Newbie Trucker Dad Giving Advice - And Stories

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Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, some of what you mention is just part of the job, we all experience it some of it is not. As a long time lurker here you know we do not recommend private school, Dollar General accounts for rookies or team driving, all of these come with complicated problems which often times cost a rookie his driving career and at the very least have the stressful times that your son "Jay" has experienced. You paid for private school, you could easily have paid off his contract if you wanted him to leave his paid training school.

You notice above that I said if YOU wanted him to leave...I mean this with no disrespect but re-read your post and count how many times you say I, we or us. Your son is a grown man and should be capable of making his own decisions. I'm guessing before he makes a decision on the road including the ABS issue he calls you or mom to help him decide what to do? Why in the hell are you meeting his trainers or co-drivers? Do you meet with his DM and company as well? I get it, you want your kids to be safe and to protect them but it's time for mommy and daddy to back off, your son is a capable, grown man, it's probably time you started treating him like one so he can become one. Please do not be angry over what I just said, it is the truth and you know it. You say you run a business, what would you think of a 20 something that applies for a job and mom and dad are meeting with you or his coworkers when he shows up to work? You and your wife obviously chose a bad company for him to work at, let's hope the new company you and mommy chose for him is better than your first choice, or, you could let your grown son make a choice and apply for a job ON HIS OWN. I can see why he doesn't want to work with you. Smothering is not fun. What's next...lease purchase?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

That your son has made almost a year already is a feat in and of itself. My advice? Have him come here. Why you didn't point him here yourself if you've known about this forum for so long is absolutely beyond me. He is exactly the sort of person we are all here to help.

Harvey C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies. Our son avoids all forms of social media, including forums. Not sure why. Music videos and ebooks are his thing.

Mikey, yes we wanted him to leave and we had encouraged him to stick it out for several months. He wanted to quit after two weeks on the Dollar General account. Besides some of the other hassles, he body ached from all of the physical work. But he got over that and is stronger.

Old School, he is driving for a major carrier and was doing OTR but as a team driver which is what they required. He only switched to Dollar General as that is the only thing they offered him. Don't know if they would have offered him anything more if he had gone to their school but it doesn't seem likely. I know the standard advice here about going to company school. By going to a local private school he got a better idea if this is something he wanted to pursue and we thought it might give him more options, but maybe that wasn't correct. Many people go to company school because they don't have the money that. We still had plenty of funds in his college education fund and it wasn't an issue for us.

Part of his problem is the lack of prior work experience, some better companies would not hire because of that.

He's slept many nights in an unheated sleeper. No APU and engine shuts off. In his last team driving leg he and his good partner figured out how to keep the engine running on an older truck. Someone said that nothing stood out as out of the ordinary but I read of folks here giving advice on heater controls on the Cascadia. If only he were so lucky.

Our son didn't report the punch to his DM even though we and his next team driver encouraged him to do so. He just didn't want to cause problems, he said. He just told his DM that the guy yelled too much (which he did).

Having some weeks with only $450 of income is unreasonable. Spending an entire day getting an inspection done at Loves and getting paid $0 is crazy but some thing that isn't out of the ordinary? It seems unreasonable for Dollar General to expect their own 53' trailers to be able to get into about a third of their lots.

The change is our son's choice and he's excited about it. We had encouraged him to stick it out, probably longer than we should have, but had told him he would have more options after one or two years. He will be going to a dedicated route between two warehouses, about 700 miles apart. He would like to see more country but this is much more predictable work for now and he was told he could switch to another position in the company later if he gets bored. He gets a $3,500 hiring bonus paid over 4 months. Some drivers report on the company's Facebook page that they've been driving for 16 years, etc. and that this is the best company they've worked for wile others complain that they get pushed too hard. His new company doesn't get talked about much here, I can report back my son's thoughts after a couple of months.

Thanks for your feedback above.

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."

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.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Its really hard to take this thread at face value, but for the moment I will. Assuming you as a parent are Gen X, and your son is a Millennial or there about. Helicoptering your child in any shape is symptomatic of the catastrophic system failure occurring in the US. Having hired and more so fired countless millennials, mostly due to their entitlement minded, soft and weak nature and overbearing parents raising them. I have no idea why, we as latchkey kids, that were generally left outside to fend for ourselves, and as a generation that brought us the modern connected world bridged with the analog tough world brought about the softest weakest generation in existence. Just an observation, pardon my rant.

