Leaving Gov. Job To OTR. Am I Crazy?

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Jared H.'s Comment
member avatar

As someone who started this journey (5 months ago- I just finished my training with Schneider yesterday) towards a 2nd career and complete change of direction after 25 years.... of course you’re crazy- that’s the good part 🙂

Welcome to the forum - you will find a generous amount of advice and information here and the best part you will me amazing people who truly want to see you succeed. 🎉

Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds weird but that’s what what I love to hear. I kind of relate some of the flatbed work to working the flight deck of an aircraft carrier except only a couple hours a day instead of 12 on 12 off for 9 months any weather conditions. Lugging chocks and chains around, securing aircraft, periods of shear terror and excitement followed by a calm while you launch the planes with full ordnance and then wait for the planes to come back and seeing them return empty knowing you did you job. Even the little extra pride of ownership in the finished product of a properly secured and tarped load is enticing. I’m really looking for something more physically and mentally demanding than what the DoD has to to offer me anymore.

Anyhow, what kind of equipment do the Prime flatbed company drivers run? Have you published your experiences on here anywhere? Did you go into it wanting flatbed work and look at all the dedicated flatbed carriers before choosing Prime?

I'm in my rookie year in Prime flatbed division and can answer specific questions you may have.

As for as the physical challenges of flatbed I have had some of the most physically challenging and dangerous experiences of my life in my first year. So be mentally prepared for that.

I have two detailed diaries of training and my rookie solo year.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

Lol. Love it

double-quotes-start.png

I just kind of feel like I’d be drawn into the leasing on my own accord from the delusion of being an o/o someday or having a bit more say in what I spend my days in.

double-quotes-end.png

That is an easy fix....i will show you my pay stubs vs the lease guys. Then show you videos of my students telling how shocked they were that may FM responds to all requests with 10/4. 😂 or "ok no prob"

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.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Welcome, Jason. You can find a link to Rob D's diary here, as well as an in-process account of his solo adventures here. Both are very detailed and full of valuable information. Good luck!

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Jason asks:

Anyhow, what kind of equipment do the Prime flatbed company drivers run? Have you published your experiences on here anywhere? Did you go into it wanting flatbed work and look at all the dedicated flatbed carriers before choosing Prime?

As far as equipment, you run 48', spread axle, 53' movable axle, and 53' movable axle step deck trailers. Your primary securement equipment is 4" inch nylon straps that hook on one side of the trailer, over the load, then into a winch on the other side of the trailer. You will use chains to secure cargo such as steel coils, skid steers (Bobcats and Caterpillar), and structural steel. For chains, you use snap binders and ratchet binders instead of winches. It's just like it sounds. They load cargo on a flat trailer and you need to secure it so it 1) doesn't come off and become a road hazard or 2) doesn't kill YOU.

As far as cargo, pipe (pvc and steel), sheetrock, lumber, steel and aluminum coils, steel plate, coiled steel wire, electrical cable trays, equipment (skid steers, caterpillar tracks, large caterpillar engines and generators), electrical boxes, large AC units, building materials (NCI, MBCI, and Cornerstone), onions, bass boats, etc. One of my loads of red aluminum coils was delivered to the AB container division that they would turn into red beer cans.

I went into flatbed because there is not the waiting times you have for other types of cargo. In fact, it's the opposite. There is definitely more hurry up than waiting in flatbed. For example, the red aluminum coil load, when I called about their shipping and receiving times, when he thought I was a van driver, he said that I would need to stick to my original appointment time. When I told him I was delivering aluminum coils, his response was "you got red tap? You can come anytime, but we prefer daylight hours." Plus, flatbed freight volume is higher across the board than other types of freight. My average wait time for a new load is like 5 minutes.

I did look at TMC and Maverick, but chose Prime because of the reputation and the other types of freight in case I "washed out" of flatbed. There have been ups and downs, but for the most part I am content. I might explore different options within flatbed to avoid some of the OMFG securements that I've had.

Overall, I am making the money I expected. I have lost 20 lbs, and have seen some really great scenery across the country. I spent the day yesterday at Mt. Rushmore and surrounding areas.

Below is a picture of my truck at a county park delivery and then at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

0850762001617568334.jpg

0944563001617568363.jpg

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

Great response!! Thank you Rob. I’ve been reading through your other posts and went ahead and finished my application with Prime. It’s not the only iron in the fire but I’m definitely liking what I’m hearing. Keep up the good work!

