New Job Twist: A Russian Company

Topic 30594 | Page 1

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Andrey's Comment
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As my first week at a new job is over, I am ready to share some of my observations. It is a Russian, well, a Ukrainian, to be more precise, company, meaning that its owner, dispatchers and drivers, all speak Russian or some other Slavic language. Of course, the doors are open for any CDL holder who can drive a truck regardless of his ethnicity, but American drivers would probably feel uncomfortable because of an unfamiliar work ethic as well as some language and culture barriers, which are the main reasons for such a segregation. I was hired as a 1099 contractor, the process took about an hour. After completing the paperwork, I took an Uber to the shop and was assigned a 2019 truck with a fridge and a microwave, and a brand new trailer. No drop and hooks, only live loads. I am driving regional , but more in terms of time than space - my routes are not limited to NE or any other region, but I am at home in New Hampshire every weekend. Here is, for example, my first week: Crete, IL to Crossville, TN (500 mi), then Monterey, TN to Stuart Draft, VA (420 mi), then I drove about a 100 mi and picked up a load in Farmville, VA which goes to Littleton, MA (680 mi). This last load brought me to a truck stop about 15 miles from home on Friday night. Now I am off till Monday morning. The week was short, it started only on Tuesday afternoon, so next one should give me more miles. The pay is twice as good as I was paid at Roehl. People are nice and very friendly. I am very glad that I found this job - life is good!

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.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

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

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

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.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Andrey, that's really interesting. I see you were born in Russia, so I guess you are returning to your roots. How many tractors and/or drivers do they have? Do they hire drivers out of the Midwest? What is the name of the company?

Old School's Comment
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Andrey, we love you man! You have a great attitude and you keep on pressing on.

You can probably tell there is a big but coming...

You just keep squeezing yourself into a more restrictive box. I have mentioned this to you before. You keep limiting your options. What happens next if you somehow make a mistake these guys don't like? Where will you go next?

Now you have taken a job where you are a 1099 contractor. I have been a contractor before in another career. I was a contractor because I had invested in my own equipment, and I set the rates I was willing to work for. I set my own hours and worked as much as I wanted and when I wanted. I wasn't an employee, I was a contractor. That is what a 1099 contractor is and does. He also estimates and pays his own taxes quarterly at a rate of about 30 percent. Is that how you understand this arrangement to be? You have no skin in the game, and they still control the rates you work for. That is not the definition of a contractor.

Your new Russian friends have given you a job, but they are not deducting your payroll taxes or your social security payments, and are thereby saving themselves a fortune by passing those responsibilities on to you. They can make more money, by deceiving you into believing you are a contractor. They even have you believing you are making more money now. I was hoping you didn't believe it, but you obviously do...

The pay is twice as good as I was paid at Roehl.

I am really glad you found a job, and that you are happy with it. I have also been around the block enough to know that you are a really smart guy who will one day figure out this is not nearly as special as you now think it is. Do you have any company benefits like health insurance or investment accounts for future financial needs?

Again, I wish you the best! I always appreciate your keeping us in the loop on your progress. I only wish your long and winding road would have taken a few different turns.

American drivers would probably feel uncomfortable because of an unfamiliar work ethic as well as some language and culture barriers, which are the main reasons for such a segregation.

The reasons I have mentioned would be the reason for such a segregation. You may believe what you like, but very few people I know would work in that situation for financial reasons. Contractors should control their own rates. You don't seem to be blessed with that leverage. If they determine how much you get paid you are technically their employee. As their employee you deserve the fiduciary responsibilities which they have abdicated.

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.
Andrey's Comment
member avatar

How many tractors and/or drivers do they have? Do they hire drivers out of the Midwest? What is the name of the company?

There are about 20 trucks. It is a true OTR company, so I don't think your location matters. Their only shop is in Chicago. I'll ask the boss whether he is interested in hiring new drivers, and get back to you early next week.

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Andrey. Make sure you put away money and pay your taxes every quarter and on time, not doing so will result in penalties and interest. Divide every paycheck by 3 and put at least that much away. That 1/3rd should cover your federal and State tax.

Quarterly due dates for Fed and State are April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15. Below is the percentage table for Federal taxes. Check with your home state for their percentage

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Andrey's Comment
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Thank you, Old School.

What happens next if you somehow make a mistake these guys don't like? Where will you go next?

If it is my fault, I'll pay the $2500 deductible :-)

Your new Russian friends have given you a job, but they are not deducting your payroll taxes or your social security payments, and are thereby saving themselves a fortune by passing those responsibilities on to you. They can make more money, by deceiving you into believing you are a contractor. They even have you believing you are making more money now. I was hoping you didn't believe it, but you obviously do...

You are right, there is no health insurance. Now let me ask, are company health benefits such a good deal? Roehl wanted about $500 for a family plan, which is more than I can find on the market if I start shopping for a private insurance. This is why some trucking companies simply offer a $500 allowance to cover private insurance's premium rather than subtract from the paycheck. If the paycheck is based on a 40 or even 50 cpm , is it still better than 70 cpm without any benefits?

As for the 1099, I do know that I am responsible for my taxes. I also know from my previous tax years that submitting a joint return with 4 dependents and an income under 150k not only brings back all the taxes (except for self employment tax), but also results in some refund. So let's wait until I do my taxes, god willing, next February and know better how everything works.

And finally, regardless of employment type, it is a legit company, and if I am lucky to drive for six months without any issues, a lot of new doors will open for me again, and if for some reason I decide to explore these new doors, I will have such an option. Until then, however, I am haunted by my Roehl past...

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.
Andrey's Comment
member avatar

Andrey. Make sure you put away money and pay your taxes every quarter and on time, not doing so will result in penalties and interest. Divide every paycheck by 3 and put at least that much away. That 1/3rd should cover your federal and State tax.

Thank you for the information! At least I am lucky to live in a tax free state of New Hampshire :-) Federally I am looking at 12% which is not too bad.

Bird-One's Comment
member avatar

What do you mean by unfamiliar work ethic?

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

In addition to taxes, if you get hurt on the job you will have no workers Comp.

PackRat's Comment
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1099 as a "private contractor", driving their equipment? Please explain how that works.

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