New Year... New Company - Comparisons

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ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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I haven't posted in a while. Started a new job with U.S. Xpress. I was with Schneider Bulk for 7 months, and I LOVED it. Everything I was told before I started was true, I stayed out 10-12 days then went home for 3 days. Only got home late once, and it was my own fault. Pay, miles, training, everything was amazing.

But I am engaged and OTR was never really my end goal.

At my 6 month mark I began looking for local jobs, and you'd be surprised how many opportunities exist even with only 6 months experience. Many companies need drivers (as we all know) and will take good qualified drivers even if their job posting says "1 year experience required." Everything in life is negotiable, right?

So I narrowed my prospects to either J.B. Hunt Dedicated, or U.S. Xpress Dedicated. Where I live there are a ridiculous amount of local jobs because I am 2 hours from NYC and 2 hours from Philadelphia. J.B. Hunt's position pays extremely well and they have many many many many local accounts in my area, so you can move around them after staying at one for 90 days. They have a 3 day orientation then you go solo, in a day cab , home every night and 2 days off a week, you can work a 6th day if you want. The start time for the account I was considering was 12:00 - 15:00, with a 12 hour shift.

U.S. Xpress has a dedicated account in my area. Pay is less than J.B. Hunt and it is their only dedicated account in my area. Also a 3 day orientation then you go solo, in a day cab. Monday-Friday, home every night and weekends off, unless you want to work weekends. But the start time is 05:00 - 09:00, with a 12 hour shift.

So I went with U.S. Xpress because of the start time. Money isn't everything. I can't see my fiance if I leave at Noon and get home at Midnight, she's at work during the day.

My experience at U.S. Xpress orientation was very eye opening. I think because I started with Schneider I must have been very lucky. Schneider's training was very detailed and very thorough. In our 3 day U.S. Xpress orientation they had the experienced drivers and student drivers in the same classroom. First day was basicly paperwork, physical, drug test, all that fun stuff. Day 2 was watching videos about the company and driving safely and stuff. Day 3 was more videos and some training on the "DriverTech" (which is HORRIBLE compared to the QualComm) and then a 10 minute road test.

After those 3 days the experienced drivers get assigned a truck and go onto OTR or Regional or Dedicated. The students go out with a trainer for 2 months and team drive. Then they team drive for a month I think with another student. Then they do a final test and get their own truck.

This blew me away. These fresh out of CDL school drivers got to watch videos for a day or two and then were thrown into a truck to team drive. There was no instruction in the yard on backing or slow maneuvering, nothing but a 10 minute road test, and no other training.

I understand companies all do things differently but I honestly feel sorry for anyone that starts at a company that throws new drivers onto the road like that. I know why they do it, because they need the students to turn a profit for them ASAP, but I can't imagine they are saving money after considering the accidents that students get into some of which may have been prevented by more training.

Just my observation.

So on this U.S. Xpress dedicated account I run PA, NJ, NYC, MD, CT. I go into and around Philadelphia almost daily and NYC almost daily. Mix of drop and hooks and live unloads. It is paid by mileage and salary, some days I get 500 miles, other days I get 100. Haven't been at it long enough to get averages and such.

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.

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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Forgot to mention. It is a Dry Van position. I hate Dry Van so far! lol. I still shift like I am waiting for the liquid surge.

Also... I do miss OTR already. Going to the same customers and driving the same roads every day is kind of boring.

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.
Richard O.'s Comment
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I'm surprised to hear this. I thought you would be at big orange for a while.

I'm sitting in Keasbey now waiting for a preloaded trailer to arrive for my first solo run. My truck number is 27391. I appreciate all the advice you gave me. I hope to see you on the road someday.

RedGator's Comment
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Well geez didnt see that coming. Guess maybe when im home you and the wife can take me for coffee;)

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, I didn't see that coming either but I'm glad you'll be home with your fiancee now!

And the training you got at Schneider bulk was great but it's ironic you mention how little training other companies give. Actually Schneider, outside of bulk, has the shortest training period in the industry. You come out of school, go on the road with a trainer for like one or two weeks, and they send you solo. Most companies put you with a trainer for 1-3 months. Schneider only does it for like a week and you're on your own.

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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Brett as far as training I was focusing more on the "controlled environment" training. Schneider, both Bulk and Van has 2-3 week long orientation where you are with an instructor 7 days a week driving in the yard doing pretrips, hook/unhook, backing, and driving around the city/town and highway; you also get classroom instruction during that time. Then they send you for 1-2 weeks with a trainer on the road to fine tune your skills, and you don't team drive with the trainer.

I've been enjoying my time on this US Xpress Dedicated account. I've gotten use to Dry Van driving and am more familiar with this particular USX customer's procedures and stuff. I have noticed that receivers are very mean people. My 6 months with SNBC I never had issues with shippers or receivers, but my few weeks here at USX I've been yelled at, ignored, and treated very disrespectfully. I don't let it bother me, but it is quite an interesting comparison. It may just be that people in NY and NJ are more mean than everywhere else in the country...

I miss the road, and I miss my tanker surge! lol. But my dog and my fiancee are very happy that I am home.

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.

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.
Anchorman's Comment
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It may just be that people in NY and NJ are more mean than everywhere else in the country...

You may want to clarify yourself since Brett is in NY! rofl-3.gif

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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Haha.

I'm from Brooklyn so when I say NY I mean NYC and the surrounding area. Upstate is like another country pretty much!

lol.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, I'm from Upstate - outside of Buffalo. We're super nice here. The NYC/NJ region is indeed like another country compared with us here.

smile.gif

ThinksTooMuch's Comment
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I see what you did there Brett. Clever clever. I make it as far as I-87 Exit 50 at this US Xpress dedicated. So not quite up to your area. Around Newburgh mostly.

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