Western Express Flatbed NE Regional

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∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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With September fast approaching, I have been refining my search for companies that hire out of the Niagara Falls, NY area. Most of the companies that I originally favored, while living in South Carolina, have stated that I live to far from their main freight lanes, which really sucks, but is understandable. A few, that have CDL training programs, will only hire me, after attending a private school, being that I am not within their hiring area for their training program. ( This one doesn't make too much sense to me.)

While I was originally looking at company sponsored schools, I have been able to finagle the means to attend a private school, which is the Roadmasters, out of Cleveland, OH. From here, my top choices are: TMC, Werner (flatbed), H.O. Wolding, and Western Express (flatbed).

Stefan Holmes is my recruiter for WE. In our correspondance, this is the latest email he sent me. He is a great guy, and has been very helpful.

As discussed, I have home weekly dedicated positions open to you from where you live. The position breaks down as follows. Flatbed Northeast Regional (USG dedicated): Coverage area: Southern VA – Portland ME – Cleveland OH Pay scale: first 1,500 miles OR 5 loads delivered on time = $900 Any mile above 1,500 miles = $0.50 / mile Loads are ~90% pre-tarped and strapped As a fresh graduate you would have a week on the yard (2 days pre-hire orientation, 3 days paid load securement training at $70 / day), and 4 weeks paid training ($400 per week) over the road with a trainer. When you complete the OTR trainig phase, you will be brought back to the yard where you will test out and be seated solo in your own tractor. Our drivers on the flatbed dedicated fleet typically run between 1700 and 2600 miles per week, netting between $900 and $1450 gross weekly Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m looking forward to working with you! Best regards, Stefan Holmes

This sounds like a really good gig, for someone starting out, to get their legs under them, while learning the ropes, and proving themselves. This is my question/concern...

The 90% pre tarped and strapped number. I am figuring that is the number he is given, to give to any potential driver. I am guessing, that is closer to 30%. Am I inaccurate in assuming this? But mainly, I am really leary about the whole "pre tarped / strapped thing. Can I trust that it will be secured, and tarped correctly? A friend who also pulls flatbed, told me that he saw some of these "ready made" loads, and that they were not done correctly, even saying they were illegal. Would I be able to untarp, and re-secure the loads? What would to procedure be?

Thanks, and Be safe.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

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.

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.

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Wolding is Dry Van , no flatbed for ya. We have a NE regional and an hourly local gig in that area. Dry Van is the lowest paying of the types of trailers to haul. But then again, I have heard complaints from some of the NE guys about freight. Idk how true it is for them up there, but I run my tail off between the SE and Midwest regions.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.
icecold24k's Comment
member avatar

This sounds like a really good gig, for someone starting out, to get their legs under them, while learning the ropes, and proving themselves. This is my question/concern...

The 90% pre tarped and strapped number. I am figuring that is the number he is given, to give to any potential driver. I am guessing, that is closer to 30%. Am I inaccurate in assuming this? But mainly, I am really leary about the whole "pre tarped / strapped thing. Can I trust that it will be secured, and tarped correctly? A friend who also pulls flatbed, told me that he saw some of these "ready made" loads, and that they were not done correctly, even saying they were illegal. Would I be able to untarp, and re-secure the loads? What would to procedure be?

Thanks, and Be safe.

I would agree with this also. Although 90% may be pre tarped and pre secured, at the end of the day it is still your responsibility to ensure the load is safe and legal. One day I was chatting with a TMC driver while picking up at Home Depot DC in San Antonio Tx and they run a lot of pre tarped and pre secured loads out of there. I made the comment of how that would be so nice to just hook up and roll. He told me it really wasn't as good as it seemed because about 80% of those he ended up having to untarp and resecure the load correctly and then re tarp the load. It did seem a bit more of a headache in the end when he explained it to me.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Wolding is Dry Van , no flatbed for ya. We have a NE regional and an hourly local gig in that area. Dry Van is the lowest paying of the types of trailers to haul. But then again, I have heard complaints from some of the NE guys about freight. Idk how true it is for them up there, but I run my tail off between the SE and Midwest regions.

Flatbed is my desired choice, but dry van is my 2nd possibility. Werner, and WE, i can change divisions, if I find that flatbed is not my cup of tea. TMC, is strictly flatbed, and HOW is dry van. I sorta padded my top choices this way, on purpose.

