Comments By Terry C.

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  • Terry C.
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  • 10 years, 1 month ago
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Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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I just asked my dm how many miles I have

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Wonder if that's team miles, it's a big number for a solo driver, I am just coming up on my 1 year, and I have around 125k?????

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Its solo.. I asked my dm for the total miles I drove for crst so far...she said 117520

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought CRST was a team only company? How are you running solo with CRST? This definitely sounds like team miles and that I can agree with at 117k. Totally solo miles in anything but a ungoverned truck and paper logs? Not so much.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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13 months driving OTR is over!!!

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Now others will say you need the certificate the school gives you to get hired on at a company like prime or Werner

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Yes indeed, "others" will say you need that certificate. The "others" being the people who do actually do the hiring at these major companies. Now if Paul was doing all the hiring and he said you didn't need that certificate then you wouldn't need it. But I'm pretty sure Paul isn't in charge of hiring, therefore the prudent thing to do if you'd like to get a job in this industry is to go through a legitimate truck driving school.

It's one thing to be self taught at quilting blankets or folding paper airplanes. But driving an 80,000 pound rig in heavy traffic and terrible weather surrounded by SUV's full of children all the time? I'd say it's a good idea to get the proper schooling.

Hey there Brett, I"m curious. So you know even if you get a CDL permit you must have the required hours behind the wheel before you get the full CDL. Since I know they're trying to standardize the requirements nationwide but until that happens I think the hours behind the wheel may very somewhat from state to state. If someone were to receive a permit and then get "on the job" training at a company like Sysco, US Foods etc.. that that driver may be a hazard on the road? Either way if they get their permit and get "on the job" training or attend a $6,000 trucking school, they are being trained to safely handle their equipment. Seeing the way some of these schools push students through, it is my belief that on the job training is actually the better way to go if the choice was a school pushing through students or on the job training with a seasoned driver.

I'm not trying to argue here, I just want to see where you're coming from is all. :) I mean I'd like to think I was thought something right having never attended a truck driving school to get my CDL. I've worked accident free driving CMV's for over 20 years now. I didn't attend a driving school until last year when I needed a "refresher" course as it had been some years driving strait trucks and not pulling trailers.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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13 months driving OTR is over!!!

Terry, was wondering how things are still going for you. Not sure if you still come around as your working pretty long hours. After having done this for a couple months have you gotten more used to it, and is it still worth it for you? I'm currently working in Warehouse at Sysco in FL and looking into being a driver, only downside is I'd likely be taking a pay cut to drive ( due to incentive pays), yet still do the physical aspect of it . I've wanted to drive for a couple years but hate the idea of being away from home with a baby on the way

Hello there Rob and yes I do still come around. Since you asked I'll talk about how things are going for me with my local job. As I stated earlier I wasn't able to get hired on directly with US Foods in Port Orange as the Operations manager was reluctant to hire an OTR driver into such a physically demanding job. So I hired with a temp agency in nearby Lake Mary FL called Moments Notice Truck Driver Leasing. They in turn staff for US Foods (along with many other companies in Florida). In order for me to get hired full time at USF I must work a minimum of 500 hours with the them as a "temp" driver. As of last Friday I have 471 hours so this week I should have the minimum required hours to apply as a full time driver.

Here's the little SNAFU happening with that ATM. As you know working for Sysco this is kind of a slow time in Florida in the food industry. But here in the next couple of weeks the snow birds will be migrating from their frozen hell in the north down here for the winter. The restaurants will be getting double the amount of business as they are right now with the arrival of the snow birds. That's when USF should be hiring on a couple full time drivers for the route position I'm seeking there.

So far I've done everything I can to make a good name for myself. I'm with different drivers and different routes most every day. However I've managed to impress a couple of full time drivers enough to talk to the manager to request me to go on their routes with them when they need help that a temp will fill. That bodes excellent in my favor. It's the best way of getting hired on full time. If the full time drivers think you can make it, the manager takes their word seriously and thus makes getting hired much easier. I knew if I had a chance to prove my work ethic that I'd have a great shot at getting hired full time and I've done what I can so far. Now I'm just waiting on positions to open.

I've also done some shuttle routes (pulling loaded trailers to drop yards around Florida and bringing back empties) and a few backhauls (taking empty trailers to clients like Florida's Natural and cooling houses and picking up loads coming back to the distribution center in Port Orange. I've done a little of everything and so far have done those to the best of my ability.

