Is This TRUE About SWIFT?

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George Z.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, I was told by SWIFT that they pay $16-$17 an hour for any type of "detention" issue as long as its not the drivers fault. When I asked if I can get their complete pay policy and detention policy before I sign the bottom line to join them to go to their CDL school, they told me I can't because all that information is in their Drivers Manual, and you cannot get that until after you sign up etc. When I asked what the different types of detentions were he said its just "black and white", either its your fault or its not. He also told me in response to my question if drivers get paid if the truck breaks down or blows a tire, that such things never happen 95% of the time. I take that as a "NO"?

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome George.

Listen, friend. Trucking is a performance based industry. It's also an incredibly competitive industry. I would call it hyper-competitive. Profit margins are thin, costs are extremely high, and liability risk is so hard to manage that only a handful of companies in the entire country are willing and able to hire inexperienced drivers.

With all of that said, you're focusing hard on how much money you're going to get paid while sitting around doing nothing. I'm going to be very plain spoken with you right now. You are very, very unaware of how bad you're making yourself look. You should be asking them how many miles you can expect. You should be asking them things like, "If I'm not getting as many miles as I had hoped, what is the process for making sure that a driver can get more miles?"

You should be asking about mileage bonuses, safety bonuses, and opportunities you may find with other types of freight or dedicated divisions within the company. You should be showing them you're ready and willing to work as hard as you can to become a true professional out there, one of their best drivers.

But of all things, as a brand new driver to a new company you've chosen to focus hard on how much money you'll be guaranteed for sitting around doing nothing?

Fortunately for you Swift is so huge and needs so many drivers that they're still willing to talk with you. At least I think they are. I know the people in charge of hiring at quite a few major companies and I can assure you that they would have already thanked you for your time, wished you luck, and tossed your application in the garbage.

George, you make money in this industry by getting a lot of work done safely and reliably. You show up for all of your appointments on time, you work as hard as you can, you make sure you don't put a scratch on that truck, and you get along with the people you work with.

As a new driver you're going to be nothing but a burden to your company for quite some time. You're going to be clumsy and inefficient, you're going to need your hand held for quite a long time, and all of this is going to cost the company a lot of money. It's going to be 6 - 12 months before you learn this job and this industry well enough to become a productive part of their team.

Think of all of this from their point of view. Do you really think you're making yourself look like a desirable candidate by asking for proof of how much you'll be paid for detention time? Come on! Seriously, wake up and realize how bad you're making yourself look.

Focus on how many miles you can get. Ask them what their top earners are making and let them know you intend to be one of them. Let them know you're ready to take on the immense challenge of becoming a Top Tier Professional in this industry.

Companies want ambitious, productive drivers. If you're ready and willing to be one then tell them that. If you're looking for an easy ride you're definitely knocking on the wrong door. Be a Walmart greeter if you're looking for an easy ride. Trucking is one of the most demanding industries you'll find anywhere. Make sure you're aware of that and prepared for the hard work and sacrifices you'll have to make in order to be a successful part of this industry.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

George Z.'s Comment
member avatar

Interesting....thank you for the information.

I guess I am used to finding out everything up front when it comes to what I am getting paid for and not getting paid for and the conditions that apply to each, before I sign the dotted line. I would think this especially important for any company that requires a driver to pay the tuition back, if the driver does not complete the CDL school or meet the required 1 year employment etc. depending on the company. Impossible to know the future during that critical period.

In the past, I have always received an "offer letter" which states what my job is including benefits and pay as well as company policy, which are all required to be read and understand before accepting the position. Seems with trucking, it is done the opposite way, at least for inexperienced drivers, i.e. you sign and accept the offer, without knowing all the pay and benefits.

IMHO, it would be foolish to enter into any financial agreement without knowing all the terms, as this is not purely an employment agreement depending on the company, but a financial (debits and credits, penalties, etc.) and employment agreement.

It sounds like what you are saying is that anyone wanting to start a career in truck driving, must first abide by the first unwritten rule, i.e. as a complete "noob", be grateful they are even talking to me, don't ask questions, just read what the company's website and recruiter states, and don't worry about anything else or ask about anything else because as a noob, we are not entitled to ask such questions.

I guess what you are really saying is to find out everything I would like to know in private and not publicly, where it could hurt potential employment by looking bad in doing so.

Correct?

