Comments By Brett Aquila avatar

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Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Hit my million miles...

Hey Ahmalia, wow it's been a long time! That's amazing news! Congrats!

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Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

Isnt it time we stop denying the combat and learn how to succeed in it.

That's a great idea. I love that approach. That's why I've been doing it for 17 years.

I've been teaching people how the trucking industry works and how to succeed exactly as it is today. I was never an activist fighting for change. But if I don't sit here and bash companies all day long, you guys accuse me of being out of touch with reality or being a shill to the corporations.

Look at this conversation. I'm attacked every time I do what you suggest, which is to give advice for handling a situation or insights into how things work.

I say getting paid by the mile is the best system and I explain in great detail why. You guys call me a shill who's defending the corporations.

I say concentrate on increasing your mileage because that's the best way to maximize your pay, and you guys accuse me of supporting forced free labor.

If I say I believe the system is fair and a driver can make great money and earn a great wage exactly as things are today, you accuse me of not standing up for drivers or supporting the workforce

I say maybe you should consider getting together in some sort of a union, you guys say unions are corrupt, and I'm now I'm a shill for the unions!

Let's face it. Some of you are super miserable right now, and nothing that anyone says will help. God knows I've tried.

Davy, you said you made about $80,000. Why are you underperforming the other experienced drivers in this forum? Old School, Turtle, Rob T, Daniel B, and others are making over $100k, and they all work at different companies, in different regions of the country, and in different segments of the industry.

You have a flatbed guy, an LTL guy, a Walmart guy, and a fuel hauler, all making over $100k.

The money is out there to be made, and you deserve your share, but you'll never get there unless you get to the root of the problem. You're spending an enormous amount of time dissecting accessory pay and digging into data collection, but that will not close the $20k gap between your earnings and the others.

Figure out what's holding you back. It isn't accessory pay. It isn't corporate greed. It isn't the size of your company. It's not a conspiracy against drivers.

Maybe you have to switch divisions. Maybe you have to change companies. Maybe you need to march into the office and demand the best damn dispatcher your company has.

I'm not sure what you must do to get into that $100k range, but I know the avenues you're focused on won't get you there.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

you want me to spend more time (which you know I don't have much of) writing out more comments detailing the differences between megas and smaller carriers.

Why would you want me to do that?

Why? You called me out on it, that's why. Let me remind you:

I don't want to insult your intelligence but I have to wonder if you've just been out of a truck for so long you don't realize what it's really like to drive for the largest carriers these days.

It's rather surprising to hear that a former student, someone whose career I've had a hand in shaping, would publicly question my knowledge and understanding of trucking. This has been my life's work - thirty-one years in this industry and still going strong.

If you truly believe that I am out of touch with the current state of the trucking industry and no longer capable of doing my life's work, I would expect you to provide concrete evidence or specific examples that support your claim. It is easy to make blanket statements, but it takes a true professional to back up their opinions with facts.

So I'm asking for the facts. What led you to believe I'm out of touch and no longer capable of doing my job?

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

To be clear, I've never supported Household Mover's Guide (HHG) miles. I've always supported practical hub miles for truck routes. I always support getting paid practical truck route miles with extras kicked in when it's warranted, like long layovers or breakdowns.

But I've never endorsed the practice of HHG. Most of the companies I worked for paid HHG, and I always watched the paid miles to make sure it was close. If it was off by much, I'd request an adjustment, and 95% of the time they would do it.

Also, Pianoman, you said I always defend the major trucking companies. Why would I do that? Are you under the impression they're in the room with me, with a gun pointed at my head, telling me what I must say like some crazy mafia movie?

Not hardly. The people who run these companies have no clue who I am, though they've probably heard of the website. If you think powerful people in this industry stop what they're doing to make sure Brett is spreading the 'approved message' then you've way overestimated my place in this industry, but I appreciate that you think they're worried about what I think. Unfortunately for my status, that's laughable.

I aim to help people understand the trucking industry and support them throughout that first year. I explain how the industry works so drivers can find the niche that suits them best and make the most of their careers, both financially and with their enjoyment of this career.

I'm not an activist, I never have been. I'm not trying to change how the industry works. I'm just trying to help drivers understand it and make their way.

I don't want to insult your intelligence but I have to wonder if you've just been out of a truck for so long you don't realize what it's really like to drive for the largest carriers these days.

Ok, Pianoman. I'll consider that. If you wouldn't mind switching roles and playing the teacher for a moment, teach me what it's like driving for the megas today and contrast that to what I went through during my career. Include as many details as you can so I can better understand it. We have quite a few people in our community who still work for the super megas, like Old School and Kearsey, so they'd probably like to learn about this as well.

