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Nervous newbie

Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
Hello everyone. My name is Josh, my wife and I just got our class B licenses and have orientation/class to drive for FedEx expediting next week. I am getting super nervous and am hoping some of you guys can ease my nerves. I guess I'll post some of my questions here.

My wife and I will be driving team. My biggest concern is getting tired before my 11hr driving shift is over. How do you guys stay awake until your body adjust to wacky sleep schedules?

Since we will be a team, will we be running 24/7? Like, will we be literally be switching off every time one of our "shifts" is up? Perhaps this is dependent on specific circumstances (load schedules, etc). Do most of you guys find yourself on the road actually driving 24/7? Hopefully that makes sense.

And my last one for now, when you guys (for newer people) first started, did you kinda feel like your being thrown into the deep end? I'm not sure what our orientation will teach us but right now there are so many unknowns it just can be overwhelming at times.


Ending on a positive note, I am also pretty excited. My wife and I wanted to spend more time together and I think this could be a good fit. We do not have kids, we sold our house, and don't have any ties anywhere. We are also still young (I'm 28 and she is 27). We got sick of the 9-5 jobs and wanted a change of pace. Thank you for any help or advice!

EDIT:: our fleet owner will be putting us in a 2016 freightliner cascadia (straight truck with reefer unit). We both have our hazmat endorsements
 
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Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
If nothing else, I'll update according to my experiences as we go along. We are currently in Indiana and have to go to Ohio for orientation/class. Our recruiter put us in a hotel for 4 days and class is two days long. After that we have to go to Mississippi to pick up the truck. We don't HAVE to get that truck and can get one closer but the farther away one has a reefer unit and is nicer. Have you guys done any training yet? School?
 

GR8WING

New Recruit
Researching
Currently obtaining our CDLb. Road test in a couple of weeks. Already have an owner and he is waiting on us. This will be our second career. Puppies in tall grass.
Truly appreciate any info you can share regarding orientation. Thanks!
 

NorthernBill

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
First let say best of luck to you both! A member on here had a great blog, in the search bar put in A Team. They were a str8 team, a couple years ago. Wife and I team a van so no log book or rules to follow reguard's sleep shifts. But by reading a lot and asking questions we have avoided some mistakes and found our way. Again good luck!
 

GR8WING

New Recruit
Researching
Love The Crafty Truckers. Been following them about a year. You are correct, very informative (and we love the babies). Sorry we missed them at the expo.
Really following this thread to learn about the orientation at FXCC, as that is who our truck owner is with. Hope to be ready in a month or so.
On a side note, I really appreciate all the information this community is willing to share, and the patience with newbies such as ourselves. It really helps us second career folks navigate the the completely uncharted waters. Thank you!
 

ucfd608

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
I have actually been following them on YouTube for awhile now. Along with a few others. I will post an update once we get to the hotel on Sunday!
Good luck to you I know nothing about FedEx I was with panther an loved it but if an when I come back out it will be with landstar


Sent from my iPhone using EO Forums
 

Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
Small update. Our hotel is very nice. First day of class today and all I can say is wow, so much information it's hard to absorb even 1/4 of it. Biggest things to me were learning how to fill out the bill of lading, and figuring out the log book. The teacher offered to stay back and help us tomorrow with the log book. So many different scenarios and trying to make sure your within your guide lines and doing so legally. I think that's the biggest thing to me. A normal job won't get you fined if you mess up (at least in my employment history). So many small rules (can't have any medication in the truck that can cause drowsiness!, wife HAS to be in the sleeper for at least 8 of her ten hrs off time and not in the pass seat, logging off duty, on duty not driving, on duty driving, ect.)

We'll get there. Just a steep learning curve. Will update more later, my brain is fried. Lunch was awesome, hot breakfast tomorrow morning. Time for some hotel room service.
 

Boatcat

Active Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Navy
I follow the Crafty ones too but there are lots of others out there and here with insights and ideas as well. I tend to prefer solid info over all the endless talk and fluff.
Also, some of the larger carriers are very bogged down with rules and regulations.
Examples above...
Sometimes it's good to keep it as simple as possible.
I'm curious though.
How did you guys qualify with Fed Ex having just gotten your Class B?
Previous experience, or what?
 

Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
It would appear they don't require previous experience (no sarcasm there) I thought you needed experience also. Especially for white glove (which we'll be doing once our hazmat goes through). Maybe because we're technically working for expediting services? Seems like a really good company to work for, both expediting services and FedEx. We were the only ones in class that are on with a fleet owner and the rest seemed to be owner operators. It's more catered towards them but it's all very good information.
 

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Set a schedule and stick to it. Divide the clock into 12 hour shifts that split about half of the hours of darkness, something like 14:00-02:00. You have to sleep and it will be easier during dark hours. Sometimes one of you will do 90% of a job, sometimes the other one. You can't do 50/50 or you'll get too messed up on sleeping patterns etc.. You'll have to adjust and adapt as you go along but the more structure you can build into it the easier it will be overall. Good luck.
 
