Help, Stuck In A Contract With A TERRIBLE Company

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Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi.... I am going to point out a few things...

1. It is common practice to pay zip code to zip code miles. Many companies do it, including mine

2. 40cpm each for a team is not bad. It has been about 2 years since I did full team and not training team.... But I averaged 42cpm at the time and had 5 years experience I believe. Yes the pay would be more now but not that much more.

3. Yes 10,000 miles per month is low to average for a solo... And terrible for a team. What have you done to try to correct this? If you aren't getting help from your DM then go to the operations manager above them. Make it a point to ask for more miles. My company pays us bonuses above a certain number of miles, perhaps this is true there? Try to rectify the miles situation and this will improve. However you also stated that you did 5000 a week on good weeks... So are these truck miles you are giving us or individual miles???

4. It takes an average of 6 months for a Prime trailer to make it back to the company. Part of our job is getting the equipment fixed and reporting it.

5. Some of our accounts have very high late fees. One has a $5,000 late fee. Many teams do not get these high priority loads until they prove themselves. Ask your DM how you can improve.

How is your lateness and accident record for the team?

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

I would suggest that you make a plan to find your next driving job, and that plan will also include a plan on how to leave your current driving job.

You had mentioned that you would go solo rather than team. That's a start. All of the other things, such as your DM are things that you will run into at any company. Your current DM is bad, your first DM was "fantastic." That's not the company, that's the person.

As far as maintenance, the national average for out-of-service violations is 21%; CRST is 19%. As applied to trailers, that's one-fifth of the trailers you pick up.

https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/query.asp?searchtype=ANY&query_type=queryCarrierSnapshot&query_param=USDOT&original_query_param=NAME&query_string=53773&original_query_string=CRST%20EXPEDITED%20INC

When looking for other companies, check their Safer Web Snapshot.

And if you want to move to a company that will "pay off your contract" look for a company that pays a sign-on bonus. If the sign-on bonus covers your contract buy-out, you've accomplished your goal.

My best guess, in your research for your next driving you job, you may realize that your "short list" companies are as selective as you. Such that they want at least one year driving experience and to know that you can stay at a company at least a year before leaving. This is consistent with the advice given to new drivers: stay with your company at least a year.

I have been with Prime for over two years. It really took me a year to figure out what I liked and didn't like about driving and flatbed. After my first year, I reached out to my FM about dedicated accounts. I was on one for a short period and it was great. But that ended. I am in the process of a making a move and will share more about that in another thread. But it has all be part of a deliberate plan, rather than leaving Prime flatbed out of frustration.

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.

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.

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.

Out-of-Service:

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.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Adam, I don't know what area you are from or dispatch out of. My last Head DM there was Kyle Brockmeyer, he kept us running, yet kept having excuses to not get us on a more "dedicated" lane, than running wild. Well, I figured out, he did this because he is not part of their "dedicated" side. Guess he didn't want us changing off his board, or whatever lol.

1 before him was also good, but changed jobs in the office, so in a twist of fate I/we ended up with Kyle. So in the end both me and my co-driver left them, he wanted do more local gig because of his elderly mom's care. Recently she passed away @ 82 .....Sometimes ya gotta micro-manage your DM's. I had 2 new young guys at 2nd job I drove with until I retired 3/22/22, They were new, and were ok, but I had to give em hints on some things.

I told em ALL, I'm out here to turn the miles, not sit around idle much, so they pretty much kept me running everyday...I stayed out 3-4 weeks and needed home time to get away from the truck lol 5-8 weeks was too much road time for me. So like mentioned by others, maybe your lady DM is new and learning as well, sounds like you're communicating plenty........Yeah zip to zip sucks, since in a years time, you're driving a lot of "free" miles

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.
Adam T. (Diz)'s Comment
member avatar

I would bet your DM is new, inexperienced, and has at least 60 trucks on her board. People do forget, but some are poor at communicating....

Any repairs and parts you're paying for should be easily reimbursed with a receipt. Keep track of your numbers and stay on top of payroll if there are any discrepancies.

The greater the number of drop-and-hooks you do, the higher the likelihood you will pickup a mechanically defective trailer. That's just a fact. Equipment takes longer to fix because of a shortage of both parts and technicians.

