I am about 2 weeks away from getting my cdl and have been pre hired by Swift and Werner. My expectations are guarded after reading these forums, and from what I have read they all seem pretty similar and serve the same purpose of getting experience but would like to hear opinions on how they compare. A Werner recruiter came to my class and did a good job in selling the company as a good place to work, so I'm leaning toward Werner so far.
Swift or Werner?
It's my understanding that Swift will actually pay better after a year, based on their screwy pay raise schedule, unless all that got bollixed up with the piss-poor economy. Werner pays bottom penny. Seriously, lowest paying company out there. Plus, Werner's training is typically twice as long as advertised, due to the amazing lack of available trucks in the company. Just because there are a bunch of new trucks sitting at the yard does not mean they have a truck waiting for you when you finish training.
If you do opt for Werner (and why would you?), jump on a good dedicated account as soon as possible. And by a good account, I mean any account other than Dollar General or Family Dollar. Those accounts damage drivers, sometimes seriously.
If it were up to me (and I know it isn't), I wouldn't look at either company. Although for the sake of truthiness, my reasons for avoiding Swift are strictly personal rather than professional. There are alot of dry-van companies out there that accept students. Look at Transport America. Smaller than the other two, and one of my favorite previous employers. The only reason I'm not going back them is my desire to run flatbeds instead of vans.
If you do opt for Werner, let me know and I'll give you the heads up on what to expect in orientation, training, so on and so forth. If Swift, we have a couple of members who drive for them and are really happy, and would probably be willing to answer any questions you have. Good luck!
I started with Swift's flatbed division. While it wasn't a particularly great experience, it wasn't the nightmare that some make it out to be, either. They kept me rolling.
Really, the same factors are going to affect you at either company. Who you're working with (dispatchers, mechanics, etc.), your competence on the job, and what exactly you get into. You might get heckled a little more on the CB driving for Swift, but you'll never have any of it said to you face-to-face. Other than that... I mean, they're both entry level companies, and will have the upsides and downsides of such a company.
If possible, see if you can talk to the closest service center manager. I did a face-to-face sit down talk with the service center manager in North Jackson, OH as well as talking to a bunch of drivers before I sent in my application. I realize that it's not always possible to do that, but you sould try to set up a phone conversation.
TA did keep me running as hard as I prefer. I could leave the house on Sunday afternoon, and be out of hours by the following Thursday. So I must have been doing something right.
My DM (Sarah, ###### if I can remember her last name) was very approachable, and willing to work with me and to communicate. For example, if she had to send me into a low freight area, I always got the heads up so I could schedule "driver maintainence". We worked together, rather than having the attitude that I worked for her, and it showed in how we communicated and in my paycheck.
The shops I dealt with (Mechanicsburg, PA; North Jackson, OH; and Kansas City, MO) were very professional and willing to listen to the driver. However, the shops were also very busy, and getting your truck serviced did require a great deal of patience.
I think they have fuel routing, but never had to deal with it. Sarah could see after a few weeks that I had a good idea of what I was doing, and didn't bother with sending me a fuel route. I think new drivers do get fuel routes, though. Routing trucks is a bit different from planning a family road trip vacation, after all.
Transport America does still have a "Do no disturb" macro on the Qualcomm, which keeps the ###### thing from beeping when your trying to sleep, and keeps night and weekend dispatch from screwing up your schedule.
As with every outfit I've driven for, the night and weekend staff are a bunck of football helmet wearing window lickers who probably couldn't tie their own shoes without supervision. If you're out running over the weekends, make sure you and you're DM get everything set up and the load(s)assigned to your truck before he/she heads home at the end of the day Friday. Trust me, life will be alot easier.
Depending on where you live in relation to a service center, you may have the opportunity to head to the house on the weekends for your 34 hour reset. I personally reccomend staying out for two weeks, and getting a full weekend, instead. Better paychecks, and you get extra time at the house to destress and relax.
Any questions, just let me know. I'll keep an eye on this thread. I'm OUT!
The biggest which would have me urge you to reconsider USXpress is their use of automatic trucks. The reason for it is that, as an entry level company, they also have high turnover. You may have learned to shift in driving school, but I promise you, you're not yet proficient at it, even if you think you are. Well, let's say you should end up joining the masses who find themselves seeking greener pastures after a year or so with USXpress. Well, while the automatics are more in vogue now than they were before, you still have a whole lot of fleets out there using manual transmissions. Well, if you to take a road test for them, and you give them the impression that you're going to have a fair chance of destroying a transmission because you can't shift properly, they're likely to say no. Just something to keep in mind.