Hello everyone, I am scheduled for orientation December 14 for Bulk training out of the Houston Terminal and just wanted to say hi.
Now I need to know is this a lie or truth from the recruiter.
It seems Schneider really needs bulk tank drivers since I was offered a $7,500 sign-on bonus.
With just over 1 year of driving but no tanker experience, was told I will start at .49 cpm right out of the gate. It is even listed in the email sent to me.
This might be a real truth, but was told the average miles per week is 1,800 - 2,200.
Schneider reserves the right to modify, alter and/or change the information contained within this Conditional Offer at any time and at its sole discretion. - aka don't count on it.
Regardless, from what I can find Schneider's bulk training is really good so will see if this will finally be the final frontier for me or will I be back in a few months asking for info on another company.
Schneider Bulk, will the offer in my email be honored?
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1 year exp and clean record, you could easily do that elsewhere and be home every weekend , if you're in a good area.
Lots of sitting with Schneider during slow months, bouncing between northeast , Chicago , TX and all points in between. At least that's how it was for me.
I started there, no regrets. Decent way to start , but after 1 year I was ready for an upgrade.
I have a feeling its all about who your dispatcher is at bulk. Just going through some old posts it would seem some drivers have no problem grossing $1200+ everyweek while others have never hit over $1000 a week since starting.
Also it seems they changed the 6 days off. Was told right away on the phone that they no longer allow you to take all the days off at once. They prefer you to take 3 off on the weekends (Fri,Sat,Sun) and be ready on Monday for work.
The bonus is spread out through the first year. 20% at 45 days, then 90, then 180, and lastly 40% on your 1 year anniversary.
Not a bad deal, with the signing bonus. May as well do a year and move on.
I know guys in tanker who are raking money in. .49 seems like a lot now, but when you factor in mover's guide miles and downtime... nobody's getting rich at Schneider.
I drive Schneider Bulk OTR.
I've been with Schneider Bulk since the spring of 2017. My park location is the Chattanooga, TN Quala wash.
I trained in Houston for 21 out of 31 days. 10 of those 31 were OTR with my dirty, filthy, non-training trainer. The trainers who took me driving were good trainers. The trainers who did the product unload training pretty much just sit in a chair and don't do anything unless you look dumbfounded or are about to blow up the tank. In fact, I actually had a large spill during training because the external valve on one of the trailers was stripped and leaking still, no matter how hard you tightened it closed.
My first Driver Business Leader was a liar and I was completely unprepared for my experience on the road. She even tried to get me to falsify my logs one morning because there weren't any operable trailers at the tank wash. Most of what I encountered on the road was not taught to me at any time in training. Most of what I experienced was also not included in the 'Highway to Success Manual' that they give you (a book which is poorly written and lacks half of what you need to know).
Communication is not a strong suit with Schneider. The night crew tends to know more than the day crew, which is sad since the day crew has better access to experienced driver trainers and whatnot. Long waits on the phone are all to common and less than half of your emails on the QualComm will be answered (even when the question is important and pertinent to the load).
Your DBL does not choose your loads; the Load Planners do that. If you are new, it makes no difference to a load planner. They also seem to plan your routes with no clue that you need bathroom breaks throughout the day.
My second DBL was much better than my first DBL. I got her after two months. She has been very honest and easy to work with.
As bad as things sound here, Schneider is actually a very good company, and mistakes that you make are not treated as a big deal. I've been late a few times, mostly because of things out of my control, but when it was my fault, my DBL was very forgiving.
Tank washes suck. You can never know how long it will take to get in and out. It's possibly the worst part of the job. Tank wash personnel act like the driver is the least important person to their business (which is the opposite of what you would think since, without drivers, no trailers would ever be brought to a wash to be cleaned). I tend to spend anywhere from ten minutes to two hours waiting on them to start helping me with washing hoses or my pump.
Loads and unloads are paid $25 and $35 respectively. Loads tend to take 45 minutes to an hour plus time at the gate (in and out), which varies. Most unloads tend to take around 2 hours (plus gate time), with some loads taking less or more. Your WorkFlow in the QualComm will tell you average times, but these aren't always accurate.
Shorthaul pay (less than 50 miles, I believe) is, I think, $40. Detention pay after two hours is, I think, $12. I believe they pay in quarter hours on detention.
My pay has always reflected all of the work I've performed, and I have always been reimbursed for on the road work-related expenses.
Everything my recruiter told me has been accurate. I average around 2,000 miles per week. I average about $900 per week before taxes. I'm actually starting to make a little more now that I am making $0.47 per miles. I started at $0.425. I was at $0.45 after two months. I made $0.47 after seven months.
I got a $5,000 sign-on bonus. I received $1,000 after two, four, and six months. I will receive the final $2,000 after twelve months.
