My Experience with Central Refrigerated

Discussion in 'Central Refrigerated' started by britishblondie, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. britishblondie

    britishblondie Bobtail Member

    Feb 7, 2012
    Tacoma, Washington
    As some of you know, I joined this forum last year. At the time, I was looking for a good starter company; a company who could give me my CDL and some over the road experience. I decided to join Central, and I figured I'd make a post about how all of that went. I realize I might miss out a few things, and you'll have to forgive me, I spent a year and a half with them--so I might not remember to post every detail, but here is an outline. If you are looking into Central and have any questions, please feel free to ask :)

    The first thing I remember about Central, is how quick and on the ball they are with calling you back and getting you started. Before I knew it, I had a bus ticket to Salt Lake City, Utah. The classes are quite fast paced, but I used to study as much as possible and did just fine. I did have trouble with the mechanical components (pre-trip) and understanding how air brakes worked. However, I was the only female in my class, and everyone was extremely sweet and spent time with me to tell me about how it all works. I passed my written with flying colors, and obviously also thanked the guys for explaining it all to me in a way that wasn't so overwhelming. (I realize that not all girls have a problem with these specific things, but I'm just telling you about my personal experience here. I'm not intending to offend anyone).

    The practical was very dodgy for me at first, even my straight backing was shaped like this: "S" lol :D But again, all of the instructors, and my classmates took their time to explain about how the trailer reacts to your turning of the wheel, and before I knew it, I was pretty good. Driving came more naturally to me than backing, but I do remember that downshifting was extremely awkward for me at first :') *blushes*. By the time we were ready to do our CDL driving test though, I had managed to figure out a way to downshift without much of a problem at all.

    The thing you have to remember is, your quirks and faults will be mostly worked out by the time you finish your hours of driving/backing with your trainer. Don't feel discouraged because you can maneuver the truck down the road, but you are as smooth as a serrated edged knife, ok? :) I wasn't completely confident in my driving abilities until a few months out on the road on my own, we're driving giant metal monsters here, so its understandable ;).

    Because I was the only female in my class, I had the opportunity to choose whether I wanted a male trainer, or a female trainer. Male students get whoever they get, but because of some traumatic events that have occurred in my past--I chose a female trainer. Not only did Central pair me up with someone who was an amazing driver, but I made a friend, and even talk to her on Facebook all the time :) The trainers are professional, patient, and want you to succeed--and if you feel that they aren't doing their job correctly, Central offer you a way out; you can switch trainers, etc. Its really not a big deal, and even though the time out on the trainers truck may seem like forever, its all worth it in the end when you finally climb into your own truck :)

    I got to upgrade after four weeks out on the road with Elizabeth (my trainer), the upgrade takes pretty much all day, but again, its all worth it when they show you YOUR truck :) I drove as a solo company driver after I upgraded for about six months. I met a friend within that timeframe, who was an owner operator and I teamed up with him as a co-driver for about eight months. I wanted to try being an owner operator myself, being in control, having my very own truck, so I became an owner operator and hopped onto my very own 2013 freightliner Cascadia. I'll never forget that day, it only had 19.4 miles on it! :) I would have kept driving for Central, I didn't have any plans of leaving them--but about four months into my contract, my mothers back went out and she couldn't feel her legs. I called Central and told them about her back (she's going paralyzed) and the thing that made me feel so good about them, is that they were extremely understanding about it. They told me to drop my truck off at the yard, and they would take care of the rest. Granted, it was because it was a family medical emergency, they obviously had to ding me for leaving the truck but they found someone to take over the lease and so it wasn't too bad. They made it clear that they were upset that I had to leave, that I was a good driver but they couldn't take me back because I had leased the truck and had to return it--but I can understand all of that.

