So I Failed At Flatbed (not Really)

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icecold24k's Comment
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Well not really. Anyway after almost 9 months of doing flatbed at Prime I have decided flatbed is not for me. The good thing about Prime is the many different divisions we have so I can still stay with them. I really love Prime and enjoy working here. I plan to finish my year up here in October and still have no plans of looking at other companies. I talked to my FM and told him my feelings and that I wanted to make the switch to the tanker division. So last week he brought me into Springfield and I went through our tanker bootcamp we have here. It was a lot of information and we had a test at the end. We did a written test as well as pump on and pump off product on our own. I passed both so did not have to do any additional time with a trainer since i have over 6 months solo here. I just completed my first tanker load delivering some Palm Oil to Chicago today.

Tanker is very different. To begin with the surge is very real. I always heard about it and just thought it wasn't too bad. No its very bad but as I get better and more used to shifting with the surge and just overall driving smoother and controlling my stops and starts that part will get much better. I enjoy the physical part of tanker also as far and pumping and being out of the truck doing physical activity. I also enjoyed flatbed but it was way more work than I ever anticipated it to be. Plus the constant worrying over my load securement didn't make it much better. My hats off to the flatbedders on here you have my upmost respect. I gave it my all for almost 9 months but I feel like our tanker division is a much better fit for me in the end.

Again Prime has been good to me and giving me so many opportunity's to learn so many new things I will forever be grateful to them. This is why I worked with them to still stay here with them just do a different division.

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.
millionmiler24 (CRSTs Mos's Comment
member avatar

Well not really. Anyway after almost 9 months of doing flatbed at Prime I have decided flatbed is not for me. The good thing about Prime is the many different divisions we have so I can still stay with them. I really love Prime and enjoy working here. I plan to finish my year up here in October and still have no plans of looking at other companies. I talked to my FM and told him my feelings and that I wanted to make the switch to the tanker division. So last week he brought me into Springfield and I went through our tanker bootcamp we have here. It was a lot of information and we had a test at the end. We did a written test as well as pump on and pump off product on our own. I passed both so did not have to do any additional time with a trainer since i have over 6 months solo here. I just completed my first tanker load delivering some Palm Oil to Chicago today.

Tanker is very different. To begin with the surge is very real. I always heard about it and just thought it wasn't too bad. No its very bad but as I get better and more used to shifting with the surge and just overall driving smoother and controlling my stops and starts that part will get much better. I enjoy the physical part of tanker also as far and pumping and being out of the truck doing physical activity. I also enjoyed flatbed but it was way more work than I ever anticipated it to be. Plus the constant worrying over my load securement didn't make it much better. My hats off to the flatbedders on here you have my upmost respect. I gave it my all for almost 9 months but I feel like our tanker division is a much better fit for me in the end.

Again Prime has been good to me and giving me so many opportunity's to learn so many new things I will forever be grateful to them. This is why I worked with them to still stay here with them just do a different division.

To ALL new drivers out there: ^^^THIS^^^ is how you change jobs. If you decide what you are doing or the division you are in isn't really for you, find what you want/need then change divisions WITHIN YOUR COMPANY, that way you can give a division a TRIAL RUN and if you find its not for you, then you can move to another division within your company, that way you don't look like a job hopper and you still have a lot of opportunities.

Icecold24k, Sir, my friend, you did NOT fail. YOU STUCK with it for 9 mos before deciding it wasn't for you and you moved within your company. You sir handled this the way we always encourage people to do here at TruckingTruth. Kudos to you and you have my utmost respect for sticking with it as long as you did. Some drivers don't even make it a month in flatbed. You did it for 9 mos. Its NOT an easy job. Thanks for your service on here.

smile.gifthank-you.gifthank-you-2.gif

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, that's great man! Glad to hear you found a new division with the same company. That's always the best way to go if you can find an opportunity that suits you. I pulled a food grade tanker for a year one time and loved it. You will get better at handling the surge but without any baffles there's only so much you can do. It's always going to be part of the job. It's unavoidable at times that you'll have to hit the brakes harder than you would like to and all you can do is hang onto your hat.

