Western Express Year Contract

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Since Georgia Mike began his comments with this zinger...

Here's the full story

I want to try and give my version of "the full story."

I have no connections or loyalty to Western Express. I know they have a lot of terrible reviews online - I've commented on that a lot in the past. Negative reviews are not "the full story." They tend to instill a bias into people who pay attention to that sort of thing, but they are not "the full story."

Trucking rewards the independent movers and shakers who attempt success at it. Some folks get that quicker than others. I have no problem with somebody who takes a few years to get to the point where they understand they have got to figure things out so that they can take measures to keep themselves doing well at this. I have a huge problem with folks who don't get it and then lay the blame for their shortcomings at everyone else's feet. It's usually the beginners who aren't doing so well - Duhhh, that makes sense. Where do they work? They work at the places that will hire beginners. That's why we see such disparaging reviews on companies that hire beginners. There are a lot of beginners who just don't get it, and eventually just don't make it.

When you see somebody like Georgia Mike complaining about putting a truck in the shop and waiting two weeks, you're seeing somebody that doesn't understand how that is their own fault. You take an experienced driver and he will immediately contact his driver manager and say, "Hey, my truck has got to go in the shop. Let's seat me into a different truck until mine is repaired. That way I can keep turning the miles." I am not going to sit for two weeks for anything when I can take measures to correct that. Nor does my manager or the CEO want a driver sitting for two weeks - that's ludicrous. Then that same driver wants to claim they are getting rich! Who in the world are they getting rich off of? Certainly not that driver!

Professional drivers take initiative. They take measures to keep themselves productive. Beginners don't understand this. They have to learn it. I spent my driving career outperforming my peers. I didn't do it out of spite or malice. I did it because I like getting the best return on my investments. I was investing myself into a career that rewards those who are the most productive. That's how trucking works. I never sat around coming up with silly disrespectful names for my employer. Georgia Mike's last rampage was a diatribe against "Welfare Express." Now he wants to show us he's come up with a better name - "Penitentiary Express!" Brilliant! The only problem is that Mike misses the point. He's bitter -he loves the chance to take a jab at the company that did him wrong. That is the total opposite of a "Taking Initiative."

Continued...

Driver Manager:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I got a few low paychecks at Western Express. I did what I could to remedy the situation. I was introspective and I found where the problem was. I realized I didn't know what I was doing, and if I didn't figure it out quickly, I was going to be wasting my time and losing money. I saw very clearly the path to success as a trucker. Here's what it is. You have to make things happen. You have to communicate effectively with your driver manager. That means providing them with accurate ETA's and PTA's. You have to do what you say you are going to do. You have to build a solid relationship of trust with that team in the office. When your truck number comes up in a conversation in that office, every person in that room should know, "That driver will get this done. It doesn't matter how challenging it is, if it's possible he will make it happen." I built a solid reputation like that. I understood the regulations and how to use them to my advantage.

I maximized my drive time by managing my clock wisely. I have never been late on a load for over eight years! In fact, most of the time I am early to deliver and early to be ready for the next assignment. That's why I got assigned the best loads. They knew I would do just as I said, and therefore they could have challenging loads ready and waiting for me. My usable hours were always maximized. That had nothing to do with my driver manager. To be honest he was amazed at how I managed things. My driver managers have always complimented me on my understanding of how this stuff works. Even when I was earning a nicer higher CPM rate I kept myself at the top of the food chain. Last year I literally earned twice what some of my peers earned at the same rate of pay. I am not trying to toot my own horn. I want you new guys to see what the difference is in a professional approach to this compared to the whiners and complainers who make up stupid critical names for their employers. This is not the slave trade. It is far from it. The truth is that this career handily rewards those who see their way to success. Anytime you see a driver blaming their inability to earn a living at this on someone else like their CEO, you are seeing a driver who just can't grasp the concepts that make trucking so rewarding.

Every driver has to seize their own opportunity. You can do that no matter what name is on the truck's doors. I don't care if it is Schneider, Prime, Swift, Knight, or Western Express. Each of them has a core group of professionals who are knocking it out of the park each day they fire up their rig. That's what you want to aspire to. That's what you can be. The CEO has nothing to do with any of this. The drivers themselves have got to take up their own cause and become somebody that gets things done. A driver who can't muster more than a 500 dollar paycheck is seriously lacking in motivation and comprehension of this career. This stuff is for hard driving creative people who can figure out how to solve problems. Everyday in trucking we face new challenges. They are like enemies coming over the horizon. We vanquish them. We crush them. We don't retreat - we don't back down. We are conquerors not complainers.

