Robert Hullett has been with Prime nearly two years—7 months driving a company truck and more recently, as a lease operator. He currently drives a 2016 Peterbilt and is looking forward to upgrading to a 2019 Peterbilt soon. He drives a “reefer” (refrigerator trailer). During the last two years, Robert has learned a lot about making money, saving money, and setting aside time to be with family—all skills and information he shares as a trainer with new drivers at Prime. As a solo driver, he says “he averages $4000-$7500/[gross revenue]/week”, depending on how the loads run the proximity of delivery sites between pick up and drop off.
Before coming to Prime, Robert worked for 25 years in warehousing, so he has a good understanding of the shipping and receiving side of trucking. He has done it all – loading, unloading, reception, shipping and receiving, and describes coming to Prime as a career boost. He hopes to have a long career with Prime and eventually move to a position as fleet manager, a job for which he believes he is well qualified with his background in warehousing. Even so, he sees himself as continuing to learn every day on the most financially rewarding loads and freight lanes.
Robert has researched and thought about driving a truck for more than 20 years—according to him, since he was in the sandbox. He was influenced by the fathers of friends, who also drove a truck. He also credits his desire to drive to wanting to provide in the best way possible for his family.
Robert has three daughters – two he shares with his fiancée, ages 6- and 9-years-old. During the summer months, he does the best he can to arrange time to take them with him—something the girls really enjoy. When possible, he arranges loads with his family on the truck and they go on vacation together.
Robert stays connected with his loved ones in through his cell phone. When he’s not driving, he uses video chat and Facebook. His goal is to use a video camera focused on him while he’s driving (a vlog) allowing his family to see what he is doing while he’s driving without him seeing them, thus eliminating distractions for him while he’s on the road. He loves the idea of sharing his view from the road, including many of his scenic vistas, with his fiancée and daughters at home.
Reflecting on the lyrics of “Barbed Wire and Roses,” Robert acknowledges that “being a truck driver can ruin a family because if you’re not home, you miss out on so much.” He’s realistic about the challenges drivers face in staying connected with their loved ones, but continues to remain optimistic about ways to stay in touch.
Advice to New Drivers
Robert has trained close to 50 drivers, so he has had more than a few opportunities to pass along words of encouragement and wisdom to new drivers. Here are a few of his thoughts:
1) Use cameras, video chatting and even make a video diary to stay in touch with loved ones.
2) Budget time and finance for home time.
3) Let your family know how important they are to you. Robert has named his LLC after his three daughters.
4) Keep family members informed. Let them know what’s going on with you. Talk frequently.
5) Consider allowing your partner to handing the bookkeeping so you’ll both know what’s going on.
6) Stay flexible in your thinking and approach to the challenges you face, e.g., sometimes it’s possible to stop by for a brief visit with your kids when your route runs near home.