Profile For Mike D

Mike D's Info

  • Location:
    Chicago, IL

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 4 months ago

Mike D's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My road training at Wel

Thank you for the replies and input! I have decided to hold off on asking for a new trainer since today marks the end of the first week of me in the truck. Company policy is we are to try to work out our differences before going to the company. We've been talking since I posted, and we've sorted most of them out. I'm now starting to do 75-80% of the driving and working towards doing 95%+, so his unsafe habits will not be as big of an issue.

He's very knowledgeable, for the most part a very patient and good trainer in his approach, and I do like that he doesn't believe in running the truck as a team operation because he can train if he's sleeping. Company policy is the first 2 weeks it's a solo truck, and the remainder of the time it has to be agreed on mutually by the trainer and trainee.

Now, a training update:

I've been struggling with the backing, and today, our first customer was extremely tight, and the trainer asked me "this is going to be extremely tight, so you're welcome to do it if you want, or I will. Just please don't do it if you're very uncomfortable because that's when accidents happen." I looked the space over as we were approaching the docks and said I didn't think this was the time to try such a tight spot. The next customer was tighter than anything I had tried before, and I had a great approach getting as close as I could to the trailers. While we were waiting for another truck to pull out, the trainer got out to guide me and when he looked at the door, wouldn't you know it was one of the only 2 doors that has to be blind sided because of where the empty trailers were parked. I was thinking "man I can't catch a break." We're on a manifest load now, so we have 6 stops in total, so I can do plenty of backing on this load.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My road training at Wel

See I'm trying to decide if I ask for a new trainer and tell them why, or if I just report the behavior after my training is up. I can deal for the next 3 weeks, and the company is fairly small. I'm not trying to rock the boat, and I realize part of his job is to try to break me or at least push me to my breaking point. I wish him the best of luck with that one since I was in the Navy, and my stepfather growing up was extremely abusive. I can take a lot and feel like it might just be best to hold out the three weeks and then talk to someone.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My road training at Wel

I haven't posted in a couple days because I'm trying to figure out how to handle some things with my trainer. I figure maybe some of the veterans on here can give me some pointers.

My trainer has been swearing and calling me names like "don't be a f*****g retard" I was in the navy, so whatever, but what I can't tolerate is feeling as if my safety is being put in jeopardy by him tailgating and and texting while driving along with other unsafe driving practices.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Dreams coming true. Minnis B in training.

I was dying reading your posts. Good luck tomorrow, you'll do great I'm sure!

I guess I should get to sleep since 0300 will come pretty quick and I'm getting behind the wheel for the first time fully loaded with my trainer.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Journey with Wel

Which company did you choose to train with?

Wel Companies is the company I chose.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My road training at Wel

So, the last week was spent with a local trainer who helped hone some city driving and backing a bit more.

I met my trainer this afternoon, and we picked up a load to go to Macon GA. He didn't have much time left, so we only went a few miles.

We went over the training expectations and timeline.

He showed me how to slide the tandems, check in with a shipper, and went over some trip planning.

In the morning I'll be driving, and I'll update as I can.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Journey with Wel

Should be meeting my road trainer today! I was told to meet him at 12, and it's 12:20, so I'm guessing he got held up and isn't in yet, or he's not done with his 10 hour yet.

I'll start a training thread once we get going, and I have a chance.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Journey with Wel

That's actually a really smart move... the backing off by $20 each week. It will be tough but so worth it once you're completely off advances. You could probably even just go $10 off a week and be fine. I'm proud of you guys that start from the bottom like this and show your dedication; you're an inspiration for guys like me. I look forward to reading about your journey (please do a training blog) and wish you success. Check in when you need to and we will provide all the help and encouragement we can.

Thanks!

The people on this site are amazing! I'm still learning my way around the site, so once I get with my trainer, I'll figure out how to start a training blog. I've always been a hard worker, and never have I taken a hand out. I've been homeless and worked 2 jobs to get out of it.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

My Journey with Wel

So, I graduated CDL school last week, and I started orintation today.

It seems the people so far are pretty upfront and honest with things. I definitely like that my recruiter used to be a driver, and his situation coming into trucking was much like mine. I'm dead broke. He gave me some tips on how to limit my expenses since I had $20 left when I left home.

They give us company vehicles to use to drive to the stores and stuff, so once I'm eligible to get an advance, I'll take it to get my bedding and toiletries. Meanwhile, I'll use what's at the hotel.

Nothing really special to say about day one of orientation. I'm pretty sure the last time I filled out this much paperwork was either when I joined or left the Navy...

Since I've read many many people say "don't take advances," I'll add I'm taking the full $100 they allow us the first week, then I'll drop it back to no more than $80 the next week and keep decreasing by at least $20 until I'm not using it anymore. Like I said, I came with $20 to my name, and I actually overdrew my account to have that $20.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

RedGators Training Diary With Wel Companies

Hate to dredge up a zombie thread, but I was just wondering if you're still with WEL? I graduate CDL school this week and chose WEL as my company. I'll be at orientation a week from Wednesday.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Owner Operator vs Lease Operator question

Thanks for the info and input, Rainy. I guess I didn't do a good enough job making it clear the numbers were not mine, and they were from another forum I read.

