Question About Training, Dispatcher, Home Time, And Pay

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Sam C.'s Comment
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I am still inTNT training and my trainer and I took our home time this past week, last Tuesday to this Tuesday. Let me rephrase, I was supposed to start my home time last Tuesday, what actually happened is I dropped a load Tues morning at 10 am and sat waiting at the receiver til 4pm for my next load to get me home seeing as I was still over 600 miles away.

At 4pm I messaged my dispatcher to find out wth was going on. He then sent up a load going further east that didn't even pick up til the next morning and didn't drop off til Friday. Once again I messaged him stating that both my trainer and I were supposed to be starting our home time, tues for me and wed for my trainer. He replied that it was the best he could do. I sent another message stating that I had already made plans with my family to go to an amusement park wed and that I had already payed for a hotel because my hometime was set a month ahead of time and that I hadn't been home since starting my training with prime 6 weeks prior.

Once again he sent a reply stating this was the best they could do. At this point I was pretty heated so I sent a reply stating that I would expect him to reimburse me for the money I had spent on the hotel and that this instance was probably one of the top reasons they have such a high turn around of students quitting while in training. At this point I figured he was getting peeved because he then sent a reply telling me to deadhead home and for my trainer to drop the trailer in Springfield and bobtail to his home.

At this point it was already after 6pm, needless to say I had to drive over my 14hour clock in order to get home and I didn't get home until 2am wed morning. I received my pay stub last night knowing that I wouldn't make much because the only miles I drove last week were the miles I drove home but I thought I would at least be paid for those miles. Instead I got a 0 mile pay and was charged for my training which equaled a negative pay. WTF? Is this right?

Now I was supposed to be back out Tuesday and instead I have been sitting at home waiting. They sent my trainer out Tues but no where near me. Supposedly, after he drops off this load he will be dispatched by me so I can get back on the truck but at this point it already screws me on my pay. I talked to another dispatcher and he said I should still get paid my guaranteed min pay of 700 since I was supposed to be on a truck at the beginning of the pay period and that if Im not I need to bring it up to human resources. WTF? Is this usually this much of a pain in the ass? How did I get stuck with a crappy dispatcher?

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Sam, you're making the typical rookie mistakes that are going to land you in the doghouse. Or in this case it's a bit too late because you're already in the doghouse. You can count on that. Let me explain....

I was supposed to start my home time last Tuesday....I sent another message stating that I had already made plans with my family to go to an amusement park wed and that I had already payed for a hotel because my hometime was set a month ahead of time and that I hadnt been home since starting my training with prime 6 weeks prior

Ok, first mistake. Never assume you'll be home exactly when you're supposed to be. It's not uncommon to get home a day or two late. So the next time you want to make plans, make sure you leave a day or two of cushion. Freight is random, ya know what I mean? They don't snap their fingers and magically a load to your house appears on the screen. It doesn't work that way. They're going to get you home the best they can.

I am still in tnt training
At this point I was pretty heated so I sent a reply stating that I would expect him to reimburse me for the money I had spent on the hotel and that this instance was probably one of the top reasons they have such a high turn around of students quitting while in training.

Do those two statements put together sound like a bad strategy to you? Where do you get off thinking you can start making demands and criticizing your dispatcher as a trainee? Are you insane??? You don't know your place in this industry my friend and they're about to teach you a hard lesson I'm afraid. You seem to think you're running the show out there but in reality you're still in diapers and training wheels. If you want to make good money and get treated well you don't march around like you own the place talking down to people and making demands. Wow!

At this point I figured he was getting peeved

Gee, ya think??? wtf-2.gif

needless to say I had to drive over my 14hour clock in order to get home

Well at least you didn't settle for just biting the hand that feeds you. You blatantly broke some laws along the way too. That's gonna make it that much worse.

I received my pay stub last night knowing that I wouldn't make much because the only miles I drove last week were the miles I drove home but I thought I would at least be paid for those miles. Instead I got a 0 mile pay and was charged for my training which equaled a negative pay. WTF?

And this is a surprise to you? You criticize your dispatcher and make demands, you criticize the company, you break the law, and of course you then expect to get sent home immediately and get paid for it without being under a load? Nobody gets paid to deadhead home.

Is this usually this much of a pain in the ass? How did I get stuck with a crappy dispatcher?

