Swift - Starting the New Year training with Swift 1/7/13 - A long read...

Discussion in 'Swift' started by DocWatson, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    One last thing that I was thinking about.

    When I was at the KS terminal I looked up my driver ranking. I was pretty upset to see that I have been "bronze" status for the past 7-8 weeks. Prior to that I was bouncing between "silver" and "gold". I was not happy. I called my DM and told her about it and she said "well, we need to get you more miles". The next load was for 10 miles, literally, from the terminal to somewhere 10 miles away. I didn't end up taking or getting it and it was pulled a while later.

    Does anyone know, is our status based solely on mileage or are there other factors?

    I thought the terminal kiosk said it was mileage plus ontime. I've never been late from what I understand so I'm guessing my status is just mileage based?

    If you get "platinum" status (my goal) do you get more of a choice of loads? That's what I heard but I don't know...
     
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  3. capthook

    capthook Light Load Member

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    Split sleeper is easy.
    The QC figures it for you.
    The key is, the 8 hr break MUST be logged uninterrupted sleeper berth.
    It will then show you how many hours you have back.
    And you won't get a full clock back until you take a full 10.
    I hate them though. 8 hrs to sleep doesn't work for me.
    1 hr to get settled, and get up 1 hr before driving.
    6 hrs of sleep .. nope. Done a couple in an 'emergiency' though.
     
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  4. Tama Mai Hawaii Nei

    Tama Mai Hawaii Nei Light Load Member

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    Been awhile since I posted in here been busy. I didn't go with swift opted for a local guy mom and pop so far this is my 1st week went good I got 3200 miles this week ran to Houston Texas dropped and hooked brought load back to Florida grabbed a load of sod upto Atlanta picked up some lumber back to Florida so far so good $1152 isn't bad for my 1st week better then $400 Swift was going to give me. I came in late Friday night off the rest of weekend can't beat it.
     
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  5. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    I love running I-8. The passes going up and over into San Diego is beautiful and has the most southern ski area in the lower 48. One thing to think about if you are running during the hottest time of the year and need to take a 10 somewhere before a delivery in San Diego, the temperature is about 15 degrees cooler at the top of the pass than back in Yuma, AZ. There are a couple of places you can park, including a casino parking lot, at the top.

    One thing about that southern stretch of desert is that moisture laden air comes up from the Gulf of California and it can rain hard. Then after it rains hard you have all this standing water in the desert and when the sun comes back out to bake it then you get very hot and humid conditions that can be unbearable. I had a situation where I was in Yuma, with a delivery at midnight the following day in Otay Mesa, but a little less than 2 hours on my 70. The sun came up after a heavy night of rain, it was already 85 degrees at 8:00 and temperatures projected to get above 100. I decided to run my less than 2 hours to get to the top of the pass and had an enjoyable day in 78 degree temperatures with a nice ocean breeze.
     
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  6. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    With platinum they will give you up to three different dispatches at a time to choose from, from what my trainer told me.

    I just "graduated" up to bronze and got my permanent driver leader. I think the ranking is heavily weighted toward miles, with some other factors thrown in. The weird thing is that when I first got my truck it seemed I was getting a lot of multiday runs and racking up about 2500 miles per week. In the last month or so it seems like I'm getting a lot of 150-450 mile runs with live loads and live unloads, or that dreaded 10 mile run. In fact I had a 10 mile dispatch my first day back after taking home time, with my wife in the truck for the first time. It was one of those dreaded "Planner's Special's" (interpreted as you are going to get reamed on this load)... the plan was I would have a live unload and therefore have a trailer, since Mira Loma seemed to have a dearth of empties. I sat at the customer almost two hours, waiting for a dock, then was told to unhook the trailer in the yard and bobtail out.... conveniently avoiding any detention pay and leaving me to scramble for an empty. It turned out that 10 mile load was all I got as my next dispatch was for a pickup the next day. Needless to say my wife was not impressed with me making less than 10 dollars for a day's work....
     
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  7. Rick)Rox

    Rick)Rox Light Load Member

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    You better get on the phone with your dm asap. 10 miles, anything under around 30 is hourly pay.
     
  8. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    Its been a while since I've been on here.

    I'm still with Swift and think I'm doing pretty good. Good as getting better at this and learning everyday. Not good with pay though.

