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Warning about Fleet Owners

bernieh48

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Just a friendly little heads up to new drivers or ones looking to go with a fleet owner or any owner for that matter. Please make sure the owner is there with you when you are picking up the truck. And make sure you have a check list you go over with him or her as to what the truck has on it and any damage if any. If you do not do this it will come back to haunt you later on down the line when and if you go to quit with the owner. And this includes picking the truck up from other drivers that are getting out of it. If the owner themselves is not there they will listen to what their other drivers are telling them about the truck and not you. Just a heads up!
 

jjoerger

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Army
Offline
A picture is worth a 1000 words.
Bring a camera.

Sent from my EVO using EO Forums
 

geo

Veteran Expediter
Charter Member
Owner/Operator
US Navy
Offline
also bring a friend along to cover your back
 

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
Offline
The best thing you can do is create a continuous video doing a complete walk around of the vehicle both outside and inside. Make sure the video runs without pausing the entire time. Should any future disagreement arise a video expert should be able to affirm the video is complete and non-stop which should eliminate any doubts.

As an aside, the same should be done at one's home, both outside and inside non-stop. Additionally, your possessions should be on display in the inside meaning jewelry laid out and zoomed in on, cards with serial number placed on or next to things like tv's, stereos, computers, cameras etc.. It should be kept in a secure place outside the home so it can't be destroyed in the same disaster that might destroy the home. Insurance companies sometimes pay off much more quickly if they know there is video evidence to confirm claims.
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
I had an owner drive a truck to me once.
It was missing the agreed upon hood mirrors.
I gave them two options
1) take the truck back home
2) wave my deductible if I were to clip a pole,fire plug, etc.

After the fleet owner asked "Are you on crack ?" I said I gave you two choices.

They bought the hood mirror.
They were pizzed at the time but later said they respected the fact that I put it out there in plain and simple terms.

If you've got a desirable team remember the owner needs you as much as you need them.
Get things right from day one.
Be straight with them if you expect them to be straight with you.

I drove the previous owners truck from Carrier Frt Wayne to Bolt , 6 or 7 miles, and walked away because it was in poor condition.

I called him, said I initially see about a dozen things wrong,five which need to addressed before we go in service.
We didn't see eye to eye, so I walked away.
I won't bad mouth the guy in public.. His good looking SST's just aren't very well maintained.
It cost me money to walk away.
Nowhere near as much money as it would have cost me to go to work for him.
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Miss Kat has a horror story about returning a truck to a bad owner.
Hope she checks in.
 

bernieh48

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Also make sure you get anything said to you by owner as far as who pays for what on paper too signed by both parties. That way if they tell you before hand that they pay for hotels when the truck is in the shop they can't come back when it happens and say no they don't like they did with us.
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Also make sure you get anything said to you by owner as far as who pays for what on paper too signed by both parties. That way if they tell you before hand that they pay for hotels when the truck is in the shop they can't come back when it happens and say no they don't like they did with us.

That stuff should be in the contract you signed before you started.
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
You should video the pick up and drop off of the vehicle along with paperwork to show damage when picked up and dropped off.
 

ATeam

Senior Member
Retired Expediter
Offline
This is good advice but it is easier said than done for someone brand new in the business. You will likely have already traveled some distance to get to the truck. Your old job is behind you. You need to get into a truck ASAP and you want to get along well with your brand new fleet owner who you probably do not know well.

It is a scary time getting into your first fleet-owner truck and it takes a lot of courage to insist on the actions mentioned above. It is also difficult if you have no experience. You may be laying eyes on a real truck for the first time and it will take a little while to learn what to look for.

Experienced expediters sometimes forget what it is like not to know. It's easy to give advice like what is mentioned above, but we need to remember that it may not be easy for a newbie to follow that advice.
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Phil is right.
If you're new,read here and ask questions.
Get the contract sent to you. Ask questions.
Find a mentor if you can. Ask questions.

Old or new, it's better to get out of a bad deal before you get into it.
Unfortunately an experienced driver will see a bad deal easier.

That's why you need to do your homework.

Never been to EO university. Do they cover what should or should not be in a contract ? Like paying for an APU ?
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Sad but true, to many never bother doing the slightest amount of research then there are the questions you never knew you should ask. The first 3 things I would recommend for research are EO, Google, and Rip Off Report.
 

Bruno

Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
US Marines
Offline
Contracts/leases are the best way to go. Get everything in writing so there is no misunderstanding down the road. Owners should take the time to go over the contract/lease with the contractor. Everything should be explained up front on paper in writing. What you want from them and what they want from you. The truck should be gone over by both parties and if and damage is seen it's marked on the inspection of the truck. Take pictures of the truck before the drivers leave with the truck and take pictures when they return it. We just had a team leave us because they bought their own truck. I was really happy for them and they returned the truck all cleaned inside and out. This was the first time EVER we had a truck returned to us in this shape. Most drives will clean a truck but, this truck looked show room clean. Thank you Bill and Tammy Prince for your time at Mayfield Express LLC.
 

xiggi

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Another reason as often advised when talking to a fleet owner to ask for several previous drivers contact info. If they don't want to give it to you walk away.

Sent from my Fisher Price - ABC 123
 

MissKat

Expert Expediter
Offline
A guy wrote a question about how to get into expediting on one of the blogs on EO. I looked up his email address and sent him this email just now. Thought I would share it so you all dear readers could add to it. Kat.


Hi Gene. I see you are in Missouri, Kansas etc. A lot of folks do not read those blogs on EO. I think that is why you have not received an answer to your question. My husband and I drove TT team for 9 years total, but two of those years was in a FedEx Custom Critical White Glove straight truck for two different owners. The last gig was with Panther driving a show stopping W900 and reefer trailer.

