The Benefits Of Staying With Your Starter Company Beyond One Year - Article By G-Town

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Bolt's Comment
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Excellent article G-Town, really great stuff!

I just now finished my busy day and had a chance to read it. Many of you know that I started my career at Western Express. Despite all the online horror stories about them, I did remarkably well there. I learned so much by working at a company that was bringing in approximately 150 new drivers every week, because they were also losing that many each week.

I learned that good solid drivers always manage to come out on top - it makes no difference who's name is on the truck's doors. I also learned that trucking companies quickly recognize those drivers who exhibit a consistent ability to keep things moving efficiently. Those drivers are consistently favored and put in the best positions for maximizing their pay.

The outrageous falsehoods that people believe about trucking companies begin to be verified in their minds the very moment they hit a little snag in their job. Now who doesn't hit a few snags when trying to start their trucking career? But when we start it with the ill conceived ideas that we allowed to be planted in our mind by fools we've never even met, we do ourselves a real disservice. Most trucking careers are doomed because of foolish online lies that have morphed into legendary "facts" concerning this whole career. It's hard enough overcoming the mountain of difficulties inherent with this career, but on top of that, today's rookies are up against a virtual flood of misinformation that hamstrings most of them right from the start.

I have invested a lot of my personal time over the years trying to raise a standard against the flood of Bovine Excrement that has literally destroyed many budding truck driving careers. I think it's sad that a career that I have found to be extremely rewarding is so maligned by the riff raff who never had what it takes to succeed at this stuff in the first place. I know what we do here has helped so many people, but it is just alarming at how many are still being blown off course by all the bad information that they find when researching this career.

Just yesterday I was sitting in a terminal rat's nest at our terminal in Atlanta, GA. Two driver's were discussing how they started their careers at Western Express, but they both quit within 90 days because of how bad the company was. They couldn't get any miles, their pay was never right, their driver manager wouldn't answer their phone calls, blah, blah, blah, until I wanted to vomit. One of them told me he was waiting on his driver manager to route him to the Gulfport, Mississippi terminal because he was "quitting the company." (Knight) When I asked him why he was quitting, his response was clear and bold, "I told myself that I would give these guys three months to show me what kind of operation they had going here, but so far it's been the same old bull s**t type of treatment I got at Western Express. I'm moving on to someplace that will show me some respect. There's a big demand for drivers right now, and I'm going to find me someplace with a nice fat sign-on bonus."

Haha! He had stepped right into it at that point. I calmly told him, " I've worked for two trucking companies who treated me with great respect and big fat paychecks." "Which ones were that," he asked. I paused, looked him in the eyes, and said, "Western Express, and Knight Transportation." They looked at each other and pretty much fell silent. One of them decided he needed to go outside to smoke a cigarette, and the other one said he would come out and join him.

While it is quite sad, Old School that last paragraph is rather humorous.

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.

Driver 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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Old School, that entire post was legendary and it really hit at the core of everything we teach here at Trucking Truth. It's appalling to me that the "starter company" myth and the "bad company" myth is still so pervasive in this industry.

The message I'd like to send to new drivers is this: make sure you get your career advice from people who are happy with their job and they've been with the same company for at least one year, preferably more. Make sure they're happy with their career. If someone is complaining about everything under the sun then you know they either haven't figured out this industry or they don't belong here.

Think about this - do you think someone who is miserable is going to show you the path to happiness? Of course not!

Anyone who is truly capable of helping you find your way will be giving you advice about how to make yourself better. If someone's "advice" is nothing more than complaining about bad companies, bad laws, poor treatment, and all of that baloney then you know you're talking to the wrong person.

Listen to this: You're Getting Your Career Advice From The Wrong People

If you're looking for motivation, listen to people who are optimistic and energetic. Here are a few examples of some of my favorites:

Also, go to Youtube and listen to inspirational speeches by:

  • Matthew McConaughey
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Denzel Washington

All of those people will have one big thing in common - everything they teach is about how to make yourself stronger, more resilient, and better. It's all about how your success is completely in your own hands.

There's one simple question you ask yourself when deciding whether or not to listen to someone's advice about your career:

Is this person trying to teach me how to make myself better, or are they making excuses for their own failures?

Learn from people who are inspiring, energetic, successful, and have a plan for helping you get better.

LIsten to this also: Episode 10: Terminal Rats Are Derailing Trucking Careers

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Some really great replies here...keep em coming. Interesting reading.

Bolt's Comment
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Thanks G-TOWN for another amazing read. I also see another "benefit", and that's the benefits themselves. Most companies require 3 months for their benefits to kick in. If one is constantly changing jobs then how could he or she ever stay covered or collect some of the other Bennie's that companies offer?

Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

I figure this is as appropriate a place as any to reinforce this message. I've been lurking here for the last few years, reading articles, picking up information, and the message that has been delivered here has really helped me set myself up tremendously well with Knight. It's not like anyone will come out and tell me but I think I'm one of the favorites in my terminal , although I try not to dwell on that because it's really not something I need going to my head, imagined or otherwise.

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.

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
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In this business, you could be a great driver and nobody will pat you on the back and say great job. As a company driver, you rarely will have a direct choice of loads. You will know you're doing well by your pay check. I think people are better served by looking for a company rather than a starter company. I hit my one year mark and found out I can get a better health insurance deal. Many companies have perks that kick in after one year. That magic one year mark opens many doors. Just don't think it's time to slack off.

C T.'s Comment
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I've read so many "reviews" of companies from disgruntled drivers online. They complain about every little thing that happens while they're there. Typically, an unhappy driver will only stay a few months then jump to another company and run into the same issues, blaming the megas or "starter" companies. I've been with maverick over 2 years now and have yet to find a better regional gig. It wasn't until after that 1st year that I really understood how the company worked and what I could do to be as productive as possible. I'd say it would be a challenge to learn the tendencies of your dispatcher , load planners, and even certain shippers and receivers in a few months. Besides, job hopping would look pretty bad on a resume.

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.

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.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Big Scott believes...

As a company driver, you rarely will have a direct choice of loads.

As a blanket OTR statement, perhaps. But in my world and other Dedicated Accounts, not that rare.

In the LTL world, especially Union shops, the tenured drivers get first bid on the choicest runs.

And finally my original Swift Mentor, the one I was assigned right out of School; he had 12 years, 1 million plus accident free, he regularly sat with his DL and jointly figured out optimal loads.

Not as rare as you might think.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

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.

Wayne R.'s Comment
member avatar

I was working towards the one-year-mark while at Prime,Inc. Team driving and having a good time. But, I knew I could make more money. Everywhere else I applied with higher pay was requiring 3 years experience. So I did that with no accidents.

Now I drive for a Canadian Truck Company. I get twice the Hometime as Prime Inc company driver and a 23 percent pay increase. Five years anniversary in September and still having a great time out OTR.

Could not have done it without the help of this webpage. Thanks everyone.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Bran009's Comment
member avatar

I'm a newbie like Jeremy and I can say the "plans" some of these folks have are crazy. One person I talked to wants to "own" their own fleet within 3 years and some others are following the work for a year then go local plan. My plan? Work for Prime as long as I can. This company has been awesome so far and I've just started. I loved this article and hope to use that insight to plan my future.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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