Profile For ChrisEMT

ChrisEMT's Info

  • Location:
    Bristol, CT

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 9 months ago

ChrisEMT's Bio

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Posted:  6 days, 2 hours ago

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Need help with starting in trucking from Tampa, FL.

Hello,

I will put in my 2 cents. While I can agree that for most people, going through company sponsored training is the ideal way to go because you get the training for "free", and you will have a job at the end of training, provided you get your CDL, and your contract is usually for a length of time to pay it off. The 1 downside, imho, is that if the company you go with doesn't match with you (for whatever the reason) and you part ways, you are on the hook for the tuition.

For me, I paid for my schooling and CDL through student loans, and sat down with the placement department at the school, and got hired b my number 2 choice. When I got hired, they, like most companies, offered a tuition reimbursement program where they paid ,y student loan over 3 years (max $7500). I had them take out extra every week to send in, and paid it off in 1 year. I had my loan paid off and got my 1 year experience that most companies look for. This way, if I wanted to leave for "greener pastures" I could without owing anything to the company....

The biggest thing, in my mind, is look into as many if the company programs and schools as possible and see what they have to offer. As far as schools, ask grads in person what their thoughts are about the training they got. ask about their placement department (if they have one). Visit the school to talk to them, the instructors, and see if you could sit in the class for a couple hours, and most important (to me) is sit with the placement person and talk to them about what your wants, needs, and expectations are, and see if they have companies that would match up with your goals if you go there. Also, be honest with the schools admissions person, and ask about the trucking lifestyle and see if it matches with what you want and need, because trucking is a lifestyle unlike other "9-5" jobs.

Also, if you live near a truck stop with a resteraunt, go and have dinner at the restaurant. Talk to drivers and ask them their honest opinions about their companies.... You may be surprised by the honesty that they give.... Just try and focus on their company, and stay away from asking about thoughts on other companies, because they may not give you accurate info. If you do do this, ask things about the average amount of miles "new drivers" get, how their freight is, and I see you are from Florida, so ask how the freight is getting out of Florida, especially if you want to go "home" to Florida, as I have seen freight out of Florida can be hit or miss. If you only want to go "home" only every few months, then feel free to go with any of the "mega-carriers"....

I know that this is a lot of info, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I check in a couple times a week.

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Anyone nosy, read previous drivers outbox?

I rarely "demanded" certain things. I would always "ask" if I could be assigned a few regular runs, such as my first and last loads of the week, which were usually longer runs with more stops. My FM/DM/Load Planner (same person) usually gave it to me, and then gave me other loads in between that were a little tougher/longer/more stops to give me more $$$ because he knew I could get it done. And because I talked to him about what my wants and needs were, he also worked with me when I called him and said that I needed to be "home" for an emergency and would take a load of his choice when I got back, or if early in the week, I would ask if he could get me home early Friday morning for something, and he worked it out....

I had talked to another driver from that account that had left, and found out that he made about $20k less than I did the last year that he was there, but he always wanted to be back at the DC every (or almost every) night and limited his delivery area radius, instead of challenging himself to maximize his clock and income. He also (I think) didn't talk with our boss to pre-plan his week...

It is always about talking with your boss and working with them instead of making demands... And my old boss (now retired and lives in NOLA) still keep in touch and are friends on social media... And when he switched account just before he retired, I would have followed him if I didn't have a family that I needed to be home every weekend for.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Does it matter if I train in an automatic?

Hello, I will put my 2 cents in... While yes, most companies are heading the way of automatics, and there are no big downsides of training in an automatic. The only 2 that I can think of off the top of my head are 1)what happens if the only truck a company has to offer you is a manual? and 2) some states have and "automatic only" restriction on the licenses, so that will limit you on some job prospects. I would look for a school, program, or company that will train you on both. This way you can drive either. Also, if you train in both, you will get a feel for which one you prefer.

Posted:  4 months ago

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Thinking About Going to Private School Instead

Hello, I figured I would put my $.02 in... Company sponsored schools can be great if you don't have the money up front AND you are willing to stay with that company for their contract term (usually 1 -2 years).

