fbpx
(352)-629-2042 sales@ifreightx.com
Notice to All Freight X Customers and Drivers About the Coronavirus

Notice to All Freight X Customers and Drivers About the Coronavirus

Notice to All Freight X Customers and Drivers About the Coronavirus

March 11, 2020

Written by Aaron Parr

Aaron Parr is the Director of Operations at Freight X. He oversees the entire fleet of trucks, the mechanics, the dispatch team, the safety team, and more. 

Like so many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it is impacting our world. For Freight X LLC, that means understanding how it affects our employees, customers, and communities, and then making the necessary adjustments to our work and operations. 

We have one simple objective that guides us: keeping our employees and customers safe. This has been at the center of our conversations every step of the way. With that in mind, we have made several moves in our business in response to the threat of the coronavirus. 

We have ramped up cleaning services at our offices and are adding hand sanitizer at the front entrances. Sanitizing wipes are near workstations so that employees can keep them continuously cleaned. 

We are closely following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines and recommendations on the steps we can take to help prevent the spread of the virus. We have shared specific instructions with our employees on the importance of washing their hands and staying home if they feel sick.  Per CDC recommendations, we have instructed our employees who may have been exposed to others who have traveled to such locations to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

A strict travel policy for our employees is in place, and we have canceled meetings with large gatherings, again to do what we can to help prevent the spread of the illness. 

If someone in our office would test positive for the Coronavirus, we will close the office and have all employees work from home. We have remote computer and communication capabilities for all office employees should the need arise for everyone to not come into the office.

We have given every driver a $5 reimbursement voucher for the purchase of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content to have in their truck. We have also shared the following instructions:

  • Put enough product on hands to cover all surfaces.
  • Rub hands together, until hands feel dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
  • Note: Do not rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it’s dry; it may not work as well against germs.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and do all we can to protect you and our employees.

Popular Articles

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms.

Should I Be a Company Driver or an Owner Operator?

Should I Be a Company Driver or an Owner Operator?

Should I Be a Company Driver or an Owner Operator?

February 25, 2020

Written by Aaron Parr

Aaron Parr is the Director of Operations at Freight X. He oversees the entire fleet of trucks, the mechanics, the dispatch team, the safety team, and more. 

In most cases, truck drivers have two career paths to consider: become a company driver or be an owner operator. Each career path has its pros and cons – it just depends on what you’re looking for in a trucking career.

In this quick guide, we’ll go over company drivers, owner operators, and which option might be best for you and your situation.

 What Is a Company Driver?

A company driver is an employee of a trucking company that drives a company truck. Company drivers are paid by the mile or the hour, and they typically receive benefits like any other employee.

Paid By the Mile vs. Paid By the Hour

So, is it better to be paid for every mile you drive, or does it make more sense to be paid for each hour you work? The short answer is it depends.

In general, shorter haul loads don’t offer enough miles to make per-mile payment worth your while. For example, if a load is only 97 miles each way, you’re only running about 200 miles per day. If you were paid by the mile, that’s less than $500 per week!

Most drivers aren’t going to work for only $500 per week. That’s why drivers who run local freight are typically paid by the hour. We call these “hourly runs.”

Guys and gals that are on the road doing 500-600 miles per day prefer a per-mile rate because it’s going to pay them more than an hourly rate. 

You can really get in the weeds with the math here, but the gist is if you’re hired for a local job, it’s probably going to be an hourly position. And if you’re hired as an over the road driver, you’re probably going to be paid by the mile.

Sidenote: There’s a little bit of a push in the trucking industry to pay all drivers by the hour. Some believe paying drivers for every mile they run encourages speeding. This isn’t a massive push by any means – more of a gentle nudge if you will.

In our opinion, this line of thinking isn’t going anywhere because today’s technology is so advanced. For example, there are truck devices that don’t allow you to speed, even if you wanted to.

What Benefits Do Company Drivers Get?

Company drivers are employees, and as an employee, you receive valuable benefits like contributions towards your health insurance, workers’ compensation, and even access to a 401(k) retirement plan if your employer offers it.

Company drivers also have the advantage of reliability. In general, you know what your earnings are going to be (or can be), and you don’t face any unexpected expenses. Company drivers are not responsible for paying for their truck, truck maintenance, or fuel.

