Comments By Old School

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  • Old School
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Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

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FNG With stupid Qestions

Is this worry normal? I graduated from Tampa Truck Driving School which is an outstanding school with outstanding instructors however, I'm a big boy and know the differance between being legal and truly being qualified.

How long in the real world (give or take) does' it take for a driver to actually be a competant and safe operator?

Mike, it's an astute observation, and it is probably due to your long life of experiences. Becoming a competent truck driver takes some time. That first month out here on the job is nothing short of being extremely stressful. A lot of people get blindsided by those initial difficulties and quit during their first 90 days.

No matter how great our schooling, it is done under controlled circumstances and situations. We always have help immediately available to us, and we are not in some completely new environment every single day. Getting established as a trucker is very challenging and very rewarding. Take your time to be safe. That is the most important factor for a new rookie.

Being effective and proficient comes with repetition and exposure to the many variable factors of the job. I was actually thinking about this topic as I was driving this morning. I've been out here for a little more than seven years now. I'm just now feeling real comfortable with my abilities. Just saying that bothers me though. You never want to be complacent or over confident. There is a certain level of awe and respect one always needs to maintain for the responsibility required in this job.

Backing is every rookie driver's nemesis. It's just complicated at first. Putting these monsters in place for unloading at some of these facilities can be really challenging. I always tell people to give it a year or maybe a year and a half. At that point you can probably get it backed in just about anywhere. It might not always look real pretty, but you'll understand what you need to do to get it in there.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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DAC report

We don't know what might keep you from getting hired Shev. I had a terrible time getting my first trucking job. I still don't know what the hindrance was. Your concern with your DAC is probably misdirected. There is a lot of things they look into besides your DAC report. All you can do is start putting out applications. Trust me, being persistent will be your best approach.

Somebody will take you, just don't do something stupid like quitting one month shy of your obligation. None of the long list of companies i thought would be good places to start would touch me. In the end, what I thought was irrelevant. Just get in somewhere, stay there and get some valuable experience, and then reassess your situation. Never quit short of your contractual obligation. It will be a huge hindrance, as you see now.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Friday Short Haul - Post-virus speeds return to normal, $2 million insurance minimum proposed, WIT looking to honor an influential woman

PJ, I'm curious... How does a rate increase like that affect guys/gals like yourself who have their rig leased on to a large carrier? Will it affect your pay rate or percentage of the load? Is your insurance carried through the carrier? Do you have additional insurance you carry - such as "Bob-tail" coverage or some form of un‐laden coverage?

I honestly don't know how all that works, but always enjoy learning these types of things.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Traning w/ Prime Inc.

I gotta get out of these emotions.

Great post Travis!

You are going to have a tough time with this. I understand every thing you've had to say. I have three daughters and my wife. There are so many things that happened at home while I was away. Sometimes it just rips your heart out of ya.

One thing I have is a really good friend/neighbor who is willing to help my wife with anything she needs. He does my yardwork for me and has gone over to the house several times when my dog was barking like crazy in the night, or when my wife had a copperhead snake in the garage. Having someone like that is invaluable.

Your wife will have to take charge of things. She will have to learn what things she needs to discuss with you while you're on the road, and what can wait until you get home. Your relationship will change. The two of you will have to make sure it doesn't change for the worse. Talk with your daughters whenever you can. Tell them about the places you go. Send them photos of the things you see. Let them be involved with you. Later on they will want to go with you. Take them along once they are old enough.

Each of my daughters rode with me on various occasions. They are grown now with children of their own. They still talk about those trips on the road with me. They keep asking me to do this long enough to take my grandchildren out on one of those grand adventures.

It's tough - there's no denying that, but you can do it. Real men shed tears on the road, and it's almost always because they miss their people at home.

Hang in there my friend. The gate is about to swing open, and you are on the back of a bull. Ride it out - don't let it throw you.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Enjoy that time off - you've earned it!

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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So you want to own a truck

Gunsmoke and I are back on the road and we are again making money. That’s what we do.

I love that! Great attitude P.J.

Keep those wheels rolling!

