Quick Intro And A Few Questions Regarding Roehl

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penn99's Comment
member avatar

Hello forum family...

New to the concept of trucking as a career (umm... 2nd career for me) and relatively new to this forum. I live in the Phoenix metro area and I have been researching the 'best' companies for paid CDL training and inadvertently ran into this forum.... and thankfully so!! Great information here and I enjoy the positive vibe.

With this post, I will be a bit vague about myself and my current steps moving forward... however, as things do move forward, I suspect that I would start a thread in the 'diary' section once my direction is 100% confirmed.

In doing my initial research, I have come across several companies that have sparked a 'local' interest for me.... Knight, Swift, Schneider, and Roehl. And there are a few other companies that I may look at further.... Wilson Logistics, CFI, etc. As such, I made a few initial online applications... and my application with Roehl has progressed quickly and in a nice way.

I have scoured this forum for information specific to Roehl, flatbeds (fleet based out of Phoenix), and the trucker life. I have read numerous discussion topics and numerous diaries on this forum. I have also read many of the blogs and I have recently finished reading Brett's online book. I am currently listening to various podcasts by Brett.... and.... I intend to start the High Road Training Program today in an effort to obtain my permit relatively soon.

Thus far, I have read many positive things about Roehl as a company, as well as the training that Roehl provides. Unfortunately, I have also found on a different forum (sorry TT... I have to look at all info) in which a fair amount of bad things have been said about some of Roehl's practices. Although some of that info seems dated, it has been very disheartening to see.

And so... I am respectfully asking for a little feedback on any 'recent' experience with any (or all) of the following items:

1) Training experience with Roehl.

2) General work experience with Roehl.

3) Driving/working flatbeds with Roehl.

4) Your work experience specific to Roehl's Phoenix terminal.

I will continue to do my due diligence in digging through the TT website for more info.

Thank you in advance. G

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Penn / G ~!

Welcome to Trucking Truth, for sure!

Not sure if you've found it, but glad you've found Brett's AWESOME book; Here's a way to search all info (most, anyway) by tags;

You can just scroll down to 'Roehl' easily enough, and any other companies that may have piqued your interest :

All Topics by Tags

Hope this helps a bit, and congrats & kudos with your upcoming career!! Please keep us posted, and ask away with ANY future questions. (I'm the trucker's wife of the site, but am always around playing 'cheerleader/PR person' as well, haha!)

~ Anne ~

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I will continue to do my due diligence... I have to look at all info) in which a fair amount of bad things have been said about some of Roehl's practices.

If you are serious about doing your due diligence, you will soon discover why this website was conceived. There is a lot of nonsense on the internet concerning trucking companies. This career is totally performance based. It helps to think of it in terms of professional sports. The players who are good at it stay in the profession. The ones who don't make the cut get cast aside. Trucking works the same way.

Now, if I want advice on which sports team I want to play with, I don't go looking for advice from the folks who didn't make the cut. They are going to be bitter and talking bad about the team owners and how they manage the team. Winners don't take advice from losers. I can promise you the folks on the internet complaining about any trucking company's practices are the people who tried to work for that company but for some reason, which you have no way of knowing, didn't manage to stay on the team. People who fail at trucking don't like to tell everybody the real reason why they got tossed out. It's a more acceptable practice to just come up with some outlandish tale of the company treating them badly. I've been doing this a good while, and I have never seen someone who was seriously doing a great job at it get fired for no reason. These companies need drivers badly and they are willing to give a lot of folks a shot at success. When a person doesn't demonstrate a proclivity for success at this that is when they lose their jobs. Most of what you read is not even true. Those online reviews of trucking companies are basically worthless. You have to read them as if the driver is telling on themselves, even if they lay the blame at the trucking company.

Here's my personal experience... I started my trucking career at Western Express. Try looking up some reviews for that company. The reviews are terrible. I was frightened. It sounded as if the devil himself was the CEO. None of it turned out to be true. What was true was that any trucker who could outperform his peers was treated like the star athlete on a team. I met drivers there who claimed they could never get more than 1,800 miles per week. That made no sense to me. I was doing over 3,000 miles each week. It wasn't a problem with the company, yet all of those drivers blamed it on the company. The problem lay with drivers who either couldn't take care of their business, or were just too lazy or hard-headed to learn to do the job in a way that was productive.