You have the floor. Lay some serious knowledge on me, brother.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

Turned out the job just sucked in general

There's no fixin' that! All you can do is move on like you did.

Unfortunately they were willing to do just about anything other than straight up offer me more pay. I stayed a few more weeks and then left. Before I left I tried one more time to negotiate for higher pay and they told me they just couldn't do it but the payroll guy told me with all bonuses and everything I was averaging about 59 cpm on all miles driven.

I'm glad you shared that. It demonstrates my point. They can't offer more pay than their CPM rate because that's the maximum percentage of revenues they will pay you. So they offer to change the pay scale for drivers who don't like being paid by the mile, but your paycheck doesn't get any bigger. You're still making the same amount of money, or less; they're just dividing it up differently on paper.

It's kind of like giving a little kid a nickel after he complained that his dime was too small. He's too simple to realize he didn't help himself, but he thinks he did, so he runs away happy. Sometimes, you're just better off appeasing small minds.

Paying by the mile is the most straightforward way to accomplish three important things:

1. Give the driver a consistent and predictable percentage of the truck revenues

2. Pay the driver based on the amount of work he gets done

3. Incentivize the driver to turn as many miles as possible

I can't emphasize enough how powerful it is for a trucking company to have drivers who want to turn big miles. With motivated drivers, you have a powerful workforce that will drive the company to bigger profits and a better payday for everyone.

I’ve been researching other companies that seem interesting, but other than the two I mentioned previously that rejected me, I have been realizing that they all are just a lateral move, even if I could get hired. Just variations on a theme, so to speak.

I'm glad you're really taking the time to assess everything. So many people look at one or two factors that make one company different from another and make the leap, not realizing until a few months later that they did themselves no favors.

This also returns to the theme that trucking is hyper-competitive and it's incredibly difficult for a company to differentiate itself from the competition. Differentiation allows you to charge more than someone else because they can't provide the products or services you can. That's worth more money.

However, most trucking companies of similar size and scale have similar offerings for their customers, which means their revenues and pay will also be very similar.

One glaring exception to this rule would be private fleets, like Walmart or Sysco. They don't have to compete with other trucking companies for freight contracts. Walmart doesn't make money hauling freight; it makes money selling goods. So, it can afford to pay its drivers more than pure trucking companies would because it has a completely different business model.

Driving for a smaller company with about 300/350 drivers has been a much better experience than driving for Schneider. (Disclaimer: Individual results may vary, lol)

This is definitely one of those "correlation vs causation" type situations, where your better experience does not stem from the size of the company, but rather from how the company is run. Not to mention, your sample size of one (Schneider) is a little too small for good scientific results.

There's a phenomenon I've noticed over the years that is pretty interesting. Start with the premise that new drivers make a lot of mistakes. They're inefficient, somewhat unreliable, and clumsy. We all are at first. It's a difficult job to master. It takes time.

So a driver starts out at a mega carrier, and naturally, our first company doesn't give us the best freight. They don't pre-plan our loads; they don't do us a bunch of extra favors, and they don't give us freight from their most important customers. So the loads you get are quite limited.

You improve dramatically as a driver during those first 6 - 12 months. After one year, you're 1,000 times better than you were in the beginning, and you find a new opportunity at a different company.

Well, right away things are going well. They're giving you tons of miles, doing extra favors for you, and giving you better quality freight from their best customers.

Well, of course they're willing to do this because you're a much better driver than you were at your previous company. You're not late for loads, you don't scratch the truck, you're not homesick, no one needs to hold your hand, and you're not running out of hours after 2400 miles because you mismanaged your logbook.

So right away, you think, "Wow, this company is way better than my first company!" but you don't realize that's mostly because you're a way better driver than you were at your first company! That first company had to keep you on training wheels, the second company didn't. Now you're finally getting all the perks a top-tier driver gets. You would have achieved that at the first company as well, but you left just as you were becoming a top-tier driver.

Now, obviously, some companies are better run than others and, therefore, can pay better than others. I'm certainly not saying all companies are the same. But I don't think slightly smaller megas are better than large megas. At least I can't think of a reason why that would be. I think many of the improvements stem from the fact you are just way better drivers now than you were in the beginning.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

Now on the topic of pay for OTR and regional drivers, I mentioned that trucking companies can only afford to pay their drivers a certain percentage of the revenues. Well, if they pay by the mile, that's a pretty simple calculation. They know what their average revenue is per mile, so they give the driver a percentage of that.

