Comments By Old School

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  • Old School
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Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Just saying Howdy... New to forum ☺️

Welcome to our forum Blue J, and welcome to the wonderful world of trucking!

I travel up and down the 323 miles of I-81 through Virginia almost twice a week. In fact I'm scheduled to make that trek this week. I'm leaving Louisiana tomorrow and running a load up into Connecticut.

We're glad to have you out from the shadows. I hope you'll bring any questions or concerns you have while training to our forum. There's plenty of people here who have been in your shoes, and they will be willing to help in any way they can.

Congratulations on making these first steps toward a future career!

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?

One of our Moderators is actually training people to be class A company drivers for Amazon.

The tractors I've seen are pulling Prime branded trailers on various interstates in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I didn't observe their clothing.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?

Has anyone seen an Amazon branded day cab?

I've seen quite a few.

Posted:  2 weeks, 2 days ago

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I made my choice. I’m going with TMC. Starting on Dec 9th

I’m very relieved the process of getting hired is over.

Jay, Congratulations on a fine decision and on getting an invite to orientation and training. Just be aware that you are not actually "hired" yet. When they've given you a fuel card and a company ID badge you'll know you're hired. Right now you're starting a lengthy interview process.

Keep us posted. We look forward to hearing about your progress!

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

from what I see is we have far too many drivers running the truckstop and/or construction zone 400 on a regular basis. Also more drivers not slowing in other areas they should be. That is in direct relation to them believing they have to make up time. That’s always the excuse anyway.

I think it's a pathetic excuse. If a person can't figure out how to use 70 hours in a week to be productive, well, I just don't know what to say. What would they like to have? Can you imagine the public outcry if we allow truckers to work 100 hours per week? It makes no sense.

There are plenty of drivers making great money on electronic logs. I never feel rushed. Does that surprise any of you? It's the truth, and I bust out some big miles. We plan and we execute. It's much like sports. You do what you have to do to win. You play by the rules. You're advantage comes by playing better than everybody else.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Need advice

what concerns someone is when several people are having similar issues with one particular company, and its focused more on things beyond someone’s performance or out of their control.. things like pay being screwed up or being parked more than driving due to dispatch issues ect..

Sean, we get it. Everybody has the same fears when starting this career. The information available to us is absolutely terrible. It's misleading and outright confusing.

Let's talk about the things you mentioned as being "beyond someone's control."

1) Pay being wrong or screwed up.

That's a little discouraging, if not frightening. Everybody deserves their pay to be correct. Here's what you don't know when you read those statements: Rookies are the only ones who experience this. Why would that be? Ninety nine percent of the time it's because they screwed up the paperwork turned in for payment. We turn all our work in electronically. It's really fairly simple, but rookies will invariably make simple mistakes at this, and then get all hot headed as if to make it sound like the company makes a habit of not paying their employees.

Once again, you have to use your own critical thinking skills and ask yourself, "What company thinks they will ever survive the challenges of a competitive market by making a habit of cheating their employees?" There's no good answer, because it's simply not true. The new employees either didn't pay good attention during training and orientation, or they just don't have the skills or commitment they need to work in this environment. 100% of the time that another driver on the fleet I'm in comes to me complaining about how payroll cheated them, I've helped them realize that they made the mistake. Then we get it resolved. It's that simple.

2) Being parked more than driving due to dispatch issues.

That's another disturbing thing that has been repeated for decades now. Again, ask yourself, "Why would a company, that makes it's money by moving freight, keep it's drivers sitting idle?" Here again is a rookie issue. Let's dig into the details. No trucking company wants it's trucks sitting doing nothing. That's counter productive to their goals.

So why do we see these reports? Drivers are way more responsible for keeping their wheels turning than dispatchers. I can promise you that very few rookies understand that concept. They are the ones sitting and fuming, while wasting time online complaining. They usually could have already been dispatched had they understood how to keep themselves moving.

I think a personal example might help you get this. Last week I got dispatched from Delhi, Louisiana to Farmington, Connecticut. The load had three stops on it. I left Louisiana on Saturday. Before I ever started my trip I sent my ETA (estimated time of arrival), and my PTA (projected time I'm available for the next load) into my dispatcher. These are done on the mobile communication system in my truck. There's considerably more people than just my dispatcher who will see those communications. Now I've got the whole team looking out for me. I do this every trip, and I never sit and wait. It's how a professional driver conducts his business. They had me a pre-planned load by Monday morning, a full day ahead of when I told them I'd be empty.

