Comments By Todd Holmes

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Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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I've just received an unsolicited email message from a CDL recruiter.

Based off your post history I highly doubt any company would cold email you trying to recruit you. Your history here indicates a student would be nothing but trouble from before even making it to their school.

Bob, you don't know me to judge me fairly, sir. If you got to know me you might not think me a bad person.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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I've just received an unsolicited email message from a CDL recruiter.

Based off your post history I highly doubt any company would cold email you trying to recruit you. Your history here indicates a student would be nothing but trouble from before even making it to their school.

"Todd Holmes", by the way, is NOT my real legal name. I would never use my real legal name on discussion sites as these. I don't know any person here personally. The email address I used to inquire using contact info from the JP site certainly does not reflect "Todd Holmes". I did not ask to be recruited anyway. I asked one question pertaining to its hiring policy. "Is a recent verifiable work history an absolute must?" Why would they waste my time and their money to put me all the way on the Dog from Idaho to Washington State and in a hotel room and back home again just to tell me "Sorry. We can't hire you. You have no verifiable work history." I don't even feel medically ready to return to work...... yet.

I want to see what their hiring policy in regards to my question in writing from them so that way I have a hard copy for future reference. Should I get on the telephone to them and ask them bluntly?

You don't really believe I received an email as I have posted above? You think I typed all that stuff as "troll material"? I just wanted to know what people thought of that email and not what you thought of me.

I will put that email in my folder called Employment stuff. I will honestly tell Mr. Jones by a reply that I am still recovering from disability and I'm not yet ready to return to work yet. And by the way sir, how did you get my email address?

If he references JP Trucking, I will tell him I only wanted an answer to the question about that firm's "verifiable work history" hiring policy. Unless they can put it in writing to me that a lack of verifiable work history is an absolute disqualifier, I'm not getting on any Greyhound.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Many drivers like to use an old-fashioned road atlas.....and the telephone....but...

My tools. This is one of the most important tools. Get a new one every year. 0842979001546459162.jpg Garmin dezl 580 and my PeopleNet. 0547164001546459298.jpg Rand McNally Tnd 540 0673801001546459406.jpg When my student gets off my truck, I will mount the Rand McNally under the Garmin.

I also use many apps on my phone including DOT apps for road conditions.

I go by the thought of "Use the best tools you can."

It's sounds like the prudent driver had better have a number of tools in his navigation tool box and know how to use each and every one of them like a master of his trade.

Every good driver should also have a paper notepad and have at least two ink pens: the pen is mightier than the diesel engine!

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

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Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

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This is Trucking 100% in a nutshell. This is definitely one of the most unpredictable industries you could ever get into. We never know what is goin to happen from one day to the next.

Now that I have thought about it, that is LIFE in general also.

Maybe the surprises, perhaps curve balls, trucking throws at you may even be fun or exciting. Driving a rig can be something of a freight mystery tour.

Pushing stacks of paper at a desk sounds boring as hell. Sorry, I just dumped on somebody's occupation as a bureaucrat.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

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Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

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This is Trucking 100% in a nutshell. This is definitely one of the most unpredictable industries you could ever get into. We never know what is goin to happen from one day to the next.

Now that I have thought about it, that is LIFE in general also.

In short the only thing CONSISTENT about trucking is change everyday and surprises around every corner: and the only two certain things in life are taxes and death. Sounds much like the military I served for seven years.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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I've just received an unsolicited email message from a CDL recruiter.

I don't know this person. Do you?

Somebody by the handle of "Japera Jones" at some outfit in Washington State called Wilson Logistics.com. It's a coincidence that I have posting here about truck driving lately and I get a message by email from a complete stranger about trucking recruiting. I did inquire to Jim Palmer trucking by email a couple of days ago with a question regarding hiring policy. Is Palmer affiliated with this strange recruiter?

Here's his pitch whoever he is (should I send this email to my Spam folder?):

QUOTE

"Hey Todd,

Below, I have included information regarding how our training program works, as well as our many driving opportunities. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at 406-829-6286 or my cell at 206-553-9277. I have included a link to the full application at the bottom of this email. Hope to see your application soon!

We would pay for the bus ticket or if you preferred to fly or drive, we would reimburse up to the amount of the cost of the bus ticket. We have the $150 ADMIN FEE which has to be paid upfront once you are approved and arrived at our terminal. We would provide you with a hotel stay, which has complimentary breakfast; we would cover lunches. You will then get your CDL permit and then we would send you out OTR for 3 weeks of permit driving during which time we would offer a $200/ week advance. We would then have you take the CDL test and once they obtained their CDL license, we would send them back out OTR for 40k miles of team driving. You will be paid 12 cpm or $600/ week whichever greater for the first 10k miles and then 14 cpm or $700/ week whichever greater for the remaining 30k miles. We would then get you out in your own truck solo as a company driver under a ONE YEAR CONTRACT. You would then make 40 cpm with the ability to earn up to 5 extra cpm with a fuel incentive for the OTR company position or 45 cents/ mile with the western regional position.

https://www.wilsonlogistics.com/apply/japeraj

We offer several different positions to suit your needs and wants:

OTR Company Positions West Coast to Midwest lanes (NO North East) East Coast to Midwest lanes Competitive pay (averaging .42-.43 cpm) $10,000 longevity bonus after 5 years OTR and Regional Lease Positions 70% of the line haul, 100% of the fuel surcharge No money down, no credit check No penalty walkaway $10,000 longevity bonus after 5 years West Coast Regional Positions .45 cpm Guaranteed home 3 times per month Potential for pass throughs $10,000 longevity bonus after 5 years CDL Training On the job training, hands on, one-on-one FREE with 1 year contract $10,000 longevity bonus after 5 years

What sets us apart from the competition?

