I was an independent contractor from 1989-1996 in the transportation field and I was a dispatcher at Dart Transit from 1997 to 2004. And I would like to set a few things straight. Now I worked in trucking as a dispatcher for 12 years (I left trucking last winter to pursue management oppurtunities in another field) and worked for several companies after I left Dart. And to be honest, not one of them held a candle to Dart when it came to the way they treated people. I still have many friends there (both employees and drivers) and I think there not getting a fair shake. Now I'm not saying all dispatchers or managers are equal or I agreed with every decision I ever saw made there but I think Dart does a pretty fair job about being "fair".
First off, one thing I know is, there are many great truck drivers out there. But just because someone is a great truck driver does not make them a great business person. I have had drivers that ran 160,000 miles + in a year (That's 3200 miles/wk on a 50 week year, folks.) and tell me how they are flat broke. I have had drivers in a perfectly good truck with a reasonable payment go gaga because someone says they can get them in a new truck (never mind that your payment just went from $1300 to $2500 a month). I have seen drivers be out 6 weeks and take a $100-$200 advance out every day so they can live high on the hog and then can't figure out why their broke? I have seen the way some drivers run their business and it litterally makes me cringe. I'm talking about drivers who never accept responsibilities for their own actions, it's always somebody elses fault that their in the situation their in.
First off, I have never seen the owners of a trucking company (The Oren Family) treat contractors or employees with more respect then them. I personally know Don & Bev and all 5 of their kids (who are all involved with the business in some capacity) and these people are like family to them. They do everything they can to try and help people succeed as O/O's. But some people are beyond help (What is it Ron White says? "You can't fix stupid").
Let me tell you about a few of my experiences:
These are just a few examples. I could go on all night. But I would like to address a few other things i see in these postings. Now I don't claim to know all the details about these peoples situations, but I can tell you some things I experienced when I heard the same thing:
- I had a driver named Ezzard from Louisiana. EZ (as we called him) and his wife were supporting their adult daughter in Mississippi and their granddaughter. Money was tight at home but they were making due. EZ and I had been working together for 7 years. I sent him home one weekend to get some hometime and go visit his daughter. It just happened I was working that Saturday morning when I got a call from his wife that as EZ was taking a shower before they left for Mississippi and he had a heart attack and passed away. His wife just wanted to call and let me know and to thank me for everything I had done for them over the years. She was obviously upset and let it slip out that she didn't have the money to pay for a tombstone for EZ. I went to the VP of Operations (who just happened to be in that morning also) and talked to him. I personally watched him sign off on paying for this man's tombstone. How many companies out there do you think would do that?
- I had two co-workers, over the years, that had problems with drugs. Did Dart just throw them aside and tell them to get lost? No. They stood by them and helped get them into rehab. Once they completed it, they still had a job at Dart. I know one of them still works there to this day. How many companies would do that?
- I had a driver named Kevin from Pennsylvania. Kevin was very close to his eldery mother in Florida. He and his wife who drove team for me were in California when word came that his mother was dying. He called me and asked me to do whatever I can to get him there ASAP. I talked to management and we booked him a load to Miami for Monday (at a finnacial loss to Dart). We made arrangements for another driver to meet him in Orlando and take his load to deliver (costing Dart even more money) on Monday. Kevin was told, "You do what you need to do. If you need anything, call us". There was never any hesitation about what we needed to do. How many companies would do that?
- I had a driver named Barry from North Carolina. Barry was an A-1 jerk. He treated everyone at Dart with disrespect. I could give Barry a load on Friday in Minneapolis that would deliver Monday morning in Miami and he would complain about how we didn't give him enough miles (It's roughly 1900 miles, folks.), about how we were making him go broke. We put up with Barry's BS for years trying to appease him. Sure he made money for the company. But what a pain in the butt. One day it came to light that besides being a jerk, Barry liked to slap his wife (who rode with him in the truck) around. Oh boy, the minute that came to light, Barry was history. Dart offered to call the police for her, they offered to take her to a woman's shelter, they offered to pay for a bus ticket home for her. Unfortunately his wife declined and stayed with him. I still wonder to this day if she is still alive. But again, what company would go to the lengths they did for that poor woman?
