Is It Ever Going To Get Better?

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G-Town's Comment
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I don't believe the "freight is slow" crap ever. I heard drivers griping that they sit every holiday weekend. Doesn't happen with me...I even had a load Christmas day but couldn't roll cause of snow and road closures...but I had a load. Memorial day 4th of July labor day....had loads...delivered on new years day even. So all that is crap.

I will say this..it is getting more difficult to get loaded/unloaded early. And walmart just made a policy that if we do a drop and hook before the appt window it is a service failure!! A service failure for being early and they are gonna hit prime with a "late fee" on an early load. Smh.

On the other hand I have a friend at prime who has a lousy FM and is in the same boat as you. She doesn't have the guts to speak up though. I keep telling her she needs to. The companies WANT you loaded and rolling...that's how they make money. You won't look like a trouble maker you will look like a driver with ambition. Good luck.

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Walmart probably did that because they tend run out of parking places rather quickly. Seen it happen.

Having a good DM is definitely a make or break situation. I know Tractor had all kinds of issues with his, although he did get it figured out near the end.

On a Dedicated Account things tend to be different, the opposite can occur, too many loads, not quite enough drivers. That's when they pull OTR drivers in to run surge.

OTR:

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.

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.

Fm:

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.

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.

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Thank you to everyone for the replies. To Brett, the fleet manager is directly over my DM , and over the fleet manager is the terminal manager. I'll try going to the terminal manager to get something done. I was beginning to think that this was just how it was going to be.

As far as flatbed actively recruiting, I talked to a gentleman named Steve in the flatbed division in Phoenix over the phone just three days ago and he told me that they can't do anything for me until I have six months experience. I didn't really push the issue as I was coming off of a particularly bad week (four days to get a PM service done, then as soon as I leave the terminal, I get a QC message that I'm being put back on maintenance hold for a CAL BIT inspection). But, that's another story for another post. If you know someone else that I can talk to regarding flatbed, I'd love to have the info.

Thank you again to everyone. I'll keep you updated on how things progress with this. It's Monday, so I'm not going to bug the terminal manager first thing in the morning. I'll give him or her a few hours to get settled after the weekend before I start pestering them.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

AC do you use Macro 10? It gives you greater visibility with the planners and will help when your DM (for whatever reason) can't seem to get you a load. In my job, mac10 is unnecessary, but I know TractorMan used it and got some good results toward the end of his employment with Swift.

Good luck

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.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Thank you to everyone for the replies. To Brett, the fleet manager is directly over my DM , and over the fleet manager is the terminal manager. I'll try going to the terminal manager to get something done. I was beginning to think that this was just how it was going to be.

As far as flatbed actively recruiting, I talked to a gentleman named Steve in the flatbed division in Phoenix over the phone just three days ago and he told me that they can't do anything for me until I have six months experience. I didn't really push the issue as I was coming off of a particularly bad week (four days to get a PM service done, then as soon as I leave the terminal, I get a QC message that I'm being put back on maintenance hold for a CAL BIT inspection). But, that's another story for another post. If you know someone else that I can talk to regarding flatbed, I'd love to have the info.

Thank you again to everyone. I'll keep you updated on how things progress with this. It's Monday, so I'm not going to bug the terminal manager first thing in the morning. I'll give him or her a few hours to get settled after the weekend before I start pestering them.

I don't know anyone else in the flatbed division, but I can tell you what I would do.... If flatbed is really what you want, call him again next week...and the next week, and the next week, until he says yes. I've never worked another job where I had to be so annoying, but in this business it is necessary sometimes. Always be polite of course, but persistent. Another option is calling a different terminal and seeing what flatbed options they might have. Same with dedicated if that's something you're interested in--you don't have to wait six months on that, although that is usually the official statement. And Brett is right about calling the planners. I think we used to have more access to them than we do now, but you can still use Mac 10 and call/message dispatch (any dispatcher , not just yours) repeatedly, every couple hours if necessary, until you get assigned another load. And be persistent in trying to reach your fleet manager and/or terminal manager and talking to them and various other people in higher places until you find some resolution.

I didn't do otr dry van with Swift, so I don't know personally how effective my approach would be with that. But I did do otr reefer with them for six months before switching to dedicated, and my mileage usually hovered around 2000-2500 a week. I probably could have gotten it higher but I was content with 2500 a week.

In general though, persistence (even to the point of being downright annoying at times) is sometimes the only way. And the whole "you have to wait six months" is also sort of BS--maybe that's generally supposed to be the rule, but there are a LOT of exceptions.

I do find it kind of interesting that both you and Tractor Man have (had) almost identical experiences with Swift, but I personally would advise not leaving until you've dug all the way to the bottom of this and done your absolute best to find resolution. I can almost guarantee that if you are as persistent as I'm suggesting and make yourself known to higher powers than your DM, you will start to see change.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

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.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

MC1371's Comment
member avatar

Same boat. I did just barely hold on to platinum status, but not by much.

Like you seeing the same kinds of loads. Current one is prime example, 78mi dead head to Columbus NE, going to Milwaukee,. Hard deliv date and time of 10am 4/5. Customer is like some of the others, flagged all over the place do not arrive early. Basically means a full wasted day on a 600mi run.

With this one, and doubtful I'll get a short hopper that I can get in before Thurs cut off. Ill be at 1900 for the week.