Here are some major things company drivers don’t have to worry about:

  • Fuel costs going up and down
  • No earnings if your truck breaks down (you get breakdown pay)
  • No earnings if your loads are too spaced apart (you get layover pay)
  • No earnings if you have to deadhead to get a load (you are paid by the mile or hour)

That’s all pretty reassuring to those who prefer the predictability and reliability of a steady job. 

How Much Can You Make As a Company Driver?

Company drivers typically make between 38-52 cents per mile. This is all dependent on your experience and the distance you’re willing to drive. Regional positions pay less, for example, and drivers with a lot of experience are paid more.

Average hourly rates can span from $15 to as high as $25 per hour. The biggest factors here are where you’re driving and any endorsements you have. For example, drivers up north are paid on the higher end, and drivers with HAZMAT and Tanker endorsements are paid more.

As a company driver, the more miles you run or the more hours you work, the more you’ll obviously make, but you are capped to a certain extent. It’s unlikely you’ll ever earn more than about 52 cents per mile driven, and you can only work so many hours in the week. 

Additionally, some companies won’t want you to get into overtime, and some driving jobs only pay straight time no matter how many hours you work.

Typical company drivers can expect to make between $35,000-$70,000 per year. Some of our very own Freight X company drivers are even earning upwards of $90,000 per year, so it really can depend.

Drivers with a lot of motivation who are out on the road more often tend to earn on the higher end of that range, while drivers who prefer to have more home time will be on the lower end. Needless to say, the pay is fantastic, especially since you don’t need any advanced degrees.

If you prefer predictability and don’t want to take on the risks of owning your own business, being a company driver is an excellent career path for you.

What Is an Owner Operator?

An owner operator is an independent business owner that teams up with a trucking company for back-office support. Owner operators lease or own their own truck. If the owner operator is leasing the truck, they’re referred to a lease purchase owner operator.

Read more: 7 Ways to Avoid Getting Screwed Over on a Lease Purchase Agreement

If an owner operator has other drivers working under him or her, they’re referred to as a freight agent.

Read more: Why Becoming a Freight Agent Is the Best Way to Grow a Small Fleet

In any case, when you’re responsible for your own equipment, it means you take on the risk of any business owner. On the bright side, you are entirely independent and have the pride of being your own boss.

Are Owner Operators Considered Employees?

Owner operators are not considered employees. In most cases, owner operators are 1099 independent contractors.

Since owner ops aren’t employees, it should be said that taxes are not automatically taken out of their earnings, so please, please, please! save a portion of your income for tax time. You do NOT want to be like many owner operators who owe the IRS and don’t have the ability to pay them.

What Do Owner Operators Have to Pay For?

Owner operators are running their own businesses, and while they make a lot more money on the freight they haul, they also have a lot more expenses. Some expenses you can plan for, while others can come out of the blue.

The main expenses of an owner operator include:

  • Truck maintenance costs
  • Truck breakdowns 
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Other Unforeseen business expenses

Sidenote: Most trucking companies don’t supply health insurance for owner operators. There may be a few exceptions, but in general, that’s the standard.

While all of these expenses can definitely add up, there’s a reason why truckers decide to become owner operators, and that’s the income!

How Much Can You Make As an Owner Operator?

Owner operators have the potential to make significantly more money than a company driver. While company drivers make between 38-52 cents per mile, owner operators typically make about 70% of the load, which would be $1.75 on a load paying $2.50, for example.

Here at Freight X, we pay 70% of the line haul and 100% of the fuel surcharge. We should mention that some trucking companies advertise a higher pay percentage, and that can be deceiving. Always distinguish between the line haul and the fuel surcharge – you should be getting all of the fuel surcharge.

You can read more about that here: 5 Key Reasons Truck Drivers Switch Trucking Companies

As an owner operator, you have the power to choose your own destiny. An owner operator’s annual earnings can range from $78,000-$156,000

If you’re out on the road diligently, you’ll be on the higher end of the range, and if you continually turn down loads, you’ll be on the lower end.

Don’t forget that owner operators are responsible for their own business expenses, but on the bright side, expenses are tax-deductible. You just have to keep track of them!

