Since there's not a new Knight review for this year...

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
I drive for Knight. This is posted from the sleeper of my '17 Prostar I'm assigned, sitting in a Knight yard while I wake up to start my day, with a load assigned. I have not and honestly will not accept compensation for representation of the company on a professional level... I'd rather maintain my neutrality in that aspect.

I originally thought to drive for Knight as I had liked what I had seen just as a motorist. Their trucks were usually clean, looked well maintained (as I never saw any with the hood up on the side of the road) and the drivers seemed to be courteous and otherwise just...good.

Did research here, did research throughout the internet including videos. Decided to put my hat into the ring, as they have their own school which I would need as I didn't have a CDL at the time. Their school is MGIB accredited, which means that you can use your military benefits to cover the cost of the school (if you have those benefits). Otherwise, the school is....$3000? for 4 weeks down in Phoenix with the Squire crew.

Little bit about that $3k. That money amount is important, as it's deducted at a standard $25 a week during training, then $50 a week following that. As I opted for daily pay, I had it changed to $5 a day, which changed to $10 a day once I finished my probationary 30k miles.

The only contractual obligation you have to Knight as a new CDL trainee hire, is payment of your CDL course once you graduate Squire and go on to Trainer/Solo time. It's a zero interest loan you pay back over time. If you find that you want to leave to go elsewhere for any reason, you can do so, however the remainder of your CDL cost is due in full at that point. You're not contractually "stuck" there, unless your fiscals suck.

Transportation and housing are tacked onto the CDL bill, if you need it. I, having dealt with military transportation and reimbursement, worked things out differently to my advantage... They don't pay for transport to/from CDL school, but will pay for transportation to/from + housing to the Driver Qualification Program... basically their 3 day orientation/interview/qualification program they run. About 30 people actually showed up, myself being the only "cherry" with just a learners permit. Only 9 of us actually got hired. Some bailed when the pee test came up, some were released when we did our physical assessment. Some ran their mouths about previous driving.....experiences that were less than positive.

Squire is focused on getting your CDL, pure and simple. You learn the maneuvers by heart to pass your CDL test, and do enough road time to pass your road test. They have independent examiners that they use to test you out, which lets you waive road tests in most states.

Trainer time went well for me, as I had a good trainer who taught me quite a bit about actual over the road trucking, as well as company specific nuances.

Solo time so far... I don't generally have a problem keeping above 2500 miles a week, usually averaging 3000 or so with a rolling 8-ish hour work day so I just keep on trucking. I completed my 30k probationary period in less than a fiscal quarter, which also meant I received the quarterly performance/safety/MPG bonus. It was a nice surprise, as I wasn't sure I would get it.

I pretty much do 2800 miles or more a week, I have a nice truck that they seem to care about keeping maintained. My dispatcher works with me on loads when he can, sometimes the load I get I don't have a choice about other than take it or sit.

My gripes are primarily about our onboard logging system. Some people still have Qualcomms, but the majority of the company fleet has Zonars. These things are Android tablets that interface with a truck-to-tablet interface box. You have RFID tags on the trucks and trailers you scan as you go along on your pretrip, which is handy in one aspect... if you have faults, you can photograph them so the shop/dispatch can see what you are talking about and help provide service. It's an annoyance as you have to carry it with you, and I'm a hands on monkey when it comes to my pretrips. I'm fondling everything on my truck... mmm lemme touch those fun bags I mean air bags... bla de blah.

Sometimes the tags are messed up on trailers. Sometimes trailers are messed up period, but I make a point to sometimes take crappy trailers that need work, as I can let dispatch know that it needs work (if it's actually roadworthy otherwise) and I just get loads that bring me close to one of our shops... then depending on how bad the trailer is, I either leave it and find another to continue work (as I am having to do right now) or it just gets fixed and I go about my business. I get dispatched miles added to my loads for this, which means I get paid for doing this just the same as I get paid for actually hauling freight.

Nuances about Knight: Each terminal effectively functions as it's own little company... which means each terminal does things just a little bit different, but there's standards across the company that never change.
Knight Transportation, Knight Tricolor, Knight Refrigerated and Knight Port are all their own entities, if you want to cross over you have an abbreviated hiring process to transfer divisions. Not all terminals have all divisions working out of them, so you may find your "home terminal" ends up being further away than what terminal is actually closest to you.

All in all, I have had a good experience so far. I still intend on becoming an owner-operator, and have been saving since day 1 towards that goal. Company trucks and drivers have the advantage of if it breaks HARD, you can just shift to a different truck either until yours is fixed, or permanently... but you can only install so many things in a truck. Our trucks are slowly getting inverters installed across the board, but you have to provide your own refrigerator if you want it. No APU's means you have to idle for comfort... but I generally find that working intelligently means I can shut down for the night in locations where I only idle minimally, then make do with open sleeper windows for ventilation and cooling.

