Profile For Michael W.

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    9 months, 3 weeks ago

Michael W.'s Bio

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Posted:  3 months ago

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Trailer brake

Many drivers use them for silly things, like hanging their jacket on... Kind of destroys the trailer tires, at least according to my buddy that does road calls for TA.

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Owner Operator

31 years here, I just pulled my last load, just tore the door signs off. Truck going up for sale in the Spring. Just landed a company driver job, pays 6 figures. Go ahead... That kid driving the JB Hunt shuttle is making more, you will figure it out after your first trip to the dealership for that warning light. Good luck.

Posted:  6 months ago

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Owner operator

Yesterday at a pickup I had an owner op parked next to me. He came over and started asking questions about my employer and asked what they pay us. I told him and he started laughing, claiming he makes 70-90 per hour for ALL his time in the truck, including sleeping. In the very next sentence he started talking about how he hasn't gone home since labor day (its now new years eve, in case this is read later). Apparently his wife has been begging him to take hometime but he needs money because he needs to put his truck in the shop. I wasnt going to get into an arguement with him so I just laughed and told him i needed the restroom and to stay safe. If this guy is making 70-90 an hour 24 hours a day hes making nearly $1700 PER DAY on the low end. Man I love hearing some of the crap many O/O come up with. He "makes" such great money but hasn't been home because he needs to pay the upcoming repair bill on the truck.

He was feeding you a line of BS. There are few guys out here making that kind of money, even the expediters are not doing that right now, no matter what is said here. There is money to be made out here, but it is not easy to come by, especially in this market. Then we have the expenses, which are going through the roof. Let's start with Insurance, it is going up, and I mean UP. Fleets are in the process of shutting their doors, quite a few have closed up shop in the past few weeks due to the rate hikes. I recently turned off, or parked my authority, due to this sudden rise in insurance costs and the miserable rates out here.

Then we have the equipment, most guys are not going to run out and buy a new truck, they are going to buy used. These are not the trucks I started with 30 some years ago, these are Government EPA trucks, and they come with a laundry list of very expensive needs to keep on the road.

I ran into a kid that went and bought himself a Lone Mountain truck. I think a 2016 Pete if memory serves me right. He called me from Indiana where he just arrived with the truck to put on with FedEx. He literally drove this truck from the dealer to orientation. He was late for orientation as the truck was having issues. Turns out it was a mess, only 350,000 miles on her. I told him to take it home to Atlanta and go see my buddy, the Cummins expert... Long story, the truck has major issues from extended oil changes, carbon packed, cam chewed up, lower end in need of new rod and main bearings, the list goes on and on... There was a warranty, and he did take it to the Pete dealer there in Atlanta, they installed a new turbo and EGR Cooler, both were fine, but they replaced anyways. That cam? They would not touch it, but they threw on $6000 in unneeded parts. Sad thing, that new turbo pukes oil like no tomorrow, typical Cummins reman unit. I think he has put around $10,000 in repairs in the truck, and he is doing the majority of the work himself as he cannot afford to take it to a shop. These trucks are now throw aways, 500,000 miles and that is it, if they even make it that far, most don't and are sold into the unwitting arms of the wannabe owner operator.

Me, I'm parking my truck, living in this thing for months on end to make little to no monies after expenses is not worth it to me. I am going to go back to being a company driver, already am going through the approval process to onboard. It is just not worth it out here as a single owner operator when everything is added up and accounted for.

One of the really big issues I have had, are these inflexible HOS, they have severely cut into my bottom line. I'm not some pill popping cowboy as many here I am sure would accuse me of. No, I'm an adult that owns and operates a piece of equipment and have driven it safely for many years. No accidents, no tickets, squeaky clean. I like to drive at around 64 mph, take my time, rest when I want, nap when I want, eat when I want, park when I want, outrun a snow storm when I want, etc. Well, I can no longer do that. I now answer to a clock on my dash. I figure it has cost me 30% of my income, real numbers.

I now drive faster, and my fuel costs are now approaching 45%. And I am not pushed, no one is barking at me to do this or that, but I still need to be productive with my time, and fight for parking. And that is the issue, the time is no longer mine. So, this old fart is hanging it up. Getting too crazy out here, and the job is now a job. There are brief moments of fun, but they are now getting very rare.

