Well, I quit that job I had and decided I'd try something local...dump trucks. I figured after being on the road for a couple years it was time for a change. I wanted to have a more normal home life for a change. I wanted to be able to do some things I couldn't do while traveling all the time. I had never driven a dump truck before so I found a local company in Charlotte, NC and went for it.
So my new job turned out to be an interesting one. I was actually working for a landfill which accepted construction materials only. No food was allowed to be dumped there which we were all thankful for indeed. The landfill owned a few dump trucks and driving one of those was my first priority. If they didn't have anything for the dump trucks to do I did a wide variety of other jobs.
The landfill had bulldozers, front-end loaders, track hoes, and both a three-wheeled and a four-wheeled Terex crusher. The boss also did clearing, grading, and hauling jobs around the area. I never knew what I was going to be doing from day to day.
Some days I would crush garbage, some days drive dump truck, some days load dirt with the track hoe, and some days a combination of the three. I was also responsible for hauling the equipment around on a flatbed I pulled with the dump truck.
The variety of work was pretty fun and kept things interesting but the pay was pretty awful, so I decided it was time to go back on the road. Again I wanted to try something new. I had only driven a dry van over the road and a dump truck locally. I called a driver referral service and told them I was looking for a smaller company that went coast to coast and wanted something a bit different. They told me about a small food-grade tanker company out of Des Moines, IA that was looking for a driver. Food grade tanker? Huh... I never drove a tanker before and never drove over the road for a small company so I figured what the hell??? I gave em a call, sent my resume, and they said they'd give me a shot and I accepted. Des Moines, IA here I come!!! It turned out to be a pretty good job and a I learned a few good lessons along the way.
So I go off to Iowa, get my truck, and because I never drove a tanker before I went on the road with another driver for a week so he could show me how to run the pump and all the ins and outs of getting loaded, unloaded, and maintaining the temperature of the liquid when necessary.
So I go out on the road with another driver for a week and he shows me the ropes. Actually, there was nothing to it. Sometimes I had to pump the fluid out of my tanker and into the customer's storage tank. Sometimes the customer did it. The most important thing to remember was to open the lid before you began to pump off the load or the suction would collapse the tank. Not good. That would be about a $50,000 mistake. Luckily I never made that mistake.
I mentioned some of the discoveries I made during my year with this company regarding the advantages and disadvantages of pulling a tanker versus other types of trailers. I also discovered a lot about the differences between working at a small company versus a large one.
This company only had eleven drivers. We had one owner, who didn't know much about anything it seemed. We had one dispatcher, who was masterful and experienced in the food-grade tanker arena. Lastly, we had one secretary who the drivers never really dealt with. Being a small company, we didn't have the money behind us, we didn't have the accounts set up with truck stops and customers, we didn't have spare tanks for drop and hooks, and we didn't have 24 hours dispatchers when we needed them. Yeah, you could call the owner or dispatcher at 3:00 a.m. but it better be a pretty damn good reason.
Just before I went to work at this company they had a secretary that stole a bunch of money from the company and nobody knew it for a while. She was writing checks from the company to her personal bank account instead of paying the bills. So the late fees starting piling up, the company's credit was ruined, and the company financially was barely hanging on by a thread. I had no idea at first but found out soon enough.
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