Profile For BushWheeler

BushWheeler's Info

  • Location:
    Tampa, FL

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 9 months ago

BushWheeler's Bio

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Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM?

I wish I would've seen this earlier! I just went through their refresher program and was talking to some of the guys who were processing into the lease purchase program. Anyway, I haven't even been to orientation yet, so I'm not going to have a wealth of experience with the company, but I will be a company driver soon enough, and might be able to find out info for you in the coming weeks.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Can Finally Exhale! I'm in at KLLM

In all actuality, the school(Hinds) where the refresher program(or at least part of it) is located, is actually in Raymond, MS, which is a little bit outside of Jackson. I don't have the full details on that yet, I just know that their training academy is at that school, and that I had to apply to the school in order to complete my file.(It was a simple process)

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Can Finally Exhale! I'm in at KLLM

I got the good news today and am really ecstatic! It took over two weeks to get approved, and I feared the worst, but the issue is that there was some mixup where they faxed the wrong branch office for my current job in order to verify my reference. I really can't determine on which end the mixup started(KLLM or my current job) but I appreciate that my recruiter didn't give-up on me and got to the bottom of things. The place I work now has a home office in a different city, and I work in a branch office that's elsewhere, so it's easy to see how someone got off course.

They emailed me a "Conditional Offer Letter" that I have to either fax or take a cellphone picture of and email it, and then they're going to get things started. I have a few loose ends to tie up before I can leave, but I will be going to the refresher program at Hinds Community College in Jackson, Mississippi.

I only applied to two jobs because I didn't want to have an endless soup of sales pitches swirling around in my head, so I just decided to research every potential company ahead of time, and made a Pro/Con list for everyone, and would apply to them one-by-one. I did apply to a second company just in case when the process seemed to stall at KLLM. Basically, what can be learned from this is to call your recruiter if you go a few days without hearing any information. I could've saved myself probably a week of anticipation if I had done so. Back when I first went to trucking school, I did things the other way where I applied everywhere, and I really enjoyed the simplicity in how things played-out this time.(Although, these days, and even on this site, you can apply to numerous companies at once, so that's an easier option than it used to be.)

Right now, I'm guessing that Monday March 21 will be my first day. They said if I returned the signed offer within the next day or so, I could start this coming Monday, but like I said, that's too soon because I have prior loose ends to tie up.(I'm finishing up grad school requirements.)

I'm thrilled that this day is finally here. I did mostly Class B straight out of trucking school back in 2003, and left the industry to get the college thing "out of the way." (I'm not a traditional-aged student as you've probably figured out) I chose KLLM because I knew I needed a refresher, and I liked their training philosophy. You get six days of a refresher, then, hit the road with a trainer for six weeks. I know all of the negative mojo floating around about how the trainer might just be there to "exploit" students to get team miles, but I don't really care about that, I'll just be glad to have a more experienced driver within an earshot if situations arise that I need assistance with.

I lived an extremely minimalistic lifestyle(outside of student loans) and I don't have to be one of the drivers who plays employment carousel chasing every extra cpm. I just want to work for a company where I'm happy, am treated like somewhat of a human being, and enjoy my job to some degree. I intend to stay at KLLM as long as I feel those needs have been met. Thank you for reading my thoughts, and I'll be glad to update my progress if it's helpful to anyone.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

How Does A Typical Pickup/Delivery Go?

Question for you road veterans.

I know that every place has its own protocol, but can you give us rookies some idea of how it usually transpires once you pull up to a shipper/receiver? An example of what I'm looking for is

"If it's at a large warehouse/distribution center, you check in with security, who directs you around to the shipping/receiving office. You park off to the side somewhere, and bring your paperwork inside. You hire lumpers at this time if you're going to be using them. Then, you contact your dispatcher to know you've arrived. ETC ETC"

Everything I said may be out-of-order, but in your experience, what seems to be the common protocol for picking up and delivering freight?

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

UPDATE: I finally got through to the original company I applied to. The process was being held-up by the fact that my current employer has not verified my employment. The trucking company I applied to has been faxing them for almost two weeks and haven't gotten any response. HOWEVER, they've been faxing the wrong branch office, so there's been a clumsy logistical tango going-on. Hopefully, this will get cleared up next week.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

Western Express is out. They won't hire drivers from my area. It's starting to look kind of grim right about now, but we'll see what the few companies left that will potentially hire an inexperienced non-student have to say. I might actually have to move to another state just to get a few more opportunities.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

New Guy here

I'm 45 and am single with no kids so it may be right up my alley.

This is what I'm thinking too because I'm in the same situation, except I'm 39. People in our position are generally outsiders looking in to begin with, so the trucking lifestyle sounds like a really good fit for us. One of the top complaints people have about trucking is being away from home, and that's not really an issue for us. At the very least, we'll be able to avoid one of the things that causes most truckers stress, thus, we can proceed with optimism. I'm new here too, so welcome aboard!

