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

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Brocephus's Comment
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I'm not going to argue about my experience. The company indeed did pay for my CDL training, and for that I'm grateful. As for training me, no, they really didn't. I spent a month putting miles on a truck for someone, who in turn showed me how to back up one time. No explanation of port of entries, weigh stations, weighing the truck, moving the tandems , trip planning, projected time of availability. All that I've had to figure out on my own, and I've likely got a few more things to pick up. I got in the truck and started driving, and that was pretty much it. I didn't even get the "meet-and-greet" they show in the videos, just a call telling me where the truck was, then I-80 for the next three weeks.

I had an expectation that in phase two I'd be running with a more experienced driver and here I'd actually learn some things. Didn't happen, and he ended up bailing on a load and the truck for Thanksgiving, leaving me running solo and barely capable of backing. Now add the number of times the qualcomm has sent me down dead end roads or stopped in the middle of deserted highways and announced that I've reached my destination, or just taking me to a completely different destination from the address it shows. I bought a Trucker GPS last week after finally accepting that the qualcomm is pretty much useless beyond messaging.

In dealing with the company in general I'd say they are indifferent and institutional. It's a numbers game, and my number just happened to fall at the wrong end of things. My tough luck, but there's nothing that can be done. So I'm finishing my contract the best I can but once its done I need to find a company where I can team with someone who knows what they are doing. If that's a rare company in this industry then that's just how it is. The lifestyle isn't a problem for me, and I actually love driving.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
Old School's Comment
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I had an expectation that in phase two I'd be running with a more experienced driver and here I'd actually learn some things. Didn't happen

Josephus, Brett just really gave you some great advice above, I can't really add to it. But, I wanted to point out what you just said in that quoted portion above. That is what Brett was hammering away at - unrealistic expectations about this career. That is one of the biggest things that ruins people when they first get started at this. You have really got to be a self starter to break into this career. There is a spirit of rugged independence that marks most successful drivers out here.

I am curious why you want to continue to team drive if you move to a different company. Could you explain that to us? I think you would be better off by yourself, in fact it sounds like much of your problems have stemmed from having a slouch as a team member.

Josephus, we all started this career with a woefully insignificant amount of training, but we took the bull by the horns and figured it out, that is just how it is done in this business. The type of people who can do that are the same type of people who make successful drivers. The industry recognizes that fact and they let the weaker ones fall by the wayside.

I recommend you go solo somewhere and make up your mind to be the best you can be at this. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, but your expectations are throwing you a curve.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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In dealing with the company in general I'd say they are indifferent and institutional. It's a numbers game, and my number just happened to fall at the wrong end of things. My tough luck, but there's nothing that can be done.

Josephus, that is the biggest bunch of hog-wash you could ever believe. I started at a company that had absolutely dismal internet reviews - it sounded like the devil himself was running the place. I discovered very quickly that if I could perform in such a way that made me money, then it was making them money also. They loved that approach, and they did everything they could to keep me moving. They need drivers who "get it." You are expecting them to prove themselves to you, and that is totally backward thinking in this business.

There is something that can be done, and you are the person that holds the keys. As long as you take that approach though you will never find success at this. I promise you they are not indifferent, but you will never know it until you step up your game and show them what you can accomplish. I know you are concerned about your lack of training, but that is a typical start for all of us. You have got to get past your unrealistic expectations and move on to proving yourself. I promise you it will get better, but it won't come from the company, it will come from within you.

Brocephus's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

In dealing with the company in general I'd say they are indifferent and institutional. It's a numbers game, and my number just happened to fall at the wrong end of things. My tough luck, but there's nothing that can be done.

double-quotes-end.png

Josephus, that is the biggest bunch of hog-wash you could ever believe. I started at a company that had absolutely dismal internet reviews - it sounded like the devil himself was running the place. I discovered very quickly that if I could perform in such a way that made me money, then it was making them money also. They loved that approach, and they did everything they could to keep me moving. They need drivers who "get it." You are expecting them to prove themselves to you, and that is totally backward thinking in this business.

There is something that can be done, and you are the person that holds the keys. As long as you take that approach though you will never find success at this. I promise you they are not indifferent, but you will never know it until you step up your game and show them what you can accomplish. I know you are concerned about your lack of training, but that is a typical start for all of us. You have got to get past your unrealistic expectations and move on to proving yourself. I promise you it will get better, but it won't come from the company, it will come from within you.

