Profile For Derrick B.

Derrick B.'s Info

  • Location:
    RI

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 10 months ago

Derrick B.'s Bio

Trying to make a buck and do it safely.

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Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Is classroom time mostly a waste of time in cdl training programs?

Hey there Tim! I had a choice between 2 schools when I started. One had a mandatory so many hours of classroom time before they would let you in a truck, and another that only had classes on Saturday in order to pass the permit. The rest of the week you could come and go as you pleased on your own schedule to work on backing with instructors. Option 2 was half the price and I got exponentially more seat time than option 1.

The reason the first school emphasized classroom is because they had to have so many hours of class work in order to be accredited and allow people to get loans to attend. Not a horrible thing if you need a loan to pay for it and don’t want to go to a company and do free training, but I would say go to a school that emphasizes teaching you to back up and drive the truck. Anything you would learn in a class like trip planning or map reading you will learn from a trainer week 1 on the job. You’ll get help in driving too, but you’ll both be happier if you’re better trained to drive and back the truck up than read an read an atlas perfectly.

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Leasing...here we go again! Merry Christmas!

You're right indeed Old School I do have my reasons. Certain things are worth more than any amount of money in the bank, like relationships, family, and health. And I don't necessarily want 80k to be the number I'm planting my flag on. Maybe it's more and maybe it's less. If it ended up being 50k which it certainly isn't, then that's fine too. 80k as a company driver is crazy though, congrats on a great year! That's an average of 3100 miles a week for 52 weeks at 50 cents a mile. Machine numbers. You're flatbed though, no? So maybe tarp pay and stop pay and things add up to a good chunk as well bringing those numbers down.

Good to know Rainy. I guess disregard any of my so-called "perks" of leasing then. I'll bow out as the representative whipping boy on the topic since I don't have much ground to stand on it seems.

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Leasing...here we go again! Merry Christmas!

The payments are high and there is little hometime, but its not providing Prime with 2 trucks for every one leased.

Thank you for the breakdown Rainy! I don't know what backward math I did while I bitterly looked at a settlement one day, but I always had it in my head that Prime was fleecing me worse than that.

Untrue. You as much as admitted it yourself when you said you only turned down one load. Load acceptance is generally based on revenue when you are a lease op. Some loads pay better than others, and as you know, turning down loads will put you in bad standing with your dispatcher. That fact along with the never-ending weekly payment forces you at some point to take the load and keep moving.

I route my self every day. I can't count how many times I've taking the Tappan Zee instead of the GWB.

Not only does my dispatcher not give a hoot on how I get from A to B, he's also often impressed by my ability to avoid weather, traffic jams, and other delays through my navigational prowess. As long as it gets there safely and on time, they simply don't care.

Thanks, Turtle for the reasonable response and rebuttal. On the forced dispatch you're exactly right. I never felt like I was in a position of luxury where I could just pick and choose at my whim and my dispatcher certainly didn't see it that way either.

On the routing yourself that's good to know! I am coming at this from the perspective of having never been company myself and being trained by two lease drivers, so I'm only familiar with that side of things. To what extent can you go the way that you'd like though? I had a load one time where I had to go 100 miles over very annoying mountains on the WV/MD border to pick up and then back out that way again very heavy. It was something like 50 extra flat miles to instead head north and go thru Ohio then take 90 across to where I was going. Are you free to make a call like that or would that mess up your fuel routing so no go? Kind of an extreme example just wondering.

Derrick, thanks for the run down! You were pretty convincing against leasing, all while extolling the virtues of it.

Are you still leasing?

I can tell you understand the concepts of performance based pay, you'd have to as a successful lease operator. Are you taking advantage of Prime's accounting to help you see how you are actually coming out? Now that your first year is on the books, what kind of number will you be putting down on your income tax forms as your income? That is really what will determine how you were doing. It's really difficult to use your weekly revenues as a lease driver as a measurement for how much you're actually earning.

I'm not trying to provoke you, I'm just curious. You seem to have a genuine desire to put out accurate information. I realize you're probably making better than some drivers, but what about the ones making around 80 thousand dollars per year? Are you exceeding that kind of income? I'll make that kind of money this year with full benefits including three weeks paid vacation time. There are some company drivers who exceed my numbers.

Hey Old School, thanks for the write-up and the questions without just dismissing my experience. I'm not leasing now no, I am the one in the other post who recently got the local job hauling Poland Spring out of Maine. In the end, the juice wasn't worth the squeeze for me OTR at this point the way I was running.

