Hey all. Long post warning. I've been driving for 5 years, most of that as a company driver, and the last one as an owner/op on my own authority. I chose to go power only for now so that I could use this time to build resources and buy trailers. When you're power only, just about any of the mega carriers have their own program for that, which is fine, but you end up running like a company driver, depending on who your with. Enter load board apps (Uber, Convoy.) They offer a little more freedom. Makes you feel like you're doing whatever you want. None of this post should come as a surprise to any of the veteran drivers here. It's more of a warning for new guys looking for greener grass.
First off, Convoy advertises their load board as some sort of revolutionary system, both in the way they get freight to carriers, and in the way they treat carriers. This is true to some extent, but they're still a broker. Remember that. You're told when you sign up that they have a carrier rating system, which works as follows:
You do good work for them, you get the privilege of bidding higher on loads and winning those bids.
You get FREE QUICKPAY with 100% app use and 100% tracking (It IS quick, I'll give them that)
You start canceling loads (called fall-offs) and your score is impacted. You get three fall-offs. Third strike, you're out forever.
It takes running 50+ loads to remove a fall-off from your score card.
You also get to use their trailer on back hauls for loads from basically anywhere else, just as long as you get it back to the originating plant before the cutoff time (usually two days)
No hassle, automated bidding (I believe that's a sham as well)
Secondly, their biggest customer is P&G (Procter & Gamble) and their power only is centered mostly out of three plants, to my knowledge... The only three I've run out of, anyway:
Kansas City, KS
My normal runs have been out of KCK to the other two plants. I started pulling for Convoy around three or four months ago. Not a terribly long time to be running for someone. At the beginning, it was great. I won bids left and right for $1,000-$1,200 a pop, getting around 5-6 loads a week, daily. That was KCK to IL, an 8 hour round trip, then home at night, and since I live near the P&G plant, that's perfect for me. Vandalia, OH isn't bad either. I started at about $2,200 round trip. The loads are split, meaning your $1,000 round-trip bid turns into $461 there, and $539 back so you get paid twice on one load.
Eventually that has to come to an end, though, and they started calling to negotiate rates on loads I had bid on. In order for me to profit from it in any way, the minimum I decided I could take is $900, KCK to IL. That's $300 for fuel, which gets me there and back to fill up again on the next one. A grand turned into $950. $950 turned into $920, and that into $900. Until just two days ago, I got a call on a bid, where they offered $800... $150 less than I had bid, and my answer was no. And here's what happens when you say no to Convoy...
Because ever since, I've lost bids left and right. I've bid very liberally, my lowest being $880 KCK to IL. You still have to run, right? Before, I would win bids on loads from KCK to OH, anywhere between $1700-$2000. This morning I bid $1900, and lost by $800. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS BIDDING $1100 ON SUCH A LONG TRIP?! Before you say anything, yes, I've used their trailers for return trips through Uber Freight and other load boards to make up for it.Eventually we'll be pulling loads for $100. They're going to see how far down they can get you to go.
And here's why I think their "hassle-free, automated" bidding is a sham: There is SOME ONE sitting at a desk looking through all of those bids and either accepting or denying them. I've never won a bid at night, to my recollection. It's always been during the day when someone is there. I've had reps tell me on the phone that my bid is the most aggressive and will win. And it's always the same guy calling me about my bids. Hey, get a real job, Connor.
P&G has a specific way of distributing empty trailers. Their first priority is reloading for other destinations. Anything left over after 1200 is up for grabs, and with that many suckers going through the gate, you can imagine how long you have to wait for an empty. If you call Convoy to convey this information, their customer service team will tell you that they'll call the facility and confirm the information, and will call you back when an empty is ready. This has never, ever happened for me, and every time I've talked to someone at P&G, not one has ever said they received a call from Convoy. Ever.
I've always opted to sit at Flying J for an hour or so, then call the guard shack myself. That's how I've gotten empties when none were ready. It isn't always that bad. Usually it's in and out, 15 minutes drop and hook. But Convoy doesn't convey that information to you. Instead you're lead blind into it believing it's in & out always.
It isn't all their fault. There's too many cheap, sh***y drivers out there who don't know what they're doing and will take anything that has a dollar sign on it. But you don't understand how that hurts the industry. It's your faults. And yes, a lot of it is systematic, meaning they're weeding out the good guys and working in the bad guys who take all those cheap loads. I've sat at the Flying J Denny's there in Edwardsville, IL and talked to a number of other drivers about this. Guys who I was just in the shipping office with waiting for an empty.
Look, long post, but here's my warning- It's gonna be great for you at the beginning at Convoy. But a few months in with them, and they'll start working you down and out of their system completely. Doesn't matter how shining of a driver you are. Their score card system is meaningless and is a front for getting you to believe how good they are to you. They don't give a sh** about you. Don't work your ##### off for these guys to get nothing back in return. Please leave your comments about them here, good and bad experiences. AND SAY NO TO CHEAP FREIGHT!!! JESUS!!!
Revolutionary, my ###...
A warning about CONVOY, the app...
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I had an offer 2-3 months ago to work as a company driver for Convoy out of Kansas City, grossing $1000+/week, dedicated route, 95% of the time on I-70 across Mid-West, drop and hook, almost as easy as it can get, I can't remember was it home daily or every 2 days.
I wish you had a better luck with being O/O but it sounds like some other stories I heard, it seemed great in the beginning then drivers went back to being company drivers. Several times in the last 1-2 years I got to talk with Owner Operators telling me about good monthly paychecks they were getting from mega companies and how I too could make good money being O/O, it ended up matching my pay as a company driver for the same mega companies (my top pay as a company driver for a mega company with all bonuses included was around $1600-1700/week). As a company driver I did not carry the burden of expenses on my shoulders that comes with being O/O like when the truck breaks down.
Maybe O/Os would have a better luck by creating/owning their own digital marketplace rather than working for the tech start-ups with no organic growth funded by hedge funds and operated by programmers/code-makers or working for mega companies' internal digital marketplaces. If 20.000 Owner Operators would invest $20.000, it's $400 million to create a digital marketplace funded by people with hands-on experience/knowledge of the trucking industry.
This attitude is the exact reason that nothing will ever change.
I've been driving 30 years as of the end of July so I've met a lot of you drivers.
All truckers should start acting like we're more special instead of just getting bent over year after year.
Doesn't seem like they operate much different from carriers that hire company drivers. Get you in with promises & keep you happy for awhile but sooner or later have to move on to the next new joe & hope you will settle for mediocre paychecks
jmluke1 Thanks this.
I have had my own problems with Convoy and as far as I'm concerned they can go to hell. I don't feel like writing all that again I'd have to copy and paste it from the other thread if anyone is really that interested but they suck.
They can shove it.
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