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GR8WING

New Recruit
Researching
Thanks for the updates Josh. Anxiously watching!
Get some sleep tonight, another big day tomorrow. ;-)
 

Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
H'ok. Class was long today. Doesn't feel long when your in it, just very overwhelming. Hazmat stuff today (even if your not doing hazmat) and Qualcomm (c-link for FedEx) training. Canada stuff also. Still very, very confused. That's probably not reassuring for any new people. I will say this, for FedEx at least, they are super helpful. Our teacher stayed behind with us today to do some one on one stuff with logs. I would feel better if I had a checklist to run through on my first few loads.

Example: information I remember getting, when you come into service you log in on your Qualcomm (after your first time logging in you should only log out of a mechanic needs to drive your truck, any other log out looks as if your trying to bypass the e-log) and then:

-log onto the loadboard website and pick a load. You can pick whatever you want (I think anything over 100miles deadhead is your responsibility)

- once you are granted the load (takes like ten min I think) you ... enter your status into Qualcomm as heading to the load?

- once you get there you have to tell FedEx you are there (Qualcomm)

- get bill of lading from shipper and transfer the info to FedEx's specific paper work

- enter that info again into Qualcomm and wait for approval to leave before you depart

Something along those lines.. there is good news though. Our teacher and recruiter? Guy that was assigned to us said when we get ready for our first load, to call them, and they will walk us through whatever we need help with. They have a specific person that can help with your log book, Qualcomm, your own dispatch person I believe, etc.


The Qualcomm was more intimidating than I thought it would be. You have to log EVERYTHING. When you stop, when you start, Pretrip, post trip, fueling, before you leave a shipper, before you arrive, when you arrive. Not bad once you get into the habit I imagine. Stay away from New York. Every last person in class said the same thing, don't go there.

I will come back and redo this to make more sense once I get to a computer and can organize my brain a little bit. We should be getting our truck next week. Kinda nervous since we have zero experience driving a straight truck, I'm sure I'll be fine (45 foot motor home and our 26' travel trailer under my belt). But nothing for the wife. She did awesome with the flatbed on the cdl test though and could parallel park without pulling up once, so I'm sure she will also be fine. Can't wait till we get into a groove and my nerves can settle.
 
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GR8WING

New Recruit
Researching
Sounds like we have a lot in common. Wife has zero experience but she is pushing through. This is way out of her comfort zone. I'm so proud of her.
I really appreciate your daily updates - please keep them coming. Hang in there, sounds like you're doing great!
 

Solar

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
My biggest concern is getting tired before my 11hr driving shift is over. How do you guys stay awake until your body adjust to wacky sleep schedules?

Since we will be a team, will we be running 24/7? Like, will we be literally be switching off every time one of our "shifts" is up? Perhaps this is dependent on specific circumstances (load schedules, etc). Do most of you guys find yourself on the road actually driving 24/7? Hopefully that makes sense.

And my last one for now, when you guys (for newer people) first started, did you kinda feel like your being thrown into the deep end? I'm not sure what our orientation will teach us but right now there are so many unknowns it just can be overwhelming at times.
Before I started otr I drove a cab on 12 hour shifts to see how well I would cut it. It was great experience both in dealing with dispatch, finding addresses, and you had added pressure of being the cab guy. I'd recommend this to anyone before driving otr.

First I'll ease your mind, a 11 hour drive is child's play. It's not like a normal work shift where you're doing anything physically exerting, so you actually retain your concentration a lot longer than normal.

That said, if you find yourself too tired to drive, pull over at a safe area and sleep 15 minutes. It'll feel miserable waking up, but you will be more aware and fresher for about an hour. Repeat if needed.

Your 2nd question, I don't drive team, but you WANT to be rolling 24/day, that's how you make your bread.

3rd is yes, very much so. But, after a few weeks you got it, so just don't panic. Ask questions, watch videos of other drivers, and the experience comes quick and easier.
 
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Josh

Active Expediter
Driver
I watch a lot of YouTube to gain ANY knlowlesge that is or could be relevant. Getting bored on long drives is what I think would make me sleepy. I Appreciate your input and advice.

Small update. After talking to my recruiter today, we now have solid plans to pick up our truck. The truck we WANT is in Mississippi, but there is one local to us that isn't as fitting (no reefer, two small beds, smaller sleeper, no lift gate). After telling the recruiter it would be $400 to rent a car so we can get to Mississippi he suggested we drive the truck that is local to us and bring it to Mississippi to get the good truck (outfitted for white glove and bigger sleeper with a big bed. They will be paying the gas for us to get there. So free for us. This will give us time to adjust to the truck on a long trip with no load obligations. He said we can work as quickly or as slowly as we want. Whatever makes us comfortable. I can elaborate more when I get to my computer.
 
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