Roehl is a great place to start. Several of our members got their start there. They aren't going to treat you badly, but they will be expecting you to show them that you are worth their investment.

We also have a great many members here who work at the other companies you mentioned. I work for Knight, G-Town works for Swift, Pete B is a long time driver at Schneider. All of us are doing very well out here.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

penn99's Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Penn / G ~!

Welcome to Trucking Truth, for sure!

Not sure if you've found it, but glad you've found Brett's AWESOME book; Here's a way to search all info (most, anyway) by tags;

You can just scroll down to 'Roehl' easily enough, and any other companies that may have piqued your interest :

All Topics by Tags

Hope this helps a bit, and congrats & kudos with your upcoming career!! Please keep us posted, and ask away with ANY future questions. (I'm the trucker's wife of the site, but am always around playing 'cheerleader/PR person' as well, haha!)

~ Anne ~

Thank you Anne!!

And... thank you, Old School. I appreciate your input. I am open minded and objective... and vibe here on TT feels good!! I am looking forward... to... moving forward!!

double-quotes-start.png

I will continue to do my due diligence... I have to look at all info) in which a fair amount of bad things have been said about some of Roehl's practices.

double-quotes-end.png

If you are serious about doing your due diligence, you will soon discover why this website was conceived. There is a lot of nonsense on the internet concerning trucking companies. This career is totally performance based. It helps to think of it in terms of professional sports. The players who are good at it stay in the profession. The ones who don't make the cut get cast aside. Trucking works the same way.

Now, if I want advice on which sports team I want to play with, I don't go looking for advice from the folks who didn't make the cut. They are going to be bitter and talking bad about the team owners and how they manage the team. Winners don't take advice from losers. I can promise you the folks on the internet complaining about any trucking company's practices are the people who tried to work for that company but for some reason, which you have no way of knowing, didn't manage to stay on the team. People who fail at trucking don't like to tell everybody the real reason why they got tossed out. It's a more acceptable practice to just come up with some outlandish tale of the company treating them badly. I've been doing this a good while, and I have never seen someone who was seriously doing a great job at it get fired for no reason. These companies need drivers badly and they are willing to give a lot of folks a shot at success. When a person doesn't demonstrate a proclivity for success at this that is when they lose their jobs. Most of what you read is not even true. Those online reviews of trucking companies are basically worthless. You have to read them as if the driver is telling on themselves, even if they lay the blame at the trucking company.

Here's my personal experience... I started my trucking career at Western Express. Try looking up some reviews for that company. The reviews are terrible. I was frightened. It sounded as if the devil himself was the CEO. None of it turned out to be true. What was true was that any trucker who could outperform his peers was treated like the star athlete on a team. I met drivers there who claimed they could never get more than 1,800 miles per week. That made no sense to me. I was doing over 3,000 miles each week. It wasn't a problem with the company, yet all of those drivers blamed it on the company. The problem lay with drivers who either couldn't take care of their business, or were just too lazy or hard-headed to learn to do the job in a way that was productive.

Roehl is a great place to start. Several of our members got their start there. They aren't going to treat you badly, but they will be expecting you to show them that you are worth their investment.

We also have a great many members here who work at the other companies you mentioned. I work for Knight, G-Town works for Swift, Pete B is a long time driver at Schneider. All of us are doing very well out here.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Welcome, I’ll try to shed a little light here. Not specifically what you asked, but in general.

I went through Roehl’s training and worked for them 8 years ago. I was brand new to trucking, and it was my second career also. Their program was state of the art and instructors were great. They really strived to see stufents succeed. As with any business, some just didn’t make the cut.

Back then they had a flatbed terminal in Fontana. They have grown over the years. They are second generation family owned. They have strong values and some strict rules.

I enjoyed my time with them and they provided me with a strong foundation in this industry.

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.

