My Prime TNT Progress Updates

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Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Finally on the way to Salt Lake City about 17:00 EDT with Robert driving his shift.

Our FM will arrange for us to drop this trailer at Prime’s SLC terminal on Sunday. He will have a pre-plan load assignment ready for us.

The empty trailer that we finally grabbed at last Loc 90 had two old load locks in it. So I grabbed them and put them in the rack on back of the cab. What goes around comes around.

I'm still LOVING your diary, Dennis !!!

Keep ON, good sir!!!

~ Anne ~

ps: If you EVER pass through Ohio.... Load Locks are an 'abundance' at a certain person's locale, hehe!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Anne.

I’ll add a bit more. At our Loc 10 customer in Newark, the Shipping Agent checked us in early at 17:30 EDT for a 21:00 EDT live load. We could park onsite.

She asked us to do her a favor by moving a UPS trailer into a dock. Their yard dog had left his shift early. We agreed to do it, would give me extra backing practice.

This UPS trailer had 3 Crated AC units sitting in front of it. So I had to approach it from an angle rather than straight on. First time that I realized that a trailer can be coupled from an angle. Just need to line up the 5th wheel slot with the king pin.

I was really tired doing this at the end of my shift (off duty doing the crawl). I connected to this old beat up trailer. Ready to pull it and hear a massive air leak.

Go investigate and find that the plastic air line for the red emergency line is completely broken away. I decoupled and parked again. I went to Receiving door to tell them no can do the favor. UPS needs to fix that junky trailer to move it.

A crew shift change had just happened. The new guy asked if I’d move a different UPS trailer for him. I said let’s ask my Trainer if he would do it. I’m done.

While walking to our truck with this guy I noticed a guy at the yard dog tractor. Robert agreed to do it. So we go couple up another trailer (actually I couple up the trailer). Robert is pulling it trying to find a place to turn around so he will have a sightside back. Not looking good. I pointed out the yard dog, so Robert asked him if he was the yard dog. Yes, he was just coming on shift. So we dropped it where it was for him to handled it.

Doing this favor didn’t get us into a dock any faster to live load. It was 22:00 EDT to dock. This delay meant no at to meet our original delivery time of 07:44 EDT in Etna, OH. Robert gave Dispatch an updated ETA of 09:30 EDT. Sales updated the appointment time with the receiving customer.

I arrived onsite at 09:28 EDT and check in at 09:33 EDT. The drive on I-70W through western PA, W Virginia into Ohio was slower going. I made up some time in OH, but had to stop to top off the reefer fuel tank, which cost me ~15 mins.

I watched a very recent YouTube videos by a couple of Prime PSD trainers yesterday. Apparently there are about 200 people waiting now for a TNT trainer. So long as they are “available for dispatch” they are paid the $900 gross per week while waiting. This is costing Prime a lot of money.

The trainer said that Prime is reducing significantly the number of new PSD students coming in to match the number of available qualified PSD CDL trainers under the EDLT law in effect since 02/07/22. Prime lost ~50%! Of PSD trainers. The plan is to revert to the one on one OTR PSD training like I was fortunate to get. I think this is a good thing.

Regarding the truck shortage for upgrades following TNT, it is continuing. It appears that the priority for assigning trucks is Trainers, Teams, Lease/Operators and finally Company solo drivers (me).

Prime’s standing annual new truck order with Freightliner is running about a year behind deliveries due to Covid-19’s supply chain disruptions. Prime is looking at other brands to bring in some new trucks quicker (International and Volvo).

Also holding onto trucks longer up to 600k miles rather than 500k before selling them while still have some warranty value remaining.

So, will just have to wait to see what happens in my case. As the TT moderators say trucking is a performance based industry. So maybe if I continue to demonstrate my commitment and strong performance To my FM , I will be rewarded by being placed higher in the priority list. I will end up in his fleet as a solo driver.

Anyway, I need to focus on getting through the next 3-4 weeks of TNT with my sanity intact.

shocked.png

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Interesting to read your continued updates, Dennis! You are getting your miles in pretty quickly... my 30K took 60 days. I find it interesting that you just talked to your FM... My company insisted we talk every week during training, which was helpful since he's my FM still, now that I'm solo.

Too bad about the delays with Prime. Hopefully things will work out. I got my truck right away (even as a company driver) with Wilson.

I just had a pick-up in Newark the other day too! Exciting stuff.

Chief Brody, good advice about the CAT app and fueling app. Working for "Prime Lite," I think I'll do likewise...

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.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

04/02/22

Thanks Matt for the comments.

I spoke with a new solo Prime driver today at a truck stop in Grand Island, NE. He upgraded in January into a Cascadia Lightweight. He implied that new company solo drivers are likely getting lightweights. The Condos are going to the other priority groups. New L/O’s are waiting a month to get a truck.

I would actually prefer a lightweight. I pre-tripped a couple during PSD training, so I know how small it is. This guy confirmed that it handles easier for backing due to shorter wheelbase for a rookie driver. I don’t need the extra space & storage.

Other upsides are that Prime pays the lightweight driver a 5 cpm premium over the condo. Plus paid vacation is earned after each 85k miles rather than 125k miles.

My trainer implied that it is up to me to reach out to my FM. I was not told anything about a requirement to talk weekly. We ended up talking because I made a “live dispatch” call to him. I will eventually try to meet him when I upgrade. I’ve had a couple messages from him confirming my TNT miles tally.

His primary concerns were that I’m being shown all of the QC macros, trip planning, paperwork processing, etc to be fully comfortable before going solo.

Having a conversation with my trainer today about managing recap hours on the 70-clock to know when to drive and for how long. He says that no body taught him any of this 12 years ago. He learned on his own. So he is trying to share his approach with his trainees.