    I was getting pretty frustrated for a while with my original DM. I didn't feel she was that sympathetic to my goals of raising my status and helping me to earn better pay. I took a home time back east and decided when I came back I would switch driver managers. Before I got the chance to she sent me a Qualcomm message stating that she was no longer my driver manager as she was only a developmental driver manager. I now have a new one whom I like so far. He seems to care at least and so far has followed through on what he says. I'm still bronze and holding steady since July! This has got to change. My pay does as well. My check last week was just a little over $300. after taxes. If I didn't love doing this so much and if I didn't need then consistency of staying with one company I would be out.

    On a positive note I do feel like I'm learning a lot. I'm safe, on time and have a pretty clean record with Swift. CSA score is perfect and I have 6 points on my Swift RA risk analysis record. Those points were from the ####### who called the How's My Driving number months back after he cut in while I was changing lanes and the other points are from that scale house ticket I got when in first started. At least I learned from these mistakes and won't make them again.

    So I had the scariest moment in my shirt driving career just last week going over I-70 in Colorado after my trailer and tractor lost control momentarily 3 different times while traveling above 9000 feet. It was snowy and just plain messy. My load was at 10000 lbs. I chained on the way down but it wasn't required on the the way up. No one else seemed to be chained going up either. The worst time was after the Eisenhower Tunnel. My truck started sliding to the left while my trailer started to catch me on the right. I don't remember exactly what I did but it involved short hard pumping of the brakes and turning the steering wheel. I think I hit then as as well at some point to straighten the trailer also. I wasn't going fast but I do remember thinking for a moment "this is it...". I was averaging about 8 miles an hour at times and when I pulled off after the tunnel into the chaining area or whatever that is I tried to stop for a while. The roadcrew worker with the backhoe insisted I and the other trucks that stopped to continue down the road. He insisted it was OK because a plow just went down. It was not OK.

    I made it to the rest area at exit 190 just east of Vail pass. The snow was deep as I chugged along and crossed the highway overpass into the rest area. I parked behind another truck along the side of the entrance into the rest area, stomped thru the snow to the rest area and, winded from the altitude, made my way back to my truck for what should have been a deserved rest. After losing control briefly 3 different times, once going up the passes and twice downhill, I was exhausted. Four hours into my rest in heard violent banging on my door. Wtf. I got up, pulled back my curtain and there stood a Colorado trooper. Two trucks had hot each other a few trucks up from me. The other story was that one slid into the rest area ditch. Either way, I was told that a tow truck was coming and that me and the other trucks would have to back out to let the tow truck in. We could not return to the rest area. I basically had to chain up after getting out of the way and drive all the way to Rifle Walmart to shut down again. The other rest areas were full up ahead, I missed one and the Tomahawk truck stop in Glenwood Springs was nonexistent. I was over my hours of service. I rested there and continued on my way to my 3 stop load. What a nightmare that whole thing was.

    I had 3 Sears stops that were now late. When this load was originally put on me it was over the phone with a Denver planned. He insisted that I could make it across I-70 at an average of 60 mikes an hour. Does he not know that out trucks are governed at 62?!? Does he not understand hills and traffic? Does he not know that 70 requires slower speeds in some corners? I told him, at best, I averaged at 50 miles an hour in those circumstances and that how it should be planned. I hadn't even accounted for the snow I didn't yet know was up there.

    My first drop was in Grand Junction. Not a difficult drop but required me to swing out into the street to back. Not a big deal as it was early in the am. My second second stop was in Delta, CO and was a little different. Not difficult but the loading dock was one of those that is free standing out on the pavement and it lifts up to meet the back of the trailer from the ground. That was a first. I was talking with this guy unloading me and he warned me about my next Sears stop in Montrose. He tried to describe it. He stated that other drivers hate docking there. I was proud of myself for doing it safely and fairly easily. You could see where other trucks had hit the corner of the building in the past. It required you to swing around and back blindly into the one little dock. It wasn't too bad just took some GOAL and slow backing. The woman told my the last two drivers that hit it were a Swift and a Werner and that it cost $6000 each time to repair the unrepaired roof. Made me wonder where that $6000 went if the roof was still unrepaired. Hmmmmm....

    I came back over I70 with a tcall the next day. It was no longer snowy but the bridges were icy that early in the morning. I slipped once with another light load. By this time I had enough of I-70, at least for a week or so. I tcalled the load and was immediately sent another load over 70. I refused it stating that I was too sketched out right now after the near crashes and just needed at least a few days break from the Rockies. Granted, I'll be driving in snow, over passes all winter but I was just not feeling confident and was on edge after the previous days. Besides there's 3 other directions I could go from Denver - east, south or north. Surely they had freight going another way. I sent my Mac 9 explaining I didn't feel safe at the moment crossing the Rockies and I needed a short breather. They resent the exact same load to me. Again, Mac 9 and explained to them the same. I sat all day Sunday and heard nothing. Earlier I had my PTA set for 0900 at the terminal and I had also sent a Mac 34 with the same. Nothing.