What I was trying to ask was if an owner operator can just buy a truck outright instead of leasing a truck. My plan is to remain a company driver for at least 5 years. I admit I don't know much about the industry, so I don't know if the numbers I quoted were accurate or way off.

I'll just add here that some of your math is way off...the fuel surcharge fluctuates with the cost of fuel..."$1000 per week for lease and expenses" is way low (many leases are $1000 just for the truck)...and the "starter companies start at .32 CPM for company drivers" is way low too. Swift and prime pay way more than that. What you project to make as a lease with all the aggravation and expenses I made my first year as a company driver, and since enrolling in my 401k in Jan I have almost $5000 in there plus the company match of 3% & 2%. I've been solo for about 15 mos.

If you can live on the truck and cut your overhead for housing, you can save much more as a company driver than you expect and have a lot more cash flow...while still getting home time.

Newcomers get enamored with the idea of "being their own boss".(I did too) But honestly, as a company driver..I basically am my own boss. I'm given appointment times and that's about it. Do they give me routing? Yes, but if I take interstates instead of US highways, no one says anything. Do they tell me where to fuel? Yes, but so what? And most times I can re-run the fueling request and go where I want or just flat out ask. I've never been denied a fuel request (some company drivers don't even need to ask). My FM only cares about two things...always be early and don't hit anything.

Also keep in mind company drivers gets lots of bonuses...fuel bonus..safety/on time bonuses...etc.

As for home time, I take off when I want and have never been denied.

My recent check was 2988 miles. I grossed almost $1400, put $225 in my 401k, cleared $900 after all my health, life, disability, vision and dental.

Which leaves another huge gap in your calculations....the insurances. the insurance to cover a new driver is huge....which is why many companies ask for a year of driving first. The starter companies can afford it and usually self insure. The health insurance for you as an independent will be huge. As a company driver, after one year I pay about $50 per week for ALL my insurances combined...and I maxed out on the life and disability.

In addition to that.. MOST people who enter into trucking don't make it. That's a fact. So all the calculations on the planet won't matter if you can't actually drive the truck and adapt to the lifestyle. That's why I'm so happy i found this site that helped me be way more advanced than the other drivers I started with. I had more realistic expectations.

I can respect your desire to be an entrepreneur, but why not just go company first and take the major headaches out, determine if trucking is even for you and whether you can master the skills to handle it?

And one last thing...every company driver I meet here at Prime says the same thing: I make great money. I'll never go lease...why bother? Many lease ops I meet at Prime tell me they went lease so they can take off when they want, drive where they want, and have a condo. Well...I do all that as a company driver and make an average of 2cpm less than them...not including my bonuses which can pump me up above them.

Just food for thought.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Owner Operator vs Lease Operator question

I am starting CDL school Monday, so I admit I don't have a lot of knowledge of the industry.

My question is in regards to a post on another forum (I'm leaving out the company details because they're not really relevant to my question). I was a business major in college and have always had an entrepreneurial mindset/spirit.

One thing that appeals to me is the ability that I can become an owner operator and have my own small business.

So, here's what I read in the forum:

The truck costs about $1000/week including the lease, and all other expenses, Fuel will cost around $.35 to $.55 per mile at $2.50 per gallon (4.5 to 7 mpg). At 2400 miles per week, the lease costs $.42 per mile, fuel costs ($2.50 pergallon at 5.5 mpg) about $.46 per mile. Add these up and you get $.88 per mile as costs. The fuel surcharge that you will be paid at $2.50 per gallon is $.25 per mile. You are paid $.84 per mile as a lease driver. You can do the math, but at 2400 miles you will make $.21 per mile. The starting company driver will be paid $.32 per mile.

Now to my question:

Do companies allow owner operators to purchase their own truck outright, or financed through a loan instead of a lease? If you have a monthly payment of $1000 instead of weekly, that equates to a little less than $.10 per mile as opposed to $.42 per mile. That's an additional $.32 per mile toward your EBITDA.

I read so many people doing these lease options, and either I do not understand the industry well enough, or they do not understand business well enough. Some of them it's VERY clear they don't understand business well enough.

The reason for my question is because my plan (as it stands now with my very limited knowledge of the industry) is to find a carrier to sign on with as a company driver. I want to stay with a carrier for 5 years while straightening up my credit and becoming debt free, and also because with most companies, I'll be 100% vested in the 401k and I will be able to roll the company match contributions over to a ROTH IRA. In this time frame, I should be able to save up ~ $100k of which I would use $75k as a down payment on a truck and the rest as business startup capital and working capital. I'm anticipating making $35-40k my first year and $40-45k the other 4 years. If I end up making more, great that just improves my position when venturing out into the realm of owner operator.

I'm going in with very low expectations, because at this moment in time, I have very low needs.

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