This Is How We Roll!

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Old School's Comment
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We try real hard here to teach folks the simple path to success in trucking. It is so frustrating for me at times because of the massive amounts of mis-information that we are repeatedly attempting to purge from people's minds. It seems that we genuinely help a lot of people, and that is very gratifying, but most of the folks who eventually come into our circle have usually found their way here after exposing themselves to the rot at Glass Door, The Rip Off Report, or The Trucker's Report. Just this week we had a new member in here complaining about their job and the lack of miles they were getting. They sounded just like a parrot who was regurgitating what he had heard at the "moan and groan" trucking websites. His poor attitude had already taken it's cue from the way most of the internet trucker whiners and complainers approach their jobs. His sentiments and comments were typical online "trucker speak" about how bad his dispatcher was and how the company was doing him wrong.

I've got a little idea that I want you all to help me with. I am starting this thread as a place where we can post our positive experiences in trucking and our success stories, or the milestones we've reached along the way. This isn't about boasting about our accomplishments, but rather posting our positive experiences and successes in our career. I want this to be a thread that we can continue posting to, but also a thread that we can refer the new comers to who are constantly asking us which company they can go to that will give them lots of miles, will respect their drivers, and will allow them to go home every once in a while - blah,blah,blah... you know the drill. I think it is sad that such a rewarding career is so daunting to get started because of the way so many of the internet reports about it are disturbing and frightening. I fear that many people who think they want to give it a try are turned away without ever even really giving it a shot because they are turned back at the gate by their apprehensions which are based on totally fabricated and misguided information.

Please feel free to post which company you are with when posting in this thread. I want the new folks who review this stuff to see how little it matters when choosing the company you start with. That seems to be everyone's biggest fear and hang up at the beginning, and it's no wonder either, when you realize how many reports they have read about slave labor and cruelty from the trucking magnates. Let's put some true stories together in here to show them that success and happiness in this career is attainable. I want them to see how the true professionals out here are treated. I want them to realize that we have more miles available to us than we can handle most of the time. I want them to see how we love our career and are "living the life" out here on the road. I happen to love being an over the road driver, and I want others to know that we have got it good. I want people to have a concise place of positive influence here in this thread where we can point them to. I want to give them some hope by having this thread as a place where we can refer them to that shows them "how we roll."

I'm going to start it all off with a little report about what's been going on with me recently. Most of you know that I've been having a few health issues with skin cancer. I had some surgery not too long ago and just recently I needed to be home for ten consecutive days for some doctor visits. I work for Knight Transportation, and when I informed my dispatcher about this I fully expected to have to turn in my truck and get a different one when I could return. He wouldn't hear of it. He simply told me to bob-tail home, get myself taken care of, and to call him when I was ready to get back to work. I ended up being home eleven days, and I never heard the first word from him trying to get me back on the road. When I was ready I called him and he said, "Man, am I glad to have you back!" That was on Wednesday of this week. I showed up, and he dispatched me on a run with 1,482 miles on it. Before I got that one finished he had me pre-planned on a load with 970 miles. Here it is Saturday and I've got another load now with 2,198 miles on it! If that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I also got a call from my dispatcher informing me that they already had a back haul set up for me when I finish this run that will bring me back close to my dedicated customer which has 1,638 miles on it. You can do the math - I'm only half way through my first week back at work and I've been dispatched 6,288 miles! That keeps me giving it all I've got for my first two weeks back after home time!

Okay, you get the idea here. This is not a competition to see which of us is getting the most miles, it is positive evidence that we can share with total newbies who want to know the truth about how this career works. I want to provide a place in this thread for folks to see how the folks out here doing this job are getting it done. Let's here some of your great success stories!

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

This is a great idea, Old School! I thought of a couple of things when I read your post.

So first, for those who only know me from posting pictures of flatbed loads and occasional smart-aleck comments, I came here a little over two years ago thinking about getting into trucking. Thanks to the folks on here, I was able to wade through the stuff on the internet and get off to a good start.

My two-year anniversary of ever getting behind the wheel of a big rig is next month, but that time has flown. I love this job - and I've had a lot of different kinds of jobs before landing in trucking.

