Thought I would share my experience and thoughts since I've been here, as there isn't alot of info about CRST Malone.
Why I choose Malone;
What I wanted was to get the experience for flatbed, being OTR and learning freight lanes. I felt that this was the best place for me, it may not be for everyone.
- I had only run tanker up to hiring on here and wanted to stay with something a little more physical than swinging doors.
- I wanted a walk away lease option in the event I didn't like flat or being an O/O.
- I like the fact they have a "full warranty", yes I pay .15$ per mile but I haven't had to worry about any repairs thus far. Which was something I didn't want to have to learn while learning a new job and trying to find freight. Not everything is covered more on this later.
- At the time I thought I could run mainly Texas... later on I realize that's not possible, more later.
Orientation was supposed to be 4 day's in Oklahoma City, turned into 5 day's. With that said some advice before going to orientation.
If I had to do it again I would have had my recruiter verify all my employment and ensure I was hire-able Before I left to orientation. The reason for this is one O/O was booted on the first day by safety, on the 2nd so was someone else for something on there record, on the 4th day (I believe) there was a guy who sat at our table who said he had everything checked before coming and what do you know he was cut, told to come back in 3 months when what ever it was dropped off his record.
The bad about orientation there was only one instructor and most of her time was working on getting things verified, asking drivers for info they already provided and numerous other task's including training us how to strap, chain and tarp..Oh My.
I started orientation on October 26th;
The first day was the basic stuff do more paper work, drug test, watch a video or two. The second day we watched another video I believe and did a little trailer work. The third and 4th day were fairly much the same. I came from a construction management background before driving truck and felt the whole process was disorganized and confusing.
A word to the wise check your attitude at the door, if you've done flat OR Think you know flat work keep it to yourself so those of us that don't know have the opportunity to learn. One guy in our group knew it all and at one point I asked him to be quite as he kept talking over the instructor, this lead to a later confrontation which ended with the threat of both of us being booted.... we later kissed and made up but haven't kept in touch I wish him the best.
I'll post more later
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They still have charged me for repairs even with that 15cpm they get (it's on my statement). I haven't bothered to ask them what that was all about because I'm leaving anyways. Learning freight lanes? Is that what it has come to? The key to success is to work harder in areas far from your home, go home much less, and hopefully get people to like you enough to throw you a bone every once in a while? You can have it... I'm working harder by securing freight and making 1/3 what I'm used to. The funny thing is, I LIVE in an area that is so called a "good freight lane ", and I still see where this leaves much to be desired. It sounds like a silly ploy to me. The company is doing bad so in a desperate attempt to assure drivers that there is still a way to make a living they use a term like "freight lanes". I have a better term for them, "total quality logistics".
I can only speak to my experience as for the freight lane issue, yes at the moment staying out is the only option as TX freight bites on price. Indiana area has freight along with OH, IL, PA, WV, MI, KY... etc. My FM gave me access to truckstop.com and I can tell you Malone freight pays more than any load I've called about on any of the load boards.
Unfortunately, TQL is not on the approved broker list...they do have alto of freight! Who knows what it pays I've never called.
Okay try and wrap up the orientation stuff;
You are not paid for orientation, if there was a bonus offered when you sign up you ( at least I did) will get 50$ on Tuesday and part of the rest on Friday. I received 50$ and than 700$.
However, you are charged 100$ (50% of weekly) rent for your trailer even though you don't have a trailer or truck yet (if doing a lease purchase). You are also charged for the weekly portion of some of your expenses like 2290, securement equipment etc.
I point this out because the add and recruiter said no payments.... no Truck payments for 3 weeks. That is the rub it is Truck payments only everything else starts before your really even hired. Additionally, the Truck payment 3 week deal includes the week you're in orientation.
Some trucks were at the yard, mine wasn't so they got me a rental card and added 170$ for fuel to go get mine which was in Dallas. My trailer was supposed to be with the truck but it wasn't.
So since no one knew where it was I deadheaded from Dallas to San Antonio for the weekend and get everything in the truck. They found my trailer at a drop yard 8 miles from where I picked up the truck on late Monday afternoon.
They pay all the motel fee IF you room with someone else, if you want your own room you need to pay half the rate, which was around 30$ a night.
Some guys were put up for the weekend after orientation because they didn't have trucks. I can't say for sure but having been in management for years, it appeared that those who didn't have a plan or crappy attitudes were left without trucks. However, I can't and won't swear to that, as said before check your attitude at the door.
Lastly, if you come to any company broke and think you'll make money being an O/O.... You're wrong. You need at least enough money for two months bills at home AND enough to fill your truck full of fuel AND enough money to cover yourself on the road for at least 3 weeks. Any less than this and you stand a good chance of failure.
Do yourself a favor if you never pulled a flat, go through either JJ Keller online securement class or Alabama Coil Securement certificate program (http://metalcoiltraining.com/). You don't have to but it greatly increases your knowledge of proper procedure. As stated before the training you receive is very basic and just enough to make you dangerous, imho.
Inspecting your Truck, Trailer & Securement equipment.
You will receive a sheet of paper for each of these that you need to file out and report any damage or deficiencies. It is important to take your time and check everything and note even the smallest of issues. If not you could end up paying for this lack of detail down the road. This is a 2 edge sword because at the same time you're trying to get on the road to earn some money.
However, go through everything related to your securement equipment no matter how new it looks. If your tarps are torn or just heavily used request new ones you're paying for them. Double check your straps, as an example I had some straps that were brand new I checked 3 of 4 and then found the fourth was cut beyond use about 20ft in from the end. I payed for this and have to pay to replace.
