I just don't agree. You'll have to run over 12,000 miles each and every month to get these numbers and I only saw that many miles 1 out of 4 months and it was a major sacrifice of hometime to hit that.
I guess if you just never go home you could do it.
They also just changed their bonus program and are now basing it solely on your fuel miles per gallon....meaning you have to slow down if you want to get into the upper tier bonus...
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I graduated in Feb. from w/s school and recommend that is the way to go. Don't pay for it up front though. I did and the way they pay you back is 100 per mo. for 36 mo. But...u get paid 1 cent less per mile while they pay u back. At 10000 miles a mo. thats 100 bucks! So..I am just paying myself back.
It is picking up but it was really slow for awhile so maybe they cut back on the training schedule.
Watkins is a very good company and unique in that they send you out in your own rig right after school. But I can tell you I now understand why other companies don't do it that way. And there were times when I wish I had a trainer in the truck with me. You will learn all you need to know about how to operate the the rig in school to get started...but you will quickly realize you don't know crap about trucking!
Where to stop, when to stop, what to do when you get lost what setup to use for what approach, what procedures do what shippers/receivers
require and on and on. Be honest with yourself and decide if you are the type that does best in a "sink or swim" situation or if you would do better with some more hand holding.
I am just now feeling confident about my abilities and have learned that I probably should have had some more hand holding...but then I am glad that I have survived the challenge and am working for Watkins. I would like to add that I also agree that 43,000 is not realistic.
Just my 2 cents.Last edited: May 24, 2008
inthewindaz Thanks this.
The information that you gave was very informative. I am probably going to go to the W/S 30 day training and was thinking of paying the training up front so that I wouldn't owe anyone. I am know thinking of letting them finance it through TAB after reading what you had to say about it.
What realistic monthly income can a solo van driver in the western 10 states make with W/S.
#2You guys had a bad start for the year. But, that is changing.
#3 I can scan my paystub any time you want to see it. I've had 3 weeks off so far this year. And, I'm still holding a 1K average per week. With weekends home.
I rarely run more than 10K a month. Most months it's between 8-9K.
I'm not a first year driver. I run LTL. And I hustle 10-20 drops per week, sometimes more.
I'm sorry that you couldn't make it. But most drivers at our terminal are making as much as I am, some make more.
I am not "the exception". I am the average for LTL out of our terminal. I've always told anyone within this forum who asked, "pay will vary depending on where and what you do.'
If you choose to drop and hook. Your pay sucks. If you choose to chase miles. Your pay sucks. If your a first year driver who attended our school, your pay sucks. If you fail to list your multi-stops on your pay envelope..your pay sucks.
I've got my load for this next payroll. I'll leave monday morning, will be done by wednesday morning, drop and hook. Total $420 add that to the previous wednesday to friday run, another drop and hook, another $420 for a weeks total of $840. I turn my payroll in on wednesdays.
Actually, that sucks for me. It's all drop and hook. So I have no chance to make extra, as I normally would. But, it is what is needed to get my truck swapped out.
I'll be back in my regular "regional" routes the following week. And more than make up for it.
$40K for the first year, can be done easily. How bad do you want it? If you spend 20-30 hours a week on line 4. You won't get it...period. With any company that pays by the mile.
For those of you who can't make the money. Or wonder if it can be done.
In black and white. $600 of it is vacation pay. My truck has been in the shop, no less than 10 times this year, but during my weekends home. I have had 11 days off (truck in shop) prior to this statement.
It's about hustle. How much do you want to make? Just click the link to see it full size.
InMyDreams Thanks this.
Speaking with a degree of honesty. I would be very surprised if you make that much, within the same time frame. A new driver has to work 20-30% harder to make the same as an experienced driver. For several reasons.
#1 I've been doing this for a long time, and know without looking at a map, how to get in the general area of most cities.
#2 I use a GPS a lot. I get all my stops loaded into it before I start kicking off those stops. I'm familiar with many areas, and use that to my advantage. IE I don't run up under low bridges, because the GPS said too. So it's simply, toss a piece off. Then haul ###
#4 The fear factor. Until you've put some time behind the wheel, there will be a degree of uncertianty about everything you do. This will cost you time. While a couple of minutes here or there don't seem like much. It adds up quick.
#5 Your rate of pay will be significantly lower to begin with. The fuel bonus as it is structured now. Gives you a chance to recover .015 per mile. Or at least 3/4 a cent, just for using the correct fuel stops. There are other ways to get another .02 a mile. I don't look for that myself though. Confused? So are a lot of our drivers LOL.
All in all, you have to survive that first year. That will be the hardest thing for a new driver to do. Especially when they come into this job thinking they are going to knock down the same money as a 3 year or a 20 year driver. Even if they pay you the same per mile. You still won't make it.
Watkins and Shepard is structured to allow a new driver the time to learn. Use that time wisely. You'll make less money your first year. But, you'll still have your CDL.
Actually I don't doubt at all that you can make $43K+ as an experienced driver. What you need to understand is that W/S advertises this number for new long haul drivers that "need training". This is not a good expectation to set for new drivers. I had my CDL when I came to W/S and drove previously. They actually quote (from their website) into the $70K range for experienced drivers.
Also, I didn't seem to have a choice whether I ran drop and hook or LTL. If I had the choice I would have done all the LTL I could get my hands on, since in the long run, like you said, you make more because you get paid for the drops.
The letter I got regarding the new bonus structure was pretty specific that they safety/fuel bonuses are now rolled into one tiered system instead of two. Maybe I'm not understanding it correctly. I got every safety and fuel bonus while I was there and still struggled to "average" more than $600/wk.
Anyway, I really do think W/S is a good company, hometime was my primary reason for leaving, the fact that I am going to make $20K more in my local job (300 miles/10+ stops per day) was just a bonus for me. I get to be home with my family every night and have weekends off for more money so I'm happy with that. I'll still recommed W/S to others though, they do treat drivers good. Just nice to be getting paid for my time instead of my miles...
I do wish everyone luck in hitting the 40K mark their first year, you can't do that at the majority of long haul companies and shouldn't be fooled by optimistic advertising.
Just my opinion....not trying to dog anyone..
Last edited: May 26, 2008
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