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Thread: USA Truck or PAM Transport

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    SoulRacer is offline Rookie
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    Question USA Truck or PAM Transport

    Does anyone have info on either of these companies. They both offer company sponsored training. The pay seems low (25-26cpm) but newbies cannot expect too much, right? If you attend the company sponsored training in Texas you are required to work for them for 1 year. Anyone followed this path and can let me know how you fared with it? I know I will not be making more than 35K, but I want to make sure it is not a totally miserable company to put in the 12 month with. ANy info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    SR

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    Well SR, Pam and USA Truck are both part of the C-1 Driver Solutions program. These are both starter companies, there have been some USA drivers here in the past, but I can't recall any from PAM lately. Last I knew, the program was 3 weeks in length here in Indy.

    PAM is definitely big time East coast. USA maybe not so much.

    I would try to get with the company that has facilities close to home. Your chances of getting home will increase dramatically if there is a terminal near your home. Is Star Transport still a part of the C-1 program?

    Regarding pay. 100,000 miles X .25 per miles = $25,000 annually. To expect to run more than that in your first year is not realistic. Possible? Yes, but not probable. I just want to try to give you a realistic figure so you will have an idea how to budget.

    Be aware.........if you default on any part of that C-1 contract, they will immediately be at your door for their money. They are as adept at driver training as they are debt collection.

    A bit of trivia for you. C-1 Driver Solutions started out years ago as C-1 Cummins (yes as in the engine) Driver training. Cummins sold out many years ago to a fellow here in Indianapolis.
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    What could I expect to make as a beginning driver if I get my CDL myself and get on with a company that hires new grads.? Is the pay much different?

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    I am quite sure that for PAM you have to go to a school they recognize/ are affiliated with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulRacer View Post
    What could I expect to make as a beginning driver if I get my CDL myself and get on with a company that hires new grads.? Is the pay much different?

    Well SR, if there is any way to finance your driver training without being on a company sponsored program..............by all means do it.

    Check out the vo-tech schools for grants and assistance. Veteran assistance. Pell grants. Workforce Investment Grants. They are all out there. You just have to get out and overturn some stones.

    If you can get your CDL on your own, you can forgo these coolie style (.25) wages that these companies are going to pay you as you pay them back.

    Try to separate your method of financing and schooling from OH SO GREAT company that will be holding a hell of a lot of money over your head if you are to fail. Remember, your failure could be as simple as backing over a pole, etc etc.

    This entire C-1 Driver Solutions is in bed with these carriers USA,PAM, and Star I believe. Driver solutions has no problem training you for $6000.00 and then sending you on over to USA Truck................where SURPRISE!!!!! We don't have much or any freight for you! HUH! You say, The trucking economy really really really sucks right now, Schneider is only taking experienced drivers. I can't remember the last time that I saw Schneider do that.

    Yet, since C-1 is comfortably in bed with USA Truck, PAM and Star. C-! can crank the students out because they are being paid well to do so. (either by those companies themselves.........or most likely (in my opinion) by chasing down those that do not make the grade and suddenly find themselves the proud owner of a 6-8000 loan at astronomical interest. I've seen how C-1 works in this situation of a breeched/default contract. They are pros at collecting their money, some of the best that I have ever seen. I sat in one of their orientation classes a few years back. Along with the various and sundry paperwork that was required to be signed.......

    They (C-1) upfront have you sign a letter of garnishment to be presented to wherever/whoever/however your next employer may be.

    C-1 has it down to an art. I walked away after the first day, as it was more apparent to me that they were dotting all of the i's and crossing the t's to be sure that you were absolutely traceble upon default of your loan. Maybe somebody on here will come on and back up my story. That whole first day is an intense roll through of what you are signing, what exactly will happen if you default etc. And then you sign, and then you sign, and then you sign, sign, and well.....sign some more, after you sign a few more forms.

    It doesn't take the brightest spark to realize that basically we are in the midst of signing off on how C-1 will effectively recoup their money with the truck driver training somehow becoming an after thought during this stint.