It surprises me to hear you say you'd take a "pay cut" moving over to the driver position from the wherehouse. Well I'll give you a couple of things to think about. Now I'm not up to speed on the inner workings of Sysco but I"ve been in the industry long enough to know how things tend to work. If you move to driver it may be a bit of a cut but eventually you'll move up the ladder to better routes and better money. It's been my experience that the harder you work, the more you'll get noticed and the faster you'll get promoted. Attitude is everything. If you sit back and have the "eight and skate" mentality (doing as little as possible and going home) you'll show like a shadow of someone that is out there busting ass. It's a trade off though. Down here in Florida you'll work longer hours in delivery than you would in the wherehouse however as a CDL driver you'll have many more options for jobs in other areas of the state or country. The country is in need of drivers everywhere. Wherehouse workers are much easier to come by. But the flipside of that is I think it's easier to move into supervising and managing working the wherehouse because you're seen by management every day. Also I think Florida is THE TOUGHEST place to find driving jobs than any other state in the US. This state is saturated with drivers and many of them with years of experience, getting a jump on early retirement. But you've got an inside track working for a distribution company that many others don't.

You've should have a great shot at getting a local job right there with Sysco and not have to worry about doing the OTR thing. It's how I got my CDL over 20 years ago. I worked wherehouse and asked how I could get in as a driver and was told if I got my permit I'd get time behind the wheel and they'd let me use a company truck to take the test. I never did trucking school I picked up the California CDL handbook, studied it, got practice with drivers and got my CDL. It is IMHO a the best way to get a CDL as it only costs you the price of the exam ($85.00 in Florida) and doesn't require a year commitment driving OTR.

Anything else you'd like to know feel free to ask! Good luck in your endeavors Rob!!

Posted:  8 years, 9 months ago

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Busting the Safe Haven Myth - Help me out here could ya?

Imagine that, a gray area??? When I was with Prime, (and also with a PSD on board) I ran into a situation in which both my PSD and my hours expired due to heavy traffic getting to a pick up and a delay at the shipper. We were in New Jersey on Memorial Day weekend on a Friday late afternoon. The closest truck stop was 27 miles away, but due to heavy "get away" traffic, it would have been nearly a 90 minute drive. I called a local police department and explained our dilemma and the dispatcher took my number and had a local DOT officer call me right back. When I explained to him what was going on (the shipper would not allow us to stay on the property) He offered us two options to get to a "safe haven." #1 was to head to the police station and take a 10 hour break. However the parking lot was small and the possibility of us having to move the truck a few times during the break was high. He also suggested a vacant lot not far from the shipper. (about 7 miles) He said we could park there for 10 hours and he'd be sure to let units in the area know not to bother us. He then offered (and came) to the shipper and had me follow him to the lot and get parked. He was happy to help out and told me that his father was a retired "trucker" and he understood our situation.

I asked this officer what was considered a "safe haven" and he didn't have a concrete answer to it. I was so tired from the long day I didn't have the energy to drive in heavy traffic to have a restroom and place to eat so having a safe place to park (a place where we wouldn't get a ticket and had passing units check on us) was considered a "safe haven." The only wisdom he gave me was that if I insisted on driving to the truck stop for my safe haven and I got into an accident, I'd have the book thrown at me by most any judge I'd face. I heeded that advice as I know my limits and driving in bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic would have made me even more tired than I was already feeling. And of course I couldn't have my PSD drive at all being over hours.

Posted:  8 years, 9 months ago

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Automatic Transmissions

I don't have much experience driving automatics. In fact I've never driven one until I started at US Foods a couple months ago. Frankly I can't stand them. Driving forwards is nice. But backing them up..to me..sucks major!! In a manual I feather the clutch to keep a slow steady pace and bump my dock softly. Making the transition from 90 degrees to strait is a piece of cake. In an automatic...not so much. I'm constantly fighting to keep a smooth roll. Herky-jerky the entire time. I set off our in cab cameras alot backing up an automatic.

Same thing with hooking up to a trailer. I don't like having to use my left foot on the brake with to automatics. I'd be singing the praises coming back to a manual transmission. But hey, that's just me confused.gif

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Tough times. Need advice.

Youre a good man Terry. I'm proud to call you my friend.

Thank you Daniel. And I am most proud to call you my friend and my equal. In fact you have wisdom beyond your years which puts you ahead of me in many ways!

Phil C. you've nailed it to a tee!! You've summed up what I've been trying to say. Props to you!

T.W. I'm very relieved you took my long posts as just a viewpoint. I'm not trying to preach or look down upon you from above. I'm not better than anyone here and am trying hard not to come across as "I know better."

As a caveat I am also an aspiring writer. I've taken an online course on writing and am in the midst of another course on novel writing. I'm still searching for a genre I'm comfortable with. My wife is a graphic designer, that last year, lost a job of 20 years and has since started her own graphic design business. She also just finished her AA in graphic/web design and is working on her BA. So the things you've done hit close to home with me.

Stay thirsty my friends!! I have a 1:30 AM start for a 15 hour day tomorrow.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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13 months driving OTR is over!!!

Terry, do you think these companies might consider flatbed drivers to be a slightly safer bet than van drivers, due to the higher level of physical activity involved in the job?

