First Solo Adventures Of A Schneider Dedicated Walmart Driver

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Dean R.'s Comment
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Day 0

Called my new boss this morning. I need to be at the Walmart DC in Sterling, IL., at 1000 tomorrow (2-9-21) to start the onboarding process. I'll get to pick my own tractor from the lot. There seems to be a lot to choose from due to turnover, firings, etc. I'll have a used tractor for three weeks or so. In March they are receiving 75 new trucks and I will get one.

I may get to take my first solo run tomorrow afternoon. It'll be a simple run, standard for the first few days.

Peace

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Dean I wrote a blog article a couple of years back that specifically addressed many of the challenges I faced during the first year of running Walmart Dedicated.

Forgive me for hijacking your thread, however I believe the timing is right as you begin your solo journey on the Walmart account...

Here is the link: Freedom of Trucking

Good luck, be safe and remember to “watch your wagon”. It’s tight getting in an out of these stores. Drive the trailer...do it slowly and you will never fall prey to the dreaded “yellow pole dear” or clip a wall.

Looking forward to reading your next entries!

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

My postings did not go as planned. sorry.gif Irs been an adventure. I’ll catch up tomorrow and I sit my 34 at the Flying J in Lasalle, IL.

Wait... why is a Walmart Dedicated Driver for Schneider doing a 34 an hour away from a Walmart DC? Stay tuned to find out. I’ll have plenty of time to write.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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My postings did not go as planned. sorry.gif Irs been an adventure. I’ll catch up tomorrow and I sit my 34 at the Flying J in Lasalle, IL.

Wait... why is a Walmart Dedicated Driver for Schneider doing a 34 an hour away from a Walmart DC? Stay tuned to find out. I’ll have plenty of time to write.

PackRat is in the vicinity.. look him up on the tracker.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, sometimes life doesn't go as planned. I bit off more than I could chew thinking that I could write about my first week's adventures. I seriously overestimated my free time. I used all of my 70 hours weeks in a row. I also had a lot to learn on my own and got myself into a few situations I wasn't trained for. I'll try to recall some of the adventures I experienced over the next few posts.

This was an eye opening experience to say the least.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Well, sometimes life doesn't go as planned. I bit off more than I could chew thinking that I could write about my first week's adventures. I seriously overestimated my free time. I used all of my 70 hours weeks in a row. I also had a lot to learn on my own and got myself into a few situations I wasn't trained for. I'll try to recall some of the adventures I experienced over the next few posts.

This was an eye opening experience to say the least.

Training IS, as training DOES. I hear you, Dean. I recall the days.. aughh..when my other half was out there. We didn't HAVE snapchat, barely text. I'd be happy to get a 'text' that said, 'I'm ok' or 'love you.' LoL!

Keep on keeping on; you're doing it! Correctly!

Love to hear about your situations, at your leisure, good sir!!! All in fun (or education?) of course!

Trucking IS an eye opener.. for all involved, for sure.

Best to you;

~ Anne ~

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 1 - Starting With a Bang

Got to the yard around 10 am. You have to go thru the DC's security checkpoint at the truck entrance to park if you are a driver. No big deal - pull up, get your temperature taken, find a spot. The Schneider office shares space with maintenance and the Walmart dispatch. I reported to my boss Kevin and met my DTL (Driver Team Leader). DTL is a nice lady who helped me a LOT my first day, even helping me get maintenance help. After some formalities ("you are who?") I was sent to find my first truck, "Good Ole Bessie." I knew what was coming, Bessie must have been the oldest heap on the yard.

Bessie wouldn't start. She had just gotten back from the Kenworth dealer. Uh oh. I walked to the shop and asked for a jump. Bessie ran well after the jump, but the air pressure gauges didn't work. Since Bessie was a Kenworth, the shop didn't have the diagnostic tools. The shop is Freightliner tooled. Off to the next truck, a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia. Wouldn't start. The jump didn't work either. Electrical issue. I should mention that the temp was a balmy 0 degrees that morning. On to the next truck, a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia. It had just been cleaned out due to the previous driver being fired for a "loss of control" accident. Started right up, and it wasn't even too dirty. Schneider will fire you for a loss of control accident and dropping a trailer due to not following procedures.

Began moving my stuff into the truck when the boss called and asked if I was ready for my first run. Sure. It was easy. A reefer load to the Walmart and the Sam's Club in Rockford, IL. Only a 100 mile or so trip. I did my PTI and went to find the trailer. Noticed right away that it was a unit I didn't train on, so I stopped near the shop for a quick lesson. Off I went. The trip went really smooth. Took the rest of the day to move into the truck and stock up on food supplies. It was so cold by then, -10 or so, that I let the engine idle to stay warm, even though I had a bunk heater. I wanted to run the bunk heater when I would be awake for a while to check for exhaust leaks. I have this thing about wanting to wake up in the morning. Old trucks you know.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jared H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for posting! I just got my CDL today and I have an offer with Schneider for a dedicated route out here in Washington State - drive Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Nevada during the week. Orientation on 16March

Glad to see this thread 🎉

Day 1 - Starting With a Bang

Got to the yard around 10 am. You have to go thru the DC's security checkpoint at the truck entrance to park if you are a driver. No big deal - pull up, get your temperature taken, find a spot. The Schneider office shares space with maintenance and the Walmart dispatch. I reported to my boss Kevin and met my DTL (Driver Team Leader). DTL is a nice lady who helped me a LOT my first day, even helping me get maintenance help. After some formalities ("you are who?") I was sent to find my first truck, "Good Ole Bessie." I knew what was coming, Bessie must have been the oldest heap on the yard.

