CRST Or Swift Company Training?

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ChaseOne's Comment
member avatar

I have been doing a lot of research trying to determine where I want to start my Truck Driving career. I have no money available for private training so I have decided I am definately going to one or the other. I'm hoping I can get some guidance from currently employed CRST and / or Swift Truck Drivers. Any information provided is going to be very much appreciated. I am really concerned about making the right decision that is going to affect my future. I have a Florida CDL permit and plan on getting my DOT Medical Exam within 2 months of going to school. Have planned out my financial budgets for each company and made the necessary preparations. I live in South Florida so some companies don't hire in this area. I am a very dedicated person so once I start anything, I go all the way.

My main concerns are:

1) If I go to Swift, am I going to sent home for some silly reason just so they can make money off of me. I have no criminal background and I have a clean DMV report.

2) Am I going to treated nicely at the Millington, TN Swift terminal by the trainors and staff?

3) When I get out on the road running solo for Swift, am I going to get enough miles to make a living or am I going to sit and not make any money? Starting pay doesn't mean anything if your're not rolling the wheels. I know this has a lot to do with being on time, not turning down loads and having a good load manager. And of course being a nice person and easy to get along with helps.

4) Is the training at CRST actually paid for by the company or do they take out the money out of my check every week?

5) What school will I attend if I go to Jacksonville, FL for CRST? Is it completely paid for up front?

6) Are meals actually provided at the traing facilities or not? I love to eat all the time. All 142lbs of me.

7) Is the possibility of getting a new truck with less than 100,000 miles?

8) How do you get your HazMat endorsement if your're constantly on the road?

9) When I go for my physical, what actual excercises do I have to preform. (pullups to lift my own weight?)

Any input anyone can offer will be great.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm starting with crst on Monday the 2nd and I've worked for swift and I can tell you you will be happy at either as long as you keep a positive attitude and prove your self to either company... Crst provides a small breakfast and a lunch and after you get your permit crst gives you a 40 dollar gift card to help through the week... Swift don't do anything for food until you get to orientation then that's just lunch... Crst pays for the dot physical and drug test and they pay for the cdl tests... Not sure if they take the money out of your check for the school or not...

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Closer, I just finished the whole nine yards at Swift (Started December 16, getting my own truck today.) Here are my answers to the Swift questions:

1) If I go to Swift, am I going to sent home for some silly reason just so they can make money off of me. I have no criminal background and I have a clean DMV report.

The background checks are pretty much over by the time you get to Millington. There is no "silly reason" that will get you sent home. Swift Academy is in the business of training drivers, not a scam to separate you from $4400. In fact, if you pay attention you will find Swift gives you up to two extra chances to make the grade. No extra charge for the academy or the hotel!

2) Am I going to treated nicely at the Millington, TN Swift terminal by the trainors and staff?

Country Club it isn't. The instructors at Swift/Millington have all the respect for you, but they do expect you to do your best in turn. It's probably closer to military basic training than to a vacation.

6) Are meals actually provided at the traing facilities or not? I love to eat all the time. All 142lbs of me.

You eat on your own dime at Swift. Lots of students learned the finer points of ramen noodles. Remember, also Swift does not pay anything to Academy students. It's your budget through school. They are pretty much on schedule for breaks and 1 hour lunch though.

7) Is the possibility of getting a new truck with less than 100,000 miles?

Yes, there's a possibility. I have heard it happening. You might also hit the lottery jackpot, too!

Swift is a long row to hoe, but you can do it if you don't lose sight of your goal.

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Here's a basic question you should be asking yourself - do you wanna team? I believe CRST is a team driving operation, even after training is done. You might wanna verify that though ... but I vaguely recollect that being the case. Perhaps you are just required to team for a bit even after training, before you can request to go solo.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

CRST will require that you team drive. I personally wouldn't ever team drive, especially with a stranger.

I personally prefer Swift over CRST simply because you can actually be a solo driver, the starting pay is higher, and they have a ton of dedicated/regional opportunities. You'll have many options here, but at CRST you'll be stuck team driving and that's all you'll know.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

ChaseOne's Comment
member avatar

Thx for the timely reply. All you guys are the best when it comes to sharing information. I like CRST for team driving security on the road, cause I have no experience in a big rig and I think I am going to enjoy having someone to share the work load. As long as I can find a good co-driver.

ChaseOne's Comment
member avatar

Here's a basic question you should be asking yourself - do you wanna team? I believe CRST is a team driving operation, even after training is done. You might wanna verify that though ... but I vaguely recollect that being the case. Perhaps you are just required to team for a bit even after training, before you can request to go solo.

Team driving is a requirement at CRST all the time and is not an issue in my eyes. Security in numbers, constantly moving with less chance of load ripeoffs, better equipment and load planning. These things are at the top of my list. I think I can put up with this format for 10 months. Starting out at a lower cpm is common and I'm ready to put in my dues.

Thx for the quick reply. Please give me some more.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

ChaseOne's Comment
member avatar

Errol, Congrats on your getting your very own truck. Good luck. Thank you for very much for the great insight into the Swift/Millington training. I really like Swift but I don't think there upfront costs are going to fit into my budget. They are still in the running, I haven't made any committments yet, (June 2015)

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Errol, Congrats on your getting your very own truck. Good luck. Thank you for very much for the great insight into the Swift/Millington training. I really like Swift but I don't think there upfront costs are going to fit into my budget. They are still in the running, I haven't made any committments yet, (June 2015)

Unless you need the CDL class there is no upfront cost. It's all financed. A few people even "financed" their DOT physical on that first day! So your budget is your food.

My truck: (thank you, Closer) My road mentor talked about getting a real refrigerator for his truck. I had to let him know this ex-o/o rig has a built in fridge! smile.gif

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Christy R.'s Comment
member avatar

CRST will require that you team drive. I personally wouldn't ever team drive, especially with a stranger.

I personally prefer Swift over CRST simply because you can actually be a solo driver, the starting pay is higher, and they have a ton of dedicated/regional opportunities. You'll have many options here, but at CRST you'll be stuck team driving and that's all you'll know.

I'm a rural girl exploring options, CRST is one. What is your opinion on females and team driving? I can see where team driving in a high crime area could be a plus; but being trapped in a cab with a strange male...well, it's hard enough for me to live with a guy I'm sleeping with, lol :)

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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