    It's the BIG TIME HARD SELL, SR. Proceed with caution, as once you sign, these people have ironclad contracts. They have been doing this way too many years to be outwitted very often.


    Most will say that this is not the way to enter the industry. I agree. Although it bears pointing out that I did the same thing with CRST back in '05 and walked away just fine.(6 month contract running team).

    In closing.............just think about what you are wanting from the whole experience. $25,000 annual and leaving home, family, friends, hobbies behind is something that deserves deep and honest thought on your part.

    Going out of two weeks at a time, and then getting 2 days off..............................................u mmmmmmmmmmmm Pardon me folks!!! But that is basically giving your life up to the road. All of your life basically gone for $25.000 annually. Ask some of these seasoned road fellows how much 25K leaves after living the road expenses?

    BOL, SR!!! Sounds like you needed some experienced words there. You will make the right choice for sure. It's always easier to do so when you've done the proper research. BOL
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    Thanks for the info belpre..you have basically confirmed my suspicions. Running the numbers just doesnt add up for me. 25K is less than I have made in 20 years. I know I will have to take a hit to get into the industry, but I am not willing to take that kinda hit with all that I'll be giving up to be on the road.

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    Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:18 am Post subject: Newbies+wanabe's...don't say, you weren't warned.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ardmore Farms Forever
    I know, I know.............it will be different with you........"you'll be the exception to the rule."

    Disclaimer: I am NOT trying to persuade or dissuade anyone from getting into trucking.....I personally LOVE driving a truck....but, I am extremely fortunate,....because I retired from another profession at a fairly young age and am financially sound....... I drive a truck because I want to......NOT, because I have to.........there is a huge difference.

    .....This in my opinion is one of the best post I have ever seen on any trucking board........I pulled it from another board (which shall remain nameless) and in my humble opinion it hits home, is hard-hitting, to the point and not full of the cushy, cushy make-you-feel good political correctness crap. .........Read it, take from it what you want and leave the rest.......in my opinion, an excellent post, not based on hearsay, but his and others personal experience and opinion........It might NOT be what you want to hear, but, it IS the truth........written by a person who has seen more white lines and miles (well over 1,500,000), than most of us will ever see, via his many, many years of professional truck driving....................Josh


    ================================================== =======================

    Newbies: You see me write a lot about the importance of craftsmanship and responsible profession behavior, and the going-rate wages and benefits for new drivers. Here's another side of the story:


    OTR takes you away from your family and home for weeks at a time, and when you subtract even minimal expenses living on the road, there's precious little left for the wife, kids and home expenses.

    You can make more net money for your family, work fewer hours, and at least sleep in your own bed every night with TWO full-time fast food jobs. The novelty of being a trucker and living on the road will wear-off pretty fast, and what's left is a disgraceful wage for the responsibility and risk, and in most cases, a family and home left abandoned and broke.

    If you've got a wife and kids that need you and your support, DO NOT get into OTR trucking with Werner or anyone else. The number of tragedies -- guys who end up in divorce and living hand-to-mouth on the road while most of their paycheck goes to child support -- is staggering. They thought they could be a dad and husband with only a few days home a month and could eat baloney sandwiches most of the time and send most of their money home....WRONG! It rarely turns out this way.

    No matter how much your and your family is dedicated to making this plan work, the fact is it will turn your relationships and finances upside-down. Few can make the stress and pitiful financial work -- and even if you do, you're missing the baby's first steps and the little league games and everything else you supposedly got married for. If you got married and started a family, stay home and be a husband and father.

    OTR trucking isn't a "mission" to protect the public or your country like being a soldier or cop or firefighter. We're not heroes -- that's just what the industry tells us to take their crappy jobs. We just move paper towels or produce or little boats from one location to another -- just a low-wage worker doing relatively dull, mind-numbing work. Your body will get soft, your mind will suffer from the irregular sleep/work cycles, and your life will fly by with nothing much to show for the sacrifice. There's no retirement, no sick leave, no significant recognition for your efforts, and the trucking labor pool is increasingly dipping into the "working poor" class. This is no longer the middle-class job it once was,and the moment you make a poor decision behind the wheel that gets you in trouble, you're out on your azz facing possible criminal charges and civil action. The company will cut you loose and let you hang.

