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Thread: Knight, Swift, Watkins-Shepard -- Which One Best For A Noob Living Near Las Vegas?

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    Default Knight, Swift, Watkins-Shepard -- Which One Best For A Noob Living Near Las Vegas?

    The title of this thread says it all. I will be attending Great Basin College's CDL school in Pahrump, NV this autumn. From reading CAD and other truck driving forums for quite awhile, I have concluded that the choices for a noob graduating from a CDL school are pretty much limited to the mega-carrier, "starter companies" such as Knight, Swift, and Watkins-Shepard, among others that I am not considering because I live near Las Vegas.

    Of these three companies, which one would you recommend for a noob living near Las Vegas who is fresh out of CDL school and whose first priority is to get home as often as possible? Knight and Swift appear to me to have the most traffic lanes through Las Vegas and points nearby.

    TIA for your replies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired in Nevada View Post
    The title of this thread says it all. I will be attending Great Basin College's CDL school in Pahrump, NV this autumn. From reading CAD and other truck driving forums for quite awhile, I have concluded that the choices for a noob graduating from a CDL school are pretty much limited to the mega-carrier, "starter companies" such as Knight, Swift, and Watkins-Shepard, among others that I am not considering because I live near Las Vegas.

    Of these three companies, which one would you recommend for a noob living near Las Vegas who is fresh out of CDL school and whose first priority is to get home as often as possible? Knight and Swift appear to me to have the most traffic lanes through Las Vegas and points nearby.

    TIA for your replies.

    you won't make very much money being home "as often as possible." having driven for both, i'd say knight is the better option if you wanna be home almost every weekend. i think you may need to go through squire after obtaining your CDL. squire is knight's training company. they're verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry picky about who they accept. it's something like 3 months total of training. a month or two, or some crap like that wiht a trainer, and then on your own squire truck for a few months driving solo, and if you do a satisfactory job, you're hired on with knight.

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    I haven't heard a bad thing about Watkins-Shepard. I know they have a highly regarded 10 day orientation and they also are paying new drivers $400 right now at orientation, more than anyone else I've heard about. Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by clawHAMMER View Post
    I haven't heard a bad thing about Watkins-Shepard. I know they have a highly regarded 10 day orientation and they also are paying new drivers $400 right now at orientation, more than anyone else I've heard about. Good luck!
    why in the hell does orientation take 10 days? shoot, why do companies have a 3+ day orientation? it's mostly company politics and bullcrap. orientation should take only one day, two days at the most.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncrosonix View Post
    why in the hell does orientation take 10 days? shoot, why do companies have a 3+ day orientation? it's mostly company politics and bullcrap. orientation should take only one day, two days at the most.

    According to one carrier with whom I spoke a few years ago, they have a 3 day orientation so that they can get the results of their drug screen back. Most of these carriers send their drug tests to a third party testing lab and it takes that long to get the results. I don't see what they can't use a local lab to do it. Most mid to larger cities should have one or more facilities that could do the testing. In fact, I usually go to a local clinic to get my physicals. They do the drug test onsite and have the results immediately. I see no reason these carriers can't do the same thing.

    They stretch orientation out to give the labs time to do their work. It seems to be a big waste of time to me. Most carriers should be able to do their orientation in no more than a day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GMAN View Post
    According to one carrier with whom I spoke a few years ago, they have a 3 day orientation so that they can get the results of their drug screen back. Most of these carriers send their drug tests to a third party testing lab and it takes that long to get the results. I don't see what they can't use a local lab to do it. Most mid to larger cities should have one or more facilities that could do the testing. In fact, I usually go to a local clinic to get my physicals. They do the drug test onsite and have the results immediately. I see no reason these carriers can't do the same thing.

    They stretch orientation out to give the labs time to do their work. It seems to be a big waste of time to me. Most carriers should be able to do their orientation in no more than a day.

    that's what i'm saying. knight does theirs locally. however, it still takes almost 24hrs to get the results back. the rest of the time is company politics and b.s.

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    Werner Enterprises is now also in the mix as a possibility. If what the recruiter told me in answer to my questions is true, Werner sounds as good as any starter company. They seem to have a lot freight around Las Vegas and the southwest, and the recruiter told me that once off the trainer's truck and on my own, I could get a western regional run right away, and perhaps a dedicated run in as little as six months.

    Comments on Werner as a starter company, anybody?

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    I had a friend who drove for Werner a few years ago ... he said for the most part they were a good company to start with ... Don't they have paperless logs? .....

