Profile For BJess

BJess's Info

  • Location:
    Melbourne, FL

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  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 2 months ago

BJess's Bio

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Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Nearly 3 months solo

Congrats BJess, that's great. Scoring a gig there is an accomplishment. If you ever felt like jumping over to the Walmart side, you'd be in a perfect position to do so. Or you can run that out with Swift indefinitely if it's a better fit. Good luck!

Thank you all! Yes I agree it’s big accomplishment. The nice thing is it’s just a simple transfer so all my benefits and things that have kicked in are fully intact. I thought about the possibility of moving to Walmart in time but one step at a time. Swift has been good to me and if you ever get tired of what you’re doing for them there are always options. A lot of people knock the big companies but they do come with as much upside as they do downside. Kinda like everything in life I suppose?!?!?!

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Nearly 3 months solo

Well I decided to follow the advice of most on this forum and stay at Swift rather than chase something that I probably won’t find any quicker than I’ll find it here. Had a decent paycheck today with gross at $1100.

That said, I got the call from Swift Walmart Dedicated out of Cocoa, Fl yesterday and jumped on the opportunity. The pay sounds fair and should be far better than what I’m doing now. Even if it was the same....I’ll be home daily with a set weekday off so life planning just got easier. The territory isn’t very large but it’s the central east coast of Florida west to the east side of Orlando so there’s a lot of stores packed in a small footprint.

I’ll be starting either Sunday or Monday depending on this tropical storm out there at the moment. They’re giving a few days of training on how the account works and I will be paid for the runs versus a training pay which is nice. I only live 20 minutes from the DC so I’ll be home daily as well. I expect that I’ll do very well on the account because I have built my stamina running the dedicated nestle water account and can handle an unpredictable schedule. I’ll keep posting to keep updates on how things go.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

FINALLY!!!

You obviously need your personal hygiene stuff including a couple bath towels and a sleeping bag/blanket and pillow. When I was training I took 1 backpack with hygiene stuff and a good size duffel bag with clothes and snack food. As for clothing, talk to your trainer and see what his plans are for going home during your training and ask his recommendation for how much to bring. My trainer at Swift went home weekly as did I so he emphasized packing lightly. By the 3rd week I brought 4 changes of clothes. It’s tight quarters with 2 grown men in these things so think what’s necessary and what’s not.

Again, ask your trainer when you speak prior to going out if at all possible. Every driver is different. I’m a less is more person but my trainer had crazy amounts of stuff in the truck.

Congrats and good luck!

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Nearly 3 months solo

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I was fairly active keeping you informed with my progress through training but as you all know one can be fairly busy out here day to day....especially on a dedicated account.

So I’m looking for some input from the long timers/old timers. Didn’t want to infer that anyone is older than they feel but ya know what I mean. Just a quick reminder this isn’t my first go around in this industry but with the time lapse I had to go thru training and am glad I did. I’m back at Swift for my second time and things are pretty good. Miles are up and down but I do get home weekly for my reset plus a few hours most weeks.

In the 4 paychecks I’ve gotten this month the gross pay with mileage and extra pay due to detention and short haul is just under $3900 total. I do have full coverage insurance for me and family and started a 401k which they will start matching in a 2 more months. I average about 2200-2500 miles per week and have run as many as 3100 which left me thinking I could easily do 3400 even on this dedicated account with my time management skills.

Now for the question. In your opinion how do think I’m doing so far? Do you think I could better on a dedicated Walmart account or maybe regional OTR? Running 48 isn’t something I’m interested in doing and I truly want to take all the advice I read and stick it out for at least 1 year. The Walmart dedicated is in my home town and they run day cabs so it’s home daily gig. I’m really interested in that and mentioned in my first post that was my big picture goal.

Please chime in and lead this horse to water as I really just feel that I’m capable of running much harder to chase the bucks. After all....that’s why I’m out here doing this. 5 year plan to get debt free and then 5 year plan to reach a semi retired status.

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Week one was a success in my opinion. Ran just over 2400 miles paid and was on time or early for everything. The 2400 miles turned into just under $1100 so again I feel it was a successful week. Got home Monday morning and will be heading back out Wednesday evening.

I already have 2 loads on me that will be nearly 600 paid miles. Both are drop and hooks at Walmart and Target DC’s so should be able to finish them both before shutting it down for a sleep break. Hopefully the rest of this week keeps getting dispatched this way.

