Best (?) LTL Carrier For Linehaul

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Banks's Comment
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I don't think anyone attacked you. They offered their experiences at nonunion outfits. And on the other side, this site tries to offer insight to those starting out in this industry. The general consensus is that it's short-sighted and misguided to limit your options based on what companies offer unions.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

There are only 3 Union LTL carriers. ABF, YRC and UPS Freight.

YRC could close their doors tomorrow and I wouldn't be surprised. They're actually delinquent on the employees healthcare fund and they've made no good faith efforts to pay what they owe. Employees have about 8 weeks of health insurance left.

That sucks, but is good information to have.

ABF seems to be more solid, but they're Union collects dues and goes home. At ABF they can work you on the dock for 8 hours and then send you out on the road. They do it all the time. They have an excessive overtime provision in their contact, but it gets ignored most of the time.

That also sucks, but likewise is good information to have.

UPS Freight hates their Union. At this time when the union is supposed to be backing them, people are getting laid off and losing their benefits with no guarantees of coming back, while UPS is using other carriers to move their freight. And it would be very difficult to support a family on the entry level pay rate and lack of hours from being at the bottom.

And again.

What's the difference between going to HR and going to a shop steward if you have issues? Personally, I've had plenty of issues resolved by HR quick and painlessly. Not just at FedEx, but previous employers as well.

My general experience with HR departments is not positive, but then again, all my jobs have basically been ones where I was a warm body.

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
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Roger asked; “ Totally unrelated to the rest of this, I just want to know what it is you do that causes you to out earn your coworkers so dramatically.”

Read the article Old School provided the link for.

I recommend you make a list of what you want in a company. Then look for ones that most closely meet that criteria. E.g. when I started, I wanted a national company with multiple types of freight and decent pay. This way, if I wanted to switch to tanker, hazmat or move my family, I could stay with the company. Two years in, my priorities changed and I was seeking better home time. So, I moved to a southeast regional company. Better pay, better home time. Three years after that move, I’m pretty sure I’ll stay put.

The two years I was with Schneider (they are ANTI-union), I was treated extremely well. I’m a former business owner also and Schneider was a very corporate environment (which was a good fit for me).

Many states are “right to work” states and that may affect the availability of union jobs.

Bottom line; please consider listing your desires, then start calling companies and asking them what they offer. What has worked for me might not suit you. Or, you might find something I could only dream of finding.

With your years of self-employment, you likely have the critical thinking skills to see the blooms among the weeds.

Good luck, I hope this helps.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I just want to know what it is you do that causes you to out earn your coworkers so dramatically... I think I will do well because my life for the last ten years has been getting things done for my clients with minimal to nonexistent hand holding.

Roger, there's actually considerable disparity in what truck drivers earn. You can have two guys making the same rate of pay who get completely different results. I already told you I'm no authority on linehaul jobs. I'm an OTR driver serving a dedicated customer. So, you have to realize my perspective is based on running over the road. We OTR drivers probably have a lot more leeway to distinguish ourselves than the linehaul drivers.

I have the liberty to set my own appointments. I can get more done by moving my appointment times up and getting finished quicker. That sets me up for another load quicker, and my dispatcher has a well established track record of me working that way. He knows I understand the log book rules and how to use them to my advantage.

My dispatcher gets regular electronic communications from me that keep him updated on my progress so he can easily keep me moving efficiently. He knows I'll take care of my business, and he's aware that I don't back down when things get challenging. I've worked hard to establish a positive working relationship with him.

If you looked at the link I provided you then you noticed I consider my dispatcher a customer or client. That's right - I'm gonna make sure I'm serving his needs. He's got plenty of work he can give to me, so I'm gonna make sure as much of it as possible gets sent my way. Do you see the correlation with self employment?

All of us are being measured. Our dispatchers are measured on how much freight they manage to move each week/month. You better believe they know which guys on their team can score when they give them the ball. They count on those drivers heavily. I always say there's nothing fair about trucking. It's extremely competitive. To make top money you've got to be a top producer. It's as simple as that.

Here's another couple of links for you. Take the time to read them. I'm hoping they help you to understand how this career works. The first one is a former conversation we had in our forum. The second one is an article on this subject.

How To Make More Money In Trucking

Trucking Is A Competition. Can You Hang With The Big Dogs?

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I can’t answer you which union ltl is best but each LTL carrier has some great things about them and all of them have a few downsides. If your looking to relocate to someplace like Colorado Springs you’ll have to study and see which terminals have line haul. They have smaller terminals there and most only have shuttles and/or city. Check and see if any terminals are still doing dock to driver. At this moment there are furloughed drivers that will have to be brought back before companies start back with new hires. In LTL seniority is everything. You will start on the extra board. I did really well on the extra board but that was when freight was consistent. You will be at the mercy of the amount of freight. How long your in the extra board can very from about a year to several years. Depends on the freight and how many bid runs are available. Typically fall is a bad time to apply to ltl as fright tends to decline somewhat and hiring can be limited.

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.