I am using Abacus CPA, the firm that operates out of Prime. I only have statements from last year and they are only for the tail end since I got my own truck in September, but for September, through the end of the year, I net 30k. Extrapolated out, and accounting for the fact that maybe those 4 months were very good months, I am sure I came close to that 80k. Now is it with full benefits and 3 weeks paid vacation? No sir. And I'm sure you went home more than me on top.

Brett, all the points you make are spot on of course. It really doesn't make more sense that a company would offer a way for certain employees to take a significant amount more profit away from the company for no reason. I'm not trying to be an advocate one way or another like I've said before, I'm just putting out the way that I saw things. And if they're incorrect I'll admit to them like I've done here a few times in this post. I just wanted to give a little insight and show that you can go lease and everything will be ok. You can make money. You won't lose your shirt to the company. Like I said before is it worth it? Probably not, but it isn't an impossible task to make it work for you in some facet.

And Robert, calm down guy. If it isn't worth it to you don't do it. I'm not here to convince you of anything sheesh.

Look forward to the jab back from everyone!

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Leasing...here we go again! Merry Christmas!

I haven't seen anyone advocate leasing on this forum. Not sure it will be any different this time around. Having said that I leased a truck through Prime right out of training and my experience was favorable. You are certainly adding extra things to contend with besides just driving as a newbie though. The big one is taxes of course. You're your own business so you'll just be dumped with a pile of money every week that looks nice, but out of that, you need to save the appropriate amount for the tax man. If you don't get benefits from a spouse or somewhere else, there is that to consider too since it won't be coming from the company.

The amount they charge for the trucks is very high. By the end of the lease, you have not only paid off that truck but bought the company 2 brand new trucks on top. It's a nice racket the company has going for itself. The toughest part about how high the cost is is it makes going home no fun. At least for me. Say the base amount you'll need to pay that week is $1350. You can get a load or 2 that gets you home to cover that, but by then you've worked half the week making enough to just not go negative that week. Now you're at home for 3 days and the pay week ends and a new one begins and you're responsible for that $1350 again. Not planning on the right times to get home or how to get loads to cover the payment is how people end up going negative. I combated this by just not going home really. I would stay out for 2 months and get back for 3-4 days because I couldn't stomach having to pay to be home. In the year I leased a truck I never went negative, but it can happen.

Another situation you could find yourself in as a lease driver is a breakdown where you're out of service for the majority of the week. You still need to pay for the truck and could find yourself starting the next week negative.

There are really only a few "perks" that being a lease driver gets you over being a company driver, at Prime at least. The first is no forced dispatch. So instead of being given a load and that's that, I was sent a message with a preplan and my dispatcher asking me if it worked for me, and I could accept or deny it. It's really not so much of a perk because you will get yourself nowhere denying loads for most reasons. At the end of a week that crappy load you may have denied for greener pastures would have set you up for something much nicer that you didn't know was waiting. I only ever turned down one load so I didn't even notice a difference between leasing and company in that regard and it was because I literally could not find the place anywhere. The qualcomm couldn't find the place, google maps couldn't find the place, and they wouldn't answer the phone. All that in a tight pickup and delivery window I just threw up my hands and said nevermind. Being asked if the loads worked for me, and letting me check it out first, made me feel more in control of my destiny though for what its worth lol.

Sort of tied in with that is you can route yourself. Instead of having to use the route that their navigation sends you on you can get there by any means as long as it's there on time. This is something I used a good handful of times. Like if they wanted me to go over the GW bridge in NY but I could go over the Tappanzee and still make the appointment I would do that regularly. Or heading west if they wanted me to go over the mountains in Colorado but it made sense to just go 80 I could do that. Prime gives you the route they give you for a reason though, being that it usually has the cheapest fuel. So it doesn't behoove you to ignore it because you know better because you'll just cost yourself money.

In summary, I would say I enjoyed leasing for the most part with the one caveat being you are tied to that truck. Sure you can go home at any point but you are literally paying for the privilege. If that's something you can stomach the rewards are not that bad. Is it good enough to justify it? That's for you to decide. Many weeks I would take home checks where, after I take out my taxes and expenses, were double what a company driver could make on their best week. And then other times I would average out my pay per mile and it's on par with a company driver would have made. I'm not advocating for or against leasing. You can easily do very very well as a company driver with no need to add any other stress on yourself, as evidenced by most of the people posting on this forum. Hope I don't get lambasted by the company driver majority, just giving my experience as brief as a year experience is.

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

New local job

Hey everyone, it's been a while. I posted a bit a few times here when I was having trouble with my first trainer at Prime and got some great advice from the regulars here. I've since left Prime after a year OTR and I've found what seems to be a pretty ideal local job, so just thought I'd share the next chapter. I'll probably update this as I go as to whether it's living up to what I expected as I go along.