If, as you say, you had been lurking here, reading posts, even the most cursory scan of posts would have highlighted which path your son should have taken. This site is almost dedicated to the point of obsession on going with company paid CDL training over private schooling. On not taking a Dollar General account as a new hire, On NOT team driving as a rookie, On how to manage conflicts with trainers, and so much more.

Perhaps you need to flat out tell your son to start making some choices he may not like, as in taking advice from members in this community (not myself) who have the experience to back up their recommendations. Maybe he should get over his fear of social media and forums and engage in this community, might help.

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.
Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies. Our son avoids all forms of social media, including forums. Not sure why. Music videos and ebooks are his thing.

Mikey, yes we wanted him to leave and we had encouraged him to stick it out for several months. He wanted to quit after two weeks on the Dollar General account. Besides some of the other hassles, he body ached from all of the physical work. But he got over that and is stronger.

Old School, he is driving for a major carrier and was doing OTR but as a team driver which is what they required. He only switched to Dollar General as that is the only thing they offered him. Don't know if they would have offered him anything more if he had gone to their school but it doesn't seem likely. I know the standard advice here about going to company school. By going to a local private school he got a better idea if this is something he wanted to pursue and we thought it might give him more options, but maybe that wasn't correct. Many people go to company school because they don't have the money that. We still had plenty of funds in his college education fund and it wasn't an issue for us.

Part of his problem is the lack of prior work experience, some better companies would not hire because of that.

He's slept many nights in an unheated sleeper. No APU and engine shuts off. In his last team driving leg he and his good partner figured out how to keep the engine running on an older truck. Someone said that nothing stood out as out of the ordinary but I read of folks here giving advice on heater controls on the Cascadia. If only he were so lucky.

Our son didn't report the punch to his DM even though we and his next team driver encouraged him to do so. He just didn't want to cause problems, he said. He just told his DM that the guy yelled too much (which he did).

Having some weeks with only $450 of income is unreasonable. Spending an entire day getting an inspection done at Loves and getting paid $0 is crazy but some thing that isn't out of the ordinary? It seems unreasonable for Dollar General to expect their own 53' trailers to be able to get into about a third of their lots.

The change is our son's choice and he's excited about it. We had encouraged him to stick it out, probably longer than we should have, but had told him he would have more options after one or two years. He will be going to a dedicated route between two warehouses, about 700 miles apart. He would like to see more country but this is much more predictable work for now and he was told he could switch to another position in the company later if he gets bored. He gets a $3,500 hiring bonus paid over 4 months. Some drivers report on the company's Facebook page that they've been driving for 16 years, etc. and that this is the best company they've worked for wile others complain that they get pushed too hard. His new company doesn't get talked about much here, I can report back my son's thoughts after a couple of months.

Thanks for your feedback above.

And again with the we wanted, we did. I don't know your or your son but it's time he mans up and does his job searches himself. His bad experiences at the first company...all of it is just as much his fault for letting mommy and daddy do the job searches and whatnot for him as it is yours. He may not like social media and forums....so freaking what!!! BooHoo, cry me a river. Grow up "Jay" stop making mommy and daddy do it for you then complaining about the results. To be an adult I've had to do things I didn't like or want to do because it's what adults do. The sooner you and mom as well as Jay understand this and take it seriously the better off jay will be. To a degree it's hard to take this seriously, a good descriptive word for you and mom is ENABLERS, for jay its LAZY? IMMATURE? INEXPERIENCED? I don't know for sure but you need to stop micromanaging your son's life regardless if he wants it or not. If you think I have it wrong well I'm just going by life experiences and what you are writing. Now you and mom have done the work for jay yet again and found him another company. Does he even have to apply online or do yall fill out his application as well? As far ar the job experience, if you have some people in the know write a letter explaining that he has been in college and working part time at your company most better companies will still accept him but you and mom need to stop doing everything for him. How do you expect him to survive on his own if he doesn't know how to do anything on his own? If you stop doing everything for him, just like the soreness from manual labor on the Dollar General account made him stronger, his mind will get stronger. $450 paychecks are just fine if you are only doing $450 worth of work, besides, he still has the college fund if he needs more money, I'm sure with one phone call you would happily deposit money into his account. Yall have some tough times ahead, all of you, no matter what though you and mom need to make jr do for himself for HIS sake as much as yours. He is not 8 years old, he should be able to research a job on his own. He should be able to make these decisions on his own. If he wanted to quit 2 weeks into Dollar General account the he should have done it. At his age, sink or swim should be the only choices.

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."

