a huge reason for the current 100% turn over rate in trucking. They don't have anything to prove - if you take a look at the walls of the offices of almost any trucking company that is being unfairly slammed on the internet you will find photos of drivers who have been there for ten and twenty years and put in millions of miles safely and very productively. Those guys didn't do that because it was a "good company" - they accomplished that because they were "good" drivers.

Steven, don't take me wrong, I'm not getting on to you for your question. I just like to point things out like this not only for the person who originally asks the question, but also for the many others who will read this later on. Your willingness to succeed and your drive to excel are the main ingredients for your success at this career. So don't worry so much about whose name is on the doors of the truck. I spent the first eighteen months of my career at a trucking company whose reputation is absolutely in the gutter by all internet review accounts, you couldn't ask for a company with more disparaging remarks against it. I excelled there, was always in the top group of drivers for productivity, and made some very good money despite the fact that their pay rate was very low. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but rather the truth that you are the driving factor of your success at this. Any company out there who has a really hard working dependable driver who knows how to "get er done" will do all they can to keep that driver moving and satisfied. I have since moved on to a different company, but it wasn't because I thought the other guys were scumbags. I received a much better offer and I took advantage of that offer. That's the way it works - you prove yourself first, then you will find the doors of opportunity opening up to you.

One of the biggest problems with getting started in this career is the sheer difficulty of getting oneself accustomed to all the many consequences of your own decisions and choices while out there on the road. It is tricky to say the least to get the hang of all this stuff during the first six months of doing this. People end up with negative consequences due to some of their own poor choices or decisions as to how to handle their job or manage their time. It is not easy breaking into this career. New drivers will inevitably make some bad choices while on the road. It is important to recognize when you make a mistake and learn from it. Your driver manager will come to depend on you and treat you really well if you are a dependable driver. People tend to give up and blame their company for not getting enough miles, or not making enough money to live on, as if they were being mistreated by the greedy company. But I can guarantee you that at which ever company that is getting slammed on the internet for mistreating their employees, there are a group of competent drivers who are getting more miles dispatched to them than they know how to handle because those drivers have proven themselves again and again. The reason you don't hear from them on those internet reviews is because they are in their sleeper catching some much needed rest so they can give 110% during their next on duty time period.

By the way, we have many successful drivers in this forum who are enjoying life over at Prime.

Driver 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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

Terry C.'s Comment
member avatar

Is prime good or bad huh? Totally a matter of opinion. I'm probably one of the most cynical people that post on TT and I'll give you my thoughts on Prime having been there for 7 months now.

First, the owner of Prime Rob Low has spent a huge amount of dollars to keep newer truck's on the road and loaded them with safety features. All state of the art stuff like anti roll prevention, lane departure system, collision avoidance system and maybe more I'm not thinking of. Every truck has an APU for climate control without having to run the engine and burn extra fuel. DC converters to run laptops, refrigerators, tv and others. Weigh rites to check your axle weights before you leave a shipper. The list goes on..

He is spending millions on keeping his terminals state of the art with every amenity a driver needs while at the terminal. Cafeteria, gym, showers, bunk rooms, theater, lounge, laundry facility, company store, spa with massage and hair salon. I'm referencing the Springfield terminal specifically but the upgrades are coming to the other two in the near future.

Are these things that make a company "good?" IMHO I say yes. A company is what you make it. I know I'm sounding like a Prime fanboi but again I can't deny the owner goes out of his way to keep drivers happy. (As much as a driver can.) Let's face it a large amount of drivers complain about a great many things.

You can research the company reviews and you're gonna find other drivers talk about how bad they got screwed. Nevermind they are reaping what they sow, it's always the companies fault for their misfortunes in many of those instances in their opinion.

To me the biggest downside is the speed at which they govern their truck's. 62 mph for company drivers but I get messages and reminders from my fleet manager if I run over 58 mph for too long. Others here don't get any grief for running against the governor. My FM's fleet is one of the lowest mpg fleets in the company so he harps alot on fuel mileage. It's to be expected and I understand where he comes from.

So coming from a glass half empty guy my TLDR is Prime IS a good company. Take from that what you will. Happy hunting!

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Every company is going to have people with both GOOD and BAD stories to tell. Go over to some of the other forums that are just brimming with negativity, and you'll wonder why ANYONE DRIVES for any of these companies. For the most part it's just "sour grapes". As told time and time again on this site - your success as a driver depends more on YOU, the DRIVER - than any shortcomings or negative feedback from previous employees.

Keeping in mind that these are "training companies" are all going to have their good and bad points to them.

The biggest PITA I've heard about prime is the whole "sleep apnea scam" - where if you are above a certain weight (for your height), you are ordered to get a sleep study (and possibly a CPAP machine). Now - while this might be a GOOD THING - for people with undiagnosed sleep apnea , the whole BMI/Apnea thing is viewed in the industry as a SCAM to feed $$ to the doctors and CPAP sales industry. There is no actual RULE from FMSCA on requiring this - the can has been kicked up and down the street for years.

I'm a 39 BMI (at my current weight of 240) and sleep like a ROCK - but I would still drop down under 200 if I decided to go with Prime, just to avoid the delay, hassle & expense of having a 39 BMI. Actually, dropping the extra pounds could only be good for me health wise too - but I digress.

Aside from that - members here that have recently gone with Prime have had nothing but decent things to say about them. Some of them even stay on past their training repayment commitment.

I've been looking hard at Werner lately - since they do a lot of hiring out of the CDL School I attended. But the instructor kind of rolled his eyes - they don't pay all that well (in comparison to other companies).