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Now I wait

So got an e-mail from my recruiter (she is working from home she is sick) Still no word from the investigation team.......Man I was really hoping to start Monday(3-7-2016) But if she doesn't hear from them I will have to wait until the 14 if they approve me. In the mean time I am going to put in applications at Prime(will have to see if "old salty dog" is still cool with me using him)USA, CR England, CRST, PAM, and Stevens Transportation. for now I will just drink my tea and wait and see.

I definitely feel your pain here. My philosophy, is I wanted to apply with one company at a time so as to keep my mind clear and not get overburdened with having to make decisions in the heat of the moment. I figured that I would apply to my favorite, then, if that didn't work out, go to my second favorite, and so on. The first company I applied with seems to have dropped off the face of the planet(I get put on perma-hold when I try to call them.) I applied with a second one last night, and haven't heard from them yet. I'm in a position to where I don't even really care about getting home time, and I live a minimalistic lifestyle and don't have to make a ton of money, I'm just ready to get on the road, get some experience, and take-on the trucking lifestyle. I know people say that hiring is slow this time of year, but I may start applying to one company per day because from where I stand, it's more important for me to get started than to sit around waiting for my top few choices to get it out of granny gear.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

No company will hire a R.S.O.

Especially if you're looking for an entry-level company to get trained and obtain your CDL. One of the reasons being, it is unlikely you will be able to obtain a HazMat Endorsement and TWIC card - which most companies require.

Pardon my ignorance, but is this a new policy? Back around 2005, I worked for a Class B company, and all we did was Hazmat(liquid chlorine, muriatic acid, etc). We had a RSO who worked for us, and I know for a fact that he had a Hazmat because I was training with him when we got stopped at a weigh station. I don't know about the policies for TWIC cards, but unless some new policy has been implemented, a Hazmat might still be possible. Like you said though, most companies require both, so I'm not sure how that would play out.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Now I wait

I got my CDL in 2003, but I went Class B right out of school, and left the industry a few years later, so I'm still a total rookie from an OTR standpoint. I don't have a trucking job right now and am playing the waiting game too(with two companies) so I know exactly the type of fun you're having. It's hard to focus on anything else, isn't it? Good luck with Swift. I have them on my short-list too. Keep us informed on where you stand. If you get hired and I'm still waiting, it'll feel good to at least know that other people are getting removed from the anxiety-inducing limbo that is waiting for unfinished business to work itself out. lol

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

BushWheeler wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

In all likelihood you will be road and yard tested once you have gone through some preliminary orientation, paperwork, drug screening, and DOT physical with a company Doctor. I have never seen an applicant with experience given an opportunity to practice. The reason for the test is to evaluate "where you are" in terms of skill and your ability to handle the truck. Unless you hit something, or commit a traffic violation I doubt you will be dismissed. What will happen is they will attempt to match the extent and the duration of the refresher course with your current level of skill. Since you haven't had any OTR experience they may pair you with a trainer for a week or two just to get your sea legs and gain some experience with OTR operation.

That actually makes a ton of sense. The test is geared to assess where the driver is in regard to road-readiness. As a recovering academic, that type of test is referred to as a "diagnostic test." I had a bad experience with that type of thing back when I first got my CDL. I went Class B right out of trucking school, and was later hired for a Class A position. The Class A company gave me an immediate road test, and were about to fire me two minutes into it because I was having trouble downshifting, but by the time we were coming back to the yard, things started clicking again, and I saved my job before I was even officially hard. Basically, I'm trying not to have a repeat of that scenario.

Thanks for the tip on Swift. I'll look into their program for new drivers.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Truck Stop Etiquette

Love this topic!

Help out other drivers when it is clear that they are going to hit something.

I've jumped out of my truck like a paratrooper numerous times when I saw someone about to hit something. Bad thing is they were other drivers closer than me that could have helped.

Help each other out! No one cares about us but us.

This is much better than the "Sit in my truck filming and making snide remarks about the other driver and his/her company, then post it on Youtube" approach that some of the super goobers take.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

double-quotes-start.png

2) Will any of these companies put me in a high-pressure situation right off the bat where I have to put up or shut up immediately?

double-quotes-end.png

Yes. At least it will seem that way to you. I mean, it's hard to get better at something if you don't challenge yourself so part of your trainer's job will be to make you think things through, drive through challenging circumstances, and then help you get better. They have to evaluate your abilities and then offer advice.

You'll be able to drive the truck just fine. The only reason you'll be going out with anyone for a short time is to learn how your company does things like fueling, payroll, customer interaction, dispatching, communications, etc.

Thank you for all of the great information. You're doing a really great service here, especially for us rookies.

