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Ada/Canyon County (Boise/Nampa/Caldwell area) Idaho Truckers Only: Rate Your Local Companies

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Jonathan Bailey's Comment
member avatar

Well...... where to start....

Okie dokie, here goes.

1). ALL major carriers are big on safety. That simple. You can't grow a company if you are constantly paying fines and repairing crashes vehicles.

2) standard is 1 day home for every week out. There are some companies that will work with you more on home time than others. But this isn't the military and you are not salaried. If you are sitting on your butt at home you are just going broke.

3) You can be as sociable as you want as long as you make sure the freight is where it has to be on time and safe.

4) most companies will try their best to pair up rookies with a trainer of the same tobacco preferences. Once you are solo it is your house. You can choose to have it non smoking in your truck. However, you may have to wipe down the walls and febreeze the seats. There is a good chance whoever had the truck before you was a smoker.

5). No one is going to dictate your diet. If you don't drink coffee and soda; stock up all the water you can carry. You want healthy meals, make sure to pony out the money for a crockpot, lunchbox oven, and a 12v skillet. Don't forget the thermoelectric cooler. Remember you have 10hrs to eat, sleep, exercise, and conduct personal hygiene. Divide that time up however you want.

10 hours to do personal business a day. So, the other 14 hours is on the employer's clock?

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan Baily wrote:

10 hours to do personal business a day. So, the other 14 hours is on the employer's clock?

The 10 hours is the minimum required off-duty time required after driving the maximum of 11 hours. Can you take a longer break? Yes, as long as you can make your delivery appointment. Most of us the majority of that 10 hour period for sleep...you'll need it. "On-the-employer's-clock" is a concept foreign to most of us in the trucking business. It's your clock Patrick was referring to. We are paid to drive with either a CPM (cents per mile) rate or a percentage of the freight bill. There is a small percentage of drivers paid hourly. See this link for a detailed description:

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

The 14 hours you asked about is the maximum amount of on-duty hours allowed that you can drive 11 hours within.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jonathan Bailey's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan Baily wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

10 hours to do personal business a day. So, the other 14 hours is on the employer's clock?

double-quotes-end.png

The 10 hours is the minimum required off-duty time required after driving the maximum of 11 hours. Can you take a longer break? Yes, as long as you can make your delivery appointment. Most of us the majority of that 10 hour period for sleep...you'll need it. "On-the-employer's-clock" is a concept foreign to most of us in the trucking business. It's your clock Patrick was referring to. We are paid to drive with either a CPM (cents per mile) rate or a percentage of the freight bill. There is a small percentage of drivers paid hourly. See this link for a detailed description:

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

The 14 hours you asked about is the maximum amount of on-duty hours allowed that you can drive 11 hours within.

Thank you, G-Town, I now see this more clearly. The more you deliver a month, the fatter paychecks get. So, this is a fluctuating pay occupation. No time clocks to punch. It sounds like this is a job where people learn largely by doing and not from a textbook. It would be nice to look at documentary films on truckers in the work place to see exactly how they live day to day. How they manage their time. How they get the laundry done even. Since it seems they are on the road most of the time, it is as if their truck is their wife they are married to. This seems a life for gypsies and monks. It seems as this occupation requires a lot of careful planning. Truckers are human too. They are not supermen. They, like army troops, have to eat, sleep, shave, sh_t, shower, go to the doctor on occasions, go to the dentist on occasions, wash clothes and manage personal bills and finances like everybody else. I am sure modern truckers carry notebook PCs and smartphones on the road these days.

I have heard that Swift drivers at least stay at hotel rooms not in sleeper cabs. That is nice.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan is hearing things:

I have heard that Swift drivers at least stay at hotel rooms not in sleeper cabs. That is nice.

During school yes. Maybe once or twice leading up to or while road training. Otherwise a rare occurance. Hotel Freightliner.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Jonathan Baily wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

10 hours to do personal business a day. So, the other 14 hours is on the employer's clock?

