How bad is cover?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by preloading slave, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. I've been with UPS for about 2 1/2 years now and have done unload, preload, local sort and helper. I got my AA i was going after and now have decided I will try driving. I want to do air for sure but my full time supe today was telling me I should do cover. I can only imagine how much it must suck to be thrown out into new routes constantly and I am honestly scared about doing cover a little. How bad is it?
  2. Channahon

    Channahon New Member

    If you are a quick study, cover driving is challenging and gratifying at the same time. When I use to train cover drivers, I always presented it as challenge, and worked with them to ensure they would be comfortable on the route the next day.

    This was pre-PAS days, so training may have changed. I'm sure some cover drivers can give you a more accurate response in today's world.

    Good luck
  3. brownrodster

    brownrodster New Member

    If you have the opportunity then definately try saturday air to get yourself familiar with driving the UPS trucks and using the DIAD.

    If the opportunity to become a cover driver comes first then go for it!
  4. cino321

    cino321 Active Member

    They'll be days you want to quit and days you don't. You need to take the good with the bad. It can be sort of gratifying when you can wax a route in your center that no one else wants to cover. You can make this a very rewarding career with the right attitude. If your full time sup thinks you can cover, he's probably confident that you're coordinated enough to pick up on driving and covering routes, so I think you should jump at the chance.
  5. PassYouBy

    PassYouBy Unknown Acrobat

    I agree 100%
    To this day I get scared when I'm sent out on a new route..Fortunately, it doesn't happen too much. I remember the very first time I cover drove, I was asked

    "Do you know where "INSERT TOWN" is?"

    "Yes, I "KNOW" where its at and how to get there, other than that, thats about it!"

    "Good, call me if you have any problems!"

    Fortunately there were other drivers in the building that kept calling me to see if I was o.k...I looked at the map more that day than I did the windshield! (No, I did not drive and look at the map @ the same time!) :happy-very:

    Thank goodness I work preload and cant work after 5:00 P.M!
  6. helenofcalifornia

    helenofcalifornia Well-Known Member

    Go for it!! Best way to get to know all the different routes. You will be so far ahead of the game when you go full time.
  7. Forty6and2

    Forty6and2 I'm Broken

    I started cover driving in June of last year. I was an air driver before I was a cover driver so I already had some experience with the delivering and the diad methods.
    If you can make it through the probation period, the cover driving isn't really that bad. I admit I've been scared quite a few times. I happen to live 32 miles away from my hub and I was scared to death of which route my center manager would put me on each day. I still get scared sometimes but not as much because I know my manager isn't trying to kill me. I live in a mountainous region of Arizona and part of our center delivers packages in the mountains. I've been up the mountains in a P1000 and have almost s*it my pants I was so scared. I even had to back all the way down a narrow curvey road because I got the truck up there and there was no place to turn around. (Roads were too narrow for a u-turn.) That was probably the scarriest day of my life.
    I continued to cover drive through peak season up until Nov. 30. Then I fractured my foot in two places making a pick-up at a UPS store. I was on disability for 3 months and have just recently come back to preload and cover driving.
    There are still some routes that I haven't done yet in my center, but I don't get as worried on my way to work anymore. I have found that all my experience has helped me out tremendously. I'm still scared of the mountains, but hopefully I won't have too many days where I have to go up on them.
    One thing to think about, however, is the fact that the cover driver(s) don't have full-time senority and you will be required to take your vacations after all of the full-time drivers take theirs. Another thing to think about is the fact that since you are basically "low man on the scrotem pole" is that you will be constantly abused by the managers with 14 hour days. They can throw you on a new route in the middle of one city and if you finish it at a decent time, you can bet they are going to be on your butt about going to help someone else. This will happen on a constant daily basis. They will also throw you on a new route and halfway through when you are just getting your bearings, they will be hounding you to hurry up so you can go help or go do a pick-up, or go back to the building and get more packages.
    Overall, the pay is great, the hours can REALLY blow, but it is nice to have a full-time job for a period, and the experience you get cover driving will really help you out in the long run. I recommend it to anyone who gets the chance.
  8. edd_tv

    edd_tv Cardboard picker upper

    agree 100% to post above. it sucks being bottom on the list, but it pays off eventually.
  9. Fnix

