Profile For Greg

Greg's Info

  • Location:
    PA

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 months ago

Greg's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My GPS failed me on Staten Island.

Absolutely, it was a rookie mistake that could have been avoided with better preparation. And that's exactly where my gps started acting up, on I-95 south of Newark Airport. In this case it wasn't a huge deal, luckily it happened in an industrial area. I kept my cool and was able to get back on track. But it could have been a big problem, had I ended up somewhere with no room to turn around.

Yes you did. Sorry about that.

Overall I still think my reply is relevant though, especially to others not quite at the stage you are.

North Jersey is difficult to navigate under the best of circumstances. GPS systems get easily “confused” when a complex confluence of roads and highways occurs at high speed. It’s hilarious to watch mine constantly recalibration when headed south on I95 near Seacacus through the Newark Airport area.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My GPS failed me on Staten Island.

I said "it" didn't realize. I knew I was in the express lanes, right where I was supposed to be. I wasn't distracted. But GPS thought I was on the other side of the wall, and unexpectedly told me to exit. I trusted it above my own instincts and did what it said, even though it didn't seem right.

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It didn't realize I was in the express lane on I-95, and told me to exit. I knew better, but did what the $400 robot lady said instead of trusting my trip plan.

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The most important aspects of this lesson are in the above paragraph. Especially the “I didn’t realize...” comment. A momentary lapse of concentration or distraction was the root cause of everything else that occurred from that point forward.

It is absolutely critical to maintain focus and concentration, especially in highly congested urban areas you are unfamiliar with. I am frequently in North Jersey and maintain an elevated level of vigilance even though I know the area like the back of my hand.

I’m glad you came out of this no worse for the wear. Thanks for posting it.

Good luck with the rest of your training.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

View Topic:

My GPS failed me on Staten Island.

This was my second week on the road, so I thought it was time I bought my own fancy truckers GPS for my trip from Syracuse, NY to Perth Amboy, NJ. The excitement over my new gadget was building as the Pilot cashier retrieved it from the safe. I unboxed it in the truck, popped in the address, and off I went into the rush hour snowstorm with my sleepy trainer riding shotgun. I handled my first winter driving experience through the Catskills well, and everything was going fine. I was well-rested, had made a proper trip plan, and thought I had it all figured out. I navigated the NJ Turnpike like a pro, bobbing and weaving with the rest of the lunatics between Newark airpot and seaport, daydreaming a little because I was on the very route Tony Soprano drives in the opening credits. Just as I sung my final "got yourself a gun" and puffed my imaginary cigar, my GPS screwed up. It didn't realize I was in the express lane on I-95, and told me to exit. I knew better, but did what the $400 robot lady said instead of trusting my trip plan. I ended up on Staten Island, and had no choice but to make an illegal move or two to get back on track. My trainer had grown up in the area and knew where to go, but stayed silent to teach me a valuable lesson. I handled it well, and had the ship back on course after a tight detour through a mile or two of narrow streets, crazy ramps, and skinny bridges. We had a good laugh about it afterwards, but it could have been a lot worse. Study the map. Write things down. Talk to other truckers who have been there before. GPS is a valuable aid, but it can and will fail you at the worst possible moment. Do your homework and memorize/ write down your route. Know before you go. Use your GPS, but don't rely on it. Trust your directions and instincts. Don't just blindly follow a purple line on a screen and obey the robot lady's voice when you know something isn't right.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

Just wanted to update everyone on my experience thus far with Dot. After the delayed background check came back good, they invited me to their Liverpool NY center. They put me in a beautiful hotel the night before. In the morning, I arrived at Dot and had to take some written tests. Then I went out for a road test, which was about an hour long. Then I met with the head honcho for an interview, he's really cool. He offered me the job, pending the physical/drug screen. The physical is thorough. They want all of your records. I had to go back to my family Dr to clear up some questions about a minor old injury, which was a pain. While my medical clearance was on hold for a week or so, I received a check for $200 for "interview expenses" before even officially getting the job offer. I had no idea I was getting that, so it was a nice surprise. After everything was cleared, they put me in that same sweet hotel Sunday night, and told me to come in Monday. I filled out all of my paperwork with HR, got another tour of the facility and met a lot of great people. Normally, you have to do a week of classroom training before getting behind the wheel. But since it's not scheduled until next week, and it already took so long to get me hired, they sent me right out with my trainer. He drove the first 50 miles or so, and I've been driving since. He buys all my food, drinks, snacks, whatever I want. I've spent exactly zero dollars since leaving my house. I'm getting a flat $750 a week during training, and they also pay 58 cents a mile for my trips back and forth in my car. (150 miles each way). After training I'll get an assigned truck, that will be parked at a little yard they're renting near my house. I'm starting at 43 cpm, but the easily obtainable fuel and safety bonuses will bring it up to 48. There are also quarterly bonuses, profit sharing, etc. Everyone is great, the drivers are all happy, professional, and are really treating me like family. So far I have zero complaints and can't say enough good things about Dot. Believe the hype.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