Take a look at the miles I ran last month... It's the number circled in green.

0604879001574701887.jpg

Sean, it takes some time to get the hang of this stuff. You are reading reports from people who never bothered to learn to excel at trucking. It's no reflection on PAM. It's a huge amount of drivers telling on themselves. If they only knew how experienced professionals scoff at their comments.

Everytime you read these tattletale comments on how this or that trucking company sucks, you have to read it in the context that the driver is telling you how poorly they did at trying to be a trucker. Everyone I've ever encountered who took the initiative and the responsibility to figure out how to succeed at this has done remarkably well. The reports you see of drivers not getting dispatched are drivers who didn't take the necessary steps to put themselves at the top of the priority list. There's a lot of factors that are involved.

Always remember that top performers get top priority. As a rookie you should focus on three things as the most critical aspects of your job.

1) Don't hit anything.

2) Always be on time.

3) Don't cop an attitude with your dispatcher.

The other things will come along, but those three will help you stay busy as you're learning the other helpful details. Read this article. I think it will help you understand some of what I'm stressing.

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Need advice

Sean, one thing that really trips people up when starting their trucking careers is this concept you'll often hear us talking about. It's this whole idea of being involved in a "performance based career." Most of us have little to no experience with anything like it.

Folks who have for a long time been "self-employed" or "small business owners" typically have an easier transition into trucking. They've been there before - they know how critical it is that they make things happen in their favor. Trucking requires this mentality. It is extremely important that people accept their responsibility and make every effort at being productive. I face each day with the attitude that I am working on building a reputation. I never consider myself as relying on one.

Anytime you see employees or former employees blaming their company as the reason they failed, you've got to scratch your head and wonder "Why in the world would a company who desperately needs to succeed make it so difficult for their employees to help them reach their goals?" There's no logical answer to that question. Large successful businesses are a team effort. When a team member in a competitive environment doesn't carry his own weight and produce at a level that stands up to scrutiny, he just doesn't last very long.

I promise you, Pam has a core group of individual players who are making great money, enjoying their jobs, and getting along wonderfully with their dispatchers. It's the same story at Swift, Schneider, C.R. England and any other major carrier out here. You've got to decide if you can be on the "A" team or not. You've read how the benchwarmers feel. Don't be a benchwarmer!

I'm not implying that you don't have what it takes. I'm wanting to establish the ground rules for you. False expectations are the number one career killing issue in my opinion. Most of us are so accustomed to getting paid for our time, or with a monthly salary, that this whole idea of proving our worth everyday on the job is a foreign concept. Be prepared to be challenged. Rise to that challenge and you'll do fine. Fail to be productive and you'll be one of the unhappy souls who languished away at trucking while flourishing at writing bogus reviews on trucking companies.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Is it at all possible to be a trucker in the USA coming from the UK?

Welcome to our forum!

Your plan won't work here. The U.S. doesn't issue work Visas for truck driving jobs, so the U.S. companies can't sponsor you. Another issue is that your license is not reciprocal here. You'll have to have a U.S. CDL (commercial drivers license). That raises another problem. You need to hold a standard U.S. driver's license for one full year before being allowed to apply for the commercial license.

No reputable company here will hire you without a green card. It is possible to come here and drive a truck, but the obstacles are fairly tough. We've had a couple of Brits in here before who managed it. Both of them had a green card, stayed here doing other forms of work until they met the requirement of having a standard U.S. driver's license for one year, then they went to truck driving school (another requirement) and got their CDL.

Your experience will mean nothing here. I know it sounds stupid, but that's the facts.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Jim Palmer or Wil Trans

The reason I ask is because someone mentioned to me they are now owned by Prime, and I was told I might want to reconsider.

DC, we totally get your concerns. "Someone" mentioned something to you. The problem with trucking is that there are about two million "Someones" out here who say really stupid unsubstantiated stuff. As newbies it concerns us, because we think that these "truckers" ought to know what they're talking about.

Here's the truth... Prime does not own them. They pull freight for Prime, but that's because Prime is awesome and treats the folks pulling their freight really great.

