Pumpkin Drivers Please Repond

Discussion in 'Motor Carrier Questions - The Inside Scoop' started by Grinnbearit, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. ziggystyles

    ziggystyles Road Train Member

    Im on a dedicated account with them, newbie.

    I think each terminal is different from one another. The only one I have been to is the Fontana one. Decent sized lot and building. Free laundry, decent food at a reasonable price. Did my training there.

    *whats good to have in the truck? Chains, iso alcohol, oil, washer juice. Should have the combo tool in there for the tandems and fifth wheel. spare grommets and maybe straps? its been recommended to me to carry starter fluid as well.

    *Someone mentioned low pay. They start off low, but if you run OTR, you have plenty of bonuses you can get (despite what others say), as well as your pay going up as time goes on.

    *they are big on safety. However, keep in mind that some things you might want done to the truck might be considered cosmetic. I trained with a guy that had a chunk of his plastic / fiberglass housing by his drives torn off by his chains...theyw ont fix due to it being cosmetic.

    *as far as loads, they seem to be big on keeping the drivers driving. Their system works by you telling it when you plan to arrive. This lets the computers search for available loads at that time so you can drop and then get to your next load.
     
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  3. ziggystyles

    ziggystyles Road Train Member

    As far as the contract. Not sure what to say. Sure you are locked in for 18 months, but you have a skill you can take with you. They have what many people say is the best training out there. Plus, if you dont like it after 12 months, you can leave and go to another company. Sure youw ill have whatever left over on your tuition to pay off, but many people do it.

    As for me, Im a teacher and couldnt get a job this year. Needed to work. Right now, Im working. If this dedicated thing falls through, I can still go OTR and provide for the fam until soemthign else pops up.
     
  4. Grinnbearit

    Grinnbearit Bobtail Member




    Ziggy,




    Thanks for the heads up if I do move forward it's great to know someone ahead of me with sound advice/knowledge. Thank you all for your help here. I'm not big on the whole skateboarding thing but I'll give a look to Maverick as well. It's definitely good to keep the 'honey do' list down when you work and get what you need $$$. Hopefully you're getting all the miles you can stand. I know a lot of vets on the boards say that they pay you 0.28/mile but that is for a short period. Best of luck to you.


    Grinn
     
  5. ziggystyles

    ziggystyles Road Train Member

    Well actually for me, since Im on a dedicated account, I get paid a salary. If I crunched the numbers and figured out the miles divided by my pay...Id get about 31 a mile.

    it depends on how you look at it. Since Im dedicated, I get home nightly and have two days off a week so in a sense I am paid less than a regular OTR driver. However, like I said...Im also home nightly, drive less and have two days off which explains the less pay. At the same time, I have a handful of stops I make each day and I have to unload the freight myself. However one stop can be 20 big cardboard boxes, or one single tote box...just depends.

    As far as hauling flatbed...I don't know how much more, if any you can make. Sure you do 'make more' on paper as you get paid more per mile, however you lose valuable time (and hence potential miles) by loading the freight, strapping / chaining / tarping...then unstrapping / chaining and tarping when finished.

    ie....if I get paid 28 a mile to bring a load via van trailer 500 miles, thats 140bucks.
    If I get paid 31 a mile to bring freight 500 via flatbed, thats 155, fifteen bucks more.
    Now if it takes me, lets say two hours to load the flatbed and set up and tear down, thats a potential of 140 miles (say you are at 70mph) which is 43 bucks. Heck, even if it took one hour for set up and tear down, thats about 22 dollars.
    Of course, if you cheat on the logbooks, my theory flies out the window, lol.
     
  6. Grinnbearit

    Grinnbearit Bobtail Member



    LMAO,



    Cheat on the log books. . . that means I potentially lose sleep for more money. Hmm sounds good but sometimes less is more. I am familiar with some of the time consuming tasks that are involved with flatbedding. Sometimes you get paid for it, then there are days when it's not even worth your time. I think I will stick to my guns and go with the pumpkins. Worst thing that could happen; I get a liscence out the deal, spend 18 months in a truck, lose touch with reality(family), and get a blemish on my record. But I made some money right! No seriously I have considered it and they are really one of my best options at the current time because I want to pull a tanker. I really just need to know that I can do that out of a TX hub so I won't have to drive a long distance just to get to work. Others I considered are USA Truck, TA, and WSE.
     
