Profile For Wild-Bill

Wild-Bill's Info

  • Location:
    Minnetonka , MN

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    9 months ago

Wild-Bill's Bio

After a 30 year career as a retail manager, I've decided its time for a change in career and lifestyle. I've been on the road for much of my career as a District manager covering up to 5 states, so I'm no stranger to being away from home. A combination of burnout, midlife crisis and just plain being tired of relying on others for my success have led me to this move. It's getting tougher and tougher to hire good self motivated people to staff the stores and the competition from the online world has changed everything about the business. I've lived through three companies going out of business and I'm not about to wait around for a fourth one. I've always loved to travel. Every time I get behind the wheel of our motor home I realize how much I love driving that thing down the open road. I cant wait to see what's around the next corner as I put together a strong work ethic, love of travel and passion for excellence into this new career.

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Posted:  1 hour, 34 minutes ago

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Well I screwed that up. Accident and lessons learned.

I’ve been thinking about wether to post this or not and finally decided maybe someone can learn from my error and some of the follow up conversations.

A few weeks ago, I was heading into a shipper to load early the next morning. It was late and very dark. Small town, no lights. I pulled into what I thought was the truck entrance and noticed there was a truck in a door facing into the entrance that would make the turn in very tight. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I had that feeling in my gut telling me to back out, pull around and find a better way in or a safer place to park until I can see it in the daylight. (I should know by now to always listen to that voice) I made it as wide as I could but it was like doing a tight u turn off the street. I knew the trailer was going to track onto the lawn but Being late, tired and stupid, I made the turn anyway. What I didn’t see was the sign.

I got parked in back and shut down for the evening. On my walk around I noticed my trailer had a wavy section on the bottom rail. I thought since many of the trailers I pick up have some damage that surely that was there earlier and I just hadn’t noticed it earlier. Wrong! In the morning as I walked to the Shipping office I noticed my tracks in the lawn, and the poor sign that I flattened.

After calling it in, I was set up for a DSE (driver safety evaluation) at a terminal. It’s basically going through a close quarters course with an instructor to make sure I can handle the truck, GOAL appropriately, have good situational awareness etc. the course was pretty tough and I picked up a few pointers from the feedback.

The interesting thing to me was that as soon as the instructor got into my truck he told me “I looked over your file and I can tell that you’re a good driver from your communication. I know you’ll do well, just relax and let’s get through it.” I thought, now what in the world does my communication have to do with my ability to drive. Later it dawned on me that it probably wasn’t so much that it shows proficiency behind the wheel, but a good driver as in good attitude, on time, not complaining etc,

When my FM called for feedback on the DSE, I mentioned the “good driver” comment and she said there’s a good deal of truth to that. Communication both good and bad shows up in a persons driving behavior and visa versa.

Consequences were that I’ll lose my 1cpm safety bonus for 90 days and I’ll miss out on a 9cpm performance increase for next quarter that I was really looking forward to. That’ll be about $3k of income for the quarter which hurts but I get it. No PIP or probation period.

I’m very disappointed that I blew a solid rookie year with a stupid decision. I’ll pay more attention to that gut feeling. A short walk with a flashlight would have saved a lot of time aggravation and money. I’m glad though that a good attitude and strong work ethic helps smooth over a bad decision. Nearly every post here talks about a performance based business and I think overall I may have got off a little easier than some might have because of decent performance a good attitude and building relationships.

As a side note and update, the accident hasn’t impacted the loads I’m getting. I’ve been getting much better loads with tight delivery windows. I’m on my third consecutive 1200+ mile run on this outing and all of them have had barely enough time on them. I’m winding out my clock and having to get creative at times to be on time. It seems like they trust me to get the job done and keep rolling.

My FM even got me an extra 550 mile run on the Fourth of July when she saw I was going to have some down time. That’s the way I like it. I no longer have to ask for extra. She just loads me up when she sees any sort of down time. I called to say thanks the other day and she said “the better you are, the better I can be” She is pushing back on the planners to keep me moving. Thats teamwork. It took a while to build the relationship but it’s paying off. Hopefully staying busy like this will offset the loss of CPM increase for the quarter.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

View Topic:

Brand New CDL.............TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations!!! 🎉

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Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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How is your year going?

