Delivering To Grocery Stores

Topic 25787 | Page 1

Page 1 of 4 Next Page Go To Page:
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I've made mentions in many different threads about my job delivering to grocery stores and figured that I may as well just create a small diary and include some examples of docks I need to bump. I will also include satellite view images of some stores so you can see how some appear to be super busy while others are a bit of a challenge. I under estimated how difficult some of our docks are but i absolutely love it. Before starting here I just assumed all stores could be setup to do a straight back. Many can, but then others just leave ya scratching your head. Thankfully I'm typically headed back to the yard by 7am most days.

At the time of this post I've been doing this about 4 months on my own (started Jan. 2019). I came here with a year and half of driving experience. I had 2 weeks of training just to ensure I understand their way of doing things. We have just under 250 stores in Iowa and the 7 surrounding states. We are on a 4 day work week, in which I work Friday-Monday. We have I believe 160 drivers and most of us slip seat. We "bid" routes daily so unfortunately most days I don't know where I'm going or what time I'm starting until 3pm and I could be leaving the terminal as soon as 10pm. I currently have 4 guys below me so i typically have 5 routes to pick from. One of my trainers has been with the company 27 years and is #24 on seniority, definitely is a place people stay. We have 15 drivers with over 30 years of service. They're older and will be retiring in the next few years. Our grocery chain has 3 separate warehouses. One in Cherokee iowa (NW) one in Chariton iowa (southern), and ours in Des Moines area although we don't share the name. We primarily haul the meat and dairy products, Chariton has produce and frozen while the Cherokee does general merchandise. Each of us also has some miscellaneous products but that's the bulk of what we haul out of each DC. Depending on where the store is located we may shuttle a loaded trailer to another DC for them to deliver and vice versa. An example is We run the Produce out to the stores in Kearney and Grand island NE because from where we are its 655 miles and we can make it back, but Chariton would be forced to lay over. On a typical day we use a electric pallet jack to unload our trailer at 2 to 3 stores. It usually ends up taking about 45 minutes at each store especially if I haven't been there before so i can see where everything goes. I also have to down stack some pallets occasionally if they are too tall to fit in the coolers. We also are told if we need to clean up the store when choosing the route. By cleaning up I mean bringing empty pallets back, Empty bread trays or used plastic bags customers return for recycling. Most days if I don't have a backhaul I will clean regardless if it's scheduled for me to. I hate the idea of driving sometimes 300 miles back empty. I have mixed feelings about bidding routes daily. I like it because I can switch up where I'm going but at the same time It gets old asking nearly every day where stuff goes. Some stores want it all on the sales floor, others want only certain pallets out there or everything stays in the back in coolers. After delivering to our stores we many times have backhauls or contract freight (P&D) we deal with. By doing LTL type freight as well it increases profitability as we cover such a large area and often times we are only going out of route a few miles for the pick up or delivery. We also have a substantial customer base because the company was LTL before being bought out by the grocery chain from my understanding. At our warehouse we have 3 different pay plans. I work on Sundays so I'm automatically on the $30 an hour for all hours (No OT pay). Guys who don't work sundays can either choose to be hourly or get paid per mile and stop. Hourly starts at 21.90 with 50 cent increase every 6 months and receives OT pay, I'm not positive on the mileage pay but if I remember correctly its 50.5 CPM plus $25 or 35$ per stop. Mileage pay is much better for the senior guys as they can take a route that has 6 or 7 stores on it due to them being in small towns and only getting 2 or 3 pallets each. They can unload that in less than 10 minutes and make at least $25 for it. Chariton and Cherokee are mile and stop pay, they don't have a choice. Lets get to it!

Friday (my monday) I started at 2am. I went to Algona and Humboldt in Iowa for our stores then had 3 different contract freight to deal with. Both stores are older stores so they require a scissor lift to unload. The dock sits alot lower than my trailer so I need to raise the lift up, put pallet on then lower it. Much more time consuming.

0835573001559612637.jpg I put in about 12 hours, drove 378 miles with about half of it being 2 lane country roads.

Saturday I chose a 2 stop route that went near Mankato MN. I clocked in at midnight, just as my 10 hours off was up.

0821690001559613101.jpg it was a 13 hour day and 480 miles. 1 of the stores had a scissor lift as well (yippee).

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Sundays route I clocked in around midnight. I had 2 stops in Sioux City and 1 in Sioux falls with a backhaul just across the border from Sioux City at Tyson.

0713905001559613630.jpg whenever I run up to that way I always take I80 in the morning then come back home on US 20 from Sioux City through Fort Dodge to I35. They're about the same mileage but less traffic on US 20 plus only 1 weigh station, however it isn't on 20 but they occasionally pull you off a couple miles to go across the scale on a different highway. I always make sure I'm legal but we don't have prepass so it's time consuming to deal with multiple scales coming back down 29 to 80. Plus I80 is very hilly compared to US 20. The spot I needed to drop my empty at Tyson was extremely tight. I had to GOAL 5 times and had maybe a foot of space on each side of my trailer. Spent another 10 minutes tracking down my loaded trailer. Had to scale it, ended up making it to our yard with 6 minutes left on my 14! I had to do some other stuff at the yard so it ended up being a 15.5 hour day. sorry for the poor lighting but one of the sioux city stores was really tight.