What Do Trucking Companies Offer Owner Operators?

You’re making about 70% of the load, so why are you giving up 30% to the trucking company you’re running under?

That can depend on the trucking company, so you really want to do your homework here. You want to be sure you’re partnering with a company that is supporting your growth and is offering top-of-the-line trucking solutions. Don’t give up that 30% to just anyone!

Here at Freight X, we offer best-in-class software, great customer relationships, a shop with incredibly skilled mechanics, and so much more. In fact, here’s a quick sampling of the benefits we provide to owner operators:

  • Pilot/Flying J agreement – fantastic fuel discount!
  • Experienced in-house mechanics that are paid by the hour, not commission
  • Best-in-class tech – Dossier, McLeod, and Transflo
  • More opportunities – drop and hook, trailer pools, customers
  • Free subscription to DAT and Truckstop
  • Great dispatch and load planning support from staff with decades of trucking experience
  • Fueling location optimization to save you money on fuel expenses
  • We file your IFTA
  • ELD provided and monitored

These are just some of the highlights of what we offer to owner operators, but as you can see, that’s a ton of value. We’re able to offer all of this because of the volume we do. 

However, we still maintain that small, family-owned company feel. When you call us, you’ll be greeted by your name, not a number. It’s truly the best of both worlds!

How Much Does an Owner Operator Truck Driver Make After Expenses?

Expenses are pretty unpredictable – as are many aspects of trucking! However, many trucking companies (including Freight X) assist owner operators by offering optional maintenance accounts.

You can request to automatically put in part of your earnings into the maintenance account until it reaches an amount you’re comfortable with. That provides you some insurance, so to speak, if you run into any major maintenance or break down issues.

Once your maintenance account has a good amount of padding in it, you don’t have to worry about unforeseen expenses coming out of your check.

Your expenses and income are going to range greatly, but we know you probably want to see some kind of example, so we came up with one. 

Assuming you run 100,000 in a year, you should plan for about $74,500 in annual expenses. Also assuming you get $2 per mile, which is very reasonable, you would make $200,000 that year.

In sum, an owner operator who runs 100,000 miles annually can expect to make about $125,500 after expenses. And again, expenses are tax-deductible.

Here’s an example of what expenses look like if you run 100,000 in a year:

  • $24,000: Fuel (at Freight X, you get a fuel card with a fuel discount)
  • $16,500: Food and drink while on the road – this is called “per diem” and is major for your taxes – you can deduct $66 per day in 2019)
  • $15,000: Truck maintenance
  • $13,000: Insurance
  • $5,000: Tires
  • $1,000: General administrative expenses (accounting, for example)

Fuel is going to be your largest expense, but it’s not as bad as it sounds since it’s factored into the rate of the load. Owner operators at Freight X regularly bring home between $2,000-$3,000 per week, and that’s after fuel expenses.

Owner Operator vs. Company Driver

One option isn’t inherently better than the other – it just depends on your personality and which option fits your needs the best at this time.

You’re probably better suited to be a company driver (for now) if you agree with the majority of these statements:

  • I’m relatively new to truck driving.
  • I’m not financially prepared to be on the hook for tractor repairs or maintenance costs.
  • I like predictability.
  • I don’t generally like to take on risk if I can help it.
  • I’ve never really had the desire to own my own business.

On the other hand, you might be better suited to become an owner operator if you agree with the majority of these statements:

  • I’ve been driving trucks for several years (or more).
  • I’m financially prepared to handle tractor repairs or maintenance costs.
  • I don’t mind taking on risk when there’s a potential for upside.
  • I’ve always wanted to own my own truck.
  • I’ve always wanted to start my own business.

If you want to be an owner operator but you’re not financially prepared for unexpected costs and you don’t know how to own your own truck, consider becoming a lease purchase owner operator. 

Read this first, though: 7 Ways to Avoid Getting Screwed Over on a Lease Purchase Agreement

If you have any questions about becoming a company driver or owner operator here at Freight X, be sure to visit our Become a Driver page. You can fill out the form there to get in touch with us, or just give us a call at 352-629-2042!

Popular Articles

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms.