The sliding pay scale at Swift is very beneficial for me. Starting out all my empty miles are .37 cents but I’ve had a couple trips pay .51 cents on the loaded and most of them fall between .44-.47 cents per mile. As somebody getting back in the industry after all these years the pay is really good.

For all the negative things you hear about Swift I’m not seeing them. I kinda think that The people that bash the company created their own problems. To me it seems like any job where you have a boss. If you keep your mouth shut and perform at a high level you will be successful. If you do the opposite you wont be successful. Pretty simple....I just want to make a good living.

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Well things have started off well and not so well all at the Same time. First day on the job was dispatched nearly 500 miles on 2 separate loads. Had some wasted time at shipper but made the final destination with time to spare and 8 hours ahead of my appt time. Got up and delivered then finished my 10 to get a fresh start on the day. Pre trip revealed a flat drive tire so being only 30 miles from my terminal and an empty ultra lite trailer I ran back there. Shop had it changed before I got back from the shower so not a huge loss of time. Went up to grab my next load and 50 miles in blew a trailer tire. Loves here fairly quickly all things considered and getting me fixed up now. I should be able to finish off this load and start heading back for the next one. Already been committed/dispatched over 1000 miles in 2 days. Better luck and some practice on my time management and I just might have a good thing going....

Bjess

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

I’m All done with training as yesterday morning and am home for a couple days. I’m waiting to hear from them as to when they want me back up to do paperwork for the upgrade to solo driver and get my truck. I talked to a new driver on the account Friday and she was initially issued a 2017 freight liner. Within a month she was told to drive up to Greer, SC and pick up her brand new International. It seems most all the 2020-2021 models I’ve seen are Freightliners or Internationals. I haven’t seen any KW’s newer than 2019. My trainer said to hope for a 2017 this week so I can get a new truck very soon. My only real hope is that it has a fridge to help reduce my food expenses.

BJess

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Can't say anything bad really. Seems the majority working in the offices are ex drivers and know the drill. Didn't take too long to get used to things again either. Learned what DEF was and how to elog. Oh, and SEARS shuttered its doors, oh well.

Most of our office people have driven as well. Some of them still do the casual driver thing I’m told which. It definitely helps to have people in there that understand how things really are.

BJess

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Well almost done training. Doing pretty much everything on my own the past several days. It’s working out nicely as there seems to always be some type of challenge that I don’t exactly know how to overcome but most of that is with the Qualcomm. I did have a stubborn set of tandems that wouldn’t budge the other night because 1 of the pins keep engaging so I got a lesson on a few ways to solve that alone.

The set ups for my backing seems to have finally clicked and while I’m still using my pull ups to get it in the dock perfect I’m getting it in the slot fairly consistently on the first try now. Doing this dedicated account I’m sure to continue to get plenty of practice moving in reverse so I know that will continue to improve.

My trainer got a brand new truck this week so I have been able to ride around in a that this week. I have to say my favorite part is the brand new memory foam mattress....I’ve actually been able to sleep on the go for a change.

So I have 30 more hours of BTW training Before my road test and my own truck. Have a run up to Atlanta and back down to Florida tonight so I’ll easily knock out 10 hours there. It’s getting easier and easier to make those 8-10 hours runs as my body adjusts. I know it will get easier once I’m solo as I will definitely get much better sleep. Hoping to road test Friday or go home for weekend and do it Sunday/Monday. I spoke to the manager for this dedicated account and he confirmed adding me to the team. Seems there are plenty of miles if you’re willing to run them and only stop for the breaks required by DOT. I’m still quite happy with Swift and my treatment by everyone so far. I’ve said before, but I definitely made a good choice for my situation in life.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

double-quotes-end.png

Just who are you running for?

I went with Swift and quite happy that I did. The overall opportunities were the best option for me. I’ll be running a dedicated account once I finish up training. I like the dedicated thing. I see how my trainer has built relationships at many of the shippers and receivers. He also knows a lot of the truck stop employees because he’s in the same places so often. It makes things fairly routine. The new trucks with tv and refrigerators are really nice too. Hopefully I will run the east coast of Florida a lot so I can get by the house a couple times a week for my off duty time to shower eat and sleep. The 34 hour reset will always be at home.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Week 2 of training complete and home for the weekend. Things are going well. I continue to get more comfortable handling the truck and figuring out little things like how I like my seat types of easy food to bring during training. Got myself a blue parrot headset for hands free phone use so I can keep in touch with friends and family while driving.

