Comp Toe Or Steel Toe For Tankers

Topic 28190 | Page 2

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Pete B.'s Comment
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Timothy, I’d like to shed some light on one topic you’ve raised: that Schneider seems to pay really well. That leads me to believe you are about to make your first and one of the most common rookie mistakes, and that is believing that higher cpm’s = better pay. I know the high cpm’s Schneider advertises with its tanker division seems very appealing, and they may even be offering a significant sign-on bonus in the area you live… but the reason for the high cpm’s is to compensate for the low miles.. the average run is not very long. And most of the time you are given considerably more time than is needed to complete the assignment. That means you end up sitting. A lot. I firmly believe that if you subtract out my sign-on bonus and tuition reimbursement, I would have made more money in Schneider’s s dry van division because 1.) I only asked for time off twice during that first year (for 3 days and 1 day) and 2.) I studied and followed Old School’s rules for success. Which brings me to my next point.

The only thing I think Schneider does wrong is putting brand new CDL holders behind the wheel of a truck hauling tankers. Learning to drive big trucks is challenging in itself; pulling tankers and you multiply the degree of difficulty by 100. 99% of our trailers don’t have baffles, so you’re experiencing the full surge of the liquids pretty much every time you go out.. The only trailers we have that qualify as ‘baffled’ are our compartmental trailers. The over-the-road training period is only two weeks, which I think is much too short.. As excellent as Schneider’s training is, I just don’t think that two weeks is enough time to adequately prepare the new driver to handle the many nuances of pulling tankers safely.

Schneider is a great company to begin and finish your career with.... the training is first-class, equipment is well-maintained, drivers are treated great, the OCs are plentiful and feature showers, laundry, and most have cafés. If you do end up in the tanker division you’ll find no better instruction for offloading chemical liquids safely and with the best equipment. However, I urge you to consider starting out in their dry-van division; give it 6 mos. - 1 year. First learn to drive a big truck; once comfortable with it, then consider the tanker division. It will still be there, and moving from one division to another is pretty easy. This will also provide you the opportunity to speak with bulk/tanker drivers. You will see them at some of the OCs; ask them about their pay. Find out if the money is worth switching divisions.

I know you’ve got some time before you start CDL school; I hope you take this post into consideration. Best of luck to you with your decisions. I look forward to reading about your progress throughout all this. If you do become a Schneider driver, I sincerely hope our paths will cross... coffee’s on me.

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.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Pete makes a couple of great points. He did a great job, and there's really no reason for me to confirm what he said, but I'm on my ten hour break and looking for something constructive to do...

First, it's really important what he said about starting out in dry-van as a way to acclimate yourself to this new career. It's super easy for rookie drivers to be over eager to jump right into what they consider "the good stuff" when it comes to trucking. The problem is that when we're rookies we just don't realize how much there is to learn.

Our whole first year is generally a "trial by fire" that is designed to allow us to distinguish ourselves, or extinguish ourselves. That's just saying it in a catchy way to help you realize that a very small percentage of the people who make an attempt at this actually go on to succeed at it. Anything you can do to mitigate the difficulties is a smart choice to make. Dry-van definitely has less "kill the career" and "kill the driver" factors in it.

Pete started his trucking career at Schneider in the tanker division. The reason he even brings this stuff up is because he's known a few of those intense "pucker-moments" that make you think, "here I come Jesus!" His advice is well worth considering.

The other important thing he brought up is the fact that higher CPM doesn't equate to higher net income. That one escapes every rookie's understanding. The reason is that they have no real understanding of how this career works. It's nothing like the hourly wages that most workers are accustomed to. Of course, a guy making 22.50/hour makes more than his friends earning 10.75/hour. It's only reasonable to think a driver who makes 42 CPM would make more than the guy making 36 CPM. But it's actually not reasonable. Trucking income is based on performance. It's not rate based.

That issue of your pay being tied to your performance is a strong argument for Pete's encouragement to start in the dry-van division. That position is less challenging, and therefore more likely to ease your learning curve. It mitigates the challenges and enables you to progress faster into the practices that will increase your overall income. Those tanker jobs aren't going anywhere. They will be ready for you as soon as you are ready for them.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

What they are saying is true my friend. I pulled gasoline tankers delivering to local gas stations for 2 years.

It's honestly almost a death sentence for a brand new driver and I do agree its extremely reckless for any companies to hire new drivers into their tanker division.