I went solo sometime in February so, This will be my first full quarter solo. What with the low starting CPM and training pay for January, the first half pay doesn’t look great. I should get a nice raise and a little bonus after this quarter is over. I’m learning the job and earning the trust and respect of my FM so, hopefully that will start to pay off in the back half of the year.

Here are my stats so far.

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Posted:  1 month ago

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Congsingnee refusing nonfood pallets what to do?

The only logical thing is to contact your dispatch/FM/DM or whatever your company calls it BEFORE you leave the cons. We have a team that specifically works on overage and shortage and damaged issues. As a company driver that decision would be “above my pay grade” and after many years of management I think I like it that way.

Let them work it out with customer service, the shipper and cons.

Let us know the results. I’d be curious to find out how it worked out.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Scale question

That’s what I get for taking someone’s word for it and not verifying for myself. I had to move one hole today to balance out a load at nearly max weight. The answer is 440 pounds per hole.

So, my new question is- does that change with different load weights. Would a 32,000 lb load be different per hole than a 44,000 lb load?

By the way, I was pretty pleased with myself that I was only off one hole by guessing with the psi reading in the cab. I remember balancing my first load took like 5 laps around the scale to get right.

Posted:  1 month ago

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ISO Info on driving a reefer for Dollar General

I was a District Manager on the retail side at Family Dollar. I can tell you that what the others have said is true. The parking lots are small and busy. Most stores will be delivered through the front door. If there are docks, they’ll be EXTREMELY tight and usually require blocking off a Main Street to get in. Sometimes with your nose still hanging in traffic once you’re in the dock. Some of those poor drivers would take up to two hours just trying to get the truck into the lot. In some of my stores we had to have police directing traffic for every delivery.

There’s not enough money in the world to make me drive a dollar store account. I know people do it, and I’m sure some like it. but it’s not not for me. Way beyond my skill set and acceptable stress level.

Might have been an overly blunt answer but that’s my two cents.

Posted:  1 month ago

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You dropped something

I always wondered why some containers had bright zip ties flapping around on each corner. Now I know...

I’ll remember to be wary of the ones that don’t.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Frustrated and tired leads to stupid and careless mental errors

Last night I had a long day driving(630 miles) after having a ridiculously long detention time for the live load. To top it off I had lost 1700 miles of preplan due to the loading delay. I was tired, cranky and just wanted to get this cursed load off me. So, I went to do my drop and hook. Gate had me slide my tandems back before I could enter which threw me off when I went to back into the dock, I had forgotten my angles would be off. I finally got it into the dock and pulled the brakes, pulled my air and electric lines, pulled the kingpin lock and started to drive off.

Those of you following along know what happened next. Instead of the gentle thump of the landing gear taking the load I felt a good jolt as the trailer dropped on the frame of my tractor. Yep, I was so distracted with my frustration, I forgot to lower the landing gear. So, after cranking up 44,000 pounds of cheese, I was finally able to finish the load and get some sleep. It’s a good thing I stopped as it hit the fame because I’m told in my company dropping a trailer it an instant career ender.

So, today, I’m driving along and went to change lanes after moving over for a stopped vehicle. I wasn’t paying enough attention and a car had slid into the lane as I passed the obstruction. I saw him just before driving him off the road.

Time to take a deep breath and refocus on the basics. I nearly created two career ending events in less than 12 hours. I’m 3 months in and just realized there is a danger zone there of getting overconfident and complacent. Hopefully the close calls will get me to refocus. Just thought I’d post my errors because 3 months seems a dangerous time period.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Scale question

Good info, that’s why I asked.

Mr C - I hadn’t thought about the fuel burn. That would have made a difference

Turtle- we were told 500 per hole in class, but, my OTR trainer had told me 700 per hole so that’s what I’ve always gone with. I pull refer, so I assumed the difference was because of the weight of the refer unit. But I never checked. I’m usually pretty close using the PSI reading in the cab, so I don’t think I’ve ever had to move the weight around. I’ll check it next time I scale.

Pack-Rat- here’s a map of the APU exemptions by state it separates out states by statute and by enforcement. I hope it’s not some proprietary info I’m going to get in trouble for posting...

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Posted:  1 month ago

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Scale question

Here is my scale ticket from this morning.

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Our trailers seem to be about 700 pounds per hole. So, if I moved back one, I would have been just over on the drives. I ended up running with it as it was. I rarely get pulled into a scale and since the scales are all rolling weights I figured, the extra 80 pounds probably wouldn’t even get noticed. My question is does the extra 80 pounds on the trailer make a difference to a DOT officer or scale house? Was I running a risk of getting fined? In hindsight, I probably should have moved it back a hole as the states I was running in allow 400-500 lbs on the drives for an APU exemption.