Oh my friend I think your pain is just beginning. And it seems to me you don't know your job well enough yet to do it without someone holding your hand but you know your dispatcher's job well enough to criticize him? I highly doubt it. Just because people don't jump when you say jump doesn't mean they're no good at what they do. It could just mean you're not in a position to tell people to jump.

Do you remember seeing any paperwork that guaranteed you would get home at an exact date and time?

Did you ever read any of the articles on this site or the conversations in this forum where we talk about how to handle yourself as a rookie? I wrote an article called New Truck Drivers: Beware of Rocking The Boat.

Or how about what Rolling Thunder said about how he managed to land an awesome gig doing concert tours and shows and is going to be promoted to a lead tour driver? Let me quote:

You see, not one time during the first year was I (without a legit reason) late on a load. I never complained. I never turned down a load and/or a favor. Did I have sh**ty weeks? Yep, but I knew I had to suck it up and grind it out. It really is that simple.

He knew what he had to do as a rookie to earn his place in this industry. You don't complain. You don't criticize. You don't make demands. I can't believe people have to be told this. This kind of thing really ruffles my feathers as you can see. I get a little ticked off when someone comes marching in brand new to something and start acting like they own the place.

You earn your place in this industry by putting in the time and proving you can get the job done. You haven't proven anything to anyone yet. You're still in training. I highly suggest you learn more about how this industry works because obviously you don't get it and you're going to get yourself in a mess if you don't figure it out quick.

Wow. I was just raised a lot different than people are today I guess. Holy cow. I've had a lot of different careers and played sports my entire life. The idea of being a rookie and rifling off demands and criticisms to the experienced people who are feeding and training me is just unimaginable. After getting fired by the boss or benched by the coach my parents would've kicked my *ss for ruining their good name.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
When I was running, making money for the dispatcher , I would drop off and pick up another load within a 3 hour time frame. Now when I am supposed to be taking my home time there is nothing anywhere? Doesnt add up.

It does add up because they're normally not trying to send you to a specific location. They're just trying to get you a load and keep you rolling. But now you're trying to get somewhere specific so they have to arrange that somehow. It's not as easy as you might think.

You also have to realize that these companies run on very tight profit margins. They're not just going to do whatever it takes to get you home this second. They still have a business to run and customers to take care of. They'll get you home as quickly as they can. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so great. There's a lot of give and take between dispatchers and drivers. You do each other favors and you work together to keep the company moving forward.

One of the biggest "secrets" I guess you could call it, because very few people seem to realize it, is that drivers who bust their *ss and know how to talk to dispatch get treated far better than drivers who raise holy h*ll all the time. You can't force anyone to do anything for you. If they want to let you sit for a week then you're gonna sit for a week. If they want to run you like crazy they'll run you like crazy. What you want to do is get them on your side. Be the type of driver they like. Not only your work ethic but your safety, your reliability, and your attitude.

And not just with dispatch but with everyone - DOT officers, dock workers, shipping and receiving clerks - everyone. Truckers have no authority in any situation other than the ability to refuse to drive for safety reasons. That's it. Otherwise you're at the mercy of everyone around you. So the best approach you can take is to be an amazing driver with a great attitude. That will get you more miles, more home time, and more special favors than any other strategy you can think of.

You can't make anyone do anything for you. The best you can hope for is that they want to do things for you. Get people on your side. Get to know your dispatcher and his/her boss. Memorize a few jokes that you can tell to the dock workers and DOT officers. Whatever you can do to get people to want to help you with better loads, more home time, quicker loading and unloading times, or getting out of tickets.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Sam, I think you're missing the point. The fact is, you are in no position to expect all the things you're expecting from your company right now. You're still with a trainer for crying out loud! You're not even on your own yet. And even after you get out on your own, you will STILL be in no position to have such expectations for at least a year.

Before you were hired, you were like a person floating in the middle of the ocean, hoping to be rescued. Then along came this company in a tiny little life raft. They were overcrowded in there, low on supplies and barely surviving themselves, but they pulled you up into the boat anyway. That's the position you're in now. You're sunburned, hungry and dehydrated, and they are nursing you back to health in the hopes that once you're all better, you'll be able to contribute to the group by fishing, fighting off sharks or whatever. But as you're lying there near death, instead of being grateful for their help, you're complaining about the sun, the food, etc. You're making them think they might be better off to throw you back overboard.