  7. Grandiego

    Grandiego Medium Load Member

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    Nov 2, 2007
    0
    Good info. I have some things to add.

    I recently completed Schneider "boot camp" in Green Bay...still have to hook up with a TE (Training Engineer) for a couple of weeks, and then take my SQT (Skills Qualifications Testing)... get used to acronyms if you go with Schneider... and forgive me for repeating some of what's already been said.

    Even if you have a CDL you should stay 14 days unless you are a very experienced driver. One of my fellow students at the STA (Schneider Training Academy) had worked for Schneider around 8 years ago, chose to stay for the 14 days, and was happy with the decision. I also opted for the 14 days, even though I'd just obtained my CDL 2 wks prior. Keep in mind you will have to learn the Schneider way to drive which includes Buttonhook Turns which are illegal but sometimes necessary. Schneider teaches the 11 hour and 14 hour rules without sleeper berth provisions. There are other Schneider specific rules you'll need to learn.

    Most students have to sign an 18 month contract and pay for their training. Since I was a recent CDL school graduate, I didn't have to do either. In fact, I got payed $350/wk while being trained. During training you will get free breakfast, lunch, road map (nice, but small print and not laminated), and a pair of boots at completion. Your motel stay is free as well and mine included free access to a gym down the road. (I noticed most students would rather smoke than workout but there were a few like myself who took advantage) You'll be told to take $200 (a good idea) but I came home with more than half that since I ate in the motel break room (which has a microwave) instead of the resaurant at night. I left a $1 tip for the motel housekeeper everyday but you might consider leaving less or more, depending on your financial situation. (If you do leave a tip, make sure you leave a note or the housekeeper will not take your money.)

    As far as the schedule... count on being gone 16 days since you'll have a couple of travel days. My particular situation called for me to drive 3 hours in my own vehicle to a Schneider Terminal in Gary IN where I caught a bus to Green Bay. The bus had other students on it that had come from as far as Ohio, talk about a long ride.

    We started with rouphly 80 people and ended with about 50. The 1st official day included the dreaded physical test where you perform various physical tasks and then have your pulse rate checked. If you're skinny you might have a problem. Being overweight actually helps in one of the tests since you have to move a predetermined weight horizontally, which is no problem if you're heavy and just lean into it. You can't predict who won't pass and who will. The tests are easy, but to be sure you pass, go as slow as the tester allows you to go. Somewhere around 5-10 people failed the physical test and got sent home. Other people went home for various reasons throughout the 2 wks. I think some may have decided not to sign the contract. Some quit because they thought they wouldn't pass. One person kept falling asleep in class. Another person kept speeding while driving the truck. There might have been a background check problem for a couple of people.

    The next 2 wks consisted of classroom, simulator, and being on the road with a trainer. Some of the classroom stuff was easy and some was hard. You have to study. Fortunately all the tests were open book, except for the final. The simulator wasn't that good because there's no depth perception. On the other hand, learning how to react to a blowout or skid, and driving in bad weather or on a mountain was invaluable on the SIM. The most important part of the SIMs was the instruction. I recommend choosing a different SIM instructor every time you can because they were all complete and total professionals with a wealth of information. I can't say enough about how great the SIM instructors were. I hope they are getting paid extremely well.

    I was disappointed in the amount of time spent on the road. I consider the actual driving time to be the most important part of training, maybe because my CDL school stressed it. My road trainer at Schneider was helpful, but maybe I'm just slow though because I can't imagine passing if I hadn't gone through CDL training somewhere else first. I'd give my CDL school a plug right now if it were appropriate in this forum and I could remain anonymous. I can't thank them enough. If I were a road trainer at Schneider I'd make my students perform one turn after another until they got sick of it.

    I hope this helps someone.
     