Shifting in the beginning is a circus. The surge will hit at the wrong time and knock your speed down again. Your shift pattern in the beginning will be like 2-3-4-4-5-4-5-5-6-7-8 and you'll be like, "Come on, man!" But that's just part of the learning experience.

Obviously the most dangerous thing is getting off the exit ramps. Just take it super slow and if you feel like you're coming in a little bit too hot just stay on the highway and find a way to get turned around. Don't take the ramp hoping you'll figure out how to get it slowed down in time. I used to always watch for the shoulder ahead of me in case I got into the deceleration lane and decided I was coming in too hot and wanted to stay on the highway. The shoulder was usually the only option if there's traffic in the right lane.

The worst thing I ever had to haul was salt water. It's so heavy it only fills the tank 2/3 of the way, and of course nothing sloshes like water. We used to haul it from Chicago down to Des Moines where they would spray it on dirt roads to keep the dust down and to help keep them from icing in the winter.

Lastly, if you don't have a written checklist then make one, and add "vent the take" in like 5 different places! There are a lot of little details you always have to be aware of so don't get in a hurry whether you're driving or loading/unloading. Just take everything slow and smooth.

Keep us updated! It's a fun job. I really liked it.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

Lastly, if you don't have a written checklist then make one, and add "vent the take" in like 5 different places! There are a lot of little details you always have to be aware of so don't get in a hurry whether you're driving or loading/unloading. Just take everything slow and smooth.

Keep us updated! It's a fun job. I really liked it.

This is so true. They actually gave us a step by step 2 page checklist for proper pumping on and off procedures. I will for sure be using this for the first month or two until I am 100000% comfortable that I am not missing any steps and have my system down. I swear yesterday i must have checked at least 5 times that my tank was vented. I was making sure i did not miss that most crucial step. rofl-2.gifrofl-2.gifrofl-2.gif

icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Well not really. Anyway after almost 9 months of doing flatbed at Prime I have decided flatbed is not for me. The good thing about Prime is the many different divisions we have so I can still stay with them. I really love Prime and enjoy working here. I plan to finish my year up here in October and still have no plans of looking at other companies. I talked to my FM and told him my feelings and that I wanted to make the switch to the tanker division. So last week he brought me into Springfield and I went through our tanker bootcamp we have here. It was a lot of information and we had a test at the end. We did a written test as well as pump on and pump off product on our own. I passed both so did not have to do any additional time with a trainer since i have over 6 months solo here. I just completed my first tanker load delivering some Palm Oil to Chicago today.

Tanker is very different. To begin with the surge is very real. I always heard about it and just thought it wasn't too bad. No its very bad but as I get better and more used to shifting with the surge and just overall driving smoother and controlling my stops and starts that part will get much better. I enjoy the physical part of tanker also as far and pumping and being out of the truck doing physical activity. I also enjoyed flatbed but it was way more work than I ever anticipated it to be. Plus the constant worrying over my load securement didn't make it much better. My hats off to the flatbedders on here you have my upmost respect. I gave it my all for almost 9 months but I feel like our tanker division is a much better fit for me in the end.

Again Prime has been good to me and giving me so many opportunity's to learn so many new things I will forever be grateful to them. This is why I worked with them to still stay here with them just do a different division.

double-quotes-end.png

To ALL new drivers out there: ^^^THIS^^^ is how you change jobs. If you decide what you are doing or the division you are in isn't really for you, find what you want/need then change divisions WITHIN YOUR COMPANY, that way you can give a division a TRIAL RUN and if you find its not for you, then you can move to another division within your company, that way you don't look like a job hopper and you still have a lot of opportunities.

Icecold24k, Sir, my friend, you did NOT fail. YOU STUCK with it for 9 mos before deciding it wasn't for you and you moved within your company. You sir handled this the way we always encourage people to do here at TruckingTruth. Kudos to you and you have my utmost respect for sticking with it as long as you did. Some drivers don't even make it a month in flatbed. You did it for 9 mos. Its NOT an easy job. Thanks for your service on here.

smile.gifthank-you.gifthank-you-2.gif

Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement. I am happy to stay with Prime. They took a chance on me to get me my CDL and hire me and I owe them for that I refuse to back out of my obligation to them especially how accommodating and good they have been to me.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

I'd say that was a win! You tried it and in the process you learned something. In fact, through your post I learned something too. I learned what it will take to switch to tanker.

