A Day in the Life of a Fuel Hauler

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by GasHauler, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. roadranger550

    roadranger550 Light Load Member

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    Yeap, but it wasn't that way at the Chevron Terminal back in the 1970 and 1980's. Good riddance to them all.
     
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  3. JRammit

    JRammit Bobtail Member

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    Oct 13, 2016
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    Ya'll talk about hauling fuel like its good... Where I sit it's not good... It's not bad either... It's just amazingly average actually

    I drive for a small carrier in Dallas/Ft Worth... Hourly drivers are rare down here, the vast majority of us are paid by the load... Which means safety is second, speed is first... Personally I drive safe and make up my time on deliveries, but the same can not be said for most drivers

    Commission/load pay means "taking the good with the bad"... Which can be down right frustrating when it's bad, cause you're only doing what you're told... You live and die by dispatch, all dispatchers have their favorite drivers, make sure you're one of them or you'll never make any money

    The way it works (where I'm at), all local loads pay about the same, weather it's 5 miles or 50.. Out of town loads pay a percentage, most are decent, some are not.. We're paid an hourly rate for delays, but the first hour is always free.... 5 loads a day is decent money, but even if you're willing and able, that isn't always possible, all depends on dispatch and rack time (it's not uncommon to use up 3 or 4 "free hours" at the loading rack in a day)

    When you do the math, you can expect to average $13-$14 an hour if you're slow, $16-$17 if you're fast... The high end doesn't sound bad, until you realize that's about the going rate for any driving job in this region... I don't know anyone around here who would drive a commercial vehicle for less than $15 an hour

    However, there is one BIG plus about fuel (probably the only reason I still do it), its STEADY work... We may not make any more than any non hazmat driver, but we're still working when they're not, so we come out ahead in the long run.... But, to me there is a difference between making more and working more

    All that said, I love what I do and I love who I do it for... I just wonder if I'm the only one who thinks this way??.... Is it worth it???
     
    Woodys Thanks this.
  4. Dick Danger

    Dick Danger Medium Load Member

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    I think regional markets make a big difference. In the Seattle area everyone needs drivers. Hourly pay is standard with OT. There are a couple of union carriers in the area with GREAT benefits. I do know of two carriers that pay by the load and I don't know how their drivers make it. I've gone to Shell and had a dozen trucks ahead of me. If I had to wait for free I'd quit and make back to Vegas.
     
  5. JRammit

    JRammit Bobtail Member

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    Since this thread began with a day in the life of an hourly fuel driver, I'd like to describe the day of a load driver..... There are 2 types of day for us, good days and bad days, so I'll lay out both

    First the good day:

    Roll out of bed at 2:00am, make some strong coffee, pack a lunch so you don't have to stop later and hit the road

    Get to the yard around 3:00am (my company doesn't swing seat, when I park my truck in the evening it waits there til i get back in the morning)... There is no loafing in the morning, first load is full speed!.. Check the lights, bump the tires and head to the rack

    Get to the rack about 3:30-3:45, there should be no wait this early, so you should be loaded and rolling again by 4:00.... This is a good day, so your first load will be a short turn around (10-15 miles).. The store isn't open this early, you don't have to deal with the clerk, so you can get strait to work... You take all the "short cuts" but carefully stick to a dialed routine you've developed over time to prevent any and all mistakes.. No time is wasted thinking, every move is by memory, every step is in the exact same order as the last 200 times.. It's a meticulously choreographed ballet, if it were a movie it would be called "Dances with Hoses".. You flow like a river, you're in and out in 15 minutes and back at the rack by 5:00.... If all goes well you'll have 2 loads in the ground before morning rush hour begins

    Now you're gonna get screwed on the 3rd load, but just remember you're halfway through your day while the rest of the world just got out of bed... The 4th and 5th load should go smoothly, short or long doesn't matter, your objective is to finish your day before evening traffic hits and you're already ahead of schedule.. 6 loads is an excellent day, but not always worth it, evening traffic is WAY worse than morning traffic.. In the morning, only people with jobs are awake, in the evening EVERYBODY is on the road at the same time.... Still, 5 loads is a good days pay for 12 hours or less, and you're home by the time your kids get out of school

    Now the bad day:

    You're morning starts exactly the same as a good day, but all your loads are 40-50 miles from the rack... So you get to your first store at 5:00, they're open so you check in, get the veeder root (reading) and do your drop.. Now when you go back in, some clerks respect your time, others do not.. You may have to wait in line behind customers to get your signature, and some of the clerks like to argue and accuse you of shorting them, or sometimes you'll get scolded for not being there yesterday (which is obviously beyond your control).. But you shake it off with a smile and get back on the road

