The Benefits Of Staying With Your Starter Company Beyond One Year - Article By G-Town

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Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I had to find time to pull out my laptop before I responded to this one! lol Well said G Town!

I completely understand the "stay the year and go local" concept as that was my intention from day one. By the end of that first year, I couldn't imagine going back to a set schedule, being told when to eat, sleep, and work, or having to put up with lazy co-workers. Although I technically have a boss, I never feel like a subordinate. The idea of looking around for a better company never crossed my mind by the end of my training period.

Three years later, I have been offered a job by an owner/op friend that would give me more money, more home time, and would allow me to select my own loads--yet I would not be responsible for the truck or maintenance, etc. It is such a tempting offer that I applied to the company she's leased on to, and I got the job with no problem. :::the room gasps in disbelief::: Wow, sounds great, right? The problem is that I love Prime. Yes, I am starting to itch for a change of pace, but as I stated in my article Why I'm Not Just a Number at My Mega Carrier, I feel quite at home at Prime. I'm not a number, I'm family.

Sometimes you need to think outside the box. Having more time off and rejecting loads sounds great, but I don't want the headaches of leasing. So my solution? My boyfriend who also drives for Prime has decided to buy a truck for me to drive under his LLC, but I still get all the benefits of being a company driver at Prime. Still get my health, disability, vision insurances, etc. Still get the use of the wonderful terminals so still get to be "at home", and I get to pick out all the options of my brand new truck. My cat gets to come along, and if I decide to keep training, then no problem. Also, I get to keep a manual instead of having to change over to an automatic, which makes me nervous. And what happens if my guy and I split up? Nothing. I drive into the terminal with his truck and go back to my Fleet Manager to request a company truck. No risk, and lots of rewards!

I agree that before a driver leaves a company, they need to explore all of their options. You need to ask about dedicated routes, regional routes, or even temporary routes when you feel the need to leave. Discuss with your dispatcher any issues, and see what happens. Keep in mind, you are in the truck alone. They cannot see the daily stress and problems you face. They can't fix something you don't tell them about.

G Town stated that your input becomes important, and so it does. I created a 25 page training manual for my trainees, and I passed it along to my Fleet Manager to give to his newer drivers, hoping it could take some stress off of him. He responded immediately with "OMG! This is awesome! The Fleet Managers are all passing this around and adding tips to it." A few weeks later, he told me that the training department was implementing my information into the incoming company driver orientation classes! How cool is that?

Bottom line: How can I possibly leave a company that cares what I have to say, respects me, trusts me, and rewards me from time to time with bonuses, rewards points, and a decent check?

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.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

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.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
G Town stated that your input becomes important, and so it does. I created a 25 page training manual for my trainees, and I passed it along to my Fleet Manager to give to his newer drivers, hoping it could take some stress off of him. He responded immediately with "OMG! This is awesome! The Fleet Managers are all passing this around and adding tips to it." A few weeks later, he told me that the training department was implementing my information into the incoming company driver orientation classes! How cool is that?

How come we don't have a copy of that for the website?

smile.gif

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.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

G Town stated that your input becomes important, and so it does. I created a 25 page training manual for my trainees, and I passed it along to my Fleet Manager to give to his newer drivers, hoping it could take some stress off of him. He responded immediately with "OMG! This is awesome! The Fleet Managers are all passing this around and adding tips to it." A few weeks later, he told me that the training department was implementing my information into the incoming company driver orientation classes! How cool is that?

double-quotes-end.png

How come we don't have a copy of that for the website?

smile.gif

uh..a lot of it was Prime specific Macros and stuff...but i could edit that stuff out and just leave the "tip" type of stuff. Ill send it when i have time.

smile.gifthank-you.gif

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

uh..a lot of it was Prime specific Macros and stuff...but i could edit that stuff out and just leave the "tip" type of stuff. Ill send it when i have time.

Oh ok. Cool.

Alexandr S.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry if this has been answered before, but I have been browsing a lot of internet content and have not come across this factoid before:

Your article says only 1/10 make it to the end of the first year? Is there any more information about this? Burn out rate that high in OTR trucking? I believe I have what it takes, but I am interested in learning more about the circumstances / realizations of people who end up burning out.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Sorry if this has been answered before, but I have been browsing a lot of internet content and have not come across this factoid before:

Your article says only 1/10 make it to the end of the first year? Is there any more information about this? Burn out rate that high in OTR trucking? I believe I have what it takes, but I am interested in learning more about the circumstances / realizations of people who end up burning out.

The “factoid” as you call it, is the summary of the first year that includes schooling. On average the graduation rate is 30%.

When I attended Swift’s Richmond Academy the class started with 42 students and after 3 weeks, 7 graduated. Of that 7, that I know of 5 of us remained in the business after year one. Five years later, 4 Drivers of the original 42 from that class remain.

What I described is consistent no matter where you go to school or where you are employed during the first year.

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.

