Part One - Due to Character Limit
Loyalty is not a virtue I hear spoken of any more. Loyalty is right next door to 'trust' and nothing good happens without trust. I trust and respect the people I am working with and I believe that trust and respect is returned. It has been a long time since I could say that. My fault; I should have trusted my intuition long ago that the culture and mood of a place is of central importance. I'll spare you the philosophizing and get to the specs, the points, the specific stuff you want to know. But I ask you to consider how much mutual trust and respect you are getting and how you feel about that.
Type of Freight
90% flat beds (I am not clear what all the vans do, no reefer)
About 40% Conestoga - collapsible "flex" trailers that are 13.5 foot high and open completely back to front or front to back.
We haul mostly aluminum and steel and fill in some back hauls with lumber, shingles, cement, etc with occasional "odd ball" stuff. About one hour per day of physical work is required and you will sweat and get dirty - it's flat bedding.
* Areas of operation range from the North East - not the bad NE, so far as I have seen - (Virginia, W Virginia, Up State NY, N Carolina, Maryland) to the North Mid West (OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, MN, NE) to some south-ish states (KY, TN - a lot - GA, AL, MO - a little). There is a Terminal in FL too, but I do not go there.
* Main Customers are: Alcoa, Nucor, Novelis, Kaiser Aluminum, Reynolds, US Steel and an assortment of steel and aluminum fabrication companies the above major producers deliver to.
Our main customers have high standards - you will never see Roehl, Millis, Maverick, not to mention bottom feeders like CRST or Swift at these places. At Alcoa in Alcoa TN only two trucking companies are let in, Fraley and it's main competitor, Louden County Trucking, once in a while, I see another company, but rarely. This is GOOD! It means Fraley has secured some very valuable accounts and that is how they pay well.
Compensation and Pay Structure
Fraley is a "percentage pay" company. I like the idea that driver and company are one team in pursuing profit and that the profits are equitably shared. This is also more meritocratic: work harder and make more.
* Base rate is 27%; high productivity will get you paid at 30% which comes to a 10% increase in pay for the same work.
* Average income of $2200/ week is a reasonable goal for those who run out their 70 before going home. sometimes do a little more, take some 10 hour breaks and some 12 hour breaks and who take 60 hour "week ends" but occasionally less. It takes 6 or 7 days to run out my clock. When things are going smooth, I average about 90 cpm for all miles. Some weeks may be lower. Worst loads (maybe one in ten) will pay low as 65 cpm; decent loads (about 4 in 10) will pay 75 to 90 cpm; Good loads (about half) pay about $1.15 to $1.40 per mile.
+++empty miles pay nothing, remember, this is percentage pay+++
+++these are my own experience, your mileage may vary+++
* Top earners are getting above $140k/year - they make the obvious sacrifices, work fast and also have the knowledge to avoid the delays and problems caused by inefficient planning or bad customer information (more on that later)
* Detention pay varies depending on customer or broker (we do some brokered loads). I got $70 for three hours (after 2 hour window), and I have got nothing. I have had difficulty collecting detention pay here however, I rarely get detained at customers. Also, some loads pay so well and the customer is so central to our business (Alcoa, for instance) that the company does not want to hit them up for detention and when you are getting paid $1.34/ per mile, you maybe just "suck it up".
* Layover pay is only case-by-case. Planner and Fleet Manager will tell me, "there is no layover on percentage pay", then I go over their heads to an Op's Manager who almost always pays me. The reason always was that planning blew it and made me sit - Op's agreed, I was owed for that but there is no policy obligating them so, I hope you have good diplomatic skills. I will say more about this later.
* Break down pay is $200 per day - a good deal if you can manage to break down at home! I just got a one week break down vacation.
++++ Part Two Below ++++
FRALEY & SCHILLING IS EARNING MY LOYALTY
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++++ Part Two Below ++++
* Safety bonus is 3% of gross, paid annually
* Medical - this is a little complicated. Basically, $10/ week gets you 100% coverage after a $6,500 deductible! Still, you are saving about $4,000 per year in premiums (for single insurance), so I think it is good deal. After one year of employment, there is a more traditional option but I actually think this one is a good arrangement. Dental is another $6/ week - I don't remember what you get
* Tax free medical savings with the company kicking in $800 per year. You never pay taxes on this money, so long as you spend it on medical. Also, medical services are at the much lower, negotiated rates.
* 401k matching is not much - about $1500 to $2000 per year - still, free money
* Per Diem - this is great!, it makes at least $100 extra dollars land in my bank account every week and lowers my tax bracket for another $50/ week net pay.
* Holidays - about $500
* Vacation - accumulates over first year to two weeks at $200/day (I think) and the rate increases with longevity - I don't recall other details
* Sick pay - They never mentioned this but I just discovered (after 6 months) that I have 34 hour sick time accumulated - I presume it is also $200 per day.
* Sign on bonus is currently $12,000
With these above average benefits and tax savings, a $2200/week gig with Fraley is the same as a $2500/week job at a company with typical trucker benefits
* 80% Kenworth T680, 20% Cascadias - all automatics
The auto trans in the Kenworths I drove seem "next gen"; they function well and have a manual mode (which I use liberally and aggressively)
* Mid roof - about 6' 5"
* Most are 3 yrs or newer but many are older.
* Every truck I got in was immaculate - they do full detailing and you do have some input - if you really do not like or you want a certain truck, they will try to accommodate you.
