let me start off by saying hi to everyone. having said that. I have been doing research on trucking companys for awhile now and i think PAM is the best company for me to start my career in truck driving. I have wanted to be a truck driver for as long as i can remember.(being young riding in the back seat of my parents car seeing those huge trucks going down the road, hearing the jake brake roar going passed, it was amazing). ok so moving from childhood fantasy and to adult career. I am going to be working for PAM since i dont have the disposable income to pay for school and they offer the training through driver soloutions. From the research i have done i have seen MANY pros and cons about the company. To me its sounding like EVERY company has its issues. but mostly its seeming like its simply the driver. Some love it some hate it. But like i said it seems like you get that with every company so because of that fact im not baseing my choice on reviews. Im baseing it on the fact that PAM seems to be the best choice for what i need out of my first trucking company.
Having said that, I do not intend on staying with PAM after my contract year ends. I simply refuse to stay with a company that does not appreciate its faithful dependable drivers. Im simply using this as a means to get my foot in the door of the trucking industry.
Now that i have explained my situation, Let me tell you about my plans as far as why i am here. like i said before. i have read MANY forums and various sites concerning trucking and the first year. but have yet to get a detailed explanation on the process from start to finish. now yes if you spend enough time looking you can find the whole thing but its a little on this site a little on that site kinda thing and that really wasnt what i was looking for. So since i have already committed myself to this profession im going to help future truckers in my same situation. im going to do this by posting every little thing i can about my experience. from the very beginning to the very end of my contract year. the good the bad and the ugly, because that is what i was looking for and could never find. So together we are going to take a journey through the process of becoming a truck driver. i hope this helps people like me in the future. This will be without BS or bias i have never trucked before and noone is paying me to say the things that i will be saying throughout my journey this is just a honest opinion of my experience. I will post everything as it happens.I will be attending C1 truck driving school in indianapolis indiana.so without further adue lets get to it.
8/6/12: Called the driver solutions recruiter/ completed the application online.
8/7/12: Called my recruiter as scheduled. Started and completed the EGEARS program (which i love having access to. great preschool training and if your worried about not passing some tests like me you can take practice tests as many times as you want till you feel comfortable)
8/8/12: Called recruiter as scheduled Set my start date for school for 8/20/12
8/9/12: Yet another call to the recruiter as scheduled. Verified a few things and was told that by monday i should know if everything is a go.
More to come as it happens. I truly hope that when this is finished this will help drivers looking at PAM as a option for getting their foot in the door as well.
The best to all J.Irish
If you are reading this post then your in the same boat that i am and i suggest you also read cudafish71's post called "To all you new PAM Drivers"
A journey through becoming a PAM driver from recruitment to end of contract year.
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I too have been in contact with my Driver's Agent at Driver Solutions to start at C1 in Fort Wayne on Sept. 10. I have been reading as much as possible about the company, and others, as well as other training options. It is a big decision. ~Fergie
First thing first.... you aren't going to learn squat at C1. They are over booked and under staffed. I had the advantage of having a little knowledge from previous jobs. Use your time there to read over info as much as you can, ask questions about things not understood, etc. You will start your orientation with PAM knowing as much as you want to learn, not what C1 will teach you. Get behind the wheel of a yard truck as often as you can. You will be fighting over it with everyone else, so if one is sitting, jump in it.
Hop on here and ask questions, be open to learning
Thanks Noggin. I figured as much. I too have some experience going in and have been spending hours preparing for the tests. Their job is to get you your CDL, not teach you how to use it. I've also been calling on friends who drive to show me stuff when they are in the area so its more 3-dimensional in my mind. I take this VERY seriously and my previous dealings with long trailers and heavy loads (livestock) has taught me just how quickly things can become an "oh #### moment". On a side note, I was asked if I'd be interested in going solo with USA instead so now I am courting both offers. If I go with USA my school will be in Indy instead of Fort Wayne (an hour closer to home) and my terminal will be local (Vandalia). We'll see what tomorrow brings, I have an appointment to call my Driver Agent in the morning to see how my background and MVR checks came back.
I can tell you from start to where I am at right now. I recently completed C1 in Fort Wayne. Then to orientation in Tontitown Arkansas, out with the trainer for 2 weeks. Then went for upgrade in Irving and finally out with my teammate.
First of all let's start with C1 Fort Wayne. It is a CDL mill. They are there to get you your CDL and that is it. If you have common sense and can follow direction you will do just fine. The first week is all classroom. Make sure you have your Social Security Card, A certified copy of your birth certificate (Certified means with the seal on it), and 2 proofs of residency. Monday morning you will fill out a bunch of paper work and have a drug screen and physical. They do BMI there and if your neck is greater than 17 inches without perfect blood pressure you will be sent home. My class started with 34 people in it, after physicals we were down to 14. The rest of monday and Tuesday is spent preparing you for your tests. If you are not an Indiana resident you will have to take an additional test (Indiana operators test). Egears is a very good tool and will help prepare you for the tests. With that being said I would also use this site for preparing for the tests as well. The wording is different and it seemed to throw some people off that just studied Egears. The rest of the first week is spent on log books mapping things like that. IF you fail a test or tests you will be able to take them again on Thursday and Friday.
