Local Food Service As A Rookie

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Rob T.'s Comment
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G-town there's many days i get done and my youngish (28) body aches.

Not a whole lot has changed, which is why no recent updates.

When my route was redone they ended up taking my Thursday route and taking the first stop off me because it was the opposite direction of where my 2nd stop was and they were trying to make it more efficient as we have a driver in the West metro that would start his day near where I started mine. The problem with that is instead of me sitting for an hour and a half at my 3rd stop waiting for customer to arrive I was suddenly sitting there for 3 hours! My manifest showed me arriving around 6am and the customer not showing up until 9am. I was scheduled to finish my route at 230pm and then go pick up the same backhaul I had the previous week. By sitting for 3 hours it more realistically would've been about 530 I would finish and the backhaul warehouse leaves between 4 and 5. I reached out to my manager, as well as my "coach" around 8am when they arrive in the office to inform them they need to either reschedule the backhaul, or have another driver grab it. I was told I need to make it there, even after I told them why I couldn't. I was told I was the only driver available (yet another guy told me he got back to the yard at 2 and went home at 3) and I need to "get it done". Well, I ended up finishing my route at 445 and wouldn't make it in time. I sent another text to my "coach " telling him I'm not getting it due to them being closed, and reschedule for Friday. He told me we can't pick up Friday as they don't want it sitting in trailers all weekend in case reefer malfunctions, we'd be damaging out alot of product. He told me they'd reschedule me for Monday. Monday came and I had a backhaul for a different place not the one from previous week. Instead it was 1 pallet of Mandarin orange cups, rather than the 8 pallets of frozen noodles. I figured another driver had been assigned it as he's closer and he gets done before I do on Mondays.

Wednesday I had help with my nasty route I do. I'm very glad I had help because it was a cluster f***. I've mentioned it before how we rent cooler and freezer space from one of our customers. We go to this place we call our "drop lot" and we drop product there that a customer needs immediately whether it was an error with previous day delivery or something the customer needs to get by until they get their delivery. The salesman then uses insulated bags to help maintain proper temp when they transport it if it's a cooler or freezer item. If a customer needs something out near the terminal they order it through "will call"and they, or their salesman can pick it up almost immediately . Obviously being 3 hours away that isn't a great way of doing it, hence why we use our "drop lot". The drop lot is always on the downtown route as its just north of downtown. When I seen my paperwork I noticed my 2nd stop was listed as being sent to the drop lot. The problem with that is this customer ordered 103 cases. This is a customer i have on Wednesdays and for whatever reason someone goofed up. I immediately knew that was incorrect, there's no way a salesman would want to deliver that much in his car. I called the person who was In the office to get ahold of the salesman. We have a key for the customer but because it was listed as going to the drop lot the shuttle driver didn't have any notes to grab the key. Unfortunately the salesman didn't have a spare key for them as most salesman keep a spare just in case, and he wasn't going to wake his customer at 4am especially when they had been at the restaurant until 1am due to the Jimmy Buffet concert in town nearby. These guys actually had the privilege of making a few pizzas him and his crew took on their private jet. I told the salesman because I had help we'd stack everything on pallets and leave it at the drop lot, and that after our 11th stop we'd swing by to re-load it as we'd have enough space for it not to be in the way and we were only a few blocks away. He was very thankful I was willing to do that and told me that this customer would "take care of us". I could have very easily left it all there and they couldn't force me to deliver it because I was following directions I was given but at the end of the day the customer would've been pretty upset, and the salesman likely wouldn't do any favors for me in the future. When we got to that customer at the time they usually get their delivery immediately the owners son told me "sounds like you had quite the morning, lunch is on us. Thank you ". I told him me and my helper would be in after unloading to take him up on the offer. The next load I took in I had to go through the front door as it was pizza boxes and they go to a different area. The waitress had also told me thank you, and told me to let her know when I'm almost done what we want to eat. We ended up getting pork tenderloin sandwiches that had pepperoni and melted mozzarella cheese on it;not bad! My next stop was a location the owner got mad at me for showing up during lunch a few weeks ago .



Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.


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.


A refrigerated trailer.