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

The 10 hours is the minimum required off-duty time required after driving the maximum of 11 hours. Can you take a longer break? Yes, as long as you can make your delivery appointment. Most of us the majority of that 10 hour period for sleep...you'll need it. "On-the-employer's-clock" is a concept foreign to most of us in the trucking business. It's your clock Patrick was referring to. We are paid to drive with either a CPM (cents per mile) rate or a percentage of the freight bill. There is a small percentage of drivers paid hourly. See this link for a detailed description:

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

The 14 hours you asked about is the maximum amount of on-duty hours allowed that you can drive 11 hours within.

double-quotes-end.png

Thank you, G-Town, I now see this more clearly. The more you deliver a month, the fatter paychecks get. So, this is a fluctuating pay occupation. No time clocks to punch. It sounds like this is a job where people learn largely by doing and not from a textbook. It would be nice to look at documentary films on truckers in the work place to see exactly how they live day to day. How they manage their time. How they get the laundry done even. Since it seems they are on the road most of the time, it is as if their truck is their wife they are married to. This seems a life for gypsies and monks. It seems as this occupation requires a lot of careful planning. Truckers are human too. They are not supermen. They, like army troops, have to eat, sleep, shave, sh_t, shower, go to the doctor on occasions, go to the dentist on occasions, wash clothes and manage personal bills and finances like everybody else. I am sure modern truckers carry notebook PCs and smartphones on the road these days.

I have heard that Swift drivers at least stay at hotel rooms not in sleeper cabs. That is nice.

You can read my day to day life that I documented at the link below. This will be your best insight into the real life of a trucker.

Daniel's Trucking Diary

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan, I'm thinking you still "don't get it".

My multiple degrees mean zilch, nada, zip, zero in this business. If I perform at a high level of efficiency, I'll be rewarded with-- more work. If I don't perform​ at a high level, my dispatcher would be upset, angry even, and he would reduce my work load... Starve out sub par performers as it were.

I fully expect to work 70 hours in a week-- that's the NORM! I'm WELL PAID for the work that I do and am a slave to NO ONE. Company culture means nothing to me. Why? Because the only person you'll deal with regularly is your dispatcher. That contact is generally through Qualcomm messages and sometimes by telephone.

I'm thinking a documentary would be some glossed over entertainment type of BS and would be unlikely to give real insight into our chosen profession/Lifestyle. We are telling you how it is but you appear to persist in not believing it. Trucking certainly isn't for everyone and there's no shame in that. Less than 5% of brand new drivers actually make it through their first year, and many "failures" are due to unreasonable expectations.

Personally I love the adventure, the freedom, the daily challenges, and even the solitude.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jonathan Bailey's Comment
member avatar

Jonathan, I'm thinking you still "don't get it".

My multiple degrees mean zilch, nada, zip, zero in this business. If I perform at a high level of efficiency, I'll be rewarded with-- more work. If I don't perform​ at a high level, my dispatcher would be upset, angry even, and he would reduce my work load... Starve out sub par performers as it were.

I fully expect to work 70 hours in a week-- that's the NORM! I'm WELL PAID for the work that I do and am a slave to NO ONE. Company culture means nothing to me. Why? Because the only person you'll deal with regularly is your dispatcher. That contact is generally through Qualcomm messages and sometimes by telephone.

I'm thinking a documentary would be some glossed over entertainment type of BS and would be unlikely to give real insight into our chosen profession/Lifestyle. We are telling you how it is but you appear to persist in not believing it. Trucking certainly isn't for everyone and there's no shame in that. Less than 5% of brand new drivers actually make it through their first year, and many "failures" are due to unreasonable expectations.

Personally I love the adventure, the freedom, the daily challenges, and even the solitude.

Miss Susan D.

I was an American soldier for seven years. Is MILITARY SERVICE for everybody? Is being a doctor, farmer, cowboy, baker, carpenter or plumber for everybody? Do you think I don't understand the meaning of TOUGH?

What don't I get, ma'am? Has any trucker here been in military service? Have you stood in a wet, muddy foxhole when it was freezing at two in the morning and had maybe had four hours intermittent sleep at best for every 24 hours of field maneuvers duty in a cold tent? Yes, I drove trucks in the army. Over 1,300 miles each way on one field maneuver. The five-tons and deuce-and-a-halfs top out at 50 mph downhill. They are geared for low off-road speeds mainly. The deuces had no power steering and I have sprained my thumb at least once in the field when the front tire caught a rut in the mud.

No cab air conditioning in the hot summer sun in White Sands, New Mexico desert. In cold icy Germany, my wrecker truck did not even have cab heat, for goodness sake!

What could be tougher than military service for making a living? I think service vets are probably the best candidates on the job market potentially for the commercial hauling field.

