Thinking about going to orientation on January 11. Just a heads up. I was told west side drivers are out 3-4 weeks. 1 day off a week. 450 dollars a week for orientation. 75 dollars per day when out with trainer. When solo you work your way up to .41 in a 6 month span. Hazmat loads is is additional .06 and Canada is plus. 03 I beleive
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Tractorman....besides clothes I'd bring gloves, Road Atlas, work boots and winter coveralls/coat....if you have a hard hat you could bring it as well. They have safety stuff for sale at very reasonable prices if you want to buy it from them after you arrive....they'll even sell you an atlas if you need one.
Correct 1day off, for every week. Being a FL native myself it takes me about 3 weeks to get home. I am in central FL though so that might vary since you are closer to 10.
Things to remember about orientation:
1: it is a week long interview, don't think yourself safe on the last day. Two guys were let go on the last day during my orientation.
2: it is designed to give you a general knowledge in securing and tarping, they can not give you everything from real life loads there.
3: lucky enough to make it on a trainers truck, prepare for another 21 day minimum job interview.
4: if they ask about something questionable in your past, just be honest. They already know and if you lie or skirt the truth you will be gone.
5. Don't be afraid to ask that stupid question you have rolling around in your head.
6: saving the best for last, if you at any point of time feel it isn't right for you tell them! What you are doing at orientation is EASY EASY compared to what you will be doing once on your own!
Things to remember about being on a trainers truck:
1: be respectful of the space, after you graduate or get kicked out that is still his/her living quarters.
2: ask questions, just because you graduated orientation does not mean you know anything.
3: be observant, pay attention. They showed you the horror stories, they weren't just trying to scare you.
4: if you get a trainer that has only been doing flatbed for a year (they are out there) do not think for a minute they don't know what they are talking about. The learning curve is steep in flat bedding.
5: try to get along with them, remember it is just 21 days, it would suck having to do the 21 days over again with someone else. They might be even worse than the first person who you went out with.
6: saving the best for last, if you at any point in time feel it isn't right for you tell them! What you are doing with the trainer is EASY compared to what you will be doing on your own.
Things to remember about being assigned your own truck:
1: you are going to suck at securing and tarping for awhile by yourself. Your first solo load that need 12+ straps and 3 tarps is going to take you longer than expected.... Much much longer... Hope you didn't start your clock, or the shipper has o/n parking. Don't worry, after about 2 months and everything is starting to click it will get easier and quicker.
2: it is going to SUCK! Just take your time, be patient, be safe, don't be afraid to ask another driver for advice (ask the loader how he sees other drivers securing, they see trucks all day long and most are pretty helpful)
3: it is going to be overwhelming at first. Get to the shipper, get loaded, crap it really took me that long to secure and tarp, got 1000 miles, only have 2 hours on my clock now, they want it there when? Are you serious?... Remember to breathe and relax, if you have made it this far why quit now? The hard part is almost over with.
4: google maps is your friend, I am not talking about for directions (those are for 4 wheeler). You can see what is around if maybe there is someplace close that you can park, verify directions your dm has sent cause they make no sense to a normal person. If you want turn by turn directions rand McNally makes a good gps along with the one on the Qualcomm you won't get lost too often.
5: once assigned your truck you will be on the "diaper fleet". Mistakes will happen, they expect this. As long as you are safe, everyone around you is safe, the truck is still upright, the load isn't on the ground, or you just got a ticket cause you didn't read that legal weight sign (big picture), then it all about how you handle the situation. Remember, Communication, communication , communication. Melton would rather make a phone call to reschedule pickup or delivery, than a call to your emergency contact.
6. Did I mention yet that for this job you better have your big boy/girl pants on right? Because it is going to SUCK for awhile.
7: this one is to help out all your fellow Melton drivers. Please keep your equipment in good working order. Nothing is worse for an experienced driver than repowering a load where the tarps look like Swiss cheese and the straps should have been replaced many loads ago.
I pulled a flatbed from 1980 - 1988, and I can still remember the first load I pulled out of U.S. Steel, Irvin Works, Dravosburg, PA. I had no idea how to pull into the dock, but the Security Guard and "Other" Drivers walked me through the process.
When I was inside the building, I had no clue how to setup my coil racks, lumber, chains, binders, and tarps. So, I explained all that to the loader. The loader informed the Foreman, and the Foreman arranged for a former driver and some of the drivers behind me to help me setup my trailer, position the chains, fasten the binders with a cheater pipe, because I didn't have ratchet binders, use edge protectors, tarp the load, and leave. I was a rookie then, and I'm still a rookie.
However, I wasn't afraid to ask for help. Some people grumble about being asked for help,, while others become offended if they are not asked for help. The most important aspect of the job is not being afraid to ask for help. It served me well for nearly 40 years.
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