Trying To Evaluate Which Company Is Best For Us. Help!

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Amber L.'s Comment
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So I know trucking will be what we make it no matter the company we choose but you do want to try to choose a company that is right for you.

The advice here is figure out what you want to haul. We want to do dry van. That doesn't narrow the field much. We want to run team narrows it slightly. We would like mainly no touch or D&H freight but we can easily and happily do some unloading or loading if need be. We have clean driving and criminal records.

Next is home time. We have been retired and traveling for the last 4years so we have already created those long distance relationships with family and friends and we just moved to Florida, so home time isn't a big deal for us in the need to be home often or on time category. What we do want is to be able to take it in Montana sometimes and in Florida sometimes and will be happy to take it someplace else occasionally for the fun of it. From what I have read this is pretty doable at most companies just need to communicate your wishes well in advance. So we still haven't narrowed the field much.

Size. Mid to large. We would like a company big enough to have some contracts out there to help with breakdowns etc. We are not afraid of the thought of being just a number, we have an old school work ethic that should help us stand out plus my husband is a total class clown type in a very memorable way. Still feel like the field is huge.

Training seems really important to me. Being husband and wife we would love to stay together but that does narrow the field to only two companies that I have found (Covenant, Schneider) so we are willing to do one or 2months apart. Which opens it back up.

We would like to run all 48states and we are okay with going into Canada, even though we know its not necessarily a gold mine.

We definitely want to be able to eat out of the truck so a large inverter would be helpful but not necessary since there are so many 12volt things out there.

Next is pay. This is really hard to judge it seems to me sure you can look at cpm but there is so much more and it's darn confusing.

We have pre hires from Covenant, us Xpress, crst, roehl, Schneider.

Any thoughts on how to choose or a company that you think would be a good fit would be helpful. I know we can make money at all of them with a positive hard working attitude but which would be the best fit???

Thank you!!!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pre Hires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I talked to a guy that runs team with his boyfriend and CLAIMED to make 120k EACH per year running doubles for Estes in a regional type setup with I believe 1 day off a week at home. I've also seen Old Dominion, and Fed Ex (mainly lease ops) using sleepers. It may be worth looking into to compare those to what you currently see. It would definitely fit your drop and hook criteria.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Amber, your shopping list is quite common. Have you read Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving by Brett? He was in the business long enough to have driven almost any category of load you might be thinking of. But truly, Dry Van is the most common.

I'll just answer most of your requirements by saying you need to look at nearly all the big companies. Their resources almost guarantee late model equipment, and service contracts "everywhere", but that's not really a problem in the larger companies. So you will be rolling almost all the time. Also the larger companies will be the ones to get you from Portland ME to Portland OR with a stop in El Paso (that means all 48).

The training issue is a short speedbump (a few weeks) in your career. I suggest go ahead and take whatever training your chosen company offers. Remember, it's their truck so they want their drivers to be the best and safest on the road for their own account.

Finally, "pay". Don't you think we all want to drive for at least $1.05 per mile and get that Detention and Layover whenever we are forced to wait? Well in reality that doesn't happen. But the companies listed in our Trucking Company Reviews are all competitive, meaning the CPM paid by each of them will be so close it's hardly worth counting those pennies.

As for that inverter, that is something to check for. Some companies do install them, some don't even permit large ones.

Lastly, there are drives from most of the main companies active here. Yes, they will all probably push their own company (Drive for Swift!!) so when you get to the short list, post about the ones you are interested in, like Covenant, usXpress, CRST, Roehl, and Schneider.

Here's some more reading material:

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Guess who I still highly recommend? CFI! You would train as solo drivers and once you upgrade you would both team. They would move you right to a team fleet. Teams usually run coast to coast, however CFI does go to all 48 and Canada. I don't know their team pay, a simple call to a recruiter would answer that. They can get you "home" to anywhere in the country you want to go when you want to be there. Good luck.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I talked to a guy that runs team with his boyfriend and CLAIMED to make 120k EACH per year running doubles for Estes in a regional type setup with I believe 1 day off a week at home. I've also seen Old Dominion, and Fed Ex (mainly lease ops) using sleepers. It may be worth looking into to compare those to what you currently see. It would definitely fit your drop and hook criteria.