    I could go on and on and on..... But the point is: This is a terrible career choice for a married guy with a family and home life.

    You effectively disqualified yourself for living on the road in a truck when you started a family. If you're going to go on the road for weeks in a truck, you might as well just sit down with your wife and tell her you've changed your mind and are leaving for good. Hire a lawyer and get it over with before dragging her and your kids into this charade.

    For a single guy...? That's another story. You can give-up your permanent residence, live out of a post office box and put away some money for a few years while living relatively comfortably on the road with all the cool gear. But there's no point in having a "real" home if you're never home to enjoy it. Your car will sit 26 days a month for all the payments and insurance, etc. And you'll effectively lose most of your friendships as you disappear from their lives.
    But hell -- if you're single, want to destroy your health and set your course on slow suicide, who cares. At least you're not dragging anybody else down with you. And if friendships don't come easily anyway and you don't care much about a "normal" life -- OTR is actually a pretty good way to escape that reality. That's MY reality - to be perfectly honest - and I love this life. I'm a social misfit and a perfect match for this nonsense. But I wouldn't even consider it if I had the slightest responsibility beside my own admittedly self-destructive selfishness.

    Got it? This job SUKS unless you're a little crazy and have nothing to lose. It's an irresponsible career choice if others depend on you, or you want anything like the "normal life" so many truckers come to miss after the novelty wears off.

    40k may sound like pretty good money, but it's crap for the quantity of work, the responsibility and risk, the toll on your mind and body....and most of all, the family who'll see precious little of it from the dad who abandoned them to go live on the road.

    Stay at home where you belong. Pretend you're an illegal immigrant and get into construction...ANYTHING but abandoning your family trying to be some hot-shot young buck again. Open your eyes and see the reality. The turnover is way over 100% a year -- even higher among newbies -- because most first-year drivers realize they've made a mistake and leave the industry, a little embarrassed and a lot poorer having been fleeced by a truck school and everyone else along the way.....


    "...fair and balanced - you decide."




    Here is a link to the actual thread; http://www.classadrivers.com/phpBB2/...=18642&start=0
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    I'm married with a kid, been together for, going on 8 years.
    Started with Schneider, moved to dedicated within a year.
    Then I switched to a tanker company, got sick of the hassle, and now I haul mail.
    I'm out 2 nights a week, keep a regular schedule, and right now i'm home with my kid. I make more money now than ever in my life.
    The only real drawback is that I'm starting to get bored going to Detroit twice a week. I may start looking for something more local.
    You have to start somewhere, it's not always OTR if you keep your record clean and keep at it.
    Basically, I'm going to do it as long as I can stand, and when I can't stand it anymore, I'll do something else.

    Also, sure, you can make more money working 2 jobs, but do those jobs involve sitting in a climate-controlled cab on an air-ride seat with nobody next to you or looking over your shoulder? I'm pretty sure it's easier to do 11 hours on the road than 8 hours over a fryer.

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    I finally finished my year with PAM. It's been a weird time to be a trucker noobie with the rollercoaster economy we have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Videodrome View Post
    I finally finished my year with PAM. It's been a weird time to be a trucker noobie with the rollercoaster economy we have.
    Tell us more about it Videodrome. There are many on here that would be interested in hearing your experience from C-1 to the end. Appreciate it!
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    It's been nuts but I don't regret going with them. I was out of work and unemployed benefit was running out and Michigan was leading the charge over the cliff in the economy so no good local jobs. Got setup with C1 Driver Solutions in Fort Wayne, IN just over a year ago. Practiced backing up the trucks in the cones and tried to figure out the double clutching. Somehow I got through it all. I passed my state test on the 3rd try.

    After that I took a week off and then a trainer with PAM took me out on the road for a month. That is where you get most of your real training. Also if you don't know PAM's fleet is all auto shifters so no stick.

