The truth about watkins, my expierence

Discussion in 'Watkins & Shepard' started by keepatrukin, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. keepatrukin

    keepatrukin Bobtail Member

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    Mar 27, 2014
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    WHAT I WAS TOLD: Recruiting told me id go to orientation for 10 days and id be a solo driver. We recommend you not drive to
    the orientation yourself because your truck will be waiting for you when your done. "9 out of 10 times your truck will be waiting in Conover". Because of where I live (Taylor, Mi.) I would be running north to south from Michigan to Georgia or North Carolina, which would get me home a night or two during the week and MOST weekends. I wouldn't go west of the Mississippi because they didn't have freight coming back east. If I did end up out on the road I would not be out more than 12-14 days. For every 6 days out id get or earn 1 day of home time.


    ORIENTATION: They sold me on this company by telling me it was a 10 day orientation and I'd be a solo driver. That was not the case. It was more like 12 days not including the weekend (of which you'll have Sunday off but tons of "homework") so really 2 weeks. I was also told I would see home a night or 2 during the week and most weekends but ill come back to that later.

    During orientation they have you do city driving and a mountain driving exercise where they take you up and down Black Mountain, NC. They will take you around some real tight turns and if you hit a curb your sent home. They told us that if we put fuel on just to earn a shower, they'd consider it company theft and terminate us! yet they want you to be clean and look professional when interacting with customers.

    During all of this I not only stayed off the curbs but was told at the end of every "test" that I did very well. So much so that the instructor apparently felt so confident in my abilities that he fell asleep twice while I drove around town. needless to say I felt confident in my ability to get hired, which I did. At the end of orientation I get pulled into the office and told they want me to go out with a coach (trainer) for a run or a week because my "driving is barely there". Bet you thought they didn't have trainers, huh? So did I.

    So, whatever I went with a trainer. I had figured I come too far to let this stop me. When I get with the trainer I find out that I'm going to be with him until he reports back that he feels I'm good to go out on my own. After the first run (3 days) we made it back to the Conover terminal after hours. So its either go back out with him on another run or be left at the terminal all night till someone comes in. I decided to go back out, the next run was supposed to be only 2 days, it took 6. the stops we had were to small mom and pop furniture stores that are not open on weekends. So I got to spend Easter in a truck stop parking lot, that whole weekend in fact. For all of this I was given $50/ day and $10/stop. (about $100/day)

    After my 9 days of training I'm expecting to have a truck assigned to me and get on my way. WRONG AGAIN. Even though I was told not to drive myself to orientation because I would receive my truck after orientation, I had to return to the hotel for another night and get back on a greyhound for home (Detroit) where I would then get a call as to where my truck would be. When I finally got home I had been gone for like 27 DAYS!!!!! 5 days after my 24 hr bus ride I get a call that my truck was most likely going to be in Mississippi! Then another call and I was told they had one in Indianapolis. So at 11pm I had to meet another driver at the yard to ride with him to the truck. He had a couple pickups to do on the way so it took 9 hours to get to my truck.

    My orientation started march 31 and I finally got to my truck may 1st, the longest 10 days of my life!!!
    .
    THE TRUCK: A 2007 Volvo with 650,000 miles, non working am/fm radio, inaccurate fuel gauge, filthy dirty and missing a cabinet. Had a cracked fender. mechanically it was pretty sound but the only thing that worked inside was the driver. It was constantly in regen mode. after the regen would end it would be an hour or less and in regen again. told the shop this and they didn't care

    NOW, FINALLY, TO WORK!!!

    First I want you to know that the majority of the freight that Watkins hauls is furniture and carpet. The furniture loads will pay you mileage(.29 cpm if your new) and $20/stop. Before you start thinking about all the money you'll make on a 20 stop furniture load going 600-800 miles realize its all going to tiny mom and pop stores in one horse towns. Typically in shopping plazas that have no business having a tractor trailer (53') pulling on the lot. Most have parking for about 15 cars!! And its 100% driver unload. Also realize in the little over 2 months I ran with them I had 1 multi stop furniture load. The rest of the time I was pulling heavy brokered loads all over the country.

