Am I Wrong To Just Look At CPM In Deciding Which Company To Sign On With?

Topic 21528 | Page 3

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Reyn R.'s Comment
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I totally agree with the others. At my company I'm paid a base rate of $.38 a mile, but because my company pays me for every stop my actual pay is closer to $.43 or $.44 a mile. I also run great miles at my company and get home every week for one to two full days--very consistent home time was important to me. Also, if you care about this, find out if the company you're interested in has APUs or allows larger inverters (like 1500 watts or more). Some drivers won't drive without an APU and others couldn't care less, so figure out what's important to you and go from there. And, like Brett said, look at types of freight and home time options. The vast majority of companies pay around $50k for the first year, regardless of the pay structure, as long as you're a decent runner. Since the pay doesn't vary too much from company to company for first year drivers (in most cases), your primary concerns should be hometime and type of freight. Home time is important for obvious reasons including keeping your sanity lol, and type of freight is important since different types of freight run differently. Think ahead--if you are interested in eventually driving tankers, start with a company like Prime or Schneider that has a tanker division you could try out at some point without changing companies.

I also want to throw this out there. Unless you want to just run otr your whole career, I think one of the most important things you can look for in a larger company is what type of dedicated accounts they have. I'm a huge fan of these, because they give you all kinds of experience and home time options because of the various ways they can run. For example, G-Town works on a Walmart dedicated account for Swift. Look up Walmart dedicated and you'll find all kinds of information he's posted about how his account runs. He has the option to be home several times a week if he wants to, or he can stay in his truck most of the week. He also gets tons of backing and close quarters experience, as well as city driving. I did a Target dedicated account, also at Swift. I also got tons of the same kind of experience, and I also had various home time options available to me as well. I could be home every night and work in the yard, home every night and drive in the city locally, or home once or twice a week and do deliveries to Targets in surrounding states. I worked on a Miller Coors dedicated account at Swift for about 4 months as well. The home time was every two to three weeks, but I got miles out the wazoo totally hassle free. It was almost exclusively drop and hook and the planners stacked loads on me constantly because of how flexible the loads were.

Another benefit of my experience on dedicated accounts is that it prepared me for what I'm doing now. I wasn't satisfied with my income on the particular local account I was on with Swift (the pay can vary from account to account), so I moved to a smaller company here in my state that paid better. I work at a furniture company now and we haul our own freight, so it's a little different than working at an actual trucking company. Oddly enough though, working here feels almost identical to working on a dedicated account at a larger truckload carrier. I have a routine, I rarely have to figure out where I'm going because I go to the same places a lot, and I work with a relatively small group of office staff and fellow drivers. Some of the dedicated accounts at larger carriers even have their own maintenance workers and load planners.

Sorry, that dragged on waaayy longer than I intended. I don't mean to overwhelm you with too much information. My point is, if running a certain area or having hometime at certain intervals (or in certain places) is important to you, I encourage you to seriously consider working for a company with a lot of dedicated accounts. Also, the type of freight you haul (i.e. tanker, reefer , dry van , or flatbed) will have a considerable impact on your day to day life as a driver--it won't affect home time that much, but it will affect things like what time of day you pickup and deliver, whether you regularly deliver on weekends, and how much drop and hook you get. Like the others said, figure out what's important to you and shape your decision around that.

Good luck!

Thanks a lot Pianoman! I truly get what everyone is saying. I am deeply grateful for all the great advise. I feel everyone is pointing me towards Swift just because... I’ll talk to both recruiters after I pass my permit in January then let y’all know my choice. I’m serious when I say thank you doesn’t come close to saying how grateful I am. Hope to thank all of you in person when our paths cross if the universe will grant me that one wish. Happy & healthy New Year to all. God bless. Stay safe.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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.

APUs:

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I feel everyone is pointing me towards Swift

Okay, I'll put in a shameless plug for Knight!

