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Been a while. I've been meaning to update this for over a month now, if for no other reason then to back up my claims. I'm still with Prime. When I hit my one year in August, it was like someone threw a switch. The past 4-5 months have been pretty good for me. Not great, but far from terrible. What's listed below is as of 12/10/12. Save the last week, December was a very good month for me but it's not included below. I'll also throw out some pros and cons to working for Prime. Mostly because I have an inflated sense of self importance and I like to listen to myself ramble. Even if no one else cares. My sense of humor doesn't translate well to the internet, but I genuinely hope this helps someone out.
These are the hard numbers. I'm not guessing or pulling numbers out of my behind to impress anyone. I should say that I did not compensate for TAH. Going home for a few days every month is negligible to the overall average in the long run so I included those weeks also.
111,221 paid miles over 59 weeks comes out to 1885 miles weekly average. I will say here that when I made my original postings back in July(?), this number was closer to 1700.
Over those 59 weeks I pulled 201 loads. An average of approximately 3.5 loads per week.
Average length of haul comes to 443. This number jumps to 553 when including deadhead.
Here's a break down of my weekly miles.
sub 1000 weeks: 3 yes, hometime.
1001 - 1500: 14
1501 - 2000: 19
2001 - 2500: 14
2501 - 3000: 6
3001+ : 3
As you can see, a lot of short hauls and time spent on line 4 loading/reloading and waiting for the 'wheel to spin' as you guys like to say. Even a simple drop and hook can take upwards of an hour with all the macros and those really annoying 'I'm-a-stoopid-trucker-and-can't-read' live loaded calls. It's really hard to get good consistent miles when you're constantly reloading and getting 200 mile runs from PA to Mass with 24 hours to get there and no chance of being unloaded early enough for it to matter.
The absolute best way to make money in the NE, is what I've dubbed the 'Tater Triangle'™. That's right, kids. Depending on where you're coming from, the tater run itself can be worth nearly a thousand miles. This is how it generally goes. Taters down to Bethlehem. Pick up at one of Prime's gigazillion (yes, gigazillion) customers in Eastern PA. Run back up to Mass or southern Maine. At this point, you're either going to deadhead or pick up a load of boxes in Devens, MA and head back up to Easton. If you're really lucky, you'll get to don a Wally World cap for a day before heading up to Easton. Rinse repeat. My personal best is 3 laps around the triangle before 'the wheel' spits me out. The nice thing about this run is a good chunk is spent in Maine where traffic is almost non-existent. I really will miss running up here once I leave. Sometimes, it's just you, the moosen, the foxen, the woodsenen... and Mt. Katahdin. I never tire of Katahdin. And then a supertrucker blows by you doing 75 mph.
Some pros and cons I think are worth mentioning.
-Top notch, well maintained equipment. It's almost a guarantee you'll get into a tractor that's #### near, if not, brand new. Even more so, the trailers are all newer and the air ride and auto inflation system is a dream come true. Every time I pull the knob to slide my tandems I smile. If you've never had to deal with spring ride or had to pull the pins manually with a bent pull arm or a trailer that was loaded with rust, you don't know how good you have it.
-Your FM works as hard as you do. What I mean is, at a lot of companies, FM's work M-F 8am-5pm. Not at Prime. They work weekends and holidays too. Even at night, it's one of two guys covering. I really like the familiarity of dealing with one of the same three people 99% of the time, regardless of when I call in .
-RA. It's not often I have to call RA, but when I do, it's nice to have the same guy answer the phone. Getting road repair or a solution to a minor problem is almost too easy.
-APUs/inverters. It boggles my mind that there are still large fleets that don't have these on their trucks. Prime isn't afraid to invest in their equipment, and by proxy, their drivers.
-Hometime. The whole one day off = 24 hours off duty has largely gone the way of the dodo in this industry, but it still happens and it's worth mentioning. There's many reasons why my profile reads 'ex trucker', and this is one of them. If I get in at 1700 and you expect me to be back to work 1700 tomorrow - that's not a day off. It's nice to see that most carriers have abandoned this practice and actually give you a legit day off for every 7 you're out.
-Truck shop. I only have one experience in Springfield (and a good one) but speaking strictly of Pittston - overall these guys are great.
I'm probably forgetting a few but those are the big ones. How about some cons.
-Woefully underpowered tractors. Once upon a time I worked for Schneider National and I thought their tractors were lacking power. It's not even close. I'd bet a months wages that my old SNI truck could outpull my mini Cascadia. To make it close, put 40k on SNI and load this thing 20k and the SNI would still win pretty easily. I feel like a nerd talking like a supertrucker about a pumpkin.
-Being governed at 57 mph is a special kind of torture.
-You're just a number. I can deal with it just fine most of the time, and in fact, like the anonymity at times, but it would be nice not to have to spout off my truck number every single time I call in.
-Lack of respect. This is industry wide. You won't find many drivers who feel their company appreciates them. Prime isn't exempt. Even after a year of impeccable service, I'm still treated like an embicile at times for no other reason than I'm on a board with guys who suck at their jobs. This extends to office personel who also suck at their jobs.
