School Or Pick A Company? And How Do I Choose Between Company Driver Or Owner Operator?

Topic 16714 | Page 2

Page 2 of 7 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Bill S.'s Comment
member avatar

I have decided to wait until class starts on November 21. This will give me more options in the long run. Thank you for all the replies.

Bill

Bill S.'s Comment
member avatar

Rick,

From the Drive this truck pamphlet:

Robert has worked for Drive This Truck for 3.5 years. He took over the truck after it was 6 months old and has been running teams or training students. This allowed Drive This Truck to make a profit while paying off the truck. Drive This Truck can then make the investment in their employees and their trucks allowing us to take it to a whole new level. You don't just earn a cash bonus for longevity, we actually sign over the title of the truck you have earned during this 4 year term at no cost to the driver.

They are partnered with Prime.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
we actually sign over the title of the truck you have earned during this 4 year term at no cost to the driver.

Bill, I don't want to seem like they guy who is always negative and pointing out why I think something is wrong, but I would be very wary of this program. I want you to think about something. Most trucking companies will not keep their trucks in their fleet for more than three or four years, five at the very maximum. Generally this applies to trucks that have been driven solo. At that point in the truck's life, the potential and risk for expensive maintenance and repairs becomes exponentially greater.

I have been driving my truck that I am in for two years now as a solo driver. When I first got it there was 40,000 miles on it. Today it has close to 350,000 miles on it. Now according to the information you gave us on this program...

Robert has worked for Drive This Truck for 3.5 years. He took over the truck after it was 6 months old and has been running teams or training students. This allowed Drive This Truck to make a profit while paying off the truck... we actually sign over the title of the truck you have earned during this 4 year term at no cost to the driver.

A team truck at that point in it's life should have approximately one million miles on it if the team was running it anything like they should have been. That makes it a truck that will usually be sold for well below ten thousand dollars, and hard to sell at that. It will usually be like a horse that has been rode hard and put up wet. That's a country boy's saying for something that is just smack wore out and useless. I just don't see that as a nice incentive for a driver who has committed four years of his life to teaming, and or training for a company, to be given a piece of worn out equipment that is going to be a constant money pit as a reward for his sacrifices.

Look before you leap, and don't believe everything you see in a nice shiny brochure.

Bill S.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School,

Thanks for your input. However, I only posted the information cause I said I would. According to the brochure, that truck had 800k miles.

I don't want to team or be a trainer so I likely would not qualify for the program anyway.

Thanks again for all the great replies.

Brocephus's Comment
member avatar

Next do you want to work for a small, medium, or large outfit. Each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. In a smaller outfit you get to know everybody. Everybody gets to know you. Your accomplishments are easily remembered. Your failures will become the talk of the break room. You will be relied upon to perform. In larger outfits you are anonymous. Another faceless employee in a crowd. Your successes and failures are easily forgotten. But, if you fell off the planet, no one would bat an eyelash. How you want to be known is a personal choice.

I can definitely relate to this. First month with a trainer and he showed me how to back up once. Then on to phase two with someone who couldn't teach me anything, and really didn't even want to drive. From my experience in a big company so far, I'd say its easy to fall through the cracks as far as getting actual training. After backing into someones fender I asked about getting more training in backing and was told I could go watch the students backing in the yard. It just seems like a "paint-by-numbers" system, where if your one of the unlucky ones your just out of luck.

I'm actively looking for a smaller company to get with once my contract here is fulfilled.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I did an eight part series on choosing a truck driving job and here are two articles from that series that relate to this:

Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part V: Comparing Large Trucking Companies To Small Ones

Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part IV: Advantages of Large Trucking Companies

One thing to keep in mind is that whether you work for a company with 5 trucks or 5,000 trucks you're going to spend 98% of your time dealing with one person exclusively - your dispatcher. Over the years I worked for companies with 5 trucks, 11 trucks, 4,000+ trucks and 5,000+ trucks and I honestly can't give you one single advantage of working for a small company. You will get to know the right people, the people who can help you get more miles or better treatment, at a large company just as easily as you will at a smaller company.