0618006001559614150.jpg on my passenger side my swing doors are barely clearing the compactor. Driver side I barely had enough room to exit the truck as the building is there. The sioux falls store was a store I went to my first day alone. I struggled greatly that day but did pretty good this time.

0081307001559614347.jpg Dock is on the left side of building in screenshot. Plenty of space to get in parking lot.

0381661001559614411.jpg when I was trying to bump the dock there was a van parked in front minimizing room i had in front. In the door to my right was a trailer the store was using for extra storage which made it worse. 0880778001559614557.jpg Some drivers have hit the rail. 0404918001559614508.jpg

Monday I had a 2 part load. I started as soon as my 10 hours were up and took a full load to Cedar Rapids for 2 stores and then went back to the yard and grabbed a full load of contract freight going to Webster City.

0518619001559614938.jpg I ran I80 instead of what it shows because speed limit is 70 mph as opposed to 55 on much of US30 past marshalltown. The first cedar rapids store wasnt too bad but the second made me happy I slid my tandems all the way forward. Before I go to a new store I use Google Maps to get an idea of how it is.

0059976001559615195.jpg thankfully we deliver here about 5am so the parking lot is pretty barren, I can't imagine trying to swing around in there when it's full of cars. They're doing some remodeling so they have some intermodal containers to the side of dock so i couldn't utilize that space. It was a 13 hour day. I'm hoping to pick up an extra route this week, otherwise I'll post again once I go back to work Friday. I figure I'll do a couple weeks of this to show a different side of trucking that's available. Some of the backrooms are difficult to maneuver around due to not enough storage space but I will not be taking pictures inside the stores.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Great posts on your current adventures, Rob. I’m sure a lot of information on your “specialized piece of trucking” will be read by others considering a career path. Somebody’s going to haul and deliver the groceries, because the store shelves don’t get stocked by magic.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Great information. So I understand you correctly you delivery the places overnight?

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks packrat, I feel its beneficial for those considering entering this industry to be aware of other options than over the road after they've obtained the year of experience. There are a ton of different options with driving that require you to find what it is you want to do. Obviously the locations and distances traveled vary by company but at least it gives an idea of what it would be like. I feel this is a great fit for me as it gives me challenges for some places whether it's a store or a vendor, allows me to get out of the truck to walk around to unload without much worry of hurting my back the way foodservice did. It's also nice to go to the stores and be treated almost like royalty. I've only ran into a couple people who treated me poorly as opposed to the frequent disrespect customers gave me when I was 2 wheeling. It's also nice knowing that there won't be a shortage of work. Occasionally we receive a text message asking people to take the following day off because we have too many drivers but you're never forced off. If not enough people request the day off they'll team 2 guys up and send them in a sleeper on the long runs. They're short 5 drivers today so I received a text and volunteered to run a route today so I glanced at what's out there. They go off seniority for those who want to work extra so hopefully I get a call. If they had too many drivers today they would be teaming up guys to run a load to Dubuque and Madison WI, then pickup a load at Sargento in Plymouth (Sheboygan)WI. it's a 827 mile trip so it's a layover. I've laid over twice in the 4 months. Which the company pays for my hotel. Once was due to high wind, I had a 668 mile run and after my last stop it was about 50 miles to backhaul. My tandems came off the ground and I had to slowed way down. The other time was a Monday on a 550 mile run and due to a scheduling issue with contract freight I had to wait 3 hours for them to show up. I could have made it back had i still had my 16 hour rule available but I'd used it on Friday so I couldn't again until I had a 34 reset.

Army we have 2 different shifts. My shift the routes could depart anytime between 10pm and 10am with 95% between 12am and 3am. I try to take 11pm or midnight because I prefer less traffic and most days I'll be on my way back to des moines by 7am so rush hour traffic isn't a factor and less cars in parking lots to worry about. I also wouldn't need to deal with vendors at the stores as they're not allowed in until 5 or 6am. We have priority over the loading dock and electric pallet Jack's but I try not to kick others out of the dock as they're just trying to make a living too. Besides, sometimes it's more work to swing around them to hit a dock. Usually I'll get somewhere and nobody else will be there except in store staff which is what I like. It also allows me to get home earlier in the day (usually noon) and spend the afternoon with the family.