Truck is paid for, paid cash for her in 2013. I just in framed the motor in the driveway, and she is running like a raped ape. Just really getting her broke in too. 600hp ISX, 18 speed, full gauge package, custom tuning and a slew of new parts, too many to list. This truck is in tip top shape and can reliably go anywhere there is a road. It kills me to park, but it is just to expensive to run this business and make any real profits. Heck, just a truck service, you are looking at $300 to $500 easy. Truck and trailer wash, another $80 to $100... I remember when a complete service was $99 and you got a free steak dinner, shower and coffee, truck and trailer wash, $40. Fuel was under a $1 too...

Yep, I am reminiscing... But here is the kick in the shorts, the rates are still the same, if not lower than when I started in 1989.

My advice, stay a company driver if this is your passion.

Posted:  6 months ago

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Asking for prayers! REALLY need them.

Stay away from the carbs! Like the others have stated, NO CARBS! If you are going to see the doctor, have them test your thyroid. But, if you are generally healthy, like everyone has stated, this is more than likely diet related. Look up Butter Makes Your Pants Fall Off on YouTube. Butter Bob, he gives a good rundown on weight loss, cutting carbs and fasting. He is not a doctor, but his advice is sound and I believe will help you with sound information.

I don't know your shopping habits, but if you go to say Walmart, only shop the outer aisles, stay out of the snacks, canned goods, bakery and soda sections. I can cook in my truck, there are many options if you have an inverter installed, along with some 12 volt options. I eat a lot of eggs, cheese and meat, I like my steaks. And yes, I have regular blood work, my cholesterol and BP are fine, in fact the numbers even surprise my doctors, both my primary and my VA doctor. Exercise is my big issue, especially in the winter.

Do that, change the diet. If you need a snack going down the road, get a big bag of almonds, they will fill you up quickly and hold those hunger pains back. Just don't eat too many, only takes around twenty, twenty almonds, not handfuls, to fill me up.

Posted:  6 months ago

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I must like punishment lol

Good for you, make it while you can.

Posted:  6 months ago

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High Winds; Good Judgment

I sat for a day and a half there in Rock Springs WY at the FJ this week... I-80 was shut down across the entire state, along with I-25 to CO and everything in between. The wind was terrible, and roads were glazed, accidents, etc. Well, they finally opened the road around 1030 EST this past Thursday, I waited a good three hours for everyone to leave, and it was a circus watching these clowns try to all leave at once, as it took a good two hours to clear everyone out of town, it was a hoot!

I have been here and done this before, YOU WAIT, let them get down the road. Luckily, this time, there were no accidents shutting the road ahead down, which is normally the case when these roads open back up. Remember that folks, being first out the gate is not always the best plan, you may find yourself right in the middle of the mess you just sat a day or two waiting out. Don't be a victim.

Clown show ended, and I finally left, cruised across until I arrived at Elk Mountain... Oh then the fun began... Light load, electronics, around 5,000 lbs in the box. I slowed her down to 35, hit the 4-ways and rode that rumble strip on the shoulder. I had these guys flying by me at 50 to 60 mph, a few almost hit me, just like that idiot in the video. I made it, thank God, even though it was a nerve racking drive over Elk.

I lost her a few times, that wind would hit my wagon and blow it north which would send my drive tires south. That happened three times, and these guys are flying past me like we are on dry pavement. Just made me sick, as few of these guys had a radio on, if they even had one. Which is one thing I noticed when parked at the FJ waiting this out. I was in the corner, so I could see guys driving by to leave as the lot was full. I would say 70% of them had no CB radio in their truck. Back in the day, that was considered suicide running Wyoming in the winter, or anywhere West of the Mississippi.

Folks, get a CB in the truck, and use it. You do not have to talk on it all the time, just warn drivers of things ahead that you consider a potential problem. And you can turn it down too if some blowhard is on there talking about his panties. Please, just install one in your truck and make sure it works properly. And I know all about these new trucks, there are ways to properly ground the antennas, it is not rocket science. Don't be that guy in the YouTube video that follows 100 trucks into that pileup.

As far as the "Genius Bar", ignore that bunch, especially when the Federal Marshall talk begins, don't walk, RUN!