Driving west on I-80 between Grand Island and Kearney, NE we are seeing huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes. Robert says that he has never seen so many before.

0376336001648924049.jpg

I drove past the Iowa 80 truck stop at 02:00 CDT today. Unfortunately too soon to stop for a break to see it. Maybe one day driving solo I’ll have time to stop.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

I was just there the other day and saw tons of them in the sky.

Sandhill Crane Ribeye of the Sky

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

I never would have thought to eat one, Chief. Where do you come up with this stuff?

However, when I was a kid we used to hunt ducks, geese, and pheasant, so why not?

Pheasant is a good eating bird. I’ve also eaten (and drank) Wild Turkey, very tasty.

04/03/22 I drove from somewhere in Wyoming starting at 23:02 CDT to arrive at our Salt lake City Terminal at 03:30 CDT on 04/03/22 after 257 miles.

This is my first time to this terminal. So Robert got up when we arrived to guide me through the inbound trailer inspection process.

We dropped our loaded trailer here to be relayed to final customer by another driver on Monday morning. The trailer inspector put a yard lock on the trailer because it is a “high value” load.

I went by the trailer repair shop office near bay 47 to ask for an empty. None were available at the time, but they were working on one. So gave him the truck number to call Robert when ready. Got the call at 07:00 CDT.

We’ve been given a new load assignment that doesn’t live load until 20:00 CDT in Logan, UT (~80 miles). So we will spend the day parked at the terminal. A nice break.

This new load is going 777 loaded miles to Carson, CA again for a D&H. We were at this same customer last weekend, so I know the drill. Total miles of 857.

You probably think that I’m obsessed about miles from reading my posts. Well, I am. I want to get through TNT ASAP.

My trainer is obsessed about gross revenue share. He needs $8k-$10k per week to make it as a L/O. Due to his personal situation, He frequently operates paycheck to paycheck. He told me that just during past few weeks he has been able to put back a little bit each week into an emergency fund.

Robert has been working with our FM for 7 years. So they know each other well. Our FM was a former Prime driver and happens to be a senior trainer of new dispatchers. He can’t always keep up with everything that a dispatcher trainee is doing.

Robert hates to deal with the weekend night shift dispatchers because “they are afraid to make any decisions”. Our FM will typically have Robert lined up with a load that carries him through the weekend to avoid this problem. However, it wasn’t to be this weekend.

Two of my objectives were to “witness my trainer’s good communication with our customers and our FM”. So far those objectives are being met.

However, Robert’s attitude is that the FM dispatcher works for him to keep him running to meet his weekly revenue needs. When he starts getting “crappy” little short haul loads like started to happen in Maryland a few days ago, he gets upset. TNT team driving is when he makes his revenue. He wants to run the higher revenue share loads (and I want the coast to coast 2,000+ miles runs where we mostly drive for two days). This last load was a so called “High Value” load with some special procedures. I saw Robert’s revenue share estimate and it was above average.

Robert told me that a couple years ago he had a “man to man” conversation with our FM after the FM had gone on vacation. Robert had been given lower quality loads while he was gone. Robert told him this needed to change or he would be forced to make a change of either dispatchers or company.

Coming into this training, my attitude was that the FM/ Dispatchers and Drivers work as a team. I viewed the FM as the QB calling the play and handing the ball off to the driver to execute the play by delivering the load safely and on time. However, Everyone’s performance is rated by how well the Driver performs.

The TT moderators say that top tier drivers demonstrate consistently that they can perform reliably. Consequently they receive better treatment with “good” loads from the FM (QB). Robert did tell me that he never rejects an offered load assignment. I believe that he views himself as being a “top tier driver”.

For a contrast, the new Prime solo driver that I met in Grand Island had a Company driver TNT trainer. That trainer was chasing miles. He said they averaged 6k miles per week and he was through TNT in 5 weeks. We are doing about 5k miles per week chasing revenue. It will take me about 7 weeks to get the miles done to start the upgrade process.

I explored the maintenance shops building during the early morning hours before a nap. I’ll go explore the terminal building now to find some breakfast and see how it compares to the Millennium terminal in Springfield.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Nice work. You'll be through your miles in no time.

Your team-based analogy is spot-on.

Coming into this training, my attitude was that the FM/ Dispatchers and Drivers work as a team. I viewed the FM as the QB calling the play and handing the ball off to the driver to execute the play by delivering the load safely and on time. However, Everyone’s performance is rated by how well the Driver performs.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

PS correction. The yard lock was placed on the trailer by the inspector because we were dropping this trailer and taking off Robert’s Abloy lock. Nothing to do with being “high value” load.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

The Prime Salt Lake City terminal is a “mini-me” of the Springfield Millennium terminal. Same amenities just on smaller scale. Not near as many drivers here.

The setting in SLC is beautiful with the snow capped Wasatch Mountains.

0351805001649002215.jpg

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

We have been playing the empty trailer hunt game today. None here at the terminal. So asked Dispatch for help to find one. Dispatch checked with Sales. Sales came back saying there are empties at Hersey’s in Ogden! Great because Ogden is on the way to Logan up I-15N where our 01 Loc is located for our live load tonight.

Now we can get rolling again, which will calm down my trainer’s anxiety from sitting around too long.

I’m actually glad to get moving, too. Had enough break today.

I finally bought an Open Comm After Shokz headset today at the company store. I like it because it is lightweight and comfortable with nothing fitting over or inside my ears. I only have one good ear to hear with and this works well. Can still hear what is going on around me, like sirens, etc. The Blue Parrot is very popular and $30 cheaper, but it sits over the ear. Robert has this same brand, so I had already tried it out.

Now I feel and look like a real truck driver. Everyone was walking around with a headset except me!

0451511001649012630.jpg

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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