I am giving some serious consideration to working for the Pumpkin Co. If you are a SNI driver please share your experience here. Ideally I would like to talk with someone that has been with them over 6 months. If you're in training that's fine too. I am close to their DFW location and should be training there. How are the terminals? What's handy to have in the truck once assigned your own? What's been your longest wait so far OTR? Is the training worth the 18 month contract(most important question). I'm really close to a decision between SNI and Stevens, but with no experience I need to make a good one for myself and the family. I have to start somewhere so input would be great. Thanks.
Pumpkin Drivers Please Repond
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I too am considering Schneider training, and have already eliminated Stevens......There is a lot of negative things said about Stevens on this site.........I just read last night a post by someone who attended both Schneider and Stevens truck driving schools, and had nothing but negative things to say about Stevens training, and nothing but praise for Schneider training......In so many words, there was no comparison......I would try to find that post for you, but I don't have time right now, but you may be able to find it by doing a search.
I went thru Schneider training (boot camp) and unfortunely and due to personal problems I was unable to stay with them after I completed the 2 week course;......they are a very strict outfit and 0 tolarence when it comes to safety, luckly for me things work them selfs out with my diovorce, got my own CDL at a private school and unofficially became an instructors aid, the school was a joke, and during my trainig with KLLM, I ended up given that instructor a few pointers from what i had learned at SNI. I'm making much better money at KLLM than if I had stayed with SNI, everything happens for a reason but the training at the pumpkin is 2nd to none.
Why dont you check out PAM Transportation? They recruit and train people out of TX and I believe they have a school there as well.
Ive heard they are similar to Schneider but are a smaller company...and their contract is only 12 months. I do agree, 18 months seems very long.
Just go to google and search: "PAM Transport training."
My brother's friend went through their training program in STL...and liked it. He drives local now though.
Anyway, I heard Stevens was ok...and I think they let you take your Dog if you have one. Other than that I don't know much about them. As we all know, Schneider can be hit or miss.
You've already guessed I was making reference to myself, so that'll save a bunch of explaining.
I attended a Big Truck Driving school independent of Schneider when I first started out. And at first I didn't have a particular company I wanted to drive for, but I researched the potential employers and chose Schneider based on what I'd learned.
I was informed by the school staff that Schneider would be very hard to get on with, and that their interviews were killer. They weren't wrong.
But Schneider seemed to know the better candidates within a few questions and answers.
I was hired by the first and only company I applied to, when there was a "No Applications Being Taken" sign clearly displayed.
From there, I went team for about 8 months, then on a dedicated military account pulling doubles --- 6,700 miles in seven days --- two days off and do it again. Same thing. A real money run.
From there to a driver trainer and then a dedicated local account.
I found Schneider very willing to work WITH me as a driver and driver trainer, even arranging for me to take advantage of skid pad and defensive driving courses offered at Fox Valley Tech in Wisconsin.
The two trainers I went with upon hiring on with Schneider were excellent instructors and through. I felt confident upon their release for me to go team, and I still have those instructions ingrained in my driving to this day. Those instructions along with a pristine driving record have helped me become a driver in demand when and if I go looking for a Big truck driving job.
You're doing the right thing by asking questions, and I'm sure you'll hear pro and con about most any company out there. It's which company best meets YOUR needs that is the better choice, not what others may think is best.
Well, I am a new SNI driver and just completed my training. I take my final skills test on Tuesday.
I went to SNI from another company but had (basically) no real experiance. I already had my CDL but that really doesnt matter to SNI. If you do not have at least one year of experiance, plan on staying for the full 14 day course.
From what I read, you do not yet have your CDL. In a way, thats a good thing. You will learn much much more from them than a CDL mill. Dont get me wrong, I am not "bleeding orange" as the saying goes but when you graduate, you will have the tools to be a safe and productive driver no matter where you end up.
Yes, 18 months seems long but is it really? Maybe I shouldnt comment on this since I did not have to sign a contract due to already having my CDL. Let me say this,..... had I not already had my CDL I would have signed the contract. After 18 months, you are a seasoned driver that can go to just about any company. You are backed by a certificate that says you have the tools to be safe and productive. How you used those tools over the 18 month period will obviously make the differance on getting hired on to a better company. And as far as the "repay",.... they take $12.50 per week out of your check. But after the 18 months, they give you a retention bonus of $1,000.00 (if I recall corectly)
The first two weeks are a real pain. You start at 0700 and get done around 1800. But then most night you can plan on 2 to 3 hours of homework. Week one in a ton of book work. Week two is mostly range and road. Then you graduate.
On week three, some stay for CDL week and some go out with Training Engineers (TE's) and then back to get their CDL. You will spend on average of two weeks with your TE. Then you come back and take your Skills Qualifications Test (SQT). If you pass, they turn you loose. So basically, you are looking at 4 to 6 weeks to complete the whole process.
You will hear SNI training is a "boot camp" of sorts. To a point this is true. But once you complete "boot camp" you will have a great sense of accomplishment and excited to get out on the road. Yes, training is hard but fun too.
Whatever decision you make, good luck.
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