Delivering To Grocery Stores

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Buying a home where we're looking would double my current commute but with cheaper housing and plugging away at our debt the way we have we would be able to live comfortably off a 40 hour work week while still setting money aside. My biggest concern is the highway getting shutdown in the winter, it seems like they shut down I-35 between highway 30 (Ames) and the Minnesota border atleast once a year for blizzards.

Monday and tuesday was spent relaxing, getting errands done and spent about an hour and half each day exercising. I also took my 4 yr old to his first of 10 classes on tuesdays 530-6pm for little Ninjas, an introduction to basic tai kwon do and karate. That greatly affected what I'd be able to take for a route to allow me to still get enough sleep.

I received my phone call around 230pm for Wednesday and had a couple routes to Kansas City that would get me about 13 hours due to the backhaul but they would have required me to wake up at 10pm. I also had a couple 250 mile cedar rapids routes with an additional trailer in town when I got back that I could sleep in until 11pm. I ultimately took what would get me the most sleep, a 3 trailer route with the first one needing to be out of the gate by 2am. I went to sleep about 7pm and woke up at midnight. Out the door about 1230am and clocked in at 1am. Did my pretrip and set off on the first trip in town at 1:30 am. First trailer was just over half a load for a single store on the east side of town.

Altoona arrival 150- 230

Back to PDI at 255.

Miles for this trailer : 24

The guy that works in the frozen section was waiting on his truck so he helped me unload. I've been to this store many times always easy to dock like most of our stores.

after doing my post trip I went to dispatch my 2nd trailer that had a 4am depart. The computer showed a message that it wasnt ready yet so I called the warehouse to check the status. "They're still picking that order, it'll be a while." Wonderful, I asked them what door and trailer number then went to hook up and pretrip what I could so after it was loaded I could look over the back end and hit the road. After I was done with that I ran inside and talked to the loader, they were loading 1 more truck before mine and were waiting on 2 more pallets to be picked. I went back to the truck and took a short 20 minute nap. We receive an automated text message when our load is ready so after I received that I went back inside and dispatched my trip. I ended up leaving PDI at 4:05am. This trailer was roughly half a trailer going to a store in Ames

Ames #1 440 - 545am

Back to PDI at 625

Miles 59

This store only took 30 minutes to unload. They have 2 open docks at this store so I backed in next to the milk guy. When I got inside the night manager told me the dock I'm in is broken. Apparently people refuse to unlock the door before operating the dock plate and break it. The milk guy said he'd move but I insisted he unload first. It's much easier for the store if the milk is in first, otherwise they need to pull all the milk carts out, then the pallets just to get the milk in front. I was going to be waiting anyways so I gave him a hand pushing the milk carts into the cooler as he took them off his truck. As we walked out I seen another one of the Hy-Vee companies waiting on a dock. They deliver health and wellness products locally, everything other than stores in Des Moines metro and Ames is shipped on our trailers with our product They typically only have 3 or 4 pallets that just get put on the dock so I told him take that dock since they typically have 15 stops including backhauls a day spread out over 3 trailers. No reason for him to wait over a half hour on me when he'll take 5 minutes.

Continued....

Rob T.'s Comment
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My next load was definitely the longest with a 7am depart. This was a 3 store load that filled 3/4 of my trailer that had me drive past the store in Ames I was just at but continue west. I had received a text that this trailer was ready about 5am so I wasnt worried about waiting again. We have an onsite automated truck wash that they encourage us to use but no more than 3 times a week to conserve water, so after getting a shiny truck and trailer I left PDI at 7:05am

Boone 755 - 835 then took my 30 minute in the parking lot, went inside and grabbed eggs and bacon for breakfast. It was nearly all 2 lane roads after leaving here with no where to stop. I also just passed 7:30 on duty time which would mean I have my entire 16 hours (if needed) to work with without needing to take a 2nd 30 minute DOT break.

Carroll 1025 - 1100

Denison 1140-1210

Back to PDI 235

Boone isnt difficult backing into but getting to the store has a couple tight turns, mainly this one

0914093001583421883.jpg I need to make a left at this intersection. It requires my tandems all the way forward, hug the right curb AND no cars hugging the crosswalk otherwise it can't be done and I'll have to sit and wait for the next cycle. You really do need the entire intersection (and then some)I tend to get up there about 7 to 730 normally and haven't had any issues. At Carroll the meat and dairy departments helped me unload which made it even easier. It was my first time going to Denison and looking at google showed me it would be....different. This is what I was greeted with as i pulled up 0776259001583422177.jpg the dock is between the 2 yellow poles parallel to where I am on the street. Thankfully there weren't any vehicles parked next to white SUV in the lot so I took the whole street to make the right turn in, then swung left to get setup for a straight back. I had to jump out and open my doors then back across the entryway to get the dock. Doing that isnt ideal but you need to be extra vigilant about watching mirrors. This is an old store so it's much tighter, and the backroom is smaller than our newer stores. When I left I only had 2:50 left on my 14 clock with about 2:15 of a drive ahead of me back. I knew I wouldn't be taking my 2nd break.