Before anyone says anything about the steer weights, we run a fixed fifth wheel so, there’s no way to move the weight up.

I made the run safe and sound, just wondering what the experts would do.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Choosing first company - confused about logistics

I’m fairly new to the trucking life and had the same concerns about terminal locations. What I found out is what the others have stated. Customer locations and freight lanes are the determining factor and those will be reflected in the hiring areas. I haven’t been to a terminal in two months. We do have terminals in my area but the only time I go there is for free laundry. I packed an extra weeks worth of clothes and now no need for even that.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Newbie which company should I go with

Welcome to the forum. There are many great companies out there that will get you the training you need to get your career started. While there are differences in the way they structure the training I think you’ll find they all provide a good foundation of safety and efficiency that will serve you well. Honestly, I don’t think you can make a bad choice by going with any of the major carriers. They all have systems and support in place to help you along the way. Look through this list of companies to find the one that will fit your needs.

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When your ready, use the link to apply to many companies at the same time.

Apply

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Stick and manual training

Roehl still trains on manuals at least for now. 1/2 of the training locations are still manual, but, are converting to auto-shift by next year. Ask your Recriuter and they can get you more info.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Swift or May Trucking?

My company has a very good reputation for safety. When I went through the CDL program with them last year one of the instructors mentioned that Swift has a nearly identical CSA (safety) score as ours. As others have said you read more about Swift accidents just because they have so many more trucks in the road. Be a safe driver, slow down and stay back that’s what will get you home safe.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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First solo week. I did NOT anticipate the amount of stress!

I’ve been stumbling my way through the last three months. I promise you it gets better. I don’t know when or how, but it does. Each day you learn a bit more and then presto, things that were a huge pain become second nature.

Hang in there. Keep a great attitude and ask a ton of questions. You’ll get there.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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FM relationships

I had a cool thing happen this week. I hope it’s the start of becoming that top tier driver I hear so much about.

I’ve been working hard the last few months to build rapport with my FM. She and I are both new to the business. Every time I run into a load with too much time in it I send a message or call to say I can be there at xx time. Can we move up the appointment or relay the load to keep moving. About 1/2 the time I’m able to work something out.

This week I had a load that I’d be a full day early on. We were able to relay the load and I was assigned a 1200 mile load with a tight timeframe. That beat the heck out of sitting on a load for a day. On my way to Atlanta with that load I was given a preplan for a 650 mile load for Friday (today) but, because of the holiday weekend, that load didn’t Deliver until Tuesday morning. Disappointing, but i figured with the holiday, I was probably stuck with it.

Shortly after getting the preplan I had to call my FM about something else. While we were on the phone she told me “ I saw that preplan and I’m already working on turning that into a relay for you so you can keep moving.” I was thrilled that she was on it before I could even mention it.

Today after sending in my loaded call, before I could even send an eta and reminder about a possible relay, I got my revised workflow for a relay at 600 miles and a preplan for my next load of 430 miles. I called to thank her and told her it was good to know she has my back. She said “You have me trained now. I know you’ll run hard to get it there and I’ll keep poking the planners to tight up the delivery times for you.”

It felt really good to know that the relationship building and communication are finally starting to pay off.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Trick question?? Kinda!

You’ll find that the state test is the same way. The wording and the way the answers are laid out can be very tricky. You’ll need to read very carefully.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Shut down survey

If the timing is right I like to overnight at the shipper or consignee that way I can start the day with a fresh 14 hours. Second preference is truck stop for a shower in the morning. But sometimes a rest area is convenient. It just all depends. But mostly it’s truck stop just for the shower.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Trucker Expenses have to pay ?

Viking, I had a customer that needed a printed scale ticket. Used the app and walked in for the printed copy. No problems. Usually though the pdf is all I need though.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Endorsements questiom

I agree with everyone else. Get them now. Also, my company assigns additional scorecard points for passport, hazmat and twic. Those three are worth enough points for an additional pay grade which works out to about $1,000 extra pay per year. Not bad for a small investment of time and a few hundred bucks in fees. I think the twic and hazmat are good for 5 years. So it’s only like $30 per year when you break it down.

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