David K.'s Comment
member avatar

I am scheduled to start training at Roehl on June 1st through their Get Your CDL program, and I have read countless reviews and watched hours of YouTube videos about Roehl. After all of that, I am persuaded that Roehl offers an excellent training program. Even most of Roehl's critics will admit that Roehl's training is top-notch. However, the training program at Roehl is not unlike many other company-sponsored training programs in that most people who start the program will not complete one year of driving at the company. My best estimate is that, at least, half of the people who start the GYCDL program at Reohl either quit or get fired within the first two months.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that ". . .between 1995 and 2017, the annual turnover rate at large TL carriers averaged 94.0 percent . . ." https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2019/article/is-the-us-labor-market-for-truck-drivers-broken.htm That's an extraordinary turnover rate, even for the trucking industry, in general. The BLS further reports that ". . . individual firms are forced to accept high turnover as a cost-minimizing response to their competitive position in the market for their outputs . . ." That informs me that the TL carriers, Roehl, Schneider National, Swift, CR England, and others, engage in the practice of churn-and-burn with new drivers because that practice is more profitable than trying to retain experienced drivers through higher wages and better working conditions.

So the trucking industry in the United States is what it is. Take it or leave it because we are not going to change it any time soon. Honestly, I do not know why I believe that I can survive and be among the 6% who make it through one year. But I am a relatively old guy, and I have been through a lot in life already. Maybe that life experience can give me an edge. I doubt that Roehl would throw anything my way that would make me quit, so if I do not make it one year, that will be because I was fired. Time will tell.

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.

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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

David, we appreciate your comments and your contributions, but this one is based on your own suppositions. I can't let it slide without trying to clarify a few things.

That informs me that the TL carriers, Roehl, Schneider National, Swift, CR England, and others, engage in the practice of churn-and-burn with new drivers because that practice is more profitable than trying to retain experienced drivers through higher wages and better working conditions.

There is nothing profitable about losing 94% of the people you train. Even if half of them pay you back for the training, which I suspect is doubtful, You can't turn that training program into a source of profit for the company. It is all expense with little return. I've been using the number of 5% success rate for years. I came up with that number by my best estimates of how many people make it through their first year and then stay in the industry.

Trucking is a tough go for every new driver. It isn't because of the "bad" practices of trucking companies. The job has issues that cannot be corrected by some vague idea of creating a better corporate atmosphere. This is a special job that requires special people. Unfortunately those special people seem to be around 5% of the folks who give it a try. That's just the way it is.

People like to claim that trucking companies do very little to keep their experienced drivers. That has never been true in my experience. When I started this career I earned about fifty thousand dollars my first year. Eight years later I earned a little over one hundred thousand dollars. What kind of job can you recommend where you can double your annual income in eight years? What are these working conditions you speak of? I am in an air conditioned truck with all kinds of creature comforts. The truck I drive today is way better than the one I drove eight years ago. It has 120 volt electricity in it and a built in refrigerator. It is comfortable and they replace it with a new one just about every third year. I am as happy as a pig in mud!

Nobody has kept my wages down or insisted that I work under bad conditions. In fact it seems they are constantly coming up with ways to make life better for us. This year at Knight they doubled our bonus money. I usually make about seven thousand in bonus money. That was a generous gesture for them to double it up this year. That extra 14 grand is going to be nice!

I know where you get this idea, but those things you read online are not where the truth is found. Let's face it. You may not survive this industry. There's obviously a lot of newbies who don't, but let's not go blaming it on the companies and their greed for profits. These large companies have their finances open to the public because they are publicly traded. Their profits are generally in the 3 to 5% range. That is a very tight margin. They are not running away with tons of money at the expense of their drivers.

The truth is that each of those companies has a core group of their top tier drivers that they will just about do anything for. The key takeaway from your research should be that you want to strive to be in that group of drivers who are courted and cherished. Those are not the drivers who write the nonsense online about the evils of the trucking industry.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Old School replied to David...

