I've been driving for Tandem for four months and feel like I can give an educated opinion about the company, so here it is in a nutshell:
Good pay - I started at .36 cpm (loaded & empty w/ 1 yr exp.) with a 2 cpm per mile performance/fuel bonus payable on every anniversary.
Good miles - I average 2600 to 2800 per week & home every weekend, with the option to stay out over the weekend for a guaranteed minimum of 1000 additional miles.
1000.00 orientation pay - 200 @ the end of orientation, then 400/400 the following two consecutive weeks. A catch to this is if you quit before 6 months of employment, you have to pay back the 1000.
Insurance - Very good BCBS health, prescription plan, vision, dental, AFLAC at a decent cost. I have the best family plans offered (no AFLAC) and pay less than 100 a week for all of it. Company paid employee insurance is offered.
Company matched 401k is available
Orientation is held in Michigan City, IN (which is 0800 Monday - 0800 Thursday). A car ('07 Ford Taurus sedan) was rented for me to use as transportation from NC. Another vehicle was rented for me to use as transportation back home after orientation ('07 Kia Sonata).
I was seated in a truck the Monday following the end of orientation.
Vehicles are available for your use during orientation free of charge to do whatever you need to do.
The terminal is close to many good eating establishments and a really nice mall. You are given your own room, free wireless internet and the dayroom/drivers lounge has a big screen tv with surround sound.
Check their website for other terminals.
The company uses Freightliner Columbias and a few Volvos. You will most likely be issued a Freightliner. The (Freightliners) trucks are comfortable, but not as powerful as they should be (more than 30k on the deck and it starts noticeably dragging - 45-50k on deck & it's just pitiful). I started with a flattop and was issued a midroof a month later.
The Freightliners are spec'd with 435 hp Mercedes engines and Eaton Super 10 transmissions with the "lightning top two" gears. I can't comment on the Volvos, but I hope they put a better transmission in them.
They use 48'x98" East trailers and 2" portable ratchet straps as well as chains & binders. They are currently phasing out these trailers and going to East 48'x102" trailers with the 4" winch straps - a move I think they should have made many years ago.
They offer breakdown pay, detention pay (after 2 hours), tarp pay (plenty of it), paid tolls (IPass), reimburse for scale tickets and give you 20.00 a month for your cell phone (not much but better than nothing).
They also have paid holidays, paid vacation, and work with you when you need time off. The terminals are all open-door policy, just call or walk in and talk with whomever you need to. Pay discrepancies are handled immediately. They use Trip Pack Express for your paperwork every week.
Lack of power of the trucks and the silly 2" straps aside, I have no real complaints about Tandem as of this posting. If that changes ya'll will be the first to know.
My Tandem experience thus far...
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My husband drove for Tandem for a total of 12 years up until last August. The only reason he quit was because he had taken a nasty fall several months earlier and the tarping and climbing was taking its toll on his body, so he switched to dry van. The company itself was fantastic.. treated their drivers like family.. not just claimed that they do. I can't really say enough good about them! I wouldn't be surprised that if and when he gets tired enough of his current companies BS, he goes back. At that time they didn't have much for teams, would be cool if they did, though!
Tandem pays short miles, so you should anticipate not getting paid for about 20% of the miles you will drive.
I finally got issued a trailer with 4" winch straps. Out of the 12 straps that it was equipped with, only one was fit for service. The rest were frayed and/or had cuts, holes, etc. I'm still trying to get some of them replaced as of this writing.
Tandem's website boasts "Power and comfort" when speaking of their trucks. I'm fairly comfortable, but I'm still waiting for the power. Their trucks are weak, slow and poorly thought out. I have a pickup truck in my driveway that has more horsepower and torque than Tandem's trucks have.
All things considered, I still believe Tandem to be a good company over all. Heck, they even sent my wife flowers (expensive ones at that) for her birthday.
Granted, I have problems with my dispatcher (usually as a result of them being lazy or inept) and the severe lack of power of my tractor sometimes drives me nuts but all thing considered they're a pretty good company and I could have done a lot worse with someone else.
Alright, I'm sold. I'm sorry none of you will receive the recruiting bonus for hooking me, but I do appreciate the info.
I've heard horror stories about the Super 10, but truckin' is about the experience, right? It can't be about the money! Ha. Once again, thanks.
To GungHoGal's Husband... I don't dispute the fact that Tandem is a good (if not absolutely great) company to work for.
Sure I could get some straps from Michigan City, In fact could get pretty much get any piece of equipment I wanted there...If I were ever actually ROUTED to Michigan City. I'm dispatched out of Savannah, GA and very rarely ever see Mich-City.
I don't know how Tandem was when you worked for them but nowadays we don't go wandering wherever/whenever we feel like it. They would consider that to be "excessive out of route miles" regardless of the excuse. Fact is, I do the best I can with what I'm issued, period.
I am always empty by 6-8 am and have never had a choice of loads. In fact, when I'm empty that early in the morning I usually end up sitting around for a few hours waiting for someone to get their act together since my dispatcher doesn't show up until 7-7:30 EST and Mich City is an hour later than that since they are in CST.
I have driven trucks with 13, 10, and 9 speed transmissions and the "super 10" tranny is pure and simple a super piece of crap. I believe that Tandem gets a discount from Freightliner for putting that boat anchor in their trucks. Show me one owner-op spec truck that has a super 10 in it and I'll eat my hat. You shouldn't need to eat the whole turd to figure out it's not a crab cake, my friend.
Wrinkle - You could do a lot worse than Tandem. No other company will pay you a "No Load Pay" of 120.00 if they can't saddle you with something. I hope you get to orientation soon. Doug is a really great (if not kind of weird - in an interesting sort of way) guy.
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