A Week In The Walmart Private Fleet

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Turtle's Comment
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After 8 months now of driving for Walmart, I think I have a pretty good handle on how to manage a productive, efficient schedule. The purpose of this thread will be to give you guys a semi-comprehensive idea of what's involved in my daily/weekly activities so that if any of you find yourselves leaning this way, you'll know what to expect. I don't necessarily know which areas, if any, will be of particular interest to you, so if I gloss over an item that you'd like to hear more detail on, just speak up and I'll do my best to enlighten.

It's important to note that the duties or activities of a WMPF driver will be somewhat different from those of a dedicated driver with an outside carrier. For example, G-Town's daily experiences as a Walmart dedicated driver for Swift will likely differ greatly from mine. There will obviously be many similarities as well. You can reference his thread:

A Day in the Life of a Walmart Dedicated Driver

to see the differences.

I'll do my best to update this thread daily.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Turtle's Comment
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The ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) is the most important time here at WM, and must be updated many times throughout the day at each stop. An accurate ETD is critical to keep the goods moving, and to keep yourself pre-planned and in the money. After starting your day, you set your ETD for when you expect to complete the final stop of any given trip.

I say this so you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about in my day to day accounts.

6/22 0500 hrs

Arrive at DC 6096 Johnstown, NY to start my week. My scheduled gate time is 0600.

Upon arrival at the DC, I first go to the locker room where I turn in the dirty clothes I wore home last week and pick up new uniforms for the upcoming week. Then I pop in to the dispatch office to get the paperwork for the morning's trip: a 3 stop remix (dry grocery) load. As of yet they don't have a return trip to a DC scheduled, so I'll set my ETD for the last store I deliver to. Taking such factors as weather, traffic, and amount of stops into account, I guesstimate completing all stops by 1300.

Before putting any of my gear into the truck, I first do a thorough pre-trip, the most thorough pre-trip of my week. You see, someone else uses this truck on my off days, and I want to be absolutely sure they didn't put any dings or scratches on it that could otherwise be blamed on me. Satisfied with the truck, I stow my gear and drive over to the ready lot to look for my sealed trailer. I get a cup of coffee brewing in the Keurig while I do a thorough pretrip on the trailer. Good to roll, after scaling legal and balanced I roll through the gate at 0545. Onward ho!

One of the things I enjoy about servicing Walmart stores is the wide range of locations I get to travel through, from major metropolitan urban areas to rural back road small towns. This morning's trip brings me to the latter. Rolling countryside through small towns may cost you some miles, but it sure is a pretty ride.

Note: Upon arrival at a store, vendor, or even a WM DC, they have 45 minutes to get me loaded or unloaded. Delays beyond that limit pay me $14 per hour. Theres talk of them raising the pay substantially, but I'm not holding my breath. In truth, it's very rare that I have to wait that long. Another of the many things I love about this job. In and out.

0855 hrs

Arrive 1st stop Evans Mills, NY. Live unload 16 pallets. Quite a few vendors parked haphazardly all over the place here but I'm able to wiggle my way through without much difficulty. Before backing down into the pit, I get out and, per company policy, do a 360° GOAL around the truck and trailer, as well as walk down into the pit to scan for any obstacles or debris. Once docked, I walk inside to observe the unload. It's important that I pay attention to everything coming off my truck. Mistakes happen, and I don't want the wrong pallet to end up in the wrong place.

They have all 16 pallets off my trailer by 0930, so my ETD at 3rd stop is still on target for 1300, allowing time for unloading, traffic, and 30-minute break.

1125hrs

Arrive 2nd stop Fulton, NY. Live unload 8 pallets. On the way here I rcvd a trip change directing me to dh back to Johnstown DC after empty, so I'll update my ETD to 1630 at Johnstown to reflect that change. Depart 2nd stop at 1155 hrs.

1240hrs

Arrive 3rd stop Oswego, NY. Live unload 4 pallets. I squeeze in my half-hour break while here. Updated ETD at Johnstown to 1700 even though I'll arrive by 1600, giving myself time to complete paperwork, shower, and grab my next trailer. By the time I'm rolling out of the gate, I'll have maybe 2 hours left on my 14. Some drivers in my position would just call it a day and relax at the DC. Not me. I'm out here to make my time away from home worth it. Squeezing every minute out of my day is standard. I'll grab a "pull ahead" load for tomorrow and be well on the way by morning.