Bessie wouldn't start. She had just gotten back from the Kenworth dealer. Uh oh. I walked to the shop and asked for a jump. Bessie ran well after the jump, but the air pressure gauges didn't work. Since Bessie was a Kenworth, the shop didn't have the diagnostic tools. The shop is Freightliner tooled. Off to the next truck, a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia. Wouldn't start. The jump didn't work either. Electrical issue. I should mention that the temp was a balmy 0 degrees that morning. On to the next truck, a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia. It had just been cleaned out due to the previous driver being fired for a "loss of control" accident. Started right up, and it wasn't even too dirty. Schneider will fire you for a loss of control accident and dropping a trailer due to not following procedures.

Began moving my stuff into the truck when the boss called and asked if I was ready for my first run. Sure. It was easy. A reefer load to the Walmart and the Sam's Club in Rockford, IL. Only a 100 mile or so trip. I did my PTI and went to find the trailer. Noticed right away that it was a unit I didn't train on, so I stopped near the shop for a quick lesson. Off I went. The trip went really smooth. Took the rest of the day to move into the truck and stock up on food supplies. It was so cold by then, -10 or so, that I let the engine idle to stay warm, even though I had a bunk heater. I wanted to run the bunk heater when I would be awake for a while to check for exhaust leaks. I have this thing about wanting to wake up in the morning. Old trucks you know.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

My first week started with a bang and ended with my whimpering. During the week I learned so much more than what the TE taught me. Patience is a virtue and an absolute necessity.

You need patience with a Walmart account. It's not like you push the buzzer and people magically appear to let you on the dock. I've waited a long as 45 minutes for someone to answer. Sometimes no one even answers the phone. You have to walk around to the front of the store and work your way to the receiving area and make your presence known. If you don't, it could be a long wait.

Time Management - pay careful attention to your time. Don't let the stores rob you of time. I'll make a separate post regarding this issue.

People on YouTube will tell you how easy it is to dock at Walmart. Not always. When contractors plow snow they dump the snow in the truck turnaround areas robbing you of space. Some stores will also pile broken pallets and bundles of cardboard in your path. This will be highlighted in a separate post also. The smaller Walmart stores will have docks on the side, not the rear. Most at an angle to the store. Blind side backs from a full parking lot. Yahoo.

Ended with my whimpering? I had a store rob me of 1.5 hours time for 3 pallets. Then the next store had all receiving team members on dinner break, while the leaders didn't want to unload me. My 70 ran out 1.25 hours from the DC. Yep, I spent a 34 at a Flying J just over an hour away from my car. Spent my home time at a truck stop. No extra pay either.

I love delivering to Sam's Clubs. They are fast. No dilly-dallying, no delays getting in. The outside door isn't locked and they buzz you in right away. Never had a problem there.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Walmart is your customer Dean and you are paid for each stop. No one is robbing you. You are learning your account and have only seen the very tip of the Wally * World iceberg.

In my nearing 8 years running Walmart Dedicated, I’ve experienced all that you mentioned and a whole lot more. I’d like to make some suggestions on how to maximize your time and be more efficient... however if you revisit a reply I made to you weeks ago; everything written in the blog link included with that reply described most of the challenges you are facing and how I evolved to manage them. I look forward to exchanging thoughts and ideas on this with you.

That said, you must build relationships with the stores, know their back room culture, and note patterns in their operation, good and bad. Over time as you build a database of store and club info; this needs to be included in your daily trip planning. Each store has their own interpretation of policy and procedure, and unique culture. I deliver to rural stores in extreme South Jersey, coal miner country in north central PA and suburban NYC stores... huge difference in culture from one day to the next. I love this diversity, but you must adapt and adjust to them and respect that which you cannot change.

I have a list of about 20 stores that I don’t even bother with the doorbell, or calling... I just walk in and find the manager to assist or go right to the back room. I will also call ahead to stores that always have a congested warehouse, giving them time to clear a path. Many stores divert grocery receivers to the GM Side when a full Merchandise trailer is being unloaded and palletized for floor stocking. There are many stores that require entry on the GM side because no one is on the Grocery Side during a GM unload. For next day dry loads (remix), I will also advance the load to the point if shutting down at my first “next day” stop, if I have enough hours. Thus providing more clock next day.

The stores are all short staffed right now; and want their associates on the floor assisting customers. That is their priority. They also reorganized their management structure to a Team Lead Model... it’s a work in progress. In retail the customer is King. Delivering to Walmart requires creativity, knowledge of their challenges and like you said “patience“. Call your management if you believe you are being stonewalled. Communicate delays...

This is highly different than OTR. At the end of my 5 days I want no more than 6 hours remaining on my 70. Stay positive, and try to project that attitude all the time when conducting your store business. Again...they are your customer, treat them like gold. They will remember you... setting you apart from other drivers who feel the need to impart their bad attitude on store personnel. They remember that too and will treat that unprofessional driver “accordingly”.

Consumer retail is war right now... as a driver you gotta be aware of this and adjust.

I’m happy to help... Peace.

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.

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