Hey all, hope everyone is good. Wanted to write down my thoughts on Wal-Mart and being a driver for them. Before I started I had talked to other drivers and read through this site and it seemed mixed and a lot of different infomation. So wanted to put together a post on it all and in one spot.
I started Janurary 11th, 2021. I spent my first week in what is called onboarding, my second was actually orientation, and then I had one week of training. Could be up to two, but I got the hang fairly quickly and asked to go my own and they were happy to.
Shortly after this we were hit with storms which put a damper on my checks. By April things were picking up and I was in full swing.
So, schedules and programs, this was not explained in great detail during my initial conversation and I had heard nor found anything on this before starting with WM and I almost quit over it. Our DC (Ochelata, OK) runs grocery, which means mostly night shifts. I had no intentions of running nights but my trainer convinced me to stick it out and see what shift was offered. I was offered extra board at 2 am. I was actually happy about this start time, to me this is just an early morning and not nights. I also end at 4 pm, which is not too late. It was not long and I landed a 5/2 - 5/3 (days worked/days off) program and have been there ever since. It seems like not too many people go for the 2 am spot and I love it, so I don't see this changing any time in the near future, but who knows. I will say this, WM started paying an extra .07 cpm on ALL miles for drivers that ran nights and the cut off time for nights was 2 am. So that is nice. But we have several programs like 5/5, 5/2 5/3, extra board, and there is another one where you have your own assigned truck and work a specific day and start time but I cannot recall exact name of it. But the difference between this and extra board is that with extra board you could potentially be swapped out to a different truck during the week and almost never have the same truck week to week. Some people complain about this but you have to clean out the truck even if you have your own truck assignment, so I don't understand how this is an issue.
Still on schedules, your schedule can or probably will change year to year, or even mid year when they do what they call 'realignment'. This is when they sit down and look at their number of drivers and flow of goods and see if they need to change their start times for drivers and get more drivers in different start times to meet store times and deliveries. It changed for us mid-year last year because of the number of drivers that came in. So far we haven't seen anything for this year on a new realignment. But they are pretty flexible on working with us for vacation time.
Now to my favorite thing, vaction time. I work to live, not live to work. I cannot work away day after day, year after year without some sort of getaway. Can't do it, won't do it. It's why I left Pepsi after only 6 months and was going to buy my own truck and go OO. But then WM called me and I gave it a shot. Your first year you get 21 days plus 4 safety days. These safety days are given, along with your bonus, if you just simply do your job and not hit anything. Pretty simple if you ask me. And I used every single day last year. Wife and I took 6 days solo to Utah with our fifth wheel. We took 2 weeks at end of summer and went to Destin, FL with our fifth wheel and left again in November to Universal Studios in Orlando for a little more than a week. We have our vacations planned for this year with the Wife and I going to Mexico in a week, 17 days in the summer back to Destin (it's a great place), and a Colorado trip in October. Even with this year's vacation schedule I'll have time remaining. You get 21 days on year one, 23 year two, and 26 year 3-5, and it goes up. Again, this does not include your safety days.
Downside to this PTO? If you want to take a holiday that your schedule lands on, you have to use PTO. The only two I care about, because the wife said so, is Thanksgiving and Christmas. For me I only have to use a PTO day for Christmas because I work that day. That is, of course, if a realignment does not occur and my days do not change.
Almost forgot about this for PTO, but it is based on accumilation. This means you have to work so many hours to get one day. Year one is 125, year two 112, year 3-5 is 100, etc. This also means, unless you carry over time, you won't have much, if any to spend at the beginning of the year. Oh, and WM's calendar year is Feburary to Feburary (well, the last Friday of Janurary). This is your accumilation period. You can carry over up to 10 days of PTO and only one day of safety, so use your safety up if you don't want to get auto paid for it. This just burned me as I didn't know this and was going to use it for my upcoming trip. I had one safety day saved and a few days of PTO. I'd have used the safety to keep the other safety, but did not know this was the rule. Thought it was 10 altogether, nope.