If in fact I did want to stay at the DC for the night I would simply push my ETD out to the morning, allowing myself a 10-hour break. They give us the flexibility to plan our own schedule. Some guys run hard, some guys take it easier. Neither is wrong as long as it's planned.

Made it back to Johnstown at 1545, took care of my business and was hooked to a new trailer by 1630 with 2:30 left on my 14. A rare reefer load. 95% of what I haul out of here is dry van , so I thought it was kind of cool that I could share a reefer load with you guys.

Not so cool, after all.

All three temp zones are higher than they should be. Zone 2 in particular is 47° higher than the set point of -20, and it isn't dropping.

So my hopes of a slamming start to the week have been dashed as I now have to babysit this trailer full of grub while the mechanics diagnose the issue. The only good news here is I'm getting downtime pay, also at $14 per hour. At least its something. I'd much rather be rolling though.

2.5 hours later they finally released my trailer. The only problem is my 14 is now exhausted. So I park the trailer back on the line and settle in for the night. The load isn't due until tomorrow anyway so there's no worries on that front. Tomorrow is another day.

Final tally for the day:

405 miles @ $.51 = $206.55

2 hooks @ $8.93. = $17.86

1 drop @ $11.03 = $11.03

3 arrivals @$11.03= $33.09

3 live unloads @$12.08= $36.24

1 layover $44.10

2.5 hrs downtime@$14= $35.00

Gross day total $383.87

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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8 months already?

NO! shocked.png

Jetguy's Comment
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Neat! Like the details. Do you have a sleeper cab- so that’s where you’re sleeping? So sounds like you work 5 days then home weekend? Thanks !!

Jetguy's Comment
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Also, you wrote that you could have shut down at the end of the day, but instead yoU grabbed the reefer , so you’d be set for the next day. Love it! You then found out you had a freezer problem and were able to take care of it on the first day (plus saving the frozen goods). So now you’re set with a load for day 2. Unless, I assume WM could change- and give you a different load.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

8 months already?

NO! shocked.png

It's flying by.

Do you have a sleeper cab- so that’s where you’re sleeping? So sounds like you work 5 days then home weekend?

Yes we have sleepers and most of us just stay in our trucks. There are some that go home at night if they live close enough. I'm a little too far away for that. Walmart pays $44.10 "layover" pay for every night we spend away from home.

Yes I work a 5-day week, going home on the 5th day. For more info on the schedule options, you can flip through the pages of my Diary. Somewhere in there is a detailed explanation of the schedules, among other things.

Unless, I assume WM could change- and give you a different load.

Yes they could change it up by giving it to another driver, but the problem would still exist, and have to be fixed. I assume keeping it assigned to a driver just simplifies the logistics.

Turtle's Comment
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6/23 0430hrs

Out of the rack for another fun filled day in the trenches.

Yesterday's reefer delay sucked from a productive standpoint, but it allowed me a luxury I don't often have. First, after a brisk walk around the yard in the coolness of the early morning, I was able to grab another shower. Second, I enjoyed my coffee while watching one of the two bald eagles that have been frequenting the area lately. Both of them often sit high up in a tree overlooking the drainage pond, sometimes swooping down to harass the geese looking for an easy meal I guess. No snatch and grab this morning though. Just a fly by.

I pre-trip the truck before rolling over to pick up the reefer again, ensuring that it's operating properly this time, which it was. After pre tripping the trailer, I'm set to go.

Note: It's been rumored the safety managers will sometimes lurk surreptitiously between the trailers spot checking drivers to see if they are conducting a proper pre-trip. I have yet to witness this myself, but have had a manager approach me twice, asking if they could observe my pre trip. "Sure, no problem. Maybe you'll learn something."

smile.gif

Anyway, after the guard checks my seal, lock, and temps, I'm rolling out of the gate at 0545 on a two stop 420 mile circuit that'll bring me back to Johnstown later this afternoon. Having been to both of these stops before, I know I'm in for a smooth ride and a speedy offload. I set a tentative ETD back at Johnstown for 1530.