Seriously though Reyn, what everyone is trying to say is that you will play the biggest part in how your annual pay totals up. I think every rookie driver struggles with their pay during the first six months to a year. The whole premise of a truck driver's pay is based on their individual performance. I think one of the most important things a new driver needs to lay hold of is the concept that they are in a competition for getting the best loads and assignments.

A new driver may not be on his dispatchers mind much simply because the dispatcher honestly doesn't expect much from them. They've seen all kinds of new drivers come in and then leave after only a few months service. They also have a small number of good dependable solid drivers on their board who they know can be counted on to make things happen out there on the road. A driver who understands that he is competing against well established players keeps his head down, doesn't complain, and does his best to exceed his dispatcher's expectations.

It takes dedication, commitment, and a continual push for excellence out here until you make a name for yourself. That's how you make good money at this career. Once you've established yourself as a serious contender you will start reaping the rewards of success. At that point it then becomes an even tougher competition to keep yourself at the top. It's always a competition and the victors get the spoils.

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.
Reyn R.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I feel everyone is pointing me towards Swift

double-quotes-end.png

Okay, I'll put in a shameless plug for Knight!

Seriously though Reyn, what everyone is trying to say is that you will play the biggest part in how your annual pay totals up. I think every rookie driver struggles with their pay during the first six months to a year. The whole premise of a truck driver's pay is based on their individual performance. I think one of the most important things a new driver needs to lay hold of is the concept that they are in a competition for getting the best loads and assignments.

A new driver may not be on his dispatchers mind much simply because the dispatcher honestly doesn't expect much from them. They've seen all kinds of new drivers come in and then leave after only a few months service. They also have a small number of good dependable solid drivers on their board who they know can be counted on to make things happen out there on the road. A driver who understands that he is competing against well established players keeps his head down, doesn't complain, and does his best to exceed his dispatcher's expectations.

It takes dedication, commitment, and a continual push for excellence out here until you make a name for yourself. That's how you make good money at this career. Once you've established yourself as a serious contender you will start reaping the rewards of success. At that point it then becomes an even tougher competition to keep yourself at the top. It's always a competition and the victors get the spoils.

Hey Old School! Thank you for that shameless plug. I am leaning their way cause they will work with me even with a Florida address! Hehe. When I first started driving I had to deal with dispatchers & totally get what you mean by having to earn my stripes & remaining focused on the big picture rather than the short term pitfalls so many encounter, get frustrated then throw in the towel.

I’m very relieved to have found you guys & this site just for that very reason. There’s no bull crap, no sugar coating, no unreal expectations of what this life style entails. I welcome the challenge of learning, creating & earning in a completely new career. I don’t even have the interest of remaining in my current driving field. The people Transportation business has been turned upside down by all these app based companies decimating our ability to earn the kinds of wages I used to make. How can anyone compete with 60,000 other drivers just in NYC alone. I just found out Uber is trying to get into the freight business also. Ugh! I’ll refrain from saying how I feel about that.

I do wish to enjoy the fruits of this endeavor. Like that awesome shot you posted of the view from that cabin in CO. The amazing wonderful people we happen upon as we go about getting it done. I’ve been transporting people since the late 80’s. The silence, new sights & being in unfamiliar situations daily are a welcome relief from having to be a bartender on wheels, w/out the booze of course. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some very amazing people (celebrities, Fortune 500 business leaders, everyday folks, etc) along the way. But all that yapping takes its toll.

Once the muscle memory kicks in with handling the rig. Learning the different highway systems (where I can & can’t go). Getting my set up & backing down to a science. Then I’ll worry about increasing my earning potential. I always take it real slow with any new vehicle I start driving even if it’s the same as something I’ve driven before. Just have to be extra vigilant, careful & slow as I learn to handle “Bertha’s Big Butt” that I’ll be dragging all around this beautiful country we live in.

Happy Healthy New Year to you & yours. Safe travels. God bless!

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.
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