For me, the better option was to go to a private school at a total out of pocket cost of about $9k. The school I went to was federally accredited with the department of education, so I got a student loan and pell grant to cover the cost ofthe 22 week program. Before I signed the paperwork, I spoke with the driver placement department with what I was looking for, and they gave me 5 companies that would be a good fit (and I went with my #2 choice).... They offered a reimbursement of up to $7200, which was what I paid to get my license... With their reimbursement and a little extra, I paid off my student loan in 18 months, with the company sending the check to my loan holder....

The benefit for me was that if I the company I went with wasn't a good fit for me, I could leave and go with another company... I was fortunate that the company I went with was really good for me, and I was placed on a dedicated account, and I was home almost every weekend, and most holidays (I was stuck at a terminal for 2 holidays in 5 years, 1 to get a brand new truck with 89 miles on the odometer, and 1 I was getting multiple things serviced on a truck and they had to order parts from the dealer).....

You just have to decide which is better for you....

Chris

Posted:  5 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

Trucking Truth On A New Server

When I tried getting to the forum without logging in, it was a white screen, but when I logged in and tried, it brought me here right away

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Trucking School vs Paid CLD Training: Survivor stats?

Hello, I guess I must be the exception (in the small percentage of drivers).... While I do think that company sponsored training is better for most people, I had done my research before talking to the school I ended up going with, and for me, going to a "private school" was a better choice for me personally. I took out a student loan to pay for school, and got my pre-hire letter from Werner with my orientation date and tuition reimbursement info about a month before I got my CDL. I started with Werner a week after I got my license, and was on a dedicated account about 3 weeks after I finished with my trainer. I averaged over $50k/yr before my tuition reimbursement, and my student loan was paid off in a year. I had spent almost 5 years with them before I had to leave because of a previous injury.... My FM called me for about a year after I left asking me to come back to his account, and every few months I still have the company call me asking if I want to come back.

The last year I was with them, I made almost $55k, and I worked only 4 1/2 days a week, and home on weekends. But I also had a great working relationship with my FM and consistently proved to him that I could get loads done that more than 1/2 the drivers on the account couldn't because of understanding the HOS rules and pushing myself.

I will say that for the vast majority (75% or more) of people should go through company sponsored training because it would be an incentive for not only the company, but for the driver to stay with the company for their contract length so that the training would be "free", and it would be a guaranteed job for at least 1-3 years....

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Question from a 4 wheeler

I know that if I see another driver being either unsafe/unprofessional or being extraordinarily safe/professional, I look for the company name on the tractor or trailer. If it is a safety (or other item that needs to be brought to the company they are pulling for) I call the company phone number and ask to talk to the safety department, and let them know what is going on. I will provide the truck and/or trailer number, the approximate time and location, and what was happening. The safety department will then decide what to do.

I have only had to call a company 3 times to complain, and they didn't seem too surprised when they looked up the info I gave them, and 1 safety person even told us that they were going to shut the driver down for 72 hours because it was they received multiple complaints about that particular driver.....

On the flip side, I have called companies more than a dozen times to compliment a driver on their actions, and on multiple occasions, they said that the drivers would get recognized with at least a certificate, if not a gift of some sort....

In al the cases, the companies were glad to hear both the compliments and complaints, and I am sure that they looked at the drivers history with the company to see if there was some sort of pattern (good or bad) and decided what to do based on that...

And I know that the carrier I worked for would always tell me when I had gotten either a good or bad call (thankfully I only got calls about how professional and safe I was)....

Posted:  7 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Looking for employment

I would suggest Werner as well. Last I knew, they had a terminal in Texas, and I remember at other terminals seeing on the company channel that they offer a sign on bonus for some of the accounts our of that terminal.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Lack of communication

So, I have a way that may not have been thought of.... Have you thought of calling your DM??? What happens if your in BFE and your QC goes down? Just my 2 cents

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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What is a normal wait time?

What is the "normal" wait time? I guess it would have to do with a few factors, such as what type of freight you haul, if you are OTR, regional, dedicated, or local.... I can say that when I was regional/OTR, I waited from less than an hour to almost a full day or more on the weekend with an overnight/weekend dispatcher. While I was on dedicated it ranged from me having my pre-planned load on Monday for the entire week (my last manager was great to the drivers who he knew could get the job done, and our paycheck showed it) to a manager on a previous account that would wait until we got back before he even scratched his head on what load to give us. and if it was a Thursday afternoon when you got back, you may not get a load until noon or later on Friday,...