That dispatcher , he's a trusted member of the group, despite the flaws you see in him. The other people in the boat, they all have his back because he's been with them for a while and has proven himself in ways you have no clue about because you weren't around at the time. They will side with him and throw you to the sharks, guaranteed.

Do you have any idea how many people these companies see come in to this industry thinking they know better than everyone, and who end up quitting because no one listens to what they think needs to change? You're just another one of those guys at this point. There are plenty more waiting to take your place, and I'm sure their impression of you right now is as a complaining know-it-all who will eventually quit. So unless you can drastically alter their perception, they will not be putting much effort into making you happy with your job because why should they if you're not going to last? They'll give the good treatment to those who have the potential to be long-term employees.

Look, bottom line, this is a tough and unpredictable job. You have to be able to roll with the setbacks and disappointments without trying to lay blame on people in a superior position to you. Because if you don't, you will fail. Period.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

One rule to follow in trucking....

Never ever make plans that can not be adjusted. It's the life we live and the lifestyle we choose. The only guarantee in trucking, regardless of any promises made, plans of any type can and often do change.

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.

Phox's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I have to agree with everyone else... the way you handled the situation was all wrong. I'm not going to chew you out for it because I think Brett already did a good job at it. I don't feel it's necessary and also since I'm not even training yet let alone a an employee I don't feel I have a place to chew you out even if Brett didn't.

I do want to say this analogy was quite awesome:

Before you were hired, you were like a person floating in the middle of the ocean, hoping to be rescued. Then along came this company in a tiny little life raft. They were overcrowded in there, low on supplies and barely surviving themselves, but they pulled you up into the boat anyway. That's the position you're in now. You're sunburned, hungry and dehydrated, and they are nursing you back to health in the hopes that once you're all better, you'll be able to contribute to the group by fishing, fighting off sharks or whatever. But as you're lying there near death, instead of being grateful for their help, you're complaining about the sun, the food, etc. You're making them think they might be better off to throw you back overboard.

Next time you want to make plans, get a refundable rate.

Also you said in a more recent post than your first that all you did was ask if you would be reimbursed for that hotel:

Im sorry you feel that way daniel but what I did was by no way in the wrong or disrespectful. I simply asked if I would be reimbursed for money spent.

but when I read your first post it sounds like more like you demanded it not asked.

At this point I was pretty heated so I sent a reply stating that I would expect him to reimburse me for the money I had spent on the hotel and that this instance was probably one of the top reasons they have such a high turn around of students quitting while in training.

So which is it... did you ask if you would be reimbursed or did you expect them to do it... there's 2 stories going on here. one of them is somewhat reasonable, it never (ok more like usually) never hurts to ask a question but to make a bold statement like in your first post that's not ok, even if you are a 20 year trucker veteran, because in the end unless you are an owner op you belong to them.

I can promise you if you were an employee in Texas and did even half the stuff in your first post you would be fired that day. Texas is hardcore in the sense it's a right to work state, in other words they don't HAVE to give you any breaks, can work you as many hours as they want as many days as they want as long as they follow all employment regulations federal and state. Now here's the best part of right to work states such as Texas... they can also fire you for any not discrimination reason. If they can legally choose to note hire you for it, then they can't fire you for it (you know the usual age, gender, religion, etc). so if they don't like the color socks you are wearing that day, unless you have a documented medical condition or a proven religion reason that says you have to wear pink socks with yellow polka dots, they can fire you for it. So yeah in TX you can pretty much expect to get fired for crap you pulled.

Oh and just so you don't get the wrong impression on TX for that last statement, most employers are nicer than they have to be and give you 2 15 min breaks plus a 30 min lunch and those 15s are paid time. a lot of them will give you 2 days off, most at least 1. My last employer gave me a 15 min break every 2 hours, even if it was only a 6 hour shift, most will only give you 1 15 in those 6 hours and only after 3 hours. so yeah despite not being legally required, employers here still treat most of their employees well.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Joshua, many people get into Trucking school, or on the road and it's close to the first time in their life that so much had been demanded of them. The whole process from CDL permit to solo driver is full of hurdles they can barely get over. Also, so many expect nice hotels, decent food provided, and, as Sam is finding out, promises & dates he thought were "set" aren't necessarily so. Several people in this thread have pointed out that new guys aren't always going to get what they want.

