Profile For Seppo

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    Experienced Driver

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    3 years, 4 months ago

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Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Hiring area

One mega wouldn't bring me on as a new driver. They told me it was because they don't ship through my city. Seemed kind of strange as they have a terminal in Salt Lake City and a facility near Portland, and I live in largest city on the interstate between the two, but whatever.

I told the recruiter that my residence there was basically just a mailing address, that I have no need to actually go there and was basically planning to live on the road. I was rudely told "everyone needs to go home at some point". I replied that they could dispatch me out of SLC and I could find my way back from there if need be with no problem. When that didn't work, I told the recruiter about my eventual plans to move to SLC or Denver, and was told in the same curt tone "well, set up residence in one of those cities and then get in touch with us".

After that interaction and how unpleasant the recruiter was to me, I decided not to bother with that company at all, no matter where I move to. Can you just find a different company? There are certainly plenty of them out there. If you don't plan on taking much home time you could let them know that too. Recruiters assume most drivers want to get home every two weeks. I've had opportunities that I was otherwise told weren't available to me open up once I make it known that I like to stay out for 2-3 months at a time and then take a week or so off.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Recruiters and e-mail

I never had that problem.

Have you filled-out an on-line application? Recruiters deal with a lot of tire kickers, unless you have an application in their system, that's unfortunately how they will perceive you.

If you want them to take you serious, get that application done. You will have their attention at that point. It doesn't lock you in or obligate you to anything, so continue the discussion after the app. is in their system.

That's good advice, thanks. I've always been reluctant to put in an app with a company unless I'm serious about signing on, as I don't want to end up receiving endless recruiting spam e-mails for years to come, but I suppose it's easy enough to unsubscribe.

The recruiter at my company gladly answered every question I threw at her, in writing, by email​. West Side Transport was the ONLY company that did that for me-- believe me, I had TONS of questions. The other companies balked at answering in writing, even though I had already applied to some. Like you, I felt it was that the recruiter didn't want to answer in writing.

Subsequently, it made my choice quite easy when deciding who I'd begin my driving career with.

The recruiter for my first company was great about promptly responding to every question I had in great detail when I would e-mail her. Told me I had more questions than any prospective driver she'd ever spoken to! She actually liked that I had challenged her, as I'd asked a few questions she had to do some research and legwork to find the answers to and was glad to have learned those things going forward.

It really does seem like it comes down to the individual and not the company. I spoke to a recruiter at one mega who would respond to my e-mails within 20 minutes with answers to every single question. Dealt with a different recruiter at the same company who every time I e-mailed would respond "give me a call". Had that back and forth with her for about a week as I was driving nights and sleeping days; she'd call during the day while I was asleep, I'd wake up after business hours and send an e-mail asking her to write back instead of call. After a few days of that back and forth she e-mailed to say "well I've been unable to reach you". confused.gif

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Recruiters and e-mail

Is there a reason why most recruiters refuse to communicate via e-mail? Any time I try to send a message with questions I get a reply saying "give me a call and we can discuss that". I'd rather be in touch by e-mail for sake of convenience, plus, as I've read on this website it's best to get everything in writing so there's no question about what was promised afterwards. So is that the reason? Do recruiters just not want to get caught guaranteeing something their company can't provide? Or is it just laziness, that they don't feel like typing out a response? And yeah I get that they're busy and have many prospective drivers to talk to, but it can't take more than five minutes to send a quick message back. So what gives?

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Crete Carrier and automatics

Does Crete still do the driver-facing cameras?

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Wow!! So many companies offering positions

Thats one of the best perks I love about this industry. Once you're a proven driver with experience you can work anywhere.

I can't tell you how great it feels to know that if I were to quit my job in the next hour I would already have another employer begging me to come work for them in that same hour.

Yeah, that's what I thought too. Every single time I've sent an application I've gotten a call within the hour asking if I'd like to start orientation the following Monday. But now I just recently quit my first company after 16 months and decided to take a few weeks off before I get back on the road. I'm talking to one of the megas and they're giving me grief because I was unemployed from May-December of 2014 as well as the last four weeks. I know they have to cover their bases for brand new drivers, but I assumed that once I actually signed on with my first company and got some clean, incident-free experience under my belt I wouldn't have to deal with this nonsense anymore. Kind of frustrating that my work history from three years ago before I ever even decided to get behind the wheel is impacting my hireability now. My extended unemployment back then is part of what made me decide to switch paths and get into this line of work in the first place!

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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SwiftTrans and Knight Transportation To Merge

I signed on with Gordon Trucking in October 2015, after the company had been acquired by Heartland Express. In speaking with recruiters and other employees as I was coming onboard, I was told that despite Gordon being purchased by Heartland, Gordon would remain its own separate company. It would retain its own branding, its own trucks and terminals, and would continue to operate as a separate entity from Heartland. Nine months later, Gordon was completely absorbed by Heartland and ceased to exist. All you see left of Gordon is the light blue trucks and the Gordon trailers that Heartland is too cheap to re-decal. This could simply mean the people I spoke with at the time were mistaken or had incorrect information, but I figured I'd throw it out there.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Parking at a truck stop, back in or nose in?