Our society has many different needful occupations including trucking. Somebody has to do each and every one of them. Everybody can't do them all. Trucking is a noble trade and so is being a nurse, mason or a fireman. Without trucks, I would starve to death. How else does my food get from the farm to my local supermarket? Many people frown upon large trucks as a danger and a nuisance to motorists on public highways. I once felt mad when a stone was kicked up by a semi I was passing on the left and pitted the windshield on my brand new Corvette 25 years ago. yes, I was much more affluent when I was much younger than I am now.

I am living on $1,075 a month, VA Pension benefit for disability, plus $37 in food stamps. About half my paltry income goes toward apartment rent and that is WITH a roommate here in little "poor" Idaho. Poverty is NOT my bag either. Yes, eventually I am going to have to compromise between being poor and having nothing but time on my hands at home and sacrificing personally to make a decent living somehow.

I miss the companionship of having a pet dog. When I was working as an automobile mechanic by trade, I had a local job and was off every evening at five to see my two hounds at home and walk them every evening or play ball with them. The onset of non-work-related disability made me poor and I could no longer keep the dogs. They went to new homes. Devastated, I was seeing a VA shrink because of suicidal depression for a while. I can no longer do that sort of work, bent under a hood all day long, due to back issues. I have hereditary arthritis. My father and his brother, my uncle, had it from an early age. I went to college for the past couple of years on a voc/rehab dept. program and got a computer information science degree but I understand that this field heavily discriminates against older Americans. I may get a state or other civil service job in IT or office clerical but then again may not. I am keeping trucking as a possibility on the back burner for now in case the occupations I desire don't come true.

So, you please tell me what I could do for a living?

Yes, trucking will put me in enough money to afford the costs of such companion animal, bu will rarely allow me to be home to enjoy that pet's company often. I would have to make arrangements for a professional pet sitter and deal with such expense accordingly. I have heard that Swift allows drivers to have dogs on the road but I do not want to coop a poor animal up like that.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Do you think I don't understand the meaning of TOUGH?

You may have done tough things in the past but it sure doesn't sound to me like you're looking for that anymore.

You're asking all the wrong questions and you have all of the wrong expectations.

We have a ton of military vets here. They don't often ask if we're slaves to our company. They don't cite worries about companies being OSHA compliant or about their corporate culture, and they don't insist on only putting in 40 hours a week. That sounds like old man ready for retirement talk to us. This is trucking. You'll put in 40 hours of official work by Thursday, and another 10 of unofficial work on top of that, with half the week to go yet.

You've spent an awful lot of time talking about how great you are and how many great things you've done, and you've spent lots of time talking about your expectations of this industry and the people in it, but I don't recall you asking what you can do to prepare yourself for this career or what you can do to find a path to success out there.

If you want to talk about your qualifications and ride on your past successes and pontificate about your expectations of others then become a politician. If you want to work your ass off and put in 70 hours a week and take on the risks and demands of a very difficult industry and prove to the people in this industry that you have what it takes to do this then start reading the materials we've told you to read and start preparing yourself for this career.

You do not sound to me like someone who's geared up and ready for this level of challenge and dedication at this point in your life. No one is saying you're not capable, but many of the people who drop out of this industry were capable, but not willing.

Jonathan Bailey's Comment
member avatar

Mr. Brett Aquila:

No, I am no spring chicken and I'm getting no younger. I did not mean to brag upon myself either. I am sure there are many combat vets in trucking. I myself have not seen one single day in battle.

Now, I will be honest.

That fact is I DON'T KNOW what to expect from CIVILIAN trucking.

I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. What I wish for and what is reality are two different things altogether. I have had a couple casual friends in the past who were truckers at one time or another. One man told me that when you climb up a steep grade, always stay in the same gear going down as you were in coming up or you may never be able to get back into gear again once you get out of it and that spells a world of trouble. One time in the army I was driving a five-ton (5-speed manual) and made the mistake of trying to shift from second to third right after going over the summit. I was "locked out of gear" so to speak and the truck accelerated rapidly with the water buffalo I was towing. Luckily, I had very good brakes that day and the Lord was watching over my shotgun and I but the experience was a bit unnerving. I should have just stayed in second as that is what I climbed the hill with.