Four months ago I went to System Transport from the company I started with. I had two other offers, but System was the best fit for me so I was happy when they took me. And after a year and a half driving, I definitely had a better idea of what would be a good fit. I think it takes doing the job awhile before you really know what you like and dislike.

Sorry for the long preamble. Here's the story.

I had been with them about two months when I needed to stay around my hometown for a week to help with family. I run regional , so normally the expectation is to get home every weekend or two, not every day. My dispatcher said he'd see what he could do.

I ran nine loads that week and was able to get home every night. Because their pay scale goes up with shorter loads, I was able to make an average check that week. It was more work, yes, but I was happy to be able to get home and not lose a bunch of money at the same time.

The next week I was free to run again, and I got two weeks of nice long runs with very good checks.

They have also gotten me home for eye doctor appointments when I asked them to. I'm very happy to work for them.

I think it goes both ways, too. I run hard when they need me to. I've been out for three weeks and running on recaps for two weeks and am getting a reset this weekend. I did get home for one night in there as well.

I don't complain or pester them if something goes a little sideways. That's just the nature of the job. Apparently that's not as common as I think it should be, because they've thanked me a couple of times for it. Just doing my job, boss, but thank you!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kanelin's Comment
member avatar

What a perfect post for me today!

I'm with Prime in PSD training, and today was a very bad day for me. Drove 450 miles, a hefty chunk of it on US 59 from I30 to Houston. Lots of stop and go, along with me struggling with lane control at times. Then on the short drive off the interstate to the receiver, I curbed the trailer and blew a tandem. Luckily it was a double so we were able to drive to a TA to get it replaced. After all of this I was ready to quit. We've been running hard for over a week and I was tired and grumpy and thinking that this is probably it.

As the tire was being replaced, my trainer started talking about going back and testing out on Friday. He told me I'm ready, just have some rough edges to knock off with shifting and mirrors. Said lots of people curb trailers and it's not the end of the world, just learn from it.

This is just the latest example of how I've been treated, by everyone, at Prime. They understand that this is all new, and they all want me to succeed. I've never been treated like a number, or like "just another newbie." Because if I succeed, they all do too.

This site has been the same for me. It has been a refuge after long days in orientation and learning this new way of life. Thank you, O.S. And thanks to all of you here!

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Danny G.'s Comment
member avatar

I like reading about positive stuff like this and thought Devan's post What a Guy deserves a link here :)

Great topic Old School.

Retha M.'s Comment
member avatar

I am with Swift. I recently finished school and start orientation this week. I did my research and kept coming back to the same question, if they are so bad how are they so successful? School was hard and awesome all at once. I learned the first week that the instructors figured out who really wanted it. They went above and beyond even opening up the range one weekend for extra practice. I love TT. I have lurked for some time. But reading how much y'all loved what you do and are always positive has helped me tremendously . Attitude plays a large role in this. But positive breeds positive. So I will continue to work hard and if I need advice I have experts here! Thanks everyone.

G-Town's Comment
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This is a great idea Old School! I will post something later...

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

In 3 weeks I will approach the one year mark since I stepped on the bus to Prime. There have been so many first time experiences which at 41 you don't expect ;)

I left a federal government job of 18 years and a promising writing career to come to prime. I hated work everyday surrounded by bosses who just didn't care and didnt know their own job let alone mine.

Prime was recommended to me by a friend and it has been the best decision I've made in years. I wish I would have done it a decade ago and I'd have been much happier. My original intent was to get my year in and try FedEx or a local job. After a couple months I decided no way am I leaving.

My dispatcher is great, they let me go home without question when my mom needed heart surgery. I never feel pressured. When I say my truck needs repairs it is fixed immediately. If I tell them I need some sleep between dispatches I get it. If I tell them the roads are icy and I'm shutting down I get "10/4 be safe. Let me know when u get rolling again. Thanks".

In addition to all that, prime drivers are determined to help each other. You can walk up to almost any prime driver and say "hey I'm new can I ask u something". Most will help and give you their phone number for any reason.

I had a hard training period. I had screw ups, but I'm still here and not going anywhere. Good luck

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Cwc's Comment
member avatar

I drive for CRST which if you read the other websites is one of the "worst companies " but as far as I can tell people posting that stuff are full of it. In my 11 months I can count on my fingers how many 34s I've "had " to take. Now that doesn't include stuff like waiting on a relay load that showed up late occasionally and things like that. Miles are there.

