Profile For EricTheRed

EricTheRed's Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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    5 years, 4 months ago

EricTheRed's Bio

39 year old nomadic soul preparing for a profound career shift and new journey in the trucking industry.

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Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Prime Upgrade Freeze

Thanks Rainy. To add to that here is what I’ve learned in addition to everything stated above.

Now only 55 are added to the upgrade list each Wednesday for the following Monday. The fleet managers submit applicants name once all requirements are met and they are selected into the 55 according to some sort of ranking system.

There were 87 submitted for last Wednesday’s list. I barely missed the 55 and am told I will roll into the next 55 next week for upgrade on July 1st. So as it stands now about 220 are processed each month and everything outside of that is pushed back into a truck for more TNT.

Puts me at about four weeks after completion of 30,000 to point of upgrade.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Prime Upgrade Freeze

Another update for the original poster. Approaching two weeks out of TNT and still cannot upgrade. Fleet manager says will be another 1-2 weeks. If this turns out to be true then one can expect 3-4 weeks wait to begin upgrade as of mid June 2019.

Rainy, thank you for the non combative response and advice. Very much appreciated. Success leasing did confirm there is quite a back up and upgrades are quite delayed at moment.

My orientation roommate has been done with TNT for two weeks. He’s at SPRIMO now taking his classes and such. Says he’s being told to expect another two or so weeks so he’ll be driving his trainers truck for the time being.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Prime Upgrade Freeze

Lease? BIG mistake. Worst thing you could possibly do. You don’t even know how to drive yet, and you’re starting a trucking business? That is never, ever something that we recommend. All the odds are stacked against you, and all the risk is on you. The company, any company, gets all the rewards.

Tell us all the perks and benefits of jumping into this lease.

Did you read the contract? All of it? Does it make perfect sense? If it does, you didn’t comprehend what you were reading.

You mentioned your time away from home up until this point. Get used to that being the norm every month if you want to make minimum wage. Meanwhile, successful company drivers are raking in the money.

Sorry but I’m here in this thread to address the OP and the original topic. There are plenty of threads debating the merits of leasing vs company and I avoid those like the plague.

I’m also well aware of what this is going to be like on the home time. I just did three months without going home and never once complained. All I was saying is that if I knew after completing TNT I was just going to be asked to TNT even longer I would have went home sooner because I could have.

You seem to feel comfortable making a lot of assumptions and assertions about me yet you do not know me, you don’t know my background and you don’t know anything about me. I’m comfortable with my choices and confident in my decisions.

I’m simply stating for the original poster, while keeping to that posters topic, that it is indeed fact that right now there is a delay on upgrades. At least for me and others who came to prime at the same time as me. That isn’t rumor or second hand. That’s my first hand and very current experience.


Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Prime Upgrade Freeze

Well friends, as I make my way through PSD training and learn my way around all the facilities, I am hearing more and more about the current Upgrade Freeze and the statement " for the first time there are too many drivers and not enough trucks".

I was hopeful this was not the case but seems to be one reason why the 50,000 mile rule for TNT was changed. Many drivers are stating ready for Upgrade to solo but are put on hold, and prolonging Team TNT.

Enduring or sticking with a company through tough times makes a dependable employee, but I wonder if it doesn't hurt Prime in the end vs slowing or freezing Recruiting.

Maybe you experienced truckers know more about it, but figured I would put a little confirmation to the rumor.

God bless.

Ok so after reading some of the replies I would like to shed some light on this through my own eyes. Not second hand. Not rumors.

I’m currently done with TNT. Just finished. My fleet manager told me that last week there were 60 on the list and 30 got a truck. Therefor I cannot go to Springfield to upgrade this week. I have zero traffic violations, zero excessive speed, no over idle, no critical events, never hit anything, no service failure and I did 95% of the backing during TNT.

My options are as follows:

1) go home for a week or two (or three?) and wait for a call

2) go back out on a team truck if I would prefer to make some money while I wait

This is very discouraging. I don’t mean to discourage anyone else here but an honest question deserves an honest answer from someone currently going through it.

Additionally, it’s not just me. I’ve kept in touch with my roommate from orientation and he too is being told the same thing. His trainer wants a couple weeks off so my roommate is going solo in his trainers truck for two weeks while he waits for the call.

My trainer is considering a week off too and is telling me I can take his truck for the week and run it if he decides to do so. I’m open to that option but I just cannot team again without a break. I haven’t been home for nearly three months. And for all but a week of that three months I’ve been in an 8x8 closet with another dude running the truck 24/7.

