PSD Starting 8/21 Any Flatbed Instructors/trainers

Topic 20515 | Page 2

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Turtle's Comment
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The pros and cons of lease vs company have been well-documented here, but I'll briefly add my personal take on it.

First you must ask yourself this question:

Would any mega company push lease if it took away from their profits? No of course they wouldn't. They're not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, to help you the driver. They're in business to make money. They're doing it because there's a financial benefit to them. They've shifted all the liability and risk and worry over to you.

Lease ops love to show you or talk about a big fat paycheck they've received. But when you ask them their net AGI (Adjusted Gross Income), they clam up. That's because the truth is after paying all the overhead (fuel, taxes, maintenance, etc.), most make about the same or less than I do as a company driver. Yet I have zero risk and worry, and get to enjoy the benefits of being company ( Medical, 401k, zero overhead).

My TNT Trainor is a l/o, and even he said today's Prime drivers are better off as company. There simply isn't enough opportunity to make a decent margin as a solo l/o. That's why he trains students, for the additional income.

Some l/o can make it work. But for me, being company is a no-brainer, especially at a mega carrier who squeezes every drop of profit out of every penny.

As to your other questions:

I'm otr lower 48, but since going solo in March I've yet to go to NM, CA, OR, WA, MT, ID, or ND. That's not to say we don't have freight in those states, it's just that I haven't been in the right place at the right time to be dispatched out that way.

My dispatcher keeps me running pretty hard, as I like it. I average 3k to 3400 miles per week, with highs of 38ish and lows of 27ish.

Home time is pretty much whatever I want, but I'm one of those rare cases that like to stay out 6 to 8 weeks at a time. In fact, I'll be out 9 weeks before going home at the end of this month. My wife is with me so we're just enjoying traveling the country together.

Because of this, my dispatcher gives me a lot of freedom with my hometime. The official company policy is no more than 4-5 days off in a row without turning your truck in. I've taken 8 days off in a row without so much as a peep from my FM. I bust my tail for him, and he appreciates it.

As a l/o, you can take as much time off as you want. But that lease payment is the boss. It never goes away. The longer you're off, the deeper in the hole you'll get.

Lastly, I had my passport years prior to going to Prime. So I don't know the answer to that question.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Old School's Comment
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Turtle, in your opinion, what are the pros and cons vs. company and lease?

Well, Turtle is really busy running his tail off, so until he comes back to answer you I will speak up. This is one topic I am well versed in.

The numbers are staggering of how many lease operators fail at their attempt. Even one of our very own members who managed to be a successful lease operator by making use of cheap labor from the students he was training admitted to us that only about 10% of the lease operators in his group actually made it through their attempt. The whole concept of leasing was developed by the trucking companies as a way to pass their costs and risks off onto the driver. These trucking companies are some of the best of the best commodity businesses and they have an elite team of "bean counters" that are constantly trying to figure out ways to improve their operating ratios. Most of them operate on a 97% ratio. That is a tough business model no matter how you slice it. That means that they keep three pennies out of each dollar of revenue they generate. That is the reality of trucking. That same problem gets transferred over to the lease operator once he signs that contract. Do you really want to run a business of your own that has an average 3% profit if you are really doing well at it? A really good solid company driver is almost always going to come out ahead of a lease operator, and with a lot less stress and risks.

Here's a link to a discussion we had recently on this very subject. Click on the link that Brett gives at the beginning and you will get a lot of information in that article I wrote.

Recent Article On Leasing

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

HaHa! Turtle showed up while I was typing!

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

HaHa! Turtle showed up while I was typing!

Hahaha I'm squeezing this in during my 30 minute break.

I just wanted to add that with those miles I'm getting each week, I'm also getting in a 34-hour reset every 6-7 days. The miles are definitely there for the right drivers.

Okay I'm back at it. Gotta hit the road.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jimmy H.'s Comment
member avatar

I really want to thank y'all for the replies and for your time to do so. TBH, I have seriously been considering the lease option but I plan on running hard as getting home often is not a big deal. Don't get me wrong, home time is important. LOL. My understanding is that it is a walk away lease. Does that mean if at anytime I'm not feeling it as an l/o, I could go company? On average, what would you say a l/o flatbedder profits in a year? I really want to know as much as possible to help me make my final decision. Once again, thank you guys for taking the time to respond.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

On average about ten percent squeeze out 3% profit. About 90% fail. If you're still interested, at least take this one little bit of advice...

Spend your first year as a company driver learning the ropes. You are going to make a good many mistakes. Let the company take the hits while you are learning.

You've already got your mind made up, and you keep hoping we will rally around you telling you how great it's going to be. We are always going to be honest with you, even when we have nothing to gain for giving you advice. It's a fool's game for a rookie driver to try and play when he has no foundation to work from.

