Calling All Flatbedders

Topic 33810 | Page 1

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BSMF's Comment
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Good evening folks. I have been combing through this wonderfully informative website for the last several years. Thank you Brett and all the other regular contributors for creating and maintaining Trucking Truth. There is a wealth of information within. Long story short, I am a 52 year old Navy and fire service veteran who has been eyeing a career in trucking for a good while. The kids are grown and doing their thing. I am a couple of weeks from finishing up my training at a local truck driving school. I am most interested in driving flatbed. I have pre hire letters from TMC and McElroy. I have found a good number of threads discussing both of these companies, but most of the posts are five to ten years old. Do we have any TT members that are currently working for either of these companies that would pass along some insight to a rookie? any other input or advice would be welcome. Thanks y'all

Pre Hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Old School's Comment
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Hey Jason, let me give you a few general guidelines about getting started in trucking...

First, don't allow yourself to think your age is a problem. The trucking career is something many of us pursue as a second career. I started at 53, and am still going strong now. I achieved my "Million Miler" status in December. I have driven a flat-bed truck at Knight Transportation as a dedicated driver to the Hydro Corporation for one million miles. I hope to go for another million. You can drive a truck for as long as you like as long as you are safe, productive, and able to pass the physical when required. I have met flat-bed drivers out here like Eugene, who are in their eighties.

Second, don't get all caught up in the idea that you have to talk to somebody who is currently working at a company you are interested in. The reality is that trucking has changed very little in a couple of decades. Technologies come and go, and management changes strategies, but being successful at driving a truck still remains the same. You have got to be safe, productive, and easy to work with. The folks who follow that formula are killing it out here. They do not spend a lot of time on the internet whining and complaining about their employer and advising newbies to avoid such and such a company. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.

I have been at Knight Transportation long enough to drive a million miles. I don't notice anything different than I did when I started. The company has gone through a lot of changes and purchased several different trucking operations during my tenure here. Nothing about any of that has changed or affected my job or career.

I am a driver. I keep a tight relationship with my driver manager. There are tens of thousands of employees here. I only really need a relationship with a select few. A driver takes care of his job and he gets rewarded for it. There is no drama here in my truck. When you look on the internet, it seems that drivers have nothing but drama and problems. Those are the poor folks who never seem to understand this career. Don't be like them. Take your job seriously and handle it. You will have no problems if you can do that.

Third, that name on your truck's doors is not very important at all. Don't be fooled by the clowns on the internet who think the only way you will succeed at trucking is if you get on with just the right company. It's all bogus nonsense coming from people who are still looking for that perfect trucking company. I started at Western Express. I excelled there while most everyone I ever came in contact with was either just starting there or just leaving. It was a revolving door of dissatisfied drivers. The truth is they were incompetent and disgruntled no matter where they went. Trucking attracts a lot of these types. Don't be one of them and don't listen to their nonsense.

No one holds your hand in trucking. No one can fake it in trucking. You either get this and make it happen or you go home. You can certainly do well at either of the companies you mentioned. They are run well and have some great drivers. But, guess what? So do companies like Swift and C.R. England. Don't be fooled by the knuckle heads who think the company has to treat you like family and know your name and your Aunt Suzy's middle initial. I am with a huge company. Anybody who needs to know my name knows it.

There are a lot of great flat-bed companies out here. Find one who will hire you and make sure you are the best driver they have ever seen. That formula works today just as well as it did ten or twenty years ago.

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.


Hours Of Service

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

Jason I agree completely with OS.

Thank you for your service sir!. I too am a Navy vet and LE retiree.

Both companies are good. As I understand it TMC is really strict and alot of their drivers are leasing. I have sppke to many over time and they like it. The leasing part would scare me off.

McElroy is also a good company. I know they have a training center at their cooperate headquarters in Al.

Maverick is also another large flatbed carrier with a training center in North Little Rock.

I also started at 53 years young and am now after 10 years setting myself too start slowing down a bit. My choice to do so not because of any external reasons.

Wishing you the best. Please let us know how your journey goes.


Operating While Intoxicated

BSMF's Comment
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Thank you Old School and PJ. I appreciate your responses, and your sage advice. Be safe out there gentleman. I'll keep you posted as my journey in to trucking continues.

Old School's Comment
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I'll keep you posted as my journey in to trucking continues.

Thanks Jason! We really enjoy hearing from those who are just getting started. It all seems so challenging, but you are in control. Don't let the peanut gallery internet wannabes keep you anxious.

Bring us all your questions or fears. We will do our best to be helpful.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Richard F.'s Comment
member avatar

I may be new to haulage but so far it’s been really good so don’t just focus on flatbeding? It may be different in the USA but in Toronto I deliver 2-3 loads a night and get overtime after 8 hours plus night shift premium lol. Hauling garbage may smell ( my nose hasn’t worked since I was 5 lol) but it pays pretty good. I work for my city so I have full benefits and pension 😎 and union.

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