Another ex-TMC driver here. Well honestly, I didn't even finish my road training - threw in the towel after 3 weeks. My thoughts about TMC are:
The good reputation that the company built up is slowly disappearing. There's no unity between the drivers anymore. All the stories that I heard about TMC drivers helping one another while loading - didn't see it. My trainer and I got more help from other drivers from other companies more than we did from any TMC driver.
All the stories about the staff at Des Moines from other drivers - didn't see it. The staff either had a lack of personality, were all around grumpy people, or very unprofessional. The worst unprofessional people at Des Moines are the ones who work on the second floor above the Chrome Cafe.
TMC yard instructors were pretty cool, but claimed that they weren't there to train us. Yet we spent a week in the yard practicing backing maneuvers. The backing maneuvers were a practice in frustration due to the fact that we had to back up 4 ft. at a time. Basically, it was to teach us to back up safely since most of TMC's accidents are made while backing up. It damaged my confidence in backing a trailer until I got into a truck with my trainer.
The free lunch during the first week of orientation sucked! I would rather had been given an M.R.E. The veggies were unseasoned and some of the meals that were supposed to have meat in them lacked mostly meat! The Chrome Cafe is okay, but if you can drive there, I'd advise you to do so.
I had to drive 135 miles each way to meet my trainer, and TMC only reimburses you a whopping $.10 per mile. This was the only non-smoking trainer that was available.
Freight was pretty slow and I did a lot of waiting, which isn't a complaint, because I used the time wisely. Steel factories were the worst places to pick up or deliver to as far as waiting is concerned.
We wasted a lot of time getting a tire changed once. Switching trailers with other drivers is a pain that happens way too often in my opinion. Other TMC drivers don't pre-trip their trailers, which leaves bad tires and missing lights to be your problem. As well as poor tarp jobs!
In my opinion, TMC is going through growing pains. They've added more trucks to their fleet and have lowered their standards for both office personnel and drivers. On top of that, the pay isn't all that great. They could pay a bit more than $10 for a tarp job, which during my training was uncalled for a couple of times. Again, this is where steel companies come into play. Why tarp something that's been sitting out in the mud and rain, only to be stored outside in the same conditions at the consignee? I was fully capable of the work, but it just wasn't worth it. My trainer has been with TMC for a while and he got nickeled and dimed to death. Out of the three weeks that I was on the truck with him, we had one load that was barely paying over $1,000 to the truck. Everything else was $400 - $600 to the truck.
Beautiful trucks and very nicely equipped! But to me, a truck is a truck as long as it gets me safely in the direction I steer it in. Show me the money! Flatbedding is something that you have to love to do in order to stay with this company and some see it as a challenge with every load. Great, fantastic, keep doing what you're doing, I applaude you. I don't hate TMC or think that it's a bottom feeder company. I went there with high expectations because I'd heard so many great things (even on the bus ride to Des Moines), but was disappointed more and more day by day. Insurance is sky high too! Destination: Excellence - long way to go still.
Is TMC a bad company? No, not in my opinion despite what I've experienced. There are worse companies to work for. Is TMC a great company? No, there middle of the road, but if they don't do something about it, they'll slide pretty quick. Logbook problems are catching up with them again. That's because their drivers are hustling to make some good money.
TMC Transportation, Inc. - Des Moines, Ia.
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I have made this post on another forum. I am choosing to copy and past it here also. I am not attempting to be a drama queen of any sorts. The purpose is to help educate new drivers that are entering the work force to the issues that they will face if they choose TMC. This as been my experience, other will obviously say different I am sure. I will past my thread in its entireity with additional comments at the end.
I am choosing to post this evaluation of my experience in the newbie section due to the majority of questions regarding TMC comes from recent graduates of the CDL schools. I should give some back ground to my experience. I started driving in May of 2003 pulling flatbeds for Roehl. I left Roehl after 14 months to drive for a company that was closer to home and paying better. That job lasted almost 2 years but it was literally killing me. I was working on call, and it did not matter if I had just woke up or had been awake for 12 hours waiting to be called, I was expected to run when they said run. I went to work for a small operation, 3 truck then 2 truck. I left that due to fear of the bottom falling out. I took about 4 months off from August to November in 2006. As the bank account started to shrink I realized I had to go back out. I applied to TMC and after about a week I set up a date for orientation. I decided to hold off until the first of the year with the holidays coming up.
