Petroleum Driving Advice Needed

Topic 26878 | Page 1

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Jeff V.'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy Again!

I've been doing some research for a possible move into hauling petroleum locally/regionally. I would like some feedback from those with experience driving fuel locally/regionally.

I live in SoCal, but I'm looking for some general advice. For example, I'm trying to compare hourly wage vs. "pay by the day"/"activity based pay". I'm making about $20 an hour hauling double 28' and single 48' reefers for a food service company. (Overtime after 8 and 40.) From what I can gather fuel haulers around here make between $22-$28 an hour, or $250-$275 a day (gross).

Also, I currently work between 35-45 hours a week (4 days a week). I would like to work 5 days a week to make that extra income.

So...I would like...1) Testimonials on the income potential of fuel hauling (hourly vs. activity based pay), and the general...2) Pro's & Con's of working in this area of trucking.

Thanks you'all!

Jeff V.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Other than having to spend a lot of time backing into tiny gas stations and dealing with cars I can not really speak to fuel hauling.

But you have doubles experience have you considered linehaul? OD pay starts at 55 cpm or $25 per hour if on the clock the other big LTL companies such as FedEx, Saia ( starts as high a 64 cpm I've heard with 6 months of doubles experience), Estes, XPO are all in about that same neighborhood as well.

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

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

andhe78's Comment
member avatar

Hey Jeff, I've now been hauling gas, fuel, propane, etc. in tri and quad axle trailers for a couple of months, and while obviously not super experienced, can share some thoughts. Also, my experiences will not be the same with every company in every location (snow and Canada being things you'll never have to deal with.)

I'm not sure what you're getting at with your pay question. I am payed hourly with time and a half over forty, so it's pretty straight forward. I get paid thirty minutes a day total to pre and post trip and fuel, but can get paid extra if I have to say add fluids or arrange shop time simply by sending a macro. Most days average ten hours at this terminal , but I can request another local load to bump up my hours daily if I want. I get two days off in a row guaranteed every week, but can work the sixth day any time I want. We've got guys who work fifty hours a week, and others that work seventy every week-some do the seventy in five days, and others stretch it into six-so there is plenty of flexibility. Our terminal just has to make sure to get a 36 hour reset every week since we're constantly in and out of Canada.

Pro's and Con's? Honestly, after two months, haven't found a serious con. Winter is coming, so it's going to get cold, and driving is going to suck, but I've lived and worked in it my entire life and it is what it is. A lot of the con's I hear about this job are no big deal to me-some examples. Surge in the tankers-doesn't affect propane, or even gas since our gas trailers have compartments and we run them maxed out. The only time I'll feel a little something is hauling diesel since it's heavier and there is more empty space in the compartments. Hauling a bomb strapped to your tractor-it's something I don't think about, it's just another load I'm hauling, and since I always drove carefully anyway, my driving habits haven't really changed. I've had some flatbed load that worried me a lot more than a load of fuel. Backing into stations and dealing with cars-can almost guarantee you that you'll start out working the night shift, which makes these annoyances easier to deal with. I start work around 1500 every day, so after dealing with some afternoon rush hour the first load, the rest of the shift is a piece of cake. It also helps that I work out of a small market (can get from one side of my city to the other in thirty minutes) and we do a ton of rural work. Also, we run way heavy out of my terminal, so I'm rarely off major roads. Conversely, snow will be falling shortly, so will have to see how that will make things more difficult. A lot of people don't like working a night shift, but my wife works the same shift, so will probably stay here even if a day spot opens up. As for the backing thing, in two month I've backed into or out of stations TWICE. Again, that just may be because of our market, or our company primarily dealing with larger, newer stations, or the night shift, but I can literally feel my backing skills starting to atrophy. Seriously, after maneuvering and backing a spread axle daily in all of the big cities in this country for two years, getting a day cab in and out of these stations is not a big deal, border crossing are a much bigger annoyance for me. As for pro's-I've got a short commute and am home daily. I'm driving a brand new 2020 Pete. Fantastic money and benefits. No heavy lifting. Always busy. All the hours I want. Plus, we have quite a bit of variety-I'm all over Western New York, and into Canada and Pennsylvania regularly. For example, propane season is starting, so my first two days are going to be 500 mile round trips to pick up and deliver a single load of propane. Then I'll be delivering to stations for a couple days, then it looks like pulling a single load across the state for another driver to deliver. I'll probably have close to seventy hours in five days, but that's because dispatch knows I like to run. I'm enjoying it so far, although like I said, winter may drop my enjoyment level a bit.

The hardest thing for me about this job is not the driving, it's the loading and unloading (not the physical aspect of it.) If you are carrying five compartments with different amounts of different products for different stations, you really need to be paying attention to what you are doing and double checking everything. Overall though, I am very happy with my decision to go local fuel hauling. I loved flatbed and loved Maverick, but being home all the time is very nice.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.

Cantankerous Amicus's Comment
member avatar

How do border crossings usually go nowadays? Could you elaborate on the annoyance factor a bit? Do you have a FAST card?

andhe78's Comment
member avatar

How do border crossings usually go nowadays? Could you elaborate on the annoyance factor a bit? Do you have a FAST card?

We do not have fast. Honestly, the annoyance factor is totally due to traffic and wait times. I’ve waited hours to get over one of the bridges before.

Our terminal runs over twenty trucks in and out of Canada multiple times a day, so it’s very smooth and the border agents are familiar with us. We’ll get sent through the X-ray now and then, and I’ve been dot inspected once on the border, but most days it’s just a matter of minutes. My Monday load has me crossing into Canada, then Michigan to pick up a load then back again. Will be no trouble as long as my paperwork is in order-that will get you hung up for hours too.

Ninety percent of the time going either way it’s simply pulling up, handing over my enhanced license and whichever crossing manifest is needed, answering a question or two, then going on my way.

Manifest:

Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.

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.

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.

Jeff V.'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy All!

Thank you andhe78 and all for your insights. It was the kind of advice for which I was looking.

I came across one company who will train new employees in their unique fuel handling techniques. They said that the training cost a certain amount. Each month, they would take $200 off this mysterious amount. (The $200 wasn't deducted from the employee's paycheck.) After 25 months, the amount would be "paid." If the new employee left before 25 months, they would owe whatever was left of this mysterious amount. It sounds like a "2-year contract" just worded differently. Is this a common practice in the fuel transport industry?

Staying as local as I can is important to me. In that vein, I haven't discovered many local jobs that have the potential for earning $100K. Some delivery drivers (food, drinks, some freight) can make that much, but there's A LOT of fast-paced, physical labor involved. Yes, I've observed that fuel transport drivers move large hoses, but those with whom I've talked, say it's not that bad. At one company where I applied, an employee said that about 20 of his co-workers were going to top $100K.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm looking for an area of trucking that is 1) Local, 2) Has $100K potential, and 3) Is as stable as possible. (I'm OK with physical labor, I'm just trying not to overdo it.) It seems from my limited research that fuel transport fits those desires. (Yes, personal satisfaction with the type of work I'm doing is also important. But, I get a lot of personal satisfaction when I become efficient and productive in challenging situations that require professional driving skills. That's ANOTHER point that attracts me to fuel transport.)

So...I always appreciate experienced advice in case I'm overlooking an important, unknown factor.

ABUNDANCE!!

Jeff V.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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