Driving While Intoxicated


Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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Lately he's been upset because the quality of produce isn't as good as he'd like, and his cases are getting smashed. I got the vibe that he was accusing me of doing it intentionally because of the previous incident, I told him he needs to address those issues with his salesman as I have no control over how my pallets are built. I've gotten to the point of anytime a customer complains about anything my response is call their salesman. After all, that is their job. This customer was so upset the salesman came and found me the next day to personally tell me that customer was meeting with US Foods and Reinhart early the following week as he was dropping us. The salesman was also implying I was intentionally crushing that guys product. His tone quickly changed when I told him who my helper was on Wednesday and to please give them a call. The guy who was with me is from rock island that is one of the supervisors on nights for the warehouse, as well as who the shuttle drivers on nights report to. He spent all week in Des Moines with us because we've been complaining about how our pallets are built and how our trucks are loaded. It was a great experience because I made suggestions on how our job could be easier and he wrote them down, but also told me their reasoning behind doing it that way which was an eye opener. One suggestion I made was when a stop has product on 2 separate cooler pallets to have the produce on the 2nd pallet and the chicken or beef on first one so I'm not ripping entire pallet apart for those 1 or 2 cases. He explained it would be alot easier for the warehouse as well, but the computer generates it and takes into account the weight on the pallet to ensure the pallets don't break (not uncommon at the BBQ place i deliver to have over 3000 pounds on a pallet). It definitely made me see it their way instead of it just being said that it can't happen. Forgot to mention, that I met the other Sales Manager on Tuesday. He happened to be in the area and wanted to introduce himself, but also make sure everything is ok as most days I finish an hour or 2 ahead of schedule but Thursday the previous week id finished nearly 2 1/2 hours behind. I explained how when they redid the routing it messed my entire day up, that I now sit for 3 hours at my 2nd stop which reflects poorly on me as I'm no longer hitting my appointment times, Making it harder for salesman to give their customers and accurate ETA. He thanked me for my honesty and told me he would fix it. They ended up putting the BBQ place on me (so I deliver 5 days) and 1 other key stop in Des Moines which has cut my sitting time down to 30 minutes. The manager at BBQ place was really happy as I know what I'm doing and faster than the rock island fill in drivers they've been sending out. Whenever they deliver there they're asking a million questions (understandably as its not a stop they deal with frequently) and he gets annoyed, plus they're slower. I use that 30 minutes I have to wait to stack the entire order (60ish cases) in my trailer so when they do arrive i can just scoop up the product and run it in so I'm only behind a few minutes. It really worked out great, only 10 stops 700 cases and 14k weight i got knocked out in 9 hours. I then had the frozen noodle backhaul, sat there for an hour and a half waiting for them to finish selecting the pallets.

Last week we had 2 new guys start. One had worked for Pepsi for quite some time and says he was treated poorly so he came to us. The other is someone I delivered to at one of our restaurants that was always asking me about getting a CDL. He heard we were hiring and applied, ultimately being hired. He will be starting school next Tuesday where they also sent me but are requiring him to sign a 2 year contract instead of the 1 year I signed. Been driving a little over 9 months now and it sure doesn't feel like it. Time has gone so fast. I've been getting approached more often while I'm running my route lately from management with food service as well as LTL companies trying to recruit me to come over to them. Alot of them sound like a good change but i'm still under contract. I also am now number 2 (of 5 once we're fully staffed) on days for seniority. I do not see myself staying with PFG long term but will likely ride it out until atleast October when my baby girl is born. I have enough seniority to be on routes that keep me within a half hour or so of our yard so if anything does happen I can quickly get home. I also have health insurance and come July I will have 1 week of vacation time, and 1 week of sick time. Mclane is hiring right now offering a 10k sign on bonus, health insurance and 2 weeks vacation your first day with a guaranteed 65k a year, with guys I've talked to making about 95k. Casey's General store is offering 29.12 an hour with health insurance and 3 paid weeks off your first day, with a 5k sign on bonus. Ultimately I'll end up looking into both of those opportunities in October. If I'm going to be doing this physical labor I may as well try to make the most doing it. With that being said, I will continue giving PFG all I got until I am no longer employed with them. If they're paying me I feel I owe them that .