Over The Road:

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Craig L.'s Comment
member avatar

Great post and I will surly follow! It seems like mileage pay and stop pay would be better than hourly pay. You are going to be driving and you will probably have at the very least 5 stops a day right? Seems like a great company you are working for.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I did get a call to work, however they asked me to be "on call" instead. When they sent out the message they had told me we're short 5 drivers plus an on call driver. I was the only person who volunteered to be on call. Once they got to me they still had the need for an on call driver and 2 routes. One was that dubuque Madison 827 mile run i mentioned. The other was a 260 mile run to Cedar Rapids. It makes dispatch job much easier to ask me to be on call rather than take a route in this instance. They ended up needing an outside carrier take those 2 loads. Much easier for them to call me wake me to cover a route if a driver calls in sick than scrambling in the middle of the night to find an outside carrier while still keeping it relatively on schedule. I will receive a phone call if I need to work, however if I don't get a call by 7am I likely won't get one. I am no longer on call at 10am. For my troubles I will receive an additional $2 per hour for every hour worked this week regardless if I get called in or not. I volunteered last week as well and didn't get called in, amounted to an extra $100 on my paycheck. Every day of the week there is somebody different that's on call. When they had bid their work schedule for the year certain bids had been posted to be "on call".

Craig said

It seems like mileage pay and stop pay would be better than hourly pay. You are going to be driving and you will probably have at the very least 5 stops a day right?

It depends. The guys on stop and pay have told me stay on hourly if I work sundays due to $30 an hour premium pay. Usually when it trickles down to me there are only a few routes left. On average i do 2 or 3 stores and maybe 1 backhaul but it varies. I've sat at a backhaul before over 6 hours. I made $180 to play on my phone where the stop and miles guy would have only made $25 or $35 whatever their rate is. I usually do the calculations off $30 per stop just to get an idea of what i would have made. The only time I would have made more by the mile is one that they turned into a team route and sent us in a sleeper. We had 2 stores in Omaha, picked up a load of flowers in Omaha then took them to all 7 of our stores in Sioux Falls. The other guy did all the driving and I stayed in sleeper. He hit 14 hours on duty while delivering the last store and I drove us back. I was still paid those hours in sleeper and it was a 20 hour day. I earned (I say that loosely) $600 for that day. Had I been miles and stop I would have made 50.5 CPM of 630 miles ($318) plus $30 per stop with 10 stops ($300) for a total of $618. Unfortunately being 4th or 5th from the bottom I wouldn't make more on mile and stop mainly due to the routes available when it gets to me. I've had quite a few days I took a 1 store run to Minneapolis that takes an hour and a half to unload. That day is typically 500 miles and 12 hours. Being hourly we also are paid our breaks. We receive a 30 minute DOT break and an additional 30 minutes whenever we want. Some guys claim they make a lot more on mile and stop but they're also high in seniority so they have more options that will allow them to make more. Most of this stuff is company specific, obviously it will be different most places.

Seems like a great company you are working for

It definitely is. I absolutely love it. The VP occasionally walks the truck yard as we get back to see how things are going, transportation management even occasionally takes routes so they can see what we deal with to better help us. A big thing for me was within 2 weeks of each other my wife's grandmother and my grandmother passed away. I'd only been there 3 months and was given 24 hours paid time for each funeral. They took my 13 or 17 week average and divided that by 40 hours to get an hourly amount. That is what they pay for 24 hours. For the first funeral I believe it came out to $38.50 and my grandmothers funeral they paid me $37.25 per hour. They do the same calculations for all vacation time as well. We work all holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. We receive a floater holiday for all that we work and OT pay, the only time we will get it. Memorial day I worked 10 hours and made $450. They gave me 40 hours vacation and 3 floating holidays after 60 days and I will receive an additional 2 weeks and I believe 5 floaters on October first, the beginning of the fiscal year. We also receive quarterly bonuses which I've been told is typically 10-15% of our quarterly earnings due to being "employee owned". Due to when I started only 1 week of my pay was eligible for the bonus which amounted to $133. Mid July I should get a full bonus so I will have an good idea however 1 of my trainers showed me his bonus check from the quarter that ended in December and it was nearly $2500.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

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.

Craig L.'s Comment
member avatar

What company is THIS???

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

What company is THIS???

I will tell you but first a disclaimer. All views expressed on this forum are my own and in no way are the views or opinions of my employer or our parent company.smile.gif. Sorry had to do that, company policy haha. My employer is Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI), Our parent company that we deliver to is Hyvee grocery. They're a large grocery chain in Iowa and the 7 surrounding states with roughly 250 stores. Iowans are very loyal to this chain. Our former president at PDI was in his mid 30s and started as a bagger at 14. They promote from within and will fast track somebody they see potential in. Hyvee is very big in helping the community and sent several truckloads of water to Nebraska during the recent floods. Many older people have told me when they turned 18 they had 2 options. Either join the military or work at Hyvee.

0881331001559699387.jpg it's hard to read town names but this is our territory.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rob, just yesterday I saw one of your trucks pulling a store branded trailer on I-40 between Knoxville TN and Asheville NC. I was scratchin' my head, but figured somebody got to go pick up something up from a manufacturer directly instead of having it shipped into your area.

Page 1 of 4 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More