    It's after 5:30 now, the world is waking up.. You make it to the rack a little after 6:00 and it's backed up.. Remember, the first hour at the rack is always free.. Then you get stuck in line behind one of the hourly drivers (disclaimer: not all of you are like this, but plenty of you are).. He moves like a sloth, with no sense of direction or urgency, and obviously no respect for your time or that of the drivers behind you.. You can load your whole truck in 10 minutes or less, but some how it takes him 30.. Occasionally he can even be seen "one arming" the full load (most racks have 2 or 3 gas arms and 2 or 3 diesel arms), milking the clock at your expense.. But it is not worth confrontation, because you know that would get you locked out of this terminal (aka rack) for life... So you grin and bear it

    Now it's 7:30, you get to charge for half an hour wait time, but traffic is now at its peak and you only have 1 load in the ground.. It takes 2 hours getting to your next store.. Luckily this is one of the nice clerks, he/she quickly signs your paperwork and even offers you a free fountain drink.. But as you walk back to your truck, you notice an empty car parked directly in your path out.. You go back in to find who owns the vehicle, asking everyone, but with the way your luck is going today you already know they're in the bathroom pinching a loaf... So you wait 5-10 minutes for them to come out, then swallow all your frustration way down deep and POLITELY ask them to move the car (after all, this is a customer of your customer).. They oblige and life goes on

    It's after 10:00, traffic has died down so you make it to the rack before 11:00, but it's backed up again, here's your second "free hour" today.... Get to your 3rd drop by 1:00, for once everything goes smooth.... Lucky for you, the next load pulls out of a different rack, you like this place because it's never backed up, you're in and out gate to gate in 10 minutes....... But...... This load requires you to take a hazmat route that's 10 miles out of your way, and wouldn't you know it, there's an accident blocking 2 lanes... So let's go sit in that, cause we don't have a choice

    Finally you arrive at you're 4th and apparently last drop around 4:00... You know the longer you're there, the more traffic is building up behind you.. So you hammer through the delivery in a mad rush.... You battle your way back to the yard and call it a day around 6:00pm..... You've now gone over your legal hours of service and haven't even made a full day's pay.... And to top it all off, you get home with under an hour left before you have to go to bed and do it again

    I have a love/hate relationship with commission work... I love that I get rewarded for working harder... But hate that when things go wrong, weather it's my fault or not, I pay for it

    Any other drivers nodding their head right now??
     
  6. layover6

    layover6 Light Load Member

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  7. layover6

    layover6 Light Load Member

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    Here that driver I'm a hourly fuel hauler but don't wast my time milking the clock I do my loads and go home even tho the 14 hour days make for a nice check if I'm done in 10 I'm ok with that goto say tho wouldn't do this type off work by the load the other night I get under the rack and the rack goes down take a good hour for the fix and I have no worries I'm paid by the hour . Load won't fit call dispatch wait for them to find a new home no problem paid by the hour . Did load pay for 10 years doing cans ,add good money but had enough off that doing fuel by the hour is the way to go . It's a dirty job that I love u
     
    Cali kid Thanks this.
  8. JRammit

    JRammit Bobtail Member

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    That's the sentiment I'm feeling now

    Love the job... Love telling people what I do... Love pulling into a store like I own the place... And most of all, love being home every night!

    Yet I still find myself asking if it's worth it... You hourly guys sound quite content, I would be too if I knew I was getting paid no matter what

    Anyway, thanks for letting me vent about it.... Maybe I should keep my eyes open and do a little networking
     
  9. layover6

    layover6 Light Load Member

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    Yea love the part about pulling into a station l
    yea love the fact when u pull into a station it's like I own it Plus I work nights and get closed stations those r my favorites nice and quite Do my things and move on to the next one and no one to get In my way
     
  10. AZBL

    AZBL Bobtail Member

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    Jul 23, 2017
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    Hey everyone. Sorry to bring an old thread back to life, but I had a question. I'm 23 years old and am wanting to get my CDL once I finish up my bachelors (1 semester left). I know I need to get some experience first, but becoming a gas hauler is the dream trucking job that I'm looking at right now (along with hourly pay with OT). Any advice/recommendations for someone looking to get into the business? I live in AZ if that matter at all.
     
  11. GasHauler

    GasHauler Master FMCSA Interpreter

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    Oct 23, 2005
    Vegas/Jersey
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    It's good to set goals and work towards them. Don't be discouraged because a lot of people will tell you it's almost impossible to start right off driving a gasoline truck. It can be done but it will take a lot of work on your part. You'll most likely have to start at the bottom and it will be low pay hard work. But one thing to always remember is the more you put into the job the more you'll get out. Keep you mouth shut and learn all you can. Those guys you see making good money have been at it along time. Follow their example and you'll do alright. Plus have a perfect driving record and a perfect employee record.
     
    AZBL and REO6205 Thank this.
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