What to Do When Your Trucking Company Leaves You Stranded

What to Do When Your Trucking Company Leaves You Stranded

What to Do When Your Trucking Company Leaves You Stranded

January 1, 2020

Written by Aaron Parr

Aaron Parr is the Director of Operations at Freight X. He oversees the entire fleet of trucks, the mechanics, the dispatch team, the safety team, and more. 

If you’re a truck driver and your company leaves you stranded, it can extremely stressful. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is nothing new for drivers, but as of late, it has become an even bigger issue.

In 2019, about 10 midsize to large trucking companies shut down, including HVH Transportation, New England Motor Freight Inc., Falcon Transport, Stevens Tanker Division, and most notably, Celadon (Freight Waves).

Celadon Group Inc. had the largest trucking failure of 2019, leaving over 2,500 drivers stranded thousands of miles from home. These drivers found that their fuel cards were deactivated, and no one was telling them what to do about upcoming planned loads or their trucks.

To make matters even worse, many drivers were in the middle of a load with trailers full of goods. They knew they wouldn’t be paid if they finished their route, but at the same time, what are you supposed to do with a loaded trailer full of someone’s stuff?

Whether your trucking company went bankrupt or your truck broke down and they’re not sending you help, we have some advice on what to do going forward when you’re stranded far from home.

Don’t Trash The Truck!

The theme here is that you shouldn’t take a bad situation and make it worse. Although the company may owe you money, they left you stranded, they deactivated your fuel card, and you have their equipment, you don’t want to do anything stupid. It’s not worth risking your future!

As a truck driver, your license, your record, and your overall standing as a driver is your livelihood. Resist the urge to trash the vehicle, leave it in some random field, or park it on a back road in the middle of nowhere. Decisions like that can come back to bite you, and you want to be employable in the future.

Park Your Truck at a Truck Stop

If you’ve tried contacting your dispatchers, the management, and you’ve exhausted all resources, we recommend parking the truck at a truck stop. Put the keys on the dipstick, remove your personal items, and lock the doors.

Don’t leave the keys in the ignition, because that’s a pretty obvious spot, and you could be blamed in the future if the truck is stolen.

Take Photos of How You Left the Truck

Finally, take photos of where you left the truck and what condition you left it in. The more photos, the better. Treat it like an accident and document the truck thoroughly.

This extra step will make sure you’re protected if someone tries to blame you for damage to the truck later on.

Sometimes, trucking companies are also bought out by venture capitalists, and their goal is to sell everything off and close the doors to milk it for all its worth. We aren’t bankruptcy law experts, but that can happen. They’re going to come after that truck eventually, so take photos to make sure you have nothing to worry about.

Get an Uber or Bus Ticket Home

Once you’ve dealt with the truck, it’s time to get home. If you’re relatively close to home, you can get an Uber or Lyft relatively inexpensively.

If you’re a bit farther away, consider purchasing a bus ticket, which can be a lot cheaper than airfare.

Contact Trucking Companies In the Area

If you’re seriously stranded – as in, thousands of miles from home – larger trucking companies can often afford to send for you. They are all itching for new drivers, so you may find that they’re willing to go the extra mile to recruit you.

You might also contact trucking companies in the area. If you’re out of money and can’t get a ride, lots of companies will definitely help you out. People out there want you as a driver and may be able to pick you up. 

Budget a Rainy Day Fund

Especially as an owner operator, we recommend having a little bit of savings in a rainy day fund. While you never expect your trucking company to go out of business or leave you stranded, you want to be prepared for anything. That includes the potential of being stranded without help.

In addition, don’t expect your trucking company to shell out $10,000 to come get you if your truck broke down across the country. A lot of drivers jump from job to job, so why would the company bend over backward if they expect you to leave?

However, loyal drivers can expect the “royal” treatment. Trucking companies will go the extra mile (pun intended!) for drivers who stick around and are dedicated to their position. (Including us.)

In any case, having some money set aside for situations like this will ease your worries and help you transition to the next opportunity.

Don’t Panic!

As a trucker, you’re in demand and are always employable. The nice thing is it won’t take you months to find a new job. Move on, but do it in the right way.

In our industry, integrity is key. Keep an excellent reputation and resist the urge to retaliate. This too shall pass.