- Dart participates in more charitable ventures then any trucking company I have ever seen. And not just with their checkbook. When there are charity convoys for disaster relief, special olympics, food drives, There is a Dart trailer there.
Well I guess that's all I have for now. Feel free to respond. I would love to see what people have to say. Thanks.
- "I have never turned down a load"- Oh if I had a dollar for evertime I heard that one. I would be a very rich man. I had drivers tell me that straight to my face and then when I show them their comment file showing all the loads they turned down, then it was, "Oh, yeah. Well I turned down those loads because they weren't any good". Of course sometimes "not any good" meant they turned down a 2500 mile load from California to Pennsylvania because they got a speeding ticket in PA in 1970 and won't go there now.
- "I never get home"- Usually meant they told me on Friday morning (in Seattle, WA) that they had to be home on Monday (in Atlanta, GA) or their wife was taking their kids and leaving, the house would be reposessed, etc. Or (I actually had this happen to me) a driver tells you he wants to be home for Thanksgiving day but is willing to take a load through the house (Kirksville, MO) because he can leave Friday. So you get him a load from Dallas to Chicago on the day before Thanksgiving that he can actually stay home till Sunday with and he gets mad because he now wants to be home till Tuesday. The he gets more mad because at 2pm in the afternoon you can't come up with another load going somewhere near his house (200 miles NW of St. Louis, MO) and even when you offer to let him take it to your yard in St. Louis and drop the trailer, then go home, that's not good enough either. Then 10 minutes later you get a call from his wife saying "my husband says your refusing to let him come home for Thanksgiving". Remeber folks, it's not just a job, it's an adventure.
- "What do you mean there's no freight"- Just because it's on a load board in a truck stop does not mean it's a good load. I have had brokers try and get me to take full loads from NJ to CA for $1800.00. Or what their not telling you is it's a 48,000 lb load of trash going to a dump and just for kicks it's a driver unload. I'm sure everyone would be jumping at that one.
- "There making me have a maintainence account"- Oh my god, Highway sales actually expects you to put aside some money for the $80,000 truck they just sold you to maintain it. When I worked there the minimum amount allowed for a highway sales truck was .05/mile, so if you ran 3000 miles/wk that's $150.00. Oh what are they thinking? Really folks? Really?
- "They force dispatch me"- Baloney, In 7 years I never forced anyone to take a load. Now I may have not had the trip they wanted at the time. And I may have made reccommendations to the driver, but every driver I worked with always had the right to say no. I also worked the frieght booking side for years and I can tell you I never "screwed over" someone who told me no, but it didn't mean I had to jump through 20 hoops for them either.
- "They won't help me get my truck fixed"- Well that is possibly true. We were not always willing in the late 90's/early 2000's to just loan out $15000-$20000 so some guy could put a new engine in his 1980 Kenworth that he was sentimentally attached to. So sometimes that statement would be true.
- "My dispatcher hates me because I'm black, asian, latino, etc."- First of all my Russian, Austrian, Hungarian, Irish, French, French Canadian, American Indian, 1/2 Catholic, 1/2 Jewish butt does not hate you because of your race, gender or sexual orientation (did I mention I also have a black, gay sister with two malatto children and my two best friends as a kid were Iranian/Indian and Japanese). It may hate you because your a total schmuck & putz, but I would still treat you as a professional.
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And that's why I read some of these posts and sit back and think about just a few of the drivers I've known or listened to over the years! Ozark71 hit it on the head!
My favorite is the "forced dispatch" line! Yes when I owned and brokered my own loads there was no such thing as 'forced dispatch" I took the money loads no matter where they went!
Then as a company driver it was their truck so it went where ever it was they sent it to as I still got paid. And over the years I did have a little say as to where I went. If I didn't want to go to FL I'd always ask "hey you have a NYC load?" and Fl was given to another driver and I got the load that paid good but no one goes there! Go Figure! In case you wonder FL sucks for loads and has for years unless you live down there! I've seen loads out of there hit the load boards for $.48 a mile as late as 1996! You can refuse the load while sitting at the counter in the truck stop and hang up and the guy next to you would say no one would haul that and I'd hand him the phone and the number and tell him to call, that it would be gone and it would be! I've made some money on bets that way!
