Companies Hiring With Only 3 Months OTR Experience

Topic 23464 | Page 1

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Mark G.'s Comment
member avatar

So, I joined Swift Transportation about 3 months ago and I feel like that was a mistake. Not gonna bash any company but they just don’t have enough miles and they don’t pay enough. I’m looking for other opportunities and any suggestions on companies that will take me would be appreciated.

I know there are tons of other companies that will hire me with no experience but I am not looking to go through another training phase because I simply can not afford it. I have a family to take care of and we are struggling on what I make now. If I go back to training pay we could potentially be homeless.

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.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I do not drive for Swift there are a few here who do quite well for themselves so they can offer way better insight then I can. But as the largest trucking company in the nation I find it hard to believe they don't have miles. I would advise speaking to your dispatcher and finding out why you are not getting them. You don't want to start company jumping so early in your career it does not bode well.

Just out if curiosity how many are you getting?

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Mark, welcome to our forum.

The reality of your situation is that Swift is not the problem. They're the largest, most successful carrier in the nation and we're at the start of the busiest time of the year for dry van companies, in a year that has been extremely strong for freight to begin with. Companies have freight coming out of their ears. The question is simple: why aren't you getting the miles you expect to get?

New drivers often don't understand what it takes to turn big miles, and to be honest they often don't have what it takes to turn big miles early on in their career. You first have to prove that you're capable of handling a bigger workload, then you have to learn how to go about getting it.

It all starts by taking every load they give you and making every single appointment on time, or early. Most of the time new drivers are given loads that have some extra time available and you can get there many hours or even a day early. If you can start arriving early and getting loads unloaded early it's a great sign to dispatch that you're one of those drivers who knows how to get the job done out there and is looking for more miles.

If you're making all of your appointments on time, or early, then you have to lobby dispatch for more miles continuously. That doesn't mean they're going to just start handing you 3,000 miles per week, but over a period of a month or two you should see a consistent increase in your miles.

I have a list of awesome articles I want you to read. They're written for people in your exact situation. Make sure you read these and come back here to talk to us and we'll continue to help you understand how to improve your situation:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Gladhand's Comment
member avatar

Where do you live and what terminal are you out of? Have you made steps to talk to your dm? I ask for location because there may be a dedicated account nearby. Honestly with my time at swift I have had a better time dedicated than otr mainly due to consistency. Thing about otr is the money is up and down all the time. On dedicated it stays consistent and as long as walmart is in business and we keep this account, I will have a job. Better to figure these things out, because leaving will cost you even more money.

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.

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Mark, you've made the classic rookie driver blunder. You've blamed your company with this accusation...

they just don’t have enough miles

You have no idea how silly that sounds to us! Swift has grown into one of the largest trucking companies in the world. Here you are with the ink barely dry on your brand new CDL , and you already are convinced that Swift can't provide you with a way to make a decent living. Some of the Swift drivers in here making upwards of 70 grand or more per year are scratching their heads and wondering what rock you just crawled out from under.

Here's the deal...

You didn't make a mistake by starting with Swift, but you sure made a mistake by confusing your inability to make good money as their fault! C'mon man, you're a total newbie. What were you expecting? This career takes some time to get established in - you've barely got your feet under you, and you've already quit from one of the top trucking companies in the nation.

I highly recommend you go back and finish what you've started. We always recommend you stick it out for one full year. As a rookie, that is critical to your success. You've completely removed yourself from the critical learning curve, and now you're thinking you don't want or need any additional training.

There's a lot more I could say, but I'm hoping you'll follow up with the following two resources. Hopefully they'll help you understand the proper approach to this career as a rookie. You definitely need to rethink this. Go back and beg Swift to give you a second chance. That's my advice.

Here's a great article on Why So Many Rookie Drivers Fail.

Here's an excellent Podcast on Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Starter Companies?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Mark, it's not a "not enough miles" problem. Disclosure: I started driving for Swift as a noob four years ago. I never felt like I was underpaid.

In the first month, true, I stayed at plenty of truck stops waiting for business. But after #1) I learned the ropes of how to manage a dispatch and #2) my DM saw that I would mostly take any load any where, my wheels didn't stop.

Three months is not enough time. You didn't mention common ideas like "I think they are testing me" or "they wanted me to go to New York and I turned it down, then they made me sit in Macon, Georgia for two days". (Hint: like Brett says, it might be you and your rookie status.) Finally, few companies will be interested in a new driver that wants to bail from Swift after only three months.

Stick with Swift for a bit longer. Feel free to talk to your DM about concerns. They know you may not have the whole picture yet, and they should be willing to help you out.

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.
Mark G.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the replies. I misspoke when I said they don’t have any miles. What I meant to say is they aren’t giving me any miles. I’ve talked to my DM (dispatch) about it twice and I’ve gotten less since then. I know I am a rookie and I have yet to prove myself, but how can anyone support a family on 38 cpm with less then 2000 miles a week?

All the frustration aside, I starting networking with other Swift drivers to start painting a clearer picture of this situation and put things in perspective. I found a dedicated account that starts at 52 cpm.

I will still heed everyone’s advise and tone down the frustration while I try to make the best out of it. I will read all the articles suggestions as well. Once again, I appreciate everyone’s feedback and constructive criticism.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I starting networking with other Swift drivers to start painting a clearer picture of this situation

That's an excellent idea. You've already heard from some of Swift's experienced drivers right here in this conversation but continue to seek out solutions to the problem. The answer is there. It's just all part of the learning process.

You also do not need to run on a dedicated account to turn big miles. That's a misconception people have. A dedicated account can be fantastic if it fits what you're looking for in a driving job. So get the details about the job and try to speak with one or two drivers on that account to find out what it's really like. But the miles are there for OTR drivers also.

Continue forward with the approach that the miles are there and you just have to:

1) Prove that you're capable of handling them

2) Convince the people who distribute loads that you're willing and able to handle a bigger workload

3) Figure out how the system works at your company and learn how to work that system in your favor.

Every company has a little bit different way of distributing loads to drivers. You have to figure out how Swift's system works and get the attention of the right people so you'll start getting better miles.

Also, try being more specific when you're asking for more miles. Don't just say, "more miles" but try giving them specific numbers, like "I really need at least 2,500 miles per week to pay my bills" - that sort of thing.

What you're going through now is very common for new drivers. So many people just think, "This company sucks!" and they move on to another company, then another company, then another, without ever solving the problem. They never learn that the problem is either with their own performance, their own attitude, or their own lack of understanding of how the system works.

So stick with Swift and keep talking to everyone about how to get more miles. When you come across complainers who aren't getting any miles, don't waste your time with them. They're not going to help you solve the problem. They're simply going to complain and blame. You need ideas and solutions. Focus on that. This is a solvable problem. Your job is to figure out what it takes to get the big miles that their top drivers are getting.

Hang in there, and stick with us. We'll continue to help you work through this.

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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