I've only done it two or three times in my career, only when it's late and it's one of those weird smaller Petros where the entire lot is ingeniously laid out for blind side backing only. If I'm not leaving until late in the morning or early afternoon I know it won't be a problem getting out. I figure better that than have to pull my air brakes six or seven times backing in and waking up some guy who's gonna be ****ed off and mess with my rig on his way outta there in the morning. You do get the added benefit of not having to listen to someone's reefer or super loud idling engine next to you. I prefer not to do it because my trainer told me it's a rookie move, and I don't wanna look like a noob.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Starting a truck career with anxiety?

Thing is, if you have a lot of anxiety issues, learning to drive a truck is going to overwhelm you unless you have some sort of uncanny natural ability.

This is an incredibly broad statement to make, and part of the prevailing attitude that can make it difficult for a driver successfully treating anxiety issues to get on the road. Everyone's situation is completely different, and not everyone with anxiety suffers panic attacks. You said yourself that your anxiety is more social in nature. Mine is as well, and that hasn't stopped me from beginning a career driving a truck. As a matter of fact, I got into this line of work specifically because my issues made it difficult for me to function in a more "normal" workplace environment. I used to be in TV production and media, and have found that driving a 40 ton building on wheels and being directly responsible for the safety of thousands of people on the road around me every day is a MUCH less stressful way for me personally to make a living. I respect your opinion on the matter, but please try not to make assumptions that others might find discouraging. It's up to medical professionals to look at each situation on a case by case basis.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Starting a truck career with anxiety?

I actually just saw my doctor regarding this very issue last week. I've been on anti-depression medication for two and a half years now, including the entire time I've been driving. Wanted to address my anxiety as well, so I started taking Propranolol a few days ago. He was also concerned that my blood pressure was a bit on the high side, and the medication will address that as well. He's actually the doctor who did my initial DOT physical a couple years back, so I specifically asked if I'd be OK to take the med while driving a truck and he said it would not be a problem. I am currently between jobs, however, so we'll see what the new one says when I sign on.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Trucker Path app and truck stop reviews

I wish they had more options other than lots of spots, some spots and lot is full. There's obviously a huge difference between a 20 spot lot and one with 200 spots. One of the biggest complaints on there is guys who mark a lot full when there are one or two difficult spots left. After a while you learn to check the updates along with the number of available spots and use the time of day to play it by ear.

How often do you use your trucker path app and how reliable are the reviews? I know everybody has a different opinion about cleanliness and restaurants, but what about the parking situations?

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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What companies don't have driver facing cameras?

Heartland Express does NOT use driver facing cameras, if you want to update the list. They do have the lane departure system like Prime, as someone mentioned above. It's quite easy to disable but the company will probably term you if they find out.

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

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Is the day of the standard transmission gone?

Trained in a manual. My company put me directly into an automatic when I soloed out and it totally spoiled me. Absolutely hate shifting now. I'm looking for a new company and I'm not going to make a move unless they can promise me an auto. Is there an up to date list anywhere of companies that will provide an automatic transmission for new drivers?

All I can speak to is that Heartland Express is all manual, Knight says they have automatics available, and a recruiter from Interstate told me that they have automatics, but he had no control over them and couldn't promise me one if I came on board.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

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I think I'm done

I'm pretty much on the same timeline as you. New driver, started with Gordon (now Heartland) last fall, eight months in. Backing finally fell into place after three months in and life on the road has been much easier since. Like you, I'm VERY tired of spending all of my time on the west coast. I sort of figured when I started out I'd only be doing western 11, but I'm basically western 3 - spend a majority of my time in Washington, Oregon, and California. As a matter of fact, I'd kill to have more trips down to Arizona just to switch things up; I've only been to our Phoenix terminal twice now.

I'm also jealous you get to drive an automatic. My first truck was an automatic (because no one else wanted it) and I loved it. After a few months they sold it and put me in a manual, and I absolutely hate it. I can not STAND having to shift.

When I got the new truck I was down for a week and a half while they made some repairs...but I got $75/day layover/breakdown. If you hate being on the road, get off and do something else. I'm at very least going to stick it out for another four months until I'm a year in and ask to switch divisions so I can have some more varied routes. Everything you see on this website tells you to get at least a year with your first company before you switch things up. I'm planning on doing my year and asking for more interesting routes - if they can't give that to me, I'll look in to other options. If you enjoy driving and being on the road, I'd recommend that. If not, get off the road and do something else.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Violated my Hours of Service yesterday

LA rush hour traffic. Told my dispatch I wouldn't be able to make the delivery and be able to shut down before my 14 ran out and would probably have to relay at our terminal. Message I got back basically said "don't care, make the delivery." Went an hour and a half over on my 11 and 14 just getting to our terminal to shut down - nowhere else to park driving through LA.

Already talked to safety and got my slap on the wrist, they also told me to get in touch with them if dispatch ever puts me in that situation again so now I know what to do for the future. However, I was doing some research online and read that you can be pulled in for inspections much more frequently with violations, and that fines can run up to 11,000 dollars. I've gone over by 5, 10, 20 minutes every once in a while but an hour and a half is a big deal. Anyone know what I can expect going forward? Will I get a massive ticket at the first weight station I pass?