You know that is an interesting question and one that deserves an educated response that I can't give. All I can do is put myself in the shoes of a distribution manager and weigh it out. So If I were a manager and I had a van driver and a flatbed driver both applying for a delivery job such as USF who would I pick all things being equal between the two, aside from the trailers they pulled? I'd definitely give the flatbed driver first crack at it, simply for the fact that he/she would probably be in a bit better shape to run product. Only downside I see to this: The flatbed driver probably dealt with much different commodities than a driver that hauled reefers. A reefer driver may be more familiar with the product as he/she probably spent alot of time picking these items up.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Tough times. Need advice.

Hi Terry,

You rewrote the script. I like the positive tone. Attitude does determine your altitude in life. I noticed when I am positive then positivity comes my way. I am going to reread and absorb everything you wrote and see how I can apply it to other things in my way.

Solid material!

Thanks man.

Your observation of feeling positive and having positivity come back to you is 100% accurate and true!!! You get back what you put out into the universe!! I noticed a typo in my first paragraph I couldn't correct that should read:

"I am 47 yrs old. All my life has been an adventure! --- much like anything. Most things seem to end well for me when I believe the world is ISN'T out to get me."

I write a blog with the topic of "Changing bad karma." It's totally about this kind of stuff right here. I'm not a professional life coach and don't claim to be. What I am is a middle aged man that has looked at the world negatively for most of my adult life. I didn't start feeling better about things until I changed my perspective on life. There was a life changing event in my life that made me start looking at things different. And it fits the tone of "sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can climb out." In my case it was the death of my mother 3 years ago.

I was totally devastated when she was diagnosed with a second round of Lymphoma and had a tumor growing around her esophagus and only had weeks to live. I spent about 2 weeks with her in hospice. (I took a leave of absence from work in Chicago to be with my Mom in California) I was extremely close to my mom and like I said I was beside myself with grief knowing she was about to leave the world. But I tell you what. In the 2 weeks that I was with her, my Mother NEVER and I mean NEVER cried and felt sad about her passing. Every day while I sat next to her crying my ass off, she would comfort me with her words.

"Don't cry for me son, my life is such a blessing. I've been blessed in everything and right now as I lie here I have all of my kids with me and I am nothing but blessed."

My mom was not wealthy and had a very rough life. But on her deathbed she never ever said anything but positive things about her life. After she passed and some time went by and my grieving lessened a bit; I started thinking about the way she handled dying. It changed me. I saw that at the end of a difficult life and knowing she was days away from passing, she did nothing but look at life and her passing as a positive thing. And I began to think to myself "By God if that woman could do it I can too." It's what she wanted me to do after she was gone.

This is some very deep stuff I'm sharing here but it serves to make a point. Life is what you make it brother. Probably way too deep for this conversation. I just want to drive home a point here. I have faith that YOU will find a way to make the best of what cards you've been dealt. Throw away what isn't gonna get you a better hand later. I sincerely wish you the best!!

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Prime trucking: good or bad

This has been an extremely informative thread, and I'm glad I stumbled across it. I'm totally fine with all the time away from home, as I used to tour with bands where we would be out 4 - 6 weeks at a time. My husband and I miss each other, but he knows how much I need to constantly be "on the go" so he's super supportive. My one concern is that I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. I'm not worried about where I'll need to be for training. I'm just wondering if we'll need to relocate sometime in the future after I'm out solo. I'm all for picking up and moving somewhere new, but since the husband will be the one having to live there 90% of the time and I'm only home 10% of the time, I'd like to not have to ask him to make that sacrifice. Can anyone shed light on how the whole home time thing works if you don't live near one of the 4 big terminals that are listed on here as their main stations? (Sorry if I got the terminology wrong. Still learning all the lingo.)

Hello Miss Miyoshi! I'll shed some light on the home time policy. What Prime will do is have you take your truck home with you. You'll drop your trailer off at a customer as close to your home as they can get you. For instance, I live near Daytona Beach FL. We have customers where we keep our empty trailers in Jacksonville, Auburndale and Bradenton. We also have two drop yards in Pierson and also Auburndale. When I unloaded in Florida I would take the empty trailer to a customer usually. In my case it was Coca-Cola in Auburndale. However a couple of times I was told to take my empty to Coke but when I got there, they didn't have room for another empty. So I'd have to take my empty to our drop yard in Pierson. Prime would rather have their trailers at a customer but if there wasn't availability, I'd drop it at one of the drop yards. Now my tractor I would drive home with me and I paid a self storage place (about $20.00 for 4 days) to park as my housing association would not allow me to park it in my driveway. If you have a safe place to park in your driveway or on property then you would be fine. Or you lived on a safe street that you wouldn't be afraid of someone breaking in to the truck you don't have to pay to park it somewhere. Sometimes, if you live near a Wal-mart, the manager will let you park your tractor there if they had room. They take NO responsibility if someone breaks into it though.