G-Town's Comment
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Jimmy wrote

I really want to thank y'all for the replies and for your time to do so. TBH, I have seriously been considering the lease option but I plan on running hard as getting home often is not a big deal. Don't get me wrong, home time is important. LOL. My understanding is that it is a walk away lease. Does that mean if at anytime I'm not feeling it as an l/o, I could go company? On average, what would you say a l/o flatbedder profits in a year? I really want to know as much as possible to help me make my final decision. Once again, thank you guys for taking the time to respond.

After everything you (hopefully) read, what exactly is your reason to lease? Why? A a rookie YOU should not even consider it...so again why? And please, give us a business reason.

Paul's Comment
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Hey Jimmy, I'm starting Orientation/PSD on the 28th, so maybe I'll see you around, though for your sake I hope not--you should be out with a trainer by that time. I want to thank y'all for having this lease-vs-company conversation. I've been kicking around the idea of leasing. I KNOW the cons outweigh the pros, but one pro keeps sticking with me--ability to take time off whenever you want. I'm no stranger to the general idea and business math behind it, I know in order to take home time you have to set back money the weeks you work to cover fixed expenses, but that still appeals to me. Until I have bad weeks and good ol' Murphy rears his ugly head and suddenly I'm forced to be in the negative or stay out for months at a time. So in order to keep that pro in mind I have to ignore the con that trumps it...and I think this is the case most of the time when making a decision on leasing...you have to ignore the very valid reasons not to do it simply because your desires trump the realities.

And I think the reality is, it is a trap...all of you guys are right, and I almost forgot this until I re-read the thread.

I've been in the taxi cab business for some time. The term 'lease' in the cab business--at least in OKC--means to rent a cab from an owner, and the owner is responsible for maintenance...like a company driver. I became an owner of my own taxi, which is more like the 'lease' in trucking, and by the time it's paid off next month will have paid four times what the vehicle is worth, and earned a net less than I would have if I had staid with 'leasing' -- or company if you're a trucker. There are massive differences in the two industries, but in this respect they are quite the same. My biggest expense is just keeping my vehicle rolling down the road. You will break down, and in between the break downs you will have to cover the costs of Preventative Maintenance. Commercial drivers wear their vehicles down fast. I change my oil every two weeks, change brakes every three months, wheel bearings, struts...you get the picture. All paid for by me, fit in sometime in the midst of a 70 hour work week.

So yeah, leasing isn't for me. It is for some, and that's fine, but I'd hope anybody who goes into it would be fully informed and not allowing their desires to outweigh the realities.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Jimmy H.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not in any way trying to get anyone to rally behind me. I just want to hear everything I can whether good or bad. You all make valid points and that plays a huge part in my decision. Like I said earlier, the input I am receiving is appreciated. And Paul, I hope I am out training by the time you get there. LOL

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
but one pro keeps sticking with me--ability to take time off whenever you want

As a long time business owner myself, I can tell you that taking time off whenever you want is the equivalent of exercising your right to go broke as quickly as you would like. Your fixed costs don't stop when you go on vacation as a business owner.

As a company driver you'll get to take time off whenever you like. You just simply plan ahead a little bit. In fact, once you've put in a good deal of time, proven yourself to be a Top Tier Driver, and developed a good relationship with your dispatcher and managers, you'll be able to do a lot that other drivers wouldn't get to.

In my book : Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving I tell a story of taking time off spontaneously out of state. I delivered in Eastern Tennessee one morning and kept seeing NASCAR haulers go by. I thought, "They either have to be going to Bristol or Texas." Sure enough, Bristol.

I called dispatch and said, "Man, I'm empty and I'd love to take the weekend off here and go to the races!" Well my dispatcher couldn't approve that, but his boss could. About an hour later his boss called to make sure I was going to take care of the truck and to give me some fatherly advice about being careful and not blowing the opportunity they were giving me and sure enough I was given the weekend off. I parked the trailer at a customer and used my tractor as my camper, parking right along the roadside in line with a bunch of others. Had a fantastic time, took care of the truck, and on Monday morning it was back to work.

And you know what happened to my fixed costs during that time off? That's an easy one - I didn't have any! I was a company driver. Now I may have spent too much money on T-shirts and fried dough, but not making money as a company driver is much better than losing money as a lease driver or owner operator.

The "time off" thing is a big draw for leasing or owning a truck. The other one is getting to refuse loads if you don't want to take them. That's another fallacy in the end, but I'll save the explanation for another time.

In fact, I think it's time to do a podcast on this topic. More of the "debunking myths of ownership" theme.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Dispatcher:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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