Profile For Giff

Giff's Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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    3 years, 5 months ago

Giff's Bio

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Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Interstate drivers - please validate this!

I wish I could talk with a fleet manager at interstate. Never quite sure what to believe from the recruiters. It was looking good until the recruiter told me that because I live in Dallas most of my loads would be in the eastern half of the country.

The whole reason I was looking at interstate is because I want to find someplace where I can drive all 48 states. If I want to drive just the Midwest and East I can just stay where I am now.

Maybe I'm hoping for too much from one company: 48 state OTR van, with regional that I can switch to at some point when I want to be home more (with inverter and decent A/C and heat temperature controls).

Got to keep looking...

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Engine brake - 2014 Cascadia with Detroit engine

Took it to the shop. The mechanic checked it out, but found no problems. He told me he's heard the same thing from about 50 drivers. It appears the Cascadia just had weak engine braking. Not that big of a deal I guess unless you're driving the Rockies. If I were, I suppose I would be crawling downhill in 6th gear. Or 5th. :-/

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Interstate drivers - please validate this!

Thanks for the feedback Fatsquatch.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Interstate drivers - please validate this!

I've read and heard good things about Interstate. In my on-going quest to find a company where I can cover all 48 states, with the option to go Regional or Dedicated, I'm looking at Interstate.

These are the questions I asked of the recuiter, along with the responses. If you drive for Interstate and know that something is wrong, please let me know. Thanks in advance!!!

1. Terminal or drop-yard in the DFW area? >>Yes. Was a full terminal. Now a drop-yard with maint. In Ft. Worth. Could park near home.

2. 48-state coverage for Dallas-based driver? >>Yes

3. Solo OTR dry van available? >> Yes

4. Avg miles per week OTR dry van. >>2500/2700 for OTR driving for 2-3 weeks out.

5. OTR Home-time options- weekly. >>18 days, 3 days home. Flexible with your fleet manager.

6. Are there regional or dedicated opportunities from Dallas? >>Both. Could be home weekly with regional.

7. Avg weekly miles for regional from Dallas? >>Varies. Around 2300 weekly if getting home each weekend.

8. Home time for regional? >>weekly

9. What trucks do you use? >>Freightliner Cascadia

10. Can I run a manual 10-speed? >>Yes

11. Can I be assigned a truck with a 'condo roof'? Works for my 6'6" height. >>Yes

12. High capacity (1000 watts or more) battery-connected inverters provided or allowed? >>Provided. Fridge installed already.

13. APUs provided (or comparable heating/cooling technology for bunk area)? >>Bunk heater. Idle for A/C. Idle requirements are different based on time of year. (New trucks have APUs). Based on temp outside of truck.

14. Starting base CPM with 1 year experience >>(.38, .03 bonus if reach 9500 miles in a month)

15. What is break-down pay? >>$50

16. What is detention pay? >>$13 per hour

17. Paid vacation in year 1, 2, 3. >>After 90 days, 3 days vac. 5 days after 1 year. Each year adds 1 day.

18. What is the percentage of drop-and-hook? >>Majority is DH.

19. What is the percentage of driver load/unload? >>No driver unload. Lumpers.

20. Electronic logs? >>Yes

21. Allow pets? Fee? Is there a waiting period? >>Yes/No. Non refundable deposit of $750.

22. Allow passengers? Fee? Is there a waiting period? >>Yes/No. $15 per month when riding.

23. Is there a sign-on bonus? >>yes. $1000 after 30 days if have Hazmat

24. Is it possible to earn performance bonuses? If so, please describe >>Yes. Mileage bonus described above.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Engine brake - 2014 Cascadia with Detroit engine

I appreciate the feedback. I had another chance to try this out today. 7 degree descent, 3 miles. Once again, the engine brake works everywhere else, but provided no stopping action on the descent. I made sure cruise control was off, engine brake was on, and set to high (40k load). I let it rev up to 1800 (per the manual) with no result. It would easily have keep revving up to 2000 and beyond.

I'm going to take it into the shop.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Engine brake - 2014 Cascadia with Detroit engine

Question for experienced drivers: I've been driving my 2014 Cascadia for almost a year. I use the engine brake whenever roads are dry. I've experienced something a few times that I've been unable to figure out.

The engine brake works well, and I depend on it regularly. However, the times I've been on a descent of 7% or more, it doesn't work. And that's when I need it the most!

I can feel and hear when it kicks in, but for some reason going down a steep descent it doesn't seem to engage. Everywhere else, no problem. When I get to the bottom of the hill/mountain and I let my speed pick up, I can touch the brakes and engage the engine brake. But when I'm in 7th gear (for example), trying to keep my speed near 25 mph, no engine brake.

I've read the manual to see if I'm doing something wrong, but I didn't find anything helpful there.