Miles for this trailer 243

I had 3 trailers I hauled for total miles 326

Drive line 7:05

On duty 6:20

Total paid hours 13:55 (plus 30 minute break I didnt take)

0649272001583423970.jpg

I'll post my pay for what this latest batch of updates came out to in a couple hours

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".

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Here are my last 2 paychecks which most of my posts cover. I did take a couple days of vacation so its showing my total just a tad higher than normal. Vacation time pays a higher hourly rate than normal due to taking a weekly average and dividing it by 40. Although my hourly rate is $30 I was paid over $40 per hour for vacation. I took 2 10 hour days of vacation and had 3 work days included on it. Our pay week runs Sunday at midnight until Saturday at 1159pm and paid every Wednesday. If I clock in for my Sunday route before midnight it goes to the previous weeks pay. Due to clocking in before midnight most weeks it only affects me if I take sunday off or get stuck taking a route that I cant clock in until after midnight. Here is the paycheck I received on 2/26

0884869001583429146.jpg for this time period I had taken sunday and monday off, then the following sunday I clocked in before midnight so it bumped sunday to that paycheck giving me 3 days of work and 20 hours vacation time.

On this next paycheck it's much lower :

0663161001583429633.jpg

This paycheck only included 3 days of work. The sunday that should have been on this was paid the previous week, and I wasnt able to get a route I could clock in before midnight. 43 hours on a 3 day week is alot! I wish that they paid us strictly for the work completed in that pay period even if it means splitting a day up but that's not how it's done. It has worked to my advantage if I'm going on vacation to have a little extra money that week, but it can also backfire if I forget I'll be missing a days worth of work on a check. This last check was the 10th check of the year. If I continued to work the same amount of hours as I've averaged so far this year I'd gross $85,900 for the year. When the summer hits I'll work 5 or 6 days a week from memorial day until the end of September while everyone burns their vacation time which should push me over 90k for the year.

I know previously there was a discussion about if our mile/stop or hourly choices paid more. We do have a few guys that choose mile/stop but most do hourly. If they're paid mile/stop they're likely putting in alot less hours due to taking smaller stores that are real quick unloads than spending an hour to hour and 1/2. The week before valentine's day Hyvee floral needed help shipping out plants and flowers to all the stores so we had quite a few flower loads. 1 load in particular the driver would have made a killing if he's mile/stop. He had 2 trailers for a total of about 20 stops and 110 miles. I estimate it would've taken him about 12 hours. He's worked there longer than I have, but off my numbers of roughly 51 CPM and $32 per stop he would make around $700 for what I predicted to be 12 hours of work. Hourly I'd make roughly $360. As we often mention when discussing different ways to be paid whether its hourly, per mile, or even percentage the company is going to come out spending about the same amount of money at the end of the year. This guy may have had a very lucrative day but how do the rest of the days in the year pan out for him? I cant imagine the company would be ok with having someone make nearly twice as much as someone else would if they're not making it up by someone making less money on other routes than if they were paid using a different pay model.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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These are a interesting read, it's always nice to see how the other half of the day cabs live.

I've been kicking around buying a house too just not sure if it will be where I am now or in Tucson. I currently only live 5 minutes from my terminal and wouldn't want to be too much further away. After a 13+ hour day the last thing I want is to cut into my time off with a long commute especially come winter time. There are a few guys in my terminal who have commutes around 1 hour and in winter time they end up staying in a hotel since it can take well over their normal hour to get home.

Personally I would try to buy something closer to work cheaper is definitely good but if your miserable because of the daily commute it's not worth it imo.

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.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

One thing I mentioned to my wife is if we do move forward with buying in an area with a long commute is how it'd affect what routes I take. I'd be able to get closer to 40 hours off a 4 day work week and still live comfortable. All winter there have also been routes scheduled to layover that i could take. I prefer being home most nights but if I know the weather would be bad I could take one so the company pays for a hotel, otherwise I would cover the cost if I didnt lay over.

