Truck Stops, Food, Points, And Showers!

Topic 23391 | Page 1

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Pennywise's Comment
member avatar

Hey guys, first post here. Long story short I am about 3 months away from paying for my own CDL training, then looking for work right after that (OTR, Dry Van).

1. From all the reading I have been doing, it seems like there is a ton of driving jobs out there, even for people with no experience. I saw a list of about 10 company's that hire people fresh out of CDL school with no experience. My question is.... I have a clean driving record, clean criminal background, and a great work history and credit if they check. Is it safe to say as long as one of these "no experience needed" company's hires in my area I should have no problem at all getting hired with them assuming I pass all the tests? or is it a little harder than that?

2. My first post lets talk about the most important thing FOOD! Being truck driver it can be a challenge to stay healthy to say the least. At the major truck stops, Loves T/A, Flying ect. Depending on the size of the store do they sell things like you would find and a nice convenient store in the cooler section like pre-made stuff like salads, fruit cups and yogurt, sandwiches, maybe a veggies and dips? Or is it mostly junk food like a mini convince store with no food cooler, chips candy and soda, and I will have to rely on a grocery store for my healthy eating?

3. Showers, points, and parking. At the big name truck stops, what determines if parking is free or paid, how much and will a company pay you back? I have read most places give you a free shower with a 50 Gal fill up or something like that?? Is it safe to say if you top of twice a day you should not have to pay for showers ever? Do the points stay on your card and build up? Unrealistic, but say I stopped 6 times in a day and put in 50 gallons, could I possibly get 6 free showers on my card and just keep building? I just don't want to have to pay 10 bucks for parking every night and have to pay the same for a shower every 1-2 days or something.

Pardon any spelling and grammar mistakes, I am applying to be a truck driver not a school teacher, and I am blasting this out on my 15 minute coffee break at work. And Yes I know how to use the search button on the forum, but my internet is super slow 24/7 so sometimes it had to search the forum and dig through posts.

Read some of the forum and tons of the articles over the past few weeks great info. Super website and book Brett!!! Thanks guys for any input,

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.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

TWIC:

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

1. Based on the information you gave, you’ll probably have at least 4-6 companies to choose from. I did the private school also and we sent out the applications the first week. Most students had many pre-hire letters by graduation. I recommend you do whatever it takes to know where you’re going when you graduate and have your CDL.

2. You will probably wanna buy some food items at Walmart or a grocery store. It’ll save you money. But yes, most of the big name truck stops have food similar to convenience stores, but more expensive.

3. Pilot/Flying J - 1,000gallons of fuel in a month gets you a “shower power” which is a free shower each day, the following month. Love’s (I believe) has a 10-day cancellation on unused showers. Also, some trucking companies have on-site showers at their terminals, free. Schneider did and they were cleaned after each use.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

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.

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

If you stop 6 times a day it will be hard to rack up miles especially if you try to refuel each stop that takes up a lot of time. It's really hard to budget your time when you're new. I've only been on my own about 2 months and I'm still having trouble budgeting time. And it's all my fault because I make stupid mistakes by not changing my Qualcomm status, taking too long at the shipper and consignee Etc things like that. I used to think I could stop every couple hours take a nice walk but I rarely stop until I need to get something to eat or hit the John. Your company generally has agreements with certain truck stops my company primarily fuels with Sapp Brothers Flying J / pilot and Loves. So I get there rewards cards and get showers and food points. Yes truck stop food is very expensive if you want to eat cheaply you grab two hot dogs and a drink to go or you go to there restaurant attached and pay through the nose. A lot of the stuff you're going to learn with your trainer so don't get too far ahead of yourself. Good luck.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Hopalong Cassidy's Comment
member avatar

When I drove truck, I'd make a stop at the grocery store in my hometown every week before I got on the road. I'd get a package of ham, cheese, bread, the little pouches of tuna, a can or two of Swanson chicken, sandwich spread, stuff like that. I had a squeeze tube of mayo, mustard... and I'd get some snacky things like chips/Doritos and or peanuts (you can't fall asleep driving if you are eating something like chips --- true fact), and a couple liters of soda. I had a big Coleman cooler in the truck, and I'd get two bags of ice, dump it in, and put the cold items from the grocery store in there inside ziplock bags. I'd eat good that way for about $40 a week. Drain the water out of the cooler about Wednesday, and still have enough ice left in there to go til the weekend.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Pennywise's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the reply, I forgot about my trainer he will be a great source of info. What about the parking situation? And will any of it be paid by the company?

Big Scott (CFI Driver and's Comment
member avatar

You are way over thinking this. Have you seen these?

We highly recommend Paid CDL Training Programs. I was trained and drive for CFI, they reimburse for parking and any showers I pay for.

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.
Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Showers: Loves gives free shower with a 50 gallon fuel. Fuel 1000 gallons in a month and you get free showers (two per day) and two drink refills for free. They ALSO give you spending points for things in the C-store. Food, beverages, equipment, etc.

Food: You can get moderately healthy food in the stop stores. $2.39 a can for Green Beans is NOT moderately priced though. Roller Grill Delights are not your friend. Consider that you're taking in some 800 calories, most of which comes from saturated fat, then sitting down and driving for 8 hours. Not a recipe for heart or pancreatic health. Hopalong is right - get a good cooler, or a thermoelectric cooler, and stock it with stuff you will eat. Uncle Ben's and some of the organic outfits have reasonably priced microwave packages of grains and rice combos that will give you carbs that are not empty like the snacks in the c-store. And most truck stops have microwaves you can use to heat stuff. (And, no, I'm no physical health guru, I just learned waaaay too late the hard lessons.)

Good luck on the journey!

Jim S.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm a pretty new driver, about 4 months or so, and I typically run the northeast, but I'll give you my take. I saw 4 recruiters at CDL school, went with Werner as they had more options for a newbie of those I spoke to. There are several companies, so choose what is right for you. But as they tell you here, unless you're young and strong, stay away from dollar store accounts as you'll have to work your butt off.

I have a couple of go-to truck stops I like to frequent, but mostly because they're on the route I normally drive. T/A is my first choice, Love's second. I like Petro as well, but don't normally run across them where I usually go. I don't usually have to pay for parking unless I stop near Baltimore, but it can be free if I fuel there or buy $20 worth of stuff, which can include dinner.

I mostly stop at particular places if they're company fuel stops, though not exclusively. Heck, I've spent more than one night sleeping in a drop yard, or a service plaza on the turnpike.

I like the restaurants at T/A and Petro with their buffets, the others seem to have chains at their stops. I can eat at a chain anywhere, I prefer their own branded places when I'm on the road. Healthy food, too. You can buy fruit, hard boiled eggs, cheese, etc. at truck stops or service plazas, so you don't have to eat junk food.

Hope this helps.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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