Look, you all can tell me I'm full of **** all you want. I'm just describing my experience.

When I explained that I had almost no backing training in phase one, that it was a dedicated route , the response was "we thought that might happen." When I followed up with asking if I could get some backing training I was told I could watch the students backing in the yard and to watch some videos. This is the kind of thing you get in an institutional atmosphere. Its a numbers game, paint-by-numbers system. It doesn't make it evil, but if someone just wants to make a buck as a trainer, then pencil whipping all the boxes works as easy as actually training someone. And that's just fine. I signed for six months, I'll fulfill my six months.

Then I'll grab the bull by the horns and find a company that can team me with someone with some experience. I typically drive to within a couple of hours of my mandatory break limit, then try to drive inside the last hour of my shift, usually only stopping for fuel stops. I don't need to prove myself. What I need is feedback when I'm staring at a spot I've been trying to get into for the last fifteen minutes and still can't figure out wtf I'm doing wrong.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Brocephus's Comment
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I should add that I didn't have unrealistic expectations. My expectations were based solely on the information the company gave me.

Old School's Comment
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I don't need to prove myself.

Josephus, there's not a reason in the world you need to listen to us. Other than the fact that we have had extreme success at this. You can wallow in your unrealistic expectations all you want, even deny they exist, but paying just a little attention to people who genuinely want to help you would help you tremendously.

Mary H.'s Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

I don't need to prove myself.

double-quotes-end.png

Josephus, there's not a reason in the world you need to listen to us. Other than the fact that we have had extreme success at this. You can wallow in your unrealistic expectations all you want, even deny they exist, but paying just a little attention to people who genuinely want to help you would help you tremendously.

Sir,

Recently, another poster cited the company's failure to pay detention pay, as they say in writing that they do, as one reason he is considering moving on to another company.

Another poster, Gladhand, is considering quitting OTR driving for his company because of long delays at shippers/receivers, presumably not paid as the company claimed to pay. Another poster, Charlie Mac, quit OTR driving with the same company for the same reason.

I say that most drivers become disgruntled because they believe they are not be compensated fairly for all of the time they put in on the companies behalf.

You seem to want to shield these companies from any and all criticism.

IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT TO BE PAID AS THE COMPANY PROMISED, WHETHER IN WRITING ON THEIR WEBSITE, OR THRU THEIR REPRESENTATIVE RECRUITER.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Old School's Comment
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You seem to want to shield these companies from any and all criticism.

Absolutely not, but people who are new at this simply do not understand how to make things happen in their favor out here. That is a huge difference between the succesful drivers and the ones who are constantly on the prowl for their next company. There are multitudes of drivers out here who somehow think that there is this magical trucking company somewhere that is going to be the answer to all their concerns, yet after twenty years of jumping ship after every little way they think they've been wronged they have still not found that golden egg.

95% of the time when I find drivers complaining about not getting their due it is directly related to their lack of understanding about the steps that must be taken to get detention pay or whatever else it is that they think is not getting paid to

Since you are doing all this research into the history of the drivers on this board why not dig into my history. You may just learn the secrets of success.

Brocephus's Comment
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I'm not sure what the confusion is. I described what my experience has been with my company in relation to the training that I signed on for. What was described to me wasn't what I got, and the company operates in a paint-by-numbers kind of way. The way big institutions operate. Which is impersonal. Which means as far as they are concerned all the boxes in my training have been checked, regardless of the reality. Which for me means fulfilling my contract, then finding a company where I can get the skills I need to do this job.

If I'm not listening to anyone on this board its because your clearly not understanding what I've said. I'm not chasing pay or bouncing from company to company, I just want to learn how to back a trailer up like I was told I would learn here. shocked.pngshocked.pngshocked.png

Mary H.'s Comment
member avatar

95% of the time when I find drivers complaining about not getting their due it is directly related to their lack of understanding about the steps that must be taken to get detention pay or whatever else it is that they think is not getting paid to

Well, maybe a thread in which you lay out all of those steps would be very helpful. But, I will point out in advance that none of these companies qualify their promises to pay with a - "to our top tier drivers, only" - statement.

Since you are doing all this research into the history of the drivers on this board why not dig into my history. You may just learn the secrets of success.

Success is subjective, of course. But, I will make over 70K this year, sleep at home and spend a few hours with loved ones, every day, and be off 2 days a week. And, I get paid for pretty much everything I do from the moment I get to my truck 'til I shut it down. In my book, that's not bad for a truck-driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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