    The last company I was with - was CFI -now CFI/Conway they did your Drug test the first day .... but they kept you 'in class' 3-4 days to make certain they went over EVERYTHING with you on what the company expected out of their drivers. And while you were in class they were running a very indepth past records on everyone .... I'd say half of the new people were let go before they were assigned a truck or trainer ... They had a good reputation with DOT ... which made life easier for the drivers on the road .... That's my experience .... Hope that helps in some small way. The company isn't going to make you set around for the heck of it .... your costing them money each day you set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMAN View Post
    According to one carrier with whom I spoke a few years ago, they have a 3 day orientation so that they can get the results of their drug screen back. Most of these carriers send their drug tests to a third party testing lab and it takes that long to get the results.
    As many people as these larger companies push through on a constant basis, you would think they would just invest in their own lab and not have to pay someone else to do it for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by razorwyr View Post
    As many people as these larger companies push through on a constant basis, you would think they would just invest in their own lab and not have to pay someone else to do it for them.

    It could involve liability. If someone tests positive then they might be fearful of litigation from the applicant. Or, they could be concerned about the quality control being compromised. If someone at the company did the testing then they might have concerns that they could be compromised.

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    Glad you didnt ad "making money" as a priority with "to get home as often as possible". because those usually dont go together with a "noob"

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    Werner is now out of the picture. I applied with Werner for a pre-hire letter in order to get into CDL school and obtain grant funding to pay for the school. Within less than 24 hours, the answer from Werner came back -- rejected. No reason given.

    My driving record is spotless except for a nearly 15-year-old DUI. So now I'm thinking, that DUI knocked me out of Werner.

    I have no criminal record or any other blemishes in my lifetime.

    Which leads to the question: Will that ancient DUI knock me out of truck driving altogether? What about my age -- 56, soon to be 57? Will that knock me out of the industry?

    Honest answers, please. If the DUI and/or my age will end my truck driving career before it even begins, I want to know it now so that I don't waste any more additional countless hours filling out more applications for pre-hire letters, more applications for acceptance into truck driving schools, and more applications for grant funding to pay for a truck driving school. I have writer's cramp from all of the B.S. paperwork that I have filled out already, to no avail.

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    Most carriers will hire you with a DUI that is at least 10 years old. There are some who will not consider anyone with a DUI in their history, regardless of time. Your age should not be a factor. This is one of the few industries that actually prefers older drivers. Older drivers seem to have a better work ethic. I have known of some who come into this industry who are older than you. I have personally met one individual who was still driving at 80.

    You don't need a pre hire letter to be accepted into CDL school. There are state vocational schools, community colleges and private schools that will teach you to drive. I have not heard of having a pre hire letter as being a prerequisite to getting accepted, even for grant money. Those who get pre hires seem to already have a CDL or their training already. A pre hire is not a guarantee of a job. You will not usually be hired until the end of orientation. The pre hire is a bit misleading. You can be accepted with a pre hire, go through orientation and still not have a job if you are found to have lied on your application or they find something in your background you didn't put in your application. They could also reject you due to company policies. I recall being in orientation with one company many years ago where a new applicant was rejected due to his hair being too long and the way he dressed. He was a real slob and they didn't want him to represent their company. A lot of carriers don't even start checking your application until you get to orientation.

    Where you live may be causing you more of a problem than anything else. Not all companies hire from all 50 states. Some will hire in California but not in Nevada. There is a company listing on this forum which might help you. It lists basic hiring requirements for many of the larger carriers. By the way, most driving schools have contacts with carriers who hire inexperienced drivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired in Nevada View Post
    Werner is now out of the picture. I applied with Werner for a pre-hire letter in order to get into CDL school and obtain grant funding to pay for the school. Within less than 24 hours, the answer from Werner came back -- rejected. No reason given.
    That is probably not a bad thing. If you ask around, I think you'll find that most people would agree.

    When I worked at Knight, you had to have a minimum of 4 months experience and I've heard that that's now 6 months. I don't want to sound like a cheerleader for May Trucking but in your area, that would be a possible fit. That DUI though is going to scare many companies. Go down to the closest truck stop and just hang around for a while and write company names down. Then contact some of them.

    Also, get some of the recruiting magazines too while you're there and maybe talk to some drivers.

    Just a thought.

    GL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luzon View Post
    That is probably not a bad thing. If you ask around, I think you'll find that most people would agree.

    When I worked at Knight, you had to have a minimum of 4 months experience and I've heard that that's now 6 months. I don't want to sound like a cheerleader for May Trucking but in your area, that would be a possible fit. That DUI though is going to scare many companies. Go down to the closest truck stop and just hang around for a while and write company names down. Then contact some of them.