The background checks are done! I go to DOT Foods Tuesday for a third and final interview, road test, written tests, physical, etc.. If all goes well, I'll finally be driving for money very soon.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

You can take that guarantee in writing to a lawyer, but my concern is the fine print all im saying is read it thoroughly and ask every question about it.

"At what point is the guarantee withdrawn? what would disqualify me?do i need to.be available a certain amount per month? How will i know if im getting close to not being eliglble? Is there a tracking system on a phone app or site i can self check? If i go over a certain number of days per year how does this affect it? What if i need to use my sick leave, does that affect it? What if i get hurt on the job and am not available? Will you provide me with a loaner truck durinf break downs or does my availability count even if the truck is in the shop?"

Im from jersey. we are cynical by nature.lol

Those are all questions I'd like answers to as well, we're plenty cynical across the border here in eastern PA also. I haven't even seen the guarantee, I'm sure there's plenty of fine print in it that I'll read and get back to you. I haven't even been offered the job yet, I still have to take their road test/physical/drug screen/etc. The guarantee isn't really a huge issue for me, I'm ready to drive every minute I'm legally allowed and expect to make well over $60k anyway.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

DOT is a great company, from all I have heard. Everyone here loves them. My son has a friend who works for them.

Greg, did you just graduate from Sage in Rome?

Sage driving school, yes. Not Rome NY though, I went to Bloomsburg PA. I'm dealing with the Liverpool NY office, that would be my home terminal. But they have a yard nearby where I would keep my truck on the weekends.

I have some answers now. The E-verify system is down, but that's not the issue. They've suspended the requirement for employers to verify citizenship during the shutdown. She said parts of my background check are delayed, but still being processed. I was under the impression the process was at a dead stop, but the agencies they need are still running with reduced personnel. They expect everything to be processed by the end of the week, maybe as soon as today.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

But you can make that at other companies too. Turtle did $65k his first year. Prime lightweight reefer are at 49cpm plus bonuses and earn paid vacation at 85k miles. We run about 125,000 miles per year. Do the math...that is $62,000 before bonuses.

Those turnover numbers dont really tell you much unless you know the demographics. For example... the 22% turnover rate means nothing unless you know how many were experienced drivers and how many were newbies. How many newbies were hired that year? Most new drivers never make it out of training. So if DOT hired only 10 new drivers that year and all of them quit, it wouldnt affect the % much. They have a page that says "we have 110 'million mile' drivers" and that people only stay that long out of being respected. My company has thousands of million milers, and i know this because our halls are lined with golden plaques dedicated to each one.

It works the same with the pay. The "first year $70k" means drivers of all experience. So if they hired 95 experienced drivers at $75k and 5 brand new inexperienced drivers at $50k, the average would be $73k. So with my 3.5 years experience, i would start out way above you which is fair but i would still be called a "first year driver". That does not mean rookie.

Also, ask if you need a "manadatory availability" to get that guaranteed $60k. Some routes will say "must be available 6 days per week" or something to that affect. So if your kid gets sick and you take an extra couple of days off, you are not available and not guaranteed. Be sure to ask.

Also ask what the tuition reimbursement is. If you paid $5,000 and they will only reimburse you $3,000 then you are still in the hole. Every company allows different amounts and not necessarily what you paid. My one friend paid $6k in NJ but her company only reimbursed $1400.

All valid questions, most of which I've considered. I believe the tuition reimbursement is up to $6k, though I talked to so many recruiters it's hard to keep track. I assume you need a certain availability to get the $60k guarantee, I wouldn't expect otherwise. But they're not just saying you'll make $60k as a first year driver with no experience, there's actually a signed guarantee on paper that I can take to a lawyer if they don't live up to it. I don't know of anyone else offering that. The 22% turnover rate is significant to me, mostly because they're actually willing to share that number. Most won't tell you. But you're right, that number might be misleading if they're not including trainees. But all companies willing to share their turnover rate probably calculate it the same way. You're also right that there are other good companies out there that will pay as much or more. Prime might be one of them, they're on my list of second choices if this one doesn't work out.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

If it is Hazmat it is TSA. That shouldn't be a problem though. no way will a shutdown be 60 days. and my Hazmat came back in 4 days.