David, we appreciate your comments and your contributions, but this one is based on your own suppositions. I can't let it slide without trying to clarify a few things.

double-quotes-start.png

That informs me that the TL carriers, Roehl, Schneider National, Swift, CR England, and others, engage in the practice of churn-and-burn with new drivers because that practice is more profitable than trying to retain experienced drivers through higher wages and better working conditions.

double-quotes-end.png

There is nothing profitable about losing 94% of the people you train. Even if half of them pay you back for the training, which I suspect is doubtful, You can't turn that training program into a source of profit for the company. It is all expense with little return. I've been using the number of 5% success rate for years. I came up with that number by my best estimates of how many people make it through their first year and then stay in the industry.

Trucking is a tough go for every new driver. It isn't because of the "bad" practices of trucking companies. The job has issues that cannot be corrected by some vague idea of creating a better corporate atmosphere. This is a special job that requires special people. Unfortunately those special people seem to be around 5% of the folks who give it a try. That's just the way it is.

People like to claim that trucking companies do very little to keep their experienced drivers. That has never been true in my experience. When I started this career I earned about fifty thousand dollars my first year. Eight years later I earned a little over one hundred thousand dollars. What kind of job can you recommend where you can double your annual income in eight years? What are these working conditions you speak of? I am in an air conditioned truck with all kinds of creature comforts. The truck I drive today is way better than the one I drove eight years ago. It has 120 volt electricity in it and a built in refrigerator. It is comfortable and they replace it with a new one just about every third year. I am as happy as a pig in mud!

Nobody has kept my wages down or insisted that I work under bad conditions. In fact it seems they are constantly coming up with ways to make life better for us. This year at Knight they doubled our bonus money. I usually make about seven thousand in bonus money. That was a generous gesture for them to double it up this year. That extra 14 grand is going to be nice!

I know where you get this idea, but those things you read online are not where the truth is found. Let's face it. You may not survive this industry. There's obviously a lot of newbies who don't, but let's not go blaming it on the companies and their greed for profits. These large companies have their finances open to the public because they are publicly traded. Their profits are generally in the 3 to 5% range. That is a very tight margin. They are not running away with tons of money at the expense of their drivers.

The truth is that each of those companies has a core group of their top tier drivers that they will just about do anything for. The key takeaway from your research should be that you want to strive to be in that group of drivers who are courted and cherished. Those are not the drivers who write the nonsense online about the evils of the trucking industry.

David I’ve been with Swift for over 7 years. I never felt “churned” or “burned”. I’m well compensated and treated like a professional. As Old School pointed out there is a core of top performing drivers on the Walmart account I’m Dedicated on that are all tenured beyond 3 years. The churn is a healthy paycheck.

Accordingly, in the spirit of retention Swift changed the bonus structure enabling rookie drivers to earn a decent performance bonus within the first year of their career.

Contrary to what you heard or read; Swift has driver retention at the very top of their priority as do all of their competitors.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I’ll contribute with another reason why the “churn and burn” theory is crap. Nearly every day everyone in the Schneider fleet receives a safety message summarizing the previous day(s) incidents and accidents, whether they involved driving the truck or working outside of the truck. 99.9% of those found in these reports are drivers with less than one year’s experience. Their violations are costing Schneider a great deal of money, as well as negatively affecting Schneider's CSA scores. Do you know what happens if your CSA score falls below an unacceptable level set by DOT? ... ... “If you have poor BASIC scores, your carrier is at risk of being investigated by FMCSA as an unsafe carrier. Many shippers also regularly review a carrier’s BASIC scores and some won’t give business to carriers with elevated totals. Insurance companies also will review BASIC scores as part of their evaluation of a carrier’s overall fitness and risk profile. Higher CSA scores can lead to higher premiums, deductibles, or even denial of coverage.”

I ask you David, in what universe is this a profitable business model?

When I was going through tanker training with Schneider, at some point during those four weeks the instructors pleaded with us to remain with Schneider for at least a year before considering other opportunities. Everyone in the industry knows Schneider has some of the best tanker training available. If your “churn and burn” theory was correct, why on earth would the instructors implore us to remain with the company for at least a year? That theory is a myth, an old wives tale, a conspiracy theory, promoted by those who don’t understand the industry and by others making excuses for their poor performance. Be better.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Fm:

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

David K. has posted a few times recently that make me wonder if he's not trying to talk himself out of driving before he starts.

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