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Cargo Van Starting Next Week with Panther and I've Got Questions

Wolfhouse

New Recruit
Driver
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Hi All,

I just got in contact with a great fleet owner through this site's classified's and am set to go to orientation next week with Panther.

I'm pretty young and have no experience. If there is a thread with answers to these general questions, I would greatly appreciate being pointed to it, if not, here are a few I have so far. I just want to be as prepared as possible.

1) 2017 (current) reputation driving a van for Panther? I've seen them on the road since I was a kid, so I trust they know the business pretty well. Pay per mile? What to expect in first 6 months? "Respectfulness" to the drivers? Communication?... etc

2) Not worried about driving 16 hours at a time, I've done that for free for myself on multiple occasions, just for the heck of it. However, what do you all do for hygiene, aka showers? Are there any good solutions any of you have found out on the road. If I go a day or two without one, no big deal, but its good to stay fresh/refreshed to keep going.

3) Internet connectivity on the road? During down time, I have a contracted online job that I can do to make extra cash, but I need internet to do it. Where do you guys go for service? Are there any special services out there that make the internet accessible from remote locations? Literally a million different ways I can ask this. What's the best way to get connected on the road?

There are so many other questions I have right now, but will learn on the road. My fleet owner was very upfront with the expectations and I know what I am getting myself into, at least the basics, before orientation. Speaking of which, what is orientation like, generally?

Thanks Much!
 

Living the dream

Active Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Most of these questions should of been answered by the fleet owner who you are driving for. Best to ask him. Especially are you getting paid by mile or percentage, are u paying tolls, fuel, food, etc.. Your first yr is the worst yr, meaning you are going to learn a lot on where the loads are an the do's an donts. As of $$$ you better have at least 10k on the side. You will need it in the month of December through February it gets very slow those months. Best of luck
 

Wolfhouse

New Recruit
Driver
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Thanks for the reply, I hadn't received my driver contract when I had posted. Now that I do, here are a few questions, since you brought it up.

1) I'm getting 50% of each load. Is this better or worse (I assume it can go both ways depending on how much the load is negotiated for.)

2) 100% fuel surcharge and 100% toll reimbursement. (toll reimbusement seems pretty straight forward, but the surcharge was a little hard to understand when I spoke over the phone with the owner, basically that it was 100% up to a certain amount? Can someone explain the standard practice or, does this mean I will be fully reimbursed for fuel?)

3) I've got my food expense covered for the foreseeable future.

4) You mention $10,000, why exactly do I need that much, and where will it be going when you refer to the expenses during that time?

Thanks again!
 
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FlyingVan

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The going pay usually is 60%/40%, with the 60 going to whoever pays for the fuel. It seems like he is paying you 50% and you pay for fuel.

I don't think you will be making much money like this.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 

Wolfhouse

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Driver
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To clarify, it did say the driver is entitled to 100% fuel surcharge provided by Panther. Sounds like they will pay for it all, right?
 

Wolfhouse

New Recruit
Driver
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So, I asked the fleet owner about this and from what he said, the reimbursement will pay the full amount for the vehicle rated at 65mph. He also noted that with every run, I will be given a fuel card, pre-charged with the fuel amount. The only time it won't cover fuel is during dead heads. But the following week's paycheck, it will be reimbursed.
 
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BIGTRAIN

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Your getting hosed my man . Like someone noted research FUEL SURCHARGE . Turn it around and see how Your fleet owner responds .....seeing as how it's 50 / 50 ...tell him or her to pay all the fuel and then they can have the fuel SURCHARGE .
 
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Wolfhouse

New Recruit
Driver
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Ok, there was a typo in the contract, which he is fixing and sending, it was per loaded mile, not a percentage. At 50/50, owner gets paid 0.70/per loaded mile by Panther. I would get .35/mile, plus the .10 +/- surcharge, to use immediately after picking up the load (I'm assuming everyone who's responded already knows how this works, but I'm trying to be thorough, as I am BRAND new to this, just trying to figure it out.)

