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Help needed - looking at potential companies

Topic 18359 | Page 1

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Christopher G.'s Comment
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Hello all, as the title suggests I'm looking at companies for my next move. That will not be in the near future however but possibly 5 to 6 months from now. I have nearly 8 months experience as of now and I'm planning to be at my current company until at least the one year mark, primarily since it adds employment prospects and there's a one week paid vacation after the one year mark.

I'm currently doing dry van freight over the road in a sleeper pulling 53ft trailers. However I took over the road to mean long haul. As in decent haul lengths, sadly the company I'm at has in my experience an average haul length of about 350 to 400 miles at the best. Which equals out to be a lot of short runs in general which wouldn't be that bad if they were all drop and hook or the vast majority were to be drop and hook I wouldn't mind it so much. They're mainly live loads of say maybe 70 to 85% its fairly rare to get a actual drop and hook load which I take to mean you either bobtail to the shipper or with an empty drop it at the shipper and pick up a loaded trailer at the shipper. At my current company its usually a live load and unload at a specific time or pick up a preloaded trailer and do a live unload. Loading and unloading kills your time generally in my experience on loading has taken anywhere from about 30 minutes to as long as 6 hours but the average being 1 to 2 hours and same for unloads normally. Trucks are governed between 60 and about 65 but most are spec'd to around 61 to 63. So there isn't a lot of speeding I can do to make up for the time lost during loading and unloading. The average load weighs 38 to 40k pounds. I'm currently hauling one weighing 44,500 pounds grossing just under 78,500 total weight. The weight isn't really a major issue for me since I do them all the time really. But light loads do make better time and easier pulling grades so lighter loads are always welcome.

My current truck is a 2012 mid roof freightliner cascadia with the dd15. It's a nice work truck with emphasis put on the work part. It has the idle shutdown crap that automatically cuts the truck off if it idles more than 5 minutes while its less than 80 degrees. Since I started in the summer it didn't really bother me a lot due to the weather being above 80 almost always. It doesn't have an apu or even an epu so its only non idle power is drawn out of the batteries. Around October and after it got to me waking up to a cold truck, it has a espar heater but you can't run the heater and the truck at the same time and the espar heater takes time to cool down before you can start up the engine otherwise you'll foul up the burn chamber and really have a cold truck and no way to keep it running unless you have it taken in for repair which means less money in your pocket since you're not out running. Since idling the truck isn't allowed in every state an apu would be ideal but one that idles and an apu would be the best since apu's do fail like anything else.

Things i'm looking for in my next company. Firstly the company needs solo long haul freight, average length of haul should be 700 and above ideally. Drop and hook would be preferred but isnt much of an issue really if the miles justify the time lost sitting. I wouldnt doing mind coast to coast runs. I dont mind being out for extended periods of time a month plus is fine as long as you can bank your hometime for when you decide you want to go home and the company actually gets you home when you request to be home. I would prefer to stay away from mega carriers if possible. the truck should be a decent spec'd, a manual kw would be preferred.The truck needs to be able to idle without shutting off or if it does shut off it needs to be equipped to an apu. Prepass / ezpass equipped would be a nice perk. the ideal company should have a good to great fmcsa score since that ultimately determines your likely hood to get pulled by dot and inspected a good safety score is paramount. i don't have any citations, tickets or any fines or indictments against me and i intend to keep it that way.

I realize that no company is perfect and each one has it flaws and downsides but some certainly have more than others so i understand that probably very few if any companies will fit what i'm looking for completely but the company should fit most of the characteristics i'm looking for to be considered. I'm posting this now to have ample time to review the suggestions so ill be able to weigh all the pros and cons of any suggested companies.

Thanks for the help in advance.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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