Not new to driving but starting again

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
First off I want to say that i am not exactly new to driving, well some who have been driving for a while might still consider me a rookie. I started driving in 1995 until 1997. I went into the army in 1997 and drove alot of different vehicles in several different countries. I left the Army and went to a school to get my CDL again and drove for about 5 months before Uncle sam called to me again. It has been 6yrs since i have drove a Big Truck professionally but again i have driven big Military trucks that happen to have automatics. I left the Army in July of 2007 and a few weeks ago, I decided to start driving again. Here is where the fun begins i aplied to several companies and all had said the same thing, that although i have had previous experience it has not been recent enough. even though i drove big trucks in the Military. Keep in mind that i have a clean driving record no accidents and no criminal history. So the only way to get my foot into the door is to go back to school which i cannot afford with having to pay child support or find a company that trains. Now i have been to several Forums and have read the good and bad of them all. the only two that would consider me was Swift and Stevens i contacted England and they never called back. So i am forced to take option A Stevens or Option B Swift. I have decided to Go with stevens because they have a pet policy and my Girlfriend wont leave without her dog. I also decided to document the process honestly and impartial thru my retraining all the way to solo and should my employment end for any reason i will give complete details why. I know someone from stevens and swift have done threads but the more information out there the more informed people will be. if my situation changes and i have another company to sign on with i will still document my experience. With that said I will Start my documentary.

As it stands on Monday i will call Stevens and let them know i am still planning on attending. My Flight yes Flight as i am not crazy about busses which i am paying for myself to dallas leaves on friday. I have filled out the nessessary paperwork and got the green light so far. Last year at the tender age of 36 i had a minor heart attack which i had to have 3 stints placed and i am currently having to take medication. So me always being somewhat prepared decided to research the issue and consult the FMCSR and found out that i can be medically qualified. so my worry thus far has been calmed until i read on a forum that someone got released for a medical condition that was cleared by a doctor. I decided to see even before I go if i would be cleared and had a facility who does D.O.T. physicals and see if i pass and get All the ammo i need if they want to try and use it against me. Well I passed the Physical and come to find out they do all of the Idaho Department of Transportation Physicals for the state employees and they issued me my medical card. Well i guess this is it for now, more later.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If a pet policy is important to you, might I suggest pulling a dry van for Crete.

I pulled a reefer for several years, and I finally came to a conclusion I wish I would have long ago. It makes absolutely no sense to pull a noisy reefer, and take on the added responsibilities that go along with pulling one of these trailers, when the companies are not paying you any extra money for it.

Reefers, for the most part, mean increased trips to grocery warehouses, which means more time setting around and not making money.

Crete's pet policy is "free".
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
re

If a pet policy is important to you, might I suggest pulling a dry van for Crete.

I pulled a reefer for several years, and I finally came to a conclusion I wish I would have long ago. It makes absolutely no sense to pull a noisy reefer, and take on the added responsibilities that go along with pulling one of these trailers, when the companies are not paying you any extra money for it.

Reefers, for the most part, mean increased trips to grocery warehouses, which means more time setting around and not making money.

Crete's pet policy is "free".
The problem i face is two fold 1. I havent been behind the wheel in 6 yrs without a training program to give me refresher training no one will hire me except for the ones who have their own schools. i am in a grey area where i am not a new graduate and my experience is not recent so i am kind of in limbo. 2 i had to let my hazmat go in 2004 because i needed to renew the license before my unit went to germany and didn't have time to take the test now its a limited funds issue that holds me back.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I can understand the limited funds issue.

Good luck with your re-entry into the trucking world. A ton has changed since 1997 as you will find out very soon :)
 

MorrisGray

looking-4-place-2-drive_
hey bullwinkle ...

Do you work for Crete now? Or can you recommend them? Top consideration for me right now and I need to make up my mind soon.

TIA, Tony / Ringgold
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
OK just got off of the phone with the recruitment dept with Stevens. WOW I forgot how hard it was to go Thur the application process. They want just about as much info as the military did. I have a copy of my birth cert but not an original with the raised seal. I applied for a certified copy but it will take some time since its coming from Hawaii. Thank god i have other acceptable forms as proof that i am an American citizen. My Flight leaves out on Saturday so let the games begin. Just to let you all know this was a hard decision to make and not a choice i would have gone with if i had some recent experience. we all have to play the cards we were dealt in life it just so happens this time around i have two pair. So with that said it came down to Swift or Stevens. I am at a low point in my life where it seems everything is going wrong, but i have a shining light and her name is Jess my Girlfriend. Jess is the one who keeps me on track when i feel like i am going to derail. Because of certain events in my life it has caused me to be in this situation and i have to make the best of it. To quote Gary Allen, Life ain't always beautiful but its a beautiful ride. More later.
 

rooster

Bass ackwards driver
I don't know what your opinion of Covenant is,but I have a friend who works for them.He was off the road for about 5 years for personal reasons,but because he had a previous 2 yrs. experience,they hired him,put him with a trainer,and off they went. He stayed about 2 years then went to a better company,but got back in the game theough them. Just a suggestion,possible way of getting back in if it'll work for you,may not,don't know,don't hurt to try!:dunno:
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
I don't know what your opinion of Covenant is,but I have a friend who works for them.He was off the road for about 5 years for personal reasons,but because he had a previous 2 yrs. experience,they hired him,put him with a trainer,and off they went. He stayed about 2 years then went to a better company,but got back in the game theough them. Just a suggestion,possible way of getting back in if it'll work for you,may not,don't know,don't hurt to try!:dunno:

I used to live in Alabama, near the Georgia border. I have been to the Covenant HQ in Chattanoga. I got a chance to talk to a couple of drivers at the Terminal and they pretty much told me the same thing dont come here if you dont have to. fast forward 6yrs and i applied, left messages and to this date no response. I even contacted England got no response just voice mails. the only ones who talked to me was Swift and Stevens. Stevens was the one that stayed in contact with me so i guess i am going there. They are going to take a chance on me so i will take a chance on them. I even got a letter from Schnieder saying they were not hiring in my area. I know there has been some negitave comments about Stevens, but i heared some positive ones as well. This is why i am writing this thread from Start to finish to share my experience to put out even more info for future drivers who want to know what the whole process of going thru training to solo driving and the ups and downs one experiences along the way.

