Only the facts, no opinions here. I started out in September 2010 trying to figure out what was the best company for me to work for and found very little straight forward information. I was however able to find out some elses personal experience, but it was opinionated. So I have decided to track my days with Prime Inc Transport and post them.
Day 0 (Travel Day), 10-18-2010.
I was given the option to travel to Springfield, Mo either by bus or on my own. If I chose the bus from Nevada to Missouri it would be a 2 ½ days on a bus and cost me nothing. If I chose to travel myself, I would be reimbursed for the Rand Mcnally Mileage scale. I chose to take an airplane. The cost of the airplane vs the mileage scale I only paid half the cost of the ticket. The airplane took 6 hours vs 2 ½ days.
I arrived at the Springfield national airport and was picked up by the Prime shuttle and taken to the Prime owned hotel. I was checked in and offered a box lunch for dinner. The room was nice (old building, but nice). The standard is two Prime students to a room for free or you can upgrade to a single bed room for a small cost.
Prime Inc. Orientation Oct, 2010
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I was given an automatic wake up call for 5:45am. The Café is open at 6am thru 2pm at the hotel and meals are free up to a certain dollar amount per meal, if you go over you must pay the difference. I had breakfast and proceeded to my first class and arrived at 6:50am. Let me say this DO NOT BE LATE, THEY WILL SEND YOU PACKING!! Class starts at 7:00am sharp. The class size was 42 new hires. The first class was a welcome to Prime, fill out the new hire paperwork, school contracts and medical physical paperwork. Each line of what needs to be filled out was explained in great detail. The Prime Security Department arrived to explain what security procedures they have in effect as well as to conduct our finger printing. Next the Prime Nurse arrived to instruct us in filling out the medical paperwork and explain the process of our drug test and physical. As you complete your paperwork you go to the Doctors office located at the hotel and begin with your drug test. You then start the physical process of hearing, seeing, BP, lifting and weigh in. Next you go see the Doctor as he conducts a detailed physical that includes asking you questions from your packet, listening to your lungs, bend, walk like a duck and drop your pants to check for hernia. You are then moved onto the security Department to be screened and verify your paperwork, references , employment history and emergency contacts. (The process of today was done similar to military processing, hurry up and wait.)
The class is split up into two groups for scheduling, group 1 is the group with CDL permits in hand from your home state and group 2 is NON CDL holders that need to get their permit from Prime. (I was a CDL holder from my home state, so I was with that group for the following). It was 1:00pm time to eat lunch at the hotel café. (Lunch was free, we were given meal punch cards good for the four day orientation).
The CDL permit group went to the Driver simulator room to begin our required 7 simulations that are required prior to being assigned to an instructor. I was able to complete 4 of 7 today. The entire class was required to attend a 4:00pm class in the original classroom, this class was informational of what to expect for the rest of the week and the possibility of not all students being sent out with their instructor on Friday, we were told it could be a few extra days before departing.
Onto dinner at the Prime Headquarters building (using the free meal card), this building was extremely nice. The building has so many amenities such as a café, company store, child care, doctors offices, post office, gym, weight room, pool tables, Movie Theater, drivers lounge, smokers lounge, showers, bunk rooms, laundry room, chapel, spa and Im sure Im forgetting some others.
Wake up call, breakfast, class started for the CDL Permit holders at 8:00am. The 8am class was for driving and backing. The permit holders were able to complete the 7 required simulator drives. The simulators take a while to complete with the amount of students as you complete 1 drive then wait until everyone else goes then complete the next one, ect. I took all day. Dinner at the headquarters (terminal building).
Wake up call, breakfast, class at 7am for hazmat overview, 8am sexual harassment, 9am security class, 10am health insurance and life insurance class. 11am to 4pm was free time, I spend at the terminal building. The 4pm class was to get company ID cards, get your physical paperwork returned and the outline paperwork of the training with an instructor. 6pm dinner then free time. Also at this point not everyone has passed the DMV test and not everyone was able to get their ID card and physical paperwork returned. Students are not allowed to obtain an ID card until all paperwork and physical paperwork has been approved and you have in hand a CDL permit and your medical card. The students that do not have permit, ID and medical card cannot proceed to day 4. The instructors said they hope to get it to them throughout the day and then they can proceed to the actual driving pad. If those students still do not have those items by end of business they will be held over until Monday or later. The students who cannot pass the CDL test by Friday will also be sent home.
Wake up call, breakfast, class starts at 7am for wellness class. At 9am we go over to the terminal building to begin the actual driving on the pad and shifting exercises.
(NOTE). Overheard the instructors talking about Prime re doing parts of the orientation process, not sure what changes they are thinking of. Instructors also talked about adding a fourth simulator once the re vamp takes place.
NEXT UP, the three to four week training period with an instructor. NOTE: the difference between Instructor and Trainer is an Instructor does the CDL 3-4 week training and the Trainer is the person who you are with for the balance of the sixty thousand miles after you complete your CDL training.
Assignment of instructors took place at 3:30pm. Prime had eight priority students that have been waiting from anywhere from a week to three weeks for an assignment. There were a total of around ten instructors and only six of the priority students went out along with four students that handpicked their instructors or knew them or something funny like that. The rest of the class that made it this far, about twenty to thirty students didnt go anywhere today. We were also reminded that our meal cards were no good and we were on our own. The class was told to return to the training pad Saturday morning at 8am to continue working on backing and pre trip inspections.
(I must say that today was a huge let down, after coming to Prime with a CDL permit, completing every step of the process without any problems or being talked to by anyone, I still was unable to be paired with an instructor. Now Im forced to sit and wait or return home. The sitting makes it harder because you get to think about your family more than normal.)
No wake up call today, went to breakfast and looked for an available instructor myself!! I talked to the drivers I came across and asked if they were instructors. I met with the rest of the class at 8am at the training pad to continue to learn about backing and pre trip.
Well the guys I was hanging out with and I decided to remain on the training pad during lunch and to eat later. What a PAY OFF THIS WAS. The rest of the class left for lunch and two trainers became available on the pad and looking for new students. Three of us for two instructors. The instructors began to interview us by having us drive the course. (Straight line backing). We all did good and myself and another was selected by the instructors.
My instructor told me to go to the hotel, get my stuff and be back ASAP. I went back to the hotel got all my belongings and met him at the truck. The Instructor was a nice guy, he showed me where I could place all my items and said we were sleeping in the truck tonight. The Instructor and I went to dinner, returned and went to sleep, stated we had a load already to OK and we were leaving around 6am.TweedCoat Thanks this.
I would recommend Prime to anyone who is willing to learn, be successful and not a complainer. Just like any company out there, NO COMPANY IS FERFECT but Prime sure does try to take care of their drivers. I have heard from many non-driver employees say the drivers are the money makers of the company.
The owner has not forgotten where he started back in the day, AS A DRIVER. He built the new terminal building for his drivers. He plays basketball every day during lunch with anyone who wants to play.
My recruiter never told me anything that wasnt true. What I did was maintained email communications with her and had everything in writing. Every question I had was in email, some answers I didnt like but it was the truth still to this day. (I spoke with other companies who refused to communicate with me via email, I RAN FAST FROM THEM).
The key I remember is Prime is a business, they are not here to make you perfectly happy but they sure do what they can.
Last bit of advice, no matter how bad you cant stand it, DO NOT LEASE A TRUCK, unless you have more than a year and a half to two years of experience. You just dont know the business until you have experience.
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