Still trying to get more comfortable with my backing but most places we go has a ton of room. I haven’t gotten brave enough to challenge the truck stop parking yet but since we’re running team now there isn’t much parking going on. I have been doing well backing in between trailers at shipping and receiving yards so confidence is building.

As for training it is going well. My trainer really lets me get myself in and out of my own jams. He answers any questions I have and after I struggle to do something the right way he then tells me how he would’ve approached it. I appreciate this style as I’m figuring things out for myself and then get the lesson to help do better the next time.

Finally got out of Florida the other day taking a load up to Athens, Ga. going back there for. Midnight delivery tomorrow. The dedicated account is really nice and consistent. Also going to the same places a lot makes it real easy. I drove around 2400 miles last week from Sunday afternoon to Thursday night. I’m at 94 hours of the needed 200 to get my own truck. My trainer says we’ll go in a talk to our manager for the dedicated route this Friday. He’ll be working on getting me a truck lined up and we’re gonna see if I can park my rig at the Walmart DC near home since we pull chep pallets out of there and back to Jacksonville. My manager is in charge of the pallet thing along with the water account.

More to come....

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Things sound like they're going very well. It makes me very happy to hear that your trainer is training for the right reasons. Unfortunately far too often we hear about the unsafe, unprofessional drivers that train for the additional income and don't really train. Keep the updates coming!

Yeah that’s for sure. When I trained with Swift 20 years ago I had a very good trainer. I was a very successful driver for them back then before I left for the local gig. Fast forward 20 years and I got lucky again.

As much as team driving doesn’t really appeal to me I’m looking forward to getting home Friday for our reset so we get back at Sunday as a team operation for the next 3 weeks. It will give me the invaluable experience of planning and making decisions for my leg of the day while having a seasoned veteran to bail me out should I get myself in a bind.

It may be that I’ve gotten lucky in my experience but I personally feel that Swift has a good program for those who choose to take it seriously and fully understand what they’re signing up for. While I have no experience with their driving school I would expect that it would set you up well to succeed with their company policies.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Trailer brake

I asked my trainer last night since we don’t have it on our truck how do you check the brake lights on a trailer alone? I was taught many years ago to depress trailer parking brake, pull down the trolley bar, and walk back to ensure brake lights are working.

His answer: a chuckle and he reaches behind the seat and pulls out a small oak tree branch with a Y on one end that he cut long enough to put the Y on a cross bar of the seat and the flat ends depressed the brake pedal.

That my friends is just one item of what 35 years of driving experience will teach me. I think it falls under the category of “a truck driver always has to think on his toes and overcome obstacles on his own!”

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Been on the road training since Sunday afternoon. So I’m really enjoying this and my trainer is very laid back. He has 35+ years experience and really just loves his job and his family. Makes things much more relaxed as I work on my skills.

Doing good on handling the truck on the road and better than I thought I would do on backing since it’s been a while since I drove. Gotta log 200 hours behind the wheel to get signed on solo so a good 3 weeks to go yet as we go home for our 34 hour reset Friday afternoon. Ask my trainer to set aside some time at one of our accounts to let me practice different backing maneuvers as we have a setting to avoid that counting as driving time. We’ll be working on that as much as possible even though he feels that I will have it down fairly good just doing the daily routine. I’m looking forward to next week when we start running somewhat of a team so I can observe how he handles the truck driving and backing. So far I’ve driven all but maybe 30 miles of our 1600 and should easily do 2600-2800 for the week by Friday AM.

We haven’t left Florida yet as I am being trained on the dedicated account he runs which I will also be on once training completes. Has been no shortage of drive time as I’ve exhausted my 11 hours of drive time for each 14 hours. Mostly all drop and hook so it’s nonstop running then take the 10. Little bit of a layover at the terminal today but my trainer got to go home for 14 hours and I got some much needed sleep. With my pick up here I was able to go have a good lunch and pick up a few items from Publix to put in the fridge. Heading to Miami tonight then back up to Lakeland to complete my next 11 hours of driving.

One thing about this gig is that if you don’t like night driving it’s not for you. I personally love it. From Punta Gorda to I-75 and Florida Turnpike junction I probably didn’t see 40 vehicles on the north bound side.

I’m very thankful that I chose to go back to Swift after all these years out of the business. So far everything I was told by my recruiter or local Ocala staff has been as good or better than promised.

