Pneumatic Tanker Independent Contractor - US Transport

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by kds_5280, Oct 12, 2023.

  1. kds_5280

    kds_5280 Bobtail Member

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    Anyone here ever worked for US Transport as an independent contractor or company driver? Currently I run an end dump and am thinking of trying to sign on with them as an independent contractor when things slow down this winter. They have a terminal in the next town over from mine.

    A lot of their drivers are local and run daycabs, but not all of them. I'm not sure if I'd be home a lot of nights or if they'd have me stay out longer running regional. I know they'd require me to have a truck that can run ELD, run under my own authority (which I have), and would provide training on loading, unloading, etc.

    I'm not familiar with the pay structure for pneumatic tankers...specifically for hauling cement powder or fly ash. Any insight on that, this company, or running pneumatic tanks as an O/O is appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. TNSquire

    TNSquire Medium Load Member

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    Decatur, TN
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    Some dry bulk pays really well, some is horrible and you’ll wear out your equipment going broke.
    Do your homework on costs and revenue before committing to that company.
    The companies that run that stuff (cement and fly ash) around here have ragged out equipment that’s always broke down on the road.
    Guaranteed I’ll see at least one of their trucks with the hood up every day, and they don’t have that many trucks.
    There’s better paying commodities out there, like pvc powder, pellets, and nylon, but getting into that is like winning the powerball. The companies that have those contracts tend to keep them and are locked in for a long time.
    But, once you’re in, unless you’re totally inept, you’ll be riding the gravy train on biscuit wheels.
     
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  4. rbrtwbstr

    rbrtwbstr Road Train Member

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    in the bush somewhere
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    While I can't comment on US Transport or running tanks as an O/O, I do have a little (15 years ) experience as a company puke with hauling cement and fly ash, among other things that these tanks haul.

    Biggest piece of advice I'll give right off the bat is invest in hearing protection. I don't care if it's the cheap foam ear plugs from Walmart, or an expensive pair of earmuffs, but get something. These blowers are noisy, and the trailers themselves can be noisy. Our parts changed is practically deaf now after about 10 years unloading 3 loads a day without hearing protection. He couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.

    In my limited experience, pay is usually by the ton. So you want a light truck obviously, kinda same as end dump.

    I have no clue where you're located, but I'm here in PA, I haul out of the cement mills around Allentown area. Some call it the Portland cement capital of the country, I dunno. But the loading facilities are ancient dilapidated dinosaurs, and VERY dirty. So if having a clean truck is important to you, you may have a bad time. And complaining to the bulk loaders that load your truck usually makes it worse.

    Overall though it's not a bad deal. Especially if you have contract work going to a ready mix plant and you are the main, or only carrier hauling in there. We have one customer, a big operation that uses multiple carriers, and it's usually not too bad, but has its moments. The rest of our customers use only our trucks, and it's great. Usually in and out of a place in 45 minutes or so.

    As far as unloading, you'll have a bit of a learning curve and it can be intimidating at first. But it's not rocket surgery. Air goes in, pushes product out. Couple valves to mess with along the way but that's all. If and when you get trained, make sure your trainer shows you how to unblock your trailer. If they can't, or won't, find a new trainer. Because you will block up at some point, and knowing what to do separates you from the clowns that don't..
     
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  5. kds_5280

    kds_5280 Bobtail Member

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    Jun 25, 2021
    Colorado
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    Thank you both for the info. I love doing end dump so I think their pay would have to be real good for me to give it a shot. Great way to broaden my experience though.

    Forgot to mention they also do “no-fee” trailer rental and provide a blower if your truck doesn’t have one.

    I’m in Colorado by the way. One of my good friends family’s business is one of the largest dry bulk carriers in the state. As far as I know they don’t hire outside help but I’m sure he’ll have good info for me too. Could even park my truck and be a company driver for them if end dump is way too slow this winter.
     
  6. RockinChair

    RockinChair Road Train Member

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    Feb 19, 2012
    CC, TX
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    Cement and fly ash pay by the ton. I don't know about CO but down here in TX both pay better than dirt & rock. Lime pays an even better rate than cement & fly ash, but cement and fly ash unload better.

    As another poster said, use good-quality hearing protection, even if your blower has a muffler. And always carry extra gaskets, you will have to replace the gasket on your hot hose several times per year because the heat causes the rubber to shrivel up, crack, and get hard. And always be aware of your ground clearance, especially if your discharge piping hangs lower than the landing gear pads or if it runs under the axles instead of over the top of them.

    Every pneumatic trailer you ever unload will have its own personality. I don't know how to explain it, but you'll see what I mean. The process is the same, but some trailers will let you run with two hopper valves open at once, while other will only let you use one, and they'll all require a difference setting on the discharge valve to keep from plugging up.

    And speaking of plugging up, there will come a time when your discharge line will get plugged up. It happens to everybody. Here's how to unplug it without having to shut the blower off and open the swingaways, or even worse, disassemble the piping.
    Clearing a clogged discharge hose on a pneumatic?
     
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  7. kds_5280

    kds_5280 Bobtail Member

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    Jun 25, 2021
    Colorado
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    Great information, thank you very much. This'll come in handy for sure if I end up going this route.

    And it would make sense if it paid by the ton. That was my first thought being that I run end dump normally, but I didn't want to assume.
     
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