I’m not sure what to do. Very much feel like the goalposts were moved on me. If I knew this a couple of weeks ago I would have requested home time. My mission was to just bang it out so I could go home a couple days then go upgrade. That is not the case.

Some are saying there are plenty of trucks available. Maybe there are but somehow myself and others from my orientation class aren’t getting the option to get one. So I don’t know where all of these trucks are.

We’re both going lease by the way so maybe that’s the rub (reefer). I dunno. Maybe company drivers aren’t being delayed like us new lease drivers are. But my fleet manager and his fleet manager made it clear we should expect at least one to two full weeks before we can even go start the upgrade process. Even though we should both be ranked well based on our TNT records.

So yes, there is a “freeze” on upgrades if you want to call it that. Not a permanent one. But certainly for a time. At least for me and several others that I text with daily.

All of that said, I’m not a downer about this. It is what it is. I feel like I was well trained. I feel ready. I feel confident. And I’m grateful for the experience. I’m grateful for prime’s process and the opportunity that is ahead of me. Prime is a fantastic company and I’m proud to be a part of it.

I just wish I understood what was going to happen earlier so that I could have planned accordingly. Because what I was told was going to happen when I was done with TNT and what is actually happening are two very different things.

Now my choices are to sit at home for a couple of weeks (no pay), go back into what is essentially TNT for longer or drive my trainers truck while he sits at home. None of those options include me going to upgrade this week or next. Even though I’ve done everything I was supposed to do on my part to make that happen.

Just sayin...

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

Ok gang... finally getting around to a new update. SO much has happened. I mean wow. It's surreal to think this whole adventure has been just 5 weeks. I mean, in traditional living 5 weeks feels like, well... 5 weeks. In this PSD/TNT process 5 weeks feels like 5 months. It's such a short amount of time, but so much happens. So many experiences. So many wild rides. It's all kind of a blur yet you remember every little detail.

So yes, I'm now in TNT. About 5,000 miles into it. Much of it has been amazing and I've learned so much. Much of it has been downright disconcerting. But let's start with finishing off PSD.

In my last update I was almost finished with PSD. The lead up to my CDL exam was extremely stressful. The training pad, pre-trip, preparing for the mysterious road test... I wanted that $250 bonus and I wanted my license. And I didn't want to have to go back for a second try. So I studied, I practiced, I studied, practiced and studied some more.

And I trifecta'd on the first go. :-)

It was an amazing feeling. Such a relief. And it meant the beginning had ended. But a new beginning had begun.

The experiences pile up at record speed. Those crazy busy Walmart distribution centers, the damn meat plants that make you sit for 48 hours, the traffic, construction zones, days without showers, mad dashes for laundry, etc. It's all a part of the experience.

I've learned so much. But I've also had some hiccups. Right now I'm in Springfield waiting for a new trainer. My trainer is a great guy and we became good friends. But his hygiene was just intolerable. I could go into detail but I don't want to do that to him. Even though I haven't mentioned his name or my full name (and I won't) I still don't see any point in piling on. I'll just say some people have different standards than others, and I cannot nor will I put myself through certain living environments for that long of a period of time. Can't and won't.

So my new fleet manager has been assigned and new trainer comes day after tomorrow. Then it's off to finish TNT!

More updates to follow.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

My PSD phase is almost over. We’ll probably knock out one more load before heading back to Springfield. I’m doing really well on my pre-trip, although I need to get a little tighter on some of it. I really hope to trifecta and that’s my focus right now. I need to get this 30,000 miles of TNT behind me so I can see my family, friends and get my little dog with me on my own truck (I miss her in ways words can’t describe).

With PSD phase coming to a close, my advice to those coming into it is just flip a switch in your head. I’ll be straight here and say it… this is all gonna suck. There is really nothing easy or enjoyable about what I’ve been through since first boarding that bus. BUT, there are a plethora of signs showing me, without a doubt, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The grass is greener. But only for those who can get there. Only for those who have the mental capacity to make it that far.

If you go into it weak minded this probably isn’t going to work. If you going into expecting things to go your way, expecting things to be comfortable or enjoyable, etc… you’re going to have a tough time. It’s hard. Very hard.

I will say this, though. In my time of PSD I’ve driven through Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. I’ve seen wind, rain, snow, ice, sun rises and sunsets. Canyons, grassland, badlands, 13,000 foot peaks and lake valleys. It was 28 degrees one morning and 72 the next. It’s a trip. And you only get to enjoy it if you can power through the challenges that come with it.