I see you guys talking about our DMs but how much pull do they have with the planners? Especially as it seems I'll get grabbed by different ones as I drift into their areas. Or I can MAC 30 and roll the dice before they drop something on me.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

What's the "gold and platinum" status you guys talk about?

Is it possible to ask for a load relay? For example "DM..do you happen to have a driver in the area who needs a 34 reset and can sit on this load since I'll be so early? That way I can run some more miles and they can get a full 70 back?"

My FM does this all the time and seems to get us hours back. I kid you not I picked up a load from one driver who got a 34, then I sat with that trailer overnight to get my 34... Then another driver came along and sat with it until it's delivery so he could get a 34. That trailer sat a mile from North Platte Walmart for three days with three different drivers but WM wouldn't allow it to be run in early.

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.

Fm:

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.
MC1371's Comment
member avatar

What's the "gold and platinum" status you guys talk about?

Is it possible to ask for a load relay? For example "DM..do you happen to have a driver in the area who needs a 34 reset and can sit on this load since I'll be so early? That way I can run some more miles and they can get a full 70 back?"

My FM does this all the time and seems to get us hours back. I kid you not I picked up a load from one driver who got a 34, then I sat with that trailer overnight to get my 34... Then another driver came along and sat with it until it's delivery so he could get a 34. That trailer sat a mile from North Platte Walmart for three days with three different drivers but WM wouldn't allow it to be run in early.

Rainy, Gold, Platinum is the Swift bonus structure, Bronze = .03c mi, Gold = ,04c per mi, Platinum = .05c per mi. I dont have the sheet in front of me, but I had to maintain a 2100 mi per week average for the past quarter. Now on the second pay day of April I'll get .05c for all miles run during that time. Sounds great til I heard that they lump it in with that check so I'll really get nailed on the taxes for having a high one week gross. Still better than a kick in the nards.

And yes we can try and relay/t-call a load at a local terminal. It's worked 1 time out of three so far for me.

I think why you're seeing us be a little vocal about this now (and this is not to be taken negatively) is the advice we got here.

We're trying to be patient, not listen to all the Super Truckers who drive for the other carriers and their stories of endless miles, APUs , sattelite tv etc. I still have every intention of staying my full 13. (It really dosent make sense to jump ship and have to start all the way back at the bottom.) A lot more options open when you can show 12+ months exp.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Fm:

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Just got my performance evaluation for the week and I've been downgraded to silver. Makes sense as I'm getting bare minimum miles. I've tried using macro 10 before, on March 29th to be exact, and this is the exact reply I received:

"MAC 10 REJECTED - THIS MACRO IS FOR SELECTED DIVISIONS ONLY - CONTACT YOUR DRIVER LEADER IF YOU HAVE ANY IMMEDIATE CONCERNS"

I have also tried calling the Gary terminal as they have a flatbed division there. I have left messages with Ed Freeman, who supposedly is in charge of flatbed up there. I've never received a return phone call and I get voicemail every time. Last time I called was on Friday, March 31. Seems to me like people in the Swift organization just don't care.

I called my terminal manager today. He called me back, but I was away from the truck and I didn't get a chance to call him back before he left for the day. I'll do that first thing tomorrow morning.

My next load is a 380 mile run to Louisiana with 28 hours to do it in...

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I called my terminal manager today. He called me back, but I was away from the truck and I didn't get a chance to call him back before he left for the day. I'll do that first thing tomorrow morning.

You've gotta be kidding me? You got a personal phone call about your concerns, on the same day even, from the terminal manager at a company with like 20,000 drivers and you never got back to him?

Wow, dude. I don't even know what to say about that. I mean......omg.......I just don't even know what to say.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

What's the "gold and platinum" status you guys talk about?

Is it possible to ask for a load relay? For example "DM..do you happen to have a driver in the area who needs a 34 reset and can sit on this load since I'll be so early? That way I can run some more miles and they can get a full 70 back?"

My FM does this all the time and seems to get us hours back. I kid you not I picked up a load from one driver who got a 34, then I sat with that trailer overnight to get my 34... Then another driver came along and sat with it until it's delivery so he could get a 34. That trailer sat a mile from North Platte Walmart for three days with three different drivers but WM wouldn't allow it to be run in early.

double-quotes-end.png

We're trying to be patient, not listen to all the Super Truckers who drive for the other carriers and their stories of endless miles, APUs , sattelite tv etc. I still have every intention of staying my full 13. (It really dosent make sense to jump ship and have to start all the way back at the bottom.) A lot more options open when you can show 12+ months exp.

Omg!! I'm a super trucker????? With my APU good miles and satellite? Hahhs just kidding. I didn't get the satellite yet.

Its good you are staying for your commitment. That speaks volumes about you. But seriously, I'd be asking to get routed to the terminal even if I had to do it as home time, then schedule a meeting with my DM and his boss. Bring some bagels and donuts and coffee and ask how you can improve yourself to get the higher miles. Don't blame them, just have a positive "I feel I can contribute more and don't feel like I am meeting that potential. How can you help me?".

That says ambition, professionalism and understanding of the industry.

Sometimes I think the DM/FM get so wrapped upndealing with " problem children" that if the DM is not a.mutitasker some good drivers can fall by the way side.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Fm:

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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