    Got through all that and was tested again in orientation at their headquarters and signed more piles of paperwork. Finally I get assigned a truck someone had abandoned in Flint, MI so I catch a ride with another driver up there. It was in decent shape and fortunately not trashed or anything. It was one of PAM's last Volvos. I really like it and so far I still think it's been my favorite truck. It was high in miles though so 2 months later i had to turn it in to retire it and was disappointed to pick up one of those International 9400 things. I mean the thing is okay I guess to drive but not much for living space. It's a total utility vehicle with a frustrating lack of storage.

    Managed to keep driving that until to many starter problems so I got switched into a Freightliner which I like almost as much as that Volvo.


    I'm getting a little tired of this gig though and am looking to move on. For some reason either the company or dispatchers don't explain things very well and I'm getting frustrated with my dispatcher. I feel like any time I ask my dispatcher questions I get contradictory answers.

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    "Also if you don't know PAM's fleet is all auto shifters so no stick."

    Never forget how to drive a stick, you never know when it comes in handy. Fortunately, I think it's like riding a bike, you never forget. My latest truck is a 13 speed, so it's neat to know that I can drive that if ever I really need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Videodrome View Post
    I finally finished my year with PAM. It's been a weird time to be a trucker noobie with the rollercoaster economy we have.
    If you don't mind my asking, what was your year like with hometime and salary? USA Truck says 25 or 26CPM I think. Even if you can get 100K miles per year that is still only 25000 dollars. While that may be good for some people it is terrible for me. Especially when you figure in the hardships of being away from home and all that. Not to mention the expenses of being on the road.

    Anyone else that knows this can answer also, what can a trucker expect to make starting out? 25K seems very low. I know the training schools all say 38+ first year and over 50 in a few years, but I know that is all just a selling point for them.

    I am thinking about changing careers, so I am not a newbie in life and cannot take that kind of salary and still live.

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    Here's a little word of advice to you-- DON"T DRIVE A TRUCK. Sure, the school says you can knock down 38000 your first year, but its a load of bull more than likely. With the way the economy and freight is right now, you'll be lucky to got 100,000 miles your first year. I'll be lucky to knock down 100,000 miles this year myself, and I've been out here 4 years, but I make a little more than 25 cent a mile, so its a little easier.

    Here's some other over-looked facts about driving a truck:

    How do you like your back? You probably don't think about it much now, but get to driving 8-9-10 hours a day, and all you'll think about is your back because it hurts. Sitting for that long in a truck is not good on your body. No truck has a good enough seat or suspension to protect your joints. Before long your back will hurt, your neck, your knees will get weak from not using them. Also, your hands will get to hurting being wrapped around a steering wheel all day. Many of these things won't show right away, but years and years from now (maybe even after you're retired) you'll find out about the long term effects of driving a truck on your skeletal system.

    Thats just the bones. Then you have your muscles. Sure, we all think we're going to exercise when we're on the road, but very, very few actually do. Your body will get weak from sitting all the time. And when your not sitting, your laying in the bunk.

    Don't even get me started on the food. The price alone can kill you on the road. Most fast food anymore want $6-7 for a simple value meal with sandwich, fries, and a medium drink. Multiply that by twice a day, everyday. PLUS-- add what it will cost you in the future to eat a greasy cheeseburger (or nasty chicken which isn't much better the way they cook it) french fries and a soft drink.

    Bottom line for me: I'm glad there are people out there who can run OTR and be happy about it. I am not one of these people. I have a wife, two small children (2 1/2 and 3 months) and things to do at the house. I used to have hobbies. I used to hunt and fish and go bowling once in a while. Not anymore. No time. I'm trying to find something else so I can go back to college, but times are tough right now. Its hard to find anything.

    If you have a family and hobbies and things to do at home, do something else. Sure, some guys have great driving jobs being home a lot and making lots of money, but those are years away if your just now starting. Plus, a lot of those great jobs are getting cut right now. Auto loads are getting cut left and right. USPS is talking about cutting down on mail delivery. What will that do to mail haulers? You're better off to find something, anything closer to home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulRacer View Post
    Anyone else that knows this can answer also, what can a trucker expect to make starting out? 25K seems very low. I know the training schools all say 38+ first year and over 50 in a few years,but I know that is all just a selling point for them.
    Heh heh...........Sucks huh? You'd think that belpre122 was spouting a whole load of **** your way. Even the dyed-in-the-wool OTR apologists on here are hesitant to question the numbers. Rightly so......................

