TMC Transportation, Inc. - Des Moines, Ia.

Discussion in 'Report A BAD Trucking Company Here' started by TurboTrucker, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. cdr

    cdr Light Load Member

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    Jan 1, 2007
    west va.
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    thanks turbo. your advice is much appreciated.:hello1:
     
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  3. TurboTrucker

    TurboTrucker Road Train Member

    861
    276
    Feb 23, 2005
    Rossville, Georgia
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    Do you have ANY other options on the table besides the companies you mention? Crete is a company that will be worth getting on with in the future...no question.

    Swift and Werner are not high on my list of companies at all, as most know.

    TMC was much better five years ago, but they seem to be slipping down the hill lately, and that is a shame. I would never claim to know all about ANY company out there, but I deal in statistics and place merit upon what I read, hear, and see.

    If TMC is your ONLY option outside of the others you mention, then TMC is your choice, but you're going to have to bite the bullet and dig in to get enough time behind the wheel to make a move on to better things, unless you just happen to find yourself liking it there. It's not impossible that it could happen, but from my perspective, it will not be like taking a walk through a park.
     
  4. Snake_Ize

    Snake_Ize Bobtail Member

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    Mar 15, 2006
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    It's been about five months since I posted here last. I have an entry on this thread on Aug.14 detailing my first week with a TMC trainer and my problems with him.

    I was hooked up with another trainer the following week and decided to tough it out no matter what. This trainer was much better at the job than the first one was and I got a lot of good training and experience from him. He has worked for TMC since '99 though he basically works a year and then takes a year off to go home to Poland. When he is here he is on the road almost constantly with one weekend off every five or six weeks. He told me flat out that the only reason he has taken a trainee is for the extra logbook. He was constantly running out of hours with the 70 hour rule and with me he starts his logging when I'm done for the day. That's OK with me at this point though. I drive all day and he drives the night. Being at the shipper first thing for unloading is his main goal and it is rare that we will overnight at a truckstop for the next five weeks. I'll put up with this to get through the training process and do things different when I get my own truck.

    Trainer is very thorough with going over various procedures. He has a reason for every bungee he puts on and explains why he is doing the straps or chains a particular way. He gets a bit anal with the tarping but I can appreciate it and like it better than just good enough to get by on. Logging is pretty much the same as the previous trainer though and I'm accepting now that this is the way it is to be. All logging is done figuring a 65 mph average and the logging dept. never says a word about it. Whatever miles we drive is divided by 65 and that is the hours we put down. I just have to be cautious with logging total miles for the day because that will be flagged and I get a letter saying I was speeding at 65.74 mph or some such figure. Now I'll just multiply total driving hours by 65 and knock off a few miles for good measure. Fuel stops are a big thing though and the exact time is to be put down there. This comes about because when TMC was audited last year by DoT most drivers were not putting fuel stops down at all (according to Austin in training) so it is an issue at TMC. Tolls are never logged and no one says anything so I guess it is OK with TMC.

    First week out and we are running through the weekend. Had a load of Griffin pipe to deliver in Albuquerque, NM from Iowa so we're running the state roads of Kansas which I really enjoy. I think the most beautiful skies anywhere are in New Mexico and I've been vacationing in the south west for quite a few years. After dropping off the pipe we are bounced 300 miles for a load of copper. Bouncing at TMC is not paid for unless the bounce is over 150 miles and then it is at 20 cents a mile for the entire bounce so this time trainer is making a whopping 60 bucks for a bit over 6 hours of driving.

    Heading towards Silver City on a state 2 lane highway with narrow shoulders and I'm cruising along at just under the 65 mph speed limit. A car approaching us suddenly veers into my lane with only a couple hundred feet between us. I see the driver is bent over and it appears he is trying to pick up something he dropped on the floor. I have no option but to swerve on to the shoulder and would have continued off of the highway onto the desert sands but at the last moment he looks up and sees his error. The car cuts hard to the right and as I'm coming back over onto the highway I look in my mirror and see him sliding sideways and then go off the road. I tell trainer but trainer says keep going, you did nothing wrong, and I see that there are cars stopping to assist so I continue on. This was such a close call that it shook me up for 20 minutes and I still think I should have gone back. Thinking about it later leads me to believe that trainer was more concerned about getting to the load and I feel bad that I didn't turn around and go back.

    The rest of the training was pretty basic and routine. I still feel that the truckstops have filthy restrooms and guys that insist on pissin' in the bowl instead of the urinal should make sure they don't dribble on the floor. It makes it very difficult to sit and take a dump when you're trying to keep your pants from coming in contact with the floor. And smelling piss every time one walks through the parking lot is disgusting!

    The filthiest restaurant we went to was the TA in Baltimore. What a sty that was!

