Swift, Prime Or FFE?

Topic 871 | Page 1

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Brent B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Everyone,

Excited to get started and to get some great advice from drivers on this forum!

I received my CDL from a trucking company school in October 2012. I did not stay on with the company after school because of family reasons. I have currently been accepted by Swift, Prime and FFE. I am just not sure which one to go with.

1) Swift - Pro's - 3 day orientation, great terminal locations, big company. - Con's - If I fail road test, I have to go to 3 week school in Phoenix. Very low pay. I have heard that it slows way down in the fall.

2) Prime - Pro's - Excellent training program and pay. Lots of miles. You are a person, and not a truck #. - Con's - Honestly, couldn't find any!

3) FFE - Pro's - Excellent training program and decent pay. Treated like a person. - Con's - I have heard the company may be bought out as there stocks are trading at just over $1 per share.

So here is the deal. My heart tells me swift. My head tells me prime and I have a very negative feeling about ffe. Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, if my prescription medications were approved at my CDL training school, will they be approved at other schools? I am on atenolol(beta blocker) because I had atrial fibrillation in 2009 and it is now just pvc's(extra beats)(minimal). I am also on fluoxetine for anxiety since 2003. My doctor sent a letter to my CDL training school that I was fit to drive with no adverse effects from the medication. Will that be acceptable to other companies?

Nice to join the forum. I look forward to interacting with all of you!

Have a Great day!

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.

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.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
member avatar

None of the above. Go with Schneider! But seriously, go with whichever company fits you best. Pet policy important to you? Able to take the truck home with you? Whatever is important to you, focus on that, NOT on the companies themselves. They are all VERY similar, but the small differences are what matters.

Brent B.'s Comment
member avatar

Schneider turned me down. I think that is because I turned them down for another trucking school last October. Pet policy is not important to me but, I would like to take the truck home.

Tracy W.'s Comment
member avatar

Are you looking for team or solo driving? I'm just curious. I don't think I'd do well in a team environment.

Brent B.'s Comment
member avatar

I will probably go solo to start.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Brent!

Ok, first of all I recommend starting from scratch with your assessments. You're comparing three entirely different companies with different types of freight, average length of haul, home time policies, pay & benefits, and all sorts of things to consider. The stuff you mentioned either shouldn't play into your assessment or weren't accurate.

I would start by reading through a series of articles we have on How To Choose A Truck Driving Job which includes an 8-part series I wrote on evaluating different types of companies throughout the industry. You have to know the differences between the different types of freight and different size companies. You also have to know what information is important and where to find it. Those articles will teach you all of that.

Have a look at those and see what you think. Then reassess those companies. Also, let us know what you're looking for as far as type of freight to haul, amount of home time you'd like, and region of the country you'd like to run in. We can help you sort it all out. smile.gif

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.

Brent B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the great advice, Brett!

My ultimate goal is to get western regional with home time every 2-3 weeks. I know I will probably have to do the lower 48 to start off with, and I am cool with that.I want freight that delivers the most miles. I am sure that is different for each company, too! My top 2 choices would be reefer and dry van. Yes, I have a family, but I don't need to be home every week. My whole family has talked about this, and we understand, and are OK with, the sacrifices that have to be made. My family's 100% support is very critical to me.

I will take a look at that series. Thanks!

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, read through all of those articles - you'll get a ton of great insights.

As far as being home and running Western Regional , you can make about the same amount of money getting home on weekends as you can get home every 2-3 weeks. There isn't much of a difference because the vast majority of OTR drivers that get home every 2-3 weeks don't run hard 7 days a week. A lot of times they'll have a day or two off, or will have very few miles for a couple days. And even if you're running really hard, you still only get 70 hours drive time every 8 days so a lot of guys take 34 hour resets on the road anyhow.

So if you want to make decent money and get home on weekends, you can do it. I would recommend looking at the big dry van companies like Swift & Schneider. I know Swift especially has tons and tons of West Coast opportunities.

As far as getting the most miles, every company can give you a ton of miles. They all have plenty of freight available for their best drivers. If you go in there and show them you're hard working, safe, and reliable, I can assure you they'll keep you rolling. That's how the industry works - companies count on their best drivers to do the bulk of the work and handle their most important customers. The leftovers go to the less desirable drivers, and there's plenty of them, believe me.

But you'll have a better idea where to look once you finish up those articles. Let us know your thoughts after reading through em and we'll continue to sort this out for ya.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brent B.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, looks like it is going to be swift. The other companies wanted refresher courses because it has been 8 months since I was in CDL school with no driving experience. I cannot afford the $1500-$1750 required for a private refresher course. Swift will allow me to go to there 3-day orientation and take a road test on the first day. The catch, no practice allowed. As I said before, the last time I drove was in CDL school, 8 months ago. If I pass the road test, I continue with orientation and go with a trainer after 3 days. If I fail the road test, I will be sent to there 3 week school in Phoenix. That means I will pay for school 2x in less than a year. Let me rephrase. I am paying for my first company school, as I did not stay on with them after graduation. Swift academy would be paid for if I honor the contract. My preference would be to have more training(school), since it has been 8 months since I have driven. Any advice would be greatly 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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Sounds great! Swift has a bunch of great opportunities and we get a lot of great feedback from people who go there so you should do well.

As far as advice, if you pass the road test - great! If not, don't sweat it. You'll get a few more weeks of schooling to improve your skills. After going through schooling once you may feel it isn't necessary, but once you get out there on the road you're going to realize that the schooling only teaches you about 2% of the knowledge and skills you need to be a true pro out there. The other 98% you're going to learn on the job, and it's a very steep learning curve.

Backing a truck around a few orange cones in an empty parking lot is 1000 times easier than backing in off a busy street in Jersey and squeezing into a tight dock with inches to spare in between two $100,000 Peterbilts while everyone is watching and waiting on you. So be very grateful for any opportunities you get to learn in a controlled environment.

But most importantly, just keep a great attitude and take things one day at a time. Don't set any goals other than to learn all you can each day, get along well with people, focus on safety first at all times, and try to enjoy yourself.

There are going to be ups and downs, especially those first few months. Expect it. There will be times you might think Swift was the wrong choice. There might be times you think trucking was the wrong choice. And there will be times you and your trainer will want to choke each other. Expect it, and remember it's all just temporary. Get through it one day at a time and stay focused on the ultimate goal right now which is to get one year of safe driving under your belt. smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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