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.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Squirrellyguns's Comment
member avatar

Rob I gotta tell yah; you are one tough Dude. My old body aches just reading your posts.

I do enjoy the stories. Thanks again for taking the time to share.

I just spent the time to read this start to finish Rob and my hat is off to you sir! And as G-Town said, reading your diary, I’m ready for a massage, sauna, and my bed! Great job with the true detail and added visuals, and btw,,,, I’ll not be going anywhere near your job!! 😂 Continued good luck to you and be safe!

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you squirrelly, I'm glad you enjoyed it or atleast decided it's not something you'd be interested in. My goal has been to provide a realistic view, both good and bad to those considering doing this line of work. Another thing to consider is tomorrow is memorial day. Forecasted high of 99 degrees tomorrow. I'll be working as if it's a usual day. I will end up buying 2 of the 1 gallon jugs of water I buy every Monday due to the heat that way I for sure have a full one that's cold and I can refill the other when I stop at a customer. I get a new jug every week that I'll refill all week long. The only holidays we're guaranteed off are thanksgiving, and Christmas day. They try to have us off new years day as well but it's not guaranteed. I don't mind working the holidays as I'll make alot more $$ and my kids are still young enough that they don't understand most of them. I will be paid time and a half ($36.75 an hr) for all hours worked tomorrow which is usually about 12, making about $450. I will also receive 8 hours at my hourly rate ($24.50) , and any hours worked over 32 is paid at my overtime rate. The biggest downside is with how many people are off tomorrow the roads will likely be much worse, and getting into some of the restraunts will also be more difficult as I have more vehicles to maneuver around.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Brilliant as ever!! And; I now need a nap...as ever!! 👍😜💤💤💤

PackRat's Comment
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I know! Rob has me worn out after reading his daily posts. I'll stick with this OTR stuff.


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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Holiday wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Very little traffic on the roads and I had a lighter than normal day. I had 12 stops for 13k weight. Due to many customers being closed for the day we only ran 2 trucks (instead of 3)so we had routes mismatched. 4 of my stops were stops I typically deliver on Mondays, the other 8 were stops that are typically on another truck. I ended up putting in about 13 hours due to 3 of the stops being over an hour out of Des Moines and having a half hour drive between each one (small chain of restaurants in the area). When I left my house at 3am it was still 80 degrees, by noon it was 95. Thankfully a majority of my truck was unloaded by then but the 3 stops I had at that point was brutal. Writing this update while I wait at a customer, and today will be about the same temp . Today I have 14 stops, 16k weight and scheduled for 13 hours again. It would've been nice to have been off yesterday as almost all the other local drivers had it off, but between the 13 hours at my overtime rate, and the 8 hours of holiday pay I made nearly $700 for the day. With how hot it was yesterday they sent me a bottle of water to help me stay hydrated...

0822880001527590816.jpg They sent me a 6.5 oz bottle of water. Nice gesture, but really what good is that going to do. I couldn't help but laugh about it. I ended up going through about a gallon and a half of water.

Army 's Comment
member avatar


They must have thought with you good pay for the day, you could cover any water consumption over 6.5 FL OZ's lol....

At least your pay will be better this week. Good job with your posts.