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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So you want to own a truck

It sucks when bad things happen to good, diligent people.

I've thought a lot about this conversation lately. Several times I started to make another comment but decided against it. Rob's comment makes me return to my original thought. Here's the thing I've been wanting to point out.

Business owners, or truck Owner/Operators, are diligent people. They do everything they can to make their business work. There is a phenomenon, or law of business, that we often overlook. It's called the "return to means." If I call it the "law of averages" it may sound more familiar to most of us. Every industry has an "average" amount of profits produced by those in that sector. Trucking is no different. You will seldom ever find a large successful trucking operation exceeding 7 or 8 percent profits over a span of 8 to 10 years. In fact, it's generally lower than that.

Like every other truck owner before and after him, P.J. started off feeling great and looking good. His numbers were good, his pride of ownership felt good, and he was getting to do things just the way he wanted. Who wouldn't be feeling good about life when you're rolling down the highway in a classic Peterbilt like his? He was stacking up Benjamins and having the girl of his dreams right along side with him. It doesn't get any better than that!

But wait a minute!

Life and business isn't all rainbows and roses. There's still that bugaboo known as "averages." There's no getting around them. They are called "averages" because they are basically inevitable. They happen to good people, bad people, and yes, even to diligent people. You can't run a business without experiencing the same issues that others face in that business. In an asset based business like trucking, our assets have wear and tear. They decrease in value, and they eventually need to be replaced. It's all part of the calculation that determines our outcome, and there are well established mean averages.

I think it's great that P.J. has been so open with us. He's being honest with himself too. There is very little "wiggle room" for an Owner/Operator to realistically make more money than a good solid company driver. To be honest, in today's business climate, most of the Owner/Operators I know are not producing the kind of income that really good company drivers are.

If you were to compare a ten year span of tax returns between a solid company driver and an Owner/Operator, I'd dare say you'd be quite surprised at the comparison. "Averages" are really hard to overcome in the long run.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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New Bonus Money initiative

At Knight we have a monthly bonus structure that's pretty generous if you're productive. During the past three months they initiated some additional bonus money due to Covid 19. It was fairly easy to earn an extra 200 bucks per week with that additional bonus.

Now that additional bonus has expired, and it was back to normal, until just a few days ago when they announced a new initiative. They are calling it the "Re-open America Bonus," and here's how it works. Starting this July 4th and going to July 4th of 2021 we will continue earning our standard bonus money based on safety and productivity. It pays out monthly on the 15th. I generally average around 650 bucks each month.

For the drivers who stick with the company for the duration of that year, they will be rewarded in July 2021 by the company adding up the total bonus money paid out to them over the past year, and writing them an additional check for that same amount. It's a way to double your bonus pay and receive that final sum in one large payment.

Personally, I like the plan, but it's amazing how many of our drivers are complaining about it. They don't like the "long term" commitment. They don't like the fact that it's based on productivity. They claim it's just a way for the company to trick them into making the Knight family richer!

People sure are funny. When you tell me I've got an opportunity to earn an extra 7 or 8 thousand dollars this year just by doing what I'm already doing, I'm ecstatic. Truckers will complain about anything, but I simply don't get it when they moan and groan about free money being thrown at them.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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How is your year going?

I pray for a speedy recovery for you Mister Curmudgeon! Seriously, I hope it all comes out well for you. Don't rush it, and do your best to drive your wife crazy with some tin whistle tunes being piped throughout the house!

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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The Power of Your Dispatcher to Make or Break You ...

Since Dawn revived this older conversation, I thought I'd just add some additional information.

Mountain Girl went on to prove her resilience and tenacity. Last I heard from her she was still driving truck and knocking it out of the park! She's proven to be an awesome driver in some of the most difficult winter areas we North American Truck drivers deal with.

Oftentimes we face difficulties when establishing ourselves as drivers. Some take it as an opportunity to point fingers and blame others for their shortcomings. Successful truck drivers like Mountain Girl take the "high road" and figure out how to flourish under stress and difficulty.

