Leased A Truck Through Swift

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Aaron M.'s Comment
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I been with swift for 1 year and 3 months. They were my first trucking company I started my trucking career with. I Started with them September 21st 2016 and quit December 30th 2017. In September 2017 I was contemplating whether or not I wanted to stay for another year or leave and find other trucking work. I watched a lot of videos and read a lot of forums and articles about leasing. I really didn't want to leave swift because I wanted to have a full 2 years in with the company I started with because I didn't want to be looked at as a job hopper. But I wasn't making any money as a company driver.

YES I KNOW, you won't really make any good money until about 2 years but I honestly couldn't see that with them unless I started kissing some butt and I have no interest in that.

I came here and read that awesome post a member posted, I believe a few years back, about the negatives of leasing. There was (and is) nothing good about leasing. I found NOTHING positive about leasing a truck from a carrier or even a dealer for that matter. Some people can do it. Most cannot. I am in the "most" category.

After thinking about it for a week I decided to just go for it.

Just for reference, I have no kids, wife, mortgage nor do I pay rent so leasing this truck from them wouldn't be a losing situation for me. I knew that if (and when) I fail, it will all be on me and no one else. I know how to take resposibility for my actions.

I do not regret leasing this truck. It was a nice truck. A blue 2017 freightliner that had 174k miles on it when I got it back in September 2017. It ran really good and didn't give me any issues during the 3 months I had it. I returned it with about 215k miles on it.

But after 3 months of using this truck I got to experience what it was like and I won't be doing it again. Nobody died so that is all that matters to me.

I was really tired of doing OTR (lease or not) and decided that going local would be a better fit for me driving a company truck. I live in chicago. Not to mention I wasn't getting the miles I wanted to justify that 1.12 per mile I was making. I was on a kraft dedicated account and ran mostly out east. I've asked repeatedly for more miles going west but they always told me they had nothing going that way. I never turned down any loads even though I could have and I ran my hours as far down as I could. My DM told me repeatedly that I was the best driver he had on his fleet. He didn't want me to leave and he asked me what would it take for me to stay? I told him if I can make 1.75 a mile loaded I will stay (most drivers I talked to said anything less than 2 bucks a mile isn't worth it but I only have a year and 3 months under my belt and was trying to be realistic). He told me to hold on and he went to talk to his superiors and about 5 minutes later told me they could'nt do it. They didn't even offer me an alternative.

They were charging me about $120 a month for "over mileage" penalites or something like that which made no sense to me since the truck needs to be moving in order to make money and they started charging me about $150 a month for fuel taxes which also didn't make any sense since all that is supposed to factored in when I buy fuel.

I put in my two week notice, when those 2 weeks were up I returned the truck to the Gary Indiana terminal in the same condition I first got it, cleaned it out and signed a resignition form and left. Called my DM, he wished me luck and said if I change my mind to give him a call. I still have his number in my phone.

When I was company with them I averaged about $650-700 a week after taxes. As a lease, after all expenses and taxes I averaged about $700-800 a week net. Maybe a bit less. This local company I am going to start with told me I can expect 1100-1300 gross a week.

I am not here to tell people whether to lease or not. I'll leave that up to Brett and the mods. For me, it was a fun learning experience and for me I am glad I did it now and got it over with so I know not to do it again than to wait 5 years down the line when I will have other more important things to do than to start a lease at that point.

I can hopefully put this behind me.

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.

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.

Dm:

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I'm really glad you got out fast and relatively unscathed. It's so much extra work for very little more, if any, money.

If you're ever looking for "local", our Glenwood terminal is always hiring. It's home daily and they tend to run them around 250 miles out and then back.. say to Wisconsin, Iowa, central illiinois, etc.

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Aaron I too wondered and did pretty much what you did, with a different carrier. I learned alot and it wasn't all bad, just not worth all the hassle. My opinion. I fully understand why companies offer it, and some are better than others. I made some really good money at times, and not so good at others. Bottom line is these programs although some differences are all geared in the same direction. Profit and loss for the company. That isn't some conspiracy theory, it's simple business and math. Bottom line in my opinion without some type of consistent volume single or very small operations just are not profitable in today's economy. Are there folks making it work??? Sure there are but is sure isn't easy. I too would never lease a truck again.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Aaron, what an excellent post. Your number are one of the reasons we say don't lease. Most lease operators I have spoken with, really aren't making much more than company drivers. Yet they have more headaches. Thank you for being so honest and being clear that you are just putting info out there for others to help make their mind up. You seem to have a great attitude. Best of luck to you. Keep us posted on your local driving.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for sharing all of that Aaron. You've certainly experienced a lot and learned a lot your first year in the industry. Getting your trucking career underway as a company driver a really steep learning curve. Trying to lease a truck that first year is really throwing a lot of gasoline on the fire.