The idea that you're a faceless nobody at a large company is 100% false. I always knew my dispatcher , my dispatcher's immediate boss, and the operations manager at any large company I worked for and that's the only people in the world you need to know. If you're running into problems or you need a special favor then those are the people that are going to make it happen. If they can't, no one can.

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.

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.

Brocephus's Comment
member avatar

I did an eight part series on choosing a truck driving job and here are two articles from that series that relate to this:

Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part V: Comparing Large Trucking Companies To Small Ones

Choosing A Truck Driving Job Part IV: Advantages of Large Trucking Companies

One thing to keep in mind is that whether you work for a company with 5 trucks or 5,000 trucks you're going to spend 98% of your time dealing with one person exclusively - your dispatcher. Over the years I worked for companies with 5 trucks, 11 trucks, 4,000+ trucks and 5,000+ trucks and I honestly can't give you one single advantage of working for a small company. You will get to know the right people, the people who can help you get more miles or better treatment, at a large company just as easily as you will at a smaller company.

The idea that you're a faceless nobody at a large company is 100% false. I always knew my dispatcher , my dispatcher's immediate boss, and the operations manager at any large company I worked for and that's the only people in the world you need to know. If you're running into problems or you need a special favor then those are the people that are going to make it happen. If they can't, no one can.

Well, I've never worked for any other company and am only five months into my six month contract but I can tell you I definitely feel like a faceless nobody here. And that's based on my experience not sensitive emotion.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Well, I've never worked for any other company and am only five months into my six month contract but I can tell you I definitely feel like a faceless nobody here. And that's based on my experience not sensitive emotion.

So in all seriousness, what could the company do to make you feel like part of their family? Because obviously you are. They invested in you sight unseen and put up the cash and resources necessary to get your career off the ground. They trained you with almost no money out of pocket and now you're out there making a solid living hauling their freight in their equipment. Obviously if they didn't want you around, you wouldn't be there. But you are. So even though they want you around, they're not doing something for you that you would have liked them to do to make you feel part of the family. What would that be?

And before you say, "It sure would be nice to be recognized and thanked for all of my hard work" then my first question would be, "Have you gone around doing that for the people who are supporting you?" You have a dispatcher , load planners, salespeople, mechanics, operations managers, and hundreds if not thousands of others who all have to do their job if you're going to have a truck to drive or freight to haul. Have you made the rounds in the offices getting to know the people that support you and thanking them for all they've done for you? That would be the best way to get to know some of the people you're working with and begin to feel like you're really part of the company, not just a stranger out there doing your job anonymously.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Josephus, I read in one of your past comments that you were in the Marines, right? A couple of months ago you said this:

Won't deny that I googled the nearest greyhound station after the qualcomm gps took me down a dead end street and said "you have reached your destination", which it wasn't. 2am trying to figure out how to turn around without taking out any fences and a partner I couldn't get out of the sleeper berth even if it were on fire I was ready to head to the house and reconsider my options.

I do love driving though. And I've got a six month commitment to fulfill. Instead of walking the 1.5 miles to greyhound and booking a ticket I just put in for some home time. But it was a pretty harsh moment feeling completely left on my own to figure everything out. Took some of my zeal away.

Now I just accept that I'm the only one I can count on to have my back.

The problem is you went from being in the Marines to trucking, two polar opposites in some regards. In the Marines you live and train in such a way that you become so close to the people on either side of you that you would die for them. You're a close knit team of brothers that rely on each other for unwavering support at all times during your day to day life no matter where you are or what you're doing.

