New Truck Or Change Company

Topic 19366 | Page 1

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Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

Greetings tt. Been a while. Quick intro. Been driving for 1.5 years now. On a dedicated account hauling a reefer with werner. Recently became a trainer about to graduate my third student. Love my fm , love the account, love training.

Werner has been good to me and i would recommend them to anyone that is starting out. However, lately i have become somewhat disenchanted mainly due to the fact of my truck. I came out of a 2016 pb into a 2017 fl cascadia. This truck is so restricted with safety and economy features that it is totally crippling. I lose 1.5 to 2 hours on every trip because of how it runs.

My plan was to save somewhere close to 100k and buy a truck outright and run the account I'm on because i really don't want to be caught up in any kind of financing. Right now i have 30k saved up which isn't that much.

I don't know if werner could give me a new truck since all i saw at the terminal were freightliners as far as the eye can see.

I'm kind of looking for advice because i really don't want to buy a truck or switch companies, but push is coming to shove. I'm just not real sure of anything right now.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Fm:

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Isaac.

First of all, let's not concern ourselves right now with the part about buying a truck. You're trying to make and save as much money as possible, like many of us. Doesn't matter what it's for. We'll just focus on your situation right now and where to go from here.

Now to say you're "losing 1.5 - 2 hours on every trip because of how it runs" is rather vague so let's dig in a little bit to learn more.

First of all, how many miles are you averaging per week? Are you absolutely maxing out your available logbook hours? Because if you say you're losing 1.5 - 2 hours per trip, and yet you're not maxing out your available hours, then why would it matter? You might have to drive a little longer to get somewhere but you'll still get there just the same and you'll still be turning as many miles in a week as you were before. So even if you're losing a little time, you may not be losing any money.

Also, how long is a trip? Are you talking a 500 mile run overnight, or a 2500 mile run over a few days with a student?

And how did you come up with the 1.5 - 2 hour estimate?

And how is the truck running that it's causing this? What exactly is different about it?

For now, while I'm waiting to hear more specifics, I'll lay out a couple points for thought.

First of all, you're established with Werner. You're training, you have brand new equipment, you have a great fleet manager you really like, you've obviously earned the trust of your company, and you almost certainly know some people at the company who have enough authority to pull some strings if you need a special favor once in a while. That is all a very big deal and it's a lot to give up. Leaving there and starting over means exactly that - starting over.

Anywhere you go you're going to have to put in quite a few months of great work just to get noticed. You're going to have to develop a relationship with a different fleet manager, and you're going to have to get to know others higher up in the company all over again. There's a good chance your miles aren't going to be nearly as strong in the beginning as they are with Werner because they'll test you a little bit first. You also won't be able to train right away, which likely means a pay cut also.

And of course there's going to be some downtime while you're changing companies, going through orientation, waiting on a truck assignment, and then waiting for that first load assignment.

So a move to a new company is going to cost you quite a bit of money, all of the relationships you've developed, and probably your training status. That's a lot to give up.

And who's to say what equipment you'll wind up in at the next place or how much you'll be able to make with it? Because remember, the profit margins are tight in trucking. So if you go somewhere with fancier trucks with more powerful engines and higher governed speeds, it almost certainly means you're going to be giving up something in salary because the company has to pay for all of that fancy equipment and higher fuel costs. They can't just make all of that extra money appear out of nowhere. It has to either come from the company's pockets, or the driver's pockets. And some of it, at least, will certainly come from the driver's pockets.

Also, think about this. Say you get started with a new company and as usual they put you in a little bit older piece of equipment to start with. Say you spend 7 more days in the shop in the first two months than you would have with your current truck. You're talking over $1,000 in lost wages for a couple of extra breakdowns, but the lost wages waiting on freight to get you moving again.

So you might be losing 1.5 - 2 hours per trip with the truck you have now, but you're still going to be able to turn the same number of miles in the end and make the same mileage salary. So you might lose a little time, but you're not going to lose money. Cuz remember, they're making the trucks more efficient so they company can protect its profit margins. Well where do you think driver raises are going to come from in the future? That's right - profits. If the company can't maintain nice profit margins they can't maintain good salaries. They go hand in hand.

So you have to weigh the gains versus losses in making this move. If you change companies you're giving up really important relationships, seniority, trust, a little bit in salary, your training status, and the lost wages involved in making the move.

Are you certain you're going to be able to make those losses pay off? Is your salary going to be considerably higher? Are you going to be able to run more miles in a week? Are you realistically going to be able to drive nicer equipment and still make as much as you are now, or more?

