Comments By Michael W.

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  • Michael W.
  • Joined:
  • 4 years, 6 months ago
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  • 50

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Posted:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months 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:  4 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

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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