I've waited a while before posting this as I wanted to get a good grasp on the way things work before I went on praising the company.
So far, I've been with this company for nearly four months. I came over from TMC after spending three months with them. Unfortunately for me, I had to start over from scratch and go through the training as if I had no experience whatsoever. Regardless, it seems to have worked out for the best, and I have no regrets in that manner especially since I made some great friends in the process.
Now I will not go into a full blown rundown of benefits, pay, etc since that stuff is best found on Roehl's website. I would, however like to talk about the intangibles that I feel make this the absolute best company to work for.
This is very important to me since I have a great wife at home who I really enjoy spending time with. Roehl has several hometime options depending upon which fleet you choose to drive with. I chose Southeast regional, and I am home every single weekend unless I choose to stay out. The only other times that I would not be home every weekend are when I would take part in some type of training that would require my presence in a state far outside of my region. For example, next month I am going to be doing a skid-pad test in Michigan so my fleet manager asked me to let him know when it would be best for me to run through the weekend.
The equipment seems to be well maintained. I have really only had one problem since starting with these guys (blown seal on the fuel filter), and within a few hours, they had somebody there who got me running again. Of course like all companies if you are new to the company, do not expect a brand-spanking new truck to start with. Mine is a freight-shaker with a hair over 450k miles, but it is obviously well kept and gives me no trouble at all.
Worker's Comp. Injuries
I recently sprained my ankle while climbing out of the back of a trailer. The people at Roehl rushed me to the doctor's office, put me on the right track with the Worker's Compensation company, and provided me with a ride home where I could heal. I did NOT have to spend my time couped up in a hotel room doing menial tasks around the terminal while I awaited my release to work from the doctor. Instead all I had to do was attend my required appointments with the doctor (which they located for me near my home), attend my required physical therapy sessions (which they located for me near my home), and relax at my own house. All the while I was collecting 66% of my gross pay. I never had to return to the terminal until I was ready to do so.
Just recently Roehl has adopted the Practical Miles pay standard. I've really only been getting paid under this system for a week, so I am not certain how much of a difference it is making. I did, however, notice that I averaged about 500 miles more in that week than I would have under the old HHG system.
Now I know that you can read about these from the website or by listening to a recruiter. However from what I understand, most companies do not set the driver's goals within reachable lengths as far as bonuses are concerned. The same cannot be said about Roehl. As long as you are willing to be smart about what you do, follow Roehl's Safe Seven rules, and really just not do anything stupid, a bonus is almost guarnateed each quarter.
Well that is my little pitch for Roehl (pronounced "RAIL" btw). I know that I will honestly have a hard time ever leaving this company. The people I work with are all very nice and professional folks. I used to abhor going to a terminal when I was with TMC, but with Roehl I find it a treat since I know that the people there are dedicated to doing what is best for the driver and the company.
Roehl Transport, Inc. - Marshfield, Wi.
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Hubby has recently joined Roehlo as well and we agree with everything you posted. They are definitely a driver friendly company. I guess that's because it is a family founded business. I am so glad we finally found a company that hubby sees a future with. Maybe we will see you on the road someday. Hubby's truck number is 3651.
Hey whispers I am in truck 3744. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you guys!
And snake, you can feel free to copy this post over there if you wish.
As far as me leaving TMC: Well I honestly hesitate to post this, but I guess it has to be said sometime or another. TMC is probably a great company for a lot of drivers. Flatbedding aside, they have excellent equipment and great pay to compliment that
However the expectations that they put on their drivers is far beyond what is humanly and legally possible. Day one in the orientation, and I wsa told that my goal should be to complete five loads a week. Sounds simple, right? It sure did to me.
Once I got to my trainer, I was told on the first day with him that in order to succeed in this business, I would have to learn how to cheat my logs. Now I did not know any better, so I bit and played along with it. I figured this guy knew a hell of a lot more than me and he was only introducing me to the real world.
As a result of this practice, I found myself waking up at roughly 6AM and driving and dealing with the load all the way up until 2AM. This would go on everyday. Needless to say I was tired pretty quickly, and it eventually caught up with me.
The first time it nearly bit me hard was when I was on a scale in Missouri. My trainer was sound asleep in the back, and to make a long story short, I screwed up thus leading the scale operator to think that something was fishy with me. He had me pull over and bring in my logs and all of the other paperwork.
In my hurry to "fix" my logs, I cut myself one hour short on my break, and was facing an out of service charge. Luckily the DOT man had not seen my trainer's logs yet, so quickly I went out to the truck, woke my trainer, told him the deal, and we "fixed" his logs so that it looked like I just drew a line in the wrong place. I got lucky, but I never should have been in that position.