Oh, the guy pulling that Amazon trailer in the video? He should serve 6 months in the local county jailhouse, bologna sandwiches and water, have his CDL revoked indefinitely and made to pay for all repairs his stupidity caused. No mercy on that clown.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Owner-Operator advice

My first question is the equipment, did you buy new or used... If you bought used, do you have the ability to maintain and keep it running? If you are depending on a warranty, you will more than likely be broke rather quickly. These new EPA trucks were built and designed to last 500,000 miles. Once past that ODO reading, the fun begins... Been there and done that, my 7th truck, and I will not go into the costs. Let's just say, I could have three or four really nice old school Pete's as flower planters in my front yard.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Why cant I consistently do the backing maneuvers.

I've been out here 31 years and some days, I could not hit a barn in a cornfield in reverse. It happens.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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What a difference 24 hours make

Welcome to trucking, you sir will go far... Hurry up and wait is not an oxymoron out here, it is a fact of life...

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Hair Follicle advice.

Good for you, time to be an adult. Find a gig where you do not have to drug test, and you can have your own test done at many clinics to find out when you have that crap out of your system. I would do periodic private testing until you pass, than give it another moth or two... And cut your hair. ;-)

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?

I pulled quite a bit of Amazon freight with my own authority, one truck, the rates were very good in most cases. But, a one truck operator is still at the mercy of their bid system. What they are doing with folks that have those fifty trucks is a different story. The rates are up there where I am in the Detroit area, and throughout the Amazon system in the region. Amazon impresses the hell out of me in how they handle their logistics, it is beyond anything anyone else is doing out here. Very quick turn around, not so much right now, but during the year. Honestly, I wish the entire industry would look at what Amazon is doing, maximizing technology and paying some decent rates.

There is much more to this, and I have my flame suit on, I have a few complaints too as a solo O/O, but all in, they have their stuff together.

What I see happening, and it always does since deregulation, everyone and his brother will jump in and ruin the rates... Happens all the time, be it the Conestoga wagon days, auto parts, expedite, etc... I have been through them all as an O/O...

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

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from what I see is we have far too many drivers running the truckstop and/or construction zone 400 on a regular basis. Also more drivers not slowing in other areas they should be. That is in direct relation to them believing they have to make up time. That’s always the excuse anyway.

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I think it's a pathetic excuse. If a person can't figure out how to use 70 hours in a week to be productive, well, I just don't know what to say. What would they like to have? Can you imagine the public outcry if we allow truckers to work 100 hours per week? It makes no sense.

There are plenty of drivers making great money on electronic logs. I never feel rushed. Does that surprise any of you? It's the truth, and I bust out some big miles. We plan and we execute. It's much like sports. You do what you have to do to win. You play by the rules. You're advantage comes by playing better than everybody else.

I do not need even 70 hours a week to do my job, what I need is the flexibility to DO my job, something that a set time limit does not allow me to do.

If I gave you a set time limit to fix your broken faucet, could you do it? Say twenty minutes... And that is it, twenty minutes, change it out from the second you started? It would take me that long to find the Channel Locks and Pipe Wrench, and I know where they are in my tool chest...

How about fixing your car? A set of brakes? In your driveway, let's use book time, 2 hours. Could you do it, all in?

Those brakes, could you do it in five to say seven hours and do it right? Probably, and I could, and it would be done right.

That is all I am asking, time to do my job, to do it safely and not kill anyone in the process... The brake job analogy, your wife or child, the two hour rush job, or the five to seven hour job done right job? Pretty easy in my book. But, I have been in this racket safely for 31 years. Master mechanic, or the guy sitting behind the desk in DC writing the rules?

Take your pick.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

Michael wrote:

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It is getting pretty bad out here, we all finger the ELD, because we are all playing beat the clock.

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As a single contributing factor? Honestly, it has gotten worse. However I think it a combination of many things, not just one that has made it more dangerous for truck drivers.

- cell phone usage and texting has become a higher priority than safe driving

- increased traffic in and around urban centers

- a deteriorating infrastructure; translation lots of crappy roads

- arguably a greater number if inexperienced truck drivers

- the motoring non-CDL public has little concern for prudent driving. It’s like NASCAR in the roads I travel, it’s disturbing the lack of concern for safety and the need for speed

Not sure how the forced use of ELDs fits into it. Not disagreeing with you, honestly not sure.