Ask yourself this question next time somebody starts blowing smoke up your skirt. "Why would it matter to me who owns them?" I'm serious. It makes no difference who owns the company. The owner has zero effect on your success. Trucking is completely performance based. You do a great job and you'll have great success. You do a really poor job and you can be one of the nuts who blames the owner or the company. That's the way it works out here.

Be very wary of people who try to get you to focus on the ownership or the name on the truck's door. Those people will always lead you astray.

You are in charge. You will be responsible for your success and/or your failure at this.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Western Express Journey

Enjoy that traffic on I-4. There's always traffic on I-4. Orlando attracts a lot of traffic. It doesn't seem to matter what time of year or what time of day. There's going to be some congestion on I-4.

I'm really glad to hear things are going well Victor - Congratulations!

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

Just for the sake of being contrary I thought I'd throw another twist in this conversation. I just noticed this information while reading an article in "Overdrive" about Owner Operator income holding up during this recent time period. It had this to say...

Average monthly income for July, August and September was $5,327, slightly below the second quarter, but well above the first quarter’s $4,971. Also, it was only slightly below the year-ago average of $5,573 during the third quarter, which represented the tail end of an exceptionally hot freight market.

Now, that should be interesting to those who think the only way to make money at this is to own your own truck. I'm scratching my head (not really). Most people think owner/operators are making a killing out here, so much so, that it's their ultimate goal in trucking.

Hmmm, it appears they are making considerably less than me, a lowly (steering wheel holder) company driver.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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My return to work

Congratulations sir!

good-luck.gif

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Safety Awards

Safety Awards are just acknowledgements that experienced drivers have received from their employer. Here's an example: recently I saw a truck on the highway with a decal on it that indicated the driver had driven 3 million accident free miles.

That's what the reference is. You know, you get a nice pat on the back - maybe a piece of cake, and the company says, "Great job driver - now go do another million miles and we will get you a nice pair of silk boxer shorts with your initials embroidered on them!" smile.gif

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Backing help needed: turning front vs. back of trailer

Really more concerned about TRAINER'S frustration!

Big mistake Marc. You are not there to keep the peace. You are not there to make your trainer comfortable. He wanted to be a trainer. Nobody forced him into that position. He chose it.

You're there as a trainee. New guys can be both scary and frustrating. Every trainer knows that. Every trainer expects that. You are there to learn some very basic low level entry skills. Get it done. I could have cared less how my trainer ranted and/or screamed, and boy did he!

Focus Marc, but focus on your progress. You've got to get this done. Don't allow an impatient trainer to exercise tyranny over you. Pacifying his fickle moodiness doesn't help you one bit. One of the critical attributes of a successful driver is that he makes things happen in spite of the things resisting his progress. That is your challenge, and you've got to face it and overcome it.

Focus... Focus... Focus...

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Pre-trip/Maneuver week coming

Congratulations Sir!

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Sitting in Dayton New Jersey waiting to unload.... It must be Monday

Hey Chris, do you understand how eight hours on sleeper berth can pause your 14 hour clock? This situation sounds ideal for using that little trick.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Sitting in Dayton New Jersey waiting to unload.... It must be Monday

David, we don't bite! You ask us as many questions as you are curious about. That's kind of our purpose here - we help out the new guys on the job.

If you run out of service hrs while being unloaded and can’t park there for night, is there an exemption that allows you to drive to closest truck/rest stop?

Yes, there is a proper way to handle this.

You pre planned your days trip to stop for night at specific spot knowing you could get there barring any major problems. Your almost there and run into major traffic due to whatever ahead. If your drive clock runs out while sitting in traffic is there an exemption allowing you to get to that approved parking/rest area?

This situation is slightly different. It's different only because it's traffic related. As a person develops their good trucking practices they will tend to allow some extra time in their trip planning for Murphy's Law to exercise itself.

There are regulations which provide allowances for things like this. There are also company specific policies that will take precedence over the regulations.

Don't sweat the details at this point. And don't worry about delays like Chris is posting about. It's all part of the job, and as long as you prove to be a worthwhile driver you'll find your dispatcher throwing extra money at you for anything he thinks had a negative effect on your work week.

I quite unexpectedly got delayed close to eight hours one day last week. I considered it no big deal. I just put myself on "sleeper berth" and effectively paused my clock that way. I had plenty of hours to work then after the delay. When I got my paycheck there was an extra 250 dollars on it for "detention." I never thought anybody owed me anything - all I did was rest during that time.

