After finishing Driving School I looked at many companies to go to work for. After much thought I decided on Falcon because they are close to home, have great home time, have free medical insurance (for the driver, costs extra for spouse and family), and OK pay during training.
So far they seem to be pretty honest. This is based on what the recruiter said and what I have experienced.
They do get you home. This is nice, especially during training
Training pay is OK, $70 a day plus $20/day for meals = $90 per day.
Training on both Manual and Automatic Transmissions.
Decent equipment, even though they run Internationals.
Training gets you experience at OTR and local. You will get a lot of practice backing, dropping and hooking, and driving in "City Traffic" especially if you do local runs in automotive (8-10 shuttle runs a day).
I assume this applies to any trucking company - but orientation is mainly "papering over" everything in which you basically sign off that you know everything and the company is not responsible for anything that goes wrong! It is boring and tedious - it can be cut to a day and half.
Automotive contracts stink, expect a lot of unloading delays - especially at a certain GM plant in Ohio. The delays are not compensated.
Typical of what I have seen in the industry, the trainers are good drivers, but not very good instructors. This is to be expected, these guys are truckers, they haven't been trained as educators - thus they are rough around the edges.
Your log will never "match' what you are doing. Expect (again I think this is typical of the industry) to do some creative logging.
Pace is slow - probably typical of the industry. When they have nothing for you to do, expect practice problems in Trip Planning (map reading!).
Trainers complain about the company quite a bit - this doesn't give you a "warm and fuzzy" about the company.
This complaint should be first - double bunking in the sleeper with your trainer is a big shock.
The sleepers are small than most. The trainee gets the top bunk and it is tight! The first night it all seems really weird - pull over along side the road with someone you just met and share this tiny space. It's weird, cheap, and isn't conducive to a good nights sleep!
If you are a newbie and live near a Falcon Terminal - give them some consideration.
Falcon is a good way to enter the industry without a lot of disruption to your lifestyle. During training you get home regularly (a night or 2 during the week, plus weekends).
I look at Falcon as way to "ease" into the industry without doing the "Disappearing Act" that is necessary with most other trucking companies.
Conclusion - So far Falcon appears to be a good choice to get into the industry. But the double bunking has gotta go!!
Falcon Transport, Co. - Youngstown Oh.
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Just a little follow-up on my Falcon experience. I was cut loose and assigned a truck December 18th. Probably not the best timing because of the Holidays.
Runs have been OK. But I am starting to wonder if I am going to get enough miles to make it viable employment. For now I am chalking it up to the Holiday.
Commodities have been interesting - anything from alloys to trash!
My truck is decent, an International with a 10-speed. Had a tad over 200K miles when I got it.
I have done quite a bit of deadheading, but it all pays the same. So it really doesn't bother me to ride around with and MT trailer!
So far I haven't hit anything (except the docks!). That is a good thing.
I am working on Creative Logging For Fun and Profit. Seems to me this is and industry standard. Do what is necessary to get the load delivered, and leave yourself in a position to get the next one.
I am committed to Falcon through the first quarter of 2007. At that point I will evaluate the situation and see if I need to change companies. If I make the money they advertised, then there is no reason to leave.
When I got into trucking,Falcon did mostly automotive contracts,and yeah a whole lot of them involved the Lordstown,OH.GM plant.Automotiver loads are almost as bad as grocery warehouses.Hurry up and wait freight.Normally all freight slows down from the last part of Dec.to about the last of Feb.So just starting out you will have some very low mileage weeks during that period,no matter who you go with.True the trainers are not really teachers,but watch very carefully how they do things,trip planning,etc.You will learn a lot.I just finished up a bad week with Roehl,due to customers taking way too long to unload trailers.I still managed to get in about 2900 miles.I know that the next couple of months are going to be very slow.,but if the freight isnt there what are you gonna do?As far as creative logging is concerned those days are about over.Even tho you do your own logging they know exactly where you are at and at what time by monitoring your qual com.If your log does not match with their times they will call you on it.I have found that logging legally and making darn sure everything matches up right I can still log 3000 to 3500 miles a week.Things they catch you on are fuel stops,toll roads,etc.They better match your log book.So it is best to forget about the creative logging and do it right.Good luck with Falcon.:smt109
Still with Falcon and have been getting decent runs. The creative logging is just pushing hours around for incidental delays - an hour here and there. I do make sure lines 3 and 4 match with scales, fuel and tolls.
I haven't had a problem getting freight, but some of the delivery times seem too slow. After New Years I grabbed a load and just starting trucking. Heck, it wasn't due at the consignee until Friday at 2AM. I could have stayed home an extra day.
The exemplary Falcon benefits are now kicking in, so there isn't much to be gained by bolting for a penny or two.
My MO is to hit the road early, and shut her down early so that I can get an easy parking slot at a truck stop. I can back into anything given enough time. But them busy truck stops at 7-8PM aren't the place to take 20-minutes blind siding!
