Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 18

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Army 's Comment
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Rob T

Great post as usual. I commend you for keeping up with your daily journal. I like the idea of your recon after work. I am sure that will pay dividends.

Safe Travels Chris

Rob T.'s Comment
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Today (Friday) was a killer of a day. 750 cases, 18 stops and 19.5k weight. I finished my route in roughly 13 hours. The day was heavier than a normal Friday because the BBQ joint ordered 350 cases, totalling nearly 12k weight there alone. This weekend in Des Moines there's a pork expo and with this place being popular due to their appearance on the tv show "diners drive inns and dives" and their awesome BBQ, they're participating. Atleast 225 cases of what they got were meat. They're also getting a load about the same size tomorrow, and the manager told me Monday will be the same. They had rented a 53' trailer to park on their property which they're storing some of their meat in as their meat room is already packed full of meat waiting to be smoked. It's crazy the amount they're getting. I went above and beyond and had unloaded some of the meat into their trailer. I wheeled it over and then placed it on the tail, then one of their guys placed it Inside where they wanted it. Usually I can get 20+ minutes ahead at that stop but because I did the customer a favor I finished right on schedule, 2 hours after I began unloading there. Due to my old Friday route getting even bigger (remember, I was putting in 14 hour days on Friday before changing, sometimes as much as 15 1/2) they needed to take some stops off and because I've shown I can get it done i was ultimately given them. I have mixed feelings about it, it makes me happy to see they can rely on me but at the same time I switched routes to have it easier. Don't get me wrong, I don't consider myself lazy when it comes to work however it doesn't make much sense to work harder, especially in a job like this. That is honestly one of the only upsides of being part of the union in this job, besides the pay. I'm #2 in our yard for delivery drivers of 5 (when fully staffed) so I can get easier routes if the guy above me doesn't want it. Thankfully, I've been to the 4 stops that got added onto my previously so I had no issues finding them or getting into any tough situations. The only bad thing was the 4 stops they gave me were east of Ames, so after I finished my usual route I had to drive 50 minutes. I had finished all my Des Moines stops before taking my lunch, running an hour ahead of schedule.

The upside of this work is the pay. Being hourly your making the same money while learning as opposed to going OTR and making less while you learn to maximize your clock. I still believe it's best to get your start OTR before partaking in any local job as quite a few places you need to maneuver in are often above the skill set of a rookie. I was fortunate enough to have 12 weeks of training and did all the stops we had at the time with the driver currently doing them so I avoided getting into too much trouble. I'm still a rookie and learning something new everyday but it's become alot easier backing into tight places and being able to visualize and make a quick decision when I'm going to a new customer. With a couple places I've actually parked on the street (particularly downtown) and asked how other drivers have delivered in the past if I am unsure.

This week I logged 62 hours. Due to the 8 hours holiday pay and anything over 32 hours for the week (due to holiday) is overtime I'd had 30 hours of overtime. I grossed just a hair under $2100 for the week. I also physically hand unloaded nearly 80,000 pounds of food. The money is really nice but you're earning every bit of it. Many people would say the money isn't worth the work that's required. With the exception of Tuesday into Wednesday, I was only off work long enough to log my 10 hour break. By the time i showered, ate dinner and played with my boys for a half hour it was bedtime. These updates also take time (about an hour each as I do it on my phone) which is one of the reasons I haven't been posting as much as I was, besides not a whole lot changes. Although it cuts into my time to sleep I feel it's worth the sacrifice if it even helps just 1 person decide if this is the route they want to take. I usually only sleep 5 to 6 hours if I'm lucky.

So far this year according to my pay stub from today (today is June 1st, so 5 months) I have grossed $33,755. This total does not include the amount i earned this week as that will be on my next paycheck. If I were to continue at this rate I will gross just over $81,000 for the calendar year. Good money, but again you earn every penny of it. PFG is not the highest paying, there are others paying more. Some people take this gig for being home every night but It isn't really quality time. It's nice sleeping in my own bed every night however I'd likely sleep better in a truck. By the time i factor in my commute (15 minutes going in, 25 minutes coming home due to traffic), shower, eat dinner and try to spend time with the kids I'm left with only a few hours to sleep before doing it again. One benefit is being off weekends, however that can be accomplished by doing regional , as well as many flatbed companies offering that hometime option. Going OTR or regional to begin your career is the best option to help set you for success in this line of work. You will make less money than what I've said that I've made, but once you learn to manage your clock most efficiently you will earn some good money. Continued.....