    Qualcomm messages get to be annoying and messages from safety telling about another accident every day seem to be something just to make safety seem relevant. Additional mirrors being put on so drivers can see the front bumper and not run into cars. Construction near the Indy terminal causing accidents so drivers have to drive through the intersection and then make three lefts and a right so they are approaching the terminal from the opposite way. A big "Attaboy" when Todd checks trucks on a trip and finds nothing wrong. Almost gives me a warm fuzzy feeling getting something positive. NOT!

    I finished with the trainer and was sent to Des Moines for the final testing. I arrived Wednesday evening and was told to meet Matt at 0645. Sign some papers, take a seemingly useless written test and I'm told to meet the driving tester at about 1000 hrs. Hang around waiting and it's after lunch before I test. The tester told me that he was sorry but he had spent the morning testing a guy that had been out with a trainer, one of TMC's "award winning trainers" though I don't remember if it was a monthly award or the yearly one, and the guy could not shift! The tester had spent hours trying to get the guy to shift and he was going to spend a couple more hours with him after testing me. This I found incredible though I had met a TMC driver in Indy that took more than 40 minutes trying to back in to a fairly easy spot and finally my trainer had to guide him in.

    I passed the road test and the backing maneuvers and now it's late Thursday afternoon and I'm told to go pick up my truck in Indy, 6 hours away. We rent a car and drive to Indy. "We" is a guy that had hurt himself at TMC and TMC insists that any one hurt must come to Des Moines for "make work" such as filing paperwork or whatever they can come up with. I saw guys in wheel chairs at Des Moines that had hurt themselves while driving and it seems that TMC will push them so they finally just quit.

    I get to Indy after midnight and check into their accommodations, the Econolodge South next to the Pilot. This has to rank right up there with Indy's worst motel but it is cheap so it fits with TMC philosophy. The next morning I find that there is no longer a shuttle from the motel so I have to call the terminal for a ride. I'm told that they'll be right there but I have to call back an hour later before they finally find a driver that will come for me. No one from the shop will lower themselves to go pick up a driver but they always expect a driver that is there for repairs or maintenance to help them out. The second shift is mostly useless and trainer and I had wasted a weekend there for normal servicing. If you want service go to the dealer! Anyhow, I get to the terminal, my truck is in the shop being cleaned and it takes two more hours before I can get at it. I spend the afternoon taking inventory and being assigned equipment, checking permits, having the windshield replaced, etc. and I'm finally ready at 1600 hrs. Friday. Of course getting a load is difficult at that time and I'm in the long haul division, but a long trip is out of the question. I'm finally sent to South Bend, IN for a load of steel. This is a 150 mile bounce and the shipper closes at 2200 hrs. I'm pretty stressed by this time but I make it to the shipper at 2130 and they agree to load me. It's close to 2300 hrs. when I'm done loading and they ask me to pull out of the yard before finishing securing and tarping. I had the two steel rolls secured and the rest is flat stock so I go slowly up the street to the scales and then to an area where I can finish up. I'm finally finished after 0100 and totally beat. At this point I'm pissed at the terminal for taking so long to get me going, pissed at TMC for sending me to Indy to pick up my truck on Friday and so tired and stressed that I toss and turn til about 0600 when I start my trip to MN.

    The first week took me to MN and then to Denver and then a 100 mile bounce to drop and hook. The shipper had the trailer loaded and had specific instructions on how to tie down the load. The instructions had lousy pictures and it took me a few hours to get it tied down the way I think they wanted it. It involved removing the hooks from the chains and threading the chains through the equipment and reattaching the hooks. I had no tools for this, it was late enough that there was no one around to help and it was getting dark and cold. After a long day of driving I was getting frustrated quickly. I finally got into my bunk and spent the night at the shipper. The next day I told the dispatcher that I would bring the load as far as the Indy terminal but I was terminating my employment with TMC.

    Overall I don't think TMC is a terrible company to work for although there are many areas where improvement is needed. Much of the office staff look down on the drivers as if being in the office makes them superior and the service dept. treats the drivers even worse. I'm at a point in my life where I don't have to take the long hours for the lousy pay. If I have to work 70 hours a week and gross only a grand or so I have to consider that to be low pay. I have a job now that is local picking up and delivering empty 40 foot storage containers that started me a $18 an hour, start at 0730 and usually done by 1600 and home every night and weekend. For me this works out much better than my being OTR.
     