As it stands now the job is very simple. Start out each day leaving the yard in southern RI at 4 am, where a trailer is already loaded from the day before, then drop off at one, maybe two stops in the greater Boston area. All freight is no touch. After that, shoot up to Poland Spring in Hollis ME, where most of the time its a drop and hook and then go back to the yard. Rinse and repeat Monday thru Friday for a flat 200 a day.

It sounds like a pretty good gig knowing where I'll be going every day, but I don't know what the stops will be like, or the backing situations I'm going to get into in Boston so I'm sure that'll be something I can report back on lol. It'll also be a lot different working for a small family company like this coming from having only worked for Prime. This place only has 15 older trucks. The one I'll be in is a 1999 Freightliner Century I'm pretty sure. Far cry from my 2018 automatic. I drove it today for my road test with them and it rode and shifted like butter though.

So I just thought I'd post this while I'm optimistic and naive about the whole thing so I can look back and see if its all I thought it would be, because as it stands it doesn't sound too bad. Thanks, Trucking Truth! A few years ago I was on here studying for my CDL permit and now I'm doing the local thing. It can be done!

Posted:  10 months ago

View Topic:

Prime CDL Training

When I first got with my second trainer I had considered asking to team up when my training was done because we got along well, but after 20k more miles, I would have taken a pay cut to get off the truck and be able to sleep stationary again lol. You won't ever feel 100% comfortable. That first week solo will be full of questions you didn't even know to ask when you were with a trainer, but in time things fall into place and you get into your own routine.

Posted:  1 year, 11 months ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Well I did it! My training is complete! The rest of my training after I made the switch went fairly smooth. By the end of it all I was ready to get off that truck though. I don't care if it's your best friend, if you spend every day with someone in a 8 by 6 box at a certain point you just want your own space and to do your own thing.

I'm back in Springfield now. Did the class and simulator and my CBTs will be done tonight so I can put in for a truck tomorrow. The campus inn was full so they put me up at the Oasis. Probably one of the nicest hotel rooms I've ever stayed in and it's free. Can't beat it. Robert Low, the owner of Prime, popped into Fire and Ice while I was eating that was pretty fancy.

I talked to a fleet manager today who runs a dedicated fleet for Railex out of Schenectady, NY and he was wondering if I was interested. You leave out of the terminal, make a drop somewhere in the region, and then go right back to the terminal to take your break. Rinse repeat. It's the same 1200 guaranteed as the northeast regional.

I didn't have any plans of going northeast or dedicated until he called but now I'm thinking I may do it. He said his drivers average 1700 miles a week. That's nearly a thousand less than it would take to make 1200 gross on the road in a lightweight truck. Plus I like the idea of leaving from a place and coming back and knowing you'll have a place to go to sleep and not worry about parking. If anyone knows anything about the account let me know.

Just thought I'd let you all know I made it since you helped me get this far.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

So far so good with the new guy. Just started out and went down the road from the truck stop about 20 miles to our first receiver. I had to back into a dock that went inside a building. Did it with just a few correcting pull-ups, and my trainer said I did it like a seasoned pro. Not even the trainee he trained through PSD could have done it like that. Which is cool. He says he sees no issues with my shifting and he's not sure what the other guys problem is. Even though I stalled the truck in seventh thinking I was in 2nd, he took it in stride. It happens.

This should be a whole new experience because I'm going to run completely different from the last guy. I was running strictly at night before and it really was killing me. Was just having trouble adjusting to sleeping during the day while in a moving truck. The job was getting done but it was rough. I drove across the country twice but all I can tell you is it looks like blackness. I'm sure running at night will be preferable because it's certainly easier with no traffic, but as for now I'd like to get these miles out of the way while I'm not also constantly fighting sleep.

Almost done unloading now, on to the next one! Thanks again everyone.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Thank you Brett, I appreciate the kind words. I did leave the last guy with a handshake and a thank you, even though he told my dispatcher in front of me that it's his opinion I shouldn't be a driver.

I was able to talk to the dispatcher alone and told him what happened wasn't fair, and he said he didn't disagree. So there's that.

Trying to wash all that from my brain and get going again. I'm already paired with another trainer. He was supposed to be here a couple hours ago so I'll be out any minute now I would imagine.

Thanks again for the help through this transition. The whole thing blew up over something so small that it seems rediculous to think about, but it is what it is.