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.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
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The first year of trucking you should be mainly focused on honing your newly learned skills and soaking up all the information you can. As Brett frequently says "you have all the time in the world to make all the money".

Doing food service delivery is so physically demanding I was sweating quite a bit today. Temperature got up to 96. I ended up going through 2 and 1/2 gallons of water in the 13 hours I worked. I was sweating so much that I only had to stop to use the restroom 3 times despite that much liquid intake. It's extremely important to stay hydrated not only to avoid heat illnesses, but to help prevent injuries. It's much easier to strain a muscle when it gets this hot, and then if you have to go up stairs the risk of Injury grows exponentially. You also have to worry about getting cramps. As much as I hated dealing with the ice in the winter I actually think it made this job easier for me.

Retired Army, I ended up not swinging out on my way home because I worked later than I thought I would. I had to get home to pack a bag, heading up to St Paul/Minneapolis tomorrow to see my family as that's where I'm originally from. That customer gets delivery on Wednesdays and I'll be delivering in the area again on Monday so ill check it out then. Im confident as long as i have a single axle trailer (which 99% of the time I do) i can do a u turn in the lot if it's mainly empty, however I'll probably just park in driveway leading to the little Caesars and walk over their and get a better look or ask how others have delivered. On my Friday route I have a place somewhat similar in regards to space and I'm able to u turn there. Granted, it requires me to back up and crank the wheel hard then turn opposite and go forward but it's possible.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Monday was a little disappointing, I was thinking I'll be having an easier route because of one of our guys leaving, however my manager kept me on the one I've been running. He told me I'm trying to take the easy routes (well no S*** lol, why work harder?) And leaving the hard routes for the guys coming from the terminal to cover. We discussed it and I'll stay with what I have now until the new driver is done with training. My day was about 750 cases, 18 stops, 18k weight, and put in 13.5 hours. Tuesday had me irritated. I started at 4am and instead of doing the BBQ place and then heading to Newton as usual, I had to do 2 stops on the southside then go out to Newton. The reason they did it that way was the BBQ place ordered 5,000 pounds of product and if it was on me I would've been 22000. The most we can legally take in these PUPs is 20k. There's a golf tournament going on at the southside country club so they put that on me so I was out of there by 6, then a stop across the street. The problem with that is the stop across the street doesn't get there til 7. I ended up sitting for 2 hours for 12 cases. I wasn't able to skip the 12 cases because they need their product by 11 and I wouldn't get back in town until close to 430pm. I finished my route at 4pm which surprisingly was 5 minutes ahead of schedule despite my 2 hour delay. I had 675 cases, 17k weight and put in 13 hours. One thing worth mentioning is i also had to run paper logs (i still did everything legal) because we had a rental truck due to a broken down truck. Even though ELOGS are required now, being in a rental truck obviously it isn't synced to our system. Running paper logs is going to be a rare occurrence but you still need to make sure you know how to do it. The truck I was in my super nice. 2019 international LT. It had alot more bells and whistles than our trucks. Also had the "new car" smell as it had 4200 miles on it.

Today (wednesday)I was expecting a disaster as it usually is. Instead I was greeted with the "magical unicorn". I had 13 stops, 450 cases, only 9,000 pounds and logged 42 miles. I left my last stop at my 7th hour! I made it back to the yard 38 minutes before my required 30 minute break and because I wasn't "driving"anymore I didn't need to take it. After I took my 20 minute break, and got paperwork done and trailer cleaned up I put in 8.5 hours. Days like this are rare and definitely need to take advantage of them. I finished an hour ahead today and taking the kids out to the zoo. It's nice getting done with work by noon!

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

Army 's Comment
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Rob, just curious, in reading your last blog, do you and your manager get along? Just curious because I would think that if you have been doing a harder route, when a new one opens, some kind of seniority would be applied?

Safe Travels Chris

Old School's Comment
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I would think that if you have been doing a harder route, when a new one opens, some kind of seniority would be applied?

Most trucking jobs are based on productivity not seniority. Not all, but most.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Rob, just curious, in reading your last blog, do you and your manager get along? Just curious because I would think that if you have been doing a harder route, when a new one opens, some kind of seniority would be applied?

