A few observations about Heartland Express (Western Division)

Discussion in 'Heartland Express' started by cristalino, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. cristalino

    cristalino New Member

    Hired on first week of June 2016 and was immediately rolling last day of orientation. Company was considerate enough to route me home in order to get my stuff to flesh out the truck for OTR life. Within the first week, I found myself in the San Bernardino CA area bobtailing in search of an empty. Dispatch simply gave me a list of 4-5 customers to investigate but apparently didn't realize that this is Southern California and the locations are not necessarily next door to each other. I spent approximately 4 hours in search of an empty and was never compensated for this seemingly endless exercise in futility. The following week was an exact repeat of the first. San Bernardino again, chasing the proverbial wild goose. You would think a company the size of Heartland Express (now with Gordon's equipment on board) could keep track of their empties, or at the very least, make some effort to track them down via phone calls or emails. Sounds simple enough, right? That got me scratching my noggin but hey, new company, let's make the most of it. In orientation they tell you the trucks are not equipped with PrePass or GPS with trucking software. Very old school and that's fine because I'm fond of map reading anyway. Only issue I had there was a great deal of Heartland/Gordon's trailers is High Cubes and whereas Interstates are pretty much fair game for clearance, what happens once you leave the "safety" of said Interstates? For anyone who believes all - yes all - overpasses, underpasses & bridges are clearly marked within cities, think again! This is just an accident waiting for a place to happen...just a matter of time. The so-called promise of "home every weekend" is actually a 34-hr reset in disguise. Orientation clearly informed us that it's "two nights off" at best, so decide for yourself whether it's worth the trouble. I put in for 3 weeks out in order to get 3 days home and it only happened once in the 2 months I was employed, so not enough of a track record there to be fair. Incidentally, I was paid for orientation at the rate of $60 a day, so if others have said otherwise, perhaps it's changed recently. If you do require 4 days or more of hometime, expect to be slip-seated. Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back: I had been dispatched on a Lowe's load with an appointment for 1500. I arrived the evening before as it was in my hometown. The very next morning I called Lowe's to explore the possibility of an earlier delivery and was told "No." Okay, no problem I thought but hey, there goes my morning. After I performed a D&H at the consignee, I sent in my Empty Call and within minutes, was given an all-night run that same afternoon, after I had been up since 0600. I expressed my concern to Dispatch via text but got NO reply. I'm not fresh out of high school or just off the turnip truck, so turning the old body clock off instantly in order to get a few hours sleep was pointless. I took the load just the same but had to pull over for a "power nap" along the way. I was only 40 minutes late but get this: the consignee only had one dock and it was already taken by an earlier arrival. So in effect, no harm, no foul. I got unloaded and had already started my 10-hr break when Dispatch pulled me off a run with good miles and which I could have easily made on-time delivery. My dispatcher's reason? "I had to cover the load." Wow! Anyway, he had a backup plan... yep, you guessed it... more overnight driving! I respectfully declined the load and he informed me I would be downgraded on the list of available loads, which I assented to readily. Apparently that wasn't the response he wanted to hear and immediately came back with, "Well, maybe you need to drive for somebody else." I don't mind the occasional all-nighter but 2 in row was certainly not what I was expecting, especially since they never responded to my first concern the day before and now even though I was clearly able to make on-time delivery with my follow-up load, Dispatch just took it upon themselves to slap another questionable load on me. Guess it was all a test but not one I felt I needed to be subjected to. So I got out early before it became more confrontational and unbearable. I will admit I'm a tad spoiled with day driving primarily but this little imbroglio was more than I cared to abide. I really don't have any truly negative thing to report about my experience with Heartland Express but they're clearly in business for business' sake, and not so much for their (or this) drivers comfort & input. My 2ยข anyway...
  2. dchawk81

    dchawk81 Well-Known Member

    Who did you drive for before?
  3. cristalino

    cristalino New Member

    Hey Hawk, previously I was with A. N. Webber - small to mid-sized firm out of Kankakee IL. Spent 5 yrs there but had some issues with Breakdown personnel that eventually had me looking elsewhere. Now I'm thinking the "grass wasn't greener on the other side," right...
    dchawk81 likes this.
  4. Injun

    Injun Rabid Squaw Staff Member

    That often ends up being the case.
    dchawk81 likes this.
  5. dchawk81

    dchawk81 Well-Known Member

    Yeah this is why I've thought about leaving on those bad days but haven't. Cooler heads have prevailed so far.
    Injun likes this.

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