Swift Questions

Topic 21905 | Page 1

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Jason K.'s Comment
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I originally started with Schneider, was decent, maybe I should just go back there. Not sure, but that company put a bad taste in my mouth. I know I shouldn't let that stop me and I won't, but I figure it will be much easier to have a fresh start with a different company, just to keep the negativity away, ain't nobody got time for that, LOL.

In general, I wanted to ask those that work for swift, or are just starting with them; how great of a company is it? Really? I see quite a few people doing very well, and then, of course, all the horror stories, which is expected, but in my research now compared to what I knew 2 years ago, Swift seems to be quite a good company?

I'm a 35-year-old single man, nothing holding me down. I am free to do OTR , and plan to, but wanted to know how the Wal-mart dedicated worked for the future? Is that local, or regional position, and is it tough to get the route?

When I ask how great, I guess I should be more specific.

Now that I have my 90-day med cert, will they require me to go to "their" doctor?

Do they offer per diem? If so what is the skinny on that?

I know they will let me take my dog, but have a weight restriction, are they flexible with that? She is over 40lbs for sure, more like 72lbs.

Do they work with the driver to get the time needed to renew med certs, and all the necessary stuff we as drivers must maintain? I don't need home time every week or even every month for that matter. I may stay out a couple months at a time, but I use the VA for my Sleep Apnea and CPAP compliance, so will the company work with me in order to get those documents in a timely manner for them and my med cert?

I'm not so worried about the refresher course or the CPM , as I have that info already, What else might I be forgetting?

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Jason, Swift will require a physical with their approved Doctors; they have a contract with Concentra.

The dog issue, not sure. 72 is big, check with a recruiter for an answer.

I have been with Swift from the very beginning, 3+ mos of OTR , then Walmart Dedicated for the last 5 years. Swift isn't perfect, but for me, all things considered it works for me. Happy with them, good money, and enjoy the Walmart account.

Getting on a Swift Walmart account is very possible, although like I said, not the best gig for entry level. If you can hustle, efficiently/safely handle the truck in tight spaces, adhere to the WM process, and have above average interpersonal skills dealing with the unloaders and store management, might be a good gig for you. Living near a D.C. is very helpful. Search on my name and Walmart Dedicated for more information.

I firmly believe good drivers; safe and efficient can be highly successful with most any company including Swift and also Schneider. So here goes the segway...

Your negative experience with Schneider? Not to ask for the skeleton in the closet to reveal thyself, but it might help if we better understood what happened. So to help you prevent it from a possible, second occurance.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

Swift is what you make of it. Also being that they are a big company some terminals are better than others. If you want to work they got the work. The fact that they have many different types of freight along with accounts means you will be hard pressed to be bored.

Most Walmart dedicated accounts are desperate for people due to the high intensity of the account. Usually you will see anything from 3 stops a day to 7 stops a day. Meaning you will have 12 hr days or sometimes longer. Its a turn and burn account so you just run as hard as you can take a 34 and do it again.

Most the time drivers make it home every night but not always. For example the dc i help in Los Lunas, NM serves New Mexico, Southern Colorado, El Paso, and West Texas. So some deliveries end up being 600 or more miles round trip which means you wont always make it home.

Im an OTR driver so when i help walmart i dont care if i make it back to the dc every night , but usually the goal is to make all the drops and get back to the dc by the end of the day.

My favorite part about doing it was my knowledge of New Mexico, so i could push it to certain places with a low clock and know ill have parking.

I dont think they will take a new employee with a 3 month card. You will need to get a 1 year card before they hire you. Make sure to ask the recruiter this.

They offer per diem as far as i know and i have no understanding of it haha.

Pet policy is very new so i am of no help when it comes to that.

Yes they will get you home for all that. Being that the company has 3 clinics it may be easier to do your stuff with them, i am currently looking into it being that i dont like to schedule my hometime around dr visits.

Just so you know i got a message thru my truck computer and swift is raising pay. Starting pay right now is .36 in some areas of the country and .38 in others. I almost have 2 years of experience so i am at .39, it will be .40 once i hit that. I am expecting the raise will make it .42 or higher.

We also have a performance bonus so i make .05 on top of what i already make. Mind you this is OTR pay, it differs on dedicated.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jason,...Gladhand jogged my memory on a couple additional thoughts (that's what happens when I write replies while fighting sleep), the pay on the Walmart Dedicated Accounts differs greatly from OTR pay and varies depending on the territory.

The new drivers at 7030 in Pottsville start at 46cpm, average about 1700-1800 miles per week to start, $20 flat dispatch fee, and $15 per stop after the first one. Most of the experienced drivers (3-10 years) are earning between 70-75k annually, top earners are at or slightly above 80. Keep in mind, attaining this level of income requires knowledge of the geographic territory, basic understanding of the D.C. Operation, familiarity with all 100 store locations and a no-BS approach to the job. The pace is very fast, requiring long days that typically approach the 14 hour on-duty clock. Hustle is an appropriate word to describe how I approach the job. Not unsafe mind you, just limiting the amount of wasted movement and idle time. It's a "learned strategy", one that not everyone who tries, "gets".

Gladhand's Walmart D.C. in NM has a larger territory, more spread out and likely commands a lower CPM. I think you get the picture. You'll need to speak to recruiting in terms of the D.C. location close to your home address (within about 100 miles).