I get six days off per month. I can choose them for whatever days I want. Those are full days, meaning that I always get home the night before my days off, and leave the day after my days off. Once, I got home a day late. One other time, somehow my days off were entered incorrectly, and I didn't get home until five or six days later (which I was actually happy about, because they sent me to Miami and back through Orlando to the New Orleans area on that load. That load got me about 2,000 miles in four days). I usually take every other weekend off, getting home on Thursday nights and leaving out on Monday mornings.
Things have smoothed out since the first two months. I've learned a lot. I think that the only reason to stay in bulk is to eventually either become an owner operator or to get on with a local company that pays really well for experience and you get to deliver the same basic product every day. OTR life is very stressful. Schneider only has a few local, regional, or dedicated bulk routes across the nation.
Schneider does not allow inverters in their trucks, so you either have to break the rule or suffer without one. I think they are afraid of new drivers leaving them on when the truck is not running, and draining the batteries.
Bulk is difficult in the summer if your product or customer wants you to wear the fire or chemical suits. I was in Houston when it was 102 degrees out and wearing a fire suit. I drank five or six bottles of water while it took three and a half hours to unload a very thick product, and I still was fatigued and dehydrated. I almost fainted; it was so hot. I also had to unload recently a little south of Chicago in Indiana at 7 degrees, with a 10 or 15 below wind chill for five hours on a thick product that froze up when the cold air hit it. Then, the next day, I went to Chicago to get the hoses and pump cleaned where it was negative 4 degrees with a negative 20 wind chill out and spent half an hour outside drying my pump and taking care of my hoses and other things.
You will work your butt off sometimes. I keep thinking I should switch to van. Most of the loads are drop and hook, and if I stay OTR, at least if I do have to sit while loading or unloading, it will be in the truck, though I won't get paid for it. I'll also get several cents less per mile, but should I care? Maybe I should go regional and get home every weekend. I don't know yet.
I've gotten to drive to Los Angeles, CA. I was stuck there for three days because I needed a restart and waited on a load. I couldn't get a rental car without a credit card, so I took the bus all over town and saw the sights. There isn't much to see; LA is a dump. The Santa Monica Pier and beach area were nice to visit. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean. There's a cool market downtown. Just don't stray too close to Skid Row unless you enjoy the company of drug dealer, drug addicts, and the mentally ill, all of whom make their presence felt downtown.
I've gotten as far as Miami, L.A., Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, and as far northeast as Ellwood City, PA and Keasbey NJ. Where you go in bulk seems to depend on where your park location is, when you go out, and how long you stay out. The longer you stay out at one time, the more likely it is that you'l be sent somewhere far. I tend to get spells of TN to PA, or TN to TX, and back. Driving through western Colorado on I-70 as the snow was beginning to cover the mountains was great to see. If I had left east an hour later, I probably would have had to put on the snow chains because that area got 10 to 18 inches that day. Snow chains are mandatory on I-70 in CO for more than half the year.
I usually get through the terminals at least once every time I'm out (except for one or two times where I didn't get through one at all). Get some ice and a shower, and do some laundry there. Stock up on extra lights and other trailer parts, especially tire valve stem caps.
If your tires look like they need changing, and the shop guys disagree, go to one of Schneider's many tire banks (at certain truck stops) and they will likely agree with you and change them (usually faster than Schneider's busy shops will).
Schneider is a good company. They just need better communication and better trainers.
I chose tanker for the experience, for the exercise, and because I figured that tankers would be easier to navigate at a truck stop or chemical plant, but these plants design their truck paths with as little space as possible for tankers, so there was no advantage there. In fact, I drove van 8.5 months for USA Truck many years ago, and van drivers have it easy compared to tanker drivers in regards to available space at shippers and customers.
I don't know what else to say right now. If you have questions, ask away.
Good day.Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
I answered the poster's question and shared my experiences. I didn't go beyond that.
Also, many people are out of work or are underemployed. I am thankful that I am able to work while others suffer. I am thankful that I will make more money this year than I ever have before. I am thankful that Schneider gave me a job even though I have little driving experience.
Big bucks won't come to an inexperienced driver unless he's very lucky, or he's not logging all of the work he is doing. I could get more miles if I didn't log my unloading times and some of the other work I do, but there's a reason the 70 hour rule exists: to prevent fatigued drivers from endangering others. I get tired enough every week with an irregular sleep schedule and the physical requirements of this job.
When I get enough experience, I hope to move to some position where I can get home every night and make more money than I am making now. Until then, I am happy to make $50,000 a year for 300 days of work (or whatever your calculations have told you). Am I ecstatic? No. I've worked very hard for what I've gotten. If I had worked very little for so much, then maybe I would be ecstatic.
Have a great day.Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
$50k is nothing to sneeze at, but I hope you get a gig where you can make that or more for less work down the road, man.
And I'm sorry you're defensive...I get it. On some level you're pissed about the situation, and I inadvertently riled you up. That wasn't my intention. Have a good one.
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