Bran009's Comment
member avatar

Rainy! Can I get a copy? Perwty plllllease? Lol seriously that sounds awesome

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

G Town stated that your input becomes important, and so it does. I created a 25 page training manual for my trainees, and I passed it along to my Fleet Manager to give to his newer drivers, hoping it could take some stress off of him. He responded immediately with "OMG! This is awesome! The Fleet Managers are all passing this around and adding tips to it." A few weeks later, he told me that the training department was implementing my information into the incoming company driver orientation classes! How cool is that?

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

How come we don't have a copy of that for the website?

smile.gif

double-quotes-end.png

uh..a lot of it was Prime specific Macros and stuff...but i could edit that stuff out and just leave the "tip" type of stuff. Ill send it when i have time.

smile.gifthank-you.gif

Please do......pretty please!? 😜

I think I may be going to need it!!

thank-you.gifsmile.gif

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.
Ed S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all,

It's been a while since I visited here. I joined when I was in school training for the new career back in July 2014. Since then, the peaks have been my driving across the US, seeing new sights first hand without seeing them on the computer. The valleys include finding out the truth behind the 'glamor' of what outsiders see in the trucking industry, and having my home life deteriorate to a point where I feel like an outsider.

To stay on topic, my first two years in trucking was spent as a company driver with Prime. Overall, the experience wasn't bad. However, certain factors (especially in the latter half of year 2) made me desire to get a company closer to my home in Pittsburgh. Local company Dandy Service Corporation interviewed me and hired me on. One of the biggest benefits is that I'm now home weekly (if I want to be...the first month, I was doing my 34s on the road until one weekend I realized I could've been home and still made the delivery). Unfortunately, it hasn't helped the home life as much as I'd like it to.

Being a smaller company, there is a more relaxed atmosphere at Dandy compared to what I had at Prime. I met a lot a good people (drivers, mechanics, general staff) at Prime, but it wasn't enough to keep me there....and I would be hesitant to go back, if I needed to look for another job; even though I left on good terms.

I plan to stay where I'm at as long as they want me, so maybe I'll start seeing some of the 'benefits' mentioned here.

Regards, -Ed S

Old School's Comment
member avatar
It's been a while since I visited here.

Yes it has. According to our records it's been almost four years! What happened to ya?

I gotta tell you that I am sorry to hear of your difficulties, but man why in the world wouldn't you come in here and seek for some advice during all that time? We aren't just some truck driver's kindergarten that tries to help people get their permit and then doesn't ever want to hear from them again. We have got so many resources here, and people giving out great advice who would have been more than happy to try to help you in some way.

I'm going to be real blunt with you Ed, trucking hasn't destroyed your home life. There are a lot of OTR truck drivers, myself included, who manage to keep a vibrant and warm relationship going with their spouse and children. This is something that we could have tried to help you with, we have conversations in here about this very subject often. Just recently Rainy produced a great article about OTR Relationships. It certainly is possible to keep a good relationship with others when you are a trucker. Your job doesn't destroy your relationships or make them better, and you really already know this, because you said this about your new job...

Unfortunately, it hasn't helped the home life as much as I'd like it to.

So, get real with yourself Ed. If you really want your home life to be wonderful, then you need to get in there and make something happen. You and your wife are the only ones who can work on maintaining a warm and healthy relationship, and I'd dare say the troubles were brewing long before you got into trucking. Sure, I will agree that trucking throws in some challenges that other careers don't, but it is not a deal breaker unless you allow it to be.

The valleys include finding out the truth behind the 'glamor' of what outsiders see in the trucking industry

I'm not exactly sure how to take that comment other than you discovered that trucking wasn't as glamorous as you deemed it to be. If you don't like trucking, that's fine. There are plenty of other careers you can pursue.

I plan to stay where I'm at as long as they want me, so maybe I'll start seeing some of the 'benefits' mentioned here.

You are definitely confused on how this works. You lay the blame on why you would be hesitant to return to Prime, on your home life's deterioration, and on what you refer to as an atmosphere that wasn't relaxed at Prime. The world's most successful drivers create their own atmosphere at their jobs. They also do what is necessary to keep the home fires burning. G-Town and other drivers like him who have stuck with their original company made it work for themselves. They didn't just slog along through their struggles counting on their company to wave a magic wand over them making everything come out like rainbows and unicorns. If you plan on seeing some of the benefits that are mentioned in this article, then you will have to prove yourself adept at making them happen. That is how everything works in this business.

We put forth a lot of effort out here and much of it gets returned to us in the form of benefits that most drivers never even realize. There are very few careers left like this one. We get to make it work the way we want it to. The better you can perform at this job, the better your treatment will be. It all comes down to performance, and frankly, that is what your home life will boil down to also. You will get out of it what you put into it. There's not a job in this world that could cause my wife and I to separate or grow distant from each other, and the reason for that is because we make sure that our relationship is a great one. Years ago men went off to sea or war for sometimes years, and they kept their relationships alive through communication, very limited communication, but they made sure it was good and meaningful.

I'm very happy that you found something that works better for your situation, but I also know you've got a lot more to give if you want to keep your marriage alive and well. Dandy cannot do anything about that for you.

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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