    Also, get some of the recruiting magazines too while you're there and maybe talk to some drivers.

    Just a thought.

    GL
    Actually, I have found that the DUI is not a problem because it is so ancient. The first thing that I have said to every recruiter with whom I have spoken is, "I have one DUI on my MVR. It is nearly 15 years old. Will the DUI disqualify me?". Every reply so far has been, "No, it won't, as long as that one is the only one that you have in your lifetime.", or words to that effect. That DUI is the only blemish on my MVR. With every application that I have sent in to trucking companies, I have included my 10-year MVR, which is spotless. No problem there.

    As for May Trucking, the last time that I spoke with them, they told me that they are not hiring residents of the Las Vegas area. Granted, that was a few months ago. Maybe they are now. But the main thing that turned me away from May, which I have read on other boards, is that if you idle your truck more than their very stingy percentage limit, they actually deduct money from your paycheck to pay for the "excess" fuel usage. No thanks!
    Last edited by Retired in Nevada; 09-22-2010 at 08:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired in Nevada View Post
    Of these three companies, which one would you recommend for a noob living near Las Vegas who is fresh out of CDL school and whose first priority is to get home as often as possible? Knight and Swift appear to me to have the most traffic lanes through Las Vegas and points nearby.
    Toss a dart, they're all the same bud.
    Only real difference is the color of the truck and ICC# on the door.
    What is Werner starting newbies out at .25 cpm?
    My uncle made that in 1985.
    I started at .26 cpm 11 years ago.
    See the pattern developing here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Syncrosonix View Post
    why in the hell does orientation take 10 days? shoot, why do companies have a 3+ day orientation? it's mostly company politics and bullcrap. orientation should take only one day, two days at the most.
    I know this is an old thread, but Watkins Shepard's ten day orientation is for recent CDL school graduates and inexperienced drivers. If you have at least a few years experience, you only have to attend for three days. Watkins Shepard doesn't have driver trainers, so every student hired at the end of orientation is assigned a truck and sent out solo. The ten days is to teach the new drivers what they didn't learn in CDL school and to make sure that these newbies can handle a rig all by themselves. They make a point to teach the new drivers how to downshift going downhill with a heavy load, and it's not enough for everyone to see it--they all have to DO it. The students get more time driving and shifting during orientation than they most likely did in school, and they have to navigate tight city streets as well as highways. I think it really just gets the students more comfortable behind the wheel so that they have some confidence in their abilities when they're sent off solo. It seems to work for W/S because their safety rating is comparable with, if not better than, most companies that send students off for weeks with a trainer.

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    iv'e been talking to watkins shepard i like em your known by your name and not buy a number. they have been very honest and up front with me so far. if you do go with watkins sheppard be prepared to go up to there missoula mt office for training. and no they do NOT lease trucks eathier there all company drivers or independant contractors with there own large cars so no worries about them trying to stick you in a lease wich your just a glorified company driver paying there bills. i think 50% of there trucks have apu's and inverters on them as well for your creature comforts. they run dry vans or flatbeds no reefer you don't need a hazmat eathier but i would get one anyways and make myself more marketable!! when i spoke with a driver yesturday he's been running 11 thousand miles a month on there flatbed side. and keep in mind that recruiters are used car sales people they will tell you what ever you want to hear and how glamourous trucking is to get you sighned on with them. and keep in mind there are some companies that will make you run like hell like your hairs on fire! avoid england and they will try to sucker you in the the lease deal iv'e talked to drivers who are in the negitive all the time. you might want to hang out at truck stops and talk to drivers about how there company is treating em.
    Last edited by ground_pounder; 04-14-2012 at 07:58 AM.

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    been driving for 6 years now... not a rookie but not a seasoned vet yet, but my advice? if your first priority is home time, you better try a 9-5 instead of trucking. if your priority shifts to monitary goals, and hard long hours are not objectionable to achieve those goals, then maybe trucking is for you. yes we all like to get home but the nature of the beast is to keep the wheels turning thus the income rolling in.
    just a dose of reality, hate to see another guy work hard to fail due to unreasonable expectations. otr is home every 2-6 weeks. i run with my wife and we run 6 weeks then take 5 days off. yea its rough but we have pretty serious goals and we work with a great company that rolls us 3000+ every week in their dedicated devision.the guys that want lots of home time dont run near as many miles. i think its difficult to coordinate specific loads going to a specific place so its easier for them to roll you from point to point. if that makes sense.

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    ajjr900 is offline Rookie
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    what has local carrier tru line said to you?

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