People who have been in the military know you have to work hard for some things they took for granted as civilians. It's not a case of rookies are people, too. It's the rude awakening of life in a rough business.

FYI, early on I had a home time set, for a weekend. Because of dispatches sent to me, I didn't get home till Tuesday, four days late. Been there, done that.

I think the problem starts at the beginning, the recruiters lie off the rip. If I was going by what I was told from them then I would have started psd by day 5, which I did but only because I found a trainer not because they had a trainer for me. There were plenty of others waiting over a week. Also was told by the recruiter that I would get home the first time following psd, which everyone now knows was a lie, and would be home every 3 to 4 weeks after. The first thing we were told in orientation was that we would be there 6 to 12 weeks before we would get home. There were plenty of people who were told by the recruiters they were good to go only to get sent home when they got there, and of course after they quit there last job, for past work history. Hell one guy I knew got sent home because of the adhd medicine he was taking, even know he told the recruiter before hand he was on it. It seems like the recruiters goal is to just get as many people there as possible which is completely wrong because people quit there jobs thinking they are coming to start a new career. I was one of those people, I disclosed my past work history which was great up until a few years ago I worked for the same company for 10 years that later went under. Since then Ive had 4 jobs in 5 years as I try to find a fit. The last job I had up until the day before I got on the bus. I went into training thinking I was making a career change to something I could enjoy, a career where I decide how much Im worth instead of a "boss". The company I worked for for 10 years was an incentive job and I loved it. It was up to me on how much I could make so it made me want to work harder, unlike the jobs I had after. I didnt enjoy working for companies where I got paid as much as everyone else when I was the hardest working person there. Over time it turns into resent. Any way, my 3rd day there I got called into the office because of the fact that I had quit my last 3 jobs and that they couldnt contact the company that went under. REALLY? How am I supposed toverify a company that is no longer around? The only thing I could offer as contact for that company was the former owners phone number because we are still friends. The office guy flat out said that they could not accept a personal phone number as a contact for a company because it could just be a friend of mine. I was worried about being sent home. All of this should have been checked before I even got a bus pass. Thank goodness the companies I quit all described me a stellar employee or else I would have been screwed.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
First one I didn't click with at all and I asked to move boards and it was granted.

This is certainly a policy change with Prime then. Like Ernie said, they didn't used to let you switch dispatchers. They were hardcore about that which I thought was a poor policy. By forcing a driver to stay with a certain dispatcher you're condemning certain drivers to a lesser experience because not all dispatchers are created equal, just like all drivers aren't created equal. So it's nice they'll let you switch dispatchers now if that's the case. And in return they should let dispatchers kick a driver off their board if the driver won't perform but that's a discussion for another time.

People who have been in the military know you have to work hard for some things they took for granted as civilians. It's not a case of rookies are people, too. It's the rude awakening of life in a rough business.

See, this is what I'm screaming also. There is a huge difference between the experience a rookie will have doing a job that almost anyone can do well versus a job that very few people can do well. In really tough environments like the military, coal mining, commercial fishing, oil drilling, and truck driving the established workers and management know that a huge percentage of the newbies won't make it. They're either too soft, too lazy, or don't have the nerve to handle the pressure. So you get no respect in the beginning from anyone because you haven't proven you're going to be there for very long. You haven't proven you can handle it. You haven't endured the hardships yet.

In places like the military, higher level sports, and the business world there is little or no mercy to be found anywhere. You either cowboy up and handle it or you go sit your *ss on the sidelines and watch the big boys play. That's how it goes. If you want an easy life then go get a job at Walmart or go sell sunglasses at the mall. If you want to take the bull by the horns and do something that's difficult and dangerous then you had better understand that it's going to take a long time to prove yourself.

This is one of the biggest reasons so many people drop out of trucking very quickly. They expect to be treated like an equal right from day one. They think they're going to be coddled and hugged and nurtured like they're in a day care center. But people running things in tough environments take the opposite approach. They throw you into the fire to see if you can take the heat. If you don't have what it takes to survive in that environment they want to figure that out right away and get you out of there. No sense in wasting time on someone who either can't handle it or isn't motivated enough to perform at a high level.

Trucking is what it is and you're not going to change it. You're either going to adapt and survive or get kicked to the curb. That's another reason why nobody really cares much what a rookie thinks about the way training is done or companies are run or the industry is governed. Because it isn't going to change. It hasn't changed in 30 years. So you can cry and complain or you can adapt and survive but there really is no in between.