Now, as BIGTRAIN suggested, I asked for him to pay the gas, and even offered to take 40%. Basically, he said I wouldn't make more money, using the following situation as an example...

In a hypothetical, with a 1000 mile trip, at 50% I would get $350 + $100 in gas.

At 40% and no surcharge, I would get $280.

Is it realistic that I would overspend on gas by more than $70 on top of the $100 surcharge provided, where the 40% option would actually make more sense?

It seems as long as I'm within the surcharge amount, nothing will be coming out of pocket.

Please help me understand this if I'm misunderstanding, I still haven't signed anything.
 
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BIGTRAIN

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Okay ...let's try to figure this out . Lets say you get a 1000 mile run . Owner gets $700 dollars regardless . You get $350 plus the .10 fuel SURCHARGE once the load is picked up . Which is $100 dollars . Its probably gonna cost at least that to get there . What if it's a 100 mile DH ? Or more ? That is on you . Basically ...his 700 is set in stone . Your 350 is the part that gets eaten up by the other incidentals . Do to want to drive your ASS off for two days for 300 bucks ? After food and snacks and smokes .....that's 250 . Just giving you something to look at .
 

Wolfhouse

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Driver
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That makes sense. While not immediate, the owner has reiterated that any DH miles will be reimbursed through the following paycheck (I'll get that in writing).

Without experience, I can't really say what amount is worth it or not, obviously the more per mile the better. Are there opportunities in cargo van expediting that pay much more? I'm not an O/O, so I'm pretty much at the mercy of a fleet owner until I can save up and buy my own.
 

Living the dream

Active Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Let's put it this way. Go to a truck stop flying j, ta, pilot etc. Look for some panther vans, an talk to them. Find out how freight is moving, how long have they been sitting there, what position are they on the board meaning 1st out 8th out etc. The 10k is for your all bills when your not working, food, fuel to run the van for heat in the winter, personal bills at home. Health insurance too. Winter months get super slow. If your lucky you might make 2500 a month in the winter before expenses fuel, food showers. .70 per mile in a van is super low. Best of luck with panther
 
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Wolfhouse

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Driver
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What is a good rate per mile working for a fleet owner in a cargo van? I saw on another post that XPO only paid .80 per mile, in comparison .70 doesn't seem that unreasonable.
 

Worn Out Manager

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Air Force
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I haven't seen any mention of what you will be driving, van, Sprinter, gas or deisel? No, there isn't much difference between .70 and .80¢ at 50% it's a nickle. With what you describe you can live on the road "frugally" but save nothing. What bills are Left behind when you are on the road because you probably won't have extra $$ to pay other bills.

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Wolfhouse

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Driver
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It will be a gas dodge sprinter, I believe. If I did want to make enough to save/have extra $ to pay the bills, what would be your suggestions? I assume SOMEONE is making money doing this or no one would. If I could make $2500-3000/month, I would be ok with that.
 

Worn Out Manager

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Air Force
Offline
Actually, I don't know anyone that drives a van for an owner so I can't say if you/they make any money. Try it for a while, read everything you can find on here and talk to other drivers at truck stops. It won't take long before you know the answer to all your questions. Good luck, enjoy

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Wolfhouse

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Driver
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Since this is a somewhat time-sensitive situation, I have continued reading through more threads and found that most of the experienced pros, including the ones here, wouldn't go near these types of deals where you are splitting the profit not once, but twice and will be left with very little (if you decide to go the van route).

Edit: I looked at uShip, those prices are even worse nowadays. Would it be worth it for me to get my CDL to drive a straight truck? I see alot of those who say van driving isnt worth it, say that straight trucking is the way to go. What is the average pay/mile for straight truck driving for a fleet owner? Definitely not looking to go any bigger (aka tractor), and I don't care about any of the hassles of weighing the truck, etc.
 
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FlyingVan

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Owner/Operator
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If you want to make money go the straight truck route. As for rates, it all depends, but think about double or more per mile than the average van. There are a few vans that get better, and a few straights that get worse than average, but a good ball park is double the rate.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
 
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