Go to the classified section on EO and start answering some of the ads. Owners are desperate for good drivers. Solos make less money and here is why - expediting means emergency. Teams can drive 24 hours a day, solos not so much. Someone forgot a part and needs it overnight. A hospital needs drugs for inventory asap. It is not LTL or TL freight (I know I worked for Western Freightways for two years and that is a great company with more miles than you can count on, a good hire on bonus. They are in Denver, owned by New Century. Getting newer equipment now. Look them up and call them - they do not care where you live and you can take the truck home).

As a solo in expediting the dispatch is dicey. First, the company your owner is signed on to bids against all the other expediting companies to win a load. Then whoever wins sends out the load offer to several trucks in the same area as the freight pickup. Depending on what it is, how long you have been sitting there, whether dispatch likes you or your owner, you may or may not get the load offer. Then you have to decide whether the destination is a good area for emergency freight or not. If not, like Laredo, you will sit there for a week until the same scenario happens all over again, the bidding, the load offer, etc. You will wait two to three weeks for your first paycheck and the owner will charge you back usually the first paycheck for the orientation usually three days at the carrier anywhere from $75 to $150 bucks. You will need the customary physical and drug screen. Most requirement hazmat. If you have a long form physical that is six months or newer some companies will accept it. Panther conducts the physical and drug screen first two hours of Orientation. You fail you leave. No one pays you to go home.

Most owners will NOT pay you to go to Orientation. It is on your dime. You get a sandwich and a donut and dinner is on you. Some owners will pay for a room while you are there. I have attended Panther and FedEx Orientations. Most drivers never see the truck they will drive until they have made the trip to the Owner's garage or to Orientation. If the truck has issues, you usually have no options. Call Greyhound or ask the Carrier's recruiting department if there are any other owners that might need your service RIGHT NOW.

You are an independent contractor under agreement to drive someone's truck. No taxes are withheld, no insurance benefits, no paid days off, no breakdown pay. If the truck breaks there usually is not another truck for you to drive. You are out of service until the truck is made to run. You can sometimes take advances on your pay for the first two or three weeks depending on the owner. Most likely it will be $100. Think about how many cigarettes or hamburgers that will cover.

You will need a cellphone, a gps, a good sleeping bag, and a cooler. Some owners I am reading do not allow you to idle your vehicle. This means no heat or air while you are in your government required (if bigger than a van) rest period. Find out if the owner is going to charge you rent on the APU (on board generator) if there is one.

Here are some questions to ask when you are responding to the EO classifieds:
1. Who are you leased on to?
2. Give me the names and phone numbers of some of your drivers, past and present.
3. How do solos do with your carrier?
4. Can you tell me the average number of days in 2012 the vehicle was in service?
5. Do you keep maintenance records on your trucks and can I see it for the one you want me to drive?
6. What equipment comes with the truck? (APU, Fridge, Chains, GPS, TV, mattress, etc.)
7. Who is on call if I have a breakdown and about how long does it take for decisions to be made by the owner after estimates?
8. Is there ever a time you the owner will reimburse me for motel expenses, tolls, etc.
9. Do I call in with each load offer for awhile and how long will it take for me to be able to accept on my own?
10. Will there be someone available 24/7 with your company for me to consult with in the event of necessary and emergency communication?
11. Do you have a written contract with your drivers? Can I review it before I commit to you?
12. What additional fees do you charge your drivers weekly? Workman's Comp Insurance, equipment rental, qualcomm fees, advance fees, paperwork processing fees?
13. How do I get paid? Direct deposit? Is there a charge for this? Comdata card? Is there a charge for this?
14. Do I have to pay for my own deadhead fuel up front? What is the allowed deadhead mileage in your fleet? Do I have to pay for fuel to go home?
15. How long do I need to stay out before I can get to my house to pick up my trucking gear?
16. How long can I be off duty at home before I have to go back in service?
17. Does the carrier use paper logs or electronic logs?
18. Do you have prepass in your trucks?
19. Do I have to pay upfront for tolls? How long will it take to be reimbursed for them?
20. Can you provide interior and exterior photos of the truck you expect me to drive? Was the last driver a smoker? Did the in cab air filters get changed?

I am sure many more questions will be suggested on EO to this message, Read all you can on the site about expediting. It appears that a lot of folks are waiting for the beep this month. That means, waiting to bid or accept a load in order to move, in order to get a paycheck in the next two to three weeks. Some carriers do not do the bid system, but I have not worked for any of them.
Kat
 
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Bruno

Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
US Marines
Offline
Just a friendly little heads up to new drivers or ones looking to go with a fleet owner or any owner for that matter. Please make sure the owner is there with you when you are picking up the truck. And make sure you have a check list you go over with him or her as to what the truck has on it and any damage if any. If you do not do this it will come back to haunt you later on down the line when and if you go to quit with the owner. And this includes picking the truck up from other drivers that are getting out of it. If the owner themselves is not there they will listen to what their other drivers are telling them about the truck and not you. Just a heads up!

Your bashing of Fleet owners is not very becoming of you Bernieh48. Not all fleet owners are bad. You drove for Ken Jackson and a few other very respectable owners in this business. I don't know what or who your mad at in this world, but this is not the Bernieh48 I know. Shame on you.
 

Bruno

Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
US Marines
Offline
Geez Bruno. So soon forgotten LOL

I was talking about in a D unit Misskat. Yes, when you returned our tractor it was spotless and you could eat off the floors. Sorry sometimes I need slapped up side the head to remember things. Tricia says Hello we are getting a few more trucks to add to the fleet. No tractors.
 
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