Unless Prime changed their hometime policy recently, you were allowed to go home after 3 weeks on the road. For every 7 days you work, you get 1 day at home. However they would only let you take a maximum of 4 days at home. If you stayed out longer than 4 weeks, you could bank extra days for later. I used to stay out about 25 days at a time as I always come home and delivered on a Thursday so I can be home Friday, Saturday, Sunday and return out on Monday. Your first day at home counts as the day AFTER you empty. Also keep in mind this hometime policy pertains to company drivers only. Lease operators don't have a hometime policy and you can return home and stay for as long as you wanted. However at an average of $1,200 a WEEK, you can't afford to go home or stay home too long without going broke.

Living in the Northeast, you'll have no problem at all finding a customer to park your empty at. I delivered in Manassas a couple of times while at Prime. Any other ??'s feel free to ask.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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13 months driving OTR is over!!!

Here's an update on my endeavors since leaving Prime over a month ago. I left Prime with the intention of getting a local job so I could be home every night. I had a plan but not much of a "concrete" plan of attack. Only a strong internal belief that things would work out. I truly believe in my heart that things will work out and so far they have but not quite the way I imagined it. But nevertheless here's the update:

The company that I set my sights on here in Daytona is US Foods service in Port Orange, FL. I've been applying with them 10 times over two years and have never even got a response from them other than, "Thank you for your interest in US Foods. At this time we are not moving forward with your application." Well two weeks before I quit working for Prime I finally got an interview with USF. I felt the interview went well and felt confident I'd get on when I got back from vacation in Jamaica. However what I didn't pay enough attention to was when the hiring manager told me that "Generally drivers coming from OTR don't work out well in a delivery position here. It is a very labor intensive job with a huge emphasis on customer service and not so much geared at delivery. I didn't get the job directly at USF. HOWEVER.....I found an add for a driving position in Port Orange through a temporary driving company. (Moments Notice Truck Driver Leasing) I called and talked to them knowing that there is only 1 food service place in Port Orange. I applied and was hired. I took the drug test before leaving for Jamaica and started with them after completing a road test...(at US Foods) the day after I came back. I reported to work at US Foods the next day. The past 3 1/2 weeks I've been going out on routes with USF drivers as a "helper" and in some cases a "co-driver" as they have some long routes that go all the way to southern Florida and take too many hours for one driver to complete in a 14 hour day. I've also done some shuttle driving from the DC in Port Orange to drop yards in Boca Raton, Davenport and Tampa FL. Either way I'm getting experience at the company I set my sights on.

Here's what I really wasn't ready for. I know I got out of shape in the 13 months I spent OTR. But oh my Lord I didn't think I was that out of shape. The routes I go on average 15 hours and hand deliver between 1000-1500 cases of food a day. You use a hand cart to stack the boxes on and wheel them down the tight ramps and into restaurants. My first week I was second guessing my decision to work at USF. But I figured (at the advice of every driver I've been with) to stay with it as I'd get used to it. Well I have. I'm getting into shape and developing a good work ethic with the USF drivers. USF can hire me full time from the temp agency after I have 500 hours worked with them. And every driver told me that the chances of getting hired on full time are much much greater if you can do a good job in the route delivery aspect of the job. There are many temps that have been driving the shuttle routes for USF but haven't been hired on full time because they don't want the hard labor aspect of the job. I look at this as a challenge I can overcome if I put my mind to it.

As far as the Trader Joe's opportunity..that has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I interviewed with Trader Joe's in April when they had a job fair in Daytona Beach. I went with the intention of applying for a driving position but found out when I showed up that they weren't even hiring drivers at that time. That was supposed to come later. Trader Joe's is using an outside staffing agency to hire their warehouse positions. That agency told me to "keep calling to find out when they will hire drivers" as they didn't know exactly when that would be. Turns out it was kind of a secret. Trader Joe's is using a trucking company to do their deliveries for them. The staffing agency didn't tell me that. I didn't find out about that until I started seeing NFI trailers parked at the DC. So I called NFI to apply for a position there and low and behold they have filled all positions there. I don't know why it was being kept so quite as to who was doing their deliveries. Either way I'll be applying with NFI to try and get on if need be down the road.

So here's the lesson to be learned for anyone wanting to transition from OTR to local. If the job you want is labor intensive, the company has cold feet hiring OTR drivers. There's a huge difference between holding a steering wheel 11 hours a day to actually making 15-20 stops a day and hand delivering product. You'll really have to go out of your way to convince them you're up to the challenge. In my case I found a temp agency to kind of "audition" my skills so hopefully get a full time job at USF later. I have a great work ethic and KNOW I will get hired there if I keep up a good attitude towards it.

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