Today (Monday) we had 15 drivers too many and i contemplated taking another vacation day but I've already burned through alot of them for this very reason. Turns out i should have! I only had 3 routes to pick from and took a 3 trailer route. 1 store 3.5 miles from our yard, 2 stores in Council Bluffs, then last trailer was the fulfillment center on the west side of town in urbandale. I woke up at 9pm because first trailer was due out of the gate at 11pm. I woke up feeling pretty miserable but I figured once I got moving it would subside and it'd be a normal day. As I raised my landing gear I started to feel more sick. I tried to take deep breaths but it wasnt helping. I called the warehouse office (transportation isnt in at that time) around 1020 and let them know that I wasnt going to be able to finish my day. I asked them to call the on-call driver so he could get in and leave on time with the next trailer for 1am, and that I'd run this load I was already hooked to. I told them I'd be ok to run this first one but they still called the store and asked them to unload for me so we didn't need to worry about passing on any illness I may have. They thanked me for letting them know as soon as possible, hoped i feel better and that was the end of it. Almost every other job I've worked they've made me feel guilty for being ill. I ended up leaving work after being on the clock for 2 hours, I'll probably use 8 hours of personal time to cover the difference. It's a good thing I went home, 15 minutes from home I started vomiting into a small trash can I have in my car. I got home and seen my wife was dealing with a similiar ailment. Thankfully hers ended not too long after so she's been up with the kids and thank god they aren't sick. I've been in bed all day and slowly starting to feel better but my wife has told me stay in our bedroom since I have it the worst and we don't need kids catching it.

I'm fortunate to be home with a bathroom 15 feet from me. I'd hate to be cooped up in a truck dealing with this.

I ended the day with 7 miles and 2 hours paid before any sick/vacation time.

Delco Dave's Comment
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There is a stomach bug floating around! Few people I know have had it recently. They were only down a day or 2. Hope you feel better soon

Rob T.'s Comment
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Lifes been pretty busy since closing on our house with little side projects. It's been a little over a year and a half at this current job and I still absolutely love it. There are some days it gets boring driving the same stretches of road but thankfully I'm able to switch it up and go a different direction. I now have I believe 12 drivers below me in seniority and most days I have 8 (or more) routes to pick from. 4 drivers below me are on a different schedule with their days starting usually about 7 or 8pm. I know many members enjoy reading diaries about the day to day happenings of people out there driving. My days are no where near as exciting as an OTR driver but I still get enjoyment out of it. I'll take ya along on another journey for a couple weeks. It's likely I won't update it until the following morning when I take break.

Yesterday (Saturday Aug 1st) I opted to take a 3 store 1 backhaul 359 mile run out to Omaha with a midnight departure time. I left my house about 10:15PM (Friday night) and arrived to work about 11pm. After ensuring I had the correct load, pretrip, take the truck through the wash I set out about 1145pm. I stopped on the north side of Des Moines at my typical spot when I head west or south for a beverage and didn't stop again until I arrived at my stores. I arrived at Council Bluffs #2 at 2:05am

CB#2 2:05 - 2:35

Plattsmouth (Nebraska) 3:05 - 3:35

Omaha #9 4:10 - 4:35 then break in their lot

Quality Pork -Omaha (backhaul) 5:30 - 9:30

CB #2 and Plattsmouth each took roughly half a truck of product. Both stores are super easy docking and easy unload. Council bluffs the meat cooler is right next to the dock, maybe 15 feet. Dairy and kitchen stuff stays out because they come grab it immediately to start putting it on the shelves. It was my first time delivering Plattsmouth so when I arrived I asked someone on the sales floor if everything went in coolers. The guy said he'd have someone come to the dock for me. Turns out all I needed to do was set everything on the dock and 3 of the night stockers were taking it all where it goes. Sounds good to me! Omaha #9 was only a single pallet of premade sandwiches, pizza and some bakery items they make at an offsite facility. This store usually gets delivered around 8pm but the product wasn't ready when the truck left so they had us drop it off. I was actually scheduled to drop Omaha #9 as my 2nd stop but looking at where Plattsmouth and my backhaul were I opted to flop them. I ended up waiting on the produce truck about 10 minutes here. Running it the way I did also helped shave off 10 miles. Although I arrived at 5:30 for my backhaul the office doesn't show up until 630am. No big deal, get a quick nap in. I got checked in at 630 and was told they likely wont get to me until about 730 at the earliest. Sweet, more nap time! I ended up going in at 9am and politely asked how much longer it'd be as dispatch called me asking to pick up another load (a lie). He told me they're just about to start loading me and I'll be out of there within a half hour. He was spot on with his estimate. I picked up a total of 7 pallets that was 3rd party freight we got contracted out to haul. Here is what the day looked like as I ran it

0510916001596373967.jpg

I clocked out just after 1pm.