Any ideas? I'd appreciate any feedback.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Werner drivers - Is this true????

Thanks for the feedback.

I do work for them. I am not one of the OTR guys. I started out Regional and now run extended Regional. I stay basically in the Midwest and Southeast regions. I know a majority of their freight is in the Eastern half of the U.S. They do have a decent amount of freight that goes to Arizona and California. I have a buddy that does OTR. I can ask him for a more definite answer.

Taking a guess off the top of my head I would say 70/30 (east/west). Of the "west" freight I would say at least 75% is heading towards Arizona and California. Again, those numbers are just the impression I get from chatting with other drivers at our terminal. Deb R. Is another TT member that drives for Wolding. She has been driving for them a LOT longer than I have. Maybe she will hop on and give you a better answer.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Werner drivers - Is this true????

I looked at the H O Wolding web site, and it says they do 48-state OTR. Do you work for them? How much of their freight goes/comes from the western states? I see there are drop-yards in Phoenix, Southern Cal and Washington.

I sent a note to H O Wolding recruiting asking about this and got a generic response of "OTR drivers cover east and west, but it depends on customers". I'm trying to get a sense of west/east: 10/90? 40/60? 50/50?

Not a good fit for me if it's 10/90.

With H O Wolding you can have an inverter installed, but they require you to have 4 months with them first. You can either buy your own or buy the one they sell, but the one they sell is on a timer :(

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

Hah! I grew up on a dairy farm, so I'm no stranger to work! (Milking twice a day, 365 days a year...).

Now, however, I am comfortable in my wimpy-ness. :-)

Flatbed ain't bad, put ya big boy pants on lol

smile.gif

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Werner drivers - Is this true????

I suspected that #4 was false. Roehl seems to be an exception among large companies in providing (for purchase) a nice inverter. It really makes a difference in the quality-of-life on the road. It shows a company is serious about the welfare of their drivers.

double-quotes-start.png

I am looking at moving to the 48 State OTR Dry Van division at Werner. I've had a great year at Roehl, but I want to cover all 48 states, and Roehl doesn't really do that (dry van).

I sent some questions to a Werner recruiter. The questions and his answers are below. The responses seem pretty good, but I would really love for a Werner driver to provide feedback. The guy I'm talking with at Werner seems like a stand-up guy, but I know that some recruiters can sometimes be 'creative' with the truth.

1. 48-state coverage for Dallas-based driver?: >>Yes

2. What trucks do you use?: >>Freightliner Cascadia, KW T680

3. Can I be assigned a Cascadia 'condo roof'? Works for my 6'6" height: >>All trucks are Condos

4. Are high capacity (1000 watts or more) battery-connected inverters provided or allowed?: >>Not provided, but you can use them.

5. APUs provided for bunk area?: >>Bunk heaters. Idle truck for A/C. Truck will idle continuously when temp > 70 degrees. No penalty to driver for idle-time.

6. What is the percentage of drop-and-hook?: >>90% or greater

7. What is the percentage of driver load/unload?: 0

8. Avg miles per week OTR dry van?:>>2800

9. How is home time assigned? Is it a strict rule, or basic guideline? >>6 days out, 1 day home. There is flexibility to work out home-time with your Fleet Manager as long as you're pulling your loads.

double-quotes-end.png

#1 true

#2 partially true, they also have Pete's and Volvos in the fleet

#3 for otr pretty much all trucks are condo yes. They did habe done baby bunks for certain accounts.

#4 not accurate. They do not allow battery connected inverters except under certain situations. Inverters that plug into the 12v plug are allowed.

#5 true

#6 I couldn't give you an exact percentage, but mostly drop and hook. Though you will go through periods that seem to be all live load.

#7 I've never unloaded a trailer. If you go to certain accounts they are 100% driver unload

#8 I usually average about 3k. The miles are there if you show them you can run them

#9 true

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

It's ironic; Roehl goes to lengths to try and show you how you have the power to increase your CPM, but I also found it rather confusing. I would run the Scorecard Report, but in my case at least, it would have bogus data. Service exceptions that I had never heard of that resulted in a points decrease.

Oh well. I've been around long enough to know that every company has its pros/cons. In my experience, the pros at Roehl far outweigh the cons. I wouldn't be looking elsewhere if they covered all 48.

I'd like to know the 'other' Wisconsin-based company you're going to. If you don't want to post it here, send me a private message please.

