First Six Month Solo In The Books

Topic 32422 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, six months and two weeks to be exact. That went by quickly. When I signed on, I committed to one year before deciding whether or not I would stick with trucking. And I'm going to stick with that decision, at the discretion of my employer, of course. LOL. So, until that time, I'm postponing any long-term decisions. There's too much more to learn and experience.

First, a lot of things happened in a hurry. There is no doubt that getting into trucking these days is a quick process. Just as Brett said in his podcast, "you'll be expected to learn and adapt quickly." For me, that's nothing new. In the military, and civilian jobs, seems I've always been expected to learn quickly and perform at a high level right away.

I learned a lot very quickly. I really believe listening to all of the podcasts, and I mean all of them on this website, helped prepare me for just about everything I would encounter. Everything from what to expect in training, and what to expect from my employer, to what to expect from all the irresponsible drivers on the road and at truck stops.

As I reflect on these six months, I think it was successful, I accomplished a lot and could have probably done more. I'm looking forward to the next six months. For now, here are some observations.

In the first quarter, I drove over 25,000 miles and hit all of my bonuses except for mileage. During that time I was in the top three drivers in safety every month. I'm pretty proud of this because I really do believe in safety. So, I'm pretty stoked about the bonus here. I hit the route and fuel compliance goals but fell a little short on the idle performance thresholds. That is not the case now, I'm at the "exceptional level." I went through two breakdowns that took a total of one week of driving away from me in the first quarter, and I drove two different trucks. Otherwise, the mileage could have been better.

The second quarter of my driving went as well. I'm still placing in the top 5 drivers in safety every month. Mileage is improving and more consistent, I usually run 2500 - 2900 miles/wk in five days of driving. But it seems every month I have a low week due to maintenance or the routes I'm running. So far, it looks like I may, I say may have earned all of the bonuses for the second quarter of my driving. One of my goals is to be in the top five in mileage and safety. We'll have to wait for the latest report, but I think I'm getting close. Fingers crossed.

One thing I have to say, although I was warned and had a pretty good idea of what to expect, the time commitment is enormous and can't be overstated. If you want to be successful, you have to put in a lot of time. It seems like everyone wants to burn that 70-hour clock to the ground. It doesn't matter if you drive five days or eight. It just seems like everyone sees that 70-hour clock as something you have to whittle down, even if your mileage is at goal for the week. If anything is a deterrent to driving, this...is...it! I don't mind working hard, but I want those wheels turning when I'm on the clock. As I'm sure, most drivers do. I've had 2990 miles of driving in five days and only 60 hours. Then I've had 1800 miles of driving in 6 days and 68 hours of driving. You just never know. Overall, my company does a very good job of keeping me moving.

Truck stops...what gives? I can't believe the disgusting behavior I see out there. I use the truck stops for fuel and scaling a load. I prefer to overnight at rest stops as often as I can.

Again, I will evaluate the pros and cons at the one-year mark and decide whether or not I will drive a truck into retirement. For now, all is good!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Congrats Man! New drivers should be inspired by this. Its not an easy road although usually a fun one. Hammer down.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations Bill. Keep it rolling

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Inspiring post Bill, especially for those of us just getting started in this.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Congrats to you. That's a huge milestone to reach and still be in the seat. It really starts to get easier from here as you build muscle memory and find yourself a groove and a rhythm.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks, George. It's almost always hard work, but almost always fun!

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Dennis. Long time no talk. I hope your recovery is going well. I try always to be patient and not get in a hurry, especially mentally.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Sandman.

I try not to give advice; not my thing. I will say; I credit the majority of my early success to the support I get from the company I drive with. No matter what I'm asked to do, whether I like it or not, I see it as something that needs to be done for the greater good of the team, or something they want me to do because they want me to learn from the experience. That mindset helps me keep things simple, and it keeps negative thoughts from creeping into my mind. Not that they don't, from time to time. LOL After all, I'm only human.

Inspiring post Bill, especially for those of us just getting started in this.

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.
Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, this just in: I qualified for all bonuses during the second full quarter of my solo experience as well. I drove +33,000 miles in the second quarter, was 46% under max idle performance (top in the Cascadia fleet), surpassed the revenue goal by 12%, and met all fuel and route compliance qualifiers. We have some very high-mileage drivers here who stay on the road six days per week. I only drive five days a week, and about once per month I work a six-day week and am regional. Getting in the top 5 mileage-wise is not going to be easy unless I start squeezing in those Saturdays. Something I'm very reluctant to do unless there is an urgent need or a hot load. Very thankful they work with me on this.

I'm not bringing this up to brag, well maybe a little; I really worked hard and was persistent and disciplined to hit my goals. If you're a rookie, you can do it too. But being successful in trucking is not easy, as MANY here on TT have discussed repeatedly. I am willing to go the extra mile when called upon to do so. I did things I didn't want to do. And I'll continue to do so. I get up every day willing and able to do what I have to do (legally) to make this day a good and successful day.

One thing is for sure, a driver's success depends not only on what they do but what their fleet leaders and dispatchers do for them. Getting loads is one thing, but routing a driver to hit their mileage goals consistently is another thing altogether. It's a team effort, and I'm thankful I always have the support, and I mean always have the support I need to be successful.

Looking forward to the next six months of my rookie journey, I will keep doing what I'm doing, and how I'm doing it, making those subtle changes needed to improve performance and safety - especially with winter fast approaching.

Safe travels. And remember, today is a good day; tomorrow will be better!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Congratulations Bill! +33k miles in a quarter is very good for a new driver. You’ve worked hard and earned it, plus the extra bonuses.

I’m a little jealous wanting to get back out on the road!

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

This topic has the following tags:

Veriha Trucking Advice For New Truck Drivers Becoming A Truck Driver Driver Responsibilities First Solo Months On The Road First Truck Driving Job
Click on any of the buttons above to view topics with that tag, or you can view a list of all forum tags here.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More