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.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Its really hard to take this thread at face value, but for the moment I will. Assuming you as a parent are Gen X, and your son is a Millennial or there about. Helicoptering your child in any shape is symptomatic of the catastrophic system failure occurring in the US. Having hired and more so fired countless millennials, mostly due to their entitlement minded, soft and weak nature and overbearing parents raising them. I have no idea why, we as latchkey kids, that were generally left outside to fend for ourselves, and as a generation that brought us the modern connected world bridged with the analog tough world brought about the softest weakest generation in existence. Just an observation, pardon my rant.

If, as you say, you had been lurking here, reading posts, even the most cursory scan of posts would have highlighted which path your son should have taken. This site is almost dedicated to the point of obsession on going with company paid CDL training over private schooling. On not taking a Dollar General account as a new hire, On NOT team driving as a rookie, On how to manage conflicts with trainers, and so much more.

Perhaps you need to flat out tell your son to start making some choices he may not like, as in taking advice from members in this community (not myself) who have the experience to back up their recommendations. Maybe he should get over his fear of social media and forums and engage in this community, might help.

yeah, he needs to join the Army. Kill people, break things will straighten him up.

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.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

A lot of what you mentioned is part of trucking and life in general. Break downs, delays and similar happen at every company. Equipment defects will be ignored by some drivers only for the next driver to deal with it, sometimes stuff will just brake without warning especially electronics.

As far as dollar stores I agree when they design their locations they do not care about being able to getting a truck into them which is why a new driver should never agree to work that account.

If he changes companies every time something happens he will never be happy.

Harvey C.'s Comment
member avatar

To clarify one thing, I did not start watching this forum until after our son decided on a local private training school last February nor read about Dollar General dedicated accounts until after he had accepted that assignment. He was so eager to get right back to driving after his former partner left with their truck that he took the first assignment offered to him. He had signed up for others with the company four months ago and has added more in the months since then but he hasn't been offered any of those so it seemed reasonable for me to search a bit for him since I have more free time right now (my business work is very seasonal).

Several comments here make some unreasonable assumptions, IMO. The choices Jay has made are his own.

Davy, I'm 63, not generation X. My first job was about 53 years ago and at age 15 I had two jobs and worked 80-100 hours a week during the summer. I always have taken on opportunities for work and Jay thinks we're workaholics and he's correct. Our son doesn't feel entitled and we've made it clear that he has to earn things for himself and needs to save as much money as he can when he is young so he doesn't need to work hard when he is old. I continue to work hard even though I can retire very comfortably and that is because of the work ethic passed on by my father who only retired at age 75 because my mom was battling cancer. I also managed affairs for my father for about 19 years until he passed away, he certainly didn't feel entitled, he worked harder than anybody I know and he loved it. I also manage affairs for an aunt who is not competent. I am now managing affairs for an older brother to carry out wishes of my parents. So I am used to helping others out but calling me an enabler is dead wrong. Jay is presently saving most of his earnings now. I agree with you in general about younger generations.

Mikey, we are not micro-managing Jay's life. He has certain skill sets that are different than ours or yours and that is different for everyone. He filled out his job application himself, I just shared a link with him when he got back from a route last week. He wants to work more than the work his current employer has been giving him. The attitude that $450 is enough because that's all the work he did doesn't cut it. The job position is still advertised with an average earnings way above what any drivers in the fleet make. Making enough to get by isn't adequate. Jay likes driving a lot and has squeaky records, doesn't drink, smoke, etc. This next company will hopefully be one he can retire with.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

A lot of what you mentioned is part of trucking and life in general. Break downs, delays and similar happen at every company. Equipment defects will be ignored by some drivers only for the next driver to deal with it, sometimes stuff will just brake without warning especially electronics.

As far as dollar stores I agree when they design their locations they do not care about being able to getting a truck into them which is why a new driver should never agree to work that account.

If he changes companies every time something happens he will never be happy.

Jay is actually pretty flexible with things and loves the job most of the time. This Dollar General account doesn't seem like a good job for even experienced drivers with too many impossible parking lots. Jay accepted the position too quickly and needs to learn to be more patient but he is young and eager. Dollar General is expanding at a very fast pace, often converting stores in areas with small lots. I considered buying stock in the company because of the growth prospects but not after learning of many inefficiencies.

On a positive note, twice Jay got a $500 bonus on this account but even his DM didn't know why. Still, his average weekly pay was just a little over $900. He will go from 39 cpm to 51 cpm (plus 2 cpm if makes all deliveries on time). He presently sleeps over half the time parked in back of a DG store with limited food options and no restroom. That should also change.

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.

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.

Jared H.'s Comment
member avatar

This is one very oddly detailed thread about another person. And it’s kinda creepy. If this is real- 😳

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