Sam, we got on you hard earlier in this thread because we wanted to make a very important point as quickly as possible. We knew the mess you were about to make for yourself if you continued on the path you were on, and we knew you weren't aware of it. So we wanted to "shake you up" a bit to make sure we had your attention. You handled it marvelously, and I respect that. You'll never find a group that genuinely cares more about your success than we do. But that doesn't mean we're going to coddle you or defend you all the time. Sometimes it means we're going to give you h*ll because you're screwing up and you need to know it in no uncertain terms.

Hang in there and things will work out great. Go with the flow, listen and learn, and try to master your trade. A year from now you're going to understand so much more about this industry that you'll look back on this and go, "Wow, I really had no idea in the beginning what this trucking thing was really like." We all said that after we had been in it for a while.

Rolling Thunder, who has been immensely successful working for high level concert tours and shows said:

For those who don't know, two years ago I was the guy coming on here with zero knowledge (except for Smokey And The Bandit) about being a truck driver. I asked some of the same questions that show up now and they were answered by drivers, and ex drivers, who truly care about the trucking industry. There were times where I had to check myself because the answer given was not the answer I wanted... It was the truth.

That's what this discussion has been.....the hard truth. And it seems like you've taken it well and you're ready to continue on with your career. That's exactly what we had hoped for. Everyone here cares deeply about seeing people get a great start to their career. We won't win any awards for being endlessly kind and gentle, but we will be brutally honest with you and guide you down the right path. Sometimes I question whether I'm being too harsh or allowing others to be too harsh but in the end the people who belong in this industry can handle it. And I think you're one of those guys.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dustan J.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I found that I like trucking more than anything else right out of the Army because the good drivers, the successful drivers, don't sugarcoat things. A professional speaks the truth...sometimes tactfully, sometimes not. But, any honesty is better than sugarcoated crap. There really isn't any room for tender feelings in trucking, unless your girl is in your bunk (or whatever your situation may be).

Trucks have to earn money, people have to get paid, and that involves folks in the office who dispatch you to wherever that money can be made. Currently, I'm a company driver. But, I will save the owner money any possible way that I can, like hand washing the truck in my driveway instead of spending that ungodly amount of money at a truck wash facility. I drive the oldest truck in the fleet, and it's fine by me though I don't have the same creature comforts that the newer trucks have. I don't complain about it; I just make it work and enjoy the opportunity that I have.

I also track fuel expenses on my Rand McNally truck GPS as though I am the one spending the money. You don't have to be a record breaker to be decent employee. Ask the right questions, and monetize that truck.

The company really could care less about your personal life like you do. That's a fact. That business operates to make profits, and you have to be on board with that idea. So, take your lumps and learn the lesson presented to you. You might do well to apologize to that DM also, and admit your mistake. If you keep on making everything about you, then you will suffer tremendous humiliation or worse, like killing someone.

It may take a total reframing in your way of thought, but get to the point where you are supporting the organization through your efforts, or accept the idea that you are going to fail. I've seen some truly hardcore people, leaders even, fail miserably because they only cared about themselves and not the team/greater good. Most places, trucking included, have a way of policing themselves in a way that the turds roll away fast enough to make room for those who can produce desired results. This is honesty, and this is experience. Take it however you will.

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.
Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't think you would be paid for the "getting you home" deadhead. When I go for hometime I often have to deadhead a couple hundred miles and the way I get paid for it is the mileage goes from where I dropped to my next pickup when I get dispatched to go back out. E.g. I deliver in Houston, drive home, and get dispatched to pick up in Laredo when my home time is done. My empty miles to the location on that load will reflect Houston -> Laredo and I will be paid for them.

At the very least it would be prorated, the $700 is only guaranteed for a full week out I thought. I'm not sure, I never went home during TNT. I'm honestly suprised they let you deadhead 600 miles...

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

I understand that you have to be on the truck the entire week but the way it was explained to me was that it is of no fault of my own that I am not on the truck. I was scheduled to be back on the truck at the beginning of the pay period and my dispatcher is the person not allowing me to be on the truck.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

Ah, I thought you were talking about the week where you went home, long day.

I can understand them having to get a load your way, they don't typically deadhead long distances unless there is no loads in the area (hello Pacific Northwest).