Jason asks:

double-quotes-start.png

Anyhow, what kind of equipment do the Prime flatbed company drivers run? Have you published your experiences on here anywhere? Did you go into it wanting flatbed work and look at all the dedicated flatbed carriers before choosing Prime?

double-quotes-end.png

As far as equipment, you run 48', spread axle, 53' movable axle, and 53' movable axle step deck trailers. Your primary securement equipment is 4" inch nylon straps that hook on one side of the trailer, over the load, then into a winch on the other side of the trailer. You will use chains to secure cargo such as steel coils, skid steers (Bobcats and Caterpillar), and structural steel. For chains, you use snap binders and ratchet binders instead of winches. It's just like it sounds. They load cargo on a flat trailer and you need to secure it so it 1) doesn't come off and become a road hazard or 2) doesn't kill YOU.

As far as cargo, pipe (pvc and steel), sheetrock, lumber, steel and aluminum coils, steel plate, coiled steel wire, electrical cable trays, equipment (skid steers, caterpillar tracks, large caterpillar engines and generators), electrical boxes, large AC units, building materials (NCI, MBCI, and Cornerstone), onions, bass boats, etc. One of my loads of red aluminum coils was delivered to the AB container division that they would turn into red beer cans.

I went into flatbed because there is not the waiting times you have for other types of cargo. In fact, it's the opposite. There is definitely more hurry up than waiting in flatbed. For example, the red aluminum coil load, when I called about their shipping and receiving times, when he thought I was a van driver, he said that I would need to stick to my original appointment time. When I told him I was delivering aluminum coils, his response was "you got red tap? You can come anytime, but we prefer daylight hours." Plus, flatbed freight volume is higher across the board than other types of freight. My average wait time for a new load is like 5 minutes.

I did look at TMC and Maverick, but chose Prime because of the reputation and the other types of freight in case I "washed out" of flatbed. There have been ups and downs, but for the most part I am content. I might explore different options within flatbed to avoid some of the OMFG securements that I've had.

Overall, I am making the money I expected. I have lost 20 lbs, and have seen some really great scenery across the country. I spent the day yesterday at Mt. Rushmore and surrounding areas.

Below is a picture of my truck at a county park delivery and then at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

0850762001617568334.jpg

0944563001617568363.jpg

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Jason J.'s Comment
member avatar

Well Prime said they were going to wait to turn my application in internally because they have a 30 day limit on submission to orientation before they have to resubmit everything. Maverick said they'd hear something back on the 13th. TCM has accepted my application and offered me a position pending acquiring my permit. So it looks like it's between Prime and TMC. Both have their perks. I like Prime because I could switch divisions and still stay in the same company plus I like their facilities. TMC seems a little more, for lack of a better word, human. Less likely to just be another driver number and a little more focused on the home time when I want it. Decisions, decisions. First things first though, got to hit the books and schedule those writtens. good-luck-2.gif

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Well Prime said they were going to wait to turn my application in internally because they have a 30 day limit on submission to orientation before they have to resubmit everything. Maverick said they'd hear something back on the 13th. TCM has accepted my application and offered me a position pending acquiring my permit. So it looks like it's between Prime and TMC. Both have their perks. I like Prime because I could switch divisions and still stay in the same company plus I like their facilities. TMC seems a little more, for lack of a better word, human. Less likely to just be another driver number and a little more focused on the home time when I want it. Decisions, decisions. First things first though, got to hit the books and schedule those writtens. good-luck-2.gif

Best wishes, good sir!

Don't forget the HUGE CACHE of info, right here.. the links are phenomenal! Especially when you are ready for your pre trip .. STUDY DANIEL B.'S!

Also, the main thing with TMC (and I'm NOT purporting this as a BAD thing, by ANY means!) is their 'very strict' policies. All around their campus, signs abound; stating "Don't walk on the Grass." Some say it's a myth, others have verified.

Re: TMC .. In their way of 'vetting' potential candidates, they (rightfully so!) feel that:

a.) If you can't READ a sign, you don't belong in a truck.

b.) If you can't FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, you don't belong in a truck. (Especially, theirs!)

Quite a fine company, many are former Marines. They run a tight ship. Then again, as does Prime; sticklers on your work history, for sure!

(Don't know much about Maverick; 'thinking' C.T. started with them; you could search his name for posts, though. Andhe78 has some intel as well, IIRC.)

Wish you well, man. Keep usn's in the loop, please!

~ Anne ~

ps: We still recommend this link: Apply For Paid CDL Training if you've not already been there.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jason wrote:

TMC seems a little more, for lack of a better word, human. Less likely to just be another driver number and a little more focused on the home time when I want it.

Jason you will interact with only a handful of people, regardless of the company you are working for. The relationships that matter are first and foremost your driver manager or driver leader and the planners. That’s it.

As you develop and learn your job, perform it safely and efficiently, the people I mentioned, the ones that effect your day to day business will never treat you like a number. I promise you that!

Driver 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.
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