January 1st I set out for Des Moines. I arrived there and checked into the company hotel located on site. The accommodations were nice by trucking standards. I was given a packet of paper work to fill out and told to report at 6:30 a.m. at a classroom the next morning. The paper work was the usual, application, insurance, direct deposit, etc.
The next day I show up at the classroom at 6:15. It was a large room with several tables. Placed on every table in front of a chair were cards with names on them. I took my assigned seat and waited. As the room filled I started to take a head count. There were eventually 75 people attending orientation that day. The majority were fresh out of school drivers, easy to pick out in a crowd with their deer in the head light stare. Out of the 75, 25 of us were experienced 50 were no experience. The 2 instructors began promptly at 6:30. I instantly had flash backs of MCRD San Diego. After they had completed roll call they began to tell us the itinerary for the day. It would start out with the DOT physicals and drug tests. The instructor that was speaking then entered into a 15 minute diatribe of zero tolerance with regards to drugs. It was obvious that it was mainly directed to the new drivers. The section where I was seated with the experienced drivers chuckled and looked at each other. Some of us made comments to the effect of who were they trying to impress. About this time a driver showed up late. He was an experienced driver from Oklahoma. His bus had arrived late and he went to the wrong building in the morning. The instructor then made a comment to the late driver saying, Well I guess since the bus was late, you did not deliver on time . The late driver, who I will call Red, resembled Alfred E Newman of Mad Magazine. Red replied in his native Oklahoma draw, The load was not late it was delivered on time. The instructor questioned him how could it have been on time if he over slept. Red responded with out missing a beat, Because I parked the truck in front of the gate before I went to sleep. After this initial intimidation process they tried to apply, the experienced drivers were separated from the newbie drivers. Our orientation was to only last 3 days while the newbies had 2 weeks of this to look forward to. The 3 days turned into a week for us. During the entire process the instructors displayed an arrogance and attitude that I have never seen before at any job. We were told of the policy regarding standing on the grass, instant termination. We skimmed over company policies. The instructor we had was obviously more interested in taking smoke breaks, putting his time in, and going home. The load securement phase consisted of 3 hours. Overall I would say I should have not walked away at that point, I should have left running. Since Roehl did not put my flatbed experience down on my DAC and TMC was too lazy to pick up a phone to verify it, I was required to go out with a trainer for 2 weeks. When the last day finally arrived for orientation, we had to meet in the classroom again to find out our trainer assignments and rental car arrangements to get back home. As it was coming to an end, I had to relieve myself of the coffee I had ingested earlier in the day. I had sat patiently waiting. When the training coordinators had finally covered all of the pertinent information that I needed and asked if there were anymore questions, I stood up and started for the door with my back teeth floating. As I walked to the door, one of TMCs ambassadors of professionalism says, Hey bud, sit back down, you were not exscused. Oh he did not just say that is all that went through my mind. I responded that I had to use the restroom. He said I needed to wait. I then shot a look that said what was on my mind. The other training coordinator read my look and told me that I could go. One thing that really stood out during my week of orientation was that every company I have ever worked at as at least given the drivers the lip service of the fact that everyone in the company works for the drivers, drivers are the only revenue generators, etc. At TMC they do not even bother. The way they treat people is obvious what they truly think of drivers. They are with out a doubt a typical large training company. They know that for every driver that quits, they have 10 more lined up with starry eyes drooling at black and chrome.