I'll let you guys know how it goes! Hopefully the first thing he says isn't well that guy was right, you are bad at this lol. I doubt it. Until next time!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

One of the hardest things right now is I really feel I'm limbo about how I'm actually doing since I'm not really being evaluated. Like is the rest of what I'm doing ok? Are this mistakes I'm making actually as bad as he's saying?

Susan said something about an evaluation sheet or something. Yeah that's not happening lol. What I'm getting is laughed at for slowing down behind someone doing 45 in a tight construction zone with two cement barriers on either side, instead of going around the guy on the left doing 65. Or being rediculed for saying these hills are intense in Oregon and just getting a what do you mean you're only doing 60. Ok I'll shut up then...

Sorry for just spewing, don't have any other truckers to bounce these frustrations off here obviously.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Well that didn't take long. On the way back to Pittston to get off this truck. I drove last night from OH to RI. We were delivering in MA the appointment was for 8PM so we figured probably would unload about then and then get a load the next morning.

I live in RI so I had someone meet me and pick me up at 5am. Was just going to spend as much time at home as I could, possibly the night. Got about 3 hours of sleep then got a message with a preplan and a call from my trainer saying lets roll. Was dissapointed but it is what it is.

I got to the truck and my trainer started right in on me. Last night I had pulled out of a truck stop and started down a hill. Picked up speed and couldn't get it in sixth. He heard the gears grind from the back and said go higher. As he was saying it I found seventh and life went on. Would have found the gear if he didn't say anything, but he took it as if he didn't say something then I would have just struggled forever. And his logic is its such a simple task that i should have just been able to handle it without him saying anything, but since it happened, and I didn't get the gear fast enough, that I'm not picking all this up and I can't do this.

Was literally pounding the steering wheel saying it's simple and I should be picking this up. Ok man. So I said maybe we should go back to the terminal and get me someone else. He agreed so that's where we're going.

Once he calmed down he admitted it might just be him. That he's been bouncing from student to student and maybe he's just burnt out and doesn't have the patience. I'd say so.

I really feel like I've made good improvement, but driving on edge when you know struggling to find a gear or something is going to end up in a talk about how I think too slow is stressful. I hope everything works out with s new trainer, but as long as prime doesn't give up on me, I'm not giving up on myself. Thanks guys I'll let you know the deal.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Thank you Rainy! I appreciate you painting a better picture of what to expect after TnT, because this has been a rough transition. The sleep part especially is something to look forward to lol. At this point it's hard to imagine what 5 consecutive hours in a non moving truck feels like.

Yesterday my trainer admitted this week is the most miles he's run with Prime yet. You don't say? So my second full week in I help you run like a mad man and happen to make only 2 mistakes towards the end of two separate 10 hour shifts. But it's not for me. Ok guy. Sorry I'm just being bitter lol. Onward I go, thanks eveyone!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Wow, Old School, thank you so much for that! I don't want to turn this into a dumping on my trainer type of thing. I know none of them will be perfect, and all things considered I do believe this guy wants me to succeed. It just troubled me how he was ready to throw in the towel after what I assumed were mistakes I should learn from.

In any case I'm certainly not giving up on him over this as long as he's still teaching me because I do believe I have a lot to learn from him as you said. In the exposure aspect at the very least. Thanks again guys, I'll keep you posted.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Thank you Susan for that well thought out post. I won't let the 13 hours thing be an excuse for me. Can't be anymore anyway since I've got a decent bit more now. I'll focus on improving myself in all aspects like you said not just holding the wheel going down the road. As far as the trainer in the bunk, tonight is the first night the curtains are open after our talk today. After he woke up after the Colorado mountains I was like thanks for the warning about what to expect last night lol. Just got a well learn to expect anything. Which is true I just thought it was funny. No more excuses just forward progression then.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Thanks for the replys guys, I appreciate it. I guess I just wanted to know if I was crazy or not because I'm working really hard to improve, and the way this guy was talking to me today he made is sound like what's happened is just unexceptable and he's on the verge of calling our dispatcher and calling it quits on me. Like Jesus man we've put in 13000 miles the past 2 and a half weeks and just the past day and a half I had a few missteps please work with me here. I felt good about going across the country and back twice unscathed but that knocked me down a peg.

Finishing up my 30 here in Iowa talk to you soon!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

In training, I need advice.

Hey everyone. Running into an issue here while training and looking for advice. I just started two weeks ago with my trainer. Came to prime with my CDL but with probably about 13 hours of drive time under my belt. Just enough to pass the test. I started with my trainer and was really raw at first. Downshifting was a struggle for sure because it was nothing like the truck I was used to. My trainer recognized that I wouldn't be ready for teaming right away and wanted to do solo runs with me at first to coach me up. We drove for 2 days like that. Once from PA to NC, then NC to OH the next. After that they gave us a load to Cali that required us to team. Since then I have been to Cali and back and then out to Oregon again.