Total miles 349

Driving 6:15

On Duty 7:15

Total paid hours 14 (plus 30 minute break). Despite sitting at a backhaul for 4 hours they will still pay me for the break I didn't take. They're very picky about our logs being 100% accurate and they feel we're not really on break if we could be interrupted at any time while at a customer that's not our stores. This is one way my job is different than OTR. As an OTR driver your goal is to minimize any time logged as On Duty as you're paid by the mile. That's not the case with this job I have.

Total pay $435

Made it back home about 2pm.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
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Today (Sunday) I took an 11pm (Saturday) departure time with 2 stores and a backhaul. I goofed up when I took the route and ended up leaving late with it due to needing my 10 hours off. Not a big deal they just let the store know I'd be there a tad later than normal. I clocked in just after 11pm and did my normal stuff and pulled out of the gate at 1140pm. I arrived at Mankato MN #2 at 305am

Mankato #2 305 - 340

Hampton IA 600-615

Burtek Dry Ice (backhaul) 7am - TBD.

0409055001596377265.jpg The drive was pretty uneventful. Where this particular store is regardless of what way you go there's 2 roundabouts you need to maneuver. One is multiple lanes so it's no big deal the other is a single lane and requires you to use the inside apron. I've been there multiple times and thankfully it's super early so traffic is nonexistent. When I got there the GM Truck was in the dock. No big deal I just backed in and waited for him to finish. He came out about 5 minutes later. As he pulled out I seen night stock on the dock with pallet jacks. Apparently they were waiting on me. I only took 2 pallets off of the 19 that came off, they did the rest so they could start stocking it. Here is the dock at Mankato #2

0025418001596376340.jpg

I back in off Adams doing a sight side back. There's no traffic at this time of day and I'd rather do that than pull in straight and see that I can't get turned around back by Office Depot. I also can't utilize the parking lot to the side as that's where the employees typically park.

Last year a different retailer, Shopko, went bankrupt and shut down. Hyvee has bought several of those buildings and are turning them into smaller type grocery stores called "Dollar Fresh". I delivered to my first one today in Hampton IA.

0848924001596376685.jpg

This store used an outdoor scissor lift to unload their 3 pallets. Here is what I mean when I say scissor lift.

0262814001596376905.jpg I back up until I gently bump the yellow poles. It has a remote using hydraulics to raise and lower the platform

0361906001596376962.jpg it came off super easy. Thankfully the parking lot was empty at this store. As I type this I'm at my backhaul. They told me it'd be atleast 3 hours so I'll finish this update likely tomorrow. Atleast its 65 degrees with a nice breeze. The view is nice, too!

0560715001596377526.jpg

We received word last week that this year we're opening an addition 4 large stores, 4 small stores, 10(?) Dollar Fresh and 10 Fast And Fresh. Fast and Fresh are the company gas stations that serve takeout of the restaurant food found in our stores. Apparently convenience store sales have skyrocketed due to the younger generation not wanting to cook at home and typically want grab and go foods. To capitalize on that they're expanding rapidly into that side of business as well.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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I see HV trucks everywhere in the midwest, every time I travel out here. I'm not surprised they are expanding operations.

Rob T.'s Comment
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I see HV trucks everywhere in the midwest, every time I travel out here. I'm not surprised they are expanding operations.

Iowa and the surrounding states! Some of the locations have me scratching my head how its profitable to run out there but clearly they are or they wouldn't do it. Columbia, Osage Beach MO, Brookings and Watertown SD, Manhattan KS and Kearney NE to name a few.

I ended up sitting at my dry ice backhaul 15 minutes shy of 4 hours. I left there and took my other 30 minute break at the rest stop north of Des Moines, about 10 miles from our yard. I pulled in with about 30 minutes to spare on my 14. By the time I got an issue sorted out with security (trailer wasn't reading in system to assign me a pad to drop it), post trip and finish up paperwork I had a few minutes over 14 hours for the day. I clocked out about 1:15pm and made it home about 2:45 after stopping at the store for some groceries.

Total miles 441 On Duty 6:10

Driving 7:20

Total pay $420

Ill be waking up at 1030pm for a 1230am departure. Tomorrow is a longer day than the last 2 that will make me actually feel like a truck driver. A store in Cedar Rapids and Clinton Iowa, with a pickup at Tyson in Rochelle Illinois. Its scheduled to be about 530 miles. Had I not taken this route I would've likely only gotten a 10 hour day running to Iowa City or putting around town. Instead I'll be closer to 13 or 14.

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