Warning: This is my opinion/impression
Pre-CR England to the First Day 7/4 and 7/5
I applied at CR England's Truck School and got a call about 2 months later by Kristin Goff. She told me about the length of the school and answered my basic questions and I told her that I would have to wait until June to go to the school because that's when the semester of college ends.
I called her back in June towards the end of the month and she told me about CR Englands new special, 1395 Financed Tuition and 995 if you pay cash up front. I said, "Sounds good to me, I'll be there" and on the 4th of July I drove down to Colton, CA and checked into the Red Tile Inn Hotel here in California.
I woke up for breakfast after they gave me a sheet detailing what I cannot do and what times everything occurred at. They also offer a wake-up call to make sure that you get up on time.
The "Breakfast" at the Hotel consists of Danish Pastries of various flavors, Blueberry and Banana Nut Muffins, coffee, Tea Packets and Orange Juice.
- The Red Tile Inn Hotel did not have extra towels when requested.
- They have a mini fridge in my room (#231)
- You might want to leave your AC on during the summer because it seems to be both hot and humid.
- The Gideon's don't leave Bible's here (This could be an indication of the quality)
- They serve breakfast at about 3:45 (you will be picked up at 4:30 and you will be waiting outside of the school until 6:30)
- Don't buy too much food, you will be leaving on Friday to the Holiday Inn Express if your class doesn't have problems with the Red Tile Inn Hotel
- I would recommend bringing your car or else you can't really get food comfortably to your room
- They have Wifi but don't leave your electronics in your room
- Don't do drugs within 6 months of going to the school (Hair follicle test)
- Don't drink, take prescription drugs that you don't have medication for or do drugs within a week because of the urinary test.
- The smokers' rooms smell horrible from what all of the smokers say.
We then went to the school and pretty much were "Hurried up to Wait". The Vans seemed to be in poor condition, the Burgundy one was side swiped and the back left light did not function and the white one's air conditioning was broken. It doesn't matter when you get onto the Van because you are guaranteed to be waiting, even when you are the last to arrive on time. At 6:10, a lady that has a truck with food on it (A really nice truck and some ok tasting food) arrives and starts selling breakfast burritos, church's chicken, tacos, sandwiched, fruit cups, natural fruit juices, etc. Once 6:20 hits, the people that operate the school arrived and opened the door for people to use the restroom and then class started.
I got the impression that it was a disorganized mess because it seemed as though one person would do something and at the same time, another person would hand out forms and it was distracting and you couldn't really listen well. This continued the whole day, even when you are taking this test on the "Federal Motor Carried Safety Regulations" and the people are going around calling people's names, handing out forms, people are talking around you and different people show up saying different things about the school, program, process, schedule, drug screening, eye sight test, physical fitness test (for lack of a better word), etc (which really pissed me off because the book is written in a legalese that could be a bit difficult to understand when someone is screaming names out). Pretty much the whole day consists of doing various things like this and it taking forever and a day. You get three breaks and each time the same lady comes to give you food. The average cost of one of the entrees is about 4-5 dollars, a 2.5 liter Deja Vu water bottle for 2.50, 500 ml bottles for a dollar and stuff like that. During the summer, I'd recommend you get the 2.5 liter bottle if you don't already bring it from your house or have one that's as cold as you would like.
The guy Jeff comes off as a bit of a douche at first, but he runs a lot of the programs for the school and some people are a bit remedial and ask questions that he has already repeated the answer too like 5 times. Don't piss this guy off or talk when you are in the room because this guy is the Flex program director and you probably won't be chosen. The second guy Rich is the guy you will be seeing a lot, he can also recommend you to the program and Jeff will accept the student as #1. He made a comment that if someone would have bought him a burger from the lady that they would automatically be recommended which I would say is a smart financial decision seeing as it gets you $600 and one on one training with a trainer, some contacts with Dm's, etc all for the price of a 4 dollar burger.
After class, it was very hot and humid and they didn't have drivers so they picked people from the school that went to the hotel and I guess the incentive is getting Jack in the Box and at the end of the week a nice steak dinner. 1 of the vans broke down and the other one got lost and came back about 40 minutes later. Seeing as there are about 70-80 students with only 12 fitting in 1 van, you can see the problem.
- There is a walmart to get groceries near the hotel
- There are a few fast food restaurants like taco bell, del taco, a Chinese-japanese (what it describes itself) place, jack in the box, carl's Jr.