My suggestion would be to call the dispatcher and ask nicely "hey, I've been sitting for x amount of time, and I was wondering if there was anything to get me moving somewhere to keep my boredom down..." and that may be the thing the dispatcher needs... and keep track of the dispatchers (especially if they are not your normal dispatcher), and if the same off-hours dispatcher keeps giving you loads when you call and ask nicely, just remember them, and maybe send them a gift card to a restaurant or some other place near where they are as a thank you... Nothing much, maybe $25-50, or a gift basket... And then they may remember that and give you better loads quicker... Just my opinion though...

And if you want to go someplace for a little break, you can always ask if they have anything headed towards that location, and let them know you would be interested in doing a reset there, especially if it is near a heavy load count area....

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Information on failed dot drug test for driving school.

I would suggest, as others have, pull your DAC through hire right and see what is on your record. It will be a hard copy, and you can get 1 free copy per year.... This way you will know what is and is not in your file....

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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You cant makey money saying no

I agree. Can't make money if your wheels aren't turning... I rarely turned down a load, and when I did, it was usually because I wouldn't have enough time on my clock to do it and get back in time to deliver my next load. Because I didn't turn down the short and lower paying runs, I usually got the longer and higher paying loads right after. I was happy with my larger check, my boss was happy because his loads were delivered, and the customers were happy because they got their products for their customers and would ask for me (or any other driver who got the load there on time or early)...

I talked with another driver that was on the same account I was on, who would turn down the less liked loads, and he let me know how much he made the last year he was on that account, and it was about 18k less than what I made, all because he turned down the shorter loads or less liked loads. and in the next sentence he told me that he switched companies because he felt like he was being held back because our boss wasn't giving him enough loads to make money (even though I would grab the loads he turned down)...

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Question on Pay

For me, it is hard to answer. There are variables like cpm pay, company your working for, if your on a dedicated account or OTR, if you get stop pay, unload pay, etc... For example, I was averaging 2200 miles a week, and with everything factored in (cpm, stop pay, safety pay, load/assist unload pay) factored in, I was averaging 62-64cpm or 1400/week on average.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

$235,000 a year Trucking???

Oh, and one more thing, the drivers at other companies making 80-100k/year or more are solo, not teams...

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

$235,000 a year Trucking???

Like others have said, this sounds like a scam. While yes, an O/O or L/O can have a revenue of 200K+ TO THE TRUCK, that does not show expenses to be an operator like maintenance, fuel, truck/trailer payments, insurance, taxes, health insurance, workers comp, etc. Ao in the end, you would only make a little bit more than a company driver.

There are several companies that have company drivers with none of the overhead of being an O/O or L/O, that make 80-100k/year or more and they are home every week.

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Picking up the wrong load.

I had a similar, but different, situation. I was given a load pulling out of the DC I pulled out of picking up for a next morning multi-stop delivery. I got to the DC to pick it up, got my bills, and went to get the preloaded trailer. I went and looked high, low, and all around for the trailer, and found one with the last 2 numbers the same, but reversed. so I line up to the trailer to hook up to it, got out, and checked the 1st stop, and it was completely different, and in the opposite direction. So I didn't hook up, and notified the overnight dispatcher via qualcomm, and called my FM on his cell since it was a Sunday, and I really didn't need to leave until the morning anyway, even to get to the new loads 1st stop. Well, my FM called the driver who was supposed to take that load to see what was going on and where he was. Well, he was already almost to his 1st stop (the one that was the 1st stop loaded on the trailer at the DC). He hooked and booked without verifying the trailer number or that the trailer had what should be his 1st stop. So he lost almost 4 hours of driving and had to deliver what was my load, and my FM printed out this loads bills so I can deliver it. I gained about 200 miles because of his mistake, and he not only lost 4 hours of drive time, but lost 200 miles of pay, and he had to go deliver my load, and lost even more miles that week because of the way he was pre-planned for the week. He made sure to always double check that everything on the bills and trailer after that....