Order a tarp repair kit, your going to need one.
The trailer wasn't bad but I have had wiring issues that have caused me to be late for loads and drop some loads. I'm not sure I would have caught this at the time as much of the problem is corrosion which is hard to see unless you take wiring apart. Trailer rent, yes rent, is a whooping 200$ per week.
The truck I received is a 2013 Cascadia with a DD15. You do not have a choice in your truck, however if you don't like it they say you can request a different truck. They were letting guys get trucks through Quality Leasing, I don't know if this is still the case.
I am fairly happy with the truck I received, one of my concerns was having a 10 speed and this concern has proven to be a real concern. I didn't like 10s in the oilfield and I don't like them OTR. I look forward to being able to buy my own truck with a 13, someday. So far I havn't had any real issues with the truck. I have it it the shop for poor fuel milage and hopefully to have an overhead done.
The .15$ per mile warrenty, so far CRST has been very good about getting things repaired when needed. A overhead is not covered under the warranty, However I was told that if recommended by a dealer or approved freightliner repair shop they would cover the overhead. I talked with the main tech at freightliner and with almost 500K he said it needed one so I'll see what happens.
As far as I can tell you don't receive any of this maintenance money back if you leave, so use it to your advantage and keep your truck running smooth as possible.
Since I've been here I've meet drivers who have been here anywhere from 2 months to 15 years, almost all are happy and appear to be doing good. The only real complaint I have is in orientation they tell you to stay in the box which is a line from the Texas border north to the Illinois/ Wisconsin line straight across to the atlantic coast and cuts back across North Florida just about the Tampa area.
This is the area they have freight and I can not disagree with this area having loads, but I live in San Antonio and have wondered why they would recruit from an area they don't have much freight. Really peeves me because getting home and out again is costly.
The Load Board and approved brokers;
There is an approved brokers list but unless those brokers have public load boards getting access to any private or login required load boards good luck. It is very difficult to have your FM provide any information to sign up. I have been trying to get access to the CHRobbinson load board and can't even seem to get access to that even though I've pulled loads for them and they are approved. When you sign up you have to have the address that malone used to create the account but my FM doesn't seem to know what address was used.
Malone load board is very basic and is simply a list of loads and contact numbers. You can not set alerts, search is a real pain, simply put it is barely usable and is so basic that finding loads off there is an exercise in patients as well as a complete waste of time. Yes, the loads pay better off this load board. I think it is important when starting that you find a load where you want to go and find a load that is available the day you get there, or at the very least take a load to a place that has several loads listed the day you are looking at the load you want. If you see a great paying load you better check your destination for loads if there aren't any within a 100 mile radius you're going to DH for that next load. Remember this cost you fuel and .15$ per mile.
Being from Texas at first I didn't think much about DH since everything is a drive in TX anyway, this has come back to haunt me later on and now I pay more attention to my DH.
Word of Caution, sometimes the load on the board isn't really there! I commented on another post where someone was saying the same thing and slightly disagreed with the OP, however this has turned out to be true. I had a situation where I parked early for a load in the morning only to find out that the load canceled, before I knew this I called the same broker (crst malone broker) to ask about a different load that's when he said the load I'd waited for had canceled, he said the other load was good to give him time to get the load sent to Qcom. I said okay grabbed a bite to eat. When I came back still no message (I should have called) so I head out to pick up this load. I drove 80 miles and stopped to check something on the trailer. I thought I would call the broker he tells me that load has canceled also, So I drive up the road to find a safer parking area and start looking. I see 4 loads 25 miles from my current location, none of those loads where available. A couple of considerations,
1) Don't move without a load confirmation
2) The brokers are brokering loads so sometimes the owner/broker finds a truck to haul the load.
3) The malone load board is behind sometimes so that load could be gone already.
Your FM isn't your babysitter nor your dispatcher! You are in the big leagues now baby act like a man. If you expect your FM to find you loads talk to the agent & book the loads, then you should go back to driving company.
I say this as a result of a guy I meet in orientation. We have since become good friends, however he left after about 3 weeks. He has told me that his FM wanted to book his loads and hold his hand for the first 60 days. I understand why he was leaning on his FM so much that's what the guy said to do.
In the end it hurt him more than it helped. Most of the FM's have 35 or more drivers and just can't babysit everyone. It's your job to run your business for profit, not theirs. I described the area's that Malone has freight so use that as a guide. If you stay in these area's and plan ahead you'll do fine. If you sit at the house waiting for that perfect load or take a load out west or southern Florida you're going to enjoy lots of DH and cheap loads... good luck with that.
In my next Post I'll talk about setting yourself up to track your expenses and stay organized on the road.
If you contact your fleet manager and keep communication flowing they will push back any payments that the computer takes out if you waited for a truck etc, and credit you. More than willing to help, PM or comment on my thread.
Interesting.... I've never interacted with any Malone drivers. But over here at expedited I've seen more than a few company expedited drivers hauling flatbed trailers.
I was thinking about hopping into Malone, can you describe the line a little bit better? I'm in New England, do you guys get freight up there?
Depending on where in New England you are would have a factor in freight, but as a rule count on DH to PA for your loads out and loads to PA to get you home.
I searched tonight just to see what was in NEngland nothing coming out and 3 loads going to MASS. There are loads coming out of there and loads going to NY, NJ and the NEngland area etc., I wouldn't count on being where a load home is when you need one. There are loads to NJ most days of the week.
PA would be your meal ticket always frieght to from & around PA.
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