13 Months Driving OTR Is Over!!!

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Terry C.'s Comment
member avatar

Yesterday was one of the more joyful days of my life! I woke up at the Campus Inn at 0700, got on a shuttle to the airport at 0900 and was home in Florida by 1500. To stay. I don't have to drive another mile OTR and I couldn't be much happier! Prime has been a very good company. I recommend them to anyone wanting to drive OTR.

I took the job to get "recent" experience to qualify to get a local job here in Florida. Of the 3 companies here in my area, none of them would even talk to me about working there, (I've had a CDL for 21 years but didn't drive tractor/trailer the previous 14) until I had 1 year OTR experience. Well after 13 months I have done that and will be starting a job driving local when I get back from vacation in Jamaica on the 17th of this month.

I'll update the company I'm going to work for later, after I've hired on. I don't want to jinx anything yet but I'm 95% confident I'll work for the company I've been trying to get on with since I move to Florida 2 years ago. If not there is a Trader Joes DC opening next month in Daytona Beach that will be hiring over 120 drivers. Either way my days of OTR are over!!

It's been very rough on my family. I have a 9 and 7 year old that have been having a hard time dealing with me being gone for weeks at a time, only to return for 3-4 days and back out again. My wife is beside herself with my return.

I have much respect for you guys that do the OTR thing year after year. It's a lifestyle that is great for the ones that love it. For me it payed the bills at home but was not something I was finding too "joyful." But I made the most out of it, making "Fleet driver of the month" for the month of June in the process.

For now I've got to get unpacked and repacked for the 6 days we're spending in Montego Bay Jamaica, leaving this Saturday. I need a nice vacation after year of being gone, to reconnect with my wife and kids again.

Again I don't have a negative thing to say about Prime. They are a good company to anyone starting out there career and for anyone that's been doing it for years. (if you can handle the 62 mph company trucks you can't drive more than 58 if you want to make good fuel bonuses.) It's been a ride ya'all! I'll be talking to you from here on out as a "Local driver!"

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.

Terry C.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Here's an update on my endeavors since leaving Prime over a month ago. I left Prime with the intention of getting a local job so I could be home every night. I had a plan but not much of a "concrete" plan of attack. Only a strong internal belief that things would work out. I truly believe in my heart that things will work out and so far they have but not quite the way I imagined it. But nevertheless here's the update:

The company that I set my sights on here in Daytona is US Foods service in Port Orange, FL. I've been applying with them 10 times over two years and have never even got a response from them other than, "Thank you for your interest in US Foods. At this time we are not moving forward with your application." Well two weeks before I quit working for Prime I finally got an interview with USF. I felt the interview went well and felt confident I'd get on when I got back from vacation in Jamaica. However what I didn't pay enough attention to was when the hiring manager told me that "Generally drivers coming from OTR don't work out well in a delivery position here. It is a very labor intensive job with a huge emphasis on customer service and not so much geared at delivery. I didn't get the job directly at USF. HOWEVER.....I found an add for a driving position in Port Orange through a temporary driving company. (Moments Notice Truck Driver Leasing) I called and talked to them knowing that there is only 1 food service place in Port Orange. I applied and was hired. I took the drug test before leaving for Jamaica and started with them after completing a road test...(at US Foods) the day after I came back. I reported to work at US Foods the next day. The past 3 1/2 weeks I've been going out on routes with USF drivers as a "helper" and in some cases a "co-driver" as they have some long routes that go all the way to southern Florida and take too many hours for one driver to complete in a 14 hour day. I've also done some shuttle driving from the DC in Port Orange to drop yards in Boca Raton, Davenport and Tampa FL. Either way I'm getting experience at the company I set my sights on.

Here's what I really wasn't ready for. I know I got out of shape in the 13 months I spent OTR. But oh my Lord I didn't think I was that out of shape. The routes I go on average 15 hours and hand deliver between 1000-1500 cases of food a day. You use a hand cart to stack the boxes on and wheel them down the tight ramps and into restaurants. My first week I was second guessing my decision to work at USF. But I figured (at the advice of every driver I've been with) to stay with it as I'd get used to it. Well I have. I'm getting into shape and developing a good work ethic with the USF drivers. USF can hire me full time from the temp agency after I have 500 hours worked with them. And every driver told me that the chances of getting hired on full time are much much greater if you can do a good job in the route delivery aspect of the job. There are many temps that have been driving the shuttle routes for USF but haven't been hired on full time because they don't want the hard labor aspect of the job. I look at this as a challenge I can overcome if I put my mind to it.