Back to expectations: I really have not a clue. Saying things is one thing but doing them firsthand is a whole other ball of wax. It sounds like it's something somebody has to dive right into and actually DO it to find out what it is really all about. It may or may not work out for me. I dove into military service when I was younger not having a clue what it was all about. I found it very hard at first with MANY NOT-SO-NICE SURPRISES but I eventually got used to it. I improvised, adapted and overcame. It sounds like any new career is like that: trucking, or otherwise. Then again I could try out trucking and it might actually grow upon me in a positive way. Don't knock what you haven't tried.

People here seem to have doubts about me. Perhaps a few here might not want new folks to come into this trucking fraternity and COMPETE with them for a job. American jobs are the Holy Grail. That I can understand. This might be a cut-throat business but I could be wrong. Some people sound overly loyal to their companies (not just freight hauling) and take offense to the term "slave". I call that being a bit servile if you ask me. The army called it brown-nosing. I can shamelessly say I was a peon too in the army, as a Specialist 4, and one staff sergeant in my unit even said that of himself. I can't imagine the reputable Teamsters' ever allowing their dues-paying members to be done wrong by whom they work for. I am for the working American in the trenches, not the corporate CEO. American unions are largely responsible for the abolition of being ill-used by one's employer. I do expect fair treatment from whomever I work for be it J.B. Hunt, Microsoft, the Boise Police Department, the State of Idaho or Starbucks Coffee: no more and no less. I get out of a job whatever I put into it, right?

I'm asking all the wrong questions? What should I be asking? I can't ask how to prepare yet since I have not positively decided to go for it at this point. I now believe I will have to read Brett's book cover to cover and I'd be in a better position to make that determination. The questions I were asking about dealt mainly in the day to day life of a trucker. How does a trucker manage his time or any pet animals he may have at home? How does he find (or make) time to wash clothes or even pay his bills? It is all about timing and logistics. Making everything you do have to fit on a calendar somehow. A day has but 24 hours in it. Before I ask how a 13-speed or 18-speed transmission works, I have to decide I want to drive in the first place. I am still undecided. Am I even physically, mentally and emotionally qualified for this job? I will have to find that out outside this forum. Sometimes I get road rage when I drive my own car especially when traffic is slow and I am in a hurry. I hate it when people get in my way.

No, Brett, I am not ready yet, but supremely interested still. I have much more to learn before I really decide if I want to "go for it". I will have to yet consult with my state's voc/rehab department to see if they would even support this career for me: pay for CDL driver's training and so forth. I just mailed them a letter yesterday to set up initial consultation. Remember, I am recovering from disability. Will my body even be able to withstand the rigors of driving? How might it affect me mentally and emotionally? All the human factors to consider. Drivers are people, not robots.

And Brett, just to appease you, I have started to read your on-line book yesterday. I have a ways to go but I intend to read it cover to cover. I promise I will make no more judgement here about this trade or its people until I have read your book cover to cover.

Yes, it is very clear to me now that I would have to make some serious personal sacrifices and make some serious lifestyle adjustments should I somehow land behind the wheel of a tractor. That is no longer a question in my mind.

The only remaining question is can I mentally, physically and spiritually handle this job? If I CAN then, yes, I am willing. I can either get busy living or get busy dying. I might be a greenhorn to CIVILIAN trucking for pay but I am no greenhorn regarding life in general. Yes, past work experience should count for something.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

I served for 17 1/2 years of active duty. I spent 4 1/2 years as an infantryman (11H & 11B), I spent 13 years as a Blackhawk mechanic (15T formerly 67T). 10 of those years on flight status. I am a disabled vet. I have been to 3 deployments. 2 to Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan.

I will break trucking down Barney style with military reference.

Driving truck is an enlisted mans job. Not even NCO level. Purely junior enlisted. It is the job for the privates and the specialists. And being a specialist is as good as it gets. Unlike the military you are not paid a salary. Your benefits are nowhere near as good. Truck driving is the grunt work. Unless you LOVE being in that foxhole covered in mud and blood, this job isn't for you. Life for a trucker is one constant deployment. I am talking OIF 1 initial push deployment. You vehicle is your home and your livelihood. Work is your ethos. Your body is nothing more than a tool to get your job done.

You have to be the type of person that didn't want to get promoted beyond specialist because that involved politics and offices. Trust me, I voluntarily stayed one for 8 years. (7 of those 8 promotable). I loved flying and I loved working. I had no interest in promoting myself out of a job.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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