Giff, I've been driving with Roehl for more than 10 months. GREAT company, but low pay with a complex pay scale formula. I started there at 36 CPM and have worked up to 37.5 CPM. Last Friday I was told that I finally will see an "UP" quarter, gaining another 3 CPM. This is after driving 109,000 miles in 10 months, never late except for weather, traffic or mechanical issues. I drove every load I was dispatched, then told my production numbers were low. Really? Not on my end. I can only go when I have a load to pickup or deliver in my trailer. I managed to get as far west as Denver, Minneapolis, and Dallas. So much for "we travel to all 48 States". Not this guy, even though I've pushed for this since Day 1. I went on a Canadian border crossing of an average of once per month, either on transit or for a delivery/pickup. In another two weeks, I start orientation with another company out of Wisconsin. I'm leaving on good terms, just in case I ever need to come back.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

Thanks, but I'm past the age where I want to be climbing around and wrestling with tarps in freezing/boiling weather. :-(

Giff talk to Roehl about going flatbed/curtainside. They have alot of loads from Marshfield Door that go all over the west coast. A buddy of mine ran it for a couple years. The flatbedders are also the ones that go the most to canada. I started with them a little over 3 yrs ago and I was on a dedicated account running from Ga to Canada and back. I hated dealing with our customs folks. The detention issue you spoke of is very common. I know Roehl waits for the customer to pay it before they pay the driver. Also if a customer refuses to pay detention Roehl never used to make any noise about it. I always hated that part. Alot of the big companies will have freight going out west but put those trailers on rail. I worked at KLLM and all their western loads from the midwest went that way. I would load the trailer and drag it 120 miles to the rail yard. I wish you the best in your search

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Werner drivers - Is this true????

I am looking at moving to the 48 State OTR Dry Van division at Werner. I've had a great year at Roehl, but I want to cover all 48 states, and Roehl doesn't really do that (dry van).

I sent some questions to a Werner recruiter. The questions and his answers are below. The responses seem pretty good, but I would really love for a Werner driver to provide feedback. The guy I'm talking with at Werner seems like a stand-up guy, but I know that some recruiters can sometimes be 'creative' with the truth.

1. 48-state coverage for Dallas-based driver?: >>Yes

2. What trucks do you use?: >>Freightliner Cascadia, KW T680

3. Can I be assigned a Cascadia 'condo roof'? Works for my 6'6" height: >>All trucks are Condos

4. Are high capacity (1000 watts or more) battery-connected inverters provided or allowed?: >>Not provided, but you can use them.

5. APUs provided for bunk area?: >>Bunk heaters. Idle truck for A/C. Truck will idle continuously when temp > 70 degrees. No penalty to driver for idle-time.

6. What is the percentage of drop-and-hook?: >>90% or greater

7. What is the percentage of driver load/unload?: 0

8. Avg miles per week OTR dry van?:>>2800

9. How is home time assigned? Is it a strict rule, or basic guideline? >>6 days out, 1 day home. There is flexibility to work out home-time with your Fleet Manager as long as you're pulling your loads.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

Status update:

As much as I like Roehl, and they are truly a great company to work for, it has become clear that it will be rare/never to get a load going west of Dallas/Denver. I've discussed this a few times with my Fleet Manager, most recently today. He said we can keep asking the planners, but there just aren't many loads going to the western states. He didn't sound hopeful that it's going to happen.

This is strange, because I spoke with a veteran Roehl driver of many years, and told him I want to get out west and cover all 48 states. He said he had been west a number of times. Maybe times have changed.

So, it's time for me to start a serious search. March will be 1 year at Roehl, and it has been a very good year.

I would ask any veteran driver to reply with the name of any company they know of that allows OTR company drivers, dry van, to cover all 48 states. I'm looking for personal knowledge. Just because a company says they "operate in all 48 states" (which Roehl does) doesn't mean they actually have loads going regularly to all 48 states for OTR company drivers. (Note: I'm not interested in reefer. If I had to sleep with one of those noisy monsters 3 feet from my head, I would go INSANE! I try VERY hard to make sure I'm not parked beside one in a truck stop. I guess I'm very sensitive to noise).

I'm grateful in advance for any feedback/input.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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That I-80 video that was posted from Wyoming really shook me up.

As a new driver (75k miles), I appreciate hearing "let go the ego and SLOW down" from experienced drivers. It can be difficult. I've felt a lot of pressure driving into fog where I can see maybe 2 truck lengths ahead, slowing down, and seeing trucks blowing past me at/above the speed limit. It's easy to feel like I'm overreacting. I have to constantly remind myself of the safety guidelines taught in school/by Roehl about "slowing down", "stay back", and "drive for conditions".

It seems lots of old pros just blast ahead, assuming that the road will be clear because it almost always is... ,

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

Met my new Fleet Manager (via phone) yesterday. Had a good talk, and I shared my goals with him. When I told him that I have been averaging 2100 weekly (in National OTR), he said "Oh. We need to increase that" before I was even able to mention my goal of getting miles up to at least 2500-2600 weekly. He said my goal is "definitely feasible" Nice. :-)

I also asked about getting out west. He told me about some routes going west and said we could do that. Also nice! A very good conversation. I'm staying with Roehl for at least the near future.

