O/O Update

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PJ's Comment
member avatar

Hey all, been awhile since I was around. I have been on a roller coaster ride like no other. I thought now that I am almost past it I would share my experience with everyone.

As most know I started last November in this industry without as much as setting foot in a truck. I got my CDL through Roehl Transport and worked as a company driver until the end of June. I jumped to KLLM and leased a truck. On July 11 I became an O/O of sorts.

The first 90 days went smooth except for my scheduling. i spent 1 month in OTR then went to SE Regional. I was making good miles and money. I failed to setup a routine, but hey I'm learning. At Roehl I was on a dedicated account and was out 11 home 3 days like clockwork. My fiancee and I were both comfortable with that routine. In July I was running hard but the hometime was anything but routine. This caused a lot of undue stress on us. She never said anything and I was too stupid to realize that was causing us issues.

Then my truck broke down. Not once but 3 times in just under 3 weeks. I was at home most of the down time. Worst place I could be in hindsight. The stress of it all caused us great problems all the way around. It cost me over $700 in cash for the various "supposed" repairs, not to mention at least 10k in lost revenue.

Then it happened again. It broke down a 4th time. I had managed to pull my head out of somewhere south and got things going the right direction with my fiancee, thank god. She is the love of my life. I talked to the management at KLLM and we all had a round table over this. Everyone agreed this is rare to happen in their company, but sometimes does. They were concerned as I was because they are underwriting the truck, not to mention the freight I'm not pulling. Only 1 management type was a pain.

Oh one more wrinkle. I was reassigned to midwest regional the day my truck broke the first time. I had a brand new dispatcher and terminal manager.

Well I got put in a loaner truck to at least keep making money. My new terminal manager who doesn't know me from Adam went to bat for me. She got me the loaner, and in touch with the right folks to get this truck figured out or give me a different one all together. I got to meet her in person today. quite a lady.

My truck is now fixed and waiting for me in Atlanta. This freightliner dealer does a lot of business with KLLM. they claim they found the cause of the problems in the def after treatment system and are giving me a 1 yr warranty on the system. they looked at the invoices and dates and were appalled at the way the other dealers had treated me. They seem convinced this should have been easy to find and repair correctly the first time around. They were the 4th shop to get the truck.

I am unloading in the morning in ohio and they already got me a load picking up asap after I'm empty to go get my truck. its all setup and friday evening I will be back in my truck. this loaner has had issues 3 of 5 i have had it. it was on line to be sold. My dispatcher also looked at my hours and did the math. when I get my truck back friday night I will have about 2 hrs on my 70 until sunday. she told me to deliver the load, get my truck setup again, and go home for a 34 hour reset. she will setup my load on saturday for monday mid morning. I wasn't due home till the day before Thanksgiving but I'll take the reset with great joy. total cost out of pocket is about 2k, thank god for a maintenance account.

As far as lost wages go, we have been setting aside money each week for slow times. it came in real handy. I just share this so anyone thinking about leasing can see its not always a bed of roses and prepare for the worst and pray everyday for the best.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Thank god I gave up owning my own trucks years ago. Just not worth the headache or stress. As a company driver I get paid if I am in the shop for more than 24 hours. Never like sitting if I could help it.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well above all else thank God you and your fiancee are still ok! That would be by far the bigger tragedy in all this.

That sure was tough to read, man. I hate to hear about those kind of struggles. Just surviving that first year as a company driver is incredibly difficult. But trying to keep your business and a long distance relationship afloat at the same time is a staggering feat.

That just seems to be how life is as a business owner for most people, regardless of what industry you're in. It seems like all you're ever doing is putting out fires, throwing money at problems, and trying to keep afloat. When you do get ahead after a few good weeks or months someone pulls the rug out from under you and suddenly you're at the bottom again formulating a new strategy and starting over again....and again....and again.

And one of the toughest parts about being a business owner is that having endless optimism is the key to success and the key to failure! You'll never succeed in business if you don't believe in yourself and your mission. But at the same time you have to know when something isn't working and change strategies. So you have to be endlessly optimistic until it's time to stop being optimistic and admit something isn't working. Then you have to switch strategies and become endlessly optimistic again! Well, at least until you find it isn't working again.

What a balancing act that is! If you don't stick with something you might fail. But if you do stick with it you might fail also!

wtf-2.gif

Know when to hold em,
Know when to fold em.
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.

You know we're all pulling for ya PJ! Here's to a long and wonderful relationship with your fiancee and a long, healthy, and prosperous career in trucking!

smile.gif

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett, very true words. I have already been bouncing the walk away idea. i keep good notes on stuff. I ran down the dates, pkaces, and issues with management. I understand it is easy to play stupid unless all the info is laid out in a straight forward manner. When I did that they had to admit something was terribly wrong and not normal. I already put them on notice I am at the end of this for me. I cant afford to keep going at this pace. once they figured I kinda had an idea what was going on and they couldn't bs me and they know if i walk away then its there's no matter what they changed their tune and became a bit more cooperative. We will survive and things will improve I know. I have spoke with several folks who think leasing is all gravy and you make alot of money. They are the ones out of it in a matter of months. I do not accept failure UNLESS all options have been tried and there is nothing left to try. My fiancee has been very supportive and not said too much up to now. We have had some candid discussions about all this and we are doing well and on the same page. I had got so stressed and started shutting her out because of it. Always keep the one you love in the loop. I'll let ya'll know how it goes.

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.
Woody's Comment
member avatar

Hey PJ its great to see you post!!!

