Mercer or Landstar, yes this again...

Discussion in 'Mercer' started by CactusJay, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. CactusJay

    CactusJay Light Load Member

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    Hi all. I know this question has been asked previously, but not recently and things change so I am hoping to get advice here...

    I wonder if there are any O/O Flatbedders that would let me pick their brains.. Did my first year and change with Prime flatbed division, now looking to lease on to a real company with better rates. It has come down to Landstar and Mercer at this point. I've been accepted to both.

    My average this year for all dispatched miles (loaded and empty) was around 1.37/mi. That's 48 state OTR and running wherever forced-dispatch says to go. Pretty sure I can do better on my own, hopefully 10-20% better or more.

    Anyway, can anyone offer any insight as to which company might be better as far as load availability and average rates? Seems like LS could have a bigger freight network, but maybe with a 48' flat Mercer might have more loads to run. From what I've read, the culture at Mercer seems awesome, but I feel like I'm familiar with the better lanes and wouldn't mind booking my own loads at all.

    I own my truck (well, most of it.. The bank still owns some too, heh) but don't have a trailer. If I go with LS, planning on buying a trailer before I start if I can find a good deal. If not, might just rent one of theirs for a few weeks until a deal pops up.

    I guess the big question is: Which company would have more loads available and of there is a small difference in freight rates, who's would be higher with a 48' flat?

    This time of year is rough, I know. Probably the worst time to switch companies because freight is relatively scarce. I can't take Prime's forced-dispatch, did my one year and I'm out. Guys that don't buy into their lease program get the loads only after company drivers and lease ops have been taken care of (my opinion)..

    Any thoughts/advice/criticisms? Might get a 53 foot step or even a sliding-axle 53' flat if I can afford it, but need to be CA and FL compliant so I can chase the best rates. Seems like 48 footers have the best load availability however, which is key.
     
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  3. Old Man

    Old Man Road Train Member

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    You can be Florida compliant for $30 a year.
     
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  4. CJndaTruck

    CJndaTruck Road Train Member

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    Rates can be hard to figure. I do know that often we (Mercer and LS) get the exact same rate and have many of the same loads and brokers. The biggest difference is the culture and fees.
     
    skellr Thanks this.
  5. CactusJay

    CactusJay Light Load Member

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    That's great info thanks good sir.. I have talked to a few Mercer drivers at shippers and we talk rates sometimes.. I am usually blown away by how much more Mercer makes than Prime drivers are making on basically the same loads. It's sad how Prime gets away with paying drivers so little. Take them in and run them hard when they're new, I wonder why any Prime flatbed people stay for longer than a year. They have a profitable training program for people that don't mind training, but you get even worse rates going that route. Crazy.
     
  6. CJndaTruck

    CJndaTruck Road Train Member

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    Well all the Megas do it. It is robbery and whatever you choose will be a huge step up from Prime. There is a lot you can learn about both companies on this fourm. I would suggest doing a lot of reading if you haven't already. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  7. CactusJay

    CactusJay Light Load Member

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    Yessir I've done a lot of reading, gone thru that 1300 page Mercer thread and keep up on this forum regularly. It feels like you can't go wrong with either company. I appreciate all the advice you give on here. Not just here in this thread, but in general on this site. Thanks
     
  8. spyder7723

    spyder7723 Road Train Member

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    We have the same customers, and the rates are with in pennies of each other. Some of the time I'm making a few cents more, other times they are. I think it boils down to the little perks. Such as, I'm paid within minutes of delivering, that's a big one. ifta is not just filled, but it's paid with no charge backs. Trailer purchase vs trailer rental for the same amount. And the people, with very few exception, I get along wonderfully with everyone I deal with at Mercer. jesus, we call our safety director uncle lenny. how many companies do the drivers have such good feelings for the safety department?

    Obviously Mercer is a better fit for me. That doesn't make landstar bad, it may be a better fit for you. Only you can know that.

    Edit to add: oh my freaking god, did you really say you averaged 1.37?! My worst months were so much more than that. You need to make a switch today. Don't put it off, you are leaving way to much money on the table.
     
  9. CactusJay

    CactusJay Light Load Member

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    Heheheh yeeppp. With regards to just line haul, my average for this year reads 1.25/dispatched mile on my settlements. That's loaded + DH miles. They pay a small fuel surcharge at Prime, varies with fuel costs of course, but it almost always ends up being about half of our fuel cost. Last week the F. Surcharge was about 9 cents per dispatched mile. Earlier in 2015 it was maybe 15 cents, so I just averaged it out over the year. Overall somewhere in the vicinity of 1.37/dispatched mile. Maybe a few pennies more, if I ran "favors" - that isn't included in that number. Plus tarping is kept separate. However stop pay (I believe) was included in there. I know, its cheap ### freight. Bad for all drivers when companies run that crap.

    We do run their trailers and they take care of all trailer maintenance, so that's one perk. Still not worth the poor CPM runs though. Next time you see a Prime flatbedder you should give him/her $5, they are likely starving..
     
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  10. CJndaTruck

    CJndaTruck Road Train Member

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    HAHA. Maybe I'll just hand him a card.
     
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  11. jacquesi23

    jacquesi23 Medium Load Member

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    The guys I have spoke with over at LS said their stepdeck freight was real big there an that If anybody was to come aboard they would do great with a step
     
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