Like I said...interesting.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Hi, I was told by SWIFT that they pay $16-$17 an hour for any type of "detention" issue as long as its not the drivers fault. When I asked if I can get their complete pay policy and detention policy before I sign the bottom line to join them to go to their CDL school, they told me I can't because all that information is in their Drivers Manual, and you cannot get that until after you sign up etc. When I asked what the different types of detentions were he said its just "black and white", either its your fault or its not. He also told me in response to my question if drivers get paid if the truck breaks down or blows a tire, that such things never happen 95% of the time. I take that as a "NO"?

They’re pretty much going to pay you 36 cents per mile and really nothing else. I sat for 5 days in Denver waiting on a B service once and got paid $10 per day for my troubles. Nice of them to buy me lunch every day, but I could have made way more than $50 turning miles. This was the one and only time I was ever paid anything other than my agreed upon cents per mile. Put in your time with Swift, learn how things go out on the road, learn to be a productive employee, don’t tear up equipment and be on time all the time and you won’t need to worry about detention or breakdown pay.

To directly answer your question, I didn’t keep my drivers manual when I left Swift, but I don’t recall there being anything in there about extra pay. There was other info in there that I was more concerned with, like terminal locations, company policy, points of contact, etc.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Correct?

No. Not even close.

What I said exactly was:

You are very, very unaware of how bad you're making yourself look. You should be asking them how many miles you can expect. You should be asking them things like, "If I'm not getting as many miles as I had hoped, what is the process for making sure that a driver can get more miles?"

You should be asking about mileage bonuses, safety bonuses, and opportunities you may find with other types of freight or dedicated divisions within the company. You should be showing them you're ready and willing to work as hard as you can to become a true professional out there, one of their best drivers.

But of all things, as a brand new driver to a new company you've chosen to focus hard on how much money you'll be guaranteed for sitting around doing nothing?

The basic premise you're not understanding here is that it's Swift who is offering to pay for your training up front. They are the ones investing money in you, not the other way around. Once they have invested the time, money, equipment, and personnel it takes to train you for this career they will hire you and then you can begin paying them back.

However, if you stay with the company long enough you will owe nothing in the end, correct? The training will be free.

So essentially what they're saying is that they'll give you everything you need to learn the skills and get your license and then they'll hire you once you've accomplished that. Then all you have to do is work for the company for a while in return so they can recoup their investment in you.

Does that make sense?

Ok, so from that standpoint do you see why it makes you look bad to harp on them about how much you'll get paid for sitting around doing nothing? Of course you should understand the contract you're signing but of all of the possible sticking points that's the one you're going to focus on? Detention pay? During what amounts to a job interview???

I would think this especially important for any company that requires a driver to pay the tuition back, if the driver does not complete the CDL school or meet the required 1 year employment etc.

Ok but that's not what you asked us about. That's an entirely different issue. If you don't complete the schooling because they let you go then you will not be obligated to pay any tuition. If you quit the company or you get fired after the training period is over for a blatant violation of company policy, like getting a DUI or something like that, you will be required to pay it back.

I'm not saying you shouldn't understand what you're signing. But during the process of asking someone to invest their time, money, equipment, and personnel into giving you a new career in a hyper competitive performance-based career you're going to ask for their exact pay in writing for detention time?

I mean, hey, go ahead and pursue that diligently if you feel that's an important consideration. What I'm telling you is that you don't make money in this industry sitting around doing nothing. You make money by keeping those wheels turning. That's what you should be focused on. If you were asking them diligently about what they're going to do to make sure you get enough miles each week I'd commend you for it. If you wanted them to explain what it takes to be one of their Top Tier Drivers in order to get the best runs and the best equipment and the best pay I would commend you for it.

I'm just saying be aware of your situation. You're asking them to invest in you. You're supposed to be trying to convince them that you're going to turn out to be a safe, productive, reliable, and hard working professional in this career. To focus on how much money you're going to make sitting around doing nothing just sends the wrong message in my opinion.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Put in your time with Swift, learn how things go out on the road, learn to be a productive employee, don’t tear up equipment and be on time all the time and you won’t need to worry about detention or breakdown pay.

That's my point exactly. Learn how to be one of their safest, most productive drivers and you'll make an awesome living. You'll be at the top of the payscale.

What I see all the time is people who let it go to their head when they hear that truck drivers are in demand. Suddenly they think they're high rollers in Vegas holding all the cards. Don't make that mistake. You're not in demand. You're going to be given an opportunity to show you can hack it in this world if you want the opportunity. But you haven't achieved anything yet, you haven't proven anything yet.