I would express your concern to your dispatcher first and see what he says if you haven't already. He might very well pay you since you were "available" the full week. If need be, you could then escalate to hr or Stan or whoever.

I find that my dispatcher doesn't always give me the answer I want, but he is reasonable and we have a good working relationship.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.
Scott O.'s Comment
member avatar

Not really sure how prime does it but when it comes to hometime request they try to get you home as soon as possible but sometimes the freight is not there to help the situation... now with that said that hometime request is a date which they will try to get you home but doesn't have to be on that date... I know it sucks but that's trucking and trust me you don't want to **** off the dm Cuz they can make or break your career... my dm gets us home on time but we are one of his top drivers....

that 700 a week pay is if your suppose to be on the truck and got some reason they can't get you on the truck right???? if so then you should get paid for the days you are not on the truck and then cpm for the days you are in that same week is my guess...

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

I sent a message to my dispatcher about the pay for the week so we will see how that goes. I also received the next dispatch for my truck and ,although the next pickup is in my state, it is 3 hours away from my house and dropping off the next morning in KY which is even further away. WTF. Im waiting to hear back from my trainer on whether I have to have my gf drive me 3 hours west to columbus or if he is going to go 3 hours out of his way to pick me up.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Sam, you're making the typical rookie mistakes that are going to land you in the doghouse. Or in this case it's a bit too late because you're already in the doghouse. You can count on that. Let me explain....

I was supposed to start my home time last Tuesday....I sent another message stating that I had already made plans with my family to go to an amusement park wed and that I had already payed for a hotel because my hometime was set a month ahead of time and that I hadnt been home since starting my training with prime 6 weeks prior

Ok, first mistake. Never assume you'll be home exactly when you're supposed to be. It's not uncommon to get home a day or two late. So the next time you want to make plans, make sure you leave a day or two of cushion. Freight is random, ya know what I mean? They don't snap their fingers and magically a load to your house appears on the screen. It doesn't work that way. They're going to get you home the best they can.

I am still in tnt training
At this point I was pretty heated so I sent a reply stating that I would expect him to reimburse me for the money I had spent on the hotel and that this instance was probably one of the top reasons they have such a high turn around of students quitting while in training.

Do those two statements put together sound like a bad strategy to you? Where do you get off thinking you can start making demands and criticizing your dispatcher as a trainee? Are you insane??? You don't know your place in this industry my friend and they're about to teach you a hard lesson I'm afraid. You seem to think you're running the show out there but in reality you're still in diapers and training wheels. If you want to make good money and get treated well you don't march around like you own the place talking down to people and making demands. Wow!

At this point I figured he was getting peeved

Gee, ya think??? wtf-2.gif

needless to say I had to drive over my 14hour clock in order to get home

Well at least you didn't settle for just biting the hand that feeds you. You blatantly broke some laws along the way too. That's gonna make it that much worse.

I received my pay stub last night knowing that I wouldn't make much because the only miles I drove last week were the miles I drove home but I thought I would at least be paid for those miles. Instead I got a 0 mile pay and was charged for my training which equaled a negative pay. WTF?

And this is a surprise to you? You criticize your dispatcher and make demands, you criticize the company, you break the law, and of course you then expect to get sent home immediately and get paid for it without being under a load? Nobody gets paid to deadhead home.

Is this usually this much of a pain in the ass? How did I get stuck with a crappy dispatcher?

Oh my friend I think your pain is just beginning. And it seems to me you don't know your job well enough yet to do it without someone holding your hand but you know your dispatcher's job well enough to criticize him? I highly doubt it. Just because people don't jump when you say jump doesn't mean they're no good at what they do. It could just mean you're not in a position to tell people to jump.

Do you remember seeing any paperwork that guaranteed you would get home at an exact date and time?

Did you ever read any of the articles on this site or the conversations in this forum where we talk about how to handle yourself as a rookie? I wrote an article called New Truck Drivers: Beware of Rocking The Boat.

Or how about what Rolling Thunder said about how he managed to land an awesome gig doing concert tours and shows and is going to be promoted to a lead tour driver? Let me quote:

You see, not one time during the first year was I (without a legit reason) late on a load. I never complained. I never turned down a load and/or a favor. Did I have sh**ty weeks? Yep, but I knew I had to suck it up and grind it out. It really is that simple.

