HHG veteran, Class A rookie

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by Touch Freight Freddy, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm glad to say that I recently earned my Class A CDL. I got the permit on my own in April then received on-the-job training through an Atlas Van Lines agent before taking my road skills test at the DMV, a route which I hear is soon coming to an end for new drivers.

    I have an incurable manual labor addiction an working for a van line is the ideal job for me. As of now I have over 5 years moving experience and the only other jobs I could see myself doing would be in-home delivery or LTL.

    So I'm in a pretty good place right now, just waiting to get Atlas certified so I can do interstate moves. Until then I will still be an hourly employee making pennies on the clock, but for paid CDL training I think it's been worth it.

    They've told me that home time is flexible, and this has been confirmed by other drivers who have been here longer than me. Some go out 2-3 days at a time, others 3-4 weeks. I told them I'd do up to 5 days out (I have a wife, baby, and one on the way), and they said that would have me doing work mostly between here, border states, and borders of those states.

    While the flexibility sounds great, it also comes with some ambiguity about the pay that I can realistically expect. When I've asked about pay for interstate drivers, here are some examples of answers that bosses and coworkers have given me:

    "It depends on how far you want to go."

    "An owner-operator can gross 300-400k."

    "Owner operators can net 100-120k, company drivers 60-80k"

    "It depends on how you manage your business."

    "Driver X's pay check could cover everything I owe!"

    In other words, nothing relevant to my personal situation and requests. While I'm sure that there is truth to what all of them are saying, giving me gross figures, telling me what someone could possibly make, or what another driver who spends two months on the road at a time could pay off for you doesn't really give me any meaningful insight. Since each job is individually priced, and expenses like fuel vary by time and location, I understand why giving exact numbers is difficult, but I'd still like to have a clearer ballpark idea.

    Does anyone else have experience running household goods on a regional, home weekly basis as a company driver?
     
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

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    @Sharky88 can probably give you some accurate advice.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    Would love to hear from @Sharky88 or anyone else who has insight, thanks!
     
  5. Sharky88

    Sharky88 Medium Load Member

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    OK well first off are you a company driver? Are you a contractor? Pay in the moving industry is normally a percentage for contractors. The percentage can be anywhere from 65 - 77% of retained revenue. Retained revenue is the money left over after corporate and the booking agent take there commissions. What you usually make is around half of the gross number.

    Is it possibly to gross 3- 400k a year? Absolutely, but that js your gross number you have to account for truck payments, fuel, labor, insurance, etc. Figure half for expenses and the rest is yours. That's house hold, for spec com your keeping around 65-70% no labor.

    This is just a crash course basic idea of revenue generated for an owner operator, as a company driver you get what you agreed to work for. 15-20/ hr. Start out as a company driver and ,earn the ropes. Later when your comfortable get a truck if you like and then you can make better money but you also have more responsibility.

    Now to the second part. If you want to be a mover and think you can only go out for 5 days. Keep moving along this is not for you. Most mover head out in April or may and come home in November. Why? Because people move in the summer. Kids have school. You said you have 5 years in the business so you should know this. That is not to say that a mover will not be home a few times in that period but you can't count on it. If you want to just be a ,oral driver that's fine but you will usually be just an hourly employee.
     
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  6. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    Company driver, commission is 43% before expenses. Only working hourly if local (intrastate and destination <35 miles from origin).

    I don't know if my agent/dispatcher is atypical, but being OTR continuously April-November is not how most do things where I work.

    The owner-ops I've talked to have given me the following (rough and variable) schedules:

    -4 weeks out, 2 back
    -3-4 weeks out, 1 back
    -2-3 days out, sometimes as much as 1.5 weeks out

    The guy who just retired and did the type of routes I'm hoping to do exclusively drove a company straight truck. He was never gone more than a week.

    One o/o told me that until I'm either willing to go out for a week or more at a time, or have my own tractor, I'll mostly be limited to the straight trucks. As I've mentioned though, they have me do locals with tractor-trailers already, so I am building experience there.
     
  7. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    And yes, winters are typically slower, although that's been less the case since covid.

    So, I guess my question would have to be narrowed to:

    -What is a an average interstate moving bill, crossing 1-2 state lines?
    -How much do expenses typically add up to for a company driver working for 43% commission?
    -How frequent will jobs be throughout the year?

    Current inflation and other factora throw a lot of things out of whack, so I understand hard numbers are impossible here. Just hoping to hear a ballpark, but I may just need to live it and learn.
     
  8. Sharky88

    Sharky88 Medium Load Member

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    Your working for an atlas agent right? Never worked for them was with Bekins for a while and have been with United / Mayflower for the last 20 years. 43% as a company driver before expenses hummmm. Do you pay fuel and labor then? If so your not making much. Especially with guys here I. The states wanting $200 a dY and ain't worth a ####. If your schedule is like that then that's great but my experience is we were gone for the season. I do special commodities now and am home every 3 weeks or so. I make the same or more then a household driver and a whole lot less headache

    The rate will depend on the tariff and weight. Or if there is a contract in place for corporate customers. Are your Job pack and load or just pick and drop? Are you paid for the pack jobs? If so at what rate? Are you responsible for packing material? Labor? Claims? Insurance? There are a lot of factors involved. Also I have never worked as a company guy.
     
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  9. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    The answers I know at the moment:

    Yes, all my jobs are pack and load. I'm paid for the pack jobs but not sure of the commission.

    Responsible for labor, claims, and fuel. Vehicle insurance, maintenance, and repairs are of course on the company, but that's about it.

    At Two Men, the driver percentage was a pitiful 12-15% with only one helper, but we were responsible for nothing. So the 12-15% was pure profit, hotels and per diem all paid for. It worked out to about $150-200/day. I just say this to give you a reference point of where I'm coming from, if I can net better than that out of 43% gross or basically, if I can out-earn my help, I'd consider myself doing fine.

    $200/day is the going rate for labor per helper around here, I've been paid this myself by one o/o who does stay steadily OTR (plus he bought breakfast and lunch for the crew). That's easily the steepest expense.
     
  10. Touch Freight Freddy

    Touch Freight Freddy Light Load Member

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    Got some more clarity today...

    So both o/o and company drivers get their fuel expenses fully reimbursed.

    Not sure if these numbers look good or typical, but having fuel covered definitely takes a good bit of the bite out.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Sharky88

    Sharky88 Medium Load Member

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    Your getting 100% of the fuel surcharge not your fuel being paid
     
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