Choose Prime Over Swift

Topic 872 | Page 2

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Yep's Comment
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I am going to layout the instructor/student selection process as I currently understand it which may very well be wrong. Now, most drives smoke or dip. Most, as far as I can tell, come from the south or east coast. Most are very politically incorrect men. So your best bet for getting an instructor is to be male, live in the south or on the east coast, and smoke or dip. This, however, will not guarantee you an instructor. Much of the entire process, even if you fit the criteria I just listed, seems to be driven by luck. The instructor may be given your stats by the company and then decide if he will take you or not. He may also just see you in the hall, ask if you have an instructor and then begin interviewing you. Both of these selection processes are fairly biased since most drives want a student close to their home. It would be nice if it was “here’s your student, now go teach them”, but it does not seem to work that way at this point in time. Thus, if you come from an undesirable location, don’t smoke/dip or have a tendency of not being in the right place at the right time, you may be waiting for quite some time. Also, I should note that women will get out on the road quicker if they are willing to get a male trainer. However, this may still take time since many drives don’t seem to want women students due to legal issues. The same thing goes for smokers/nonsmokers. Apparently, prime has had some lawsuits over having people train with the opposite sex as well as smokers/nonsmokers being paired together.

Ok, back to the rest of my training, which did not change much. Actually it did not change at all. From Saturday to Tuesday I did the exact same things I have been doing. I went to the backing pad to practice the pre-trip and watch PSD testers pass or fail their tests. I did however get to talk to some instructors I found walking around. However, due to being a nonsmoker, they took other students over me. On the bright side I got to do some writing and that kept me fairly entertained.

Wednesday things changed a little. The main guy who runs the PSD program returned from his vacation. Upon his return he had arranged for an instructor to come out to the pad and have the unselected students practice backing. Since all the stations were occupied (prime is building a larger training area due to this problem), we had to improvise where we would practice. Since most of us had no experience driving period, it was decided that we would only do straight line backing between the trailers parked on the side of the training pad. Once we had all done the maneuver a few times were told to attend a backing seminar on Thursday. One thing I found interesting was that the trailer and tractor seems a lot more responsive than my father’s Chevy Cheyenne and 20ft work trailer.

Thursday I attended the seminar as instructed. The purpose was 2 fold. First was to give us an idea about how to do the required backing for out test. Second was to meet the new batch of PSD instructors who would graduate Friday. During the class we watched videos on straight line backing, alley docking and parallel parking. Since this was technically an instructor’s class there was discussion on how theses maneuvers can be practiced on the road during our 2-4 weeks. Once the class was over we all headed outside to watch the new instructors practice the maneuvers. This lasted till I decided to leave. Prior to leaving I got a meal at the Prime HQ cafeteria. About this time an instructor called, asked me a few questions and said he would meet me there. After a short interview he agreed to train me. I should also note that during the backing practice, the new instructors walked around and interviewed all the students. Additionally, I learned a little about their selection process. Apparently they all must have near perfect records at prime and prior as well. They then have to take a 1 day TNT course and be a TNT trainer for 1 year before applying to be a PST instructor which requires a 1 week class.

On Friday I got ready for my 2-4 weeks of training. First stop was the nearby wall mart to buy a week’s supplies of groceries. I’ve made a very simple diet that requires no cooking and some way to keep a brick of cheeses cool. Next was to grab my laundry and go to the prime HQ to meet my instructor who introduced me to the fleet manager. After getting his number it was time to do my laundry. There are laundry facilities at the hotel, but the facilities at the Prime HQ are much cheaper. Finally, later in the day my instructor had me do some shifting practice out at the driving range. We had planned on doing some backing practice but all the pads were taken.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Wow, your updates are awesome! I'm going to be featuring these for others who want to know more about Prime. Excellent stuff!

On Friday I got ready for my 2-4 weeks of training

Now which training are you referring to here? Because Prime used to send students on the road with a trainer for several months at a time. So I'm not sure what this portion of the training is.

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, your updates are awesome! I'm going to be featuring these for others who want to know more about Prime. Excellent stuff!

double-quotes-start.png

On Friday I got ready for my 2-4 weeks of training

double-quotes-end.png

Now which training are you referring to here? Because Prime used to send students on the road with a trainer for several months at a time. So I'm not sure what this portion of the training is.

Brett, I'm thinking this is his OTR pre CDL testing..I think you have to spend 10,000 miles with a trainer and then return to Prime to test out...

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.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

So far, everything Mason has said has been pretty much right on.

I did my training through Prime as well, so I can say with experience that the selection process has changed some, but is pretty much the same as it was 2 years ago when I went through it.

Once you are assigned an instructor (that is the person that teaches you what is needed to get your CDL), you go out for 2 - 4 weeks, then come back to Prime to test out & obtain your Class A CDL (this is the PSD portion of the training (Prime Student Driver). During this phase of the training, you are not a Prime employee and get a $200/week advance that has to be paid back.

At that point, you are credited with 10,000 miles of the 40,000 minimum required. That can be extended as needed. There is a long list of possible reasons for it being extended. The second portion of the training (TNT) is done in a team environment for the next 30,000+ miles depending if you get approved by your trainer to come back to Prime to upgrade or get assigned additional miles until they are satisfied you are ready to get your own truck and drive solo. During this phase of the training, you are a Prime employee and get $600/week or .12/mile whichever is greater.

I hope this helps everyone, if not, let me know and I will try to explain in more detail.

Ernie

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for that Ernie!!!

Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for all of the information here. I'm hoping to get started down at Prime in the next month.

So it looks like you could be done with the classroom portion in as little as a week however could be another week or two? During those added days its just hoping you are lucky enough to get out there and practice if the later staged groups aren't using the pads?