Completely updated and maintained equipment with upgrades including but not limited to APU’s, Inverters, EpicVue with flat screen TV’s, Navigation, and more. Small onboarding classes (1-5 drivers a week) with only the most qualified drivers. Fleet managers that focus on communication for optimal driver success."

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Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

How many of you are old enough to remember the TV show Fantasy Island? "Tatoo?" "Boss, de plane".

Todd...your reality is definitely to the far right of normal, common sense expectations. We are at the very beginning or end of the supply chain, completely exposed by every F/U and/or change that occurred up-stream hours, days or at times weeks prior. I highly suggest finding a book on basic logistics, because many of your questions center around "movin'-sh**-101", and have no direct bearing on performing this job with reasonable efficiency. Seriously Man...how on earth can you expect something with almost an infinite number of variables have anything beyond basic standards? And please...keep the f'ing government out of it. Everything they touch ends up worse and more expensive.

There's my daily "Todd" rant...

Okay, real quick...Todd this is for you, and highly summarized...

A typical Walmart dry grocery load is loaded with anywhere from 1-4 store stops (40-44k lbs, 26-30 pallets), usually (hopefully) in sequential order. It's only the last stop that can be drop & hook, and only if an empty is available and the store is a drop & hook location (due to size, or lack there-of). Anything before the last stop is a live unload that I am required to oversee, and at times supervise. Dry vendor backhauls are usually, but not always drop & hook.

A typical FDD (Freezer-Deli-Dairy) consolidated Walmart perishable reefer load is 3-5 (35-39k lbs, 24-26 pallets) stops, interspersed between 3 different temperature zones. It's possible to have a pallets for a single store located in 3 different zones, requiring other store pallets come-off first in order to get to the specific pallet for that current store delivery, and then everything put back that is not assigned to that particular store (like Rainy said, it can be complex). Confused yet? Imagine new drivers dealing with this? It's why we usually train new drivers for up to 3 days. That said, Walmart Reefer store stops are always live unload, and absolutely must be supervised by the driver. If a miss-delivery occurs, the driver is responsible for back-tracking and "righting" the mistake. Very costly in time when this happens (and it does). Perishable vendor backhauls are sometimes drop & hook, sometimes live load. And sometimes a combination that occurs at Joanna Farms between their different plants on the same property. It's not unusual to p/u a reefer loaded halfway with frozen yogurt that requires docking for a live load of milk (different temp zones).

Backhauls vary from vendor to vendor and also dependent on how busy the vendor is, seasonal. Turkey or Potato farms in October, crazy busy, trailers parked in the adjoining street. Or Nestle' Waters during the summer is very busy, often times requiring a live-load occur or a swap for a pre-loaded trailer assigned to another Walmart route (please don't ask).

So Todd, that's what you can expect for just one Dedicated Retail Grocery Account. Variables are limitless and can change without notice...very difficult to manage with a set plan.

Ok, G-Town, we all can for WISH for one thing but getting is another ball of wax. Should I become an industrial engineer and try to figure out how to make freight trucking more efficient? No, just kidding, my college days are over. But Brett did leave me with the impression in his book, Raw Truth, that some companies and customers by the nature of the goods involved have more regularity (if that word even exist in truckerspeak vocabulary) in their respective operations than others. Not all companies are "the same". Brett also says the more trucks roll, the more money flows. Now, I don't know anything about temperature zones or backhauls. I never drove for Walmart but I can see the potential for truck driver impatience and short tempers. In my other occupations, I have dealt with drivers face to face. In the army, early 1990's, a civilian contractor carrier driver criticized me in the motor pool for being too slow or incompetent with a Hyster 4,000 pound forklift. He was trying to tell me how to operate a forklift. There were pallets of supplies I had volunteered to help load from the ground level to the back of the dry van. I had prior experience with a forklift at another job but was a bit rusty in my forklift skills. In 1985, I had a job at Burger King: the kind of job I now put down. I had to stock the store early in the morning with a hand truck when the "Distron" rig (a BK corporate Great Dane reefer) came. The driver would stack these on my dolly in something he called a "ten-stack" such as cartons of frozen burger patties. I would help stack things on the dolly sometimes. One time I did not do it his way but in some other way I thought would make the job faster. I ended up spilling the cartoons all over the ground and I caught the Dutch Uncle from him and then finally his method made sense after all. Yes, sir, some drivers have a God complex. They will buffalo around shippers and receivers. I have been on both the shipper and receiver end of a semi with arrogant drivers at each end.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

Drop and hook is not always possible. Some companies do not have the room to store the trailers and some receivers are so small they get only a few pallets at a time. Meat plants want the meat to be as fresh as possbile so some do not slaughter the animals until you check in. Meats are almost always a drop and hook but that doesnt mean they are loaded for you already. Often you drop your empty and wait for your load to be ready in another trailer. Some shippers may fill trailers so quickly they never have enough to make all loads drop and hook. Another problem is drivers only want to pick up good trailers so they leave empty ones that need repair and never fix them. Then the company needs to make special arrangements for repairs.