While waiting for the call with my new FM the last few days, I had been browsing looking at other large carriers. A couple of pros about Roehl to add to my list of pros/cons above: Roehl allows inverters (they'll sell you a 1500 watt inverter and install it), and my Cascadia has the Park Smart technology. This provides heating/cooling to the bunk area without having to run the truck (similar to an APU). I was surprised at home many larger carriers don't allow one or both of these in their trucks. They sure make my life easier.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

I appreciate all the great feedback. I will be moving to a new Fleet (Driver) Manager in a few days. My current FM is moving into a new role. I will be having a conf call with him, my new FM, and my new FM's boss. Seems like a perfect time to share with them how I'm feeling about my time with Roehl so far (very positive), and what my goals are.

I've gotten positive feedback from my FM in my time working with him. I haven't had a missed appointment since my first month. I almost always get to the shipper early and I'm often able to get loaded/pick up the trailer ahead of schedule. I've had some weeks where I've done over 3000, but that's been unusual.

I will be asking for their help in achieving the goals listed below. I want their feedback on how feasible these goals are. If they say, for example, "We're simply not going to be able to get you out west, or up into Canada. Roehl just doesn't have the routes there.", that will be a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn't be upset with Roehl, but that will be a clear indicator I need to look elsewhere.

Goals 1. Increase my avg miles per week to 2700 by end of January. 2. Ensure I have a clear understanding of anything I need to do to grow my CPM (it's all performance-based). 3. Travel the 48 states and Canada. 4. Ensure I have a clear understanding of anything I need to do to facilitate prompt payment of detention time.

I'll let you know how that conversation goes.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

I looked into a dedicated account, and even tried it briefly. It doesn't provide the variety that OTR does. The variety is important to me.

Have you tried to do a dedicated account?

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Stay with Roehl? Or go elsewhere???

I am approaching 75k miles of driving (OTR dry van) for Roehl. When I hit 75k, I will have met my contractual obligation with them, and will be free to go elsewhere without a financial penalty. It has been a very positive experience with Roehl in almost every respect. Excellent relationship with my FM. Good culture. I have learned a lot, and have traveled in almost every state east of Colorado. I really like my 2014 Cascadia.

I'm looking at other companies for 2 main reasons (below). I'm communicating this here and hoping for feedback from veteran drivers. I don't want to do something silly thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. I also hope others can benefit from my experience so far.

What am I looking for?

1. More money/miles After 7 months with Roehl I'm at .36 cpm. My next expected increase will be to .38 cpm at 12 months. I'm averaging 2100ish miles weekly. I'm hoping to get a better cpm, and weekly miles up closer to 2500. (I'm also getting $150 a month in tuition reimbursement from Roehl).

2. I want to cover all 48 states, plus Canada and Mexico if possible. For now, I like driving OTR because of the variety. I want to see as much of North America as possible. I carry my bicycle with me, and I've had the chance to do some fun exploring in a lot of cities. Roehl has been great, but almost all routes are east of Denver.

Here are the main pros/cons that I've experienced working for Roehl (these may not apply to someone else):

PROS 1. Excellent, positive culture. 2. A real, actual focus on safety as a priority ("park somewhere safe if conditions don't feel safe to drive"). 3. Nice equipment 4. Many terminals and drop-yards in the eastern half of the country. 5. Fairly consistent miles in OTR dry van (avg 2100 weekly) 6. Very flexible schedule options. Examples: 14/7, 7-4-7-3, 7/7. I mostly do 14-21 days out, with 3-4 days home. I just tell them how long I want to be out, and when I want to be home. They've done well at getting me home on time. 7. As a fairly large company, they have multiple job options (van, tanker, flatbed, OTR, regional, dedicated). 8. Electronic logs 9. Industry standard health benefits

CONS 1. Getting paid for detention time. Detention is paid at $10/hour after 2 hours. Even when I log detention time for a trip, it is often not paid. I have to contact my FM and get him to hassle Payroll to get the detention paid. My one big frustration at Roehl. Either they are actively avoiding paying detention time, or their systems/processes don't handle it well. I wonder if it's like this at all companies... 2. (for me) Minimal or no routes in the west. 3. Not sure if my pay rate is a con yet. I need to learn more about what other companies will pay for a 1st year driver.

I appreciate any feedback. I can highly recommend Roehl to any new drivers looking to get a start with a solid company.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Roehl Transport's New Training Contract Is it fair?

I don't mean to highjack this thread, but it seems to have run its course, and Ruminator has signed off. :-)

Since this has been all about Roehl, I have another Roehl question that my recruiter was unable to answer for me: I plan to start OTR with Roehl. I want to cover 48 states and Canada, but I especially want to run in the western US. Do they carry much freight in the west? Or are they mostly mid-west and eastern US?

Thanks, Seldon

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