    They have an over complicated and redundant way of paying the drivers. They will have you fill out a trip envelope, noting what you have where you got it, where its going, how many miles you drove in each state, what date you entered that state, the highways you drove on in each state, where you got the freight and where its going. I say redundant because they also electronically dispatch you via the people net o.b.c. they have in the trucks. You send a msg when you pick up another when you deliver. They dictate to you what route you drive and where you fuel. They already know where you are and what your doing but if you don't do the trip envelope you don't get paid. Also this thing has to get to Montana to the main terminal by Friday 5pm or you don't get paid. You can either turn it in to a terminal (if you can get to one) or pay out of your own pocket to fed-ex it there ($15)

    After getting my truck they sent me west of the Mississippi on my 3rd run. I got empty in Arkansas and was sent to their Mississippi terminal where I got my one and only furniture load putting stops off in Oklahoma through Nevada. On this run the truck had an issue. It had lost a hose clamp on the cooling system and lost all the coolant. when I called the shop for roadside service it was suggested that I "limp it into the next town (Mcguiver it is I think the term they used) find a hardware store and fix it myself"! During this run I put in a request to get some home time, after all id been out for 2 weeks before heading out on the run to Vegas which was scheduled for 9 days. I was approved for home time for memorial weekend. It was like pulling teeth to get routed home. I really felt they deliberately tried to keep me out and away from home. When I finally got routed somewhere that could get me home, they gave me a load assignment that said take to Taylor terminal. This was Saturday of memorial weekend. I didn't make it home until Sunday morning 10am. I had been gone this time for 23 days.

    The next day I get a call wanting to know why I didn't deliver my stop in Cincinnati for Monday! I said to them I have a load assignment to bring it to the terminal in Taylor. I saw the paperwork said there was a stop in ohio but I was routed home and couldn't get ahold of anyone to confirm the stop so I did what my load assignment said. Their response? "You need to look at your effing paperwork, we are not here on weekends, we (dispatchers and office workers) HAVE weekends and we do our best to get you home on the dates you request but its not guaranteed, home time is a privilege"!! Shocked at this response, I asked to speak to my "driver liaison" who is supposed to help with these issues and home time requests. Getting nowhere with him I decided if I was going to be out for months at a time I was going to do it somewhere else where I would get more money, better benefits a newer truck and more home time. I ended up getting a $7500 sign on bonus on top of it!


    BY THE WAY, BENEFITS?...........WHAT BENEFITS?

    A health insurance policy that is an Obama care bronze plan with high deductibles and high premiums, no match at all on your 401k (oh, but your fully vested from the day you can contribute, lmao) and no profit sharing.

    SUMMARY: Too hard to get paid and too hard to get home. If you can confuse me, you can steal from me. You should NEVER have to open your wallet to go to work! If you want to be gone from home for extended periods, not have anything to show for it when you do get home, if you like the idea of backing into liquor store sized lots with a 53' trailer off of busy streets and having to occasionally do your dispatcher's job (calling brokers to schedule drops) being your own roadside diesel mechanic, driving dilapidated, unmaintained, aging equipment, having nobody to turn to for answers or help on weekends or after 5pm mountain time, then THIS IS DEFINATELY THE COMPANY FOR YOU!!!

    This company has approximately 800-850 trucks, they have orientations every Monday at 2 terminals that I know of. in mine there were 8 of us, with me leaving the company that means one maybe two still work for Watkins. Ask yourself why they have such a hard time keeping drivers in 800 trucks if they are as great as everyone on here says. Why there aren't more posts like this about them I can only guess. Everything I've said in this post is true and you MAY have a different experience with them. If you don't, you were warned. I do know they are loosing drivers left and right and I for one would rather work in a warehouse for $10/hr than ever drive a single mile more for these clowns.

    The school I went to will not allow them to recruit out of there anymore. I went back to say hi to the people there, wearing my Watkins hat and they asked so I told. Apparently, I'm not the only one who had this kind of experience and they said they will NOT let them in anymore. Not a sign of a good company in my book.
    I realize this was a little long but I want to be thorough. Any questions about something I might have missed feel free to ask.
     
  2. 77smartin

    77smartin Road Train Member

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    Well written...can't blame you.
     
    pattyj, Mev and keepatrukin Thank this.
  3. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    Welcome to trucking my friend.You're going to find more bad companies thruout your career.Hopefully not as bad as Watkins.What was it your school didn't like about them?I mean sure you had a bad exp with them but what did Watkins do to your school to make them drop Watkins?Drivers are getting harder and harder to find.Im seeing it but companies still refuse to treat drivers like a person.
     
  4. 77smartin

    77smartin Road Train Member

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    pattyj, to bad you don't live in an area with a bunch of automakers around...I have a feeling you would like trucking again.
     
  5. Mev

    Mev Road Train Member

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    Welcome to trucking :biggrin_25526:
     
  6. stevep1977

    stevep1977 Road Train Member

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    Cue the "you're not cut out to be a trucker" posts in 1, 2, 3...
     
    unloader Thanks this.
  7. jbatmick

    jbatmick Road Train Member

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    That's trucking with the big companies. Better luck next time.
     
  8. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    Really?Why do u think id like it?
     
  9. pattyj

    pattyj Road Train Member

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    What???????????
     
  10. 77smartin

    77smartin Road Train Member

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    No BS...run a route go home, weekends off, paid holidays, deal with professionals for the most part...it is a different world.

    Hijack over.
     
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