Help, Stuck In A Contract With A TERRIBLE Company

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Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Another way to look at it is if you stay through the contract, Excell at what you do, and really work the relationships with people there so that when they leave you have them as solid references, you are increasing your marketability.

I've had 4 DMs in a year, all of them have me on speed dial and will gladly be a reference. My TM would understand if I left, she would not be happy but would gladly be a reference. I have a perfect safety record, zero at fault load failures, and excellent production numbers. I've won two safety awards in my first year.

There are ample times where I've fixed bad trailers and shut down for weather, killing my production bonus, but preserving my CDL is more important than this week's pay stub. My long term options get better every successful day I have.

Think for a minute about how good it would be to go to your next company as a high value driver with credentials and references to back it up. You will be able to pick and choose your own career path.

There are a lot of drivers at my company that couldn't effectively leave if the wanted to. If you can maximize profits out of chaotic loads and inferior communications, you will build skills for any company.

Case in point. I just got handed a 247 mile load, I communicated on it, and got an extra 150 dollar layover pay added, and 3 additional loads added. All can be done over the weekend, and I come out as a hero for taking a bunch of short loads that no one else would. By their own right, the loads suck. But when strung together. They add up to 1800 miles and a higher pay rate. A win win situation.

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.

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.

Adam T. (Diz)'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

Hey Steve,

I'm in Colorado, so I dispatch from the west.

Thankfully my DM is apparently now in charge of CAT Dedicated, so our miles are definitely far more consistent than they used to be, but she's only held that position for about a month. Before that we just basically got the "noob scraps" as I came into this expecting, and call them. I never expected to get prime loads being brand new, but I guess I did expect to be kept moving.

I don't believe she's new, I just believe she is overwhelmed. I worked in IT for 22 years before pivoting to this new career, and I have seen more than one company grow faster than it was ready to grow, and I get that feeling here. Not a bad company, just playing catch up to their growth. I know I called them terrible in this thread name, and that's mostly because I *hate* feeling like I don't matter, and the lack of communication drives me bananas. In that way, they, to me, are terrible. I'm a little frustrated by the pay, but I am aware it could be worse. I don't like driving 200 miles further than what I'm being paid for. And the constant trailer repairs because others don't do their jobs, or do the half-assed, is maddening.

All that said, I read the information on this website extensively before I ever even got in to school. I can show you screenshots of all the emails I've saved, to reference, as I progressed. I knew I wasn't going to get $100k fresh out of school. I knew that I was going to have crappy runs before I had good. I knew that mega carriers can be a good foot in the door, but not to expect much. I knew these things because you all told me. But I guess I still expected a little better than the actuality.

I'm going to complete my contract, and if things stay consistent, as far as mileage, I will likely also stay the full year. I do hear the voices of you all that have far more experience than me, and I want to succeed. The whole reason I started this thread was just to see if there was a better way, or if I was missing something.

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 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.

Thanks, PJ. Our shop does provide us some stuff, but tail and markers isn't one of them. My co-driver and I are going to invest in some, and a mudflap or two, per yours and others advice.

And thanks for the well wishes, they are appreciated.

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

Hey G-Town, thanks for taking the time to make this long response, I appreciate you!

So not insulted, and I appreciate your candor.

I don't believe I'm entitled to top pay, just median pay. When I tell Marten, for instance, that I have 4-5 months experience, they tell me .74cpm. If I didn't have this contract I would likely be there, or Knight, or Hirschbach, etc etc. All have offered me at least .60cpm+, with my current experience. If I had no contract.... So that's why I'm frustrated by .40cpm. I never expected to make $100k+ out of the gate, but I guess I didn't think $60k was unreasonable. And that's what they made it seem like I was gonna get, before I got here.

While I am extremely fortunate and happy to drive a 22 Freightliner, my school was CWW and I fully expected something 5-10 years older, and a 13 speed. I did expect our trailers to be in better condition, and I have griped about that.

As far as downtime, I have been home only once per my request, and that was for my birthday in May. I have been home 3 times now, but the other two were due to being down for repairs for an extensive amount of time. I am home currently for that reason. We will likely be on the road again tomorrow and I don't expect to request home time again until mid-September, when I expect my contract to finally be paid off.

Also, I mentioned earlier, I read the info from this website and the emails I was sent extensively before I ever even got into school. I saved those emails and reference them frequently, including info that you hyperlinked in your response. So I didn't expect the world to be handed to me, at least not until I was two years in and showed that I am a super-trucker with diesel in my blood! (Joke) My complaints about runs was more about not being kept moving than about ease or quality.

For the record, I hope your hear my "tone" here as conversational rather than argumentative. I wanted to give you the same time that you gave me.

I do appreciate what you said about median pay being subjective. I am finding that to be true. I guess it just seems like a lot of offers I've received recently tend to be in the $60k-$80k range. But I do take your point here.

I didn't know that zip code to zip code was prevelant in this industry, it seems like a lot of places talk about paying "actual" miles, and CRST is so cheap about so many other things, it wouldn't have surprised me if this was "just another way to screw us." I stand corrected, thank you.

What is stop pay and dispatch pay?

