I have posted intermittently on various posts helping to answer questions that come up and I thought I would put it all in a bit better cohesive place.
This information is based on my coming in as an experienced driver, having got my CDL A back in 1997. I had been out of a truck for several years and no OTR at all but due to my 4-5 years of flatbed experience with a local steel company, they allowed me to come down as experienced and go for 1 week and a road test with Randy. I must have done ok..... Due to that, I was only assigned a trainer for 2 weeks which turned to 3 at my request, as I did not feel that the short holiday weeks we ran had shown me enough securement options to be comfortable. During this time, I did make the $500 wk they advertise for training.
I went down to release class Sunday January 3 with 2 other guys from my area. We went to Gaston, SC to get our trucks rather than Des Moines. Monday is all about paperwork...(yes more of it) and finding out if you are picking up your truck there or in Indy. Me and one of the guys I came down with got ours right in Gaston so no biggie. The remainder of Monday was spent getting the truck and trailer checked out and taking inventory of securement. They give you a check list and you basically just check off what you are missing. Take that into the securement/tarp guy and he gets you what you need.
Tuesday was basically a wait around cluster and we did not get our first load sent out until after 9am. It was a 100+ mile bounce to Bennettsville for particle board. Sat in line waiting to be loaded for nearly 6 hours and then slept there as I was out of hours.
Due to some conditions beyond anyones control, I only made about $1400 in truck revenue that week, it is not uncommon to have a pretty low dollar first week. Practice on your securement and tarping, that is the reason they give the $1K per week for the first 8 week, so you can be a competent safe driver and not necessarily worry about the money side of it right off the bat.
Second week, due to having a Hazmat and a Passport, I ran into Canada for a delivery and a pick up. Both were pretty good money loads and I ended the week at $4200+ for the truck putting me at the top of my FM's board that week.
Third week, still good revenue but only by chance picking up a nice two day load from IL to eastern PA paying $1700 to the truck.
This week did a little better than average for this time of year bringing in about $3200 to the truck.
I have noticed that I am a LOT more comfortable with tarping now then I was a month ago and do not find it nearly as daunting. I do still have an issue with billowing but it is getting better with every load I do. Securement....well, I secure the proverbial dog poop out of everything at the moment just to make sure that it is safe. I believe that if I would not be able to comfortably have my 9 year old grandson ride his bike on the sidewalk next to me then it is not good enough. I feel the same about your family and do not care to harm anyone due to a lack of attention to detail on my part.
This is pretty much it on my stuff so far. I have found that they are honest to their claims and no one has lied to me at all. I am not certain that this is the job for me as it is my first time going OTR and I may end up back in a local driving type job. That will be due to a decision by my wife and I though, not due to TMC having lied to me.....at least thus far.
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Still at it and not much new to report. Have carried a lot of fiber board lately and did a load swap with another driver on Thursday so we could both get home to our own areas.
Also Thursday I had my first experience with a Peterbilt dealer. I sat for 6 hours waiting for them to fix an exhaust clamp that had broke free and ruined the boot and gasket. Had I known it would be that long, I would have probably just picked up the parts and fixed it myself. Lol
I had to take Friday and Monday off due to a personal issue and they did their best to make that happen, even though, I have not been here long enough to have earned any time off.
I ended up being home by 11am on Friday which was fine for my needs.
Still pretty happy with how they treat me as far as honesty and my fleet manager is pretty straight forward and truthful. My wife and I are still not certain about the OTR thing yet but it is a living.
Man, thanks for sharing your experience in an honest way. I'm new too and it's encouraging to know fellow TMCers are having similar experiences. I ran my arse off to set up for a good Friday home load...but got loaded with a 3 hour bounce west when I live east. Could have been home Friday afternoon instead of at 10pm! Lol I then politely communicated my needs and will see how next week goes... All in all I took 3700 to the truck and plan on doing it again here soon.Toona67 Thanks this.
The Friday thing is beginning to be an issue with me. It is not my fleet managers fault but invariably something comes up that causes me to not be able to get home until Saturday morning. Yesterday I was fortunate to be at a shipper that was only an hour from where I park but still had to sit in their yard for 8 hours to get enough hours to drive home.
I am not complaining about the company, that is just how things go in this business at times. It is still in the wait and see phase for my wife and I for the OTR thing. To this point she has been pretty covered up at her job but the time away is starting to bother her more and more.
All I can say is that, just like with any other company, TMC is what you make of it. Most people bring their own problems with them and blame it on the company. It is rampant these days for it to be "someone else fault".
As I have said, TMC has not lied to me a single time and have made some concessions for me recently due to some personal issues. So far, I have no complaints with them as an employer. Just not sure this lifestyle is my thing yet.
Toona, how do u run? Are u running out of hours/ chasing the clock witch puts or staggers your timing to get to a reciver or loader? That's for me the biggest thing: time. If I'm out of hours and I'm like 3miles from a shipper or reciver I'll just sleeper birth drive in , keeping me off duty. I try to hustle to get parked up all week at the consigned to gain more hours to drive, load and repeat. The cost is no showers and avoiding except to fuel, truck stops. I eat strictly organic out a cooler too. But somethings are out of my control like hell hole mega shippers and a long drawn out process to load, like they want a DNA sample, 3rd grade report card, where u were on 9-11 ect lol....Dominick253 Thanks this.
I run my clock out most days that it makes sense to do so. There are occasions where I will take 11-12 hours due to how the run is going to be or if I have to shut down at a weird time.
I do not eat strictly organic but I do buy mostly healthy food and quite a bit of it is organic. I have a 12V Coleman cooler that works great but is WAY too big for my truck. lol
As a general rule I shower every other day unless it was a bad load and I need one. Usually I will take my 30 at a pilot mid day when the showers are not as busy and get in and get out and back on the road. Normally can get it done in 25-40 minutes depending on the time of day.
Mega shippers do make life hell and I have been fortunate to not get to them a whole lot lately. Arauco was my very first pick up in my own truck and was there for 6 hours waiting to load and spent the night there. Just to have a return from the consignee going back to Arauco for yet another pick up and delivery. Took me all week to do 2 deliveries.....not a great first week. lol
It's been weird lately ,most of the time I would be getting home Friday nights with about 18 hours left on my 70 but lately it's Saturdays around 10:00. Today I have 3.44 on my 70. Going to get my 34 in but it will be _ell to pay next week i'm sure with a late delivery on Monday. But it's the less of two evils rather than running recap all week. Have a 470 mile delivery on Monday from home so THAT should be fun. Nothing wrong with what your doing, I do the same......Be safe.
I think I am good for next week. I have my 34 hour in tomorrow at 6:30am or so and I have a load of wallboard on my back bound for Fort Dodge, IA. Leaving out in the morning I should get there by 10am local time on Monday and it is should not take long to get unloaded. My biggest concern is that I have to bounce to Des Moines for new tarps. I picked up some God awful ones in a load swap and was not happy when I pulled them out to use them. The driver said they were a patchwork but I assumed that, like mine, they had the usual patches and such. Oh no, these were torn to heck and missing D rings all over the place. Takes an extra 30 minutes to tarp while I figure out which constructive way to hold it all together. People that do that kind of thing to a fellow driver deserve a special place in hell. lol
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