I'm trying to prepare as much as possible to start this journey. Because I'm limited on funds I want to get to the second phase of training as fast as possible to become a paid employee. I have saved up a good chunk so I should be fine even having to wait a little longer. I took my permit tests last week and got it and all endorsements taken care of. I'd rather not train with a smoker but I can sacrifice for a while to get out there sooner. I will probably need a sleep study, so my guess is that will add some time. Is there anything else I can do to get myself ahead of the game?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

From the sound of it you're really well prepared. I don't know what else you could really do at this point. You've gone through our High Road Training Program, you've gotten your permit and endorsments, and you've researched the various companies. All that's really left is to pull the trigger and go for it.

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.
Yep's Comment
member avatar

Now which training are you referring to here? Because Prime used to send students on the road with a trainer for several months at a time. So I'm not sure what this portion of the training is.

As noted by Roadkill, the training I was referring to was my Prime Student Driver training (PSD). This is the pre-CDL stuff which Ernie explained very well. Thank you for that. If you like, you can look at PSD as consisting of 2 parts. First is the 1 week of class room work. Second is the actual driving where you should get your 10,000 miles. This should last 2-4 weeks before returning to Springfield to test for your CDL. After you obtain the CDL you move onto TNT. As my instructor puts it, in PSD you learn to pass the CDL test. In TNT you learn how to actually be a truck driver.

Thanks for all of the information here. I'm hoping to get started down at Prime in the next month.

So it looks like you could be done with the classroom portion in as little as a week however could be another week or two? During those added days its just hoping you are lucky enough to get out there and practice if the later staged groups aren't using the pads?

I'm trying to prepare as much as possible to start this journey. Because I'm limited on funds I want to get to the second phase of training as fast as possible to become a paid employee. I have saved up a good chunk so I should be fine even having to wait a little longer. I took my permit tests last week and got it and all endorsements taken care of. I'd rather not train with a smoker but I can sacrifice for a while to get out there sooner. I will probably need a sleep study, so my guess is that will add some time. Is there anything else I can do to get myself ahead of the game?

The class room stuff will only take 1 week. By that first Friday you must finish your computer based training, get the sleep study done if needed and receive your permit. I do know of 2 exceptions to this that are both medical related. First, I know of one guy that had to wait for his doctor back home to fax his previous sleep study paperwork to Prime. If Prime wants you to have a sleep study, and you have had one previously, ask if you can just have the paperwork from the previous study faxed to Prime. Remember, you pay for the sleep study, not Prime. The second involved some guys that had to wait for some military medical paperwork that Prime wanted to look at. If I remember it involved relatively recent surgeries they had while still in the military. Now, the reason I stayed longer than 1 week is because I was not lucky enough to get an instructor. If you are also lacking in luck, it will be as you said "During those added days it’s just hoping you are lucky enough to get out there and practice if the later staged groups aren't using the pads."

From the sound of it you're really well prepared. I don't know what else you could really do at this point. You've gone through our High Road Training Program, you've gotten your permit and endorsments, and you've researched the various companies. All that's really left is to pull the trigger and go for it.

Ill add something to this. Plan out how you will be handling your finances. Develop a budget, meal plan and even arrange for someone to pay your bills. I’ve actually got myself in a bit of trouble and had to ask my mother to pay my bills. The reason is that I use Wells Fargo and, at this time, Wells Fargo does not operate in Missouri. Also, most shippers, receivers and truck stops are not near any banks. Therefore, I was not able to deposit my pay advances into my checking account. Not in any way I could think of anyhow. if the people you owe money to accept money orders then you can get some at walmart. however, if your landlord, for some odd reason, will only accept checks, then plan ahead. I also suggest making a cook less meal plan. remember, you are on the instructors rig, you will be traveling during their schedule, will likely not have a lot of time to cook and most truck stops are not filled with healthy or cheap food.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Britton R.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm hoping my finances are in line. I have about $500 cash I've saved off of selling a bunch of stuff. I'll also have the money I'm currently making in my bank account for bills. As of two days ago I live rent free. So that saves me close to $400 per month. I should be able to pay my bills online once I get an account set up for my car payment. That leaves insurance, cell and student loan. I can probably get away with paying student loan late. Insurance is going to drop once I park it and head to Springfield. I think I will have enough to at least cover 1 month while away. Hopefully soon after that I will be hired on and start making the training pay. That will be more than enough to pay bills. I'll also have a few hundred coming at me in a few weeks from a security deposit refund to add.

So I think I will be ok. I'm hoping to be able to use my cash savings to eat on and survive training in the truck. Then I can use the $200 from Prime as a backup if needed. Then use my current jobs pay to pay the bills until getting hired. My only concern is staying on top of actually paying the bills while out. My mom said she would take care of paying them so I didn't have to worry about it. Because I can pay them from my phone I think I'll do it myself. I'll set up reminders to make sure I stay on top of it. Then the problem is having cell service.

I'm hoping my trainer likes to stop at wal mart and has a cooler/refrigerator rather than eat at a truck stop. That will be far healthier and cheaper. $10 for bread and lunchmeat for a week is far better than $15+ per meal.

Yep's Comment
member avatar

Figured I should do a quick update, even if it is from my smartphone. Anyhow, I am currently in the tnt phase and should be done in a month. However, thiw may not happen. The last hangup I have to deal with is my backing. I passed the cdl test with flyinh colors s, but my actual docking is horrible. I have done most of the backing during tnt but I am often taking 20 minutes to de even easy procedures and my trainer is having to take over on the more dificult ones. For some reason my mind is not adapting well to backing into docks. Ill keep trying but not sure how much longer. May go home and see if I can get one of the open garbage driver positions there. Iwould much rather be driving a bigrig and will keep trying.

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.

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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