Beer is another that is drop and hook on pick up at major breweries but can have multiple stops at small places with little room. And i get drop pay too but it isnt as much as i could drive in that time, so i would rather be driving.

When dealing with food time is of the essence. Some customers only unload meats at midnight, frozen at 0700 and perishables at noon for example. Meat and produce are almost never drop and hook at receivers because the product is destroyed if the receiver "loses" the trailer on their yard. That only takes one person entering the wrong trailer into the computer. Been there done that. I went to Walmart and security refusee to let me in cause the computer said the trailer was currently on the lot. Turned into a big hassle.

Trucking is much more complex than most people think. There is no way I could say I do mostly drop and hook. I have kept the same trailer for up to 2 weeks. Maybe 50/50, i dont know. i never really kept track, but even if it is a drop on one end, a drop on both ends is more rare. However, to run a dry load which would be a drop at both ends I simply turn off the reefer.

I would think loads such as live animals are always live loads such as loading cattle from the feedlot enroute to the slaughterhouse. Any cattle hauling experience here?

Yes, drop n hook probably doesn't usually work for perishable goods, maybe not?

Things that have long shelf lives as oil drums on pallets, cement and lumber are probably loads that are conducive to drop n hook by nature, maybe?

Brett says in Raw Truth that some companies only deal with certain kinds of cargo and on a regular basis with the same customers over the same routes and perhaps this puts some degree of predictability in a driver's life.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Many drivers like to use an old-fashioned road atlas.....and the telephone....but...

What about GPS technology as from Garmin and others? What do you think about this stuff?

Garmin, for instance has a GPS navigator and more:

dēzlCam™ 785 LMT-S 7" GPS Truck Navigator with Built-in Dash Cam PART NUMBER: 010-01856-00

an optional dash cam and even a backup cam. It claims it can alert you for traffic, weather, curves and steep grades.

It claims it's Custom Truck Routing feature can:

"Along with its camera-enabled features, the dēzlCam 785 LMT-S truck navigator also includes preloaded maps that detail truck-related route warnings — such as bridge heights, sharp curves, steep grades and more — for most major roads and highways. Simply enter your vehicle profile information (customizable by height, weight, length, width and hazardous materials*) to find truck-preferred routes suitable for the size and weight of your truck².

*(Yes, it supposedly can find you a legal HAZMAT route (in most areas) without having to go through the hassle and time of calling all the various state DOT offices as Brett had mentioned toward the end of his Raw Truth book. If a HAZMAT truck driver gets in trouble for driving a route Garmin prescribed, can he turn around and sue Garmin? Brett told me in his book of his nightmare driving in New York City the first time in his career. Could Garmin back then have made Brett's life much easier? )

Customized Truck Routing For added convenience, the Simple Truck Profile lets you easily swap trailer sizes with the touch of a button."

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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What constitutes a 'lousy load' in freight hauling?

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I think most drivers would favor drop and hook over live loads.

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Of course they would. Unfortunately there's times and reasons why we can't always have our preferences. Maybe that will help you understand the reference to a load as "lousy."

Flatbed drivers seldom see drop and hooks, much like tanker yankers. Trucking is as varied as it's many customers are.

I would think certain kinds of companies and customers do drop and hook on a regular basis.

Probably couriers as UPS and FedEx maybe?

The idea of intermodal freight transport sounds super high speed.

I always thought railroad piggy-back service was cool too.

Plop on containers, pull off containers, plop on containers and roll!

Yes, my endeavor might be to someday work for the most "streamlined" company I can find. Yes, my first company might not be so slick, smart and clever as I dream. I would think the best companies in this business are the ones who hire the most ex-drivers in all the various administrative positions. I think managers, dispatchers, load planners, executives and presidents who are seasoned drivers themselves understand the business and "see things" from the "driver's point of view" and can best empathize with the drivers and knows what best benefits them. I'm almost done with Brett's Raw Truth and his book seems to make this obvious to me.

The one with the most roll time and the least wait time.

"Streamlined" (smart, efficient, high speed/low drag) companies have all their stuff wired tight and all bases covered at all times: customer accounts, truck stop accounts, repair shop accounts, regular routes well planned and established down to a fine science. More consistent schedules. This idea of a driver's having to telephone a customer and ask for driving directions to avoid possible low bridges seems shoddy to me as a way of operating.

Such companies also probably deal with the same customers on a consistent basis and the operation whole SOP becomes etched in stone.

Yes, Old School, please go ahead and tell me that is wishful thinking on my part and it probably is.

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