* most are small sleeper but if you are insistent or you tell them you are taking a rider, they will get you the larger one - as available. This is about weight (they also have only one 110 gal tank) my rig can take up to 53,600 lb.
Honestly, I do not mind the small sleeper - I was dubious but really, it is OK - they will take the passenger seat out and this makes enough room for me.
* supply your own fridge ($90 at Walmart or $800 at Petro - you choose)
A mixed bag, some terminals are better than others. Knoxville, TN lacks leadership and you will stay in the hotel for too long (or ask for another truck - always an option).
Rushville, IN is good but they are always over worked and you might wait there too.
Referral bonuses are not just for drivers - find them a mechanic or dispatch candidate and they will pay you for that too!
Over all, I am OK with the maintenance - it is just hard to find willing workers nowadays and that is a problem everywhere.
* Roadside maintenance is pretty cool and flexible - a couple times, when the shops or planning was failing me, I just asked the road side guy to approve the shop of my choice in my home town. All the admin people are reasonable and pragmatic.
This is so important and Fraley & Schilling - despite a few holes in their system - have a GREAT company culture. Every one seems to get along very well. All the people I deal with are friendly and respectful.
* Zero micro management - no calls from Safety or Logs. Dispatcher never calls me. No messages to answer. They send me the assignments, I go do them and that's it. If there is a problem, they are very responsive. Weekend dispatch is handled by one of the Op's managers and those guys are very easy to work with: decisive, knowledgeable and empowered to make things happen or just hand you money to make up for some egregious "suck" - if you know what is reasonable and how to communicate it.
Here is an example of the good culture in action:
In the first few months, I was not earning what I thought I should and felt this was due to errors from planners and bad customer info. I was averaging about $1700/week and doing 5 days per week.
* First, I just started appealing to Ops Mgr for extra pay due to (what I considered) unnecessary lay overs - they gave me the money
* Next, I told Ops, I wanted to move to a different terminal, in search of better planning - they moved me over right away.
By that time, I am averaging about $1850 per week - not good enough!, also I was staying out longer and offering more flexibility to try to get my pay up.
* Finally, I went to the Head Operations Manager for a sit down chat. I criticized his planners and the quality of the customer information. I criticized the sloppiness I experienced trying to collect detention pay and some of the absurdly long dead-heads I was getting. I was assertive but polite. He listened carefully and just agreed with me on everything. Very hard to argue with someone who agrees with you! He said, "I will keep an eye on the planning you get" "I will speak with your main planner and make sure you are not being dead headed too much" "I will call you every Tuesday at 2:30 to discuss how your week went".
He did all these things. He would spend any amount of time on the phone with me and never failed to call for our weekly conference. Dead heads went down, pay went up significantly; also, no more having to call and ask for a load. In the course of our talks, he clarified a lot about the company, what they struggle with and what they are trying to improve. He was not the only one to go to considerable trouble to accommodate me and help me be successful. I am grateful and my sense of loyalty is growing.
A certain take-away from the above story is that there is (IMO) a "sorting process" at Fraley. They are NOT top heavy on the management - my dispatcher has 36 drivers - and so, they do not and can not monitor everything to a high degree. What this means is, you have to be involved and you have to learn the system. It is up to drivers to correct customer information and few bother - but dispatch will make whatever changes I tell them to (how's that for trust and respect?!). There is a sorting process where the go-getters make themselves visible and so get more careful attention - it does not hurt that I have the number 1 CSA score - they are big on safety here and fire a lot of people, so don't F up. If you are not detail oriented about your plan and how you manage your week, and you let things go on "auto-pilot" you will have a different experience (and make a lot less money) than if you are sticking your nose in a bit and raising your hand - and doing it with professionalism and care. I still get faulty customer info and planning still makes mistakes (like not making a required appointment) but I usually catch these things now. I frequently call customers and I take a lot of notes.
This is not a hand holding company. You decide when to shut down, when to roll, when to go home and for how long. You decide what routes to take. There are usually no appointments, just shipping/receiving hours and you may have several loads on you which you had better plan carefully so you can be productive and not cause a problem on Monday that you wont be aware of until Thursday. Generally, no one is watching you so you've got to be a person who can manage yourself. If you are, you will likely be very happy here and making great money.
I hope that was helpful,
"God bless us, every one!"
- Tiny Tim
Seems like a solid place to work. I still get regular texts from the recruiter Johnny with home daily and home weekly options. I still have the OTR itch, so I don’t see myself taking up the offers anytime soon, but all their drivers are respectful on the road and the pay seems good.
300/day for a home daily position, and a home weekly that supposedly averages 1700-2000 with a 12k sign on bonus.
The flatbed drivers seemed to be happy. As for the rest, it was substandard to me. I complained about transmission not being able to use manual mode to prevent going to ecoast down a hill to safety twice and what i got got was "let me look into that". Dispatch seemed entry level. Perhaps there was a mass exit before i was there, as most i talked to were young.
To be fair, this was the beginning of the pandemic and freight slowed way down. After i trying to make thing to work and hearing "let me look into that" from people. I left and stayed home 3 months to be non essential like others refusing to workdogtrucker Thanks this.
What a great write up. Though at my age and 13 months from retirement I would never make a changeover to that type of work, I can’t help but say how exact and concise your write up was. Good luck and safe miles!
And they do pay referral bonus ...just so you know ...ya know.
Just keep in mind, to make the good money, you got to be on the ball and have some hustle and focus. But the lanes are pretty good - a lot of scenic driving and the customers are (mostly) superior.Lonesome Thanks this.
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