So I have completed all my training and will be leaving to pick up my truck on Wednesday. With that said I will tell you about my experience in a somewhat brief thread.
First off take the majority of what you were told by the recruiter and chalk it up to B.S. because they are paid to tell you things to get you in the program. They will tell you some true things as far as the way the program works and how long it will take but, they will flat out lie to you about some things such as home time and my favorite thing a "guaranteed" job. I was told that not only would I have some home time during my 5 week training if my mentor used home time and I would also go home when my training was complete, but I also would have a "guaranteed job when done. That is a line of bull. I had to stay in a hotel during my mentors home time unless I wanted to pay for my own way to go home and you are NOT "guaranteed" a job, it says it in your contract. I will say this about the job situation, if you pass the course you will most likely be hired.
It was my experience that all the teachers there want you to succeed and will do everything in their power to help you. Your first week will be class time to prepare you for the CDL test. Be ready to study a lot and take the same practice test over and over. You will have 3 or 4 chances to pass the test and if you do you will move on to the truck training phase. If you don't you will be sent home.
When you start training in the trucks you will learn three common backing techniques, basic driving skills and how to conduct a pretrip inspection. The three backing techniques are in line back (straight backing,) angled backing, and parallel parking. How long it takes to learn them depends on you and your skill level. The pretrip inspection seems intimidating but, in all honesty is really easy. You will have a few days of practicing before testing on what you learned. I will not go into testing requirements and stuff like that. If you pass your backing, pretrip, and drive test then you will be sent out with a mentor for 200 hours.
This is where the majority of your training happens. You will fine tune your driving techniques and learn what life on the road is like.The type of experience you have with your mentor depends on you and them. I had three mentors and I got along with them all. Yes there were some trying times and some great moments. You have to take the good with the bad. Remember you are crammed into a small space with a complete stranger and you will get on each others nerves. My best advice is to be adults and calmly discuss issues and try to find a mutual agreeance. You can switch mentors but you will need a good reason for the company to allow it. If you don't smoke they will do their best to put you with someone who also doesn't smoke.
All I can say is my experience is a good one and I would recommend this school. Be prepared for what you are getting into and take a lot more money then $200. I would say double that at least. You need to take this seriously and don't waste the instructors or other students time. You will need to study every day because they are cramming three plus months of information into your brain in less then three weeks. It is a lot to take in and can be overwhelming so it is best to find a way to take a break every once in awhile and get away from it to regroup yourself. I wish everyone who takes this journey luck.
My training experience (Salt lake city UT.)
I remember going to central refrigerated training school in fontana, ca. That was before swift merged with them. Exactly like you said, no guaranteed job. I sucked at backing and my trainer didn't try teaching me. So I was fired, or whatever you want to call it.
They looked like an alright company though. Hey good luck though.
I can tell you based on your brief report that you were at C.R. England (sic).
Good luck with that. I went there, was promised (verbals don't mean squat) to be home once a month. 5 months later I left and flew home ($1000 out of pocket) for the first time.
Make sure all your communications with them are NOT by phone (I used the Qualcomm stating I had poor reception). That way there is a verifiable document that they can't deny (and, if you talk on the phone about something, you have no proof).
C.R.England is the absolute worst company I have been with in the 30 years I've been on the road.
CRE when I finally demand that I had to go home after six months. The claimed I refused a load. Tossed me out of the truck in Laredo. 500 miles from home. My Dad drove all the way there to pick me up from a roach infested motel. Within 15 minutes they had another sucker beating on the truck screaming at me to get the truck to take a load. Still haven't paid the training contract and I will never pay it. Charge that one off cause they will never collect it. Hell I figure they owe me triple of what I owe them for that six months of living hell.
So I was supposed to leave today to pick up my truck. I called my DM yesterday and she said there would be a plan ready for me. I call this morning and nothing was ready and she could not understand why. I think she was passing the buck on my development coordinator instead of taking her part in the issue. She told me they will get something together for me and so I sit here waiting. They better hurry up because I will not wait long. There are plenty of other companies looking for drivers and I will not hesitate to make some phone calls.
