Helwig is a trucking company based in Terrell, TX that hauls refrigerated freight. They have a little under 400 trucks and just one terminal. As an owner operator I may not include much information about their company drivers, but I'll tell you what I know.
Requirements: 1 year of OTR experience in the last 3 years and your truck must be 2012 or newer.
Owner Operator pay:
$1.50 per mile plus fuel surcharge (currently somewhere around $0.60, but it changes every week). $1.10 per mile empty, no fuel surcharge.
Layover: $100 per 24 hours. Not great, but a lot of companies don't pay O/O layover.
Detention: 75% of what the customer pays
Stop pay: $20 for every stop other than first & last. 90% of loads are one delivery only.
They pay twice a week. If you scan paperwork by 5pm Tuesday, you'll be paid for it Friday. If you scan paperwork by 5pm Friday, you'll be paid Tuesday.
- Bobtail insurance: $34 weekly
- Physical damage: 3% of the value of your truck yearly divided into weekly payments. i.e. $70,000 truck: $2100÷52=$40.38 weekly.
- Occupational injury insurance: $40 weekly
- Maintenance account: $50 weekly until it reaches $1000
- Fuel tax $0.01 per mile, reconciled quarterly
I will also post a picture of the states that they run in. I may have left out some details, so feel free to mention anything you think I missed and I'll try to add it.
- No forced dispatch
- 2800-3000 miles per week
- 60% drop and hook
- Plates and permits covered by Helwig
- EFS fuel card
- Tolls covered by Helwig
- Outward facing camera for owner operators, outward and driver facing cameras for company drivers.
- Helwig does not govern O/O trucks.
Now, on to my experience so far. The Friday before my orientation, the owner himself, James Helwig gave me a call. I was quite surprised he would take the time to do that when I haven't even started orientation yet. He talked about founding the company 42 (I think) years ago with just one truck and pointed out that meant we have something in common. He asked me if I had any questions for him and I was kinda speechless so the only thing I really asked him about was if they were privately owned. He said the company is owned by him and his son. I guess that's why it's called J.S. Helwig & Son, lol. Overall he seems like a decent guy that does not want to distance himself from the drivers like many company owners seem to do. He said that his door will be open and I can call him if I have any problems.
Sunday I checked into the hotel provided by Helwig around 3pm and I gotta say. It's a pretty #### nice hotel. No complaints yet. It's also only 1.5 miles from the Helwig terminal. The breakfast provided by the hotel was pretty good as well. Monday morning (today) the shuttle picked us up at 8am. When I say us, it was one other owner operator and 4 company drivers. We went straight to the clinic for drug screens, however there was no provider at the clinic so we couldn't get our physicals there. Helwig is one of those companies that makes you get a physical regardless of when you got your last one. I got mine a month ago and they still wanted me to do one. No big deal, only slightly inconvenient. After our drug screens we headed to the other clinic and arrived there about 10am. It was a pretty busy clinic so we ended up waiting at least 2 hours before anyone in our group was seen. By the time the physicals were all done, it was after 2pm. Helwig provides lunch every day during orientation, but we didn't get to eat until about 3pm thanks to the busiest clinic in Texas. The shuttle driver was in charge of lunch, but he does give us options. It seems that they don't cheap out on lunch either, which is nice. We went to a small local cafeteria style place today and it was pretty good. By the time we were done eating they decided to call it a day and brought us back to the hotel. The shuttle will pick us up again at 8am tomorrow. I was supposed to drive my truck up to the terminal today after the physical, but there wasn't time so I assume I'll be driving it up there at some point tomorrow.
J.S. Helwig & Son
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I have some more information about company drivers. Their trucks are all Freightliner Cascadias and I think (don't quote me on this) they all have APUs. I saw thermoking APUs on them so I assume all the trucks probably have them. I think they're all automatics, but I'm not sure. Drivers start out at $0.55 per mile and it goes up to $0.56 at 6 months then $0.60 after a year. Then, it goes up one cent every year with a cap at $0.65. These numbers get raised regularly for inflation including the cap.
The second day of orientation they picked us up at the hotel at 8am and went to the terminal. One guy realized he left his glasses at home in Laredo. While the company drivers were getting a road test, myself, the other O/O, and glasses guy went back to the hotel. Me and other O/O got our trucks to take them back to the terminal. Then I find out I need a Texas inspection in order to run their plates. They can't do inspections on O/O trucks, so they sent me and the other O/O to a trailer shop less than a mile away that can do it. We passed, I needed a scale ticket so the other O/O headed back to the terminal and I went to a QT down the road for the scale ticket and went back to the terminal.
Then we went to lunch. Another local place and this time it was like home style cooking and Tex Mex all in one. I got beef fajitas and it was delicious. After lunch, me and the other O/O had to go up to the Texas Tax Office to apply for registration. The safety guy filled everything out for us, so all we had to do was hand it to them. Oddly enough, even though Helwig is getting the plates and paying for them, I still had to pay $33 for this process. When we got back, we gave the paperwork that the tax office gave us back to the safety guy and went back to the orientation room with the company guys. The COO talked to us about how things work around here. Drivers are always held accountable, when possible, for leaving trailers damaged or needing repairs. He stressed how important it is that we do pre and post trips on the trailers to make sure we cover our behinds. I like this because what I'm hearing is that they make sure they take care of their stuff. I don't like dealing with junk trailers. That was pretty much it and they brought us back to the hotel just before 4pm.Last edited: Oct 26, 2022
When you find out what packers such as tyson , jbs Cargill etc are paying helwig you will be very disappointed in what helwig is paying you.
I'm not saying it can't be done but you are getting the short end of the stick .
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