Hopefully this gives everyone a different perspective of this process. I didn’t want to just post the schedule. Wanted to try and present a full perspective that could be consumed and understand by all.

I think this gets me caught up. Will come back and update after Springfield and as TNT kicks off.

Good luck out there and stay safe! More updates to follow.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

Eric, thanks for the posts. I'm heading out for school with CRST early in May, in Cedar Rapids. Your experience gives me some idea of what I might be able to expect. My Greyhound leaves at midnight. Good luck to you.

That's awesome! Good luck and have fun with that Greyhound ride!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

Great posts, Eric!good-luck.gif

Thanks! Will try to update as much as possible.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

That said there are some adjustments that I’ve had to make. His smoking for example… he doesn't just smoke. He chain smokes. He’s a two pack a day guy. At least. He does at least have the decency to not smoke in the bed because he knows he would hot box me up here in the top bunk. But even smoking up front it didn’t take long for everything I own to smell like an ash tray. It sucks but whatever. Life goes on.

That said, it means that when I shift to the drivers seat there is ash EVERYWHERE. In the door handle area, all over the floor, all over the steering wheel, in the gauges, on top of the steering wheel, in the cup holders… everywhere. And if it’s windy that ash just blows around all over the truck.

Once we hit the road he wasted no time in throwing me into the deep end. He runs HARD. We’ve now been on the road for 8 days, I think, and we’ve completed a 600 mile run/load, a 1700 mile run and are on a 34 hour reset before dropping off a 2,000 mile run Thursday morning. My third day driving I pounded out 500 miles of my own. Yesterday I knocked down nearly 500 of my own, most of which was two lane going from north of Salt Lake City to just east of Gallup New Mexico. It’s nearly all two lane with twisty climbs and descents, construction zones and constant 45 mile zones while going in and out of indian reservations. Not to mention the most unlevel and wavy road I’ve ever experienced. We generally put in about 13-14 hours a day start to finish. With nothing more than a 30 minute break and occasional pee/cigarette re-supply stops that last no longer than 10 minutes.

I think some trainers help their students with a more gentle adjustment period. Mine did not. We ran hard the first day and until today our mission has been to eat, sleep, drive. Period. No down time. No time to walk around and stretch. No time to clear the mind in a driver’s lounge, etc. It’s literally eat, sleep and drive. He runs like this 24/7 until his HOS service dictate he stops. And he’s done it for some 7 years now. He only goes home maybe once every four months. He’s a f****ing machine. And he expects me to be one right there alongside him.

For the first 5 or so days he would watch my every move like a hawk. Opining on what I did wrong or right, offering tips/pointers, etc. After that he starting spending more time watching his phone while I cracked out the miles. I think he’s generally confident with my understanding of the pedal, the way the truck reacts to what I do, how it climbs and hauls down mountains, the rules of the road, what to watch for, etc. I’ve been backing into spots at truck stops. My turns, both left and right are getting better. But while him taking his eyes off me has been refreshing a bit, it’s also the source of some of my annoyances.

You see, him watching his phone means he’s not really always in tune with the situation around us. Yet, many times a day he’ll come up from his phone and jump on me for something that I just want to be like WTF dude? Like, for example, he’ll look up at the Qualcomm and realize I’m only doing 54, not the 58 or 62 he prefers. He’ll say something like “come on you’re going too slow you need to get it moving so we aren’t wasting time” or something like that. Not even realizing that I’ve got the pedal hammered down and this truck sometimes struggles against slight inclines and wind. There is only so much I can do dude. I will always go the speed limit that I can legally go, and that the governor allows me to go without wasting fuel. I don’t need to be constantly told I need to speed up. If I’m not sped up there is a good and legitimate f***king reason for it.

He also hung me up in Spokane a few days ago. He was looking at his phone when I saw a sign that said “through traffic use left two lanes.” So, naturally, I got in the right left lane. He looked up a minute later and said I was too far to the left of the 5 lane highway and demanded I move a couple lanes to the right. I tried to say the sign directed me to that lane but he wasn’t having it. Sure enough, about a mile later all three of those lanes came to an abrupt end, forcing me to get all jammed up in traffic trying to work my way across packed lanes to get back to one of the two lanes that actually continued on, and that I should have been in all along.

But hey… he’s the captain of this ship. I’m not going to argue. I’m going to learn from him, learn how to do all of this and move on with my new career. So I don’t talk back. Don’t try to be all prideful about it, etc. I just take it all and move on.

