Podcast 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

Topic 18817 | Page 7

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Martin R for 'Roadrunner''s Comment
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Don't be fooled by the Bank President's reported earnings; most likely, he did his own taxes under a Heineken or two.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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It has to be a pretty small bank I'm guessing. I know you're making decent money with Knight but I'm doubting you're clearing over 120 a year which is the national average for a bank president.

Old School's Comment
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Small Bank/Small Town, definitely. It's just good for an illustration that you don't have to be an average truck driver once you get a grip on how to make this job work for you.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Oh absolutely. For a solid driver to apply themselves and get into a position to make 75-80k a year isn't all that difficult. Now, if you want to be one of those people who only sees the negative, is difficult to get along with and doesn't realize that working with a company truly is a team effort, then yes, you'll be a miserable, broke sob.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

OldSchool clarified a previous statement:

Small Bank/Small Town, definitely. It's just good for an illustration that you don't have to be an average truck driver once you get a grip on how to make this job work for you.

With about a tenth of the stress.

The DMs, planners, terminal management, safety, and other admimistrative staff are far more transparent and objective than most of the corporate management and executives I interacted with in my previous career. We all just want to move the freight...the safest most efficient way possible.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

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.
G-Town's Comment
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Dragon wrote:

Oh absolutely. For a solid driver to apply themselves and get into a position to make 75-80k a year isn't all that difficult. Now, if you want to be one of those people who only sees the negative, is difficult to get along with and doesn't realize that working with a company truly is a team effort, then yes, you'll be a miserable, broke sob.

Glad you chimed in on this Robert. Your comments are always well thought out and highly appreciated.

Totally agree...and your point includes Swift Drivers as well. The end of my second year I was at a 65k run rate and really understood what it takes to safely, effectively and efficiently run a truck. Translated, "how to make money". And I did so by projecting a positive attitude, accepting accountability and at all times taking a professional approach to my work and communication. Respect was earned. Make no mistake, without the help the DMs, safety and the terminal manager, success would not have been possible.

I can assure everyone, there is no way I'd do this kind of work if the glass ceiling on income potential was 42k at Swift and neither would any of the drivers I interact with on a daily/weekly basis at the WM DC where I am assigned. There are 100 drivers at my DC, full time rarely making less than 1k per week to start. I could easily make 42k running a triaxle dump, in and out of South Jersey, sand and gravel if that's all I wanted to make. Two runs and done...bored to tears in a week. Not my gig.

Y'all want to hang your hat on GlassDoor's info., a 1.7% salary sample of 17,000 Swift drivers and base a career decision on it? That's cool...all free to chose a direction at will.

At this point in my career, job opportunities are almost limitless. However my choice is to stay with Swift for a myriad of logical and well grounded reasons, the least of which is income potential...if working for them was anywhere near as horrible as some would have us believe, I would not stay with them. No way...

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

I am making more money as a company driver than my friend who is a bank president, and I don't have the stress of having to explain to the stockholders why things aren't as bright as they'd like to see them be, as he does on a quarterly basis.

Thank you Old School. This statement right here gives me HOPE. I'm reading this whole thread, because in -01 I got approved for retraining through the unemployment office, but in my research I came upon a large collection of "terminal rats" in a couple other forums. Long story short, I decided this career choice would bankrupt us and make us homeless, so I shelved the whole idea & set off in a different direction.

If you fine folks would have been available back then, my life would likely have turned in a very different direction. But, it's all good, and I'm back looking at it now. And it is starting to look GOOD! :) Before you pour me some cold water for my shower, LOL... I stayed in the forums on and off; and also have and are doing other research. My eyes are, as they say, wide shut, LOL.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you thank you.

PS: My mentor, years ago, in the career I chose, once pointed out an individual at the top of their field--she said "just to show you what is possible". I believe YOU just did that for me again, sir. :)

PPS: Sure hope I didn't mess up the blockquotes...

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

in my research I came upon a large collection of "terminal rats" in a couple other forums. Long story short, I decided this career choice would bankrupt us and make us homeless, so I shelved the whole idea & set off in a different direction.

If you fine folks would have been available back then, my life would likely have turned in a very different direction.

That is exactly why I started this website and named it TruckingTruth. Years ago when I looked around on the Web to see what was being done to help new drivers coming into the industry I was appalled at what I found. In short, it was nothing but terminal rats. There wasn't anything but negative garbage - lies, complaining, and finger pointing.

In fact, one website at the time had the word "scam" seventeen times on their home page alone! Their whole premise was that everything in the trucking industry was one big scam but for $29.95 they would sell you a DVD to teach you how to avoid all of the scams. It was horrifying to see that kind of thing.

Lil'RedRidingHood, here's the starter package we tell everyone to use to prepare for this career:

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

This is great stuff!

I can't stomach the terminal rats, and don't want their negativity in my life. So....I just do not hang around at the terminal. If I'm waiting for my truck to come out of the shop, I walk to a nearby movie theater or restaurant...fortunately, there are several choices in walking distance....if there weren't, I'd take a taxi...anything to get out of there. If I'm not waiting on the shop, I just get the heck out of there and go to a truck stop. I don't spend one minute more than necessary at the terminal.

Terminal Rats are miserable drivers who tend to hang around in groups at trucking terminals and truck stops complaining the day away. The problem is that their conspiracy theories and embellished tales of mistreatment and abuse are poisoning the minds of incoming drivers. It's causing new drivers to take the wrong approach and have the wrong attitude toward their new career, derailing their chances of success and happiness in the industry. Let's see if we can understand this vicious cycle and break it before it derails your career.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Lil'RedRidingHood's Comment
member avatar

@Brett, thank you so much! :)

What you have put together here is truly awesome! I'm on page 11 of your book, and intend to get it on Amazon also, for offline reading, and am reading blogs & scouring the forum.

I love the CDL test prep also, thank you! :) This will come in SO handy.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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