I went out with my trainer for 2 weeks. New drivers have to complete 6 weeks. My trainer was a nice guy. He was about 10 years younger then I am and had about 2 years less experience driving then I had. He was OCD in the regards that he did not allow anyone to wear shoes inside of his truck that were worn outside. The floor of his truck looked like it had just rolled out of the factory at 130k on the hub. But the real proof in the experience was the fact that while I was out with him during the 1st week, he spent most of his time calling other carriers looking for another job. During the beginning of the 2nd week with him, he had a job offer that he quickly took. Now the funny part. Not 10 minutes after calling and giving his notice to TMC while driving down a 2 lane state highway in TN he was on the phone calling family and friends to let them know he got a new job. I was sitting in the jump seat and I had noticed that the posted speed limit was 55mph. I also noticed the oncoming traffic flashing their lights as they passed us. Sitting on top of a hill was a TN DOT. I motioned at the parked DOT car, my trainer looked and continued hammer down at 65mph. As we crested the hill, he looked in the mirror and said, Crap, hes going to get me. Sure enough we were pulled over. The officer came around to the passenger side and instructed me to go to the sleeper. My trainer had no drawn a single line in his log book that day. So not only speeding, but log violation AND an expired insurance card on the truck. I just sat in the sleeper trying to keep a straight face. The officer looked at me and asked how long had I been driving. I told him 3 ½ years, he asked if this were just a check ride, and I responded yes basically. He then said, Youve already been through this before I take it . I responded Yes Sir . You have to realize what the requirements are to be a trainer at TMC. You have to have 6 to 9 months experience with the company and 1 winters driving. Overall the 2 weeks were uneventful other then learning what NOT to do .LOL
I got to spend 2 days home before heading back out to Des Moines. I live in Muncie, IN. I was given the phone number of the driver that was going to pick me up. He was leaving out from PA and picking up another driver in OH. They picked me up approximately 3am Sunday. I drove to Iowa and checked in to the hotel. Monday I reported to a different classroom with approximately 20 other drivers. We filled out 5 or 6 forms during the entire day. At the end of the day, I find out that I have to drive back to Indianapolis along with 12 others to get my truck. So basically I wasted 2 days of my life that I will never get back to fill out 5 forms that I could have easily filled out during the 1st week I had been there. The real insult was that I was forced to buy a disposable camera and bunk warmer from the company. $5 for the camera and $35 for the bunk warmer. Once again, I should have ran out of the door. The company is that cheap that they require drivers to buy a disposable camera from them is insane. I drove back to Indy with 3 other experienced drivers. The process of getting assigned a truck took a day and a half with 13 of us showing up at the same time.
The one good thing about the company is my fleet manager. He is a good guy, probably the best FM I have ever had. But he can not fix or change the problems with his company. I have been in my truck for 7 weeks now. I have put close to 20k on it. My YTD gross for loads is $5071. That is a little over $700 a week gross. I have been home for 3 days since being assigned my truck so it is not because I have been sitting at home. It is not because I have been sitting anywhere. I have constantly been on the move. The revenue that they show me on the load assignments is a joke. I have pulled flatbed freight on % before. When I did the truck was averaging $1.78/mile for ALL miles put on the truck. I am getting paid under $0.30/mile at the end of the day. The fact seems to be TMC hauls cheap freight. Reviewing their Best of the Best which lists the top 50 drivers based on revenue to the truck I am not the only one that is hurting. The bottom of the top 50 only generated $3700 a week to the truck. This is a company that boasts 3100 trucks. That would make you wonder what the actual average is company wide. I had suspected that part of the reason may have been the company topping the freight charge. I have been told by drivers that TMC has an in-house brokerage and that the revenue that we see is after it has gone through the brokerage. I was assured by my FM that this was not the case. I have proof that it is. I am on a run that I was told the revenue is $1624 but the BOL states the freight charge as $1819. This difference is approximately 10% which is the standard brokerage cut. It is too little to account for a fuel surcharge, let alone the tarp fee that should be applied. I also have found the freight tariff agreement for AHI (Annette Holdings Inc. the parent company of TMC ) online. It is a very good read, it breaks down the line haul formula based on 100lb weight along with all other accessory charges. The thing that really stands out, it states that line haul rates are based on Rand McNally Practical miles. But the company stands behind household movers guide miles as far as drivers are concerned for pay and out of route figures. Just another example of a company preying on the ignorance of newbie drivers.