  8. ziggystyles

    ziggystyles Road Train Member

    Hmm lets see what I can add:

    *Motel...depends on which OC you train at. Mine didn't have room service daily...only once a week. As far as tips, well Im just a cheap skate, lol. Surprisingly...I havent been tipped yet doing my job...hmm

    *food...also depends on where you stay. We stayed at a hampton suites I believe and their breakfast was muffins and apples / oranges with some juice. The other class stayed at the best western and their breakfast was much bigger. its not that Shneider gives you a breakfast...they just choose a hotel that has a breakfast of some sort. Anywho...we ended up swiping a bunch of apples, oranges, juice, muffins daily, brought them to the OC for snackies.
    The lunch at the OC is a meal ticket for five dollah. If yous pend more than the five bucks, you have to pay for the rest. If you spend under five...they keep the change. The OC food isnt half bad...just sucks when one thing costs most of your meal ticket. Would be nice to get a fountain pop or something along with your burger for the ticket.
    Dinner is on your own. Our hotel had a kitchenette which helped alot. The other hotel didnt have those. I ate out about maybe 70% of the time.

    *buttonhooks...not sure at all how they are illegal since the DOT recomends the practice. Since most every business has its freight brought to it and most are on small streets, buttonhooks are cruicial to getting into a property or a side street.

    *tests are all open book outside of the final. The test has the same questions for the most part that are at the end of each chapter in the book. If you don't read the books, you aren't going to do well at all. Their goal is to get you out on the road and working for them. I went up with a question and my instructor looked at my stuff. He helped me out, and then told me to complete #32 or whatever. Well I had completed it...it was just his way of saying "its wrong....change the answer."

     
  9. AfterShock

    AfterShock Road Train Member

    6,636
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    Sep 19, 2007
    Inland Empire, California
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    Hey Grinn!
    Your handle says it all ! :yes2557:
    If you can, in fact, Grin & Bear it, you'll find Driving a Big truck much less stressful.

    As for the log book comment, that's not necessarily true.
    I call it *Creative Logging 101 * --- and, whereas it IS true that SOME Big truck drivers 'cheat' on their log book to run extra miles, and therefor lose sleep, --- that's not ALWAYS the case.
    In fact, SOMEtimes logging creatively will result in MORE sleep and sleeping at more restful times, like at night rather than at 3pm. SOMEtimes if you log 'legally' it results in ridiculous sleep patterns impossible to adjust to.

    The new hours of service rules eliminate being able to nap in the middle of a daily OTR run without costing the driver time on their log book. I fail to see how that's an improvement, but desk drivers seem to think it is, --- which is another subject I could rant about, so I won't get started here, now.

    Concerning Schneider, I too drove for Schneider when I first started out, and I drove out of the OLD Fontana terminal. Schneider moved from Fontana to Montebello, which I thought was a BIG mistake, and I guess they finally realized that, too, -- because they moved BACK to Fontana.

    After teaming for about a year, I was offered a CDS dedicated run which took us from a starting point at the Fontana yard to San Diego where we would drop and hook a set of doubles ($35) and headed for Norfolk, Virginia -- where we would drop and hook at a warehouse off base ($35) and took that set to the Navy Base where we dropped and hooked again ($35) --- back to the warehouse off base where we dropped and hooked again ($35).

    From there it was back to the Navy Base in San Diego (North Island) ($35) and then up to Northern California -- Travis AFB, where we did our final drop and hook ($35).
    All totaled, the team split $175 ($87.50 each) just for drop and hook pay.
    We ran over 6,700 miles in seven days --- then took two days off and did the same thing again. We sure didn't wear out the door hinges.:biggrin_25512:

    But between the mileage pay, drop and hook pay and bonuses that seven day run paid around $1,500 for the week.
    Not too shabby, especially considering that was over 15 years ago.

    I got off that run when I became a driver trainer (Safety Engineer). Schneider approached me with that offer, which, at first, I turned down. But they kept asking me. Finally they made me an offer I didn't refuse. That being a brand new Big truck that I would pick up in Green Bay where I was to attend driver trainer training, which was more intense than at their other facilities, by MY choice, and I could take the Big truck HOME with me when off duty.
    In exchange, being unmarried, I would have mostly female trainees.

    From there, I went to a local dedicated account out of Kraft/General Foods in Anaheim.
    THAT was a mistake !
    I soon learned I don't like local driving in a Big truck.

