They're starting a team operation (home weekly) out of Phoenix Arizona. Can anyone offer any info on the company and how they will work the drivers?
American Furniture Warehouse? ?
Well, here's my story on it (and I'll give the full story here for people considering AFW - I kinda feel obligated). Honestly, my experience with them started off really good. They treated me well, never shorted me on a paycheck etc. But then the older truck I was being forced to drive (07 Cascadia, with about 800k miles on it) started falling apart. That's when all my issues started, and from there it went down hill.
Jake Jabs, pays his mechanics about $15 per hour, when the Colorado average is well over $20 per hour (and in Denver, $15 an hour MIGHT keep you from starving/being homeless). So basically, we get the crappy of the crappy - and the mechanics rarely, fix, anything. Here's a list of some of the things I wrote up at LEAST three times in the same couple months, before anything was repaired (and this is the short list):
*High-Low range selector on shift
*Brakes were out of adjustment on drives
*APU would start up overheat, then shut down (I lost everything in the fridge more than once)
*Headlights were out of adjustment (I had to show the mechanics how to adjust them)
*Clutch rattling and worn out/slipping/riding high
*Drivers seat was shot/leaked air/slid around all over the place
*Dash/overhead mounting was about to fall out of the ceiling
*5th wheel/jaw-casing was shot, from the day I got in the truck
So basically, the last straw for me was when I had to pull an older trailer through Illinois. When I tried to pull the tandem slide handle, I couldn't get the pins to stay released. After several hours, I decided to chance it, (since they don't like it when you're sitting on the side of the road and have to call a mechanic). Needless to say, I got an overweight ticket, and had to pay it. Naturally, the company wouldn't help. It was $500 out of my pocket, because mechanics won't do their job.
The big ticker though, is about 1 month before that, the 5th-wheel mechanism on the same tractor started going out (was really -loose- feeling around the kingpin of any trailer/would rattle and rock back and forth). When I informed dispatch of this, I was told to take all my things out of my truck, and put in another old beat up, worn down truck that'd been sitting on the lot for God knows how long. Yeah seriously, that's what they wanted me to do, the whole time I'm off the clock, in order to make a trip from Colorado to Mississippi. When I asked them if I could just wait a day or two for the mechanics to replace the 5th wheel on my truck, an individual by the name of Braxton, got a real nasty attitude with me, and said "uhhh we don't sit around waiting for our trucks to get fixed around here".
So, pissed off about how my day off got wasted, and now having to go in early to pull all my stuff from one P.O.S. truck and put it in another, I roll on up there. This other decade-old truck can't pass a brake test/warning light doesn't come on/valves don't pop out at low pressure etc. I notify dispatch of this, mechanics inform me "it's a faulty sensor". Obviously, I know that's bs, I've been trucking for over 15 years. But I'm trying to work with this company, because thus far I really like them. So I roll with it. Unfortunately, I make it to Oklahoma, the 5th wheel on THIS truck is doing the same thing, due to old age and mechanical neglect, as well as a brake buzzer going off and on, and being awakened in the middle of the day soaking wet because A/C doesn't work, after I've driven all night. I make it to the Freightliner place there, and between FL and AFW arguing back and forth on the phone about who's going to fix what, I end up stuck in Oklahoma City, for not one, not two, not three, but FOUR days.
Anyhow, I called and was respectful, and gave them my notice (and I fulfilled that notice). The company's policy is, as long as you give a notice/leave on good terms, you can come back "once". I had to get a break. The bs was making me furious, and I was literally starting to risk my CDL by driving their equipment. I waited a couple months for them to finally get some newer trucks in, went back to apply, hoping things had changed. Nope, and I'm not driving for them anymore.
You can become the best driver they have; the one they call on when anything goes wrong. You can be the one they have bring paperwork all the way across the country, to make another truck road legal, because a rookie forgot to check for inspection stickers. You can be the one who can drive any time, any place, to cover a dropped load, or when someone quits on the spot (which happened aLOT considering we only had 30-40 class A trucks at the time). I'd drive through blizzards when no one else would. I'd do Los Angeles drops back to back, when no one else would. I'd sit in Arcadia, Wisconsin, sometimes 2-3 days at a time not getting paid, waiting for Ashley Furniture to load my trailer, and I never once complained. None of it mattered though, because eventually, one day I decided to stand my ground and say "I cannot do this anymore, it's unsafe". When I did that, I became trash to them.
When you walk in the door, they'll try to tell you that "safety is their number one concern". It is for the "saftey director", Mike. He's a good guy and takes his job seriously, without being an ****ole. But even his hands are tied. He has zero control over the shop mechanics. Stan, the fleet manager, is one of the nicest guys I've ever worked for. But, even he has zero control over mechanics. Both of these individuals once drove for AFW, and from what I know, they took office jobs to avoid burnout or worse. Still, they're two of the few decent people at AFW. Believe me when I say I did not want to leave this company, but it was either them, or my CDL. The DoT is not playing around with this bs anymore, and in the end, the -driver- will get screwed. Ultimately, Jake Jabs doesn't make his billions by paying people what they're worth, or keeping his fleet up to date. Most companies update their fleets every 2-3 years, and they aren't making a fraction of the profits Jabs is making. Most of Jab's best solo OTR drivers, were in 7-8 year old trucks that have been falling apart for years, when I left. From what I hear, they may finally be starting to update their fleet. But for most of us, that time came too late (especially for those who'd been driving for AFW for years).
So there you have it; the good and the bad with AFW. They say they want the best, but when the best show up and try to do the best job they can, they find out real quick what AFW is about, and just how important professional drivers are to the company. And once that happens, there is no coming back from it.
To them, you really are a number. If you value your CDL and wish to keep driving, my advice is to avoid these people.Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
Had a confrontation with one of their drivers at the Petro in York, Nebraska once. I was turning right, as the vehicle with right-of-way, he was turning left. Instead of waiting, he cut me off.... I stopped literally less than two feet from t-boning his truck. Then he proceeds to talk #### on the CB radio, then confronts me with a tire thumper in his hand. I didn't escalate the situation - not out of fear of that guy, but because I was packing a .45, and really didn't want the situation to get that carried away. I called AFW, the person on the phone was extremely brash and rude. I called the Colorado Springs store and immediately canceled the $3500 order I had pending with them. Likewise, when they tried recruiting me as a mechanic through... Indeed, CareerBuilder, or some other site, I reminded them of the incident and pretty much politely told them to #### off. After that incident and their handling of it, I'll never work for them in any capacity, and they'll never see a dime of my money. This was in July or August of 2011, and the truck number was 540. I could never take that company seriously after that. .
I'm surprised he even talked on the CB. Most of them either don't run one, or don't bother to respond these days. And yup, that lines up. 540 is the range of the old trucks (500-700ish). Would have been an OTR/fleet truck in 2011.
Ah well, their loss. You be safe out there driver!