The second time I almost got caught was driving on a backroad in Kentucky. I was dead tired, but still had a long ways to go on my load. Unfortunately I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and merged over into the oncoming lane thus running several other motorists off of the road. Eventually the police caught up with me, and pulled me over.
I woke my trainer again, and he and I were able to BS our way out of an out of service charge once more.
Now once i got out on my own, I figured things would get better since I could sleep when I wanted to sleep. Unfortunately doing flatbed work with a very large majority of your loads requiring tarps along with the fleet managers griping about your five loads a week deal eventually puts a toll on your body.
My week would start on Sunday night every night. I would drive to a customer with the load that was on my trailer from the previous Friday and spend the night there. I would wake up in the morning around 6 or 7am, untarp and unstrap/unchain, and then wait for the forklift guy to unload me.
Sometime around 10 or 11am, that would be done and I would get my next load assignment. So I would face a bounce of roughly anywhere from 50-150 miles to the next shipper. I could get there anywhere between noon and 2pm. Once there, I have to wait to be loaded, secure and tarp my load. That would put me at 5pm or so and I would face anywhere from 300-500 miles to drive to get to the consignee so that it could be unloaded first thing the next morning.
Now if you add all of that up, you will find that there is absolutely no way to do all of that and get your required 10 hr break in. I basically was expected to work for 8 hours before driving 8 hours every single night. Hardly any of my loads ever made it on time, and I was under constant pressure from my manager to step up my progress.
Needless to say, I was ready to quit trucking already. Everyone I talked to at TMC told me that I was doing things the right way, but that it just took time before my body would get used to the rigors of truck driving. I was constantly told that because of these efforts, TMC drivers were making more money than anyone else on the road and that I would be more miserable anywhere else.
All of that changed when I talked to a friend of mine from driving school. She was a professor at Ohio State University before deciding to try her hand at truck driving. While in driving school, she and I became great friends since I also had a lot of college under my belt and was a tutor in English Composition during my time at the University of South Carolina.
She wanted to go with TMC, but they refused to hire her due to the fact that she was female. (Yes she got the recruiting department to admit that over the phone.) So she went with Transport America. After sharing some road stories back and forth, we came to the topic of pay and work conditions. I found out that she was making the same amount of money as I was, doing a hell of a lot less work, and was not expected to break the law in order to do that work.
After giving it some thought, I decided that TMC was not for me. I did not go with Transport America mostly because their hometime for folks in the southeast rather sucks. I chose Roehl, because I really had never heard anything bad about these guys, and to be honest the information I found on them impressed me right off the bat. I never even heard one sales pitch from a recruiter for Roehl. My decision to go with them was based on my own independent research into the company.
I have only one regret in my decision to go with Roehl, and that is that I wish I had done it sooner.
I appreciate your candor. I like to be able to judge the different companies from a variety of viewpoints and try to sift thru what would make a difference for me. I like some aspects of flatbedding and would like to try it out but the negative side is also something to be weighed. Thanks.
Now do not lump all of the flatbedding industry with my story. I honestly have no idea what flatbedders at Roehl, or any other company for that matter, go through. My main beef with TMC was the expectation that I use any means necessary, legal or not, to get my load in on time regardless of the situation.
Roehl is pretty picky about their loads as well, but not once have I ever been put in a position where I needed to cheat my logs to get the job done. When Roehl says that they are strict about their drivers logging legally, they are not BSing you. Your logs will be matched against the times that you passed through tolls, fueled your truck, sent in Qualcomm messages, and scanned your ID badge on Roehl's property. I get my full ten hour break every single night, and I am not going broke like the folks at TMC said would happen.
On a side note, I would like to mention that I recently parked next to a TMC driver at a truckstop in Pennsylvania. He was having some trouble with his securement devices, so I walked over to give him a hand. After talking for a while, he and I got around to discussing the logging problem that I had there. He told me that TMC was currently under fire in regards to the fact that none of their drivers' logs matched the times that they fueled. (Or something to that affect.)
We've got two companies being talked about in the same thread, and that's okay. I'm going to take the TMC stuff and copy it, and place it in the Bad Trucking company report side of things, because you're offering the good on Roehl, and some really pertanent information on TMC.
I looked up the most recent stats on TMC, because you offered that they were in some hot water over logs, and guess what...you're right. They were reviewed just last month, and they're ISS-2 was raised to 90. They are apparently pushing their drivers, and the numbers are starting to reflect it.
I agree Roehl is very strict on their safety policies. Hubby was going downhill and the OBC registered he was going 63mph and he got a message from his fleet manager letting him know about it. They stressed safety and logging correctly in orientation.
Ive applied at this company. Ive heard a lot of good things about this company. I want to get back in to trucking again. I know there are companies that will treat you right, not cheat your pay and not force you to run illegal. Ive been off the road for about 9 months now. Will this be a problem?
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