My main concern in regard to being asked to do "too much too quickly" isn't really in regard to being with the trainer. I'm mainly concerned with being expected to have all of the shifting, backing, etc., down immediately in the form of a road test or something like that. I read about one driver who was given some sort of driving test immediately upon arriving at the company training program(at PTL) and being that I need a refresher, I don't want to walk into a scenario where I have to take a test before being given at least a day or two to knock the rust off. I just don't want to end-up with some nightmare scenario where some bitter curmudgeon who runs a training program sends me packing before I can get acclimated and potentially messes-up my DAC report. Maybe I'm being overcautious by worrying myself with this type of thing, but I'm trying to come into the industry with a career-minded approach and don't want to start off on a bad note.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

In case anyone is in the same situation as me and is wondering about Cypress Truck Lines, here's what it says on their website about drivers who have been out of the game for a while.

"If you meet our hiring standards and your application is approved by our Driver Applicant Review Committee we can help you. We will require you to complete some refresher training with us. This can amount to an extra week to 4 weeks after Orientation depending on your specific needs. The Training Department will evaluate your skills after you arrive for Orientation and determine the amount of time you will train before being assigned your own truck. Recruiting will give you an estimate before you come in but that will only be an educated guess."

Sounds like a good program for someone looking to get their road legs back under them, so I guess I'll see what they say about my specific situation of not having ANY Class A experience outside of that local gig I had for a few months over ten years ago.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

Hey Bigwheel, how‘s it going? I see that you're in Florida. Are you limiting yourself to those companies listed? If not, Cypress Truck Lines out of Jacksonville FL will put you through the 160 hr refresher, then out with a trainer.

Wow! I see that they even have a facility here in Tampa. I guess I'll have to call them tomorrow and see how they're going to treat the "Not a student, but not an experienced driver" issue. I know back when the economy was really bad, that put me in some inescapable loophole. I don't have any tickets, DUIs, or criminal record to worry about, so hopefully someone will give me a chance. If this works out, I owe you the finest root beer Flying J has to offer!

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

CORRECTION:

To clarify the part about me applying with KLLM: I applied with them online, they called me back the next day to do the initial song-and-dance, then, the same recruiter called me the following day to give me more info and asked me a few more questions. Then, about a week after that, I tried to call them back and could not get anyone to answer. Now, it's about a week later and I haven't spoken to them. This is where I stand with them, but I'm going to try to call them again tomorrow.(I'm only applying to one company at a time so as to not drive myself insane)

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

Hello everyone! It's wonderful to be on this site, which is such a treasure trove of knowledge! Here's my situation.

I got my CDL back in 2003, and did a few months of Class A local, a year or two of Class B local, then ended-up getting out of the industry altogether early in 2006. As you can see, I have no verifiable recent experience, and no OTR experience. Basically, my options boil down to companies that have refresher programs, and I've narrowed my search down to the companies I listed in the title.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty, I want to say that I know the negative things that people say about all of the companies I listed, so I don't need any overarching advice on how these companies are the downfall of society and their drivers like to run over unicorns. What I am expecting from the first company I work for is to be trained properly in the form of a refresher, orientation, training miles, etc., and of course, I would like to get a paycheck. That's it. No more, no less. I'm willing to pay my dues, so I'm not going to focus on the politics or look for the absolute dream job right out of the gate.

My first concern is getting hired to begin with. Being that I already have a CDL, but no experience, companies don't want to retrain me fully through an entire school(even though I'd be willing to do it all over again) but then again, I don't have any OTR experience, so I may not be "Refresher Material" either. I know that Western Express' website explicitly says that they will hire you even if you didn't use your CDL after you got it, so they might be my only option. I've applied with KLLM, and haven't heard from them in almost two weeks.(I tried to call them once but got put on hold forever, then disconnected)

To sum up, my first concern is GETTING HIRED.

My second concern, is getting hired by a company that will give me enough "Refreshing" for the rust to fall off. KLLM said that their refresher was six days long, CR England would be five days if they sent me to the school that is closest to where I live, and Western Express is only two days, one in the classroom and one day driving.(These are all for just the refresher portions and not going OTR with a trainer or another refresher student) My concern, is that companies will have me do a road test or something before everything starts to click again. I don't doubt my driving ability or anything, but being that I haven't driven in so long, it might take a little while for everything to sink in again, and I don't want to get into a situation where I get sent home before I have a chance to click on all cylinders. I'm not going to hit anything or drive through a building, but I'm just concerned that things like shifting and backing into a spot without 390 pullups won't be fresh in my memory. I know that common sense would tell me that the companies with the longest refresher programs would be ideal for me in this scenario, but any insight you folks have would be extremely helpful.

So, to tie everything together.

1) Will any of these companies hire me?

2) Will any of these companies put me in a high-pressure situation right off the bat where I have to put up or shut up immediately?

Thanks for your help!

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