Interesting and timely topic.

G-Town, totally agree with you... The Infrastructure issue is huge, California comes to mind... But, and it is a big BUT, when drivers are jumping out of their trucks in pajamas and flip flops... Track suits and gym shoes, one guy was dressed as an NBA player the other day... I would get thrown out of the plants I visit... Bottom line, there is a total lack of professionalism out here. And do not get me started on simple trucking etiquette...

I was at the VA today for some tests, and one of the Vets I was speaking with, he is now blind, and we were recounting his years in trucking..., He was forced out in 1994 due to eyesight... We had a field day... Sad state of affairs... I will leave it at that.

I hope you guys will set some folks straight in regards to this profession, Knights of the Highway. I miss those days.

And G-Town, please feel free to edit me when needed, I know what you guys are trying to do here. I would like to contribute if I can.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Need advice

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Prime looks like a good training program as well

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There are several Primates in this TT community. Don't be afraid to go to Springfield MO, you will have friends there!

I trained at Prime, After being at two other outfits, Falcon and KLLM... Supposed to be a two or three week stint... The trainer, we hit it off, and I spent two years with him, Jack Kimse was his name, went by Cracker Jack on the CB... I was a young guy, in my early 20's... Jack was driving before I was born... I loved that man, so cool, and a wealth of what to do, and what not to do. He made me.

I would not trade those two years for nothing...

I know Robert, and his mother, brain fart, cannot remember her name, but I can see here... She was the salt of the Earth. We called her appropriately, Miss... Cannot for the life of me remember... UHG! She was GOLD! Tip of my tongue...

Miss Vera!

She bought groceries for drivers with kids that ran into trouble, paid off mortgages of families that lost their husbands and fathers that were killed in the line of duty. I will never say anything bad about Prime. No clue how it is today...

Robert, he used to wear a suit and was cleaned shaven back then... Say what you want, he and his mother always treated me right. And it was the best training I could have ever received... For what it is worth.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

I parked mine mainly due to skyrocketing insurance costs. That, coupled with lowering rates, made it easily apparent to go back to driving a company truck for me.

I just read the new FMSCA stats, truck fatalities are the highest they have been in over 30 years, fatalities are a daily occurrence around here. Which even my non truck driving neighbors and a few friends who have no connection to the industry have commented on, and asked me about in just normal conversation. My buddies too, in my trucking circle, we are all talking about the skyrocketing accidents in our area, Detroit to be exact, and the surrounding areas.

It is getting pretty bad out here, we all finger the ELD, because we are all playing beat the clock. We were the 63 mph crew, keep the mph low and the fuel economy high, that included my company driver friends so that they could get that fuel bonus. That is all out the window since the stop watch was installed in the trucks.

I spoke with my insurance agent, she told me the same thing, accidents through the roof, fatalities through the roof, lawsuits through the roof and guess whose rates were going up? Mine. I cancelled my insurance right there, as my bob tail and comp was reaching the point of what I paid for my cargo insurance back 20 years ago. I've had one incident in all of the years I have been with this agent, and that was another driver backing into me at a dock. I can no longer afford to play this game, especially when rates are lower than when I started 31 years ago and fuel was less than a dollar. I know more than a few guys parking their trucks, or just getting out. Excuse me for being repetitive... I love this industry, sad to see where it is going.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

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I have always made good money in tankers, chemicals and gases, so I am going back. It is just not worth it out here at present, and many of us do not see it getting any better on the owner operator side.

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Michael, have you talked with P.J.? It sounds like you might do well with QC in your current truck.

Marc, no I have not spoken with P.J., and yes, I am headed to QC. As far as my truck, unfortunately it is too heavy by 4,000 pounds. They need tractors in the 18,000 lb range or less, I'm pushing 23,000 lbs. I need one of those new lightweight sport models like Freightliner makes. They told me they have some older tractors there that they may part with. If they have any older non emission trucks, I might consider something like that if the money is there. But as of now, it sounds like some of the company drivers are doing better than the owner operators when everything comes out in the wash. I've pulled 6 figures in tankers before, I figure, if these outfits are not lying to me, I can do that again as a driver. It would be nice to have my time off for me instead of wrenching on the truck.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Passed my CDL test!