I highly encourage you to get into reefer or dry and revisit the idea after at least a year, preferably 2 though. Tankers just have no forgiveness. If you make a mistake pulling a box you can usually get away with it. Make the same mistake in a loaded tanker and you are probably a goner.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Texas Tim's Comment
member avatar

Ok, I am hearing y'all….. "Get some experience, then go to tanker''. And, all that glitters is not gold. I hear you guys as well about the miles, and that longer, more frequent/consistent miles will more than makeup for a few cents per mile. I looked, and looked and Schneider was about the only company that advertises new drivers going directly to tanker. Based on y'all's comments, that makes sense because you should get some miles under you first. I just thought maybe their training made up for that, but I am about talked out of it. Don't matter much how much you make if you are not around to spend it. Besides, I would never forgive myself if I hurt somebody else because I was under experienced for a job.

Would that be the same advice if I wanted to go with flatbed? At the very first when I was looking at truck driving, I was really drawn to flatbed. I have a thing with liking hard work and doing things the hard way, and, well, flatbed just seems to fit that ;-) And, two companies, Maverick and TMC seem to be great companies, but they hire mostly east if the Mississippi. I live in California. So, I just didn't see much flatbed out here, if someone knows different for new drivers, please let me know.

So, lets say I change it up, and instead I try reefer first, I was considering Knight, as there program for veterans is very good. They also seem to have some pretty good driver reviews. I would be interested what has happened to that since their merger with Swift.

Why not dry van you might ask? Well, honestly, its a dollars and cents thing. It seems dry van pays less overall. So, I thought flatbed, reefer or tanker might be better. Eventually, when I get enough experience, I will look to do the owner operator thing. I have owned a small business before that did very well. I can also work well with others, so I don't mind working for someone, but want to get back to owning a business when it makes sense.

Can I ask one other question. I have enough money to pay for my own training, and then look for employment and not be beholding to anyone else. If you were me, what route would you take?

I want to thank y'all for the extensive and well meaning, thoughtful replies I have received. Very cool, thank you.

Owner Operator:

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

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Timothy, you should take a look at Prime, Inc. Training, and different divisions.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Go thru a company school and obligate, "be beholden", 1 year to that company....which isn't a long time once you get going. It's hard to believe that we are halfway through 2020 already. Save your money....it's going to take a LOT of $$$$ to be an O/O.

Laura

PJ's Comment
member avatar

There is more to the school equation.

You pay for school: You meet the min. Requirements to get in school to obtain a cdl. They take your money approx. 4-8k. You graduate with a license. No more and no less. Time frame 3 weeks up to 6 months. No commitments

Company Sponsored school: You have usually a couple hundred bucks out of your own pocket. You have been pre-screened for employment already. You graduate with a license and employment. Time frame 3-4 weeks. 1 yr commitment.

The choice is clear to me. 1 year flies by. Balance the risk v reward for your own situation.

Flatbed work is fine to start with in my opinion. Prime may be a good fit for you if they are hiring out there. Roehl has a good size flatbed terminal in Fontana.

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.

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.

Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

Re: CDL schools, not all companies have in-house schools. At the time I began working for Schneider, Schneider did not. So I went to a private school. Yes, you do pay all of the money up-front, but most companies, as Schneider does, offer tuition reimbursement with a one year contract, the payments made in installments throughout the year.

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.
000's Comment
member avatar

Splitter here & I'm only here to help you make a fully informed decision. Prime's commitment for veterans [thank you for your service] is not a full year, 9 months if I remember correctly. Training period is approx 5-6 months when you complete 50K miles, again if I remember correctly. You will be paid a flat rate + any miles over a certain threshold, over 5-6k miles don't remember exact amount.

If you go flatbed, you'll have to dish out the money for all your gear; head ache rack, side box, tarps, chains, straps, bungees, etc I thought it was 2K but my friend, lease op, says he's paying 5K. Reefer your looking at approx $500. All this money is taken out of your settlements incrementally.

PJ was not wrong cause what he described happened to me at 2 other megas but I just wanted you to make as much of an informed decision as I could help.

Good for you on heeding the advise on tankers. Good luck to you with whatever decision you make.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Comment
member avatar

Timothy, I went the self pay route. I don't recommend it.

Why? Once you complete the course, you still have to find a job, and that can be time consuming, especially if you don't have a source of income while you're in the school. If you follow the advice here and 'common wisdom' (if that's really a thing) elsewhere, you're going to stay with the first carrier in an OTR status for a year, possibly longer. It will take you all of that to get completely comfortable in your new lifestyle, to learn how to manage your time to maximize your usefulness and money making potential, and the outfit you're with is going to want to maximize your earning potential to keep you around. Bottom line, if you're paid mileage or percent of load, if you're not moving freight neither you nor your employer are winning. The process of learning how to keep moving, legally, can take time.

In my opinion, it's a win - win to get your CDL training from the outfit you'll be driving with.

Good luck moving forward on this career!

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.

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.

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