- In the walart, the prices were a bit more expensive than I remember. $2.99 for a bag of BBQ Lay's at this walmart, when at the Walmart in my city it is $2.49. 2 Liter of soda = 1.99, in my city 1.25 or 1.00 depending if it's coke or pepsi, so prepare accordingly. I got by with just bread, mustard, turkey slices, cheese, 2 24-packs of water and a bag of chips for my dinner. There aren't really any food places nearby except a Stater Bros.
- Near the school there is only one grocery store. Rio Rancho I believe and it is priced the same as the walmart pretty much.
Hope this helps someone prepare
(to be continued and elaborated on later)
The CR England Truck Driving School
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This is a follow up to my "adventure" with C. R. England.
Went through the truck driving school in Fontana and overall I'd say that the truck driving school was fairly good. Some small little quirks about it are that there is a lot of B.S going on from a lot of the administators there that I noticed which I will comment on if you really want to know.
I would say that one of the best teacher's there based on everyone in my class's experience after getting back after 1st Phase would be Sgt. Bates. I don't know if he was actually in the military or not but that is what everyone calls him and he's a very patient and somewhat OCD teacher in that he explains everything in a lot of detail and does so over and over again, but this is positive not a negative because you really understand the fundamentals before you even set foot in the truck. Incidentally, when I had him, we were the first people to actually drive in the truck and we all did very well. A lot of us did so well that we had to go with other guys and worse students from the other teachers went with Sgt. Bates.
So after words, I have an older Mexican gentlemen who was much less impatient. I didn't personally have a problem with the teacher but certain things that he did with two other students really rubbed me the wrong way. One student in particular was from South Korea and did not have a firm grasp of expressing himself in English and the teacher would roll his eyes, sigh very loudly and raise his voice at him unnecessarily when he would make a mistake shifting (while in the parking lot) which I thought was a little over the top. Another one in particular was with an older middle eastern gentleman who had similar problems (which I believe are normal for most students) in shifting and he would act similarly to this guy even though he spoke English fluently. He also ended up calling the guy "Mohammed" even though that was not his name.
Some of the various teachers are quite funny when you get to know them, such as Shannon who strikes me as a cholo from East L.A who tells us about the ample supply of patron he will drink when he gets home, or the copious amounts of alcohol he will drink after he pours a shot and drinks the bottle and goes home to beat his wife from all of the stress us students made him endure. Lawrence who comes off as a jerk towards the end lightens up and has a sense of humor. etc.
During first phase, I got a very good trainer who was a second seat as a trainee for 8 months. He has a dedicated route for Daylight transport going from LA to Atlanta, Georgia where it's two days driving to California from Atlanta, a drop and hook in Los Angeles, two days driving to Atlanta, 3 days off and then drop and hook back to California. It was a pretty cool run with the exception that my trainer's wife had a baby and he took a week off and that had me in Atlanta during the summer for a week living at a truck stop in a truck. During this time from a lot of experimentation and boredom I figured out how to get the trucks to idle (they shut off after 5 minutes if the temperature isn't cold enough) and after 5 days of sitting in the truck, I ended up getting a hotel room in McDonough, GA at the Howard Johnson's across the street from the Wal-Mart. My trainer ended up paying for one of the nights (though he's supposed to pay for the whole week) I just manned-up and ended up going back to California and took a couple days off at home and then went back on that Sunday and the Rode Way Inn was full so they sent me to the Red Tile Inn where I had to get a Comchek to pay them (for which they later charged me for). I ended up going back and doing all of the little things they make you do (involving Leasing and map reading) and then I got hooked up with a gentleman name Juan as my second seat trainer (who had gotten his license after me).
Now when you come back for first phase, make sure you go to the terminal in Fontana and talk to the woman in the office and grab England seals, Comcheks, Lumper Reciepts, England Paper Logs, etc before leaving because you will most likely need them and the 2nd Phase Leaser Operator will most likely not have them because his trainer only cared about the miles and not training.