Watch that Dollar General, especially if it entails store delivery, you better be in great shape and really be confident in moving that piece of equipment around in some very tight and restrictive spaces. Definitely not for everyone.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

I saw someone advertising $1.10 a mile I get .69 cpm a mile as a company driver. I do not see how anyone can make money owning a truck for just over a dollar a mile, just between fuel, insurance, maintenance and permits there can not be much room for profit. That doesnt even take into account health insurance or retirement let alone vacation.

You cannot, and it is getting worse out here as rates further collapse. You keep hearing about a driver shortage, there is no driver shortage, there is a shortage in decent paying freight. It is still the independent that carries the brunt of the work out here, be it a guy with one truck or one with a small fleet. The big boys have their niche markets with the big companies, us little guys take care of the rest. Problem is, they are running us little guys out with more regulations, uber expensive and poorly built/engineered equipment, along with the fact that prices are rising out here faster than we can keep up. My insurance alone went through the roof a few months ago, I asked why and my agent told me flat out, fatalities are way up and the cost to replace these new EPA trucks is ridiculous. There are more than a few insurance companies that will no longer even deal with commercial trucks. It is a different world out here, everyone wants their pound of flesh, and the American Trucker is prime pickings right now.

And we are not all cowboys as some accuse us of being, I am out here just like you guys, I just chose to have even more responsibilities by taking care of my truck in my down time. I take a lot of pride in the fact I rebuilt, in framed my own motor. I can fix just about anything on it in my driveway, which I do, and I would put it up against any company truck in regards to a serious DOT inspection. Sad part there, the parts are going through the roof too. A simple valve that in its generic form is $65. On these new trucks, same valve, just a tad different design, will run $350. All of the parts are heading this way, we are being priced right out of this industry.

My one buddy, he is looking at opening a pizzeria... A few other are selling or parking their trucks like I am and going big company or specialized company. I have always made good money in tankers, chemicals and gases, so I am going back. It is just not worth it out here at present, and many of us do not see it getting any better on the owner operator side.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Backing help needed: turning front vs. back of trailer

When you are backing, use the rear tires on the trailer to guide you. Best bet is to slide the tandems to the rear, best to take the swing out. Pick your lines with the tires, ignore the back of the trailer, when I say ignore, not to the point of ripping mirrors off of the guy in the hole next to you. Use the tires, put them where you want the trailer to go and it will go to that spot.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bizarre Change of Opinion

Just for the sake of being contrary I thought I'd throw another twist in this conversation. I just noticed this information while reading an article in "Overdrive" about Owner Operator income holding up during this recent time period. It had this to say...

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Average monthly income for July, August and September was $5,327, slightly below the second quarter, but well above the first quarter’s $4,971. Also, it was only slightly below the year-ago average of $5,573 during the third quarter, which represented the tail end of an exceptionally hot freight market.

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Now, that should be interesting to those who think the only way to make money at this is to own your own truck. I'm scratching my head (not really). Most people think owner/operators are making a killing out here, so much so, that it's their ultimate goal in trucking.

Hmmm, it appears they are making considerably less than me, a lowly (steering wheel holder) company driver.

I am going to back you up on this Old School... Rates out here are the worst I have seen in my 31 years. I own my truck, and am in the process of parking it and going to go work for a tanker outfit driving one of their company trucks. I ran my tail end off this past week, leased to an outfit out of Indiana, my settlement, worked out to .41 a mile. You cannot make this stuff up... I just signed on with them and this was my first paycheck, I have yet to see the actual settlement. BUT! I am still parking the truck, it is paid for, and she can sit, I cannot work, much less survive on these rates.

As far as what CA is doing, Canada is doing the same. The problem is, they are not going to actually fix this problem, instead they will hurt the few honest brokers out here that are actually fulfilling their end of the bargain. The real criminals, see Driver Inc in Ontario Canada, will walk Scott free and continue their exploitation of drivers with their sham 1099 dealings. These are the outfits in Eastern Europe and India, they come here, and Canada, buy trucks and hire 1099 drivers and cut them lose. Their entire front and back office is located overseas. They have no skin in the game and can afford to haul freight for below market rates. I see it everywhere around me, from Detroit to Chicago. What these outfits get away with is beyond criminal. Just my opinion.

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