Team Driving At Prime

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Johnboy's Comment
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Hello All,

I’m new to the trucking industry and a new member to the site, however I’ve read a bunch of the forums before embarking on this journey so I’d like to thank all of you for putting helpful information out there for guys and gals like me.

So I just recently finished my Prime Tnt training program and upgraded to Company team. I did not want to jump into a lease without getting experience (as per countless online advice) so I figured to maximize income as company driver I’d go team. Besides having difficulty getting along with my team member here is the main problem...

We are averaging 3500-3700 miles a week....every load we get has about 24 hrs of sitting time worked into it before our appointment time. It’s like they are calculating driving windows by us driving 45 mph?!?During training we rarely got below 4500 miles. Usually averaged 5500.

Now I know it’s my first year in trucking and I should be realistic about how much money I am going to make and focus on gettting safe experience on the road and keeping my nose clean.... but this mileage seems extremely low for a team. If there are any Prime company teams or others out there that could help me figure out what’s happening I’d be grateful.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Now I know it’s my first year in trucking and I should be realistic about how much money I am going to make

Welcome John! That's a good approach to this. This following statement has me puzzled though...

I did not want to jump into a lease without getting experience (as per countless online advice) so I figured to maximize income as company driver I’d go team.

You've demonstrated three common misunderstandings about trucking. The first one is that you'll make more money as a lease operator. Secondly is that after you have experience leasing is a good idea. And that third bit of false information is that a team driver makes more money than a solo driver.

I'm not sure where you're doing your research, but I'll warn you there's a lot of really bad information online. You've obviously stepped deep into some of it.

Realistically you should make between 40,000 and 45,000 your first year. It's possible to do a little better, but those numbers are a pretty good average. Going lease or team isn't going to change that, and more than probably will make it worse. So... I personally think you made a blunder that you might want to go ahead and correct.

You're focused on trying to find the right type of trucking situation that will maximize your income. Big mistake! Here's how you make the hig bucks in trucking. You focus on being the most productive driver that you can be. It's very simple. It has nothing to do with teaming, leasing, or even which company you are at. All the focus is on you and how you get the job done.

This career is performance based. Our pay is performance based. Team drivers and lease drivers are still dependent on their performance, yet they have extra variables that can hurt their bottom line. Solo company drivers have only themselves to blame for their success or failure. They have much more control over their results. Personally, I'd get myself on a solo truck and start figuring out how to be a top performer.

Here's a few articles that might help you understand what I'm talking about.

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

Hanging With The Big Dogs

Show Me The Money

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob D.'s Comment
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Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi and welcome to the forum.

You said "recently"... how recent? 3 weeks, three months?

Is your team mate also new?

Just as solo drivers need to prove themselves, so do teams. Especially brand new drivers. TnT was not the same type of team situation because the trainer was in control and had a proven safety and on time delivery record. For example, Fedex loads are a high priotity type of load. My guess is that I, a driver of 4 years with no service failures and accident free, would get a Fedex load in TnT training over your truck with 2 A seat drivers. It is a business decision.

There are a couple things that could be an issue.

1 ) Are either of you logging "On Duty" for hours while getting loaded and unloaded? I saw this happen with a new team and because the one kept needing 34's to replenish his clock, the miles were low.

2) Are you taking advantage of drop yards? You can drop a trailer at a yard as long as you do it 24 hours early Teams doing this at Fontana CA, Denver, and Dallas are usually required to run a local load after. Either way, it keeps you running.

3) Are you asking for a new load or just waiting? The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Build a relationship with your fleet manager. They get paid by the mile also, so letting him know you are ready to go will help. Often new drivers, especially teams are exhausted. The FM may be trying to give you a break since most run hard in TnT. Or he may be gauging what you can handle. Pushing a team of 2 new drivers could cause an accident. Ask the FM what he expects. For example, I am always preplanned, and if i need time before loads, i tell him before the next preplan. "Hi, i need extra time on break for laundry. grab me a later load please." He expefts me to tell him my needs, including "Hi i need more miles, my loads have all been short the past couple weeks".

They should be dispatching you at 50mph, plus breaks. As you both gain experience, the loads will get harder.

Also understand that teams do not always make more money. It sounds like they would, but it depends on tge team and miles.

Check out my article. I know drivers who did what you did, but made more once they went solo and didnt have to deal with the other person.

Remember, the lightweights start at 49cpm for reefer , and get an additional 5cpm for northeast loads, and other bonuses. Many new drivers in LWs are averaging 55cpm. that is pretty good.

Even at 2200 to 2500 miles, that is $1200 to $1375 per week. Inhavent looked at the team rates in awhile, so i have to go look it up to compare.

Dispelling the Myths of Team Driving

Fm:

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Johnboy's Comment
member avatar

Old School,

Thanks for the insight and advice. I gotta say the performance based pay is why I got into trucking. I was getting tired of doing 75% of the work on a factory floor and getting 25% of the pay. I’ve always been a hard worker I just gotta learn how to be a smart one haha. I’m fully committed to being the best performer I can be and to be honest I have found that difficult working around a second person in the truck. For instance. My teammate has already scraped up the steps on the passenger side door on a scale at a shipper. Not stoked on that. And he is the guy who has more experience in the team. He also did This 2 hrs after lecturing me on how to enter scales. Hmpf....? I full heartedly agree that I came into this with some misdirection and misinformation. My worry now is that asking to hop off the truck and switching to my own truck so soon after upgrading could mark me as a complainer or as a “trouble maker” . So I might stick it out a couple months . At least a month. Any opinions on that? Thank you .

Ps thanks for the articles. Very helpful.

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.

Johnboy's Comment
member avatar

Rainy,

Hello . Thanks for the response. We are two weeks in so I can see why the mileage might start off low. But we have been communicating with dispatch and have only been able to drop a load at one drop yard in Texas cus we were 2 days early. Im not complaining about pay rate I just know that there are people out there who can run these loads solo. Ya know? I hear everything you’re saying about pushing new teams too hard. I’m just gonna have to wait and see what happens and perform as best as I can. But I’m also starting to realize that it may be better for my career In the long run to go solo so I can get my “trucker legs” without relying on a team member. I’m also getting worried about someone else’s mistakes affecting my career. Thanks! Much appreciated

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
My worry now is that asking to hop off the truck and switching to my own truck so soon after upgrading could mark me as a complainer or as a “trouble maker” .

On the contrary, it can mark you as someone who recognizes a failing situation and acts on it. Sticking it out for a little while longer won't hurt, if you want to get a true taste of what team driving is like. However, come to grips with the fact that you will not make more as a team driver. In fact, you'll likely make less. Think about those 5K weeks in TNT. That only equates to 2,500 miles for each team member. While respectable, those miles are still less than a good solo company driver can do.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Johnboy's Comment
member avatar

Turtle, You got a point there turtle. I’ve got some home time coming up at the end of the month So I’ll make a decision then and probably do one more month of teaming while I wait for a truck. Don’t wanna sit around without a paycheck. Thanks for the response

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I agree with turtle. Going solo as opposed to continuing to team in a non productive situation is a no brainer. Nobody is going to label that as being a trouble maker or complainer. It looks more like a guy that wants to make a go of this. Go for it - you'll be able to figure this stuff out better on your own.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

If you’re thinking of going solo, don’t wait. Let your DM know now so he get the wheels turning for getting you a truck of your own.

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.
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