Western Express

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Kip Brown (aka Six)'s Comment
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Anyone out there have any insight on Western Express? I got a pre-hire form Roehl but still considering Western Express.

Six

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kip, I think I'm the local Western Express expert since I drive for them. I'll try to help you out the best I can. Is there something in particular that has you interested in them?

Here's a couple of facts about the company that might be of interest. But, I'd like you to come back with maybe some specific questions.

1) They are the largest woman owned trucking company in the U.S.

2) They are among the top 5 largest flat-bed operations in the U.S.

3) They have approximately 2600 trucks (around 1100 flat-bed and 1500 dry-van) no reefer division.

4) While they don't necessarily make this claim themselves, many people consider them a starter or second chance company - They bring in approximately 20 new people each week for orientation and training. They are in the process right now of expanding their training program, in expectation of growing their fleet.

5) Their equipment (tractors, not necessarily the trailers) is fairly new, usually not more than 3-4 years old. (Freightliners, Internationals, and Volvos, with the bulk of it being Freightliners)

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Kip Brown (aka Six)'s Comment
member avatar

With Roehl, they wanted me in their reefer fleet. I'd rather have more drop and hook and reefer seems to have a lot of detention time involved. Also, Roehl seems to service the NE a LOT. I don't want to spend most my time on the east coast. What is the main service area of Western Express? I'd rather drive south and west of Ohio. How are the miles at Western? What home time do they offer for OTR drivers? Roehl was 14 on 3 off, which was okay with me. I would probably stay out longer. From what I hear Western dispatchers were mostly all drivers at some point, not just hired as dispatcher so that appealed to me because it would seem they know what it's like out there. I do have a recruiter for Western but would rather hear it from a driver.

Thanks!

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Old School's Comment
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I'd rather have more drop and hook and reefer seems to have a lot of detention time involved.

Kip, this is true, but overall I think you'll find better miles in the reefer division. Dry-van is not all drop and hook, you'll get your fair share of sitting and waiting no matter what type of driving you do. For me personally, I think it is a wash when you consider all the aspects of each different division. I don't want to discourage you from one or the other, ultimately you're the one who will know what type of freight you want to be hauling, but it may take a little experience until you get a feel for that.

Roehl seems to service the NE a LOT. I don't want to spend most my time on the east coast.

Well Kip, with a name like "Western Express" you'd think they spend most of their time where you mention you'd like to be. The reality is though, there is just a lot more freight in the North East. I spend more than half my time in the North East. I do go out West, and enjoy it immensely, but the company makes most of their money, as do a lot of other freight companies in the North East. Western Express covers the whole country, and in just four months time I had been in forty six of the lower 48 states, but there is just a lot of stuff moving around in those North Eastern states.

What home time do they offer for OTR drivers?

My experience has been that they would much rather you be on the road than having regularly scheduled home time. I stay out about eight weeks at a time. This is my choice, because I have figured out that is the way that I can capitalize on the most efficient way for me to make a decent living at this. I've talked to a lot of different drivers here that are frustrated about their home time and their take home pay. But once you get to talking to them you find out they are not running the kind of miles it takes to make a decent go at it. I don't blame the company for this because I run consistently close to 3,000/week. Most of these companies can put the miles on you if you prove you can handle it. Roehl has much better options for home time - they at least have some plans for you to choose from. At Western Express you basically need to put in your request about two weeks prior to what you want, and even then you will be kind of lucky if they get you home on the day you needed to be there. They will get you there, but it might be two days after your doctor appointment or whatever else you were trying to get home for. You kind of have to learn the system, and put in your request for a few days ahead of what you really need.

From what I hear Western dispatchers were mostly all drivers at some point, not just hired as dispatcher so that appealed to me because it would seem they know what it's like out there.