One thought I had was about this:

I honestly couldn't see that with them unless I started kissing some butt and I have no interest in that.

When I started trucking I was 21. I'm Italian, I'm from New York, and I was raised in a family of steelworkers, carpenters, mechanics, and soldiers. We are not quiet, shy people to say the least.

Now I have never worked in an office in my life. I'm used to blue collar jobs and sports locker rooms where people interact in the complete opposite way they do in offices. In the offices people are mostly terrified of upsetting each other. In locker rooms and blue collar jobs it's everyone's favorite pastime to see how much hell they can raise with each other. Nothing is funnier than teasing someone until they flip out and throw a fit or pull a great prank on someone to embarrass the life out of them. If you don't like someone or you don't like something they're doing you tell em that directly to their face. You confront them about it. That's just how it's done.

Well early in my trucking career I did an awesome job as a driver but I ruffled some feathers at first, and to be honest I had no idea what the problem was. I just spoke my mind plainly and the office personnel just seemed to be super sensitive. I felt like I had to speak to them like they were kindergarteners.

I learned quickly that there's a huge paradox in trucking. You spend 95% of your time alone in that truck, but you desperately need the cooperation of those around you to be successful in this industry. We have no authority as drivers. None. We're at the bottom of the totem pole everywhere we go. So we have to learn to get along with people and get them on our side, make them want to do nice things for us. Because let's face it, there are a ton of people out there who can make our lives miserable and cost us a ton of time and money and there isn't anything we can do about it.

When I hear you say you have no interest in kissing butt I think about my own career early on and how I inadvertently made life difficult on myself by not interacting with people the way they expected me to interact with them. When you're at the bottom of the totem pole you don't get to make the rules, you don't get to play on your home turf. When I came across a situation I didn't like it was far more natural for me to give someone the finger and tell em to kiss my (you know what) than it was to have a civil, quiet, easy going conversation because steelworkers, athletes, and soldiers aren't exactly known for their sensitive, compassionate approach to people, ya know what I mean? We don't sit down quietly and discuss our feelings in a politically correct way, to say the least!

You have a lot of freedom to make choices about your trucking career - the type of freight you want to haul, the regions of the country you want to run, how often you get home, etc. The two things you will never have a choice with in this industry is whether or not you're in charge, and whether or not you'll need the cooperation of those around you to make great money. You're not in charge and you will need the people around you to want to cooperate with you. That's a fact.

I'm a super nice guy 99% of the time but I still struggle sometimes with certain types of people and certain situations. To be honest, I don't tolerate BS very well, ya know what I mean? Well unfortunately this is trucking and there's a lot of people who talk a lot of BS and I still lose my cool sometimes.

The better you learn to get along with people the more money you're going to make, the more favors you're going to get, and the easier your life is gonna be. I'm not saying you have to compromise your integrity or crawl around like a worm. I'm just saying you have to learn to keep your cool and keep it professional when you're dealing with people in this industry. It's hard sometimes, trust me I know. But in the end that's just how it is.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Come on, Brett. You act like with us soldiers every other word is the f-bomb. You wrong! It is every 3rd word.

rofl-1.gif

Here is a truthful joke.

Q: what do truckers and soldiers have in common?

A: We like to complain.

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm really glad you got out fast and relatively unscathed. It's so much extra work for very little more, if any, money.

If you're ever looking for "local", our Glenwood terminal is always hiring. It's home daily and they tend to run them around 250 miles out and then back.. say to Wisconsin, Iowa, central illiinois, etc.

That is exactly who I am going to go with too lol. They called me today and asked if I had filled out the app yet. I told her I will do it tomorrow because I wanted to take a full 2 weeks off from OTR to clear my mind a bit.

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.

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.

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks everyone for those kind words. Brett, I didn't mean anything negative about what I said about kissing butt lol. I should have worded it differently. Also I wanted to add, i still think Swift is a great company to start with and gain some experience. If I could do it over, I would pick swift again. Minus the leasing part this time though lol.

Also they might put me in collection since I left my contract early. They sent me a letter explanining that they will continue to charge me $726 a week until someone else re-leases the truck. I heard some people who turned their trucks in at swift were able to walk away with no penalties. I guess I wasn't so lucky haha. I read the contract and didn't quite understand it. Rule number 4587521. Never sign a contract you don't understand lol.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Aaron, can you do me a favor?

Read over your comments as if they weren't your own. As if you're a different person reading someone elses material. Let us know if your jaw doesn't drop haha.

Good luck with local my friend. Its totally different but has its advantages. Take care!

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Aaron, can you do me a favor?

Read over your comments as if they weren't your own. As if you're a different person reading someone elses material. Let us know if your jaw doesn't drop haha.

Good luck with local my friend. Its totally different but has its advantages. Take care!

I don't understand. What am I looking for lol?

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