I see several HOW trucks a day, coming in and out of the local paper plant. I forget who I talked to, but I was told that I would not necessarily be stuck in the NE, If I desired to stay out longer. Thanks for the info.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

If you do anything longer than a week out at a time you won't be stuck in the NE. Probably go back and forth from NE to SE or NE to Midwest

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar
He told me it really wasn't as good as it seemed because about 80% of those he ended up having to untarp and resecure the load correctly and then re tarp the load.

This is what I am afraid of. However, I can also see it being a great learning experience.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Danielsahn, when I was with Western Express I worked that account a few times as an overflow driver for about week at a time. Most of the drivers that I spoke with who were regular drivers on the account seemed pretty pleased with it. Flat-bed has work involved, so I wouldn't be too concerned about whether you are going to have to re-secure the loads or not - either you do or you don't, but any flat-beddder expects to secure and tarp his load anyways.

Here's the scoop...

If I remember correctly most of what we did was Home Depot loads. The loads were almost always pre-strapped and tarped. What that means is that the tarps were already spread out onto the load and maybe barely secured with a handful of bungees. The driver finishes up the bungee work himself, and makes sure he is happy with the way it is strapped. I usually would tighten up the straps all around and finish up the bungee work and would be ready to roll. Sometimes if you aren't real happy with the amount of straps, what you do is just throw a few more straps where you want them to be, but rather than bothering to un-tarp the whole thing you just throw the extra straps over the tarps and do it that way.

They will keep you busy, and you will more than likely be earning more than the minimum. That's how those minimum pay jobs work - they have the potential to keep you on your toes, and if you don't seem to have that type of work ethic they may not keep you on that account for very long. You'll learn how to take a load home with you on Friday night late, and maybe leave out Sunday afternoon with it so that you can park at your customer Sunday night, get your ten hour break in around in the back of the Home Depot, get unloaded first thing Monday morning before starting your clock, and be ready to roll over to pick up your next load as soon as you are empty. Your weekend at home is really just a way to get in a 34 hour reset, but that is how it is designed to work - that means you will be running out your clock during that five or six day work week. It's hustle, hustle, hustle, but that is how you make money driving a flat-bed - that is how you make money as a truck driver. It's long hours, erratic schedules, and endless fun and rewards - that's trucking.

The beauty of that account is the same desirable thing that I went for in this SAPA account I'm on - Pre-loaded trailers! That is a real big help when doing flat-bed work. It cuts out a lot of the waiting time on getting loaded. That makes a huge difference in how you can manage your time and make your clock work very efficiently. Efficiency is one of the keys to making money at this. It takes some time to learn the tricks and make it all come together, but that is a very good account to be on if you can learn to really hustle and get things done.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

The 90% pre tarped and strapped number. I am figuring that is the number he is given, to give to any potential driver. I am guessing, that is closer to 30%. Am I inaccurate in assuming this? But mainly, I am really leary about the whole "pre tarped / strapped thing. Can I trust that it will be secured, and tarped correctly? A friend who also pulls flatbed, told me that he saw some of these "ready made" loads, and that they were not done correctly, even saying they were illegal. Would I be able to untarp, and re-secure the loads? What would to procedure be?

Thanks, and Be safe.

I see Old School answered your question about Western Express. System has two places where I ran loads out of that were pre-strapped and tarped. One was a Lowes DC, one was a drywall place. Lowes was exactly as OS described Home Depot. The drywall place was easier, since those loads are squared off blocks of sheetrock instead of random stuff like a Lowes or Home DepotDepot load. The sheetrock loads were generally good to go without any fuss.

So, if you got a dedicated gig pulling mostly loads like that, then yes, it is very possible to get 90% of your loads pre-strapped and tarped. And as OS said, when you get one that needs to be reworked, you just do it. You're always responsible for the load once you're hooked to it and start rolling so you have a responsibility to make sure it's right.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you, Old School, and Bud.

That information has moved Western Express up to a solid 2nd spot on my list. From what my recruiter told me, it will be primarily dry wall loads.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'll just add that drywall loads are kind of tricky for rookies. For one thing they are really heavy. The other issue with them is that I never feel they are really secure. I always drive a drywall load with extreme caution, very slow smooth deliberate movement of the truck, kind of like you would do with a tanker. Of course you are not experiencing the sloshing of liquid, but the problem is that you can't tighten the straps down properly without crushing the product.

Maybe it's just me, but my sense of awareness was always on high alert when hauling drywall. I'd take exit ramps really slow and easy, and always be paying close attention to traffic patterns way ahead of me. You don't want to have to make a sudden stop and risk that material shifting.

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