Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 22

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Junkyard i appreciate the kind words. Due to being part of the union unfortunately im getting paid the same as the "slackers". We receive a raise every april 1st which will be 45 cents an hour this coming year. To show that im appreciated my manager had given me a raise to get me to top pay ($24.50 hr) a few months early. I started at $21.90 when i got my CDL and bumped up i believe 50 cents every 3 months. However, i havent had any accidents, incidents or citations so to show their appreciation they had me at top pay 3 or 4 months early. Its frustrating for everyone when it isnt the normal driver for an account. Unfortunately the warehouse has a huge turnover problem right now so the new guys they're hiring to pick orders arent that great and end up damaging product. Customers want to always think its the drivers damaging it. Ive began taking pictures before ripping the plastic off the pallet if its damaged to ensure im not wrongly blamed. I'm man enough to admit when i mess up. I've damaged some cases whether it was poor stacking or not strapping a pallet and it falling over. Ive also had a few loads when im coming down the ramp fall over after the tires on my wheeler caught the side.

Army - although it gets irritating atleast its nice to know they can rely on me. Its also to the point now that nobody really bothers me unless i really messed up. Most i hear from the terminal is my weekly phone call with my "coach " just checking in how things are going, discuss drive cam or dot violations which hasnt happened in 6 months or so. I occasionally call my manager to shoot the S***. I have talked to both my managers a few times the last couple weeks but thats cuz I'd mailed a glitter bomb (look it up if you dont know what it is hahaha) and theyre teasing me they got something planned to get back at me.


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.


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.


Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.


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.
Army 's Comment
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Glitter bomb...lol I had a boss that I wanted to do that to, but didn't He is a clean freak. His office has to be dress right dress and perfect. I would go in and move things around, that would take him less than a day to notice. We decided not to do the glitter bomb, because we seriously thought he would have a heart attack lol..

I am sure they will get you back, just remember if they glitter bomb you, make sure the significant other doesn't think its from the gentlemen's club..lol

As always enjoy reading your journey.


Rob T.'s Comment
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It's hard to believe that it's been a year already. I just made it to 1 year of safe, incident/accident free driving. I am amazed at how much better my backing is compared to when i first started and look forward to improving even more. I will post periodically to this thread to show tricky places i need to deliver to, or if anything comes up that i havent addressed yet. My first year of driving, including the 12 weeks in training in which i was still paid my normal HOURLY wage, was a little over $82,000. Thats pretty dang good considering i had 2 to 3 months i was only working 4 days per week but still putting in 48 to 50 hours a week. Keep in mind the weeks i worked 5 days i was putting in 60-65 hours a week. Regardless of the money made i still agree with most experienced drivers when i say its best to start OTR. My first year could have turned out quite differently had i been involved in accidents which isnt too uncommon in many local jobs for rookies. The pressure to get your truck unloaded when theyre loading 16k-20k on you on a daily basis can quickly overwhelm you and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. If you want to do this kind of work it'll still be there after you get a year of experience. The turnover rate for food service drivers is very high. On top of that injuries happen frequently whether its back strains or falling out of the trailer. Trust me when i say there will still be a job there after you have your experience. I know i went against the advice of the experienced drivers here when i went into this but i really felt it was the best option for my family, and im not too sure i would've done it this way had i not had the mandatory 12 weeks of training with an experienced driver in the seat next to me. Although i overcame the odds stacked against me i still have alot to learn. Being in such a small metro area helped me achieve this accomplishment as well as the advice ive received in this forum. In my market, us foods sends someone out alone a week after they obtain license, and Reinhart hires as "associate driver" where its listed as 180 days of training. I cant say for sure what Sysco or Martin Brothers do for training.

Thank you guys for following along on my journey. I will post my pay for my first year of "solo" pay although itll likely only be a little higher due to the pay increases i received. Started out at $21.90 and received a 50 cent increase every 3 months. By my 9th or 10th Month my manager bumped me to top pay (24.50) due to my performance.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Hey Rob. Fantastic! Congratulations on that milestone! Quite the achievement given what you do!


