I see a lot of questions about TMC on here and thought I would try to give some perspective from someone with experience with them.
Lets start at the beginning.
Orientation: This is a two week process in Des Moines, Ia which I drove to myself instead of getting a TMC provided bus ticket. It was a 5 hour drive but, if you are able to do it, you will be glad you did. There are no "loaner" vehicles provided to you while your there for the two weeks. They do stop at Walmart on the way back from "school" twice a week for guys to get provisions.
Keep in mind that orientation starts as soon as you check in at the Baymont. You are given a quick run down of the rules right at the front desk and yes, keep off the grass is one of them. Keep in mind that TMC owns the Baymont and everyone working there works for TMC. Act accordingly.
You will need to be at the pick up area at 06:00 Monday morning for the ride to the training grounds. If you miss the bus, check out and find a way home.
The first couple of days are spent gathering information both for you and for TMC. Then comes the drug test and the real training. You will be tested on a lot of different things on the computer. Math, maps, decision making etc. Take it seriously, you must pass these tests to move on in the training.
You will move onto driving skills which is in the training yard. A lot of backing and manuvering and then you will go out with a trainer on the local roads to get a better feel for driving the truck. During this time you will be doing load securement as well. Pay attention, this is the most important thing you will need to learn. TMC hauls a lot of different freight with a lot of different securement that needs to be done the right way every time.
If you pass all of the requirements you will be assigned a trainer which is where you will learn the most and its a 5 week process. The key is getting a good trainer. The training dept will check in on you every week and if your having problems with your trainer, let them know so they can fix it. I was lucky and got a great trainer right off the bat.
These 5 weeks will go fast and you will be getting a lot of information from your trainer. Take notes!! You will be glad you did.
If your doing well with the trainer TMC may try to move you into a truck before the 5 weeks are up. They asked me to get in a truck the middle of my 4th week with the trainer. I declined and finished the 5 weeks and was glad I did. I cannot stress enough the importance of the time with your trainer, take it in.
When you complete the 5 weeks you will be assigned a truck and your first load. It will most likely be from SSAB in Bettendorf Ia. There are usually other TMC trucks in there picking up as well if you have questions as well as yard guys to ask.
The rest is on you. You are expected to get the load where it needs to be safely and on time. This for me was a stressful time. A lot of thinking involved and second guessing myself. I talked to my trainer probably 3 or 4 times that week just to be sure I was doing things the right way.
Your Fleet Manager will answer a lot of questions too and are there to help. If your FM seems to get annoyed, can't or won't answer your questions, get a different one. You can also keep in touch with your training coordinator for help.
Your FM should be trying to get you home every weekend for the first month or so to give you time out of the truck. Keep in mind that this is trucking. You will be out some weekends depending on where you live and the loads your hauling.
As you gain experience you have the chance to advance in the pay scales. This will all be explained at orientation too. It's up to you to advance. Some guys will advance easily and others will struggle. The ones that struggle and give up are the ones you find in these forums complaining after they quit.
I have read on here other opinions of TMC having a strict "military" attitude. In some cases I would say this is true. Mainly when it comes down to safety. They don't mess around in this area. They want you to do the job the safest way possible and not get yourself in unsafe situations.
As far as endorsments go its up to you. Double/triple is pointless. Hazmat can be a plus if you also get TWIC (transportation worker identification card) and have a PassCard/Passport. This will get you points to move up in pay. If you stay in Linehaul, I would not get them. All are expensive and you just don't get the payback for what you pay to get them. I have all endorsments and will not renew any except my Passport and TWIC.
Now, Let's get to my opinion of TMC.
I went through orientation August of 2009 and got in the truck in September the same year. As I said before it was stressful at first for me but, everyone handles it differently. I lost 30 lbs in the first 3 months and really didn't start getting a compfortable routine down until after 6 months. I have been to every state in the lower 48 except Rhode Island and California and I love 2-3 day runs where you can put on miles and enjoy the view. You will be out some weekends. This is trucking, no way around it, it happens. You will have bad times as well as good times. I've had a lot more good than bad. It is what you put into it.
I am now in the dedicated BBG boat division out of New York Mills, MN and enjoy it. I mainly run in Canada and I get home most weekends.
My experience is that TMC is a good company and has treated me very fairly. The pay is average within the industry and the equiptment is top notch. If there is a problem with your equiptment it will be fixed. TMC will not allow an unsafe truck on the road.
I hope this helps anyone considering TMC.
Keep in mind that this is not easy work and requires some thought and reliance on your training. You will get your exercise but its not terrible.
For those wondering if they are too old, I'm 46.
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Thanks for the information..
When you completed your 5 weeks with the trainer, did you have to take a final skills test before they issued you your own truck? Or did you finish the training and get handed the keys?
There is a final test that involves going out with one of the trainers on the local roads and some backing in the yard. It really wasn't that tough to get through. Then back to the terminal to get in the truck.
Nice riverrat. Very good description of tmc. A couple things of my own about them. Your first load will probally be ssab IF you get your truck from dsm. I picked mine up in gaston and the first load came from flakeboard in bennettsville, sc. Also helped a just released guy with his first at nucor in huger, sc. 44k coil, he was thrilled but wasnt afraid to ask for my help. There are many different dedicated divisions that required different skill sets. You in the boat division need to know about o/d loads, special securement techniques and such. When im on owens corning outta kearny, nj, i gotta know how to handle nyc (some very tight backings, dealing with crazy traffic, or just beating it by timing it right) turn and burn to get a second load for the day off loaded, ect.
Overall, like you said, tmc is a great company to work for, any problems from mechanical to fm relatations are handled professionally. And like always, STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!!!
I already have my prehire letter, and am scheduled to start in March. I'm very excited to drive for TMC. The fact that they are so picky, makes me want to work that much MORE!!
I dont want to drive for any company that hires felons, or anybody off the street. My biggest "fear" is that I will quit my career and for whatever reason, wash out in Demoines. If I graduated Paris Island, and graduate honor grad at the US Army Drill Sgt school, I wouldnt think I should have anything to worry about.
Just the fear of the unknown I guess??
I took a few loads from up there in New York Mills back before Christmas. I thought it was a lot of fun pulling those boats around!
Blind dog if you did that then you should be good and not have to worry about anything. I would think your still in shape even though you left the Corp for the Army.Blind Dog Thanks this.
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