But forced dispatch is just another load! There are times you can't pick and choose your loads! If the wheels are turning and it's a load take it! Dispatchers do remember the GOOD drivers and the ones who "Don't go there" and even "I don't want to go there I was there last week" and they are the ones who get "picked on" either because they refuse to many loads or can't make a delivery time even if the load went 10 miles!
I knew a driver that was ALWAYS late! If he had a load from the yard in Springfield, MO going to Mechanicsburg, Pa the company would call comm data and see where he fueled and it would be in W Memphis at the Petro! Asked why, dispatch would get some stupid excuse that he mis read the BOL but I found out that it was because he was actually in love with some lot lizard! No crapola that was straight out of his mouth as he introduced me to her when I knocked on his trucks door one night!
As for that race card, no dispatcher gives a crud! He has a board to run and his load status and raises depend on his quota being filled so why would he hurt HIS wallet because he has a race or gender problem? That line is pure BS and everyone who throws it down knows this! They are the ones with a race or gender problem!
Now for the "I never get home," I do believe we should get 2 days for every 7 out until the pay gets back to a respectable level! If the boss goes home or the office gets home 2 out of 5 then the ones who actually bring in the money deserve the same! My last company ALMOST always got me home when I wanted to or needed to be home if I gave them the 1 week notice they needed unless it was an emergency like when my newly purchased home got flooded 3 weeks after we bought it. The Company I drove for in 94 when my son was born had me doing local work so I could be close to home and got me back hours after my wife went into labor. This company is now gone but they were pretty good for an old outlaw company! My last was a great company untill they went all L/P so what can I say but sometimes greatness falls to the wayside.
And as he said, "what no freight?" does happen! The load boards in the truck stops can have some of the crappiest pay you've ever seen! GOOD O/O's have a few brokers and shippers they haul for and a few phone calls before they get to a receiver they more than likely have a load "preplanned" the same as any other "good" company will! I was pre planning loads back in the 80's when I had my own "headache!"
Yes I read these words of wit and take them at face value or a grain or two of salt and some of them I can read tween the lines and tell I need to get the high top boots on and others I can tell that it's a pretty good chance that it hasn't been to sugar coated or is flat out true. But from experience over the years of sitting there watching drivers on the phone to dispatch and listening to them on the CB or the dinner counter you know the companies and then you read the same in the forums and you know.
And the trolls and cheerleaders aren't that hard to spot at all!bugsy siegel Thanks this.
I just finished complaining about Swift. Now I want to brag about DART. I drove for Dart 3 years. They have been really good to me. I was a lease operator, and I probably would have been even happier if I owned the tractor outright, because then I could have turned up that annoying governor, but other than that those guys treated me well.
Why am I not with them now? I got really sick and (my Bad) no insurance. I had to lay out 6 months and go bankrupt, and that included bankrupting out from under my Highway Sales lease. They would Hire me back, but I would have to agree to pay the amount I bankrupt out from under. I haven't decided if I want to take back that debt or not. It's a nightmare going bankrupt and giving up everything in the world you have. It's also a shaming experience, so at least I would like to have survived the mess debt free.... but that's sort of an ethics question.
Avoid Dart now days..They force dispatch..ok they dont they just force you to sit or deadhead for free if you dont take the heavy loads that they offer..Now they have more and more company trucks..Thats because they have a 80% turn over on owners. I have been with them close to 7 yrs and have seen it get worse and worse..Dont go there unless you just want to buy a job. Dont expect anything close to being your own boss.
Jim the the Hut, To answer your question... more than you can spend, until you buy the fuel, pay the taxes and make your truck payment.
Ha,Ha. Seriously, the truck payment was the bad part. If I had it to do over, I would try to buy a good used tractor from Arrow or maybe Freightliner Select. Better deal than anybody's lease.
Having said that, DART paid .97 a mile + fuel surcharge and base plates, + volume fuel price discounts. (I think they pay less per mile now..everybody is starving). But I worked hard hard hard and yes, I took what they offered when it came to loads, and sometimes when there was zero zip nada I accepted .50 a mile just to move empty to a place where there were loads. Not counting the .50 miles, which were break-evens, Dart ran me anywhere from 2800 to 3200 a week. Doin' the math.... average 3000 mpw * .97 = $2910 gross per week.
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