Do you have any idea how high the failure rate is in this industry? These company-sponsored programs will give anyone who qualifies an opportunity. Less than half of the people who show up to school ever wind up getting their CDL. Less than half of those who do get their CDL ever make it to the 6 month mark running solo. Maybe 5% of those who show up for school will still be with the company one year later.

That's the kind of stuff I want you to understand. The amount of money you'll be paid to sit around doing nothing is the very least of your concerns right now. I want you to understand the circumstances and the challenges you're facing so you have the best shot at being successful in this career.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

George I think you are mixing attending Swift Academy with Employment. Not the same. While attending school you are not an employee. Once you graduate the academy, pass the CDL test and receive an invitation to attend orientation; at the point you are an employee and considered a trainee moving to the 200 hours of mentoring (road training).

I could go on...but I suggest investing time in the diaries forum. There are two active Swift diaries, both are well written and factual. Prime is also very active...

Second...take a real good look at these links:

I will try to help you, I've been a Swift driver for over five years. Went to their school and road trained with them. There are so many, many things you have no idea of (yet) that are far more important and critical to financial success than detention pay.

Good luck and try to see the big picture as to what you are entering into.

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.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

I just started orientation today. Looking through the Driver Handbook. Nothing about pay. EVERYTHING about how to become a safe, productive driver, and using the tools, given to us in an effective manner, and how to fill out the many forms.

We were told today, that the Qualcomm will soon be replaced by a tablet system. Evidence of the sharing of Best Practices, under our new Umbrella?

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok. I got out my Swift Driver Handbook. But first,

George, you are asking the wrong \question. Please read what Brett has written out for you. Any "detention" is such a small part of your pay packge that it isn't worth bothering about.

I posted some of my paycheck records for another thread. You can see how often I gor that extra money, and I never, ever asked for it. My DM took care of me that way.

As for the handbook, look on P. 141, Section 7 - DETENTION PAY.

"Power Detention" is when a customer detains Swift's driver and tractor for a time frame greater than the contractual free time.

Detention pay is issued when a driver is (1) eligibile and (2) delay is no fault of Swift. Drivers under the following are not elegible for detention pay:

  • On down time (in the sleeper berth) HO breaks, home time, or waiting to be dispatched.
  • the delay is a border crossing
  • the delay is at a Swift terminal

There's further instructions about using the Qualcomm to apply for your detention pay.

Let me tell you a secret: the time and pay rate for detention pay (which you must be On Duty Not Driving to qualify for), is less than you can make per hour (a conversion from cents per mile to an hour of time) driving! So, stay on "Off Duty", and save your duty time for the road. Don't quibble about detention or any other supplemental pay. Your DM knows when you will be eligible. If you make this noise, I'm sure you'll be categorized as a whiner, instead of becoming a go-to driver 'that gets all the miles".

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Ok. I got out my Swift Driver Handbook. But first,

George, you are asking the wrong \question. Please read what Brett has written out for you. Any "detention" is such a small part of your pay packge that it isn't worth bothering about.

I posted some of my paycheck records for another thread. You can see how often I gor that extra money, and I never, ever asked for it. My DM took care of me that way.

As for the handbook, look on P. 141, Section 7 - DETENTION PAY.

double-quotes-start.png

"Power Detention" is when a customer detains Swift's driver and tractor for a time frame greater than the contractual free time.

Detention pay is issued when a driver is (1) eligibile and (2) delay is no fault of Swift. Drivers under the following are not elegible for detention pay:

  • On down time (in the sleeper berth) HO breaks, home time, or waiting to be dispatched.
  • the delay is a border crossing
  • the delay is at a Swift terminal

double-quotes-end.png

There's further instructions about using the Qualcomm to apply for your detention pay.

Let me tell you a secret: the time and pay rate for detention pay (which you must be On Duty Not Driving to qualify for), is less than you can make per hour (a conversion from cents per mile to an hour of time) driving! So, stay on "Off Duty", and save your duty time for the road. Don't quibble about detention or any other supplemental pay. Your DM knows when you will be eligible. If you make this noise, I'm sure you'll be categorized as a whiner, instead of becoming a go-to driver 'that gets all the miles".

That is definitely good information. Thanks for pointing out that section. After reading more thoroughly than my initial perusal, the handbook is far more in depth than any other company handbook I have ever gotten. I must retract my earlier post.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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