Also I smile whenever a new co-driver gets upset about hometime scheduling. Company policy is not more than 4 days at home. However if you've been running and your DM knows it they tend to in my experience work with you. I've been scheduled for 5days hometime and the 5th day was a Saturday. I live outside our normal service area.... You don't get loads outside the normal service area on the weekends... He knew that when he gave me the time off.

I don't have near as much experience as alot of folks on this website but it's what you make of it. I would stay with CRST if it weren't a team company.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I drive for a lesser known company called West Side Transport based in Cedar Rapids, IA. Unlike some of the majors, we only have 550 trucks and about 2500 dry van trailers.

Our company specializes in shorter haul regional runs primarily in the Midwest, but some Southeast and a little bit of Northeast.. To us Pennsylvania is most of our NE with a tiny bit of NJ and MD and even rarer a little CT and NH. Our hiring area is primaily in Midwest and just around Atlanta and maybe 10 drivers who live in CT and eastern PA.

Make no mistake, just because we tend to have shorter runs doesnt mean we dont get good miles. As a a solo driver i consistently ran 3k a week and sometimes a little more.

They hired me right out of school and i spent 30 days with a trainer who was a Southeast driver from GA. Sheesh was he tough! Demanding professionalism, willingness to help others, and perfection in parking. Yeah he made me cry a couple times when he was on my case about not parking perfectly straight and centered after driving almost 600 miles and starving, exhausted, and needing to use the restroom. You see, if i was backing and it didnt meet his tough standards instead of just correcting a little, hed make me pull completely out and start all over from scratch. Oh he'd make me so mad lol. Geeze Id already be parked within the lines and better than many other rookies, but he was like.. Park it like the professional you are. No being sloppy allowed even when exhausted.

But a funny thing happened. I realized he was a really nice guy who actually cared that i could drive well enough to ensure id make it home safely every weeke d to see my family.

After training we kept in touch by phone so if i ever needed advice he was a phone call away. We ended up dating after i had gone solo and about 3? months ago after admitting we were crazy about each other, broke the West Side mold (wow time flies when youre having fun) and began to team. We are one of only two teams. Nope, they arent set up for teaming and its been a trying experience for our DM and the load planners attempting to accomodate us. If you want to be home weekly and drive for a company that treats you like family, you couldnt ask for a better company. They have solo down to a science and we are ALWAYS preplanned well in advance to keep drivers rolling.

As a team, they utilize us as their "go to" drivers when theres a hot load for a dedicated customer and the original driver is running short on hours and cant make on time delivery.

As a new solo driver they started me at 33 cpm but within 3 months i was at 39 cpm and now at 52 cpm after 7 months post training. We average a little over 5k miles a week and go home every other weekend. They also pay layover, detention, breakdown, drop and hook pay, fuel, mileage and safety bonuses... And a higher rate on shorter runs (under 200 miles).

Its interesting that we have numerous drivers who are married to each other but are solo drivers spending their hometime together on weekends. Theyre all real curious as the company is trying to get the teaming concept down so we are constantly asked how we are doing by the other drivers lol.. Its trying and frustrating at times during this learning curve, but i guarantee ya we are having more fun and i wouldnt trade this company for anything. The owner of the company has his own truck and continues to drive on occasion.. Yes he started out as a small O/O cleaning up grain and freight spills forming West Side Salvage and then expanding into the short haul company it is today while the salvage business is ran seperately.

A cool thing is because of where i live, im typically never more than 12 hours away from home and when im needed at home with short notice, they always manage to get me there.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

These are great posts!

You guys are "hitting all the high notes." I love how so many of the features of your jobs you guys/gals are pointing out as good experiences are the things that people are constantly moaning and groaning about on the typical truck driving web sites.

Keep 'em coming, your experiences will help us to paint a clearer picture of what it takes to succeed at this career. The naysayers cause everyone to focus on the wrong things which ultimately leads to disappointment and failure. Your comments here will help folks who read this thread to understand the kind of attitude and determination this industry rewards with success.

It's not an unsolvable mystery, we've just got to be vigilant in holding forth the banner of truth.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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