Also some information that you probably want to know is that going to Laredo.... if you must will get you 10 dollars for the trailer inspection before going to Mexico which you have to write on the Trip-Pak 10 dollars for yard inspection or you won't get paid for it. (This goes to the lease operator or 1st seat but you can probably get him to spot it to you or split it if he didn't know about it)
But you want to avoid going to Laredo at all costs because you will be sitting for at least 2 days. How to avoid this is calling in after you have 75% of your miles for the load in Texas and telling them that you are fatigued/out of hours/etc (even if you aren't) and having someone take your load to Laredo while you take their load out of there. Also to, if you get to a destination early, make sure you send a qualcomm message letting them know that you are going to leave the trailer there and go to the nearest yard and pick up an empty to head out. The dispatcher will hook you up with a load. You have to be aggressive with England no passive or else they will have you sitting for days...they don't care especially if you are a lease operator or on a lease operator's truck because the lease operator is paying for their truck whether it is rolling or not. Make sure you get a list of all of England's terminals. This will come in handy when you want to drop a trailer off and go to the nearest yard and pick up an empty. It also has the addresses and everything on all of them so you will be good. A lot of drivers don't have this information so you will be ahead of the curve by a lot. Don't forget to check the tandems on trailers you pick up because you don't want to go through a scale violating the bridge law.
If you want a dedicated route or walmart route, ask around and see who is the dispatcher in charge of that stuff because the whole being there for a year before you even have a shot at that is England B.S. For example, Containers is a dispatcher named Athena. You can also just send out a qualcomm message asking for a dedicated route from so and so location to such and such and someone will hit you back asking you if you would like "whatever". A closed mouth doesn't get fed.
Also, be on top of your paycheck because England will try to nickle and dime you. If payroll doesn't want to deal with it, make sure you remember their name and next time you go through Salt Lake, go up there and remind them and let them know that you didn't appreciate them hanging up in your face (this happened to me). They will be much more cooperative and things magically get done.
One thing that I can say though is definitely don't lease a truck. If you do lease a truck you pretty much have to be one of the few and proud golden boys with whoever to get hook-ups on loads. Before leasing, ask yourself. Why should I put myself in a position to pay a company to borrow their truck while paying the maintenance when they are also the ones that choose which loads to give to me. Also, when in second phase, pay close attention to the numbers they give you on the little spreadsheet to show you how much Joe Schmoe England made leasing a truck, you will notice that is says "Owner-Operator" and not "Lease Operator". Also, if they give you any spiel after coming out from Second phase about not having company trucks available... but you can lease a truck, don't fall into that trap. If at any time they threaten to fire you for wanting to go home or wanting to stay home at all, tell them that this is training, not employment and that if you want to violate your own contract so that I don't have to pay your school a dime, then be my guess.... I will be available at such and such date, take it or leave it. Your second phase coordinator will back up off of you because he gets paid when you graduate...not when you quit. You are paying these guys money...not the other way around so you should treat them as such. Use your time at England to gain your experience and get to the next point. If however you get offered something good and become part of the Good ol' boys club, you can probably do around 1000 a week (I've only seen people doing it with my own eyes as a company driver) with .02 cent raises every year or so.
1. When at the hotels, bring the teachers that test you pastries and stuff. They'll be more lenient on you in terms of your drive test and be nicer.
2. Don't believe everything the people that work for England tell you. To be safe, treat it all as if its B.S and prepare. Use their system against them.
3. Get to know the freight lanes. Try to work in Triangles. Loads going to dead ends = no money...even if they have a lot of miles. You might want to strategically take a dead end if you need a reset and the pay period is going to end after you deliver it to get the most miles.
4. Make sure you off duty yourself to death to conserve your hours when you stop.
5. When putting in the amount of fuel you have on the Qualcomm, if it's more than a half a tank, put you have a half a tank, if its less than a half a tank, put that you are almost empty... trust me on this one. England will have you on fumes trying to get to truck stops.
6. Be on top of your dispatcher and keep in informed of when you will be there and etc, try to have things set up so that you already have a plan of where you are going to go way before you get there.
If you are going because you are desperate, you are already 80% screwed. Take the time to actually read the threads here about CR England. You will not be happy.
Feel free to ignore me if you like, but you do so at your own peril.
Stay away from CRE, if you're desperate they want you! They thrive on desperate people and you will end up in a far worse situation than you're in now.
I worked for England for 5 months this last year.Believe these guys..You do not want to work for England..I hated every minute while i was there! Everything from the discusting hotels to the obnoxious employees (trainers). to the crappy miles with little pay rate. BEWARE!!!!RickG Thanks this.
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