Still on vacation, I have heard that the ease of which a driver can get time off depends on the DC they work out of. I have talked to some drivers who have had difficulties in other DCs.
Freight and staying busy; they keep us busy. We run off an ETD system, with ETD standing for estimated time of dispatch. It works like this: I am given a load, I then review the load and calculate the total time it will take to complete this load, I include things needed like if I need to shower, eat, fuel, whatever it may be. I send in the time, to my dispatch office, of when I will be back to the DC, hooked to the next trailer, and rolling out. Yep, you tell them when you will be ready. I don't abuse this sytem, I run my clock out routinely. So I don't know their reaction to someone who does the bare minimum or if they say anything at all. But if I have two hours left on my clock and they have a load, I am gone. It doesn't matter to me where I am layed over at. I am thankful that I can go without a shower and it not be noticeable. Of course, I do change out ALL clothes first thing in the morning, even the under shirt. At a minimum I have a shower every other day, but I have gone up to 4 days before. It is what it is. Again, this works for me because no one notices. Should this change and I start getting greasy and smelly after day 1, this will have to change. But so far so good.
Now, to the part (almost) every one wants to know about... pay. It's good, nah, it is amazing. Well, it is for me anyways. I have a strict work ethic when it comes to this job, or any job for that matter. A driving pay structure works for me because I am greatly incentivized by money. My wife calls me a workoholic, but seeing as the vaction time I take and that I am home at least 2 days every week, I disagree. She says I only come home because I am forced too, I just ignored that point.
So, pay. Straight to the point, despite when I started, the first few crappy weeks, and the snow storms; I made $108k last year. I fully expect to make more this year, already on track to anyways.
You are paid CPM as well as when you arrive to a store, if you are being unloaded or loaded, if you are dropping or hooking, etc. If you are doing something, you are getting paid, period. A huge source of this came from extension bonuses too. There are times throughout the year that if they need extra drivers and more freight moved, they offer extension bonuses.
Extension bonuses are either $175 or $275 (depends on the need). All that is required is that you have 6 hours on your 70 on the 6th day of work. And yes, you will have to leave the truck you are assigned to, and go to a new truck. What I do is sleep in my truck that night, get up extra early, pack my stuff and throw it in my personal pick up, jump in the newly assigned truck and do my 6 hours. So you get all your mileage plus activity plus your extension bonus for working those 6 hours. The most I have ever made for those 6 hours is $480 in 6 hours of work, now that's my kind of day. I will extend any time there is a bonus, no questions asked (unless I am on vacation, obviously). What happens if you save 6 hours and stay over and they have no loads? You are still payed your lay over pay ($42) plus the bonus and you head on home, that is it. Simple. I actually had this happen for 3 weeks straight. Talk about a good 3 weeks!
Tomorrow there is supposed to be a message coming out on the 'biggest pay raise for Walmart Drivers to date'. So we'll see what that is about then.
Okay, this thread has gone on long enough and I think I have covered enough or what most want to know about.
If you have a question about something I missed, post below or shoot me a message.
I have a great team here that I work with and get well enough along with the other drivers. Though I don't talk much to anyone to be fair. I just simply don't have time, I have to keep moving, I can't sit and chat when I am under a load or waste time.
Take care and stay safe.
All About Wal-Mart (sort of): A Review of Year One
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Good luck driver! I talked to a Walmart recruiter a few months ago and she said they couldn't compete with my current employer. I only called because I live so close to the Gas City Indiana DC. If I were seriously considering switching companies I would put Wal Mart on my short list.Rookietrucker89 Thanks this.
Are bluetooth (hands free) calls allowed?
Are you allowed to use your phone for Pandora (music) or audible (audio books)?
APU or inverters?
Do they have a frig and microwave?
I prefer a clean truck, what cleaning is required before turning the truck in?
Is it hard to switch terminals?
How's the health insurance?
Slip seating or driver facing cameras are not deal breakers for me. I'm 20 minutes from the Grantsville UT DC and I'm thinking WM would be a good fit for me. That is if they'll take me. I have 10 years of local driving and then was out for 10 years and am now working on my first year back.
Thanks for all the information.
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