Prime Inc. Flatbed Division. A Year In Review.

Topic 21596 | Page 1

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Turtle's Comment
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Today marked my 1 year anniversary of attaining my CDL and being hired on with Prime. 0 accidents and 100% on time deliveries. To say I'm proud is an understatement.

It's been quite an experience, full of ups and downs. As with any job, occasional frustrations will arise. But in my case the bad times were completely overshadowed by the thrill and excitement of pursuing this incredibly rewarding career.

My wife has been with me on the truck since I went solo back in early March. So this has truly been like a 10 month working vacation for us. To get paid to travel the country with my best friend has been the best experience I could ask for.

It seems a little more than coincidental that Lady Luck has continued to shine on me at every turn. Orientation went smooth, I received a great trainer, my two months of training was trouble free. For those interested, my complete training diary can be found here.

After training they gave me a brand new truck, and my new dispatcher didn't tiptoe me into the industry. He instead threw me into the fire with one hot load after another. The lyrics "we got a long way to go, and a short time to get there" are words I lived by, and still do. I'm proud to say I worked my clock like a pro, flipping day/night schedules, playing 8/2 splits to my advantage, knowing when to sit and went to roll, knowing when to reset, knowing when to sleep at a customer vs a truck stop, etc.

I'm not saying it all came easy. I spent immeasurable moments scratching my head trying to figure out the best way to do things. Of course even the best laid plans can go to waste they say. All it takes sometimes is one little hiccup to screw up my plans. But overall there is no substitute for a good trip plan.

As most of you know, flatbed is my chosen field, and I couldn't be happier about that choice. Some call us skateboarders crazy, maybe rightly so, but at this point I just can't see myself doing anything else. Maybe in the future I'll decide to hang my chains and straps and roll up my tarps for the last time, but for now I still enjoy the challenge.

Anyhoo, the purpose of this post was to give y'all some numbers on my first year. Obviously these numbers may or may not be typical for others at Prime. I'd like to think I kicked butt a little more than some folks out here, but that's really just my inflated ego talking.


I don't have any data to support that claim. The bottom line is I'm thrilled with what I accomplished this year, and I know I'll do much better in the year to come.

For miles driven, by my count I logged just over 131,000 miles including the miles during training. There were 2 weeks during training that I forgot to write down my miles, so I can't give an exact figure, but that's really close. I expected that number to be a little higher, but when you factor in time off plus slow weeks it really isn't that bad. I don't know what the average is for other drivers but I'm certainly not disappointed for my first year.

For pay, I came into this fully expecting to earn in the 35k-45k range. But as of my final 2017 paycheck, I grossed $58,069.32 for the year! Thats right, just over 58k. Keep in mind that includes 2 months of training, during which time I earned much less than an A-seat driver. Additionally it includes miles, fuel/safety bonuses, tarp pay, stop pay, etc. There were many slow weeks thrown in too, due to any number of variables. So the potential is there to do much better, under the right circumstances.

That's an unexpected surprise, but not so hard to believe when I look back on the year. Things just fell into place for me to maximize my earning potential. I earned it through some pretty efficient time management strategies learned right here exclusively on TT. I can't stress enough the importance of following the simple strategies outlined here by the experienced drivers. The strategies simply work. Keeping your left door closed helps also.

I'm writing this post not to brag, believe me. But rather I'm writing it to show proof of the potential out here. Others make less money, and that's fine. They probably enjoy more free time than I do, and that's fine too. It comes down to what you want to do individually. But if you want to make an impact, get out here and apply yourself and you can reap the rewards.

Year 1 in the books. Moving on to year 2 at full speed! Many thanks to all contributors here at TT.



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.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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Glad you're here and really enjoy your posts, too. Change your status!

G-Town's Comment
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Well done Turtle !!!

Congratulations on your milestone and zero accidents!

Prime Mover 's Comment
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Congrats on your successful first year! I think that I will give your training diary a look, I am in training right now myself.

Old School's Comment
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Turtle, it's been pure pleasure having you in here. You're witty, hardworking, and you can even whip out a decent piece of verse on demand! Seriously, I can't say I've enjoyed watching you progress, because you jumped right in with both feet from the get-go and never looked back. You seemed like you knew your objectives right from the start. I loved your "lets kick some butt" approach to this right from the start.

Like me, you had been a self employed contractor before you started this, and I think the mentality it takes to make it in that environmnent serves you well in trucking.

A big Congratulations!

Very few do as well as you did during their rookie year, and even fewer accomplish what you did while remaining accident free. Nice job! Very well played.

Reyn R.'s Comment
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Very well said Turtle. Congratulations on having all that hard work pay off for you. So many are discouraged from diving head first into that very demanding flatbed division but you not only overcame, you hit if out of the park. Thank you for showing us that hard work & determination can produce very gratifying results. Continued success & good fortune. God bless.


Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Wow, man, that was a ton of fun to read and a huge congratulations is in order! The statistics you put down were absolutely stellar. They would have been stellar for your 5th year or 15th year out there! To turn those miles and make that kind of money in your rookie year, pulling a flatbed no less, and with a perfect safety and service record is truly remarkable.

Like me, you had been a self employed contractor before you started this, and I think the mentality it takes to make it in that environment serves you well in trucking.

I agree with this in a big way. Running a business means managing a lot of different responsibilities at once. You have to be driven, you're always trying to improve yourself and the work you're doing, you have to find creative solutions to a never ending stream of challenges, and you have to be adaptable in a dynamic environment. All of those apply to trucking as well so it's no surprise you were able to jump in and take off like you were shot out of a gun.

Awesome job! We certainly do love having you around so we hope you'll keep stopping by to keep us updated and help these rookie flatbedders survive that first year in style like you did!



Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Patrick C.'s Comment
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Congrats Turtle. May your second year be even more fruitful.

Drive Safe and God Speed.

Turtle's Comment
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Glad you're here and really enjoy your posts, too. Change your status!

I'm not quite ready to call myself an experienced driver yet. I'm still learning something new every week it seems. Maybe once I have a year solo under my belt I'll make the switch. But for now I still embrace being a rookie.


Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Turtle's Comment
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Ya know, I just thought about something. If my wife read this forum and my post, she'd rip me a new one for not giving her any credit. I completely forgot.


In fact a large part of my success is due to her being here with me on the truck. With her taking care of a lot of the little things, I can focus on driving and making this truck earn money. She often speaks with customers for me to change appointments or get directions. Anything I need while driving, she takes care of. At the end of my shift, I have a hot meal waiting. Heck, that alone saves a bunch of time. I never have to do laundry, and my truck is always spotless. On top of that, she even helps me secure and tarp the loads occasionally, although I keep her on the ground just handing me bungees and stuff.

So yeah she's a trooper, and deserves her props!

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