Now you're in trucking where it's exactly the opposite situation in a way. Now you're more like a sniper. You have to go out there on your own, alone, and do your job. No one is there to have your back. You have to be fiercely independent, creative, and resourceful. And just like a sniper has the ability to radio information back to base and get new orders, you can do the same. They are there to back you up from a distance if need be, but in the end you're still out there alone doing your job.

At the time you wrote that quote above you were teaming with someone but quickly realized that guy wasn't into it the way you are. You're better off running solo than teaming up with someone who isn't interested in being a team player.

So I can understand the feeling of being unimportant or unloved in a way as a trucker when you're used to being part of the closest band of brothers imaginable in the Marines. You had mentioned wanting to go to a smaller company thinking that would help but I can tell you from experience that the job duties won't change and neither will your feelings about OTR trucking. Whether there are three people in the office or three thousand you're still going to spend 95% of your time alone in that truck on your own out there. It's just the nature of the job I'm afraid.

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Let me also address this also:

From my experience in a big company so far, I'd say it's easy to fall through the cracks as far as getting actual training. After backing into someone's fender I asked about getting more training in backing and was told I could go watch the students backing in the yard. It just seems like a "paint-by-numbers" system, where if you're not one of the unlucky ones you're just out of luck.

For starters, there's a difference between needing training and needing practice. Most of what you're taught in trucking will require you to spend a lot of time practicing out there in the real world on your own. They're going to train you how to do things and then send you out there on the road where you'll perfect your craft.

A lot of people have the impression that they should be able to practice all they like until they feel they're ready and then go out there and do it for real. Again, the comparison to the Marines where they train you for a very long time before you're going to see any real action. In trucking they don't do it that way. They give you the minimum training you need in order to know how to do something and then send you out there expecting that you'll take your time and be careful while learning to get better at it.

There is no amount of training that can prevent someone from bumping into another truck while backing. That isn't a lack of training. It's a lack of care on your part. You didn't get out and look. How many dozens of times did they tell you to get out and look when you're in close corners? And yet you didn't. You didn't need more practice. You needed to make better decisions.

So the company knew that no matter how much money they wasted on fuel and parts letting you practice backing up in the yard it wasn't going to prevent you from bumping into someone the next time. You were already trained properly. You just didn't execute properly that particular time.

Josephus, what I'm trying to do is help you understand that what you've experienced so far is just the way it is in trucking. Your experience the first few months is almost identical to most drivers nationwide. It's the same pretty much anywhere you go. I think you've decided that the reason you're feeling like a faceless nobody or not getting enough training is because you're with a large company or you're with the wrong company. I want you to know that in my opinion that's not the case.

The problems you're facing stem from the fact that your past experiences and your current expectations are completely different than what you're experiencing in trucking, and understandably you're not too thrilled about some of it. You feel the way things are being done is inferior to your ideal way of doing things so you've concluded your company must be doing it wrong. But in reality they're doing it the same way everyone does it. Your experience wouldn't be much different anywhere else. The biggest differences between the large carriers are the color of their trucks and the spelling of their names. But the way they train people and the way they operate is all very similar.

Your problem isn't with your company, it's with trucking in general. And I would say there's a small army of people that would totally agree with you. Trucking leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the way training is done. And the part about feeling like a faceless nobody? That's just OTR trucking, no matter the size of the company. You're out there alone doing your job. There's no one there to pick you up when you're having a tough day or guiding you when you're in a tough spot. You're expected to motivate yourself and figure it out. Get the job done. There are no parades or support groups or local VFW-type getaways or commercials on TV thanking truckers for all they do. You just go out there and do your job, collect your paycheck, and go home for a visit with family and friends once in a while. That's trucking. For some people it's perfect, for many it's a nightmare, and for most it's somewhere in between - decent, but far from perfect.

I don't think changing companies will change how you feel about the job or the industry. It will just be a different name on the truck. You may be able to hunt around after your contract is up and find a job or a company that is better suited to your goals and your preferences, but trucking is still trucking and not all that much will change.

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.

Page 2 of 7 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More