For instance, if the company averages $2 per mile in revenues and they want to pay their drivers 16% of revenues:

2.00 x .16 = .32

So they would pay 32 cents per mile. Simple.

Now, some of you want your pay broken down by the duties you perform, instead of being paid by the mile. You want to be paid for each thing you do:

  • fueling
  • detention time
  • layovers
  • breakdowns
  • driving time
  • paperwork
  • loading or unloading
  • tarps, chains, straps
  • pre-trip inspections

Here's the challenge. You're the new person in charge of driver pay at ABC Company, which has 350 trucks. They want to pay their drivers about 16% of revenues, but they want every duty broken out individually. The above list of duties must all be assigned a value.

Your job is to decide how to pay our drivers for each duty. You can do it anyway you like. You can pay hourly for a duty, or just a straight amount. For instance, the pre-trip inspection can pay $25 per hour for as long as it takes, or you can pay $10 for each pre-trip inspection. Your choice how to handle it.

Come up with a payscale that's fair and that keeps each driver's pay very close to 16% of revenues. To help out, here is the weekly timesheets for three OTR drivers pulling a dry van:

Driver 1: John

  • Revenue to truck: $4200
  • Target pay (16%): $672
  • 2100 miles (35 hours) drive time
  • 5 pre-trip inspections - 2.5 hours
  • 4 times fueling - 1 hour
  • 17 hours detention time
  • 14 hours layover
  • 8 hours breakdown
  • 5 hours paperwork
  • 5 pickups
  • 5 deliveries
  • 3 times strapping cargo (1 hour)

Driver 2: Sarah

  • Revenue to truck: $5800
  • Target pay (16%): $928
  • 2900 miles (35 hours) drive time
  • 6 pre-trip inspections - 5 hours
  • 5 times fueling - 1.5 hours
  • 8 hours detention time
  • 6 hours layover
  • 12 hours breakdown
  • 8 hours paperwork
  • 3 pickups
  • 3 deliveries
  • 2 times strapping cargo (1 hour)

Driver 3: Michael

  • Revenue to truck: $6800
  • Target pay (16%): $1,088
  • 3400 miles (35 hours) drive time
  • 6 pre-trip inspections - 2 hours
  • 6 times fueling - 3 hours
  • 3 hours detention time
  • 0 hours layover
  • 0 hours breakdown
  • 3 hours paperwork
  • 2 pickups
  • 2 deliveries
  • 1 time strapping cargo (30 minutes)

So how would you break it down so that all drivers earn very close to 16% of revenues, and their pay is fair compared with all other drivers?

Without even digging into the math, you can probably see just how hard this will be. People report a variety of time spent with layovers, breakdowns, detention time, and more.

Not only that, but keep in mind that paying people hourly for certain tasks means they will milk the clock. How will you deal with that? What do you say to the guy who sits for hours at the customers pretending he's waiting to load or unload? You know he's milking the clock. Are you gonna call every customer to find out exactly how long it took your 350 trucks to load or unload daily? Are you going to accuse your drivers of milking the clock? How will they react to that, even when you're right?

Once you implement this system, you will find that drivers on average turn far less miles than they did before, but they're turning in huge amounts of time for detention time, and "suddenly" half the trucks in the fleet break down regularly. Wow, imagine that.

Paying by the mile incentivizes drivers to turn as many miles as possible, which is what everyone wants. Paying an hourly wage creates a reverse incentive where drivers will look for ways to make money sitting around doing nothing instead of driving.

So your fleet will turn far fewer miles on average than they did when paid by the mile, and your company will pay out way more money for accessory pay than ever before. How will you handle that?

There's a lot to consider.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

I see Rob. T got s***t canned for his opinion. So I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut on this one. Still enjoy interacting on here when I have time. Can’t say I agree with it though.

I thought he contributed well on this forum.

No, he quit. I haven't canned anyone.

be a real man yourself and admit maybe you went a little too far instead of doubling down and acting like everyone else is just way too sensitive. You may not agree but it's pretty obvious you just lost your cool, no big deal.

I went too far, and not just a little. It pissed me off when he called my thoughts silly and stupid, so I let him have it. Then, I continued with my thoughts, which proved to be valuable.

I may be a relic from the old world, but I've always taken the same approach throughout my life. I give back 10 times what you give me. If you're kind and respectful, I'm the kindest and most respectful dude you'll find anywhere. If you come at me, I'm coming back ten times harder. I will return overwhelming fire. If you don't like that, stick with being kind and respectful, and you'll have no problems with me.