He knew what he had to do as a rookie to earn his place in this industry. You don't complain. You don't criticize. You don't make demands. I can't believe people have to be told this. This kind of thing really ruffles my feathers as you can see. I get a little ticked off when someone comes marching in brand new to something and start acting like they own the place.

You earn your place in this industry by putting in the time and proving you can get the job done. You haven't proven anything to anyone yet. You're still in training. I highly suggest you learn more about how this industry works because obviously you don't get it and you're going to get yourself in a mess if you don't figure it out quick.

Wow. I was just raised a lot different than people are today I guess. Holy cow. I've had a lot of different careers and played sports my entire life. The idea of being a rookie and rifling off demands and criticisms to the experienced people who are feeding and training me is just unimaginable. After getting fired by the boss or benched by the coach my parents would've kicked my *ss for ruining their good name.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

And believe me, you're a whole lot better off having me go off on you than your company. You stand to lose a lot of money and possibly your job if they don't like your attitude. So I'm hoping you'll take what I said to heart and realize you're making a huge mistake by handling things this way. Go with the flow, treat everyone with respect, don't complain, and prove yourself as a driver at least until you're out of training, ok???

Geesh!

Sam C.'s Comment
member avatar

Im not trying to bite the hand that feeds me, I am simply relying on the information I was given by the head of the company. Our first day in training we, the new recruits, were told by Stan and by the HR lady, cant remember her name off hand, that we the drivers were in charge of our trucks. Not the dispatchers, that we could fire the dispatchers if we felt they weren't handling us properly and get a new one. We were also told that our home time would be handled as priority, I dont think sitting empty from 10am til the next evening at 9pm when I am supposed to be heading home is priority. When I was running, making money for the dispatcher , I would drop off and pick up another load within a 3 hour time frame. Now when I am supposed to be taking my home time there is nothing anywhere? Doesnt add up. Speaking to my trainer that day about the situation, he told me that it was very common for his trainer to instantly not give a **** whenever it was time to get home time. Seeing as he has had to deal with this for the past 3 years, Im going to believe my trainer. The way he explained it to me was that the dispatcher didnt care about my home time because he wasnt going to make any money by having me pick up a load only to repower it to someone else. So instead he was waiting to find a load that would be delivered and he could make money off of. Now how does that sound like my home time is priority? I got into this business to make money, plain and simple. If Im running I have no problem making money for any dispatcher, but when I put in home time I expect it to be made a priority to get me home. What I dont expect is to sit at the 90 for 8 to 10 hours for that perfect load for the dispatcher when I could be headed home.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
When I was running, making money for the dispatcher , I would drop off and pick up another load within a 3 hour time frame. Now when I am supposed to be taking my home time there is nothing anywhere? Doesnt add up.

It does add up because they're normally not trying to send you to a specific location. They're just trying to get you a load and keep you rolling. But now you're trying to get somewhere specific so they have to arrange that somehow. It's not as easy as you might think.

You also have to realize that these companies run on very tight profit margins. They're not just going to do whatever it takes to get you home this second. They still have a business to run and customers to take care of. They'll get you home as quickly as they can. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so great. There's a lot of give and take between dispatchers and drivers. You do each other favors and you work together to keep the company moving forward.

One of the biggest "secrets" I guess you could call it, because very few people seem to realize it, is that drivers who bust their *ss and know how to talk to dispatch get treated far better than drivers who raise holy h*ll all the time. You can't force anyone to do anything for you. If they want to let you sit for a week then you're gonna sit for a week. If they want to run you like crazy they'll run you like crazy. What you want to do is get them on your side. Be the type of driver they like. Not only your work ethic but your safety, your reliability, and your attitude.

And not just with dispatch but with everyone - DOT officers, dock workers, shipping and receiving clerks - everyone. Truckers have no authority in any situation other than the ability to refuse to drive for safety reasons. That's it. Otherwise you're at the mercy of everyone around you. So the best approach you can take is to be an amazing driver with a great attitude. That will get you more miles, more home time, and more special favors than any other strategy you can think of.

You can't make anyone do anything for you. The best you can hope for is that they want to do things for you. Get people on your side. Get to know your dispatcher and his/her boss. Memorize a few jokes that you can tell to the dock workers and DOT officers. Whatever you can do to get people to want to help you with better loads, more home time, quicker loading and unloading times, or getting out of tickets.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.
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