    That's just the way it is SR. Sad............but true.

    The days of becoming a truck driver and entering 'middle class America' are long long gone. Deregulation solved that.

    Truck driving used to be a respected occupation. No more. Quite the contrary in fact. Basically, mobile hobos traversing the country while not earning enough income to even sustain their own road expenses, much less a family.

    Sad? You betcha! Kind of like listening to Neil Young all day.

    You're doing the right thing SR. Keep asking those questions! Let's see who will be the first to challenge my guidance to you........................
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulRacer View Post
    If you don't mind my asking, what was your year like with hometime and salary? USA Truck says 25 or 26CPM I think. Even if you can get 100K miles per year that is still only 25000 dollars. While that may be good for some people it is terrible for me. Especially when you figure in the hardships of being away from home and all that. Not to mention the expenses of being on the road.

    Anyone else that knows this can answer also, what can a trucker expect to make starting out? 25K seems very low. I know the training schools all say 38+ first year and over 50 in a few years, but I know that is all just a selling point for them.

    I am thinking about changing careers, so I am not a newbie in life and cannot take that kind of salary and still live.
    I started out at .28 cents per mile but I've heard the pay for beginners has been cut.


    As for what it's been like? Well I can't give you figures for earnings that are meaningful because sometimes I'll run hard and sometimes sit or get stuck in their shops. I will say that I've made progress in my personal financial recovery at least. I've knocked down my debt and should pay off my last credit card if things go well.


    I will also mention something I heard from someone else who went to my school though. Supposedly of the 20 or so people who were in my class only 4 including me are still doing their job. Everyone else has quit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Videodrome View Post
    Well I can't give you figures for earnings that are meaningful because sometimes I'll run hard and sometimes sit or get stuck in their shops.

    Sure you can! Running hard and then getting stuck in shops (for free) is trucking! "That's part of the job." (well, according to some people:rofl

    You manned up and completed your contract. Good for you! I wasn't surprised to see the 4 out of 20 figure though. That just reaffirms my theory that C-1 is as much, if not more in to the debt collection business as they are driver training/placement.

    I think what soulracer was looking for, if you are willing to share, is a solid dollar amount that you earned during your first year with PAM?
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    Quote Originally Posted by P A Frederick View Post
    Here's a little word of advice to you-- DON"T DRIVE A TRUCK. Sure, the school says you can knock down 38000 your first year, but its a load of bull more than likely. With the way the economy and freight is right now, you'll be lucky to got 100,000 miles your first year. I'll be lucky to knock down 100,000 miles this year myself, and I've been out here 4 years, but I make a little more than 25 cent a mile, so its a little easier.

    Here's some other over-looked facts about driving a truck:

    How do you like your back? You probably don't think about it much now, but get to driving 8-9-10 hours a day, and all you'll think about is your back because it hurts. Sitting for that long in a truck is not good on your body. No truck has a good enough seat or suspension to protect your joints. Before long your back will hurt, your neck, your knees will get weak from not using them. Also, your hands will get to hurting being wrapped around a steering wheel all day. Many of these things won't show right away, but years and years from now (maybe even after you're retired) you'll find out about the long term effects of driving a truck on your skeletal system.

    Thats just the bones. Then you have your muscles. Sure, we all think we're going to exercise when we're on the road, but very, very few actually do. Your body will get weak from sitting all the time. And when your not sitting, your laying in the bunk.

    Don't even get me started on the food. The price alone can kill you on the road. Most fast food anymore want $6-7 for a simple value meal with sandwich, fries, and a medium drink. Multiply that by twice a day, everyday. PLUS-- add what it will cost you in the future to eat a greasy cheeseburger (or nasty chicken which isn't much better the way they cook it) french fries and a soft drink.