As far as the Trader Joe's opportunity..that has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I interviewed with Trader Joe's in April when they had a job fair in Daytona Beach. I went with the intention of applying for a driving position but found out when I showed up that they weren't even hiring drivers at that time. That was supposed to come later. Trader Joe's is using an outside staffing agency to hire their warehouse positions. That agency told me to "keep calling to find out when they will hire drivers" as they didn't know exactly when that would be. Turns out it was kind of a secret. Trader Joe's is using a trucking company to do their deliveries for them. The staffing agency didn't tell me that. I didn't find out about that until I started seeing NFI trailers parked at the DC. So I called NFI to apply for a position there and low and behold they have filled all positions there. I don't know why it was being kept so quite as to who was doing their deliveries. Either way I'll be applying with NFI to try and get on if need be down the road.

So here's the lesson to be learned for anyone wanting to transition from OTR to local. If the job you want is labor intensive, the company has cold feet hiring OTR drivers. There's a huge difference between holding a steering wheel 11 hours a day to actually making 15-20 stops a day and hand delivering product. You'll really have to go out of your way to convince them you're up to the challenge. In my case I found a temp agency to kind of "audition" my skills so hopefully get a full time job at USF later. I have a great work ethic and KNOW I will get hired there if I keep up a good attitude towards it.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Scott M's Comment
member avatar

Terry- Love your posts and looking forward to more in future. Neat plan too- if local driving job doesn't work, can go to Trader Joes- I have friends that love shopping at Joes.

I too quit Prime. In the future I would go back there. I was real impressed with Orientation.

Good Luck

Any pictures of Jamaica would be swell.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations on finding a job that suits you and your family better! I have always enjoyed reading your comments here, and look forward to reading about things from your new point of view.

Joshua C.'s Comment
member avatar

Yesterday was one of the more joyful days of my life! I woke up at the Campus Inn at 0700, got on a shuttle to the airport at 0900 and was home in Florida by 1500. To stay. I don't have to drive another mile OTR and I couldn't be much happier! Prime has been a very good company. I recommend them to anyone wanting to drive OTR.

I took the job to get "recent" experience to qualify to get a local job here in Florida. Of the 3 companies here in my area, none of them would even talk to me about working there, (I've had a CDL for 21 years but didn't drive tractor/trailer the previous 14) until I had 1 year OTR experience. Well after 13 months I have done that and will be starting a job driving local when I get back from vacation in Jamaica on the 17th of this month.

I'll update the company I'm going to work for later, after I've hired on. I don't want to jinx anything yet but I'm 95% confident I'll work for the company I've been trying to get on with since I move to Florida 2 years ago. If not there is a Trader Joes DC opening next month in Daytona Beach that will be hiring over 120 drivers. Either way my days of OTR are over!!

It's been very rough on my family. I have a 9 and 7 year old that have been having a hard time dealing with me being gone for weeks at a time, only to return for 3-4 days and back out again. My wife is beside herself with my return.

I have much respect for you guys that do the OTR thing year after year. It's a lifestyle that is great for the ones that love it. For me it payed the bills at home but was not something I was finding too "joyful." But I made the most out of it, making "Fleet driver of the month" for the month of June in the process.

For now I've got to get unpacked and repacked for the 6 days we're spending in Montego Bay Jamaica, leaving this Saturday. I need a nice vacation after year of being gone, to reconnect with my wife and kids again.

Again I don't have a negative thing to say about Prime. They are a good company to anyone starting out there career and for anyone that's been doing it for years. (if you can handle the 62 mph company trucks you can't drive more than 58 if you want to make good fuel bonuses.) It's been a ride ya'all! I'll be talking to you from here on out as a "Local driver!"

I'll be doing the same thing here soon and prime for sure is a great company. I just want to be home too. Otr is fun but there are other things I enjoy doing that I can't from being otr.

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.

Gladiator 76's Comment
member avatar

Terry,

Enjoy your family! I couldn't drive OTR. Driving locally has its challenges, but none requiring the nomadic lifestyle of the OTR driver.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Congrats Terry! That's awesome news for you and your family. Enjoy your vacation in Jamaica. Thank God you can finally get away from Florida to go visit someplace super hot with nothing but sand and ocean, huh?

smile.gif

Get the kids all the ice cream they can stand!