    In the afternoon I called my Sumner terminal and asked what they saw my PTA was set at. It was blown out to 2+ days in the future. I was pissed!!! Youre going to punish me because I had some near misses and didn't want to go back over the Rockies right away?!? I knew the Denver planner that insisted I took that load had blown my PTA out so I would sit for days not making money. Punishment for not accepting the load. I was heated.

    So I got a load backed on a short one out to Miller in Milwaukee from the Coors Golden plant. A good run. Rainy but at least I couldn't slide off a mountain. I've had a few short runs since and I'm now sitting at the Loves in Dwight Illinois. Tomorrow I pick up from nearby and head down to Lubbock after a short and aggravating 70 mile run today.
     
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  9. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    On a side note, apparently out of my class of 10 that trained at the Swift academy I am one of the last 3 still driving with Swift. We were the 1st class after New Years last year. One went to become a CSA. One drives locally for a differenr company. Allegedly he brings home $900 week and is home every night. Glad for him if this is true as he is a good guy. Another couple got engaged and they moved to Alaska to pursue another line of work. Another went to another company. Not sure about the rest that are gone but they are gone.

    I consider all the time what my next move will be. I'm here now to get the experience and learn this industry and better my driving. I would like some consistency with the same company while keeping my record clean. Hopefully I will be able to use this later to upsell myself to another, more lucrative driving job. At time I think I would make decent money and be a good fit at a UPS, FEDEX, or Walmart but then I wonder if I want to pickup and deliver from the same type of places day in and day out. I was at a Walmart DC today thinking to myself "do you really want to only see Walmart DCs and Walmart stores forever"? Same with FEDEX and UPS.

    I like looking back on my short career and thinking about all of those odd places I've picked up from and dropped to. The maximum security Georgia state prison. The Vidalia onion place. That weird Sears. That recycling place way up by Sun Valley Idaho. I love those runs. I love driving through the small towns and speaking to those working at these different places. It gives me a rare glimpse into a small and unique part of America and the varied lifestyles within. Not sure where this is going to lead eventually but I have enjoyed it all so far, the good and the not so good. It feels like I've had a lot of life experience and travel packed into such a short time.
     
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  10. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    Hey Doc! GOOD to hear from you again. Sounds like you hit the I-70 at a challenging time. I just came westbound over the pass, sitting in Green River, UT for a 10, and it was bone dry the whole way through. Weird thing was the temperature around Denver was freezing in the early am, but as I started climbing it got really windy for a while and the temperature rose to about 50ºF within a few miles. Part of the weather chaos in those mountains.

    By the way, my permanent DM gave me some wise council regarding PTA's. Use the Mac-34 to either set your PTA or to confirm the current status of your PTA. I've also experienced some PTA's getting booted into the future if I Mac-9 to "refuse" a load by setting times I can make.

    Another way to reduce your refusals is to contact your DM and ask what the "shipment windows" are on a load offer. Often the computer will spit out unworkable or extremely tight times based on the "Plus 1" thing (trying to push you to add one more load per week), BUT usually the actual customer requirements are much much more lenient. For example, last week I had a load with a delivery deadline on Monday evening... but it turned out the actual deadline was by midnight Tuesday (on a 1900 mile haul). Now whenever I see a load offer that looks like the times are dicey I just automatically send a QC message to my DM and ask for confirmation on the pick up or delivery windows. If the actual windows are good then I simply accept the load offer "as is" without modifying in any way on Mac-9. This has really boosted my load acceptance rate.
     
  11. cj&m

    cj&m Bobtail Member

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    My hubby is also still with Swift, 7 months so far. Pay has gotten better and since July he has been ranked gold and platinum. He has had a rough couple of days with his DM. He got a service failure on a load which he sent a macro 22 in. He is fighting to get that off him. He got another service failure for having a complete duh moment. He saw the delivery time was 1:30 and he was thinking 1:30 pm. Whoops, guess he forgot about the 24 hour clock. Anyway his DM told him if he gets one more service failure and his percentage drops below 97.5% he will be terminated. He has found a good friend who works with the company for years and he told my hubby to keep at the DM to take the one service failure off or either request a new DM. The past couple weeks he has been in the Northeast which does nothing for him as far as pay goes. Running NE just eats up his clock. He got a load to Laredo and supposed to be home next Friday :)
     
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