Another part of the ETD is telling them how much time you'll have available upon completion of your trip. I figure I'll have at most 3 hours of drive time left when I get back, so include that in my report.

And away we go...

0850hrs

Arrive at 1st stop in Rochester, NY. Live unload 14 pallets, a mix of frozen and dairy/deli. Before leaving the DC I studied the load map, so I know exactly where the pallets for each store are located in the trailer. Because certain pallets for a store are sometimes placed in different temp zones within the trailer, we often have to move pallets around to get to the ones we need. Such was the case today. One pallet had to be put aside while they retrieved the others. Remembering to put it back is the key.

Bulkhead doors separating temp zones

0639419001592951550.jpg0667756001592951671.jpg

Again, these guys hustled to get me unloaded in a timely fashion. By 0915 I was closing the door. After some quick math I optimistically updated my ETD, bumping it up to 1500, with 2.5 hrs left to drive afterward.

0950

Arrive at 2nd stop in Geneseo, NY. Live unload 12 pallets. I enjoy coming to this particular store. Beverly, the receiving manager, is always super friendly and helpful. She knows I like to turn and burn, so she always hustles to take care of me. I'd like to think it's my charming personality that wins me favor, but she probably just wants me off her dock. Sadly, she told me that in just two days she'll be retiring. With whom will I flirt now?

Depart 1020 for the 206 mile deadhead back to the yard. I'll have to stop somewhere along the way for my 30. I went ahead and pushed the ETD back to 1530. I'm still pretty sure I could make 3pm, but there's no need to cut it too tight. Any loads going out at that time of day will be a pull ahead for tomorrow anyway.

Cont...

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Cont...

Part way back I got my pre-plan for later. I'm going to the island!

0180141001592952541.jpg

No, not that island... Long Island. I typically make a trip down there about once every week or two. It usually isn't that bad if you can time it right. Since the plandemic has been going on, it's been especially easy getting on and off the island due to much less traffic lately. WM gives us "bridge pay" of an extra $50 per trip down there, so that helps make up for any traffic delays. Some guys even volunteer to go down there on a daily basis. Yeah that wouldn't be me.

I took my 30 at the Indian Castle Travel Plaza on I-90. While there, against my better judgment I got the chicken fingers from Roy Rogers. Turns out them suckers are pretty good. My wife preps my meals for the week, and I usually hit Walmart for snacks and stuff I want. But I haven't had time yet to shop. Yeah I know. I'm a Walmart driver delivering to Walmart stores, and I don't have time to walk into a Walmart? Go figure.

1430

Arrive back at the yard and quickly make it through the guard shack. I drop the trailer in the empty lot behind the building, which feels like it's 27 miles away when you're trying to make time. After topping off the tanks, I grab the paperwork from the dispatch office and go to find my next trailer in the ready lot. Finding nothing amiss on the trailer, I roll through the outbound lane at exactly 1500hrs.

This is a 500-mile round trip 2 stop remix load returning me empty once again back to Johnstown tomorrow. Both stops will be a live unload.

1740hrs

Parked for the night at Ramapo Service Plaza I-87. I'm giving up almost 2 hours of drive time today. But this is basically the last decent parking spot before getting down into the city. To try and go any further would risk running out of hours with nowhere to park. If I only had 15-20 extra minutes of time today, I could make it to a Walmart down there that allows parking. But it is what it is. Stopping early today will allow me to just start earlier tomorrow. Time for supper and FaceTime with the monkees.

Today's tally:

576 miles

1 Hook

1 Drop

2 Arrivals

2 Live unloads

1 Layover

Gross pay $404.04

PackRat's Comment
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I read the Tally Sheet for both days, but I was wondering if the WMPF pays the drivers to shower, too?

sorry.gif

I had to ask.

Turtle's Comment
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I read the Tally Sheet for both days, but I was wondering if the WMPF pays the drivers to shower, too?

sorry.gif

I had to ask.

rofl-1.gif

No, but I do stay on duty while I shower, earning that vacation time while I bathe.

smile.gif

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