This kind of stuff is rare in my experience. Don't let it be something you're concerned about. You can find nightmare stories online about this kind of thing, but it's pretty obvious to experienced drivers that the people who post these complaints don't even know how to handle such events.

Chris is just venting a little. It's normal because he knows we understand his frustration. It's trucking. It's not perfect.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Werner job questions?

Hey Scott, I just want to touch on one more of your concerns. When you said...

I just obtained my CDL and am stuck looking at so called starter companies.

The fact that you used the phrase "starter companies" makes it obvious to us that you've been doing plenty of research online. You are already picking up some of the nonsense stuff that truckers throw around. Don't believe all that junk. That's the only way it can be described - it's junk!

One of our longtime members who had been in the industry for years (some of them as an Owner/Operator) went and took a company driver job at Werner late in his career. He loved it there and made great money. Don't let the know it all crowd on the internet fool you. These companies that they label as "starter companies" are some of the finest places to work in the industry. They all have long lists of "million miler" drivers working for them. Those are the kind of drivers who can literally make a phone call and get a job anywhere. Why do you think they would be working at a "starter company?"

Check out this podcast. It breaks this down for you. I highly recommend it!

Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Starter Companies?

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Werner job questions?

Scott, welcome to our forum!

There's a little secret about truck driving pay. You touched on it when you said this...

I don’t pay much attention to people complaining about management or dispatch as those are typically a personal problem in my opinion. What does however concern me is the low pay post I’m seeing. People saying that their check would be between 300-900. I know it’s based on miles

You are correct we get paid by the mile. We call that "performance based pay." It's genuinely a form of incentive pay. You'll find successful drivers are motivated by this incentive.

There's more to this secret though. Dispatchers and managers in trucking also get performance based pay. There's is different from drivers. They may have a base salary plus a performance incentive, but everybody in trucking gets more money for being more productive.

So, it's easily understood how you may have some misunderstandings about this concept also. Here's another thing you added on to the tail end of the statement I quoted earlier...

I can only drive what is dispatched to me.

That's true at face value, but you also have a lot of authority over how you get dispatched. Your performance determines how you will be dispatched. We call the drivers who lay hold of this concept, "Top Tier Drivers." Every company has a core group of these folks. They love their jobs, make great money, and get along well with their managers. You'll find many of them here in this forum.

As a rookie, you'll have your hands full just learning the basics of how to operate safely and learning the company procedures for things like fueling, finding empty trailers, communicating with dispatch, using macros, managing your time productively, navigating large cities, and being on time for deliveries.

You want to focus on three major things at first.

1) Don't hit anything.

2) Always be on time.

3) Don't cop an attitude with your dispatcher.

I promise, if you can do those three things, you will be head and shoulders above the other newbies at any company. You will shine like a new penny! Trust me - I know what makes a new guy stand out.

You're gonna have some fluctuations in your weekly pay - all rookies experience this. It's not because the company stinks! To be honest it's because it takes a good while to get the hang of this job. Everyone of us looked like idiots when we started. Don't let it bother you when you feel like an idiot, just keep plugging away at it - all of us have been there.

What most new drivers start doing is lashing out at their dispatcher, as if it's their fault that the poor rookie is not making the big bucks. Remember #3 above? Don't be that guy!

Trucking is all about how well you can produce results. Once you gain your dispatcher's confidence he will have the liberty and confidence to put more on you, but that confidence building is completely based on you doing those three things above.

Take the time to read this article. I wrote it after overhearing a phone conversation where a dispatcher was presenting his argument to managers above him as to why his fairly new driver deserved a pay increase. I think it will help you understand this secret of getting the most miles dispatched to you.

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

Yahoo finance has an article out right now under this title...

California gig economy law to strip truck drivers of highest-paying industry jobs

Now, I recall USA today writing a big detailed article last year where they interviewed many of these gig economy drivers and compared their jobs to slavery. They went on and on about how cruelly these companies were treating these drivers. According to the authors, some of them could barely buy groceries for their families, and were "indentured" through the lease they signed under duress.

Geez, give me a break! Somebody needs to figure out how to do some basic business math and come up with some competent reporting.

Which ever way the political winds happen to be blowing seems to determine how we see things.

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