My 2 Days As A UPS Feeder Driver

Topic 28759 | Page 1

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Banks's Comment
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About a month ago I got an alert from a hiring site that said UPS was hiring feeder drivers in my area. Requirements are 1 year experience, doubles endorsement and no automatic restriction. I put in the application with the assumption that this is seasonal for peak and I'm probably not going to take it, but I don't lose anything in talking to them.

I went in to the information session where they verified my experience, endorsements and restrictions. The HR lady said this is a full-time permanent position. The building is expanding and they are short about 100 feeder drivers. Pay starts at 21 an hour with overtime after 8 and tops out at 40.50 an hour after 4 years. The job is linehaul and anything under 500 miles is paid hourly. They have sleeper jobs that top out at just under a dollar a mile, but the senior guys take those. It sounded great so I scheduled my test drive.

The test drive was quick. They want to see that you drive safely and double clutch when shifting. When I passed my test drive, I went for a physical and drug test.

Fast forward to last week Tuesday or Wednesday, I get a call from the HR lady and she says "you start Monday. Come to this door at 9:45 AM if you have any questions call me". Coincidentally, I have this week scheduled for vacation from FedEx Freight. I decide to not quit FedEx and start UPS to see if it's something I'm interested in pursuing.

I came in on day 1 freshly shaven, which I hate, with the usual jitters and nervousness of day 1. They walk me and 3 other new guys into a class room. The supervisor heading the class tells us we're there to work for UPS and we will spend this week learning to do things the UPS way. He doesn't want to hear about how you did things at your previous job and if you bring it up he'll stop you the first time and discharge you the second time.

After 3 hours of watching videos we were paired up with driver supervisors. We got in a manual truck and we had to make yard moves moving trailers around like a yard dog. At UPS you don't just back under a trailer. You back up to it enough that the fifth wheel is touching the trailer but not under it. At that point you exit the vehicle and check the trailer height. After checking the trailer height you go inside the building to verify that the door is closed and that nobody is in the trailer. UPS lots are chaotic and small. I did fine moving 28 ft trailers, but then we got the 53 ft trailer and I realized, I don't know how to handle them. At the point my confidence was shaken and it was a day of oversteering and cutting my turns too early or too late. Add in the stress of people zipping be you in every direction and I didn't do well. At the end of the day we got reading material to take home that we would be tested on the next day. This was the 5 seeing habits (Smith system), 10 point commentary and other UPS safety material.

Day 2 we went in and started the day out with tests. After the tests, it was back to the yard to do some more backing. I couldn't get the hang of 53 footers. At the end of the day the supervisor and I had a talk. He told me he couldn't pass me if I couldn't back a 53 footer in these yards. He said that if I couldn't handle this yard, what would I do at 43rd street in Manhattan where I have to drive into the building and back it around beams with all the chaos and forget about peak. I told him I could do it and that I wanted to continue.

I went home and thought about it and realized I'm not ready for this. My experience level isn't where they want it to be. I decided to go in this morning on day 3 and tell him I was going to quit.

Quitting is hard for me. I fail things, but I don't give up. I felt it wasn't right to tie this supervisor up until Friday for something I knew I wasn't going to do. After a long conversation he told me that my file would be under voluntary termination and I'd be eligible for rehire in a year if I wanted to try again.

Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell. In the meantime I'm still wearing purple.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

For 30 punch ins (not days), you are on call. They call you and you have 2 hours to get there. The first 5 days of class and testing counts towards those 30 punch ins. After those 30 punch ins you are in the Union and can bid on work assignments.

If you miss a day or hit anything within those 30 punch ins, you are terminated. Pulling a trailer and not checking if the door is closed is automatic termination. There are some others, but I forget honestly.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry to hear it didnt work out the way you'd hoped but atleast you still have FXF

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for sharing, Banks.

That's a bummer that it didn't work out for you. After pulling 28s around, I'm sure you could have got the hang of a 53 in no time. You know what's best for you, though, and at least you still have a good gig at FedEx.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I'll go in on some weekends and set up an obstacle course to practice on my off time.

I'm more disappointed in having to quit than I am about not getting the job. Every thing happens the way it's supposed to. Nothing lost and I learned a lesson.

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.

Dan F.'s Comment
member avatar

I got to tell ya, this is a first for me to anything like this. Maybe it’s because you didn’t do years with a 53 foot before starting with FedEx is my guess.

Almost everybody I know that is LTL says pups are so much harder.

But at least you know your limits so you won’t start the error chain👍

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
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I pulled a pup for the first year and a half. They were nice due to needing alot less room to get it where you needed it but they got away from you rather quick. It took me about a month at my current gig pulling a 53' before I felt as confident as I had with the 28'. 53' are more forgiving for sure but require alot more room to setup. I've seen some LTL yards that are crammed like sardines. Unfortunately with UPS being what many drivers aim for they're able to be much more stringent and don't want to spend the time and resources on getting someone up to speed when they may have 50 other candidates that could hit the road right now and not struggle.

I completely understand the frustration of quitting Banks. It would have been a great opportunity to make more money, have a set route and gain quite a bit of seniority but everything happens for a reason. Hopefully you're able to land your own route soon so you're not kicking yourself in the butt on the docks. Ya never know until you try and you know what you need to work on if the opportunity arises.

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
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

At least you got in the door at UPS that is more than a lot of people can say. When ever I pull a 53 it feels odd to me and results in wide turns. Luckily the yards I take them to have space or I would have the same problems you did.

At $40 a hour now I know why their shuttle drivers only go 50 mph on the highway.

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