Terry C.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Here's an update on my endeavors since leaving Prime over a month ago. I left Prime with the intention of getting a local job so I could be home every night. I had a plan but not much of a "concrete" plan of attack. Only a strong internal belief that things would work out. I truly believe in my heart that things will work out and so far they have but not quite the way I imagined it. But nevertheless here's the update:

The company that I set my sights on here in Daytona is US Foods service in Port Orange, FL. I've been applying with them 10 times over two years and have never even got a response from them other than, "Thank you for your interest in US Foods. At this time we are not moving forward with your application." Well two weeks before I quit working for Prime I finally got an interview with USF. I felt the interview went well and felt confident I'd get on when I got back from vacation in Jamaica. However what I didn't pay enough attention to was when the hiring manager told me that "Generally drivers coming from OTR don't work out well in a delivery position here. It is a very labor intensive job with a huge emphasis on customer service and not so much geared at delivery. I didn't get the job directly at USF. HOWEVER.....I found an add for a driving position in Port Orange through a temporary driving company. (Moments Notice Truck Driver Leasing) I called and talked to them knowing that there is only 1 food service place in Port Orange. I applied and was hired. I took the drug test before leaving for Jamaica and started with them after completing a road test...(at US Foods) the day after I came back. I reported to work at US Foods the next day. The past 3 1/2 weeks I've been going out on routes with USF drivers as a "helper" and in some cases a "co-driver" as they have some long routes that go all the way to southern Florida and take too many hours for one driver to complete in a 14 hour day. I've also done some shuttle driving from the DC in Port Orange to drop yards in Boca Raton, Davenport and Tampa FL. Either way I'm getting experience at the company I set my sights on.

Here's what I really wasn't ready for. I know I got out of shape in the 13 months I spent OTR. But oh my Lord I didn't think I was that out of shape. The routes I go on average 15 hours and hand deliver between 1000-1500 cases of food a day. You use a hand cart to stack the boxes on and wheel them down the tight ramps and into restaurants. My first week I was second guessing my decision to work at USF. But I figured (at the advice of every driver I've been with) to stay with it as I'd get used to it. Well I have. I'm getting into shape and developing a good work ethic with the USF drivers. USF can hire me full time from the temp agency after I have 500 hours worked with them. And every driver told me that the chances of getting hired on full time are much much greater if you can do a good job in the route delivery aspect of the job. There are many temps that have been driving the shuttle routes for USF but haven't been hired on full time because they don't want the hard labor aspect of the job. I look at this as a challenge I can overcome if I put my mind to it.

As far as the Trader Joe's opportunity..that has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I interviewed with Trader Joe's in April when they had a job fair in Daytona Beach. I went with the intention of applying for a driving position but found out when I showed up that they weren't even hiring drivers at that time. That was supposed to come later. Trader Joe's is using an outside staffing agency to hire their warehouse positions. That agency told me to "keep calling to find out when they will hire drivers" as they didn't know exactly when that would be. Turns out it was kind of a secret. Trader Joe's is using a trucking company to do their deliveries for them. The staffing agency didn't tell me that. I didn't find out about that until I started seeing NFI trailers parked at the DC. So I called NFI to apply for a position there and low and behold they have filled all positions there. I don't know why it was being kept so quite as to who was doing their deliveries. Either way I'll be applying with NFI to try and get on if need be down the road.

So here's the lesson to be learned for anyone wanting to transition from OTR to local. If the job you want is labor intensive, the company has cold feet hiring OTR drivers. There's a huge difference between holding a steering wheel 11 hours a day to actually making 15-20 stops a day and hand delivering product. You'll really have to go out of your way to convince them you're up to the challenge. In my case I found a temp agency to kind of "audition" my skills so hopefully get a full time job at USF later. I have a great work ethic and KNOW I will get hired there if I keep up a good attitude towards it.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sonnydogg's Comment
member avatar

WOW! Thanks for all the info. I've been busting my a$$ as a machinist for years and am looking forward to "holding a steering wheel" for awhile, lol. I'm hoping for a regional job myself. One good thing, you won't have to use those dollies in the snow down there in Fl. 😀

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

Terry, do you think these companies might consider flatbed drivers to be a slightly safer bet than van drivers, due to the higher level of physical activity involved in the job?

Terry C.'s Comment
member avatar

Terry, do you think these companies might consider flatbed drivers to be a slightly safer bet than van drivers, due to the higher level of physical activity involved in the job?

You know that is an interesting question and one that deserves an educated response that I can't give. All I can do is put myself in the shoes of a distribution manager and weigh it out. So If I were a manager and I had a van driver and a flatbed driver both applying for a delivery job such as USF who would I pick all things being equal between the two, aside from the trailers they pulled? I'd definitely give the flatbed driver first crack at it, simply for the fact that he/she would probably be in a bit better shape to run product. Only downside I see to this: The flatbed driver probably dealt with much different commodities than a driver that hauled reefers. A reefer driver may be more familiar with the product as he/she probably spent alot of time picking these items up.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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