More to come!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Orientation During Crisis

I did orientation at Swift in Florida last week and class size was reduced to less than 10 and single occupancy hotel rooms. Starting training Sunday on a dedicated route. They have next to no office staff working at terminal but the shop is open. Seems like they are taking very good precautionary measures to keep people safe. Also, lots provisions free of charge to drivers when I was there last week.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Well being at Swift orientation Monday turned out to be a “right place...right time for me!” More to come on that...

It also pays that I’ve learned to listen closely to everything said thanks to the TT. All of the support given on this website is truly amazing and I thank you all.

It’s blew my mind how many people show up at orientation looking sloppy and yapping the pie hole. Not clean and complaining before they are actually even hired. Saying things like “I’ll just leave and go home” or “I’m just here to get a few months under my belt” before they’re actually even hired. If you’re all that why are you even here superstar???

As has been said on TT time and time again It turns out that Looking professional, paying attention, and asking questions is quite important. Everyone’s trying to outdo the other on things that mean nothing. All the while annoying the people who are hiring you to do a job.

Long story even longer....

I signed up for OTR because I knew I had to earn my stripes. I knew I was going 4-6 weeks of OTR training. I knew I would run OTR after that training and I was fine with it. I was just trying to get back in the seat and control my own destiny. Well it turns out that because I listen and do what is asked of me in a punctual manner, I will be training on a dedicated regional route that will put me on that account after training. It will also give me an “in” on the Walmart dedicated out of my home town that I mentioned a few days ago.

Brett, G-Town, Old School, Navvy, Errol, and everyone....I thank you!

Even “TODD” from the military and smooth roads in Germany gets a thumbs up!

Thanks for being grown ups and guiding me! I owe my success to you!

BJess

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Awesome. That happened quick.

What sort of training program are they putting you through?

I will be doing the minimum 200 hours BTW training with a mentor/trainer. Should take about 4 weeks unless we run team a little sooner. I’ll keep updates as I have them. They told me to expect to leave as early as Wednesday afternoon. We will see how it goes!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Well I’m having dinner with the family and I’ll be off to check into my hotel. I’ll be going to Swift in the morning to attend orientation. I’m a little stressed out about the road test as it’s been a while since I’ve driven. Maybe I’ll get an auto shift for my road test which will make the task much easier. Guess I’ll find out in the morning.

After I committed to this decision Cypress called and wanted to offer a 2 week refresher course followed by 4 weeks of training. A southeast regional position with weekends home is what they are hiring for. I kinda wish they would’ve called sooner but I felt obligated to Swift since they had already sent me for my physical and drug test. I had also done a load of online paperwork to get set up for the orientation. I did inquire about potentially training with a dedicated account driver since my goal is to get on the Walmart account that runs from the DC near my home. I guess I’ll see how I feel about my decision in time. I’m all in to get back out there just hope I’ve made the right decision.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

BJess,

It would appear that the Swift offer would be the best deal for you. The ability to be a rehire, close enough to home makes home time easier and the Walmart account would probably never go away. I know Indian River is food grade tankers and Cypress is flatbed and I do believe SE Regional but I could be wrong. Good luck and have fun.

Navypoppp, I agree with the Swift thing for sure. Flatbed could be a good thing to learn especially if it’s Southeast only. I know Cypress has a terminal in Deland NC which is very near where I grew up and still have some friends so there is that. Just not sold on me at 48 wanting to deal with tarps straps and chains. I know I definitely don’t want to do it in Minnesota in February! As for Tanker, definitely something

I am interested in because so much fuel moves through Port Canaveral and the pay is quite good and home daily off 2 per week. That’s at least a year down the road and a tanker endorsement away at a minimum.

Swift dedicated out of Walmart 15 minutes from my house is very attractive as well. And, if I didn’t like it there will always be more options with Swift. Also, not sure how it works but, they say that my daughter can take her college courses online and they will reimburse me. I’ll have to look into that as my youngest is now pushing 17. The benefits at Swift seem to be as good or better than many.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Returning to Trucking

Thanks Auggie. I have sent an email to Cypress to gain some information before digging any deeper with them. I’m finding many companies that will hire students out of school won’t hire someone in my situation hence the reason I’m contacting before filling out apps. I will look into Indian River Transport. I’ve seen them around but don’t know much about them.

It seems that since I worked for Swift before that they can bring me on as a rehire and I can go to orientation then right out for training. This looks like it may be the quickest way to making money. They also run dedicated out of the new Walmart DC here in Cocoa at the 524 exit in Cocoa that I could work towards if I wanted.

Thanks for the insight and I’ll keep everyone up to date.

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