So the problem I run into now is I had an issue in Portland on a very tight overpass where I rubbed the tires of the trailer on the curb and last night in Utah going up a hill I missed a gear and came to a stop on the road. I did not get over to the shoulder. By time I missed 7th gear the truck just came to a stop. I recognize this is dangerous and I should have been more aware.

My trainer at this point though says he has lost trust in me and seems to be one more incident away from giving up on me and says he doesn't know if trucking will be for me. It is over just these two instances. Not trying to sugarcoat it or hide anything else I've been doing.

From my point of view I feel like I have come very far in feeling comfortable in the truck given the little time I've been in it. My shifting has improved greatly. I guess I just feel a little thrown to the wolves? Is it fair that I had 2 days of him up front with me and then just boom lets hammer down out west and good luck? If this is just the way it is and I'm being soft let me know, but damn I thought I was doing good for how little experience and training I've actually gotten. Already been over donners pass, the three sisters, cabbage patch, I70 in Colorado over vail pass and all that. the mountains in Mojave in California. All while he has been asleep basically teaching myself how to get it done.

Just had to lay it out there and see what the deal it because it's tough to know if this is exactly what it should be. I know everyone here is very honest and will give it to me straight. I feel like I am improving and want to learn, but I feel like any slip up from here on out with him is going to result in him telling prime I'm not fit and they're going to send me home which sucks. A side note is my trainer doesn't seem to have the best track record from what he's told me. He's had 2 students get off the truck on him, another fail the PSD and 2 pass TNT, but by the end one of them wouldn't talk to him for whatever reason.

I want to make this work.

Derek

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Starting the adventure today.

I know I didn't get back to report every day but it was a good three days! My orientation is all set and I was cleared to go yesterday! My trainer should be here at the terminal around 6 so I'll get to meet him and drive the truck around a bit. He's getting his brakes serviced tomorrow at 10 and then we're taking off.

The longest day of orientation was the first one. Not knowing what to expect I was pretty nervous to get it going, but once I got there and started talking to the guys running the orientarion I settled right in. They're really good guys who are here to help you get a job. The group I was with was pretty small I'd say, it was only 6 of us to start. We only lost one guy along the way due to high blood pressure. It ended up taking 4 hours at the doctors to get everyone's physicals done, but after that everything else was pretty easy.

Day 2 we did the simulator test. The simulator feels nothing at all like a real truck. It's just there to make sure you're observing the road and being safe. It's not judging you on how you're shifting and whatnot. After that I just spent the rest of the day finishing up all the videos on the computer you need to watch which can take a while. There are 45 videos to watch and forms to sign.

Day 3 was just classes. One on the electronics on the truck and the other was with a dispatcher where she explained how everyone's job is connected. If you're not making money then your dispatcher is not making money, so it's in their best interest to keep you moving. The way I see it when you hear people complaining about how their dispatcher sucks, and they're never moving, there must be something wrong on the drivers end. There's no incentive for them to just keep you sitting for no reason. I was the only one cleared yeaterday right at the end of the day so I got that off my mind.

Today we only had a few more classes on the APU on the truck and high value loads. And that's it! Now I'm sitting at the hotel waiting for my trainer. I talked to him on the phone for about 20 minutes and he seems like he'll be a good guy to work with. He's interested in actually teaching me how to do the job and not just sleep in the bunk and throw me to the wolves off the bat. The first week will be just me driving his lime green freightliner with pink lettering lol.

Overall I feel really good about Prime so far. Everyone I've talked to that's worked here has been really friendly and helpful and the orientation process is smooth. I've basically felt like I've been on free vacation, but I know the hardwork is coming, and I'm ready for it.

If you've gotten his far in this way to long post, thank you! I'll be updating as much as I can for anyone that wants to know, but I know I'll be busy and tired in the coming weeks.

Derek

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Starting the adventure today.

Well after a long day on the bus I'm here at the hotel. There's a TGI Fridays attached to the hotel so it's time for some food then fill out the monster paper application then sleeep!

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Starting the adventure today.

Hey guys! I've been lurking around for a while, and figured I'd say hey now that I'm starting on a trucking adventure of my own.

I'm sitting here in Providence RI waiting for the 8:30 bus to Wilkes Barr where I'm going for Prime orientation. I'm pretty nervous now with all the unknown in front of me but still excited for the opportunity.

Has anyone been to the PA terminal for prime? Any idea of what to expect? I'll keep this updated as I go along. Talk to you guys soon!

Derek

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