Comments By Kirk P.

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  • Kirk P.
  • Joined:
  • 2 years, 10 months ago
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  • 38

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Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Need some help with shifting, TT

I found what helped me a lot was just mentally thinking about it and planning it out in my head, watched some YouTube videos that helped and shifting was my biggest concern. 2nd day of driving and I was floating gears. Some of the other guys in my class were still having trouble shifting even at the end of class.

I also had the opportunity to come in on off days and work on it with just me and the instructor. I would ask about coming in on a Saturday or something if that's possible. It's really just one of those things that the more you do it the better you get at it and the more comfortable you become!

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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What would you do

What state are you in? Some states allow more weight on the back roads, for example Kansas allows 85,000 on the state highways.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Kirk,

My point was that the absolutely highest paid swift driver out of 292 people wasn't even making half of that of an average bank president. If Old School here can more than double the performance of the greatest reporting Swift driver, he must possess some unworldly powers. That or the more simple possibility: the company you drive for does matter.

It appears it might be that he's driving for sapa just looking at his pictures.

And my point was you don't know how many are still paying the company back or how many are rookies who get paid less.

Considering they are sharing their personal salary online makes me think that they are unprofessional but maybe that's just me.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Yet 292 Swift drivers on glassdoor reporting their annual average, and not a single one earns even half of what the average Bank president does.

If you're start out at .40 CPM that's the equivelant of making $20 an hour. And that's just starting out. Not to mention the bonuses for safety, idling, passing DOT inspections etc.

Also how many of those drivers used Swift to get their CDL and are still repaying the company?

But what do I know I only got a 110 on the ASVAB 🤔

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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Progressing smoothly!

So I decided to start out with a smaller company that runs flatbeds in the Midwest. My instructor at CDL school and a classmate (old retiree) both suggested a smaller company would be more beneficial, and so far after completing the week of orientation I can say I'm enjoying it. The main terminal is about 2 hours from home and they let me drive my own vehicle out there for the week of training, I'm really enjoying the fact that everyone I've met so far is really laid back and relaxed. It's really refreshing after being in the military for 7 years.

I'm meeting up with my trainer today for my 3-5 weeks on the road then I'm on to my own truck. I hear a lot of complaints about doing flatbed and how hard it is but honestly it's not that complicated if you have a little common sense. Oh and apparently their pay scale changed while I was there for orientation so instead of starting out at .40 CPM I'll be starting at .42 CPM or I can do 25% of load. I haven't decided on that yet, I guess that'll be one of the many questions I ask my trainer.

I feel like I made a good impression though! They gave me their version of a road test on the first day and only made two mistakes (not avoiding potholes apparently) I picked up on tarping and strapping pretty fast and then scored a 96% on the final test. So hopefully I can keep it going! Moving forward with a open mind and positive attitude!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Passed the road test!

I passed the road test this Friday! Now just waiting for my CDL in the mail and find the right company for me. I think this is probably the first time I've actually looked forward to getting to work! Thanks to everyone here that answered my questions and concerns as well!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Tips for going on a military installation

As a former MP I would say stop at the gate and ask one of the gate guards or MPs, they have maps and can tell you exactly where to go, at least they should. Hell even ask a MP if you can get an escort, we aren't doing anything productive most of the time anyways (trust me I know). And if you get the run around just ask for a supervisor. Usually there is someone that knows the base inside and out.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Funny story during training

That's awesome! Always feels good to nail it like that!

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It definitely felt great, I just wish I remembered what I did to make it so perfect so I could do it every time!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Funny story during training

So as some of you might know I'm currently in CDL school at my local tech college. It's me and 3 other guys plus the instructor and we are all Army Vets so it's great being able to all connect on that and make the class fun. Anyways we finally get to go see the course for the skills test and road test. We stayed out there all day practicing and some of us were doing pretty badly because it was a different truck than the one we have been using for the last 2 weeks. The 90 degree was proving to be a real pain!

We took a break from the skills test and he took us on the road test so we could at least get an idea of what we would encounter when we come to take our actual test. We get done with that and come back to the 90 degree backing. One guy goes for it and messes it up horribly like we all were, then he gets out and I go to give it a shot. I swing around and reposition the truck. I start backing and slowly turning to get the trailer in close to the cone and then turning hard to start swinging the trailer into the hole and before I knew it I was perfectly lined up in the hole, I straightened it out and put the bumper in the little 3 foot gap.

So I'm getting out of the truck and the instructor has his hands in the air and the other guys and trying to give me a high five and everyone's just saying how perfect it was. I looked at them and just said "what happened? I think I blacked out!" Anyways I'll call it beginners luck but it was a glorious moment of defeat for the 90 degree that day, at least for that one moment!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Is trucking worth it anymore?

There's no way a newbie driver can make $40,00 per year driving solo. Prove me wrong.

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I've written a new article entitled Is Trucking Worth It Anymore? where I discuss my opinion on today's trucking industry and whether or not a career in trucking is worth doing any longer.