A great truck driver is made, not born. Sometimes it all gets hammered out on the anvil of reality and difficulty. Steel doesn't get tempered without being stressed, nor do everyday people learn to deal with difficulties without facing them head-on. This career requires a resolute temperament. Those who go on to successful trucking careers generally have struggled with, and overcome, some adversity during their first few years. If it were easy we wouldn't always be looking for new drivers.

I salute those of you who have persevered. You are some real soldiers in my estimation.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Brand New CDL.............TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Passing the tests today was a GI-GAN-TIC relief.

Congratulations sir!

I started this as a second career at 53. The company that hired me hired another gentleman that same day who was 73! I've since then met several drivers in their 80's!

If you're interested, here's a link to a conversation about the time I met one of those guys in their 80's.

Trucking For The Long Haul

I wish the best for you! Hang around here with us. I'm sure we're going to be able to help you out as you get started.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Tennessee Truck Driving School

Keep us posted Bubbles. We are glad to help you if we can.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Oxygen concentrator

Is that anything like a "flux capacitor?" If so, I've got to have one! I'm going back to the future!

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Rob, you're obviously a "thinker." I like the comments you made on backing. Getting set up properly is the foundational thing that helps you execute any backing maneuver. Remember, there's nothing wrong with needing to do a pull-up. Oftentimes it's part of my plan or strategy to get my truck parked with limited parameters or space. Using that slight Jack-knifed position can help you get yourself lined up for a simple straight back after you started from an angled position.

I've listened to new drivers who are almost ashamed that they needed to do a "pull-up" to get parked. There's no reason for that. It's one more technique that helps you get the job done. It takes years to become really efficient at backing. You're doing a great job. Keep up the practice and don't get complacent about doing a G.O.A.L.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Four S Trucking .....5 trucks...Memphis

Do they allow cats in their 5 or 6 trucks? If they do, and are willing to take a chance on you, I'd say you just found out they are "good."

What happened at Panther? Did you already decide they were "bad?"

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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How is your year going?

There's nothing wrong with options or preferences

Very true Banks. And I didn't mean to come off as critical of line-haul drivers. The beauty of trucking is that there are so many types of jobs available to us. I happen to enjoy all the variety and challenges of the OTR lifestyle. Others enjoy, or require, a more structured schedule. Truck drivers are extremely diverse, and there are jobs available for all of us.

I'm glad to see that many of you are doing well. I'm especially glad to see Youyo back at work.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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How is your year going?

You line-haul drivers crack me up talking about your "start times."

Here's my "start times" from the last eight days...

2130

1645

1445

0615

0430

0500

0330

0030

My days start all over the place. I'm currently on a JIT load that they didn't even have ready at the proper time. Now it's up to me to figure out how to cover for the shipper's mistake! I flip my days and nights every week, but they pay me well for doing it.

My dispatcher begged me to take this JIT load. He dead-headed me 968 miles just to get me near the shipper. He said, "You're the only driver I've got who understands how to make this happen. When I try to explain to these other guys what they'll need to do, they just say you're crazy - I'm not gonna do that! I need my rest!"

Understanding the HOS rules and how to do things like an 8/2 split can really help you manage things on these multi-stop flatbed loads I do. Being versatile and willing to make sacrifices of what others consider convenient schedules can push you into some serious productivity. That's where the money is in trucking. Being productive, safe, reliable and willing to do what it takes, translates into a solid and rewarding trucking career.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Can’t sale

Ashley, you might want to try going to Trucker.com They advertise equipment for sale. They also have a magazine, "American Trucker" which has a section for ads of trucks for sale. Once you've logged into the site you can navigate it through the 3 bar menu in the top left corner.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Is this Reckless?

It would be to your advantage to wait until that ticket is 3 years old. That's going to open up a lot more opportunity for you.

Hang around here and ask questions. You can learn a lot just by participating in our forum. Use these links and they will help you considerably...

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Is this Reckless?

Anything 15 over the speed limit is considered as reckless driving by trucking companies. When applying that one is going to be a problem for you.

Are you trying to start a trucking career? How old is the ticket?

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