Why Small Trucking Companies Are Often A Disaster Waiting To Happen - Article By Brett Aquila

Topic 25915 | Page 2

Page 2 of 3 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I had a non preventable accident last night and this morning was told another truck was coming to get my load. Hours later, he still wasn't here but was supposed to only be a few miles away.

The driver arrived and said, "Sorry, I was stuck at the weigh station all this time because my company didn't pay their tickets, all drivers are being held at weigh stations in VA. I have one more truck payment left, and this wait is going to put me behind this week". He was glad they didnt decide to do a full inspection that can take 60 to 90 minutes.

This is a smaller company with 340 trucks that runs Prime freight. It has a small, old, dirty terminal with potholes and is mostly lease/lease purchase ops. Seriously the couch and TV there are older than my real age (not the 29 years old I tell people lol).

VA is tough on smaller companies. Look at most weigh stations, they inspect smaller companies more often because larger ones take care of their equipment better. That eats up your 70 clock and your wallet if you havent learned to do a proper inspection. Learning "not cracked bent or broken" is one thing, but experience gives you the ability to notice if a torque arm 3mm out of alignment.

He apologized to me for arriving bobtail , not realizing I get paid for the miles to get the trailer, it isnt a big deal to me. And I felt bad for him that a few hours delay would put him short of his goals.

The longer I am at my mega carrier, the more I have no intention of leaving. Seeing what some of these other companies/drivers go through, it would seriously take a family emergency of some sort to make me leave for more home time.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar
I had a non preventable accident last night

Kinda nonchalant tone, so I'm assuming you're okay?

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Really made good article

Rainy said...

This is a smaller company with 340 trucks

Now I know that compared to the mega carriers 340 trucks may be a "small" company, but anything 100+ is pretty big. My company has about 350 units, and I must admit, it is far easier getting things fixed, etc, than it was at Swift. Granted, we are part of a bigger family of companies, but we operate mostly autonomously.

I know that I have asked this before, but at what number does the term "mega" enter in to the term?

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I know that I have asked this before, but at what number does the term "mega" enter in to the term?

There's no hard and fast rule for it, but I think making relative comparisons works well. Consider that 91% of all trucking companies in America operate 6 or fewer trucks, and 97.3% operate fewer than 20 trucks. So even a company with 100 trucks is probably in the upper 1% of companies in the nation. There are only maybe a dozen or two companies that have over 1,000 trucks.

When I refer to "large carriers" I'm basically talking about companies with maybe 150 or more trucks. I think you could fairly say that "mega carriers" are those with 1,000 trucks or more.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Just from what my dad told me when he used to have a part time job as a mechanic for a independent truck shop I would never work for a small company. They had to have one truck towed out the brakes where so bad and and the owner refused to fix them, maintenance is not a pirority and you can forget about driver comfort items being fixed.

Viking's Comment
member avatar

Just two or so weeks ago my Qualcomm/ELD was busted for about 14 Days. I ran paper for the allowed 8 days and then told dispatch I wouldn't run this specific truck anymore until it was fixed. They didn't have a loaner available so I sat. Not only did I receive breakdown pay, I was also paid the miles to bobtail to two different shops to get the darn thing working again. At the end of the week my paycheck was about 50-100$ less then usual even though I only had about 1200 miles (almost all bobtail with no load). How many "small" companies will take that good of care of you?

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.
Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

Hey Gang, It's been a while since I've had a chance to respond to a topic but here goes. First Brett I think your article and many of the responses have been insightful and right on the money. The one thing not mentioned, and probably because most new or newer drivers don't get this exposure, are the specialized/ niche companies. Yes, they are oftentimes not huge...20 to 40 trucks...but they also provide services not seen at the mega carriers. It's not in a mega carriers interest to invest in say, heavy haul equipment for example, because the business model they are using doesn't work as well in that world. I'm sure there are big, or huge, or even mega carriers doing that stuff, but most of what I've dealt with from them is traditional 18 wheel commodities. ( Many of the specialized companies are o/o trucks leased on to them ) What I have been doing has been 10 axle to 13 axle heavy haul, with loads in excess of 235,000 lbs and 200 feet long. The company I'm presently with has a small division that supports this while they focus much of their efforts on their primary freight. I have found that "smaller" companies actually can thrive in a "specialized" world, but their requirements for drivers is out of reach for newer drivers. The owner operators I deal with all make money. Let me repeat that... they all make money. But...and here is the catch...they also have 200 to 400 thousand dollars wrapped up in their rigs and they have lots of years of experience. I guess my point is this; owning your own truck to haul everyday normal commodities is a recipe for disaster. One cannot compete against the mega carriers. So, you are right. But, there are a few people out there who are doing very well indeed and yes they own their own truck...they don't haul regular stuff and they offer services and experience that are hard to come by. I got very lucky. Not sure what my end game is going to reveal but I do know that in the niche I'm in...there is a very lucrative future. You all take care, be safe and I look forward to reading more of your articles and forum chats. Tony

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

I hope everything's alright Rainysorry.gif

Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

Yes Rainy... Thanks for the reminder Junkyard Dog... I too hope you are ok. Sorry to hear you were in an accident. Hang in there, Tony

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Funny since I've been in school, too many these youngsters are talking about just this topic! They know so n so who owns and runs, makes bank,wants me to join em yada yada yada!

I try to telling them the reality, even though I haven't even driven yet, I still know enough, to know better than fall for some he said, he knows someone, who knows someone else who'd doin' great as O/O rofl-3.gif

Again today a couple newer students talking about this as well. I give up trying ! Just let em find out for themselves the hard way...... Same as those "thinking" they are ready to DMV test for CDLs......8 went last week (5 failed ALL on air brakes) 8 again tested yesterday, only 1 or 2 of those passed!

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 2 of 3 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More