    My experience with Schneider was good and I found doors I hadn't even knocked on were opening. I just got tired of years running general freight and grocery warehouses.
    However, the training I received from Schneider was instrumental in my success finding the dream Big truck truckin' job after the dedicated account gig.

    Personally, I'd recommend Schneider to anyone just starting out. Even other Big truck truckin' companies respect Schneider's training program. When I was with Schneider the company only accepted about 30% of the applicants who applied with them. Somebody ELSE hired the 70% that Schneider rejected.

    Schneider was the FIRST and ONLY company I applied with right out of driving school --- when there was a "NO POSITIONS OPEN" sign hanging in their window.
    I've only applied with two Big truck truckin' companies in my entire career, and was quickly hired by both.

    If you're eager to learn and a self-starter --- one who gets 'er done without calling dispatch with questions and problems all the time that YOU should be able to figure out on your own, I think Schneider will satisfy you. I know MANY Schneider drivers who plan on retiring from Schneider, .... and have driven for them for MANY years when they thought they would only remain there long enough to find a more suitable company. I also know Schneider drivers who left for greener pastures only to return when those greener pastures dried up.

    ANYway, if you or ANYone is just starting out, asking questions here is one of the BEST things you can do to better prepare yourself.
    You'd be surprised how often we hear,........................

    I just graduated from Big truck truck driving school and I'm hired by and starting at XYZ Trucking in three days,.............. can anyone tell me ANYthing about XYZ Trucking?

    Now, I ask --------- does THAT make any sense? :biggrin_25512::biggrin_25526:

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of success.

    Oh,........... and Merry Christmas, too.
     
    GLS Thanks this.
  10. Grandiego

    Grandiego Medium Load Member

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    Nov 2, 2007
    0
    Housekeepers make near minimum wage. Anything I can do to help...

    Continental breakfast isn't something to write home about, but juice, fruit, muffins, bagles, french toast, waffles, cereal, milk, etc, are a lot of choices to fill you up.

    Never had to pay extra for lunch at Green Bay. Always had 3 meal choices: Salad Bar, Sandwich Bar, Main Course (usually some sort of meat and veggies).

    If you eat out for dinner, you'll spend a lot of money.

    Probably showing my ignorance on the buttonhook issue. On the MI CDL test, one of the questions shows a picture of a buttonhook and if you call it legal you'll get it wrong. Having said that, you are right. You have to be able to do a buttonhook. I'm glad Schneider teaches it.

    As far as the book instruction goes, there are two ways of looking at it. First, you have to study and the teachers are happy to handhold you through it. You even get 3 chances to pass each test if you fail one (which is unusual). Actually understanding what you are briefly exposed to is the second. I still don't feel comfortable with the Qualcomm, trip planning and even the daily log. Would have liked to gone through it all more thoroughly.
     
  11. ziggystyles

    ziggystyles Road Train Member

    Well with us, they gave us a meal ticket worth five dollars and true, lunch shouldnt cost you more than that. But with our OC, if you wanted a burger and fries, it was going to cost you over five bucks. Their salads were under five, but with taxes, over five...etc.

    *continental breakfast varies from hotel to hotel. Schneider says they get you a breakfast and lunch, but the breakfast is at the expense of the hotel. When our hotel has only muffins, nutrigran bars and apples...that gets old, especially having it for two weeks.

    *eating out. Not going to be expensive if you figure they tell you to bring 200 bucks. Go to a fast food joint, or a subway or quiznos....even if you go once a day for the 14 weeks, you arent going to get near that 200 mark.

    *tests...you can fail a test three times, but you can only fail five times total. If you fail five tests (any combo) you get the boot.

    *qcomm and all that: I dont use the qcomm, outside of a freeform message.
    trip planning, each person has their own way of doing it. You will want to get into the habit of updating your mac 18 (i think thats it) so they know when you will get there and be avail for your next load....then you can drop, and find your next one.

    *the log book...just make sure you keep your hours. Now, nobody is going to tell you to cheat...just make sure you put down the 'right' time you got somewhere. You can figure out what that means. By making adjustments, you will save your self time each day for more driving. I trained with a guy and he had my log looking like a roller coaster and in the end, I saved hours each day. At the same time, I dont need the hours as on my account, I dont get anywhere near the hours limit for the weke.
     
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