Safe Travels Chris

My manager and I get along pretty well. He knows I'm able to get my job done with no supervision. In my 9 months I've only not finished my route in the same day 3 times. 2 of them were when I was on the Omaha run and snow/ice shut down I80 going to Lincoln NE where my last 2 stops were. That was not my fault. Only other time stuff got sent back was when they loaded me up and the computer had a glitch that had some appointment times for my large stops arriving and leaving at the same time. If I recall correctly it was 24 stops 800 cases just under 20k. I remember posting about it here. I take partial blame for that because even though my times were off I'm sure I could've hustled a little more or been more efficient. Yesterday I reached out to my manager about sitting for a couple hours to start my day out and he told me it was a special circumstance and it isn't going to be the norm. We operate on a seniority basis primarily because we're union. If I really wanted to i could file a grievance for a different route but my managers helped me in the past. The route I was going to take was a 10 stop route that goes to Ottumwa iowa, somewhere around 200 miles of driving with 10k weight and 400 cases. My manager knows I can do the heavier day I'm on that's why he doesn't want me to change. For example, I technically shouldn't have been allowed to change my Friday route because it wasn't bid time, and the driver who ran it is still employed (just on FMLA). He helped me out so I can get home earlier on Fridays for more time with the kids. Also, I technically should be fired for attendance. I've called in 3 times in the 10 months I've been a PFG employee. Once I had the flu. Attempted to make it to work and deal with it but on the drive in I felt worse and wasn't safe for me to operate a DMV. I didnt have sick time as you must be employed 1 year before you get it and you must call in an hour before dispatch. I called in 45 minutes before my dispatch meaning id have 2 points. I also called in when my son was admitted to the hospital for the night. I let them know before they did the schedule but still, I tend to work that day so I'd now have 3 points . Couple weeks ago I went to leave for work and had a flat tire. Called in because the new dodge vehicles don't come with a spare. No uber cars available at 330am, and my wife and I only have the 1 vehicle. I ended up getting a full size spare after this. I called in 35 minutes before dispatch, another 2 points would put me at 5. 5 points is when they can fire you. They've worked with me so I don't see a reason to rock the boat. They have a tough job, they need to keep drivers happy while also ensuring every customer is getting their delivery in a timely manner. It'll all work out in the end. It does make me happy to know that they know they can rely on me. I've shown I can handle the big days and I'll continue getting it because I get it done.

Long story short : Seniority does matter since I'm union, but so does productivity. I could force my way onto the easier route but is it really worth it? My manager has helped me a lot, and I feel it's only right to return the favor.

Side note: received a text from the salesman of the BBQ place, as well as the sales manager thanking me. BBQ joint called and told them how great of a job I'm doing and they appreciate me unloading so fast so they can continue doing their prep work and getting the meat smoked .

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I would think that if you have been doing a harder route, when a new one opens, some kind of seniority would be applied?

double-quotes-end.png

Most trucking jobs are based on productivity not seniority. Not all, but most.

I responded to retired army before seeing this . Old school is right. We operate on seniority because of the union and it's in the contract. But like I said in other post I can be the guy who goes to the union when i don't get my way, or I can be someone that can be relied on and willing to help my manager look good. By having me stay on what I'm currently doing I'm putting in 12 to 13 hours. If they have a guy from rock island do it he'll rely on GPS which takes time, then also finding the best way to park etc. Atleast if i wait until our new guy is done training he has delivered with pepsi for like 10 years i believe so hes familiar with the area which will help avoid the GPS issue. The current route I run Monday pays better anyways, it tends to be 3 hours longer than the other route which means I'll make about roughly $75 more that day.

Old School's Comment
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Rob, as far as I'm concerned you are Super Man! I used to think I was a hard working dude. That was before I started reading your diary. You are "the man."

Rob T.'s Comment
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Rob, as far as I'm concerned you are Super Man! I used to think I was a hard working dude. That was before I started reading your diary. You are "the man."

Thank you for the kind words. It truly means alot to come from somebody such as yourself that has done so much in this business. Even though the work I'm doing is very different than OTR , I've been able to take some of what you've taught so many here and apply it to my situation. For that I am very thankful.

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.

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