Every one of us has a different personality. We live under different circumstances and have different life goals. Some people want adventure and travel, others want a quiet life at home with family and friends. There are a ton of jobs to choose from, but in the end trucking isn't the answer for most people.

If you're an experienced driver, what advice would you give people considering a career in trucking?

If you're considering a career in trucking or you haven't begun just yet, what are the major factors in making your decision?

This is such a tough decision for so many people. I'd love to hear what it came down to for you and how you feel about the industry today.

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The company I am looking into will be paying me .56 CPM to haul glass. As long as I reach my 6 month mark without incident. And that's fresh out of CDL school.

.56 cpm x 65 mph = $36 per hour

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

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hopefully tomorrow I have some better luck.

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Kirk, that is just not a solid strategy! You need to know this stuff. What other reason is there for being tested?

Why aren't you utilizing the High Road Training Program?

Old School I went back today and scored a 92 on general, 92 on air breaks, and a 90 on combination!

I've been using the high road training program for weeks now, Kansas CDL permit practice test online as well as the manual and practice test in class, maybe it's a kansas thing but some of the questions were just out there. Or maybe my brain just wasn't working that day!

Drove for the first time today, went down the interstate and through the city without stalling or hitting anything, and actually got clutch leg when we did backing drills at the end of the day! Other than grinding the gears on the old truck I think i did pretty decent for a first time around.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

Well, good news is all of my paper work came in within about 3-4 days and I got my license switched over and then went to take the permit test.

Bad news is I failed the general knowledge part by about 3 questions. Is it normal to have questions on the test that you've never seen in the manual or went over in class? That seems to be the recurring theme with another guy in my class as well.

We come back and ask the instructor the same questions that we see on the test and he says he has never heard of that, or it's something that he would answer differently too than what the correct answer actual was. It's really frustrating studying online with this websites program and another one for CDL in my state, studying the manual and taking hundreds of practice test (exaggerated) in class only to have completely different questions on the actual test.

I do fine on everything and feel knowledgeable except for when I went to take that test, hopefully tomorrow I have some better luck.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

States are getting tougher about their document requirements - especially for CDL licenses.

Got any government ID - military, etc. Passport substitutes for Birth Certificate in most cases.

If that's what they require, you may have to wait until you get your docs in hand, to proceed.

Rick

Thanks and no, I have my expired active duty ID but that's it. Didn't bother on getting the other one when I got out and now I'm kicking myself in the ass for that decision.

Just frustrated because now I can't learn to drive while everyone else is. Thanks for the help!

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

So first couple of days at CDL training at the local community college and already ran into a few snags.

First they didn't give us a list of things that we would possibly need before the class. So day one find out I need driving record, social security card, and a birth certificate. On top of studying the manual for the permit test now I need to worry about all of this. Lost my social security card and birth certificate some how, I suppose from moving a lot being in the military. So I go and have them ordered to be delivered and I go online and request my driving record. Good to go.

Except when I go to take the test for the permit today and find out that because I have an out of state license, I need to have my social security card and birth certificate in order to change my DL over to this state. The instructor said I shouldn't have a problem I just wouldn't be able to get the hard copy of my license yet but that wasn't the case.

So now I'm stuck on waiting for things to come in the mail (hopefully) before I can get my permit and be driving. A little frustrated about the whole thing because if they told us this before hand I could've already taken care of it. Any ideas? Or am I stuck waiting it out for now?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

Schneider does dispatch a little different than most. Planners assign the loads, based on a bunch of information. Your contact is called a Driver Business Leader (DBL). The DBL can have a tremendous influence over your dispatched loads. So you wanna build a good relationship with them. You will likely never talk to a Planner.

One thing I never experienced with Schneider was them letting me sit for a whole weekend. They aren't making any money if you're sitting and they gotta pay you layover pay. They'd rather get you moving and make some money

I hope this helps

How about being stuck at a shipper or receiver for extended periods of time? or is that just a part of the beast that everyone has to inevitably deal with?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

BTW.. I am from NJ but I'm dispatched out of MO even though we have a terminal in PA. That is how unimportant itnis to live near a terminal at some companies. Others might require dropping the truck at a terminal or drop yard so be sure to ask the recruiters.

And I prefer the MO terminal, so when I go for repairs and maintenance I go there and get a jacuzzi suite at a prime owned hotel where we get a discount. If in decide to stay longer I can use home time there beyond the repair time.

Yea I think I understand what you are saying! Like I said I'm just looking into the finer details at this point and thanks so much for the replies. I start class Feb 6 and I find myself sitting here wishing it would hurry up and get here lol.

I'll add in my Swift home time experience. Yes there a macro (submit 5 days ahead). Enter the first day of your requested HT, and the ZIP code where you want to go. FYI, the ZIP code for Grand Canyon National Park is 86023.

I only had one "off" experience. I was in Atlanta when I needed to be heading home to Memphis. I was given a load that delivered near Jacksonville FL my second day of being home. I rejected that one, and still got home in time.