I came back a few weeks ago to do some posting and try to catch up with how some of the drivers that started when I did are doing now. Bro I knew you were up for a challenge but I didn't know you wanted to lease smile.gif

Glad to hear you are working hard on your relationship with your fiancee. A good supportive partner is hard to find, especially for us drivers. Don't know what I would do without my wife.

Woody

Old School's Comment
member avatar

P.J. - It's great to hear from you again!

I really appreciate you posting this stuff. You know we try real hard to warn people about not only the troubles that can worm their way into peoples lives as a result of this lifestyle we call "Trucking", and the inherent problems that are that are so conveniently whitewashed in those lease agreements, but still people who get "bit" with the urge to try and beat the odds and make their careers more lucrative by leasing a truck seldom ever come back in here with an honest report on how it's treating them. Brett and I try our best to provide the information concerning our business experiences as a basis for our argument, yet most people just seem to get the attitude that we've got an anti-Owner/Operator burr in our saddle. It's the furthest thing from the truth, and if people would just take a brief look at the vast volume of work Brett has put out here in this site they would realize that he wants nothing more than to be helpful and informative to assist people in their new careers.

I'm real sorry to hear about your troubles, but glad to hear you are facing them head on in a proactive approach. You started out with a good plan, some business experience, and a book keeper for a partner. With a great combination like that you'd think you'd be golden, but still you are bumping into some of the inevitable factors that are bound up in the laws of economics. Hang in there, but if you decide it's time to fold your hand there's no shame as far as we are concerned, in fact I always respect a person who has the ability to recognize it when something isn't working out like we thought it would. A business persons greatest enemy is the blinders that come from their own egos.

If we thought people could make a lot more money by leasing or being owner/operators we would be beating that drum loud and clear, but in this day and time the odds are very slim that they will be successful if that is their goal. The risks are high and the economic rewards are sketchy.

I know it's not easy to post on here about the troubles you are experiencing, but since we are trying to present the "truth" about trucking, we appreciate it when you post both about your successes and your struggles.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Good morning all. I appreciate all of you folks. Well I promised an update so here it is. I got my truck back, everything switched back and headed home for my reset. The truck ran better than it had ever. I was a happy camper. After 80 miles the mil light came on again. Talk about going from hero to zero fast. I was 20 miles from home so I went on home. When I got home I called freightliner immediately. I explained the situation. He had me cut the battery power and wait till he told me to turn it back on. I did just as he instructed and the light went out. He told me that meant it was a soft code and if the truck was running right there was nothing they could do till it messed up further. Needless to say after paying them all this money that was not the answer I was looking for. I called company breakdown, they agreed with freightliner. Well damn. I said screw it and organized my gear and spent some wonderful time with my fiancee. Monday morning my dispatcher called and gave me a good load. I told her what happened. She asked what I was going to do. I told her I was going to work and I would keep a close eye on it and keep her informed. She was shocked at my answer but said ok. I made it to my pickup and the light was out. It was running ok and fuel mileage looked normal. I grabbed the load and got to work. After about 1/2 day the light came back on and the same generic code appeared. We kept moving. the next couple days the mil light came and went. Then on wed afternoon the check engine light started coming on and off. Still running ok, then it happened. I was unhooking a trailer and went to pull out and when I hit the throttle nothing happened. I lifted and pushed again and after about 15-20 seconds it responded. That was my last straw. I called my terminal manager and explained everything getting her up to speed. I told her something had to give cause I was already feeling out the market and had several offers on the table. I was polite and proffessional but very matter of fact. She typed up a email to the head lease guy who has been the omly pain in this process. She said they should after all this go under the lemon laws in ms and put me in a different truck. She said she was going to do what she could for me. She told me I have done everything right and made a impresdion on them and she didn't want to see me walk away. I thanked her for her kindness. She called me back within 5 minutes. I was summoned to Jackson Ms to corporate to get this resolved one way or the other. They put their best mechanic on it. He spent 4 hours yesterday on it and talked to me about exact responses of the truck with which lights were on. The boss made the statement if this guy cant fix it then it aint fixable. After 4 hours he told me he has no clue. He pulled 6-8 hard codes from it and was taking his twch manual home to study more last night. We meet shortly but he told me no longer than I have had this truck and the mileage on it he will recommend they take it back and put me in another cause this one has serious problems. He was impressed I was actually able to give him detail and said that is rare. I yold him I take care of my equipment, its just not taking care of me. So we'll see how today goes. more to follow

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.

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.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Curious with todays new electronics on cars, do rigs have same systems, with ECM/ PCM's etc? With a fly-by-wire throttle pedal? hmmmm Sounded like the pedal contacts/curcuits, might have been having an issue, with the slow response time you described. Better off with new rig, let manufacturer figure it out, and resell/lease

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Good evening all. I'm out of the shop. Still in my truck. Tech spent 12 hrs going through my dpf system. only thing he found questionable was crap in the air filter. I was 3k away from a pm at 25k interval. lights are out and its running good. i got a load taking me home tomorrow for thanksgiving. Its 500 miles so a good test drive. so far 200 miles and no issues. If it is going to mess up should happen before I get home. fingers crossed

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Good grief what a nightmare! Man, I feel for ya - seriously. Thank God you'll be home with family for Thanksgiving!

She said they should after all this go under the lemon laws in ms and put me in a different truck. She said she was going to do what she could for me...She called me back within 5 minutes. I was summoned to Jackson Ms to corporate to get this resolved one way or the other

What did your company say the last time you spoke to them about getting into a different truck? I guess they're not looking to make that happen, eh?

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