At this point and time, I know that I my days are numbered at TMC. How long I stay is still in question. I have already begun looking and have been accepted at a company but have to wait for a truck to become available.
There is NO WAY that I would recommend TMC to anyone, be it new driver or experienced. I have only skimmed over the issues that a driver would face here. I realize that you can ask other TMC drivers and they will paint a rosy picture to you. But for the new drivers, there are better choices that you can go with where you will be able to earn a wage that you deserve. Do not let the wonder lust of driving a peter car influence you into a decision that you will regret.
TMC pays it's drivers $0.20/mile (short miles) for company loads. These loads usually consist of shagging 1 or 2 trailers stacked on a flat bed going down to Loredo TX or a dedicated customer. Another example of what TMC feels a drivers work is worth.
I am planning on giving my notice to my Fleet Manager this Monday as soon as I am loaded and headed East.
Anyone that is considering TMC should review their SafeStat scores. Currently their driver score is above 90.
Drive-a-Mack Thanks this.
Well buzzdog, I am truely sorry to hear all that. I was seriously looking at TMC for some flatbedding.At this point I was torn between flatbedding and van. Hey I'm all about discipline and responsibility and having a professional appearance. I am former Army Airborne and have been a firefighter for 23 years. Some of that sounds like it borders on anal. I am not about to be treated like a boot after all I have been through in life.I will also not tolerate being treated like pond scum by any office type with an attitude. I am also sorry to hear that the % that goes to the driver is the % that is left after TMC takes their brokerage fees off the total freight bill. Maybe taking the % is not such a good deal after all.Maybe I would be better off to get paid in mileage by another flatbed company. Well you have certainly gave me pause to ponder the future now. I honestly thought I was going to go TMC all the way. Now I don't know what I'm going to do......
I am not sure where you live as this will affect the hiring areas of companies. I would recommend that you give Roehl a good look. You could start on the flatbed side and see how you like it. If you find that it is not your cup of tea, you can always switch to their van division, or if you have enough time in to their curtain side. They had a good training program when I was there. I was fortunate to have 2 very competent and professional trainers that prepared me to be on my own. They do have some issues, there is no perfect company. But over all I would not hesitate to recommend them to a new driver based on my personal experience I had starting out there almost 4 years ago.
Switching trailers with other drivers is almost always a pain because each driver has to make sure they leave with the proper amount of straps, chains, tarps and so on, not to mention make sure the load is secured properly. But it doesn't happen often enough to be a big deal for my husband. Part of flatbedding is tarping the load whether you agree that it should be or not. It is part of the job. TMC pays $10 for tarping. Since it is a job requirement they don't have to pay extra for it all. Sure more money for doing it would be nice though. We don't have problems with the pay either. My husband brings home $700 - $900+ a week.
I read all the posts on here about how horrible TMC is and their numbers are high and blah blah blah. A lot of the stuff here is opinion. Some like TMC, some don't. Everyone has a right to their own opinion but it sure seems that there are a lot of people trying to push their opinions down everyone else's throat...and in no way is that meant for HeadRush who I quoted above...not everyone has to agree with everyone else, what a boring world that would be.
Just a 2 or 3 questions for driver'swife. I realize there will be conflicting information on any company. Having said that I am trying to process all this information I hear on companies I'm interested in . Hopefully this keeps me from making too many mistakes. So here are the questions.
1) How long has your husband been with TMC?
2) Does his percentage come off the total bill of lading or is it taken off the remainder after TMC has deducted their 10% on brokerage?
3)Is he paid on the Household Movers Guide or practical miles? This has me curious if TMC quotes loads by practical miles yet pays their drivers on HHG miles for their mileage pay and out of route figures.
And like I said I know there is conflicting information and good and bad aspects to all trucking companies. Its just when I sign on the line, I want it to be an informed decision. Thanks for your input.
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