Lack Of Trainers.

Topic 8729 | Page 1

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Andre R.'s Comment
member avatar

I've noticed that with the company that I've chosen there seems to be a lack of trainers. I know this could be a great thing remaining they are attractive to the new folks like myself however it's also hard to get on a truck to get the training underway. Is this a common problem with all companies or is this rare?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It's pretty common actually, it's to find drivers, it's more tough to find qualified trainers. Prime has a real bad problem with lack of trainers, it's common to have to wait two weeks for a student.

What company are you with again?

Andre R.'s Comment
member avatar

Just finished orientation with covenant. I'm currently at home with some family emergency things however I am also still waiting on a trainer which I was told could take several weeks. Being that I am here waiting I am assuming I won't be paid. I am hanging on but not sure how long I can hang on with no income. In the meantime I refuse to sit idle. I have kept the hunt alive which goes against what everyone says with regard to being with the first company a year but I'm fat and like to eat so I will sit tight a week if nothing gives I'll be forced to jump ship as I'm sitting on about 8 prehire letters I'm staying in contact with all of them as well as my company.

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

The Dude's Comment
member avatar

It's pretty common actually, it's to find drivers, it's more tough to find qualified trainers. Prime has a real bad problem with lack of trainers, it's common to have to wait two weeks for a student.

What company are you with again?

Prime needs to pay the instructors more on the front end. It seems promising when you look at the potential residual bonuses, but those are not common. My instructor is about to get his last bonus for me, his $500 for me hitting 6 months, but it is so, so rare for an instructor to bonus out on a student like that.

My instructor once told me that he knows most of the guys won't survive TNT once they get off of his truck after completing PSD. He just hopes they do so he can get that first bonus for them hitting A seat. Even fewer hit the other bonuses once theyre running solo, so he doesn't even hold out hope for those.

I feel the instructors should be paid more when the student is actually on the truck during the PSD rather than the carrot dangling they do now.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

It's pretty common actually, it's to find drivers, it's more tough to find qualified trainers. Prime has a real bad problem with lack of trainers, it's common to have to wait two weeks for a student.

What company are you with again?

double-quotes-end.png

Prime needs to pay the instructors more on the front end. It seems promising when you look at the potential residual bonuses, but those are not common. My instructor is about to get his last bonus for me, his $500 for me hitting 6 months, but it is so, so rare for an instructor to bonus out on a student like that.

My instructor once told me that he knows most of the guys won't survive TNT once they get off of his truck after completing PSD. He just hopes they do so he can get that first bonus for them hitting A seat. Even fewer hit the other bonuses once theyre running solo, so he doesn't even hold out hope for those.

I feel the instructors should be paid more when the student is actually on the truck during the PSD rather than the carrot dangling they do now.

That's exactly what I've been saying! When I'm making more running solo than I was being an instructor, that's when you know there's a problem. It's much more work for no extra pay. So much of it is based on your student that your basically putting your entire finances in their hands. They pass the first time? That's a nice check. They take 4 attempts to pass? You're now broke.

I'm willing to do it again, but I also want to be paid. I don't run a volunteer clinic for a billion dollar company.

Prime has been desperate for instructors for many years, they need to go back or the drawing board and figure out why that is. I can't go home when I have a student, it's three times the work, it's even more stressful, why doesn't it equal more pay?

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

You say they should raise the pay for instructors but what happens if you do? You'll get a ton of drivers signing up to be instructors that have no interest in doing so. They're only in it to make a few extra bucks and the student is simply a necessary evil they have to put up with. That makes for a miserable experience for all involved and the student gets little or no quality training.

This issue has never been resolved. It was no different in the early 90's. Most drivers hate the idea of being a trainer. They're not interested in taking the extra risk and sharing the truck with someone. If you pay more for it all you're going to do is attract the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

I've pondered this situation many times myself and I haven't been able to come up with a good answer for it.

One thing I feel might help is to rotate students amongst different trainers regularly. Instead of sticking one student with one trainer for weeks or even months at a time, have them swap out regularly. Large companies have trainers with students crossing paths regularly. Have them swap out at truck stops, repair shops, terminals, and customers. That way the students get to learn from a variety of instructors, instructors get the opportunity to help different students along the way, and you won't have the personality clashes that have lead to the unraveling of so many careers early on.

Another thing companies could do is have experienced drivers take on students for short periods of time, maybe a few days to a week. You may not have 100 drivers that want to be full time trainers, but you certainly have 100 drivers that wouldn't mind doing it here and there for short periods.

But of course every solution you come up with will have its own problems to deal with. There simply isn't an easy answer to it.

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.

Jessica A-M's Comment
member avatar

I've always really enjoyed training people at all my jobs even without incentive. I decided that whatever company I end up with, I will want to be a trainer at at some point in my trucking career. There's a sense of pride when you can show off your knowledge and know you've trained someone to do a job well. That's why trainers should train. The incentive bonuses are great for the instructors that are able to really make a student into a competent driver. It's like getting a pat on the back for a job well done.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
There's a sense of pride when you can show off your knowledge and know you've trained someone to do a job well. That's why trainers should train.

I believe that's their thinking exactly. They don't want to just throw money out there because it won't bring in quality instructors. It will bring in the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Not only that, but they have to survive as a company in a hyper-competitive industry with razor thin profit margins. If it was Apple or Google and they had 300 billion dollars in the bank between them with some of the fattest profit margins of any company in the world they could afford to pay big money to recruit top-level trainers. But trucking companies aren't going to spend that kind of money to recruit the best of the best as instructors.

Christina H.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

There's a sense of pride when you can show off your knowledge and know you've trained someone to do a job well. That's why trainers should train.

double-quotes-end.png

I believe that's their thinking exactly. They don't want to just throw money out there because it won't bring in quality instructors. It will bring in the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Not only that, but they have to survive as a company in a hyper-competitive industry with razor thin profit margins. If it was Apple or Google and they had 300 billion dollars in the bank between them with some of the fattest profit margins of any company in the world they could afford to pay big money to recruit top-level trainers. But trucking companies aren't going to spend that kind of money to recruit the best of the best as instructors.

Actually I am of two minds about this, a trainer shouldn't be financially punished because a student can't learn, but nor should a student be punished because a trainer can't really train. There has to be a common ground where everyone's needs can be achieved, including the company's.

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