I would stay there and finish the contract. Don't go lease and don't fall for their, "How about being a trainer for more miles?" pitch.

CRST is where I started, too. Teaming was not for me. There are better companies out here if you prefer solo driving.

I don't know if she's new/inexperienced or if this is just sort of the corporate culture. I hear a lot of "I'll call you back," and not a whole lot of phone ringing.

We do get reimbursed, but it's a hassle, and my paycheck is always screwed up.

Makes sense about the lack of parts and mechanics. I do wish my co workers did a better job of cleaning up their own messes rather than leaving it to those of us that actually care.

I won't be going Lease/Op nor do I have any interest in being a trainer.

Thanks for the input!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Adam T. (Diz)'s Comment
member avatar

It's all good, Adam. I just felt like 'disappearing ink' there, for a moment! Was needing Stevo to validate me, haha!

You're welcome. CRST just doesn't play. Haven't known a soul (on TT anyway) to get out from that contract.

MillionMilier24 went from the STREETS.. (of, I don't recall...) to having his own place and car and truck; two years in with CRST. His gratitude POURED out toward Brett & the folks here. He & I still email, on occasion.

Kearsey is THE bomb! Allie Knight had NOTHING on her, and Tiffany Hannah (a pal of mine as well) has her work cut out, w/Kearsey at Prime, too!

No wonder you're struggling now; you miss the female mentorship, methinks!! rofl-3.gif

Sincerely, hope you make this work, man.

No harm, no foul~

~ Anne ~

Thanks for all of the info, Anne, and for the well wishes.

I will undoubtedly make this work, just looking for info on the best way to do it. And if it means sucking it up for a few more months, so be it.

✌️

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Adam T. (Diz)'s Comment
member avatar

Hi.... I am going to point out a few things...

1. It is common practice to pay zip code to zip code miles. Many companies do it, including mine

2. 40cpm each for a team is not bad. It has been about 2 years since I did full team and not training team.... But I averaged 42cpm at the time and had 5 years experience I believe. Yes the pay would be more now but not that much more.

3. Yes 10,000 miles per month is low to average for a solo... And terrible for a team. What have you done to try to correct this? If you aren't getting help from your DM then go to the operations manager above them. Make it a point to ask for more miles. My company pays us bonuses above a certain number of miles, perhaps this is true there? Try to rectify the miles situation and this will improve. However you also stated that you did 5000 a week on good weeks... So are these truck miles you are giving us or individual miles???

4. It takes an average of 6 months for a Prime trailer to make it back to the company. Part of our job is getting the equipment fixed and reporting it.

5. Some of our accounts have very high late fees. One has a $5,000 late fee. Many teams do not get these high priority loads until they prove themselves. Ask your DM how you can improve.

How is your lateness and accident record for the team?

While I understand that zip code to zip code may be common practice, it's theft of labor, at best. They already stiff us on so many things that others get paid for without second thought, to rip us off for thousands of miles is just adding insult to injury.

When I consider that I'm only on track to make about $40k and the national average for a truck driver is between $60k-$70k, from what I've read, .40cpm doesn't seem like much. Marten has offered my co driver and I .74cpm AND guarantees at least $1500/w, just as soon as I finish my contract. Not that I'm going to go there, but that's 1 of the many offers I've had.

It's 5000 miles for the truck; 2500 split. I have asked and asked for more miles. I have spoken to our DM Manager and he's just as hard to have a conversation with as our DM, if not worse. How I speak with you all in this thread is who I am in real life. I'm not rude, I don't cuss people out, I am patient and probably more understanding than most. In my opinion dealing with these folks is on par with screaming at fence posts. And there are no bonuses for extra miles.

If we are given the load on time, we have always delivered early. Frequently we are given loads "today" that were due to be picked up days ago, so it's hard to quantify our "lateness," as we are technically late picking those up in the first place. But we expedite when we do have loads, other than if there is a mechanical issue. And neither of us has any accidents.

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.

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.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

I don’t know about your company, but the companies I have worked for don’t hold you accountable for a late load when it is not your fault. IE. breakdown, assigned after it is already late type stuff.

I have worked with many dispatchers, FM’s or DM’s depending what the company calls them. Some were ok, a handful were outstanding, and a few that were horrible. Just the way the job seems to be, like anything else. I have had them flat lie to me, heard them lying to customers, it runs the gamet.