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

Line Haul:

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.
Roger P.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School: Read those and good stuff. I'm a bit of a prickly pear, but I've done well running my own business because I work hard, am good at what I do and relatively easy to deal with. That's basically all anyone wants.

Wiggle Wagon: What's the best time to apply for jobs?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

And oh yeah, to Steve and anyone else. Here is my ranked list of what I want out of the job:

1. Home time. I'm doing this to provide for my family, but I also want to be there for them as much as possible. I'm happy to eat a year on the road as a way to learn how to work safely. After that, I'm looking for something that's gonna have me home as much as possible. I've seen a couple gigs that don't pay that much, but have you driving team three days a week and off for four. More common are four-day work weeks that involve lots of loading and unloading. I'll take a pay cut to have more family time. My family is everything to me. 2. Safety. I want to learn how to drive a truck safely, for myself, for my family and for everyone else out on the road. I want to be trained properly. 3. Trucks. I'm basically going to be living in this thing for a year. I don't want to be sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter and constantly waylaid because the thing is breaking down. 4. Culture. I'm not a gigantic fan of dress codes and uniforms and "corporate" company cultures. I'm covered in tattoos and have hair down to the middle of my chest and a gigantic beard. I'd prefer not to cut my hair. If I have to... whatever, it grows back. 5. Pet policy. I have a pit bull and being able to take her on the road with me would definitely improve my quality of life.

Pay and benefits aren't on here, because they're basically the same AFAIK: The pay sucks and the benefits are decent. After my first year I'd be looking for something that balances pay with home time, hopefully something local / regional. The whole purpose of becoming a trucker is so that my wife can be a stay-at-home mom and I can eventually buy us a halfway decent house in the boondocks around Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver, Flagstaff or Phoenix.

As I said, this list is ranked, so home time is the most important and being able to bring my smelly dog on the road is the least important. Happy to hear what you guys have to say.

FWIW, I didn't mean to rattle anyone's cage here and I'm sorry that I did. My manner of speaking comes across about 1,000 times better in person than it does on the Internet.

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.

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar
1. Home time. I'm doing this to provide for my family, but I also want to be there for them as much as possible.

Talking OTR companies, I think Roehl has the best home time options for this. The difference with roehl is that their contract is mileage based. While some companies require a year of service, Roehl requires x amount of miles. Typically in LTL , the more time you've spent there, the longer your days or nights become.

 2. Safety. I want to learn how to drive a truck safely, for myself, for my family and for everyone else out on the road. I want to be trained properly. 3. Trucks. I'm basically going to be living in this thing for a year. I don't want to be sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter and constantly waylaid because the thing is breaking down.

Any that company that trains you will put an emphasis on safety. You're driving their equipment, using their insurance and representing their name. They absolutely want you to always be safe. The trucks at these companies also tend to be top notch and are swapped for newer models very often.

4. Culture. I'm not a gigantic fan of dress codes and uniforms and "corporate" company cultures. I'm covered in tattoos and have hair down to the middle of my chest and a gigantic beard. I'd prefer not to cut my hair. If I have to... whatever, it grows back.

Most LTL companies have dress codes. They usually just involve the uniform and how you wear it (collared shirt tucked in etc). As you progress they tend to get a little lax on the rules (at least they do at FedEx Freight), but the uniform is required. From what I know, UPS Freight is the most strict. They have a paramilitary dress code. No hair passed your collar, no facial hair other than a mustache and no hair passing your lip and no visible tattoos.

5. Pet policy. I have a pit bull and being able to take her on the road with me would definitely improve my quality of life.

Some companies don't have a breed restriction. Which ones is slipping my mind at the moment. The constant between all companies seems to be: experience before allowing a pet, a pet deposit, spay/neutered and shots.

What's the best time to apply for jobs?

Historically, right now is the busiest season for FedEx Freight but currently that's not case. I say setup an alert on your phone for indeed and apply when they put up positions. Worst they can do is say no. I think most OTR companies are still hiring, but I'm not entirely sure if they're doing paid CDL training.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Joseph I.'s Comment
member avatar

I would not be against a union place but sure would not use that as a limiting factor. For me, if in your situation, I would chose between XPO Logistics and Old Dominion simply because they both have yards less than 10 miles from my driveway. I also have a UPS and FedEx in that range. If wanting to be home at night and doing that type of work location of a terminal would rate very high on the "what to look for" list.

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

I would not be against a union place but sure would not use that as a limiting factor. For me, if in your situation, I would chose between XPO Logistics and Old Dominion simply because they both have yards less than 10 miles from my driveway. I also have a UPS and FedEx in that range. If wanting to be home at night and doing that type of work location of a terminal would rate very high on the "what to look for" list.

XPO has been a yoyo with profits and losses, that's a red flag to me. If I were looking to start in LTL today I would look at FedEx Freight, OD and Saia.

They have constant profits, have been around a decent amount of time. Saia is experiencing fast and consistent growth at the moment. At least they were before this whole covid thing. A lot of things are in the wind and can possibly change within the upcoming months.

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.

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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