The drivers that thrive on this account love the work. The delta between those that do, and those that don't is wide. Either love it or hate it. The core of top performing regulars (about 30) get the best loads and obviously earn the highest pay. Takes time to build trust and prove consistent reliability. You'll read stories of favoritism. On the surface that may appear true, but look beneath the obvious and it becomes apparent the complainers aren't getting it done, have limited experience and/or expect top performer treatment well before proving their worth. More than half the drivers who start on the account don't last more than 3-4 months. Churn is intense.

The territory I run includes Philly, Philly burbs, west to Harrisburg, north to Williamsport, due east across PA to Northern NJ and South to Deleware and Eastern Maryland. Considering the congestion of the region, justifies the higher CPM.

My suggestion if you have time, locate the closest grocery D.C. to your home address, park nearby and wait for a Walmart truck (most of the reefers are "stealth-like, all white with royal blue 6-digit numbers on each front corner post and top left of the door) departing the D.C., follow it to a store and observe what they do. If the driver seems approachable talk to them about the job.

Good luck.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jason K.'s Comment
member avatar
Your negative experience with Schneider? Not to ask for the skeleton in the closet to reveal thyself, but it might help if we better understood what happened. So to help you prevent it from a possible, second occurance.

Not really skeletons, they didn't do anything wrong per say. I just got frustrated with them very easily. They know how to push you without actually pushing you if you know what I mean. They made me feel guilty or unreliable sometimes when I was still learning.

Example: I was still learning and struggling with HOS combined with pre-planning and getting loads delivered on time. Mind you all my loads were always on time and I ran my face off to do it, but I remember a couple instances where they had loads that were just to tight for me to fit in my HOS or not possible at all. It made me nervous. I didn't want to be unsafe with HOS so I would tell my dispatcher. They would say things like, "I could make it work", or "Well I'm just trying to get you more miles". Of course, he could make it work, he had been a driver for 10 years prior.

During my exchange of goals with my dispatcher , "Getting more miles" was not one. I asked that I get the time to learn. I wasn't worried about not making a ton of money at first. I wanted to be a very competent driver that did his job well and efficiently so that I could eventually be much faster in the future. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

I understand that sometimes some loads are cut close, no problems with that, but with my struggles, it was almost every load so I asked dispatch to give me more time since I was learning. After that, they assigned me a great load, I'll never forget it. It was a Walmart blitz load for black Friday, I got a load going to southern Alabama from Tennesse, very decent miles, delivery time was perfect, I got that pulled out from under me and sat for about a day and a half in Tennessee. I said "Oh, well" and waited. Then I got dispatched to grab an empty and bring in back to our Gary, IN terminal.

With that example above I now understand I can't let the frustration get to me, and I need to communicate with my dispatcher better, and I will do that going forward. I also plan to understand HOS, pre-planning, and the company-specific delivery requirements better, before they ever put me on my own.

Anyway, not really their fault. I don't know if I was in the right or in the wrong. They made me very confused a lot of the time. I was regional starting out also which could have been my issue since I was home every week. OTR may give me more time between loads, maybe not. I also thought maybe a smaller company, not to small, but not a mega carrier would be better, but that might work against me instead.

Just so you know i got a message thru my truck computer and swift is raising pay. Starting pay right now is .36 in some areas of the country and .38 in others.

I believe Schneider just increased theirs also. Used to start at $0.38 their, I think it is $0.40-$0.42 now.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.
Jason K.'s Comment
member avatar

Forgot to mention. I'm not against hustling, I will work my face off, but I would like the time to learn and become skilled so working my face off doesn't land me an accident or being unsafe. I know things happen sometimes, but if I'm frustrated by other piddly things when I should be focusing on driving then that is a bad mix.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hoping others will chime in here, but my initial impression is you need to be less sensitive to their responses, thicker skin.

Understand the bigger picture. Realize part of their pay is driver utilization, loosely translated maximizing available hours for each driver. No matter what, a subset of your goals must mesh and align with theirs, otherwise you will get passed-over in favor of a more competitive driver. As described in your example.

This is a hyper-competive business. As a driver you need to develop that mindset, otherwise more and more, you'll get walked over. That dynamic is consistent regardless of OTR , LTL , Regional , Dedicated, and local.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Jason K.'s Comment
member avatar

With all the great info you and Gladhand provided, I was looking at it as a future position I might move to in 3-5 years and it sounds like it is an awesome position, but it might be more than what I'm looking for. I will just have to see where I'm at in a few years.

As far as the issues that came up, maybe I'm making a bigger deal out of it than I should. It just seemed that a day and a half was a bit much, felt like punishment for wanting the extra time to learn. I don't mind sitting if I have to, but I assumed I'd have a load within at least 12 hours. Maybe they didn't have anything, I'll never know. It didn't beat me up too badly, great learning experience for sure.

I'll work on things as you described G-Town, thanks for that perspective, it's great to read/see, and be reminded.

As much as I'd like to go back to Schneider or take a position with Swift, my ultimate goal is making sure I find a company that will allow my pet, and get my year experience. I can sacrifice other perks just to have my dog. I've owned her(Lily) since she was a pup in 2008. I adopted her during my military service in Alaska. She is 10 now, and I know I'll be fine without her, but she (the dog) has severe separation anxiety. I can get away with being gone a month or two for training, but that is about it.

I'll keep up my research, make some calls ask some questions. I WILL make this work.

God, I'm so glad I found this site. I don't think you all realize what a lifesaver and influence this site has on folks.

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