Banks and I talked it out for a long time and covered a wide variety of topics with no problems over the past few months. This one time he slipped and took a couple of shots at me, and I hit back hard like I always do. Now, I'm happy to continue this discussion, preferably in a respectful way.

You guys always know what you'll get with me. You'll get valuable insights into all aspects of this industry, with thorough explanations backed by a long list of facts. I tell it like it is, with no sugarcoating, and always with actionable ways of handling anything.

I have 30 years in this industry and a lifetime of experiences that allow me to give people a much better understanding of how things work, on a deeper level than most people would take it.

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to help people. I love it. I've run this website for 17 1/2 years, dedicating 1/3 of my entire life to this project, and helped millions of people over the years. I'm immensely proud of that.

I've given this community everything I've built over the years for free - every last bit of it. The only thing I've ever asked for in return is to be treated with respect. I've never asked for anything else.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

he was tough on me for a reason, and I feel he made me the man I am today. To always stand your ground, especially, if you're in the right. I tend to say what I think at the moment, and could care less, if it offends whoever's there, blunt & to the point @ hand.

Stevo, you just made my day. Hell, you just restored my faith in humanity.

I haven't stopped thinking about this conversation for a minute all day. The world today is surreal to me. Everything that matters in life is upside down. Many people no longer value honesty, integrity, pride, grit, resilience, toughness, or character. I can't stand it.

I have no interest in playing along with the new rules in our society. If someone wants to know how I might feel about something, ask yourself what Clint Eastwood or Sylvester Stallone might have said in their movies. And if you don't like that answer, go cry to your mom about it. Maybe she'll care.

I'm actually the nicest guy you'll ever meet 99% of the time, but wokeness or weakness is not something I'll tolerate because I know the dangers of it. You can't trust weak, soft men. They're too easily corrupted.

I also don't take unfounded mocking too well, as you might expect. Banks ****ed me off by calling my ideas silly and stupid, but if you put 30 years into understanding something and you know what you're talking about, shouldn't that **** you off? What am I supposed to say, "Please, Banks, tell me you like me!!!"


I love Banks. That dude just says it like it is. Yeah, I had to give him hell after he mocked my outstanding analysis, but he understands that, and he's planning his reply right now. He's gonna make me look like a tyrant, but I'm alright with that. I gave him hell; he'll give it back again. That's alright by me.

Thanks again, Stevo. I got your message, and I appreciate it.

Posted:  1 month ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

This should be you guys right now, waiting for Banks to return fire! This would be me!



Posted:  1 month ago

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How do you deal with the corporate bs long term?

Ya know, it's funny how many people are offended nowadays by a man who is willing to stand up for himself and those he loves. I mean, look at the Kyle Rittenhouse situation. The young man, 17 years old, says he's going to stand up and defend his neighborhood and his family and friends from an undeserved attack. They go after him with lethal force, he defends himself to the letter of the law, and the entire country erupts on this kid like he's the problem.

Then you have Daniel Penny, the former marine, who defends an entire subway car full of innocent people from a homicidal maniac...literally....

According to Penny, Neely made three main threats repeatedly: "I'm going to kill you," "I'm prepared to go to jail for life," and "I'm willing to die." This was Penny's justification for putting Neely in a chokehold on a New York City subway. Penny said he was acting in self-defense and that race was not a factor in his decision to restrain Neely.

Yet this guy is the one on trial.

WTF happened to the men in this country? How did we go from Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and James Dean to a bunch of softies who get offended by a simple argument between two men.

Seriously, if Banks and I want to throw insults at each other, grab some popcorn and watch the men duke it out!

Instead, I have "men" leaving the platform because they're so offended by my behavior.

Hey, I ain't winning any awards for being the nicest guy to ever live, but that's not my goal as a man. I live with integrity, I work my ass off, and I protect and provide for the people I love.

I'm an old school guy and everyone knows what that means. If you're a new school guy and your superheroes hug each other and cry, I'm not gonna be the kind of guy you can handle. I'm cool with that.

So Banks and I are duking it out. So what? What harm is done? Nothing. He insulted me, I insulted him, you guys have your popcorn, and we all get entertained. Have fun with it, learn from it, join in with us if you can handle it, or quit and run away if being around strong men is too scary for you.

Banks is obviously a strong man himself. I respect that. He doesn't mind putting on the boxing gloves sometimes, and I respect that too.

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