Also, he can get very cranky. When he’s in a bad mood I just stay the hell out of his path. If his fuel lane has an out of order DEF pump and he has to circle all the way around and wait for a new lane to open up… hell hath no fury like… well you get the picture. The good news is he cheers back up pretty quickly. I just let him fume and sit quietly.

It’s all a part of the journey. All a part of the test. I wouldn’t say I’m fully adjusted just yet. But at least none of it is any longer a mystery. I know what to expect now. I know what it’s going to be like. And that has helped me push forward.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Orientation PSD/TNT Journey (Extremely Detailed)

It will drain you. It will stress you out. It will make you tired beyond words. But then come Wednesday and Thursday you get to rest and relax while everyone else is scrambling to figure it all out. Well worth the hardcore two day investment for the reward it brings on the third and fourth day.

On Thursday morning a few were booted for drug tests. Some booted for file review. Some couldn’t get through physical, some booted for being late and a lot had quit. We were down to maybe 65 for Thursday morning roll call, and I think down to about 50 for roll call the following day. This was down from around 95 at roll call just four days earlier.

Those who made it got purple badges that would provide access to the main Prime facilities and would begin the process of entering PSD phase.

Did some final classes and such on Thursday, then Friday morning we were rewarded with an epic breakfast at the Millenium building. We got a tour of all facilities, then broke for lunch and told to come back to Plaza to get our first shot at bobtailing a tractor/truck around the practice area that afternoon.

I got back to the Plaza early, got my spot in the classroom and when roll call came a guy yelled at me from the back of the room telling me to stay put when everyone else went out onto the practice pad.

This guy turned out to be my trainer. He wasn’t interested in me going out on the pad. He intended to pull me from class before it even began, thus initiating my PSD phase.

That was it. It was a LONG week, yet everything had happened so fast. I got off that stinking bus on Sunday morning, the 24th of March, and now less than a week later I was about to hit the road with a PSD trainer. I had read about this so many times here on this forum. And to be experiencing it myself was almost surreal. It was here. I was about to learn to drive a truck and see if I could make it as an OTR driver for Prime.

I had endured Orientation. I had made it through the week long interview process. I survived the filter. Orientation was now behind me. PSD ahead.

PSD PHASE - When my trainer introduced himself in the classroom at the Plaza I thought I was getting a bit of a head start on the others. I had read about others taking a week or more to get a trainer and I wasn’t interested in waiting around like that. I also heard non-smokers can sometimes have a tougher time getting trainers. My trainer took me outside and immediately lit up a cigarette. Oh boy… I don’t smoke. I had made that clear in all of my documentation. Yet here was this smoker talking to me and telling me he was putting me on his truck for both PSD and TNT.

When I came to Prime I was convinced I wouldn’t have to be with a smoker. But when push came to shove… my care about it went, pun intended… up in smoke. F**k it I thought. I did smoke for ten years earlier in life and I didn’t want to delay any of this any longer than it needed to be. I know I could have turned him down and waited for another trainer, but again… my mission here is to learn everything I can, become a professional driver and then GTFO there in my own truck making money.

My thinking that I was ahead of the game turned out to not be true. Turns out his truck was going in for repairs the following Monday morning. He was going to put me on the backing pad at 5:00 AM Saturday morning, then have me drive with a trailer for a few hours in and around Springfield at 5:00 AM Sunday.

One good thing about this minor delay is that I needed to do laundry and would be able to keep my room at Campus Inn until Monday. I was also given a new meal card and could now use it at the Grille over at Millenium. MUCH better food. Much better environment. For the most part it was a weekend of rest, laundry and occasional pre-trip reading. Some of my fellow classmates were leaving and hitting the road. I was a little because I just wanted to get this phase going and move on, but truth be told I was grateful for the small break before it began. My roommate was yanked from his slumber at 2:00 AM that Sunday morning with no warning from his trainer and no time for laundry. I know he would have prefered the break I had, and for that reason I was ok with it all.

A LITTLE ABOUT MY TRAINER - I’m not going to name him. And what I say here is not meant to be negative on him. Everyone is going to have their quirks. Just as he has things that drive me nuts… I’m sure I annoy him occasionally too.

Generally speaking, my trainer is a great guy. I really like him in terms of his personality and I think we’ve become friends pretty quickly. He’s financially motivated on the training program and doesn’t pretend otherwise, but I also genuinely think he cares about making his trainees good drivers. He’s an excellent veteran driver who has been with Prime for a long time. He gets good loads and a ton of miles.

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