-Lack of preplans. I really wish that I didn't have to guess which way to head every time I empty out at a 90. Not every place has a truckstop close by. Definitely not a Prime-exclusive problem but still.
-Tyson. Especially you, Shelbyville, TN. Your potential employees should have to demonstrate the ability to count to ten before employment is offered.
-Pennsylvania. The only state I legitimately hate driving in (except I80/I90). Of course we have a gigazillion customers here and they all set up shop out in the middle of nowhere. At least it feels like it.
-The Terminals. Yup, they're pretty. Yup, they have nice amenities. They're also incredible time sinks. I hate going to them and when I do, I'm chomping at the bit to get the hell out. Would it kill them to have the cafeteria stay open later than 1900? And who's bright idea was it to wire the intercom up to the bunk room area? They're nice, but they weren't built for us drivers. Oh, I get it. It's there for the office personel, but it would have been nice if they had been a bit more thoughtful with driver's services. I shouldn't have to order take out that early in the evening or be relegated to vending machine food.
-Live load calls. Hurr durr. *drool* Ghurr which way do I go, George?
I think this sums up my experience at Prime even if it does come off a bit more angry and 'ranty' than I wanted it to. It's obviously for those folks considering coming here and to help them make a decision. All the best to you guys.
I agree with most of what you say. I'd like to ask if you were in the NE fleet and got the extra .05/mile?
if so, that might explain the low mileage avg. You may understand this but many NE fleet drivers some how think that the .05 is extra pay and their mileage should be on par with the rest of the Company drivers, when the reality the .05 is really "make up" for the NE tendencies of shorter loads.
You're doing pretty well in your first year. There are a lot of drivers at other carriers that barely can afford a package of ramyen noodles a day. There's things at every job that you may or may not like - in any profession. I agree, Railex sucks.
I was a company guy when they started the live loaded calls, seemed demeaning at the time. It happened after a couple of drivers went the wrong way for hundreds of miles totally missing their appointments, a couple more ran the loads at the wrong temperature - loads were a total loss, a couple more showed up at shippers with bloody trailers... the guy that got rejected just had to get the trailer washed out. The couple of others got loaded with produce for a total loss on the loads. By the time the losses start moving into the seven-figure range in the period of a few months due to stupidity, you know they're going to do something about it. Live loaded calls and live dispatch calls.
Tractor power. I've got a little more leeway with my tractor - its a lease truck. Yeah, I can leave you guys in the dust - I also get to pay for that at the fuel pump - which is why you guys in the lightweights are passing me. A lot. Your machine is purposely limited so that inexperienced drivers don't flush all of the company's profits down the ol' oil company rathole.Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
silenteagle Thanks this.
Yes, I am NE regional and get the .05/mile for loads that pick up or deliver in the NE and some mid-atlantic states.
You're spot on, and I'd take it a step further by saying that the extra nickel is also to make up for the shear amount of trucks up here and to a much lessor extent, the traffic congestion at times. On the subject of traffic, it's not as bad as you may think. You just have to know when to go. Most loads have enough leeway that you can run at the most efficient times. 90% of the time I can roll without so much as tapping my brakes for a back-up. You don't have to run in the wee hours either.
My contention is that, unless you're looking for more hometime or the ability to get home at a moments notice, it might be better to forgo the nickel in favor of the longer length of haul that comes with running all 48.Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
As for the live load calls. I understand why they do them. I seem to remember them going over the issues and why they implemented them when I was at orientation. It's just...sometimes I take things way too personally. For the most part I don't mind doing them but when I've had to sit on hold for 20+ minutes, all I see is traffic getting heavier and that other driver grabbing the last spot at the truckstop. Timing is everything up here as you well know, and when I'm being held up by something I see as trivial, I become agitated.
Again, I understand the reasoning to cut these trucks way back. That's fine. I italicized governed for a reason. No passing speed. You have to wait for traffic to clear, a decent downhill, tailwind is a plus, and when you get out there, hope to god they don't start pedaling faster and leave you out in the hammer lane looking like a fool. I was in SpringMO last month and the mechanic was nice enough to turn me up to 62. You know what? I actually go slower now. It's just nice to have that little bit extra when I need it. If I were on the lease side, I'd crawl too. The fuel benefit is infinitely greater on the lease side because you pocket every last cent you save. I run appalachia frequently and that has a knack for absolutely destroying your fuel bonus. I don't care how slow you go, it's not going to be pretty. I68 - I79 - US50 across WV and OH three times in one week? Yeah...I think my bonus was .005 that week.
Welp, the truckin' rodeo here at the Rotterdam Pilot has lost it's appeal and I need to get some shuteye. I have a date with my friends at Railex tonight.jomar68 Thanks this.
Thanks for all the great info IP and everyone else. Starting with Prime 3/5 as a student. Will be in NE after training according to Joan because I live in Mid-coast ME. See Prime trucks continuously daily!!! Hope I can plan my resets at the house and eventually make my way to Lewiston dedicated which is an hour from my house!! Keep all the good info coming.ironpony Thanks this.
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