    So, I guess the burning question is would I recommend Central Refrigerated to anyone else considering them? My answer is: hell yes :) They gave me my CDL, over the road experience, and pretty good miles the entire time I was working for them. As far as my point of view, they are an amazing company to start out with in order to get on your feet and feel comfortable with being a truck driver. I wouldn't be the driver I am today without them :)

    So anyway, I guess I'll stop here, but like I said before--if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. x
    Skydivedavec, 123456, softail and 12 others Thank this.
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  3. capper17

    capper17 Light Load Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Stuart, IA
    Very well written and a nice read. It is always refreshing to read stories from people who have managed to overcome all the adversity and negativity that is so prevalent in this industry and have managed to keep themselves sane and happy.

    Good luck in all of your new adventures as well!

    123456, softail and passion4polishing Thank this.
  4. Cammi

    Cammi Bobtail Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    Erie, PA
    Nice to see that females are making it in this industry. Also that this company was good to you as a trucker. Refreshing to see some real input into this industry. You hear so much bad, so nice to hear some good.

    You still driving britishblondie?
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  5. BrenYoda883

    BrenYoda883 Road Train Member

    Sep 18, 2013
    Glad it went well for you... Sorry to hear about your mom.. how is she doing?

    I know how it can be taking care of parents when they fall ill.. what are your plans now.. are you hoping to drive locally... Or returning to OTR in the future.. depending on moms health and well being.
  6. passion4polishing

    passion4polishing Road Train Member

    Mar 7, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    I've been with central for a year and a half and have to say most of this lines up with my experiences. I'm extremely happy I chose central, especially when I peruse these forums and see the problems some others have at the companies they chose. It's too bad you had to leave, but sometimes life dictates that you'll be going down a different path than you planned. Good luck to you and your mother.
  7. kbar909

    kbar909 Light Load Member

    I applied at Central. I will be going to school in Fontana real soon. As i have been doing my research I have read good things and bad things. Its so easy to for people to leave a bad post about a company and I quickly just choose not to let them taint my choice of company I choose. When someone post something that is positive it holds more truth....because that person did not have to take the time to share the positive info. I know every company is not perfect and trucking is what you make it. Thank you for taking the time to share your positive thoughts!
  8. racerdad

    racerdad Light Load Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    Burlington, WA
    Thanks very much for the story blondie. I leave Oct 21 for Central's Federal Way facility then continue Oct 28 in Utah. I had some concerns that you covered, and it is much appreciated.
    tangerineGT Thanks this.
  9. softail

    softail Medium Load Member

    Nov 3, 2012
    The Great Pacific NW
    I start school next week. My wife starts next month. It makes my wife feel more at ease hearing all of the female drivers positive experiences. Kbar is correct it hold more truths than the negativity does. Central saw you as a hard working, dedicated driver, professional driver. Congrats to you. Hope you mother gets well soon.
    L84AD8 Thanks this.
  10. britishblondie

    britishblondie Bobtail Member

    Feb 7, 2012
    Tacoma, Washington
    Thank you for all your support, guys :) My mother is doing alright, she's still in a lot of pain but my aunt has arranged to take care of her, and my aunt is a physical therapist so I know she's in good hands. My mother is also planning on moving back to England, because she has better coverage over there (when she's over here, she has to work and she cant claim disability. Over there, she is covered 100% and she doesn't have to work at all).

    For those of you who are wondering what i'm up to next *smiles* :) Well, I have an orientation to go to on Monday and Tuesday, for a company called Interstate. They cover the western 11 states, and pay 34cpm but because I worked for Central for a year and a half working with reefers, they are going to pay me 37cpm for that experience with reefers.

    This will be a good way to get back into driving, and I really do miss it. Every time I see a semi truck drive past when I'm in a little four wheeler, I feel a bit sad inside because its not me driving my giant metal monster lol :) But hopefully, soon enough, i'll be back on the road and earning some much needed dosh (that's money to you, folks, lol) :')
    Lady K, L84AD8 and racerdad Thank this.
  11. 4noReason

    4noReason Road Train Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    i work for central too. and i like them a lot. each person has their own experience. i look at it this way. before you do anything. really think what you are getting yourself into. thats why most people complain. overall central has been great!
    L84AD8 Thanks this.
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