Then again - we are LOOKING TO GET THAT ALL IMPORTANT FIRST YEAR under our belts. Going in with the assumption that it's not going to be a match made in heaven - keeping your attitude positive, and your long term goals in sight. Getting on with ANY COMPANY that has a decent rep, and hires in your area is what you're looking for.

Retention for initial hires is EXTREMELY LOW. Most people don't stay in - either because they aren't cut out for THE LIFESTYLE, or they aren't cut out for THE JOB. Go in with the attitude that they are DOING YOU A FAVOR (because, in fact they ARE), make a commitment to stay for a certain period of time (and HONOR IT - unless conditions are so horrible that you just can't), work your butt off - and pretty much ANY COMPANY THAT HIRES NEWBS is "workable"- until you get the time/miles to move on.

I've been noticing lately, that a lot of non-training companies (ones that don't train non-CDL-holders to get their CDL) have been dropping their "previous experience requirements" down to 6 or 9 months. This is indicative of the high turnover in the industry (which may be even higher than "normal" enough to get them to lower this requirement). Companies are beginning to try and attract (and retain) drivers with better pay and better equipment - so they're not churning through so many drivers (and having equipment sit idle without butts to put in the seats).

Rick

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.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.
Johnny's Comment
member avatar

Is prime good or bad huh? Totally a matter of opinion. I'm probably one of the most cynical people that post on TT and I'll give you my thoughts on Prime having been there for 7 months now.

First, the owner of Prime Rob Low has spent a huge amount of dollars to keep newer truck's on the road and loaded them with safety features. All state of the art stuff like anti roll prevention, lane departure system, collision avoidance system and maybe more I'm not thinking of. Every truck has an APU for climate control without having to run the engine and burn extra fuel. DC converters to run laptops, refrigerators, tv and others. Weigh rites to check your axle weights before you leave a shipper. The list goes on..

He is spending millions on keeping his terminals state of the art with every amenity a driver needs while at the terminal. Cafeteria, gym, showers, bunk rooms, theater, lounge, laundry facility, company store, spa with massage and hair salon. I'm referencing the Springfield terminal specifically but the upgrades are coming to the other two in the near future.

Are these things that make a company "good?" IMHO I say yes. A company is what you make it. I know I'm sounding like a Prime fanboi but again I can't deny the owner goes out of his way to keep drivers happy. (As much as a driver can.) Let's face it a large amount of drivers complain about a great many things.

You can research the company reviews and you're gonna find other drivers talk about how bad they got screwed. Nevermind they are reaping what they sow, it's always the companies fault for their misfortunes in many of those instances in their opinion.

To me the biggest downside is the speed at which they govern their truck's. 62 mph for company drivers but I get messages and reminders from my fleet manager if I run over 58 mph for too long. Others here don't get any grief for running against the governor. My FM's fleet is one of the lowest mpg fleets in the company so he harps alot on fuel mileage. It's to be expected and I understand where he comes from.

So coming from a glass half empty guy my TLDR is Prime IS a good company. Take from that what you will. Happy hunting!

Good to know! I'm out there looking for a company to work with.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Jason F.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I'm putting in an application with Prime right now. Anyone want me to list them as a referral? I'm assuming there may be some kind of incentive involved.

Because of my weight, I'm assuming I'll have to do the sleep study to be tested for apnea. I'm fairly sure that I don't have it, because I was tested about 2-3 years ago and was fine, but if I do, what kind of hassles will I encounter?

Thanks!

Ken C.'s Comment
member avatar

My question is with all the trucking companies out there is prime a good one or a bad one. You hear alot of yes and nos but lets be truthful is prime good or bad. i would like some good and bad feedback THANKS TO ALL FELLOW DRIVERS

I think Prime is about as good as it gets for a Training Company, they have great equipment, good pay and lots of miles plus take longer to upgrade you into your own Truck so you have a better chance for success in the 1st year...I went through Primes PSD and TNT training and now am a Trainer/Instructor myself...I have no plans to leave the Company

Ken C.

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.

Michael C.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry to hijack the thread, but I'm putting in an application with Prime right now. Anyone want me to list them as a referral? I'm assuming there may be some kind of incentive involved.

Because of my weight, I'm assuming I'll have to do the sleep study to be tested for apnea. I'm fairly sure that I don't have it, because I was tested about 2-3 years ago and was fine, but if I do, what kind of hassles will I encounter?

Thanks!

Thanks for the heads up on the sleep study thing. I had no clue that they did that.

I am do to go into the doctors office tomorrow and i may just talk to him about it while i have medical insurance.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I'd love to go to prime, their pay is one of the highest for brand new drivers, excellent training, etc., but sadly I can't be out as long as would be required right now, so maybe some day.

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

This has been an extremely informative thread, and I'm glad I stumbled across it. I'm totally fine with all the time away from home, as I used to tour with bands where we would be out 4 - 6 weeks at a time. My husband and I miss each other, but he knows how much I need to constantly be "on the go" so he's super supportive. My one concern is that I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. I'm not worried about where I'll need to be for training. I'm just wondering if we'll need to relocate sometime in the future after I'm out solo. I'm all for picking up and moving somewhere new, but since the husband will be the one having to live there 90% of the time and I'm only home 10% of the time, I'd like to not have to ask him to make that sacrifice. Can anyone shed light on how the whole home time thing works if you don't live near one of the 4 big terminals that are listed on here as their main stations? (Sorry if I got the terminology wrong. Still learning all the lingo.)

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.

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