Weeks 2 & 3. You will now be going to the range every morning until you finish. The first week on the range will be spent on Andre's course learning the straight back, The offset, and Parallel parking. You have to do these in order to get your CDL in Indiana. Half the time will be on the range the other half will be on the road. You will not get much time behind the wheel. Pay attention to what Andre is telling you. You have to pass the C1 range 2 times in order to go across the fence to the state and test. You will have to pass a road test also and a pretrip. I can'thelp you with the Range or the road test but I can give you a piece of advice on the pretrip.
As soon as you pass your tests and get your permit start studying your pretrip. It is a lot to cover and remember. I wrote it out on my computer until I had it down. Also when I had time at the range after I passed it, I went to a truck that wasn't being used and looked at everything until I knew where all the parts were at. DO NOT let the reason that you are there for 5 weeks be because you can't pass your pretrip.
After you pass you will go and call driver solutions and they will give you a date of when you will go to orientation. This is important. DO NOT LISTEN to what the person from Drivers solutions tells you about switching your License back to your home state before you go to orientation. PAM does not care to see your Indiana CDL. Switch it back to your home state when you get home and also get your background check down for your hazmat. You may even be able to have your Hazmat endorsement before you go to orientation. Make sure you bring your receipt with you. Pam will give you the money back for the background check and fingerprints.
Orientation. You will be taking a bus to Arkansas. Sorry no way around it. The bus ride is hell. Just like C1 you will have a roommate. So try and hook up with someone from school and room with them. Monday and Tuesday you will be in the conference room at the hotel paperwork and tests. Lots of people coming in to talk to you about a ton of stuff from different departments. There is a guy Mr. Harrison he used to be a DOT officer he knows the book inside and out and he will give you a lot of good information. Wednesday you will go to the range and do a road test and start range work. Don't worry about the road test. Just watch your mirrors when you are turning and use common sense. Thursday and Friday half of the class goes to the range 1 day and the other does more class room stuff. You will be tested on the range. You will be backing into a dock, doing a 45 back, a straight back, and also a serpentine course. (Serpentine is Forward not Backing). After that you will go with your trainer.
Trainer. You are assigned a trainer you will either be bussed to 1 of the many locations or they will pick you up in Tontitown. You are with the trainer for 2 weeks. Ask as many questions as you can. Learn as much as possible. I hope to god you get a good trainer. I came to Orientation with 5 of my friends from C1 and I got lucky. I do not want to slam all PAM trainers but my 5 friends had trainers that threw stuff at them for letting the clutch out to fast, were told they had to sleep in the top bunk while the truck was moving and were refused bathroom stops. One of there trainers told them on the first day if you let me drive your time I will pass you for sure. I don't know how true this is but I just want to give you a heads up. On the other side of the token I had a great trainer and I met 6 other guys who were also trainers that seemed like good people. After you finish with the trainer you go for upgrade. Backing test, road test and book tests. Don't worry they are easy. The backing tests they are looking at your set up. That is the most important thing. Then you are assigned your Partner and off you go to make the big bucks.
Odds&Ends. When you get to the range in Tontitown forget everything you learned about backing at C1. I mean EVERYTHING. None of it will apply except for putting the tractor in reverse. You will most likely not be able to pick your partner. No matter what they say in orientation there is a lady who picks the teams and you have no say in the matter.
That is about all I can say for now. I have been with my partner for 3 months and overall I am happy. PAM has lived up to there end of the bargain so far. This job or career is what you make of it. I am not sure if I will be here after my year or not but I realize I have to give them a year. IF you have any other questions feel free to ask. It maybe a few days till I can get back here. We don't sit much and I only have my laptop for internet access.Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
man am i glad you're doing this. they were shooting for me to leave on the 27th of this month for fort wayne, in. i placed it on hold.
i haven't heard anything too bad about pam transport.
my goals are to get the license, get the experience, and get my happy ### in on the shale boom that's projected in my area $$$
i don't like the idea of being this company's slave for a year but the experience is necessary anyway.
i do have one question. after the 4 weeks or so spent at the cdl school; do you get to go home for a little break or do they bus you straight down to tontitown for orientation and throw you into a trainer truck... thus keeping you way from home for like 12 weeks until things get settled? this would suck.
thank you for doing this.
ok so update. PAM out of nowhere denied me due to kentucky only keeping 5yrs of driving history and for a ticket riving too slow for conditions= 3 points. so i was going to cancel this post and give up. but being that just wont fly with me, im going to be going to central refrigerated out of salt lake city utah. I know it isnt PAM but im still going to keep updating on this forum so the people already following this will still get to see the whole process even if it isnt with PAM.
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