Oh, what everyone screams about... Pay. Straight out of CDL school you make .33 a mile. Finish your 30k probie status, get a raise to .38 a mile. I get paid .36 now, as I am using their per diem program for initial simplicity plus keeping my earned income lower through it as I have significant income otherwise that is non-taxable, so staying in the lowest bracket possible is beneficial. More money in my wallet when it's all said and done. Following 30k, you now will get yearly raises provided you perform. Current drivers coming to Knight will have their experience rewarded accordingly on a case by case basis, but I don't know what rates they get.

I would recommend working here, based off of my own experience. Any questions, feel free to ask and I will do the best of my ability to answer them.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
Addendum about Squire CDL school:

Housing and transportation is not covered to the school. If you cannot cover it yourself, they will coordinate it for you and add on the cost of the hotel and transportation to your CDL School loan. If you do that, you're looking at around $4,500 or so from what one of my buddies said, who had them do that.

DQP they provide a hotel plus transportation to the terminal you're hiring into.

I got "lucky" as they had nobody to do DQP at the time, at my local terminal. I did DQP in Phoenix, then immediately started Squire training... Which meant my transportation to/from DQP now was transportation to/from Squire, and my housing was a freebie as I had a friend who lent me their RV in their backyard, for the month I was down in Phoenix. Total housing cost ended up being a couple twelve packs of beer, a bottle of Laphroaig 15 year, and a steak dinner. Winning.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thanks for the review. Never really hear much about this company, which is probably a good sign for them.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
No problem! I am still saving to get my own truck, but I am happy driving what I have now, where I am now. Once I have everything lined up for my own truck, I will be looking at options for who to lease on to, just because I might as well shop around for who will pay me the most at that point.
 

Kenobi27

Member
Thanks for this. Been looking all over for updated info. I start next week on Oct 10th. Coming from Cali with permit and DOT medical with all endorsements. Doc said no requirement to carry cards anymore ...that true? I just have a copy of the long form.
Was going with Prime but recruiter bailed on me when I couldn't prove work history with W2's (I was a stay at home dad for last 4.5 years, first call he said it was fine, second call he said it wasn't, needed W2's to proceed). Tried Swift but recruiter was a fast talking southern accent gentleman from Memphis, TN. Could barely understand him. Then a sweet lady from Knight called and sold me. Clear, friendly, understandable and worked with me on a couple of things. That call gave me a professional image of the company. Been looking online at truckers report and trucking truth but their posts are dated from 2012 2013 so thanks for this updated thread.
How do you get a fridge on the truck? Do they come with built in? Or would I have to wait for inverters installed?
I'm looking to do either dry or reefer 48 OTR with minimal home time. Just want a fridge and a coffee pot to keep me going...;}
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
I'd invest in a 12 volt truck fridge


Got one out of a prostar at Vander Haag in Sioux falls SD in 2013.

Best $250 I've spent
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
Want a stock fridge, go reefer. They supposedly have them. I cannot say for sure they do, as I do not know anyone that drives reefer. I will check tonight, as I will be at a terminal with Refrigerated based there.

My dry van, redneck as a mofo solution?

1475623219484-1074857301.jpg

$100 12v coleman cooler from amazon..... cools to 40 below ambient....

Except, I drive a piece of heavy machinery with built in climate control! Dryer vent from the far passenger AC vent, to the intake at the top heat exchanger? Boom 40 below ambient now equals...Ice.

I had an issue with a gap in employment as well, at first....until I dropped the medically retired combat veteran card.... I work because I want to, not because I "need to".... but I enjoy the gig.

I cannot say everything is peaches and creme (not everyone has the same level of anality/attention to detail I do, so I pick up trailers with issues about every 4th drop and hook, but you just tell dispatch it needs to get to a shop and you bounce between loads that get you close, therefore being paid to get it fixed...and gee, terminals have facilities and are secured, so you dont have to worry), but I have had a good time so far here, and will be here until...and possibly after, I get my own truck. We will see at that point. But now, as a company driver? I have gotten taken care of when in shops, offices help even when it isn't my home terminal, and I am never wanting for a load.

Only reason I am probably sitting tonight at one of our terminals with an empty trailer and no load planned is because I borked and underestimated Chicago's ability to screw anything up, including my hour early timeline for this load....
 

Kenobi27

Member
Ha! We might be alike ...'cept you got hair. Looks like something I would do! Don't want to go broke with truck stop food. I'd prolly do same thing with trailers, if it's broke, gotta fix it. Call it in or whatever. Just want to keep busy and save for a house. Or maybe a truck like you, if it get's me a better house. I'm coming from Cali but will do home time in Albany NY every 4-6 weeks for couple days. Could I choose my terminal or would I get based out there? Think I'd better get my feet wet doing western or 48 before doing northeast. Just hear it's a clusterf*%@# up there for truckers.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
The east coast can be challenging, for those not from there. EXPRESSWAY, NOT PARKWAY.....LOL

That other stuff, your recruiter will address if you ask. I don't know.
 