It's a lot to consider.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Fleet Manager:

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Are you sure the truck is in good mechanical order? Losing two hours per trip is excessive, doesn't sound right. What exactly is the problem?

You seem to be happy at Werner. Try to work this out with them, talk to them about the trucks performance. Maybe you have a lemon...it does happen.

My advice on buying a truck? I personally would not do it, but that's me. Hang onto your 30k, invest it in something other than a depreciating asset.

Bill F.'s Comment
member avatar

The electronic neutering of these trucks is frustrating.

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

Also you are talking about new trucks a majority of your fleets only allow a truck to be so many years old and all the truck manufacturing companies have to follow guidelines on their safety features some get ahead of the game than others so you will eventually end up with the same scenario your in now. I'm not sure the problems your having or what your companies parameters are set at however I can tell you just for example all trucks will be equipped with a roll prevention system (not the proper name I just had a company wide training on it and can't remember what its actually called sorry) there are sensors telling the system weather you are driving safe or not. My whole point to all that rambling is that eventually unless you go to a small fleet all trucks will have devices to "make you" drive safely to their idea of safe. soon.

Isaac H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you brett and g town for the quick responses.

I max out all the miles per week. I get about 5500 between the student and i. Trips average 1k miles.

I brought it to freightliner of harrisburg in pa and had them look at it in which i was confident they did absolutely nothing and told me it was doing what it's supposed to be doing.

Here's the things it does. I'm not going to argue if these features are safer or should be required for trucking I'm just stating what it does that makes it go slower than my old truck. I am also not an expert on freightliners.

It gets worse miles per gallon. Before i could get 50gal and run a full clock without a fill up. Now i make 3 trips for gas instead of 2. Not really that big of a deal I'm not paying for it and I'm getting more points.

Apparently there's two modes the truck can be put in to drive. One is performance the other is economy. I called our tractor shop and verified that we only have economy mode on our trucks. Which i understand is for saving money but when you're climbing mountains everyday in economy mode it's terrible both on fuel economy and takes forever to do.

Following distance is set at 3.5. I don't know if that's truck lengths or seconds but i do know it's pretty far ahead. Old truck was set at 1.5. Safer yes and i would love it at a further distance and have it beep at me but instead it applies the Jake's by itself whenever it sees any vehicle at that distance. A car could enter in the lane at 2.5 and be accelerating away me but because that vehicle is in the 3.5 it starts braking.

Turns on Jake's while coasting.

I feel like I'm complaining to a service writer.

There are a couple other small things. But these probably take a good 5-8 mph off multiply that by 10+ hours is where I'm kind of getting the reduced time per trip.

The reason i care about these things isn't how much money i lose. Honestly, i could care less about the money i just really like training so far. It's because I'm feeling stressed making trips on time. We only have a couple hours of leeway on our trips as it is and that's getting eaten up by this trucks performance.

I'm going to call up the fm in Monday and hope to discuss some things with her anyways and I'll bring it up and see what she says. Thanks for listening and reading this long reply.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Taxman's Comment
member avatar

Roll prevention?

Is that an alarm to tell you you're turning too fast, or a mechanical system like auto braking?

Does it run you off a freeway ramp to keep you from flipping your rig on the ramp?

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

That's actually how I would approach it is like you're talking to a service manager. I would also emphasize on your mountain driving issues they may allow you to have your parameter changed especially since you're a more experienced driver.

Matt 's Comment
member avatar

It is a computer system like ABS that uses sensors one on the front axle and others that talk to a computer.basically if it says its at the wrong angle it will start braking and not allow acceleration. If anyone is interested I can find the actual term for it and post so you can research it.some trucks have this installed already

Roll prevention?

Is that an alarm to tell you you're turning too fast, or a mechanical system like auto braking?

Does it run you off a freeway ramp to keep you from flipping your rig on the ramp?

Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

Roll prevention?

Is that an alarm to tell you you're turning too fast, or a mechanical system like auto braking?

Does it run you off a freeway ramp to keep you from flipping your rig on the ramp?

Roll prevention applies different brakes around the truck and trailer to try to help prevent a rollover. The computer thinks you are in a situation where the truck is going to roll and does it's best to keep it from happening.

I've had it happen (in a situation where I was not in any danger of rolling) and you feel a slight grab of the brakes. It can help prevent a near rollover from turning into one, but if you are taking a cloverleaf at 40 mph or something it's not going to save you.

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