Posted:  1 year, 4 months ago

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Geocaching~!!

I geocached while driving for Werner. I was lucky enough to be on dedicated accounts and went to several customers all the time, so I was able to scope out caches around my regular stops and on my routes. I was also able to scope ones out in truck friendly rest stops/truck stops, and then go after them when I would stop at those places for the night... You would be surprised how many there are out there.... And if you ever make it to the Southington, CT TA in the spring/summer, maybe we (anyone) can go if I have a couple days notice, since I live near there.... Just send me a PM or email.... Not sure if that is an option via my profile, but maybe Brett can let me know.... Thanks...

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Owner operator

Brett, that is why I suggest what was suggested to me, keeping at least $25k in the bank for the major expenses (engine, transmission, major problems that arise)... What is easier to pay off quicker, maintenance through your maintenance account (charging it, then paying it off with your maintenance account reimbursement) or having to go to a bank and ask for the money to pay for something huge in the 10's of thousands of dollars? and I don't know of any every day maintenance that would tie up 90% of your credit line.... Unless routine maintenance, 60 day and required annual DOT inspections have increased 10 fold and made out of gold. And if it takes more than a couple of days to get the money from your maintenance account and send in a check to pay the bill before the statement comes out, there is a problem. even if you pay 90% of the bill every month, you shouldn't be anywhere near 90% of your credit limit, and you will build credit, show regular payments, and get credit line increases....

And your last sentence is what I have been saying, hang onto your cash... Make sure you have at least $25k in the bank for major expenses.... And by buying your truck outright, you don't have a truck payment (and you can make a truck "payment" to yourself so you can put a large down payment on a new truck) to lower your expenses.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Owner operator

While I can agree with Brett that borrowing money has never been cheaper than it is today, and that debt used properly is the #1 driver of economic growth... My point is, what happens when freight drops for 4-6 weeks in a short period of time and you still have a truck payment and other expenses to pay, and there are too many bills at the end of the money? That is why I suggested to buy your at least your first truck in full (or at least almost in full) so you are not stuck with a large weekly payment if you take a week off, have a short freight week, or goodness forbid, you get into an accident or have mechanical issues like a blown engine or transmission, which could easily be $15 - 25K plus the time your truck is down to be repaired.

I would say buy your truck outright and get a business line of credit for everyday things like maintenance, with a maintenance account to replace the engine and transmission. Then, once you get the experience and contacts with brokers, etc, and network with people and prove yourself to shippers and receivers to the point they request you and a select few drivers (I had that happen to me on my dedicated account as a company driver), and then you get lower insurance premiums and a better handle with what your potential is, then go out and finance a new(er) truck that is optioned the way you want....

I had spoke with people I got my CDL with, and some were very successful L/O's after they got their time in as a company driver, and finished several leases, and I also know drivers who became L/O and O/O who failed miserably for several reasons, mainly because of lack of experience, money, contacts, and "business savvy" for lack of a better term, and had to turn their truck in and went back to being a company driver...

And Brett, and everyone else here gives good advice on the industry, and how to be successful. Just remember, becoming a L/O or O/O is a big commitment.... Just be sure you have your ducks in a row, your I's crossed and T's dotted before jumping into it....

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Owner operator

Hello, I figure I'll offer my humble opinion. After only a year or so as a company driver, I do not think your ready. I would say wait until you have 5-10 years under your belt. I would also recommend that you wait until you have AT LEAST $25-$30k in the bank, and can leave it untouched. The reason I say that is you should plan on having enough to cover replacing your engine/tranny in case it blows. Also, you have to think about all the costs related to starting your business, like insurance, registration, hiring an accountant (unless your good at keeping your own books and doing business taxes), and making contacts with and building relationships with brokers.

I would sit down and talk to a few different O/O (not lease ops) who have been doing it at least 5 to 10 years and get their opinion. And IMHO, stay away from leasing. If you do decide to go become and O/O, purchase your 1st couple of trucks in full, so you don't have to worry about a monthly truck payment and save money to buy a brand new truck eventually....

I may be wrong in my opinions, and if I am, please feel free to let me know... Chris

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