FedEx Ground and custom critical only use independent contractors. These contractors rarely drive and hire people to work for them. When I was a package delivery driver I got paid whatever the contractor got paid for each stop, he made his money from service bonuses. I'm assuming linehaul is the same. The contractor pays the employee the CPM FedEx pays them and they make money on bonuses. All of that being said, FedEx ground requires a year experience, some will make an exception and take 6 months with a school certificate. I can't get hired by FedEx ground even though I've taken runs for them and I was trained by FedEx.

Guess who I still highly recommend? CFI!

You're horrible at this game. I didn't even get a full second before you gave the answer. Not cool.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Errol I have read Brett's book and pretty much all of his articles. I just can't seem to narrow it down at all they all sound good on some levels and not so good on others. It feels like this weird fight between they are all the same and I want to choose the one that fits us best but what is it that makes them the best fit??

It feels like I should just put all the names in a hat and pick one because I don't feel like I have anything more to go off of.

We feel the pressure to pick one now but have no idea how to.

Big Scott what is it that makes you a cfi fan??

Thank you everyone for your input!!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

So many companies, so little time!

It feels like I should just put all the names in a hat and pick one because I don't feel like I have anything more to go off of.

We feel the pressure to pick one now but have no idea how to.

I have only driven big trucks for Swift. But in the six years I've been hanging around Trucking Truth, I believe that any major company will suit you fine.

The TT Trucking Company Reviews had most of the details you need to see to help you decide: home time, pets, pay and bonus info, but missing a company inverter policy.

You have that short list, go through the Trucking Company Reviews to help you decide. Then talk to the recruiters and play hard to get.

Amber L.'s Comment
member avatar

Errol, I have looked at the company reviews on TT. The problem is the list keeps growing, I was just looking at us Xpress vs Covenant and transport America comes up, check them out and they sound good too!

It's not that I think we will be unhappy at any of these companies, more that I can't figure out which we would be happiest at.

What exactly do you mean when you say "play hard to get"? Like should I tell my Covenant recruiter I like the looks of the company but the 1000watt inverter is too small and us Xpress is offering very similar things with a larger inverter and see if I get get promised a larger inverter?? Just not sure how to play hard to get.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Amber, you've now gotten to the hand wringing stage of this endeavor. You just don't know what you don't know, and you're afraid you're not going to make the best decision. Guess what? There isn't a best decision!

You guys just need to jump in the water and make your own splash. Your first year is all about learning. You simply can't make the best decision on a company yet, but you can make the best decision on how you want to apply yourself to learning this business. Stop concerning yourself with inverters or non essential peripherals. When you speak with a recruiter I'd simply tell them the two states you want to take your home time in and go with one company that can accommodate that.

Don't stress on meal preparation yet. Focus on learning to handle the rig and the demands of the schedule. There's going to be a lot on your plate at the beginning. It's okay to spend a little extra on meals until you get more efficient at this.

If you're at a total loss on making a decision just put three names in a hat and go with the one you pick. Personally, I would choose between U.S. Express or Covenant. That recommendation is solely based on their financials. Both of those operations are very well managed, and that makes a big difference in how smoothly your rookie year will progress.

It's funny how I'm always trying to help people make this decision. I had a terrible experience getting my first job. It seemed no one wanted me. I jumped on board with the first company willing to give me a shot. That's why I know it's a futile waste of energy to stress out over this. Your first year is all about you. It's not all about the company. After you know the ropes out here you will have a much better feel for what company or what type freight you want to go with.

For now you just want to get started somewhere. It's really not that critical who you're driving for. The critical part is how you are developing as a team. The company can't make you into a great team. You guys will be responsible for that part. You can't do that sitting on the couch reading reviews.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Amber L.'s Comment
member avatar

Old school, I was really hoping you would weigh in on this! I have come to truly respect your opinion. I knew I was getting all out of wack on this, it is harder than I thought to just make a decision with so little knowledge of what is really going to matter to us. My stomach turns thinking of just pulling a name out of a hat but I've been thinking of doing just that!!

If it we're just between Covenant and us Xpress, which have been the two front runners for us. I like Covenant because they train us in one truck but I do worry just a little that we might get less instruction stretching a trainer between two people instead of being one on one. I like the pay/ benefit package at us Xpress and it's only 3 or 4weeks apart so that's totally doable. We keep debating the qualities of each but can't seem to agree on one.

So it seems a hat drawing is in order!😬

Thanks again for the reality check. It's going to be hard to settle the nerves and choose a company, just have to keep reminding ourselves, it is what we make it, so let's make it great!! And get rolling!!

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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