  5. maximizelife

    maximizelife Bobtail Member

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    Dec 26, 2006
    Nebr;>
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    Thanks for the advice Turbo, Crete will be my choice with a start of either TMC or a less challenging beginning.
    Again, tanx alot
     
  6. maximizelife

    maximizelife Bobtail Member

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    Dec 26, 2006
    Nebr;>
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    Snake Ize, sounds like you didn't like the otr. Sorry to hear that. Was it your exper. with TMC only or the whole thing (stanky stops, 70 hrs for p-nuts, little respect for the hard work)? I am also curious about the local gig you have now??? Where are you and what kind of co. is it?
    Thanks for your indepth report on TMC... I would still go, if I dont find another. I'm just wondering if flatbedding for the first 6 mos. will be worth it to me. I still plan to go with Crete, just need 6 mo exper.
     
  7. Driver'sWife

    Driver'sWife Bobtail Member

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Texas
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    I wanted to let the folks considering TMC know that not everyone thinks poorly of the company.
    My husband works for TMC. Niether of us have had any complaints from day one. Orientation went fine; maybe a little boring but otherwise alright. His trainer was great. The trainer never suggested my husband do anything illegal, treated him with respect, and didn't think of him as just an extra logbook. He showed my husband how the company wants loads secured and explained company policies and paperwork. The trainer was very friendly and polite the few times I was around him. Overall he was a very good trainer.
    No one at the company has ever treated my husband (or myself when I've called) with disrespect.
    We would both recommend TMC to someone looking for a good flatbed company.
    Maybe things have been different for my husband because he wasn't a newbie; has several years OTR, just needed 2 weeks with the trainer. Anyway, I just wanted to let it be known not everyone thinks badly of TMC.
     
  8. KY_TRUCKER

    KY_TRUCKER Bobtail Member

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    Jan 24, 2007
    Kentucky
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    Thanks for the info Driver's Wife. I have to call tomorrow to let my recruiter know where I want to go for orientation on the 26th. They gave me a choice of Des Moines or Columbia, SC. I'm really looking forward to working for TMC. There are 4 of us out of a class of 6 that graduated on Friday going to work for TMC. The other 2 guys wouldn't listen to me and are probably already in Gary, IN getting ready to start for Swift. Poor guys.
     
  9. Light Traveler

    Light Traveler Light Load Member

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    Feb 5, 2007
    Somewhere out there...
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    When will these "outlaw" companies learn? Ultimately, it's their drivers who will suffer the worse consequence.
     
  10. TurboTrucker

    TurboTrucker Road Train Member

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    Feb 23, 2005
    Rossville, Georgia
    0
    Absolutely. They risk a fine on the off chance that a field auditor steps in to take a look at their records. Less than 3% of all motor carriers are audited in any given year, with priority being to audit those with the worst safety records FIRST.

    When drivers are caught out on the road by enforcement officers, they will likely receive a fine, being shut down for a period of time that depends on how long it will take to be legal once again, and there are companies that will can them if they are caught.

    It makes no matter if the driver was pushed or not. And as long as this is the status quo, the games will continued to be played.
     
  11. Snake_Ize

    Snake_Ize Bobtail Member

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    Mar 15, 2006
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    I don't know where you got the "little respect for hard work" from but yeah the rest is pretty much it. I don't think I gave TMC any real hard knocks, just comments on my experience, and from reading forums they are probably close to what most other companies are. As for hard work, it really wasn't too hard. My former job as a firefighter was much harder and throwing a few straps and a couple tarps every day or so is not much at all. Maybe compared to van driving it is hard but I think flatbedders in general like to consider themselves as working harder than the other truckers and perpetuate that myth at every chance they get. Kind of like a marine bragging that they are tougher than a soldier. I wouldn't call it brainwashed but there is some sort of psychological factor involved with thinking one individual is somehow tougher than another. (Alright...with the marines I do consider it brainwashed) :)

    I do think that TMC is a cheap company when it comes to driver needs. Driver pays for EZ pass at $2.50 a week a $100 deposit. (I know...you don't have to get the EZ pass but then you pay tolls out of your own pocket and wait for reimbursement and in the meantime you are paying ATM's for the money for the tolls), driver only gets $10 for tarping, orientation only pays $300 per week, lunch at orientation is only paid the first week, the second week (when most guys are low on cash) is not paid for. Six weeks with trainer at only $350 a week. (Actually that is $70 per day for five days. If you work the weekends it's still $350 but if you don't work every day during the week they dock you $70 a day) No paid tolls on Ohio and IN toll road. Bounce 150 miles equals no pay. Percentage is decent but most guys don't figure in their bounce miles which brings it much closer to mileage pay.

    The job I have now, in MA, is with a very small company with one semi-trailer that rents and sells storage containers (those intermodal containers from the ships) to individuals and a lot of construction sites. It suits my needs at this time very well. I load the containers onto a 42' Landoll trailer, one that tips and has a winch, and throw four straps to secure them. It is actually easier to secure than a flatbed but the places I have to back into are incredible such as residential driveways or alongside residences on city streets. Being able to slide the rear axle makes it possible.
     
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