So far I enjoy the trucking biz. Some of the stuff is goofy and unfair. The industry could use a big shift in favor of the driver, instead of the chew 'em up and spit 'em out mentality. The regulatory environment is ridiculous and seems to be a lose, lose, lose for the driver, the company, and the public at large. It's hard to believe we pay people to think up some of this crap. Oh well, enough soap boxing.
I was within a whisker of going with ROEHL after trucking school. They have to be a 1st Class organization - because you really need to search to find anything bad about them.
I tell my wife that trucking makes you appreciate the little things in life - a hot shower and shave, food besides burgers, and a warm place to take a leak in the morning!
For a new driver I still recommend Falcon as a good "break in" company. Especially, if you live near a terminal.
Geargrinder,sounds like you are pretty much doing things right.your best bet is to start driving early in the morning and stopping by early evening.It used to be you could drive til 9 or 10 in the evening and find a place to park in a truck stop.Not so anymore,by 3 or 4 in the afternoon most truckstops are just about full.I used to do a lot of creative logging,but with all of the new rules and regulations it just doesnt make sense to do it now.I find that I can do 3000 miles very easy by following the rules.Ya still have to fudge a little on line 4,but thats about it.Good luck with Falcon.
This complaint should be first - double bunking in the sleeper with your trainer is a big shock.
The sleepers are small than most. The trainee gets the top bunk and it is tight! The first night it all seems really weird - pull over along side the road with someone you just met and share this tiny space. It's weird, cheap, and isn't conducive to a good nights sleep! [quote}
A team pulls over to sleep? Boy things have changed. Well maybe thats bcause of where you guys run. Back when I was with a trainer (late 80's) I think I only remember 3 maybe 4 times that we both went to sleep at the same time.That was with 3 different trainers over a 6 wk period. We went coast to coast (werner).BUT none of the 3 differnet trucks I was in had a double bunk!!! It was either head to toe or one across the doghouse, or if it was a hood, me across the 2 front seats.Guess who always got the front? Taht didn't happen often thou, like I said, MAYBE 3-4 times. The rest we were truckin big time miles.The grossest time was when my third trainer,who NEVER zipped up the bunk curtain, bought himself a "Bigg Jugs" magazine. Well he climbs in the back to sleep, along with the mag., and he ZIPS UP THE CURTAIN!!! Oh my god I bout ####!! Just imagine what he was doing back there!
I was just about to put up a query on Falcon, when I came across your thread. I'm starting to look at them with a great deal of interest, primarily because they have operations in Youngstown and West Middlesex, which is very close to New Castle PA, where I'll be moving to in a while.
Could you please tell me what their payscale is, for both newbies, as well as for someone with a year or 2 of experience ? Also, what routes do you run, and what is the hometime like ? Do you need to do a lot of hand-bombing, or is it primarily drop & hook ? This aspect is an important consideration for me, as I have a bad back. Lastly, when you say "double bunking", what exactly do you mean....in the sense that, how is it different from the way it's usually done ?
Thanks in advance.
They starte newbies at $0.31/mile. Top scale is like $0.41 not sure how long it takes to get there. I run General Commodities - pretty much takes you Texas and Eastward. No NYC, but quite a bit of Jersey. The General Commodities freight is usually heavy - 40,000+, resulting in some slow driving through the Appalachians. I have never touched the freight (except once and that was my choice - either i ran the pallet jack or waited for some little girl to unload the trailer).
There is some drop and hook. But there is a lot of live loading and unloading. The live loading can take forever. I have sat for 12 hours waiting to get loaded, then they tell me it's a hot load! I treat that freight with the same sense of urgency it was loaded! To answer your question - no you don't have to do any loading or unloading.
The double bunking was strictly during training. The trainers trucks have two bunks. The sleepers are pretty small to begin with, and when you add a second bunk things get tight!
My only gripe to date is weekend pay. They supposedly have a policy that you get $32 a day if you are out over the weekend. I haven't been able to collect that yet - but I am pursuing it.
They pay for showers and you can get one motel during the week and both nights if you are out the weekend (of course finding motels that can accommodate a tractor trailer can be a challenge.
As with any driver, I would like more miles (especially considering I run two weeks at a time - i have been averaging a tad under 2500), them to honor their policy of weekend pay, and to get me home every other Friday.
From what I hear freight is slow, so hopefully things will pick up. Also I am still relatively new, and it probably takes a while to build a relationship with a dispatcher.
Dispatchers are a screwy breed, some are a bit arrogant, some are mealy mouthed, and some actually feign concern - but they all (the ones I have come into contact with) suck in developing even the most rudimentary business relationships. They may as well be telemarketers.
I know if I was a dispatcher I would take 10 minutes to get to know my drivers (just the vitals - marital status, kids, education, DOB, interests, etc.) and keep an index card on them and occasionally ask hows the family, golf game, dart game, or whatever!!
I know they are busy (jeez - who isn't?). But for Christ's sake they do the same thing day in and day out. If you can't put a job like that on Auto-Pilot then you are incompetent.
So there you have it, and probably more than you wanted!! Good luck.
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