Driver Manager:

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Jammer a's Comment
member avatar

As I said rob my n my opinion the longer mile runs don’t pay at western I didn’t bad mouth them I just gave my opinion my trucking adventure is shaping up rather well and beilieve it or not I owe it to you all on here and most of all mike b and Georgia mike they’ve both been on the phone with me since the minute I got of my trainers truck sliding ding pay scale at western is hard to stick out when all they give you is 1100 or more months les if you don’t have kids or big financial obligations house payments car payments etc etc western is a great place to dive in I also said it’s a great company where people make a great living for some!! For others not so much !! The turn over rate there is super high go to the terminal in Fontana and sit for a day I kept my opinion open if some one don’t like how it’s working and express my remark back won’t always be you dropped the ball every time !! That’s all I’m saying

Jammer when you talk about the longer runs harder to get frequently thats perfectly normal. Typically a dispatcher would rather take care of the drivers that are getting the job done at the highest level, what we call Top tier drivers. Its a process that takes time proving yourself, getting the job done safely without complaints and on time. You said:

double-quotes-start.png

they do have the highest turn over rates in the industry for a reason and I don’t believe it’s all because everyone who works there is stupid or lazy and etc etc imo!!

double-quotes-end.png

do you have any proof of that? The turnover rate in this industry is ridiculously high because drivers will change jobs just because they woke up with messy hair one morning and somehow that's the companies fault. It very well could be that they have the highest turnover, I've just not seen anything that tracks individual companies. You need to keep in mind though the type of drivers that are attending orientation. They're much more lenient in their hiring to allow job hoppers, multiple accidents, poor driving record and past criminal problems. I'm a firm believer that everyone deserves a 2nd chance, and that's exactly what W.E. is giving to many new drivers that nobody else will touch. The industry as a whole is so misunderstood. Most people want to drive because they enjoy road trips but when they get started they realize they dont like driving as much as they thought. The isolation, long hours, time away from home and many other reasons are just part of why The turnover is so high industry wide. The concept of being paid on your performance is also new to most people and they can never stop breaking it down to what they've earned if they calculate it to hourly pay. Before trucking most of us were paid for all our time spent at the workplace whether we're actually working or watching cat videos on YouTube. In trucking its more of a commission based pay structure that you directly affect what you're paid.

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.

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.
Georgia Mike's Comment
member avatar

OK you want to hear the conversation between DM and driver the whole 6 months I was there and I was broken down since I was obviously sitting on my ass the whole Time.

Georgia Mike: My track needs to go into the shop yet again because this is wrong with it. I already got it sent to breakdown I know I'm coming

DM: OK keep me posted

Georgia Mike: Is there any way you can email them just so you can keep in touch on what's going on

DM: I really don't have time to babysit you in your problems

Georgia Mike: Considering that I am one of the drivers and help you get paid II think this would be your problem too

DM: OK fine whatever

After about 2 hours I go and talk to shop They tell me to talk to my dm

DM: Hey I was about to call you to see if you heard the saying from the shop

Georgia Mike: No because I was calling you because the shop told me to call you

Dm: I'll email them and get back with you when I hear something

I guess this is the not showing initiative that I'm old school is preaching so hard about. That does not work at Western express Sorry old school That company is still trash

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Jammer, I understand your frustration with 1100 miles on a paycheck - that's lousy! Especially on a sliding scale. What you can't do is blame it on the premise that says, "That is all they gave me this week." No trucking company and no CEO is dong any good at all if that is all their drivers are getting accomplished. You'll hear me talking about conquering the problems that we truckers face. Having low miles is one of those problems that we can conquer. There is so much of this career that people just don't get. We can't blame low miles on our company when the company wants us turning big miles. That is how they make money.