Western Express does a lot of movement, or promotion of employees, within the company. So yes, some of the dispatchers have been drivers, but I'm not sure if it would be most of them or not. To be honest with you most drivers don't have the personality type it takes to be a great dispatcher. My dispatcher was a former professional football player - personally, I think he does a great job. He keeps me running and almost always is thinking ahead on my behalf. I've talked with drivers who are constantly waiting around on another load, but that is not always the dispatcher's fault. If drivers could only realize how much of an effect their attitude and performance have on their miles we could have a major turn around in the industry. Most drivers seem to think that it is their responsibility to "train" their dispatcher by badgering them with complaints. That is so far from the truth. I quietly do my job and communicate with my dispatcher strictly by the qualcomm , I don't use the phone unless it is absolutely necessary. Your dispatcher really appreciates that, and he will keep sending you jobs over the qualcomm, because he develops a trust based on your past performance. Once he comes to realize that he can depend on you to do what ever it takes he will count on you and will reward you with some very nice runs. These things are true of most trucking companies.

I do have a recruiter for Western but would rather hear it from a driver.

Buyer beware! My experience is that recruiters are sales people, and they are not held responsible for the ways that they may not be more than forthright in their approach to selling their company to future drivers. I had a decent recruiter at Western, and I felt I knew what I was getting into beforehand. But she is no longer with the company.

Best of luck Six, I know I've kind of rambled on and answered some of this in a more broader reference, but I think it's the best way to address some of this stuff so that all who read these threads will benefit from them.

I know this decision seems really critical to you, but for my part I don't consider your first choice to be an earth shattering decision. Just realize that you want to commit to it for a year, and then you will have a much better feel for what type of driving you want to do. These jobs or companies aren't going anywhere, and that first year will fly by so fast you won't hardly believe it. Once you've put in your time you'll easily move to where ever you want to be.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Kip Brown (aka Six)'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the information. The more information I have the easier it is to make a somewhat intelligent decision. I'll have a chat with them but leaning on just staying with Roehl. I understand my first year will be nothing but a learning experiences and then I'll be in a better position to see where I'd like to go.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kip, I'm quite happy with Western Express, but it just made a good fit for my circumstances. They aren't ideal for everyone, and like I said, I see a lot of disgruntled drivers. You will find this to be true just about wherever you work in this industry though. It is a demanding job that sometimes proves too tough for people who don't fully understand what it is they are signing up for.

I think the rewards are equal to or better than the demands, and therefore I'm a happy camper. When a person is prepared and willing to give what it takes to do this they can carve out a nice little niche of a job for themselves while enjoying a nomadic lifestyle that some can only dream of. Best of luck to ya Six!

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

If I couldn't pull flatbed, I sure would be draggin' a dry box. I spent the first 2 years of my OTR trucking career pulling a reefer , and sitting in dirt/mud lots waiting for something to grow so they could harvest it....Reefers are not for me. Altho some of the best food I ever ate was out of the "ptomaine wagons" that drove around in those dirt lots shocked.png

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Suzanne K.'s Comment
member avatar

Anyone out there have any insight on Western Express? I got a pre-hire form Roehl but still considering Western Express.

Six

Im not sure too, have mixed feelings. I specifically asked my recruiter for western regional , and hope I get it. No East coast. My conern though is Im signed up for a refresher course since its been 15 years since Ive utilized my cdl , I can only hope to be running and making some money sooner than later, savings doesnt last for ever. Nonetheless, so far everything Ive read are positive so maybe finally things will start looking up. Cant wait to meet my recruiter and the rest of the fine folks there.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Damon S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks old head for the insight this is truly appreciated. I'm about to start my orientation with Western Express. Like you said, get past the first year and things will look up for you

Alex D.'s Comment
member avatar

Just called this company, they seemed to think i needed to provide my social security number over the phone. I told them i do not provide sensitive personal information over the phone but if they would like to send me an application I would be more than happy to provide it. They hung up the phone. Listen folks, in this day and age never provide your SS number to someone over the phone, they could be on the other end of the line writing this info down in order to steal your identity.

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