Whats so great about this rookie deal? Sometimes they arent as good as you think.

DOT foods...is that tanker? local?

It's a regional no-touch position, mostly refrigerated. Home weekends, and sometimes during the week. All newer Volvo automatic trucks (assigned truck). $60k guaranteed in writing ($70k average). $750 a week during training. $20/hr detention pay. Decent benefits, profit sharing, holiday pay, vacation time, etc. The drop yard is 15 minutes from my house. I'm not 100% counting on this company, it's just my first choice. There are unlimited openings around here, I'll be driving soon one way or another. I was just freaking out a little because I worried this shutdown might be affecting all new drivers and no one was hiring. And the president has said he's prepared to keep it shut down for "months, even years".

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

Reminds me of a company ad I heard on the XM Radio late last year. The bit stated, "for a limited time, our new hires will be getting $1 per mile". I called the number, as I was highly skeptical. In fact it was $1 per mile, SPLIT between the team. Be cautious about what you hear and read out there.

Yes, many companies will lie through their teeth to get you in a truck. But this $60k guarantee is in writing, not just words. At the end of year one (after training), if you're under $60k, they write you a check for the difference. I don't know if that's company wide, or just my area.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

DOT foods? Ick. Yeah they pay well, but you'll be loading and unloading your own truck and doing some heavy city driving and very tight docks. I wouldn't lose any sleep over them or any food service carrier for that matter.

It's a no-touch position between distribution centers. They do have those local delivery jobs you described also, but I'm not interested in that. I just want to back into the door and take a nap 😁.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

What age are you Aaron? That is a really physically demanding job. Food service is definitely not something we recommend for new drivers.

39. It's a regional no-touch position.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

Excuse me for adding something here. Really this is advice for others who will read this later on. This is yet another prime example of why we teach you guys to take advantage of the Paid CDL Training Programs.

Had Aaron followed this method he'd not only already be working and getting paid, but he'd also have 5,500 dollars in the bank. Now he's sounding destitute, and nobody wants or needs that added stress while starting a really challenging career like trucking. There is little or no advantage that I can see from laying out your hard earned cash when starting this career.

Busting The Free Agent Myth

I've been lurking on the forums for some time, and read all of the advice to go with company sponsored training. After a lot of careful thinking and researching dozens of companies, weighing the pros and cons, I decided to pay out of pocket. (I'm also saving for a down payment on a truck, but that's a whole other discussion 😊). As far as no advantages to paying out of pocket, I have to disagree. Dot drivers average $70k in year one, with $60k guaranteed in writing. They average $80k by year 3. They have a 22% turnover rate, compared with the industry average of over 90%. Sure, signing a contract with a mega carrier costs nothing up front. But most of the better companies (including Dot) offer tuition reimbursement in monthly installments, so they're still paying for my training eventually. With hindsight being 20/20, you're right. I'd be in a better situation today if I had called up Swift and hopped on a Greyhound. But I couldn't possibly have seen this shutdown and background check problem coming. I'd do things exactly the same if I had to do it over.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

The company is Dot Foods. Their hiring process is tougher and more time consuming than most. I think the holdup is likely related to Hazmat, which they require you to have within 60 days. I didn't ask many questions because I thought this shutdown thing would blow over in a few days, which doesn't seem to be the case. I'll get in touch with them tomorrow and see exactly what government agency they're waiting on. I'm glad to know it's not an industry wide problem though, I may have no choice but to go somewhere else if this drags on much longer. I hope it doesn't come to that, they're offering me the best rookie deal I've heard.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can't get hired due to government shutdown.

I liquidated my business, and paid $5,500 out of pocket for trucking school. I chose to go full-time and put 100% of my energy into getting licensed and employed as soon as possible. I finished the 150 hour program in 3 weeks, and got my CDL 12/26. I had a phone interview 12/27 with my top choice of companies. I had a second video conference interview 12/31. They called Jan 2nd to let me know they'd checked my references, employment history, and want me on their team. But due to the government shutdown, they can't run the necessary background checks to move forward. So here I sit, flat broke with 2 kids and no income waiting until government reopens. Is this an industry-wide problem? Anyone else in a similar situation? Is any carrier able to hire new drivers right now?

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