I remember when I was at Western Express. I would talk to other drivers all the time. Some of them could never get more than 1,800 miles per week. After talking a little while it would usually become clear just why that was the case. They would run out of hours or they would insist on certain things, or types of loads. They would refuse to go certain places. There was always a problem that they had created for themselves, but they couldn't recognize it. I had no problems turning 3,000 mile weeks there. My DM would sometimes be amazed at how much I got done. But I always made sure he knew when I was going to be ready for the next load. I managed things so that I would always be empty early in the morning so that I could get a load. I always emptied out early on Friday morning so that I could get a really sweet load over the weekend. They knew how I was going to manage things. They knew I would make stuff happen so that it was much easier for them to pre-plan my next load.

I still remember one time I had a different driver manager sitting in for mine who was out sick. I had emptied out in St. Paul, Minnesota. He told me to sit and wait for him to find me a load. I didn't see any sense in sitting and waiting because I had been here many times before. They always got my next load out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I started rolling that way. I didn't want to waste my time sitting and burning up my 14 hour clock. After I had gone 75 miles or so I got a call from that DM asking, "What are you doing, I told you to sit and wait." When I told him why I was headed to Eau Claire he was dumbfounded. He got a little angry and said a few words. While we were speaking my load assignment came onto his computer screen. Guess where it was picking up at? Yep, you are right - Eau Claire! He then said something about my regular DM saying something about me and referencing me as one of his drivers that you won't have any problems with. He apologized and we had a good couple of days together. That is what I mean about taking initiative. I take chances and risks out here. They are always calculated and I've been burned few times. Most of the time I am able to keep myself in the money and doing really well at this. It is experience that helps one get to a higher level of productivity.

Hang in there. I think you are doing well. Always try to make your DM's job easier. Always accomplish what you say you will exactly on schedule with what you have told them. This is a real challenge, but you can make it work. The more faith those folks in that office have in you the more miles they will be able to put on you. That's what you focus on - building trust. That is the key to making money at this stuff. Everyone in that office needs to know that you can be trusted. That doesn't happen overnight - it takes a lot of results to prove your trustworthiness.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

You're doing a great job Jammer, keep it up! We absolutely love seeing drivers progress and enjoy this often misunderstood industry regardless of what company name is on the door. The biggest thing when getting started is to get a year in then re-evaluate the company you're with. After a year you can usually get in with most companies that may be a better fit whether it's hometime, benefits, freight type, lanes they run etc. That's what gets me irritated when I see certain companies always bad mouthed online. W.E. for instance gets bad mouthed for the low pay. If you look at it from their side they're giving someone a chance that other companies won't touch due to being a high risk candidate. They're bringing in many drivers (like most large companies) every week and very few will stick around a full year to recoup their on boarding costs. We had a member that had atleast 4 preventable (all backing if I recall correctly) and was fired from Swift. NOBODY else would touch them except W.E. He dropped off the map and I believe went to pilot school wanting to join the air force not completing his year. This driver was a huge risk yet they gave him a chance. Higher risk = higher insurance costs. Those extra costs have to come from somewhere and they get it by paying drivers less than other carriers. Over the years I've been on this forum I've seen W.E. take people with rollovers and other very serious infractions regarding a CMV. In this industry a rollover and rear end collision will pretty much end your career. Yet W.E. has taken these drivers in allowing them an opportunity to show that it was indeed a lapse in judgment and they deserve a 2nd chance. We'll look at the 2 extremes. Compare that to Prime Inc. Being extremely picky on who gets brought it, often times rejecting people for their spotty work history. I'm sure their retention rate is higher than W.E. due to the quality of candidates they're bringing in. They're spending less money on recruiting and onboarding than W.E. so they're able to pay higher and extra amenities at the terminal. W.E. may not be the place most drivers stay after they get some experience, but those that do and perform at the highest level will see their pay and treatment reflects that and will be in line with what other companies pay. Last year I shared a Facebook picture of a gentleman that just reached FOUR MILLION SAFE MILES with W.E. this guy could literally go anywhere yet he chooses to stay put.

Regardless, both companies have similar reviews from disgruntled drivers. I'm personally not a fan of sliding payscale because its harder to calculate what you actually earned. You're doing great Jammer, put in a year then re-evaluate how things are going. You very well may be getting Rockstar treatment and see no reason to leave, or maybe you'll find a company offering higher pay, more time at home etc. That you want to join instead. As long as you keep your CDL clean and you have a proven track record as a safe driver most companies will be eager to have a driver like you. At 1 year of safe driving you can get nearly any driving job you want.