Using the macro is a fantastic idea, and we will be doing it moving forward. I do tend to text more than call my DM as I *know* she has a lot on her plate, but her comms skills leave much to be desired.

I did hear you, G-Town, and while my post here has been somewhat negative, if you knew me you would know that I'm the eternal optimist. I posted this thread somewhat out of a LOT of frustration, and in hopes of getting some info to help me that I did not have. In that way, this has been *extremely* helpful, and I thank all of you for it.

I will be finishing my contract, and then some, if the miles stay consistent. I will finish the contract at the very least. I will try to be more positive, and as always I am trying to learn and get better.

Thank you for your 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.

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

Another way to look at it is if you stay through the contract, Excell at what you do, and really work the relationships with people there so that when they leave you have them as solid references, you are increasing your marketability.

I've had 4 DMs in a year, all of them have me on speed dial and will gladly be a reference. My TM would understand if I left, she would not be happy but would gladly be a reference. I have a perfect safety record, zero at fault load failures, and excellent production numbers. I've won two safety awards in my first year.

There are ample times where I've fixed bad trailers and shut down for weather, killing my production bonus, but preserving my CDL is more important than this week's pay stub. My long term options get better every successful day I have.

Think for a minute about how good it would be to go to your next company as a high value driver with credentials and references to back it up. You will be able to pick and choose your own career path.

There are a lot of drivers at my company that couldn't effectively leave if the wanted to. If you can maximize profits out of chaotic loads and inferior communications, you will build skills for any company.

Case in point. I just got handed a 247 mile load, I communicated on it, and got an extra 150 dollar layover pay added, and 3 additional loads added. All can be done over the weekend, and I come out as a hero for taking a bunch of short loads that no one else would. By their own right, the loads suck. But when strung together. They add up to 1800 miles and a higher pay rate. A win win situation.

This is fantastic information, and had given me a different perspective to look at all of this.

Thank you! The next time I get a short load I'm definitely going to see if some other shorties can be strung together.

Also, I never considered the marketability aspect! This is something I feel a little short-sighted for missing.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Most of the companies calculate the miles via a computer program, "Pro Miles." It's known in the industry as "practical miles." What makes it practical is that we drive more miles for less pay, making it practical for the company. This is NOT limited to CRST. Every company does this.

I am somewhere around 800 assigned loads, and I have been paid for more miles than I've actually driven four times. That's it. Four times.

Adam T. (Diz)'s Comment
member avatar

Most of the companies calculate the miles via a computer program, "Pro Miles." It's known in the industry as "practical miles." What makes it practical is that we drive more miles for less pay, making it practical for the company. This is NOT limited to CRST. Every company does this.

I am somewhere around 800 assigned loads, and I have been paid for more miles than I've actually driven four times. That's it. Four times.

Wow. Yikes!

Okay, good to know, thank you

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I’m glad you are considering all the advice you are getting… Again I need to “check” you on something you wrote in one of your replies.

I knew that mega carriers can be a good foot in the door, but not to expect much. I knew these things because you all told me.

Who told you that on Trucking Truth? Not to expect much? Many of the drivers on this forum stayed with the company that trained them well beyond the first year. Including CRST. The Mega Carriers all have numerous million mile drivers, quite happy and well paid… that requires at least 8 years of commitment. I was with Swift for almost 9 and enjoyed it, including the pay. Just look around… many examples in here of drivers committing long-term with the company that trained them.

No one who matters on this forum made a statement like that.

I’m curious Adam, of all the options available, why did you join CRST?

I understand you did a lot of research on TT. With few exceptions we caution rookies about teaming and we also would have emphatically informed you about CRST’s contract enforcement.

When you were talking with CRST before you committed, didn’t they explain their pay structure?

I do however appreciate your reply. Stop pay and dispatch pay? $20 flat rate per dispatch and $15 per stop after the first one. This compensated for the wait times at each store inherent with running Walmart.

But I still think you missed a key point (paraphrasing) about paying your dues as a rookie. CPM is relative, consistent mileage is how you make your money. You haven’t been at CRST long enough to get the choicest runs. Even so, do you honestly think Marten is going to give you the same opportunity as they would to one of their tenured, high-performing drivers? “No”… you’ll need to reprove yourself to any new company before you consistently receive the better runs. Grass is always greener…

Beyond the First Year

Run your ass off, be safe, professional and keep them proactively informed on when you are available for another run, if possible a couple of days in advance. Use your macros to communicate. We had a macro requesting the next load plan. You might have a similar macro. Plan. Learn to work their system to your benefit.

Best of luck. We all want you to succeed!

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for writing that and bringing that up. Right when I needed to read it. I have no compelling reasons to leave where I'm at, but I've been obsessively looking at other companies.

Think I'm just going to concentrate on keeping my numbers up and running solid for the rest of summer.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Davy wrote:

Thanks for writing that and bringing that up. Right when I needed to read it. I have no compelling reasons to leave where I'm at, but I've been obsessively looking at other companies.

Think I'm just going to concentrate on keeping my numbers up and running solid for the rest of summer.

You’re welcome. Davy you clearly got your s__t together. Become the favored driver on your DMs board. Please try to trust me on this… you will hear something like this if you give it a chance…

“Davy we are giving you this choice run because we know you’ll get it done” !!!

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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