Podcast: Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Starter Companies?

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Old School's Comment
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Schneider actually had a specialized division doing oversize and heavy haul at one time. I hired them to move something for me back in the days when I was doing electrical signs. They have since sold that off because it wasn't profitable for them, or at least it didn't produce the kind of numbers they were expecting for their investment.

Anytime these big players smell an opportunity they will move in. During the last oil boom, I saw Schneider trucks pulling Halliburton, and Schlumberger equipment all over the place down in South Texas.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Thanks ∆_Danielsahn_∆!

As far as company sizes go, I was thinking very much along the lines of what Cornelius said:

In my world (insurance ) 1- 20 units is considered a small fleet , 20 - 500 are considered a medium sized fleet, 500+ are considered a large fleet. that is in the insurance world.

So yeah, when I say "large companies" or "major carriers" I'm talking fleet sizes of 500 or more. And some of the small companies that I have worked for over the years had 5, 11, 25, and about 50 trucks respectively.

there are some out there who are more particular and want those high mile safe drivers because they run top of the line equipment but you're right, they are few and far between

Well interestingly enough you also just described the more elite divisions within the major carriers, the divisions that a lot of our moderators are in. They have good experience and they're in dedicated divisions with top notch pay hauling for elite customers and driving brand new equipment. But they're only driving vans or regular flatbed, and many of them are getting home quite regularly at that.

I'm certainly not saying people shouldn't work for small carriers. Not at all. I'm just saying a lot of people fail to realize how many great opportunities there are at the major carriers, and they also overestimate the value of working for a small company because they're going to be treated better or they'll be closer with the "family" of people they work with. The reality is quite the opposite of what a lot of people believe it is.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Thanks ∆_Danielsahn_∆!

As far as company sizes go, I was thinking very much along the lines of what Cornelius said:

double-quotes-start.png

In my world (insurance ) 1- 20 units is considered a small fleet , 20 - 500 are considered a medium sized fleet, 500+ are considered a large fleet. that is in the insurance world.

double-quotes-end.png

So yeah, when I say "large companies" or "major carriers" I'm talking fleet sizes of 500 or more. And some of the small companies that I have worked for over the years had 5, 11, 25, and about 50 trucks respectively.

double-quotes-start.png

there are some out there who are more particular and want those high mile safe drivers because they run top of the line equipment but you're right, they are few and far between

double-quotes-end.png

Well interestingly enough you also just described the more elite divisions within the major carriers, the divisions that a lot of our moderators are in. They have good experience and they're in dedicated divisions with top notch pay hauling for elite customers and driving brand new equipment. But they're only driving vans or regular flatbed, and many of them are getting home quite regularly at that.

I'm certainly not saying people shouldn't work for small carriers. Not at all. I'm just saying a lot of people fail to realize how many great opportunities there are at the major carriers, and they also overestimate the value of working for a small company because they're going to be treated better or they'll be closer with the "family" of people they work with. The reality is quite the opposite of what a lot of people believe it is.

Totally agree :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brett a little late to the dance on this. I agree, this Podcast is definitely a benchmark piece. My days of debating this subject, although not completely over (cause sometimes it's fun), we now have an excellent reference to link for a poster that basically says all there is on the subject.

Great job!

Cornelius A.'s Comment
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The reason why large fleets are able to have driver trainees drive is because they are so large that insurance companies do design special programs for them allowing them to have driver trainees behind the wheel where as the smaller companies do not have that luxury. Those companies would love to hire a good driver no matter how many years of experience they have but unfortunately for them they are shackled by their insurance restrictions. The small companies want high mile safe drivers because their insurance premium is rated by their DOT scores , their drivers driving records, tickets etc..... I have seen insurance companies turn down the little guys because of too many OOS , bad drivers, too many DOT violations, HOS compliance and so on whereas , with the big boys having special insurance programs designed for them, they have the liberty to hire who they want. For example Prime is on a high deductible program meaning they are doing self reinsurance. Their deductible is 1.5 million , meaning the insurance company will never have to pay one of their claims unless it is above 1.5 mil, the reason they even do have an insurance policy is to be DOT compliant, so they only pay around 700k a year for premium. The little guy that gets rated per driver and per truck finds his self paying a minimum of 7k per truck. So that little guy with 100 trucks if all his drivers have a good record will find himself paying 700K for those trucks and if he is unlucky to have bad drivers, we are now talking about 14-17k per truck ... looking at 1.4million to 1.7 million. So why would the little guy not be busy looking for high mile safe drivers?

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Donald S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Brett again well thought out and poignant. Everything made sense in logical terms but I have one question. The big companies also have big bills and nondriver profit driven execs. I would think a well balanced starter who planned his growth by assets and offered better then average salaries based on his budget might be good to. Let face it having a driver with proven history and dedication is worth two unknowns any day of the week. Great topic I could imagine pros and cons all day. The big guys who have managed to remember their roots and never got money drunk are probably the best in all worlds

Willyis40's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett for this podcast! This episode definitely helps me plan out my future as I decide to jump into the industry after school or not. Will be listening to more!

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Hey Brett again well thought out and poignant. Everything made sense in logical terms but I have one question. The big companies also have big bills and nondriver profit driven execs. I would think a well balanced starter who planned his growth by assets and offered better then average salaries based on his budget might be good to. Let face it having a driver with proven history and dedication is worth two unknowns any day of the week. Great topic I could imagine pros and cons all day. The big guys who have managed to remember their roots and never got money drunk are probably the best in all worlds

The basic premise to this podcast, as i see it, is that There is No Such Thing as a "Starter" Company. There are "Training" Companies, which have their own schools, and then there are those that do not, but still hire, and train new drivers. Starting your career at a Training company, is what 99.9% of drivers do, and many go on to spend their entire career there, while others do not. The key is, to not go into this industry with the notion that you are going to a starter company, because with that focus, you can easily miss an opportunity to transfer into another division, or go regional , or dedicated. There are many more opportunities at the bigger carriers, that too many drivers refer to as starter companies. You need to figure out what your goals are, and then go from there. Pick a company, that while you may not be able to start off in your chosen niche, but knowing that after you earn your stripes, you can easily transfer in to it. If your goals take you somewhere else, then that is great, too. Yes, you got your start there, but they just didn't fit your long term goals. That is when/why drivers mistakenly call them starter companies.

I know I singled out one word, and ran with it, but it sorta turned the light bulb on for me. Plus, your overall question is way above my pay grade.

Stay safe

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Donald S.'s Comment
member avatar

I think we have different ideas of starter companies. I am referring to Starter as in new business or "smaller" business not the beginning of a new driver's career out of training.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar
I think we have different ideas of starter companies. I am referring to Starter as in new business or "smaller" business not the beginning of a new drivers career out of training.

That is what I kind of thought you meant. But like I said, my brain ran with that one word. It does that sometimes. confused.gifsmile.gif

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