I am sorry that it has been a couple months since my last post. So here is what has been going on. I have been all over the U.S. and have logged almost 25K miles. I have seen some beautiful scenery and met some interesting people. I have gotten pretty good at driving my rig and am getting much better at backing. There are times I will purposely choose a parking spot that will require me to be extra vigulent in an effort to fine tune my backing in close quarters skills. With that said lets get into the grit of my experience. So I have had two driver leaders now. When you go out on your own you will be put with whats known as a development driver leader. After you hit 90 days on the road you are switched to your permanent driver leader. I got along great with my first DL great, but she could be difficult to contact sometimes. My second DL was the exact opposite. Easy to get a hold of, but I did not get along with him at all. He was one of those who wants you to run your ### off and that's not what I am about. I will say this about my second DL he was on top of keeping me rolling and making sure I got what I was supposed to get for my pay rather or not I asked for it. I basically learned you have to find a common ground with them and accept each others faults.
So lets talk about loads for a minute. I found myself running loads that were short (400-800 miles) more often then not. I did run a few good loads that were at least 1000 miles. The problem I had with my DL is they would not get another load for me until I delivered the current one. This would cause me to have to wait for awhile before picking up another load. Which is fine if you just got done with a full day and needed to take your 10 hour break, but that was rarely the case. I generally would try to get to my receiver within the first few hours of my day so that I would not have to worry about running out of time to find somewhere to park for my break. Most customers didn't allow you to park at their facility.
An example for you would be this. I had a load that was due to be delivered around 8am. I got up around 5am and was starting my day by 6am. I drove to the receiver and got there around 7:15am. I was there for almost three hours while they unloaded my truck. That means I left around 10am. Now I am 4 hours into my day and waiting for my next load. I go to a truck stop to clean out my trailer and deal with paperwork. I get my next load notification around 12pm and it picked up around 100 miles away the next morning. So now I have only gotten around 50 miles for the day due to having to wait for my next load. This happens a lot. Another version would be a situation like this, but the next load would be scheduled for pickup that evening and they expect you to drive until your 14 hour clock runs out. I don't know about you but I am getting tired after being up for 10 hours so trying to stay up for 14 while driving is really pushing it.
When they plan trips they plan on you maxing your hours out so if you can drive like that all the time then more power to you. I really think the most of the planners have their head up their #####. I had to deny several loads that if they would have took the time to look at the requirements of my current load or my HOS they would know I can't do it so don't send it to me. There were several times I would be sent a load that I couldn't pick up because I didn't have enough hours of service (HOS) or it was due for pickup before my appointment for my unload. Just last week they sent me a load that would have had to been picked up at the end of my 14hr clock for that day. Which means that I would have had to stay on site for my 10 hour break. On top of that I had a family emergency and was going home after delivering my load that day. I would have been happy to pick up the load and tcall it, but I wasn't gonna wait 12 hours to get it. Anyway I was averaging around 1800 - 2000 miles a week which is garbage. My truck was in the shop five times in three months for things that could have been fixed the last time I was at a shop. I talked to several drivers while I was out and the mileage I was getting was average for a company driver. My favorite was someone that has worked for them for over a year and was averaging 1500 miles a week because he wouldn't go owner operator.
About the owner op program. My mentors were all owner op and told me with the acception of gas their expences for the truck were around $1100 a week. So I did the math and showed them the figures. The owner op program pays $1.08 per mile. The truck averages 6.0 mpg so if you do the math your making $0.63 cpm after fuel cost. If you have an overhead of $1100 a week you would have to drive 1750 miles before you make any money. So if your averaging 2700 miles a week you made $600 dollars after overhead, but not including your maintenance and repairs cost. So take 10% off that and you end up making $540 a week profit. This is fine if you have no bills and no family to help support. Especially if you factor your living costs into the equation. I averaged spending $150 a week in food, laundry, personal needs, and eating out. You will do a lot of eating out because you don't have time to cook very much. Even with getting less miles I was making more then
So I am actually leaving Swift now and going to James Clark so my time with swift is over. I would not go back due to all the problems I had with getting the pay I was promised and the way they plan there loads. There is no reason for you to have to sit for 12 hours before picking up your next load unless you were taking your 10 after putting in a full day.