I originally posted this as a reply in another thread, but I'm posting this here at the recommendation of @Chinatown . I'm also going to add a bit as well.
I just finished my 1st week of their Get Your CDL program at the Grand Prairie, TX terminal.
-It takes about a month or more to go from application to start date. (I've heard there's a waiting list to get in the program as well)
-Roehl does an extensive pre-hire background check
-It's a 4 week program (go to one of several different DL offices mid to late 4th week).
-Classes are 3 students per class, starting every other week (my class started on the 3rd, the next class will start on the 17th).
-The Grand Prairie terminal only trains for the dry van division, if you want flatbed (which also does curtainside and specialized) or reefer, that's a change that can be made some time after training.
-Roehl will set up and pay for your DOT physical, to include a urine and hair follicle test. Make sure you have the original bottles for any prescription meds you are taking and records and/or note from the doctor if you have taken any narcotics as doing so will speed up the process.
-Once you get your DOT physical complete, you can go to the DL office and get your permit (you'll pay for it out of pocket, which is about $25 for the application fee and required tests here in TX). You are required to have your permit in hand before they will set you up with a training date (they may give you a tentative date beforehand).
-Depending on your situation, they may or may not provide you with transportation to Grand Prairie. They prefer that you bring your own vehicle, as you will be using it or carpooling to get to and from the terminal every day. You'll arrive at the hotel the Sunday prior to the start of your training.
-While in Grand Prairie, they'll put you up in a hotel which will provide breakfast every day (holidays the hotel puts the breakfast out after you leave, so you'll have to do something else for breakfast or miss it entirely if you're in training on a holiday). They'll also provide lunch for you during the week (sandwich, hamburger, or salad of your choice from a local restaurant...it will also include chips or fries and a drink). Dinner during the week and all meals on the weekends except breakfast are on you.
-They pay you $500 per week starting on the first day with the 1st payment reaching your account on or about the 3rd Thursday of training depending on your financial institution.
-First day you'll take a qualification physical. They will get a resting heart rate and blood pressure, then take you to do several tasks (ducking under a trailer, climbing in a trailer, lifting a weighted crate to eye level, squats, a push test, and a pull test). After each test they will check your heart rate to ensure it hasn't exceeded your maximum safe heart rate. The rest of the first day is paperwork, orientation, and classwork.
-You'll start driving some on day 2, which will mostly be shifting practice in a nearby empty warehouse parking lot (the terminal is pretty small). By the end of week 1, I've driven the truck on the freeway, access roads, 2 lane roads, and performed straight line and offset backs. A thorough pre and post trip inspection will be done on the truck (I'm training in a 2014 Freightliner) every day.
-The trainers here will work with you and they use positive reinforcement techniques...no berating beyond some playful razzing.
-Once you have your CDL and the 4th Thursday of class has passed, you will go home for anywhere from a few days to a week to wait for instructions on when, where, and how you will meet up with your trainer.
-You will be with a trainer for about 19 days (depending on your performance and when the trainer can get you back to a terminal to test out) at $90 per full day.
-Once you have tested out and received your truck, you will be assigned to a training fleet manager and make $0.33 per mile. There is a raise at 3 months solo to $0.34 per mile (if I recall correctly), then a raise to $0.36 per mile at 6 months solo. You may receive quarterly raises, which depend on a number of factors.
-You can sign up for benefits after 30 days (basically once you've complete your CDL school), which will become active after 60 days. Some benefits do require longer to kick in.
-If you drive for Roehl for 120,000 miles, the training is no additional cost to you. Otherwise it's $5,000.
Some additional notes:
-Roehl has a strict no alcohol/no pornography policy. A previous student was terminated during their 1st week because they had alcohol in their hotel room.
-The hotel room they put you in has a minifridge, but no microwave. There is a microwave in the breakfast area. It's a 4 story business class hotel, so make your own call on what type of food to keep in your room.
-The training trucks are basically older fleet trucks (like mentioned previously, the one I'm in is a 2014. It has about 354,000 miles on it and is in pretty good condition) with the curtains and mattress removed and 2 seats w/ seatbelts mounted in its place. They have 10 speed manual transmissions.
Roehl Transport CDL School, Grand Prairie,TX
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@TexasPhoenix I'll PM you their first names, but like you said, they probably weren't here then.
As for the mileage pay, while it is a bit lower than one might expect, it's actually on par with other dry van training companies. Actually, when you work out what you get paid during training, plus mileage pay, and deduct what is owed to the company to "repay" the training, Roehl pays better than Swift (even though Swift gives $0.36 per mile once solo and Roehl $0.33). I worked it out for the 1st 6 months averaging 2500 miles weekly once solo (granted, a brand new solo driver may not be able to do 2500 miles), not taking into account benefits, taxes, or any bonus pay. Roehl wound up at about $1,000 higher pay for the 1st 6 months.
In addition to mileage pay, there's other things to look at as well. Pet/rider policies, hometime, miles run, do you get paid during training, do you take an advance during training, what do they provide you during training, is the cost of training deducted from your check, what's the company's reputation for its training, etc...
All things considered, Roehl was the best fit for me.
So far I'm loving it. I've had a few rough days, but things are smoothing out more and more day by day.
If I recall corectly, I think we spoke a bit on another forum. If you want to see what I do day by day for training, I have a CDL school diary going over there.Natew48 Thanks this.
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