Keep up the good work and keep up my bed-time reading posts, would ya? lol



Big Scott's Comment
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Wow Rob, a year already. That's fantastic. You are an excellent contributer. Keep up the great work. Start a thread in the general section for your pay. Keep up the great work.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Our salesmen have continued doing a great job picking up new customers and in turn its creating more of a workload for us drivers. Our apprentice has only a couple more weeks of training remaining until hes on his own. When that happens theyll likely put even more work on me and the other driver to help ease him into it on his own, although im not sure how that is going to work since both of us are usually loaded to the max. Here is a google street view of a couple new stops ive gotten put on me downtown.


This is definitely the easiest for me to back in. Ive been able to back in there no problem, only utilizing 1 pull up the couple times ive delivered using that side . Just because i said that im sure Monday ill struggle to get it in. Ive had to use the other alley leading to their dock area because this side is usually blocked with roll off dumpsters and construction vehicles as theyre remodeling a couple floors. The alley i usually back into is this one (left side)......


This one is much tighter but atleast i have 4 lanes of a one way street to utilize to ensure i can safely get in. The problem is ive been getting there around 8am (RUSH HOUR!) and i need to sit and wait for lights to change to give me enough of a break to start my setup. Once ive made my move theres no going back, i need to get backed in safely in as little time as possible. Nearly every time i start getting honked at and its my job to tune them out and do my job. Biggest downside is this stop requires me to use a freight elevator to the 34th floor. They usually get 40 to 50 cases 3 times a week, which happen to fall on the 3 days i work downtown. They do have a flat utility cart but unfortunately its been being used by the construction crew. To save time i contacted my supervisor to have an additional 2 wheel dolly sent out to me so i can take 2 loads up at the same time in order to be more efficient.

The other new stop we have downtown looks like this.

0930550001537644275.jpg the garage door is open when i deliver but atleast you can see the wiggle room i have. This one is also located on a 1 way street that is a main road getting into downtown. This has 3 lanes for me to use to setup. Thankfully this one i can usually get to by 630am so its less traffic but people still honk because you made them wait a couple minutes. This place atleast has a utility cart i can use to only make 1 trip with their 30 cases to the 3rd floor if i stack it properly. They order twice a week with 1 of their delivery days falling on my days downtown.

Biggest frustration ive faced since last post here was the way my truck was routed. Most days im able to get roughly 2 hours ahead of schedule by lunch time by hustling. This is very important on fridays because i have 3 stops a very busy street that will not allow a lunchtime delivery, and after they open (1030am) will not allow me to park in their lot. That means im parking in the shared turn lane and playing frogger with traffic. I would have got to the first of 3 at 1130. Knowing that i cant go there during lunch i skipped the 3 stops (70 cases total) and came back a little after 1. They were all upset, i kept my cool and told them call their salesman. I would have gotten to them still half hour ahead of schedule but its nearly 2 hours later than theyre accustomed to me being there. What pushed me back was i had 2 off day deliveries added to my morning. One was 85 cases and the other was 70. I'd also sat for about an hour due to security at one of my customers. Im there 4 of the 5 days a week and the security guard at the gate insisted i get an escort. I tried to explain to him only time our company is required an escort is if its our first time there, and to please call his supervisor for clarification. Instead, he decided to make me wait half hour for an escort to show up. The chef was upset as he had someone sitting on the loading dock for 30 minutes waiting for me. He called the security supervisor and got it straightened out and all this week they just asked if id been there previously and let me go on my way.

I am happy with my management team for the most part, they've been very understanding. A couple weeks ago my wife thought she was going into labor (34 weeks at time) and i made a phone call to supervisor on duty at the time and told her situation and was just told something to the effect of "ok, ill send someone out to cover. Let me or another supervisor know later what your availability is for tomorrow.". Luckily for them a different supervisor was in town for the morning as he had a couple interviews to conduct. He was able to bump those back to the afternoon but ultimately decided not to hire them. Also, last Wednesday wife had a dr appt i really wanted to be present for so i called my manager on Monday to let him know I'd be using a sick day for Wednesday. The reason i called monday was because i knew i was going to be gone that day, but also they were sending a guy out for the day on tuesday and having him go back home, then sending him back out here for Thursday friday. Continued.....


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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By me calling early on Monday, when they informed the driver coming out they let him know he'd be in Des Moines all week rather than telling him only for tuesday. Atleast this way he was able to pack enough clothes. The other way they've been understanding is when i found out my wife was pregnant we had already scheduled our vacation time. He could have very well forced me to stay off the week i requested but instead allowed me to change it. All i have to do is let him know when baby comes and we'll have my vacation week start that day.

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