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Need advice about Marijuana testing for CDL drivers

And about the McDonalds thing, in all honesty the jobs that are minimum wage don't care about the drug users. The jobs that pay good and you can live off of do care about it.

There are many, many jobs that pay incredibly well that do not care about any drug use, weed or otherwise. Unless you were specifically referring to driving jobs. I have quite a few friends in non-driving careers who make well over 100k a year and smoke every single day who are never drug tested and experience no negative consequences whatsoever.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Any advice for driving in big cities

I wonder if anyone has driven a tractor trailer down the hill of Lombard St. in San Fran. Can it even be done?

Assume you're joking, but no, it physically cannot be done. Also, no reason to ever have to drive a truck on Lombard.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Need advice about Marijuana testing for CDL drivers

Everyone here has made some great points. I could talk to my own experience but I think it's been covered already. Since quitting smoking is not an option for you, you may have to quit driving. At very least you might want to quit smoking temporarily and work hard to bank some money in your savings account before you start up again. That way, if (when) you get popped, you'll have a nest egg saved up to fall back on while you search for a new line of work.

It definitely bums me out that I can't go to one of the dozens of legal weed shops when I take a few days of home time in Denver, but it's just not worth the risk to my job. Most importantly, I absolutely do not want to put myself or anyone else I'm sharing the road with in danger. Someday I'll get out from behind the wheel for good and take a job where the public's safety is not in my hands, and I'll enjoy it again. Let us know what you decide to do.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Household Movers Guide or PC Miler vs Practical Miles

Was hoping to open up this topic again, especially for those who are new to the industry, as I am. Right now I'm deciding between two companies to begin my career with. Once I go solo, company A pays .35 CPM to start, .36 CPM after six months, and .39 CPM after a year, with a one cent per year raise thereafter. Company B pays .31 CPM the first three months, .32 CPM for the next three months, .33 CPM for six months, then goes up to .37 CPM at one year. I know first year pay is not as important as gaining experience, and the amount of money I make will be dependent on the loads I get and how hard I run. However, after the first year, company A raises pay by one cent every year, whereas company B only raises it by a half a cent yearly. I'm not looking to jump from company to company, I'd like to find one that's a good fit right out of the gate. It seems that after a few years go by, that half a cent would start to factory pretty heavily into how much I'm making yearly. (In addition, company B won't reimburse the entirety of my student loan, which is another $1,000 dollars I'd miss out on in the first six months of my third year of employment.)

When I got in touch with my recruiter at company B to mention these concerns, the recruiter told me that they do practical pay which can add up to (as Brett already mentioned) a ten percent difference. Money is not my primary concern getting into this line of work, but I am using it as one of the factors to help guide my decision. Wondering if any experienced drivers can shed some light here. I tried doing my own rough math, and it seemed like with running optimal miles at a rate of ten percent more, company B's pay would actually be better up until about five years, at which point the balance would shift to company A.

Anyone have any good advice or wisdom to share?

Posted:  2 years, 12 months ago

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How Long Does It Take?

Just out of curiosity how long does it usually take from the time you fill out the application until you find out whether you are approved to attend the school. My recruiter is working on the file now. I've spent the last 3 years having to hold off on trucking b/c of some issues with my house but now that it's finally all settled I am finally ready to go for it. Just sent in another application to FFE. I was approved last year but don't remember the length of time it took to find out I was good to go.. I'm hoping to get rolling within the next few weeks.....mid Oct at the latest. Going to their 11 day refresher in Lancaster TX.

Like...a day. At most. I think it's a fairly quick process.

Posted:  2 years, 12 months ago

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How To Get Exercise On The Road?

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Once you have completed an initial period of supervised driving, you and your mentor will be team driving. Your mentor drives while you sleep, when you drive your mentor sleeps. The truck will be moving roughly 22 hours out of a 24 hour day. The 2 hours the truck is not moving you are pre-tripping the truck, fueling (either the truck or yourself), using the bathroom, showering, trip planning, etc. Not much time for exercise.

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One way around this is to make sure you get on with a company that only does solo dispatch while you are training. Some companies will have you running team after a few days. With others, the trainee can only be driving if the trainer is in the passenger seat next to you.

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Since I am only familiar with the "training companies" like Prime, Swift, CR England, CRST, (that I believe all run team; trainer/student), could you name a company (s) that will dispatch solo and hire entry level drivers? I only know of one in my area and they are really small, rarely hiring entry level trainees, it's hit or miss. And they do not advertise it.

Not trying to put you on the spot, just curious if you had a company in mind so that our friend could look into it. confused.gif

Unless anything has changed since I spoke with a recruiter in June, Knight does solo dispatch, with the caveat: "In dire circumstances towards the end of training you might receive a team load." They are pretty large and from the research I've done online, seem to be a decent company to drive for. I believe all their training is done out of their Phoenix headquarters.

Can't speak for anyone else. Look around on this website to see if you can find any information (https://www.truckingtruth.com/paid-cdl-training/) and call some recruiters at different companies to see what they have to say.

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