Flatbedding With Western Express: From The Bus Ride To [almost] 4 Months Solo

Topic 23730 | Page 1

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the buddhist nudist's Comment
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Hello, all! long-time/first-time here. first things first: i'd like to say hello and thank you to all that make this community so great. i've been lurking about in these forums for about 3 years and i feel that some sort of introduction is in order. i drove for werner for about 1 1/2 years in 2005-2006. left the game because it did not agree with my life at that time. fast forward to 2018 and all the "ducks" in my life at least seemed to be in a row such that i could actually invest the time necessary to resurrect my trucking career. so i decided to give it a go.

western express and schneider looked like the only two companies that would consider a guy that had not driven a truck in over ten years. i opted for western because, when i considered a comeback in 2013, western looked like THE only company that would consider me despite having not driven in [at that time] 7 years. that knowledge resonated with me as it seemed as close to a sure shot that a guy in my position could get. ultimately, i decided to take their offer and, on june 3, 2018, and i got on the bus from providence, ri to allentown, pa.

mon 6/4 and tues 6/5 were orientation (paperwork, classwork, road test, drug test, etc). on wed 6/6, i, along with the people that started with me on mon, were shuttled to the actual terminal to begin load securement training. shortly after arriving at the terminal wed morning, while waiting for class to begin many of us received our hire packet (efs card, etc). load securement was three days: 6/6, 6/7, 6/8. the last day was done by lunch, at which point there was a written final exam on the material and by the time the lunch truck showed up i already had a trainer assigned to me. he was in nashville on a 34 hour reset so i relaxed the rest of the weekend. i was on the trainer's truck by 8:30 am sun 6/10.

i was assigned 4 weeks of training which was done in the conventional way as a team situation with trainer/trainee. considering my circumstances, i was cool with 4 weeks training. i actually kind of preferred it. in those four weeks we went from pa to ct to wa to ca to sc and just about everywhere in between. my trainer and i clicked quite well and i think it was, in part, because i did my best to check my ego at the door. i have thick skin and a strong mind so, if need be, i can handle some verbal and/or psychological abuse if need be. i've played this game before and am well aware that some times...some people...yeah. thankfully this was not one of those times and he was not one of those people. 4 weeks was a breeze. i called'em professor. i still do. i think he likes it. we're still in touch. we're friends. and occasionally i send him a snapshot and he still helps me secure my loads despite not having been on his truck in four months.

i am a few days shy of 4 months driving as a solo company driver with western. after training on an otr flatbed, i went van for about a month after i tested out because flatbed is definitely not for the faint of heart. it is dangerous and it is hard. interestingly, after a month of van, i really missed the challenge, the workout and being out west so i decided to go back to flatbed. at western, as a solo otr flatbedder you will touch 48 states while otr van is east of the mississippi. unless you're driving van out of the ca terminal, then you're west of the mississippi.

time to get down to business. from day one, my recruiter was 100% honest with me every step of the way. orientation went just as i thought it would. load securement went just as i thought it would. training went exactly how i remembered it from my days with werner, only this time with western. they even paid me a full week's training pay for the 5 days my trainer and i spent by the swimming pool in socal while his truck got dealer work done. the only thing my recruiter said that was not entirely true was about the contract. he told me it would be mandatory. bethlehem said otherwise. i tested out on 7/5 in nashville and was given my own truck and load that day (just about a month to the day from hire to solo). my transition from van back to flatbed went quickly and smoothly (about 4 days to get from maine to nashville and swapped into a flatbed truck and dm).

my experiences with western have been positive and, while you may not read this often online, i think they're a great company and i'm grateful for the opportunity they have given me. i also want to make it known that western has made good on everything ranging from truck recovery pay, trailer recovery pay, breakdown pay, detention pay, layover pay, tarp pay, training pay, load securement training pay, nyc pay and they have reimbursed me for every penny i have spent out of pocket. i had an incredible dm for van and now i have an incredible dm for flatbed. they both answer my phone calls and respond to my qc's within minutes. every hometime request has been honored. in fact, i had an emergency in early september in which my [flatbed] dm got me from kentucky on thursday to ri for late fri/early sat...on a moment's notice. i've even passed by the house and snuck in a night in my own bed on more than one occasion. nobody ever mentioned it.

as a guy making a comeback, i am pleased with the time i have so far spent at western and, after almost 5 months, have no intention on jumping ship. i hope this was helpful to anyone out there considering a comeback. have a great day, all!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Army 's Comment
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Congrats on your rejuvenated career.

the buddhist nudist's Comment
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Thanks, army.

Old School's Comment
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That was a great update on your re-entry to trucking and a good tale of your success at Western Express. When I was in their flat bed division I also had a very positive experience. They had some great dispatchers, and we all worked together really well so that we could get a lot done and make some money.

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
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Welcome BN and congratulations on your trucking resurrection. We really believe that a driver can be successful no matter what name is on the door and your story reaffirms that.

the buddhist nudist's Comment
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Thanks, folks.

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