Questions About Swift (quite Long)

Topic 8573 | Page 1

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Jeffery M.'s Comment
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I am planning on getting into trucking as a second career. I have done significant research on the industry, types of driving jobs (van vs reefer vs flatbed vs tanker & OTR vs regional , LTL etc.... Swift is one of my target companies as everything I have been able to find about them is generally positive and I live near their Syracuse, NY terminal. I am also very close to a Millis terminal (Weedsport) and am not ruling out companies that do not have a terminal nearby. I realize there are pros and cons to ever company and each individual has to weigh all the factors to try and figure out what works best for them. That is what I am trying to do.

*I am aware of the upcoming camera installation and have read all about it. It does not concern me and I do not want any feedback about that particular topic, please. 1) I read sometimes about load screw ups that seem somewhat egregious to me in the sense I cannot understand how things can go so askew. This isn't just Swift but curious how often drivers experience this with them. For example; You are scheduled to deliver a load at 4 pm, you arrive on time and find out the personnel who do the unloading go home at 3, leaving you to sit there all night until the next morning and other similar issues. Or worse yet it's a Friday afternoon and the place is closed until Monday morning. I cannot understand how that can happen when the receiver knows their hours but I know it sometimes does. Do you receive whatever layover or detention pay you are due when these things happen?

2) Are you 48 state OTR or regional and what are your average weekly miles?

3) Have you received all scheduled raises you were suppose without issue? Did the most recent system wide pay increase go into effect? Any pay issues such as refusing to pay detention, layover or break down when you qualified for it? If so how often is there an issue?

4) How long do you stay out and how many days to you take for home time after your time out? From what I have read you earn 1 day off for every 6 days out. What type of schedule does regional provide?

5) Do you have any significant issues getting home in a timely fashion when you have requested home time and any issues taking all of the time you have earned? If so, how often?

6) I have a pension so I can afford to squeeze an extra day at home here and there. For example I have "earned" 3 days at home but I set my availability out an extra day to get 4 days at home. To your knowledge is that something I could do without issue? My plan is to do 2 weeks (3 max) per time out and then shoot for 3-5 days at home each time.

7) How is Swift about idling? I realize they prefer you idle as little as possible and I understand and agree with that for the most part. However there are some days where it is just too warm or humid to sleep on your break. Do they take that into consideration? My thought is if I just shut the truck off at every reasonable opportunity and did not abuse it that it would balance out somewhat. I am aware of winter time bunk heaters. Mostly concerned about summer time. Also, what effect does idle time have on your bonus? Is it an all or nothing proposition or if your idle time is a little high but other parameters are good do you still get some of your protential bonus?

8) Anything else anyone can think of that I did not consider and mention here?

Thanks in advance for the time of anyone who replies.

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.

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Tom P.'s Comment
member avatar

I run dedicated for swift. Now the otr I really would not recommend. Money is not right often resetting low miles just not worth it. The dedicated accounts well worth it good mileage and pay great dms you have to stay on top of them. The idling they legally cannot say anything about because u require rest n need to be comfortable to gain said rest. Don't worry about home time your going to be a trucker. If u want to be home go bag groceries. This isn't cheap ur gonna go at least a month and a half with pay that will only feed you nothing more. Plus school u earn nothing. Longer u out more money u make. Swift recognizes good workers n will feed them. Be prepared for everyone to tell u every swift joke in the book. Do not get a cb while u work for swift. Oh n they going all automatic so be prepared for that. I got buddies who are otr n not making what I do just do not take the family dollar account just trust me on that.

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.
C. S.'s Comment
member avatar

I drive team for Swift, so my answers won't be the same as a solo but I'll try my best. :D

1) Yes, this can and will happen. Usually not often. I've only had one serious case so far, we were on a JIT load scheduled to deliver at 7PM, the place had closed at 4 and did not reopen until 7 the next morning. Yes, you will get detention or layover in cases like this. You might have to send a Qualcomm message and ask for it depending on your DM , mine has always just automatically given it. It's really no big deal.

2) 48 OTR. Average about 5000 miles a week for every full week I'm out. We could do more, but frankly the burnout gets intense as a team. We don't push for more miles, I've found a happy medium where I'm making plenty of money and still feel like I have a life.

3) No pay issues. We've always gotten detention/layover without even asking. YMMV. Yes, the pay raise came through. We get 50 cents split. In my opinion this is phenomenal for a team with less than six months experience. There are other companies who pay much less, and while money's not everything it sure is nice.

4/5) We stay out for 4-6 weeks and take 4-7 days off. I don't really know how often regional drivers get home. Getting home on time is a gamble depending on where you live and what freight is available. If you have a really important event to attend, make sure you send the hometime request well in advance (2 weeks+), communicate with your DM how important it is, ask for a day or two ahead to make sure you get there on time, etc.

6) As for getting extra days off, it's something you would have to discuss with your DM. They are pretty flexible for the most part, I know a trainer who spends three months out and goes home for a month at a time. So anything is possible, with the right attitude and an understanding DM. However, when you first start, you might want to bite the bullet and stay out for longer in order to prove yourself. Asking for favors when you're brand new and haven't done anything to earn them is a sure way to get put on THE LIST. You know which one.

7) Idle percentage goal is 17% or less. I have no problem meeting it, however as a team it's significantly easier because we're running nearly nonstop so often. You will not be told not to idle at all, just make an effort to keep it down. Most of their trucks have optimized idle which lets you set the thermostat and then automatically turns the truck on and off while you sleep. Idle does not affect your bonus that I know of.

8) They have a pretty cool little app for iPhone (not sure about Android) called InGauge that just came out. Right now the only really useful function is the ability to review and accept loads away from the Qualcomm, though BOL scanning is supposed to be coming soon. No hardwired inverters allowed unless you need a CPAP. Trucks are governed at 62mph for company drivers, Qualcomm tattles on you at 67mph. Nothing else I can think of right now, but if you have any more questions feel free to ask.

Anyways, good luck no matter what you choose, and be safe out there!

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.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

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.

DWI:

Driving 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.

Jeffery M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies so far.

C.S - Yes I understand completely about asking for favors early on before I establish myself.

Jeffery M.'s Comment
member avatar

Bumping thread up to see if I can generate additional replies.

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