Thank you for your imput believe me it is much appreciated and gives others who look at this thread another company to look at when considering a company to work for.

John AKA Hillbillyinidaho hope to see you on the big road.
 

MorrisGray

looking-4-place-2-drive_
Keep us posted on Stevens ....

I know I would like to hear all as it plays out for you. Will be going thru same process myself, just have not decided who with yet. Got to be soon though. Good luck and try to keep posting about your experience as it falls for you.

MorrisGray / Ringgold GA:woohoo:
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
update

I know I would like to hear all as it plays out for you. Will be going thru same process myself, just have not decided who with yet. Got to be soon though. Good luck and try to keep posting about your experience as it falls for you.

MorrisGray / Ringgold GA:woohoo:

I will be flying out in the morning i will try and leave an update when i can. the plan is to leave an update everyday but as the training goes on it will be when the oppertunity presents itself. If you do choose Stevens I hope to see ya there.

John.
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
update

I left the house at 8 am Saturday and everything went smoothly to the airport, the flight is another story. I landed about 4pm in Dallas and had to wait for about 45 min on my ride to the Hotel. The driver had a Toyota SUV and it was pretty full from picking up other Stevens employees. I found out that Stevens uses two hotels a Howard Johnson’s that didn’t look to bad and the Crossland Extended stay where I am currently at. It’s not a bad place just very basic it has a kitchenette, cable and two twin beds. The room is small but so is the sleeper of a truck. My room mate is cool his name is Henry, he is from Pine Bluff Arkansas he is also a fellow student. The Hotel does have Wifi it costs 6 dollars and is good for your entire stay. I will probably be here for 3 wks so 6 bucks is a good deal.

Today Sunday the 20th we went to the terminal for the study hall. I didn't have to stay for very long because i have my CDL already so i took the opportunity to have a little look around. They have a lot of T2000's they all look nice on the outside but i didn't have the chance to look on the inside yet. I see that they still run some T600 and a couple of century class freight shakers but are phasing them out. There are some 387 pete's and a new T660 but are for the contract division. It is overall a nice facility and they have a separate drivers building that has laundry facilities, pool tables, phone room, a lounge room complete with big screen TV. So far in the class is rather small. there is 16 with me and about the same in the class that came a week prior. There is a big lots to get some basic need items when you first get here and they make a weekly trip to wal-mart on Sundays. you have to sign in every day so that the hotel knows you are still with them. They do have some basic rules while you are here they are as follows

1. You must sign in daily
2. All rooms are non-smoking unless your room mate is a smoker then you can smoke in the room only two trainee's per room.
3.breakfast is from 5:30 to 7:15 am, keep in mind that the first bus leaves at 5:30 so plan accordingly.
4. No alcohol consumption while staying at the crosslands hotel.
5. no pets are allowed.

pretty much that is it.

After a couple of days you can sign for meal money and it will be deducted from your future pay keep that in mind if you are going that route, i myself brought plenty to get me thru. I guess my day will be starting at 7 am tomorrow so i will sign off for now and i will update again tomorrow night.

John.
 

rooster

Bass ackwards driver
Well right there it sounds like he made a better decision then ending up at any swift terminal except the Pheniox office.
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
update

Sorry for the delay in my message, a lot of things have happened since my last post. I am no longer at Stevens. I was medically disqualified because my stress test was not within the last 12 months. It was 13 months so i was just outside their window. A lot of things other posters have said about Stevens are true and some are not. Some make it through and some don't. I am now back home and still have intentions of driving again but it will not be with Stevens, Fortunately i got out before it got expensive for me. If i would have made it it would have cost me 4995 for the training and 593.00 for the hotel and additional food expense money. yours will be different depending on how long you will be there and if they paid for your bus fare. you will be paying that amount back at 25.00 a week until its paid and you will be paying a 100 a month in tuition back for the first year so basically you will be paying 1200 in tuition and Stevens will pay the rest. I honestly believe i got a raw deal and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I also said that i would be honest with my experience and i would say that if you could go somewhere else then do it. If you can't then do your time and go to another company. I am going to take a refresher course and leave the CDL mils behind.
To henry my roommate i hope you make it and do good things for your family and it was an honor to have you as my roommate and friend.
To the rest if you want to know more just pm me.

John.
 

MorrisGray

looking-4-place-2-drive_
Wow, hate to hear that John. Please keep me in mind and let me know of any other "possible good selections" of good companies to start with in your opinion. Good luck... T.Morris
 

hillbillyinidaho

not a rookie
Wow, hate to hear that John. Please keep me in mind and let me know of any other "possible good selections" of good companies to start with in your opinion. Good luck... T.Morris
I would see about a good driving school first, If not then try a company that does train like Stevens or Swift. you might not like it in the begining but once you get your foot in the door and keep your record clean the possibilities are endless.
 

rooster

Bass ackwards driver
Hey thanx for the tip on stevens,I know not to waste the time or money on their orientation.Sorry to hear it went down that way,but yeah there are other opportunities out there.Good Luck and be safe.
 
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