Kenobi27

Member
How long ago did you train with them? With the trainer were you dispatched as solo, team or a little of both? My recruiter, Summer I think her name was, told me two weeks accelerated course, test out with 3rd party, go back to home state to transfer cdl, go out with trainer for 4 weeks then test out in company test to get solo truck. Seems pretty short and sweet compared to Prime and others which sound like they can go for months to get cdl. Also Knight does not offer any kind of tuition reimbursement that I know of like a lot of other companies do.
Not worried about it, just looking at differences that set Knight apart from the rest of the pack. Can't wait to get started.
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
I finished my 30k probie status about a month ago.

Training varies, they are finally working on some serious standardized train the trainer stuff.

I ran as a modified team member most of the time I was with my trainer. Difference being that I learned how to drive big trucks as one of many extra tasks in the Army, then worked on them for a bit, then drove heavy straight trucks in thr form of fuel tankers and fire trucks, plus have owned and done decent time with trailers from 20-40ft... so big truck was just a slight size increase, doctrinal introduction to pretrips (all of which I already did as weekly/monthly vehicle inspections, and daily inspections when towing) and rinning a big truck gearbox.

I couldn't find any reefer drivers parked here tonight, so I will put that awnser on the "delayed response, if i remember" list. :)

Did find glorious bbq though, most terminals have local caterers/food trucks thst are there most days. Real nice if you find yourself holed up for a night and want some fresh food....rib tips and pulled pork.....beans to die for, and I am used to a NV state bbq champions fare back home...

You know it was good chow when your burps make you hungry. Lol
 

Kenobi27

Member
Nice... good to have good food at the ready. I don't have that background but I am mechanically inclined so pre trips wouldn't be a problem other than memory. Not adverse to teaming after I get my sea legs, might get bored with a trainer in jump seat after couple weeks. Don't know though, might be good for fine tuning, whole new experience for me. Thanks for checking on the fridge.
Last question: Automatics... I know they'll train me on a stick but will they stick me with an auto?
 

Ranger_375

Well-Known Member
The industry at large seems to be heading to autos. My assigned truck is a 10 speed auto, it has its downsides and upsides.

If you train with a trainer that has a stick, you can get signed off on a stick. I was taught in Squire on a stick, but my trainer had an auto so I am stuck in autos. I haven't really bothered researching how a current driver can get manual certed... most likely it eould be doing a short team/trainer stint with our road test dude.

Autos have their benefits... especially in the city or stop and go traffic.

Regarding card carrying for your dot medical....yes you need to carry the short form bit with you...not everything. Bring everything you have to squire. Biggest thing, ask questions. All three instructors down there know their stuff very well and had significant wheel time before moving into those positions, and if you show interest by asking, will show you more than just the book answer.
 

dchawk81

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I run dedicated in the Northeast as a local. I don't do NY though. Just PA, NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV. You can do well or get screwed all depending what time you go in where and how confident you are with maneuvering the truck.

I don't work for Knight. Just speaking NE in general since I've been doing it a bit now.
 

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
Want a stock fridge, go reefer. They supposedly have them. I cannot say for sure they do, as I do not know anyone that drives reefer. I will check tonight, as I will be at a terminal with Refrigerated based there.

My dry van, redneck as a mofo solution?

View attachment 36564

$100 12v coleman cooler from amazon..... cools to 40 below ambient....

Except, I drive a piece of heavy machinery with built in climate control! Dryer vent from the far passenger AC vent, to the intake at the top heat exchanger? Boom 40 below ambient now equals...Ice.

I had an issue with a gap in employment as well, at first....until I dropped the medically retired combat veteran card.... I work because I want to, not because I "need to".... but I enjoy the gig.

I cannot say everything is peaches and creme (not everyone has the same level of anality/attention to detail I do, so I pick up trailers with issues about every 4th drop and hook, but you just tell dispatch it needs to get to a shop and you bounce between loads that get you close, therefore being paid to get it fixed...and gee, terminals have facilities and are secured, so you dont have to worry), but I have had a good time so far here, and will be here until...and possibly after, I get my own truck. We will see at that point. But now, as a company driver? I have gotten taken care of when in shops, offices help even when it isn't my home terminal, and I am never wanting for a load.

Only reason I am probably sitting tonight at one of our terminals with an empty trailer and no load planned is because I borked and underestimated Chicago's ability to screw anything up, including my hour early timeline for this load....
You've blocked your passenger side door. My opinion, that's not a good idea. In the event of an emergency, it might be your only way out and anything that delays your exit could mean the difference between getting out... ...or not.
 

dchawk81

Well-Known Member
Supporter
You've blocked your passenger side door. My opinion, that's not a good idea. In the event of an emergency, it might be your only way out and anything that delays your exit could mean the difference between getting out... ...or not.
Especially when you gotta pee along the road.

Could be the difference between hitting a laundromat or not.
 

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
Especially when you gotta pee along the road.

Could be the difference between hitting a laundromat or not.
You can make a joke if you wish.

But having a clear passenger side exit is how I got out of this:
20160917_085037.png
 

dchawk81

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Dayum you were definitely lucky.
 

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