Hah now that's a good idea! Find a babysitter or family to watch the kids for a week or two and then bring the wife along for some tourist attractions! who needs a RV? plus I'll be making money for driving there! If I did that by myself though I might as well stay on the road and never come home because she would kill me lol.

Everything the Schneider recruiter promised me over two years ago was true.

What normally happened for me was; I submitted home time request, DBL approved it and they got me home. Since I don't live near a shipper or Operating Center, they normally had me deliver a load, then drop the empty at a drop yard or another shipper closer to home. Then I'd bobtail home.

Please don't be surprised if you've got to give it two years instead of one, to see much better opportunities open up. Not necessarily with the same company, but some companies won't hire until you have two years experience driving.

Schneider has been a great company for me, but only because I've had a great DBL and the relationship worked well.

I'm confident you'll find success with Schneider.

Good luck, I hope this helps and THANKS to you and your family for your service!

Thanks for the reply! and thanks for keeping America moving! I'm not too worried about the recruiters, I know they have a job to do and quotas to make but if what they say is true then that's all the better. You just read and hear about so many horror stories when it comes to trucking, at least what I've seen and read the past few weeks. Coming into the Army as a MP and the recruiter's exact words "Yea man it's just like being a cop except your on a base and deal with soldiers!" 3 months out of basic and I found myself in Baghdad as the gunner on top of a Humvee! My platoon sergeants exact words "Yea we don't do law enforcement around here, we just train and deploy!" 7 years later here I am sick of dealing with people and just want to work and be left alone lol. How are the dispatchers on a regular basis? I've heard some stories about them, hopefully it's just a small percentage that cause the perception of them being out to get you?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

Hi.

First Schneider is well respected. My friend is very happy there and with less than a year got a regional route so she is home weekends.

You probably can take your truck home, I do at my company. Because of this, proximity to a terminal does not matter.

Off duty/sleeper at customers is common practice. SOME companies pay detention pay if you are held longer than scheduled. For example I get paid per minute after two hours of wait time past the appt window. You do not have to be "on duty" to get paid detention. And yes I have gotten paid for up to 24/hours of waiting at a customer while i slept, watched movies and played on the computer.

Trip planning...get to the company as early as possible and run as many miles as possible the first 24 hrs are crucial. If you fall behind it might be hard to catch up so stay ahead of it. Learn your avg speed, and plan your parking before you start. I have a list of parking spots that are always open. Running at midnight in the beginning was easier for me cause when I shut down for the day parking lots were empty.

You'll learn it in training...and will get a truck after training. Home time would depend on your arrangement with dispatch. I waited one day in a hotel for my truck and got home two weeks later.

Thanks so much for the reply! So with dispatch will I just be scheduled for a shipper or receiver near my home when it gets close to my reset time?

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Looking for Insight : And things to think about

Hey there, I'm pretty new to this forum and this will be my first post. I've recently been looking into everything I can to try and get plenty of insight into the industry before I fully commit to a company. I enrolled for CDL training with my local tech college right down the road and it should last about 6 weeks. I've been in contact with Schneider National recently and I've been leaning towards them simply because they are military friendly, or at least they claim to be. They take military service and count it as experience with the company and I would like to use their apprenticeship program for a year so I can receive additional pay from my GI Bill (which I'm also using for CDL training). I'm hoping this will help offset the lower pay I'll receive for being an inexperienced driver.

My wife and I were both in the military and we have spent plenty of time away from each other, I've already talked with her about the decision and she is on board with it so I don't think that will be a problem. With my personality I don't really like working with other people, and I don't like having a supervisor breathing down my neck, although I can tolerate it if need be. So I don't think the time alone will bother me, I'm pretty comfortable with myself and manage to keep myself occupied and when I'm working or in this case driving, I'm confident that is where most of my focus will be.

I plan on going with Schneider and getting through orientation and then going OTR for about a year and getting the experience I need. From what I read on the forums and articles is after a year OTR is when a lot of other opportunities open up and then I can start searching for better pay and more home time. I doubt I will be doing owner operator, even if I do that will be far down the road and after I completely understand the industry

I want to know if this is a solid plan, is Schneider really military friendly and are they a good company to start out with? I don't live near a terminal, but when I type in my zip code on their website it shows me that they are hiring for my area, so I'm guessing I am in a freight lane (I-70 through Kansas?). I've been told that I will be able to take the truck home since I live in a rural area and don't need to worry about parking, not sure how true this is because another person I spoke with over the phone said it depends on which job a choose.

I also need some more insight on when you pick up your first truck. Do you receive a truck after orientation or do you go home and wait for one? Could I be lucky and be delivering a load near home right after training? I would also like some tips on time management and trip planning. I've seen multiple people talk about how when they get to their shipper or receiver they just go to off duty status to help save time on their clocks, even though a company says they will reimburse you for time spent at shipper or receivers it's better to just save your time for when your wheels are moving, is there any truth to this and is it legal? Sorry for the long post and so many questions and I'm just at the point now where I'm looking in between the lines for the stuff that people don't talk about too much. Thanks!

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