Your going to encounter lazy drivers at every company. I hated swapping trailers alot because it was always a shootin match what you were going to get. I carry spare tail lights and marker lights. Your shop should be willing to give you a couple each, instead of you buying them. Also a spare mud flap is always handy to have. Store it under your mattress of the bottom bunk.

Hang in there and do a good job till your contract is up and move on to something that will suit you better. Best wishes.

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.

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.

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.
BK's Comment
member avatar

The point of my previous post was that if there is an option to buy out the contract, do it and find a higher paying job. The buyout is then like an investment that will be recovered by the higher wages. Plus increased miles hopefully.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

That is still short-sighted. The importance of staying with your company for the duration of the contract cannot be overstated. The long-term benefits of fulfilling your obligations will outweigh a short-term benefit of a little more money.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Adam you really are hyper-focused on the wrong stuff. Probably not what you want to hear, possibly perceived as insulting, but I believe there is truth in my observation. Your focus needs to be adjusted if you really want to succeed at this.

You are a rookie with 4 months of experience. What is that worth to your company? Have you really given that serious thought? You are losing them money in spite of what you might think. And this is true for every company with rookie drivers having less than 6 months experience.

As a rookie your company, CRST is basically paying you to learn this business. We have all been through this, it a right-of-passage. The learning curve at times is perilous. Being paid to learn is not insignificant yet like so many rookies who come on here barking about what they aren't getting, you seem to believe you're entitled to top pay, the best trucks, low downtime and the best runs. It's okay to dream, but the reality is; "not gonna happen", not with CRST, not with Marten, not anywhere. At least not yet...

You and your teammate are unproven, at the beginning of your careers. Focus on being the very best you can, and DO NOT leave before your contract minimum is met. Try to stick it out for a year. Commit to this expecting there to be many a rough road. All of your negative energy is unproductive and at best distracting. You now understand the choice you made and the cards you were dealt, play your hand and get sh** done. Try to forget everything else. Stay positive!

I urge you to read some of the information found in the trucking truth blog. Rainy (Kersey) wrote an excellent article applicable to rookie drivers: Common Mistakes Rookie Truck Drivers Should Avoid.

You made some statements in your previous posts that aren't exactly on the level. I know you are frustrated...however I want to set the record straight on some of them. One in particular I want to comment on is average pay. Average annual pay is a very subjective figure. Depends on a myriad of variables that are very difficult to track. Google it and you'll see zero consistency...depends on who conducted the survey and what they are trying to accomplish, or what their agenda is. It varies by state and region. For the most part it's 59k. That said I know for a fact there are drivers on here that are above 100k annually. But they are experienced and considered top performers in the 99th percentile of their peers. You must again factor in that you are a rookie... 40-45k is a realistic expectation for the first full year. Beyond that it's entirely up to you...its about performance, nothing else and has little to-do with the name on your truck door. What it Takes to be a Top Performing Truck Driver.

Zip code pay is not theft of labor. That's a very strong statement. Sometimes it's in your favor, sometimes it's not. Depends on where you are going and what side of the post office you take-off from and land. But it's an industry standard (not a way for CRST to screw you), not only how we are paid, but it's how customers pay our employers. A 10% deviation is to be expected, but it should not be more than that. I was on a dedicated account in the Northeast for many years. Stop pay and dispatch pay more than made up for the actual vs zip code miles difference. I suggest not getting too hung up on this...there is nothing you can do but run your ass off.

Use your truck computer to communicate with your DM. Calling and texting is too informal, you want a permanent record of your communication. Use the messaging macro on your computer so what you are writing is documented. There is a record that is now referenceable and useful in the future. Your DM , especially if they are new has no time to take your calls. You are one of many teams he or she is managing. Help them help you and save the cell call unless it's absolutely necessary, like for emergencies only or returning a call they made to you.

Not sure if you are going to take heed of anything I wrote here...you have received a lot of very good advice from some of the forum's top drivers. For your sake and the sake of your teammate I urge you to redirect your focus on the positive energy required to perform at a level above your fellow rookie teams. This is a competition...play to win. CRST will notice it.

Good luck!

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.
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