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not OTR so I don't deal with breakdowns the same way you do. Why does your DM need to be involved other than telling them you're unavailable for dispatch? They have dozens of other drivers they need to worry about. What I'd do is deal exclusively with the shop, THEN reach back out and give them an update of how long they're expecting to take and try to make arrangements for a temporary truck if needed. This is exactly what Old School talks about when he compares trucking to being a business owner and needing to be self sufficient to get things done.

As highly as you talked about this website helping you get started (which led to Brett appearing on Road Dog XM) You sure haven't followed much of the advice we've given to help.

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I guess this is the not showing initiative that I'm old school is preaching so hard about. That does not work at Western express Sorry old school That company is still trash

Phone conversations?

Use your Qualcomm for that stuff. That creates a record that your DM doesn't want coming back on him. Plus you sound like a smart ass even in what you are sharing with us. I have a feeling you were probably a real PITA to deal with.

Now once that truck is in the shop you go right inside and speak to your DM face to face. There's a hundred trucks sitting there with no drivers in them. You get one assigned to you and you are on the road. It is easy if you have been a productive driver who is easy to get along with. Your DM referred to you in the conversation as needing to be babysat. That makes it clear that you are just exactly like I have been describing. They don't like drivers like that. Those drivers get overlooked on loads and everything else that is important to them.

I'm sorry Georgia Mike, you burned some bridges, and the way you keep presenting it makes it obvious why.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

So, back to the OP's question asking for suggestions on how he should deal with the contract with Western Express....

Bash the company at every single opportunity, no matter how long ago you drove there, and irregardless that this was the only company that would hire you. Do I have that correct, Georgia Mike?

Georgia Mike's Comment
member avatar

I burn that bridge the moment they told me That driving 600 milesAnd getting to your house at 10 o'clock at nightWhy is my 1st day of home time after being out for 2 months so yes I poured the gasoline on that sucker lit the match and Threw it with a smile on my face.

There waas no way to see my DM face-to-face because he wasn't a whole different city. Angie can't use the clock calm in a hotel Room when your truck is in the shop I'm sorry.

double-quotes-start.png

I guess this is the not showing initiative that I'm old school is preaching so hard about. That does not work at Western express Sorry old school That company is still trash

double-quotes-end.png

Phone conversations?

Use your Qualcomm for that stuff. That creates a record that your DM doesn't want coming back on him. Plus you sound like a smart ass even in what you are sharing with us. I have a feeling you were probably a real PITA to deal with.

Now once that truck is in the shop you go right inside and speak to your DM face to face. There's a hundred trucks sitting there with no drivers in them. You get one assigned to you and you are on the road. It is easy if you have been a productive driver who is easy to get along with. Your DM referred to you in the conversation as needing to be babysat. That makes it clear that you are just exactly like I have been describing. They don't like drivers like that. Those drivers get overlooked on loads and everything else that is important to them.

I'm sorry Georgia Mike, you burned some bridges, and the way you keep presenting it makes it obvious why.

I'm not OTR so I don't deal with breakdowns the same way you do. Why does your DM need to be involved other than telling them you're unavailable for dispatch? They have dozens of other drivers they need to worry about. What I'd do is deal exclusively with the shop, THEN reach back out and give them an update of how long they're expecting to take and try to make arrangements for a temporary truck if needed. This is exactly what Old School talks about when he compares trucking to being a business owner and needing to be self sufficient to get things done.

As highly as you talked about this website helping you get started (which led to Brett appearing on Road Dog XM) You sure haven't followed much of the advice we've given to help.

Are you freaking kidding me I was working for penitentiary express at that time I don't remember any time Brett saying be a doormat for a company that isn't gonna pay you I tried to stick it out I can't get screwed and I kept on saying it will get better It's got to get better But it never did At some point I had to Be a Man and choose poverty or better pay so I went with the smartest one which would anybody with a brain would do and shows better pay and I was the best decision I have ever made in my trucking industry. I nearly cried when I got my 1st check that was over a $1000 at where I am at now. Is this the perfect company no because there's no such thing. To talk about the things that a lot of trucking companies does wrong keep an open mind but my God people let's be realistic here

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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