Safe Travels.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Not a whole lot has changed, our sales people have been still picking up even more business. I went to 2 new stops today. The first one was located in Des Moines that I drive past typically anyways, they have 2 driveways so it was easy enough to pull in one side and go partially out the other one and straight line back into a position that I wasn't blocking the driveway and I wasn't taking up their parking spots while still being as close as possible to the door. I was a little worried going to this stop as I'd asked the Budweiser guy I see several times a week if he's familiar with the stop so I could know what to expect as far as getting in and how easy they are to deal with. He told me numerous drivers from his company have been kicked out as well as Reinhart drivers because he claims the guy is bi-polar. I can't confirm or deny his claims as the guy was very pleasant to deal with today. Perhaps it's because I went in being very professional and asking for instructions on where they want me to drop their product, however I will still be careful with how I conduct myself while there in the future. I also had 1 other stop that I've not been to before. I'm unsure if it's a new stop as I don't deliver to that town, however it was located in Grinnell Iowa, roughly 50 miles east on I80. The only day we have a truck in Grinnell is Fridays but this customer got it ok'd to order on an "off day". I dont know how they decide if its ok to get an off day delivery. They were supposed to receive this delivery yesterday (wednesday) but our shuttle driver broke down on the way back due to a blown fuse which for some reason we didn't have a spare in that truck (IT'S PART OF YOUR PRETRIP TO CHECK.....) He showed up at 630 giving the driver an hour and a half late start. The delivery driver had shut the truck off while in the yard and it decided it didn't want to start again. He ended up sitting for an additional hour ( 2 1/2 hours behind) before he began his route. He's a fill in driver from the terminal and hadn't run any stops he had on him so he called me numerous times asking for directions/suggestions. This driver needs to use his 16 hour exemption nearly every Friday so using it wasn't an option yesterday, besides he still may not have made it back. They know my days are relatively easy on Thursdays now so they put the 2 stops he sent back on me. It was in historic downtown so it was pretty tight especially with the vehicles being parked diagonally on street. It didn't help that there were a couple extended bed pickups making it even more narrow. I was required to take it slow to avoid the vehicles parked but also the vehicles coming towards me. Slow and steady wins the race. It wasn't difficult delivering, they had a rather wide alley I was able to pull straight through to get out. The other stop I had to deliver was a day care in the Des Moines metro I've been to numerous times. This is how I positioned my truck. Remember, the closer I park the less time it takes me to unload and the less I have to walk is a great thing when it's this hot (95 degrees today).

0502446001527812976.jpg i already have placed my curb ramp in their doorway. I wanted to back all the way to get my trailer ramp into their doorway but I would've driven on their grass which isn't the impression I want the customer to have. I didn't have a ton of space to work with, but it was plenty for me to feel confident getting it in there.


I can't recall if I've talked about a place i deliver to on Wednesdays but I snapped a pic yesterday.

0970446001527813265.jpg this place orders between 20 and 30 cases. I really dislike needing to deliver there because of how high I need to lift my wheeler up. There isn't a ton of space and it requires you to jack knife to get the ramp into the doorway. It takes a bit to get it lined up correctly so I just deal with it and don't overload my wheeler, taking an extra trip or 2. If they ordered more I'd consider taking the time to get my ramp inside.



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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I haven't had the pleasure (?) Of delivering to another new stop we just picked up, but the driver who did gave me a heads up about it. I looked it up on Google maps satellite view right away, which is your best friend by the way when going somewhere new. I thought it looked tight but not impossible as we run single axle (we have 1 dual axle) daycabs with 28' PUP trailers. Looking at Google maps I think I'll be able to whip a U Turn as long as their parking lot isn't too busy. I have a couple other tight places I do that at, which requires me to be extremely aware of my surroundings so I don't hit anything on the backside when my trailer ultimately goes backwards as I'm doing my U-turn, but also ensuring I don't snap an air line or even worse, make contact with the cab and trailer. I plan on taking my car over there after work tomorrow to get a better idea so I know what to expect when I do end up having it. This is the location.


I took screenshots from Google street view. I was not messing with it as i was driving. Something worth noting is this entire area is bad traffic. Indianola ave, Park ave and E 14th st are all major streets that intersect here(just out of frame, located off screen). Kum and go is on corner of E 14th st and park. The driver who delivered it said he waited for a break in traffic and did a blindside off the street. I'm not too fond of that idea due to all the traffic so I'll have to figure out a better way to do it. Looking at Google maps I could hypothetically sit in driveway that goes down to the little Caesar's. They have another entrance off E 14th (just off screen) plus I won't be blocking entire thing so people can get around me. Problem with doing it that way is it looks like the door I'd need to go to is in front of building near the cars facing Indianola. The reason I'm assuming that is 99% of the time the trash dumpster is located just outside the kitchen door. Still quite a walk and they ordered 60 cases. However if I deem it the safest option I'll do it, but that's why I need to take my car over there to check it out in person.

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