    Fnix Active Member

    What do you guys get scared of?
  10. Forty6and2

    Forty6and2 I'm Broken

    Mostly I get scared of the normal stuff. Will I find all the stops on time? Will I have any lates? Will I finish delivering in time for pick-ups, or will I have to stop delivering to start pick-ups and then resume delivering when I have a chance? When I get finished is my manager going to make me go help someone else?
    I also get scared of getting put on a route up in the mountains because I don't know the roads that well and I know they can be difficult sometimes. I don't want to have to back all the way down another mountain if I don't have to.
  11. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    I've been covering now for 2 years. There are many things that go hand in hand with covering. Know the area. You will have a much easier time, the better you know your area. Know the driver you are covering for. Talk to them. Pick their brains about their rtes. Even ask if it is ok to call them for more info if something comes up. ( Some drivers won't care, some will). And talk to the preloader (assuming that the same person has been loading the same truck for an extended amount of time). A good preloader is worth their weight in salt. They will know a lot of little tidbits, they pick them up from their regular driver. But above all and I do mean the number 1 thing is make an honest effort to deliver every pkg. This may sound redundant to say but I am going to anyway. We have a cover driver that constantly 'burns' stops on whatever route that he does. I mean alot of stops. He is starting to get a rep, abd it is not making any of the regular drivers happy. It will also catch up to you if you start doing that, just as it will with ours. In the mean time it is seriously pissing off the drivers. Aside from that most days I enjoy my job. Some days I hate. But it is all good. It is hard and frustrating at first but it gets easier with time.
  12. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    Mostly I worry about getting all my air off in time.
  13. filthpig

    filthpig Active Member

    Like being full time, it's a lot of pressure at first. And be sure and ask about your vacation. Will you get 45 hrs. pay or the part time rate? That used to be a big gripe with cover drivers a while back. Believe me, when you're used to working 45-50 hrs. a week and get a check for 20-25 it hurts.
  14. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    I cover drove for exactly 3 years and I'm still learning routes now that I'm full-time. PAS/EDD makes learning routes so much easier. Unless of course the route is looped badly. Other than that it's a piece of cake. For those without PAS/EDD it kinda sucks. With EDD it's easer to figure out where to go next (like whether to turn right onto a road or left because you don't know the number breaks).
  15. Forty6and2

    Forty6and2 I'm Broken

    Don't forget the how bad the split routes and junk routes are.
  16. browniehound

    browniehound Well-Known Member

    If you have been trained on the route then what you mentioned is something to worry about. If they send you out blind, however, then all you can do is your best. Take your lunch at the end and call if you will miss or can't find pickups. It will be a long day, but its only one day.

    I actually liked cover (where I'm from cover is a full-time job in which you passed a 30-day probationary period and are on the senority list).

    It has its pluses. You get your days off:happy2:. You're not expected to meet the standards of the regular driver by management. You also get to do something different everyday, and like Chan mentioned its a challenge. This is the best part about it. You actually feel like you accomplished something when you go out blind and do a good job. I learned most of my routes bling before PAS.

    I say go for it and good luck!
  17. WyoBrown

    WyoBrown New Member

    Similar to Forty6and2, I did preload and called up for FT driver and took a fall during snow storm, fractured leg. Here in WY the weather can get nasty so fear of the icy mountain roads is healthy. During my short driving career (to be cont.) had I not had the air driving experience first, the full time driving gig would have freaked me out. I was able to walk into it knowing the DIAD, the city and the trucks. I would grab any kind of driving position you can get, take it one day at a time and keep goin. Good luck! And don't fall :happy2:
  18. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    I would think that being a cover driver today, with the use of EDD/PAS, would be much easier than when I first started when they used to hand you a map, point you toward the town you were going to, wished you luck and told you to have a good day. Of course, EDD/PAS can only help when the loop is set up correctly and the dispatches have gone up since they have implemented EDD so perhaps it is all a wash. I suggest asking your dispatch sup to print out the previous days delivery records for a new route that you will be covering today and, if you know on a Friday that you will be learning/covering a new route on the following Monday, take the copies of the delivery records and spend a few hours going through them and then driving around to try to get a feel for where you will be going on Monday. When I was a cover driver some of the areas still had RR and RD numbers (RR=Rural Route and RD=Rural Delivery), which could be a nightmare. Thank goodness for the 911 conversion as all of the areas in my center are now numbered for 911. You would have an address such as RD 2, Box 360, and there would be 3 or 4 mailboxes on the side of the road with driveways branching off from there.

    Talk to the drivers for whom you will be covering. Talk to the preloader (yes, they are people too and can be either a valuable asset or your worst nightmare depending on how you treat them). Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions, whether in the bldg or on the road. While the driver wants to enjoy his day off, he does not want to come back to a bunch of lookups and send agains so check with him to see if it is OK to call him during the day.

    You will look back on this thread in a few years and laugh at yourself while being proud of how far you have come.
  19. tups

    tups New Member

    Knowing that as a cover driver you're gonna get a junk split route made up of parts of several regular routes, and has 300 to 400 stops on it during peak. And usually they give you one of the worst cars, like a P-700, or 800 to hold it all, yet they will still say you should have no problem, you'll have a helper for 3 hours. It's not just that route that scares me, its the thought of how much trouble I'd be in for throttling the sup for telling me I'd have no problem.
  20. Upslady20

    Upslady20 Member

    I never was a cover driver but I know at our center you want to be a cover driver before you try to be an actual driver.. IF you get certified as an cover driver you start out at a higher pay rate and reach top pay faster if you were a cover driver before becoming a full time driver.. I hope that makes sense..