I'm in flatbed at Prime also, and I truly love the job and all that comes with it. But in the event I ever decide to switch, it's nice to know I won't have to go back out on a trainers truck.

Of all the things involved in flatbedding, tarping will be the thing to eventually chase me out. To me it has the highest risk for the lowest pay. But I'll admit when I finish a particularly hard tarp job I'm kinda proud. Yeah I know, who notices?

Well, another flatbedder would notice I guess. But i digress...

Good luck with the new division Ice. Let us know how it works out for ya.

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.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

I'd say that was a win! You tried it and in the process you learned something. In fact, through your post I learned something too. I learned what it will take to switch to tanker.

I'm in flatbed at Prime also, and I truly love the job and all that comes with it. But in the event I ever decide to switch, it's nice to know I won't have to go back out on a trainers truck.

Of all the things involved in flatbedding, tarping will be the thing to eventually chase me out. To me it has the highest risk for the lowest pay. But I'll admit when I finish a particularly hard tarp job I'm kinda proud. Yeah I know, who notices?

Well, another flatbedder would notice I guess. But i digress...

Good luck with the new division Ice. Let us know how it works out for ya.

Thanks! I will keep everyone updated for sure. Yes the tarping is rough even though I only tarped about 50% of my loads. Summertime came quick and showed me who the boss really was. shocked.pngrofl-2.gif . I enjoyed it the work to an extent but as you know in our flatbed division it is a constant rush from the time you wake up until your day ends. Time stops for no one. You will run your 14 clock out almost daily. Tanker by what I hear is a little more laid back and the stress of my load securement made it to where I couldn't actually enjoy the job even though I never had an incident or claim. It was always in the back of my mind what if?

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I enjoyed it the work to an extent but as you know in our flatbed division it is a constant rush from the time you wake up until your day ends. Time stops for no one. You will run your 14 clock out almost daily. Tanker by what I hear is a little more laid back and the stress of my load securement made it to where I couldn't actually enjoy the job even though I never had an incident or claim. It was always in the back of my mind what if?

I totally don't blame you for not wanting to do flatbed, but I think you'll run your clocks out no matter what type of trucking you do if you're the type that likes to runs hard. Actually I think almost all of your symptoms would describe the condition we usually refer to around here as "just trucking". The what-if's, the long days, and all that. You'll have plenty to be concerned with pulling a thermos with 50,000 pounds of liquid in it too.

Anytime you have to take an icy exit ramp, or when someone does something dumb in front of you and you have to mash the brakes with that liquid sloshing around you'll be screaming, "Why, Lord? Why am I doing this???"

rofl-3.gif

One of the things that top tier pros manage well is just the right level of stress. You want to be just worried enough that you're vigilant about safety, but not so worried that you're giving yourself ulcers and can't at least produce a wry smile most of the time.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Everything Brett said here is so on point! Trucking is demanding. It's easy for an entry level driver to confuse the demanding realities of the career and let those demands make them think they've chosen the wrong company or type of freight to pull. To do this right, and make some decent money, takes considerable commitment, more than most newbies realize.

We talk a lot about unrealistic expectations being a major stumbling block in this business. We talk a lot about performance. It's hard to spell it all out when we try to teach folks how to be top performers, but this last statement of Brett's is crucial...

One of the things that top tier pros manage well is just the right level of stress. You want to be just worried enough that you're vigilant about safety, but not so worried that you're giving yourself ulcers and can't at least produce a wry smile most of the time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Good luck in the tanker division at Prime... I notice your trucks on the road. And there are at least 3 Prime reefers in this tiny little rest stop off US-35 W in Ohio. I pull tankers also, and so far the most frightening or anxiety-producing moments have occurred on unmarked curves on the interstate... I'm trying real hard to notice them in advance, but sometimes they really do just suddenly present themselves. I'm glad my truck is governed at 63, though it often makes me the slowest truck on the road. I really don't need to go any faster. Passing through the Appalachians, you get used to seeing curves and bends marked, but keep alert because that's not the case with all of them, and it only takes one...

Interstate:

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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