    Bottom line for me: I'm glad there are people out there who can run OTR and be happy about it. I am not one of these people. I have a wife, two small children (2 1/2 and 3 months) and things to do at the house. I used to have hobbies. I used to hunt and fish and go bowling once in a while. Not anymore. No time. I'm trying to find something else so I can go back to college, but times are tough right now. Its hard to find anything.

    If you have a family and hobbies and things to do at home, do something else. Sure, some guys have great driving jobs being home a lot and making lots of money, but those are years away if your just now starting. Plus, a lot of those great jobs are getting cut right now. Auto loads are getting cut left and right. USPS is talking about cutting down on mail delivery. What will that do to mail haulers? You're better off to find something, anything closer to home.

    Very well written and informative. You are certainly spot-on with the health issues.

    Arguing on the C.B. is kinda like running in the Special Olympics, 'cause even if you win your still retarted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Videodrome View Post
    I will also mention something I heard from someone else who went to my school though. Supposedly of the 20 or so people who were in my class only 4 including me are still doing their job. Everyone else has quit.

    Yeah, I gave that a bit of thought, and here is how I see it:

    Let's roll with some of my rudimentary/cave man style mathematical logic for a moment and see what we come up with..............

    Ok, 20 students started, 4 finished = 20% success rate from this random sampling of your C-1 class. Meaning that 16 did not complete the one year of servitude to PAM Transport. Follow me here.....................

    16 failed students @ (approx) $6000.00 per student = $96,000 that became immediately due from these (students). That figure represents just one class! Imagine how many sessions that a joint like C-1 cranks out annually. Even to the most casual observer, it becomes obvious that this is clearly a debt (producing) collection agency with a side interest in truck driver training.

    What does C-1 have invested? Not a whole lot really. Instruction time, some books and wheel time. $6000.00 due! That's a pretty steep price to pay for being indentured to a company for a year, and being compensated at less than the national minimum wage.

    An 80% failure rate! (from our random sampling) What type of credible training boasts 80% attrition/failure in the first year with an (approx) $6000.00 penalty if things don't work out. 80% failure. Think about that.

    That's coolie carrier trucking for ya. Start 'em out by ripping them off, and then kick 'em in the ass on their way out.
    "Just another OTR coolie carrier. They suck. They ALL suck. Run away from coolie OTR trucking" The Great ColdFrostyMug



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    I know all about the physical aspects of driving a truck. My dad drove for 30+ years...he also drove a local truck and I doubt it was anywhere near as nice as most trucks on the road today. It took its toll on his back and wrists to say the least. Good thing for him though is that he was home every day..8-10 hours tops.
    I am willing to endure the possible pain, and the loss of hobbies, etc. All of my kids are older, 2 graduating high school in a week. The home time would be good, but not a necessity per se.
    I don't care about hanging out with coworkers and friends, I'd rather be alone most of the time anyway..and I have always liked driving. If we go on long trips, etc. I am always the one to drive..everyone else sleeps while I drive between 4-10 hours per day. Nothing to me really.
    The part I have a problem with is this - I am trading what I have for 25K.? I am not 21 years old any more..I need some financial security. You'd think with all you give up that you be handsomely compensated..AND, that 25 is only if you happen to hit 100,000 miles, which seems like a crap shoot from what I am hearing. 25 is poverty level, and it is not even a guarantee!! AND, after uncle sam gets his, plus the school takes out another 45 per week, you are lucky to bank 1200 bucks BEFORE expenses. I can live fairly cheap, but not that cheap. So, I end up with maybe 900/ month for my home expenses/bills. That is less than I am getting from unemployment currently. So, I take a harder job, with less benefits, and put strain on my family just so I can make less than I do sitting here at home doing nothing. The only thing I get out of it is the experience and the ability to say I actually have a job. That is it. BUT, I do want a job..and I don't care that I have to take a pay cut from my previous job, but I cannot take that big a cut with the possibility to ruining my life/marriage. The benefits do not out weigh the costs. Not for 25K. If it were high 30s I'd think about it.

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