Some Info From Prime Drivers

Topic 24121 | Page 1

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RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

I'm looking into driving for Prime. Here are some reasons why I'd like to make the switch from my current company. (I need someone who drives for Prime to tell me if my reasons are valid or totally off-base)

1) Reefer loads are usually by appointment. There is less waiting to get into a door.

2) Reefer loads are usually loaded/unloaded at places that aren't out in the middle of nowhere and the warehouses are fairly well-organized. No messy yards with trailers scattered all over the place that make navigating the yard and pulling into a door a pain in the neck.

3) I'm guessing/hoping that reefer trailers are better maintained. Less chance of getting a beat up trailer that fails driver's inspection.

4) I imagine that reefer trailers don't disappear...meaning that if you do a drop and hook there will always be an empty trailer available to take. I really don't like driving 100 miles out of the way to hunt down an empty trailer.

5) Prime pays bonuses for fuel and safety. How does that work anyway? Is that a monthly thing? I forgot to ask the recruiter I spoke with.

6) Reefer drivers start at 44cpm...49 for a light-weight truck. What is it like driving a light-weight? Worth it or not?

Like I said, these are some of my reasons. They may very well be misconceptions. I'm counting on the helpful folks here to get the correct info. Thanks!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm looking into driving for Prime. Here are some reasons why I'd like to make the switch from my current company. (I need someone who drives for Prime to tell me if my reasons are valid or totally off-base)

1) Reefer loads are usually by appointment. There is less waiting to get into a door.

We do have appointments and usually get in doors quickly, but unloading and counting can take forever. However there have been times even at Walmart DCs that i waited 6 hours just to get in a door. Our appointments are 24/7. There are also customers that have signs stating first come first serve despite Prime giving us appointments. Plus meat loads can have you waiting for 24 hours or more. Some slaughterhouses dont kill the animals until you check in. By my 2nd year, I stopped having to wait for meat loads.

We also spend a ton of time in washouts which needs to be done with meat and produce. some customers require washout receipts or inspect the trailers to be free of odor and blood. I know lease ops who rarely washout, but im not taking the risk of a rejected load.

2) Reefer loads are usually loaded/unloaded at places that aren't out in the middle of nowhere and the warehouses are fairly well-organized. No messy yards with trailers scattered all over the place that make navigating the yard and pulling into a door a pain in the neck.

Yes we deliver to the middle of nowhere, and tight places that make you back across streets. Beer distributors are horrible backing between parked cars, box trucks amd worse. Yes some places suck with trailers and some make you back.into buildings which you cant see from the suns glare. I have even delivered to universities with kids walking, jogging and skateboarding while on their phones not paying attention and me with lousy directions.Most customers are walmarts dc or soemthing like that, but many places are tight.

3) I'm guessing/hoping that reefer trailers are better maintained. Less chance of getting a beat up trailer that fails driver's inspection.

i think this is a company thing. We had a few dedicated walmart routes and our drivers say their trailers sucked. G Town says they are well.maintained, but perhaps not in comparison to ours. Our trailers are very well maintained but still issues arise. the reefers have sesnors and engines requiring maintainance and need repairs. i run them through the terminal as much as possible for maintainance. in 3.5 years i have had to take 3 to a Carrier dealer, otherwise i can take tonthe terminal for issues, drop the load there and grab another out.

4) I imagine that reefer trailers don't disappear...meaning that if you do a drop and hook there will always be an empty trailer available to take. I really don't like driving 100 miles out of the way to hunt down an empty trailer.

Not always. I rarely have to drive 100 miles to find one, but they are not always there. Being a huge company, we usually have customers closer. However, we are often told where to go for a trailer so they can make sure trailers are repaired. If a customer hasnt filled the trailer in a week it could be damaged or have engine issues.

5) Prime pays bonuses for fuel and safety. How does that work anyway? Is that a monthly thing? I forgot to ask the recruiter I spoke with.

We get a weekly bonus i think of 2cpm for on time delivery and safety for over 2000 mile weeks. Our fuel bonus is tiered and compared to other drivers. Most weeks i get 2 to 3cpm, a few times i have gotten 8cpm! We also get quarterly bonus points to be used at the terminal cafe, store, and spa. the first year i think its $25, but $50 after that. One year of safety you get a light jacket, 2 years a nice heavy one. One year of on time delivery you get a heavy jacket, and two years you get a gold ring with a diamond. each additional year is another diamond. The bonuses plus detention usually come to about $100 per week, but a few times i have gotten $250 in one week a few times. In addition to all of this, we also get a Top performer of the fleet for the month award of $50 rewards points. In 3 years i have gotten this about 8 or 9 times.

6) Reefer drivers start at 44cpm...49 for a light-weight truck. What is it like driving a light-weight? Worth it or not?

This is subjective. the LW get more cpm plus they earn paid vacation faster. it is supposed to be $6000 per year difference. They get a week vacation after 85,000 miles, a condo needs 125,000. International LW have more room than Cascadia LW but you have no control the truck you get plus Prime is doing away with International and getting Volvos instead. That means more Cascadia LW. They are too small for pets so i never considered one.

Like I said, these are some of my reasons. They may very well be misconceptions. I'm counting on the helpful folks here to get the correct info. Thanks!

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.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Wow! Thanks for the detailed response. I was fairly certain my whole take on the reefer world would be flipped on its head. Right now I only carry prepacked salads, fruits and veg. Never considered freshly killed meats... :(... and beverages. I pictured a dream world of Walmart DC - and similar locations - deliveries. Thanks for opening my eyes. Now it's time to add some "cons" to the list.

If I do decide to go with Prime I plan on making use of the Rainy D. Resource Center, as well as this site's members' collective knowledge.

As always, your time and helpful responses are appreciated.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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