Choose a Trucking Company That Won’t Leave You Stranded

Finally, be sure to work for a company that won’t leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere! Here at Freight X, we’re there for our drivers – especially when they need us the most.

Maurice Watson, a loyal driver currently on our lease-purchase program, explains in his Driver Spotlight, “you’re never stranded with this company.”

When his truck broke down in the middle of Arizona, Maurice found out it would take nearly a month to get it fixed. Our team at Freight X sent help from Florida all the way to Arizona – and with a tractor in tow!

I was so happy to see them come over the horizon with that tractor,” Maurice says. “Not too many companies are actually doing that. That was a life-saving moment for me.”

Of course, we’d love to have you as a part of our driving team here at Freight X. However, be sure to ask whatever company you’re talking with what they’d do in a similar situation.

Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is extremely stressful, especially when you have no support from your trucking company.

If we can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can call our office at 325-629-2042 for help, or you can reach us via our Contact Form.

Popular Articles

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms.

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

December 11, 2019

Written by Aaron Parr

Aaron Parr is the Director of Operations at Freight X. He oversees the entire fleet of trucks, the mechanics, the dispatch team, the safety team, and more. 

Whether you’re an experienced driver or are new to trucking, there’s a lot of lingo to learn! Just like any industry, we have shortened words, acronyms, and trucker slang that’s just part of our everyday conversation.

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms. We’re sure to have forgotten some, so be sure to leave your suggestions in the comment section at the end!

#-A

11-Hour Driving Limit: part of the FMCSA Hours-of-Service Rules; property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. (Read the regulation here.)

14-Hour Limit: part of the FMCSA Hours-of-Service Rules; property-carrying drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period. (Read the regulation here.)

60/70-Hour Limit: part of the FMCSA Hours-of-Service Rules; property-carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. (Read the regulation here.) 

Agent: in the context of truck driving, an agent is an individual who oversees a small fleet of trucks and partners with a larger trucking company to lower operating costs – read more here

American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI): a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization whose primary mission is to conduct transportation research, with an emphasis on the trucking industry’s essential role in a safe, efficient and viable transportation system.

APU (Auxiliary Power Unit): a unit that offers increased driver comfort, greater fuel savings, better driver recruitment/retention, idle reduction, lowered maintenance costs, and higher tractor residual values.

Example of an APU – Thermo King’s next-generation APU provides virtually unlimited sleeper cab heating and air conditioning while reducing tractor idling and lowering maintenance costs.

ATA (American Trucking Association): founded in 1933; the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.

B

Backhaul: a driver’s return trip; typically pays a lower rate (unless you live in Florida!); backhauls typically are taken to position a driver for another, better-paying headhaul.

Balloon payment: a large one-time payment due at the end of a loan term; in trucking, this is quite common in unfair lease purchase agreements – read more here.

Berth: sleeping compartment behind the cab; also called a sleeper.

Bill of Lading: an itemized list of goods contained in a shipment.

Bobtail: A tractor operating without a trailer. Comes from the cat breed “American Bobtail” which is known for its short, stubby tail.

Bumped the dock: a driver backed up to a dock door ready to load or unload at pick up or delivery. 

C

Cabover: also called COE, or Cab-Over-Engine; a truck design that houses the cab over the engine.

CB (Citizens Band Radio): A two-way radio system used to communicate traffic conditions, requests for help, or conversations.

CDL (Commercial Driver’s License): The license that authorizes an individual to operate commercial motor vehicles and buses over 26,000 pounds.

CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle): the FMCSR has defined CMV as a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Company driver: a driver who is an employee of a trucking company driving a company truck; typically paid by the mile or hourly. 

D

DAC (Drive-A-Check) report: a comprehensive file that contains the last 10 years of your employment history, license verification, driving history, DOT physical results, criminal background checks, and any other information requested at a company; managed by HireRight. Carriers can also report a bad driver, which will show up on a DAC report and will likely influence future driving opportunities. 

DAT (Dial-a-Truck): the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America.

Deadhead: when a driver is moving with an empty trailer; typically happens when a driver must drive a certain distance to pick up their next load.

Detention: compensation paid to the driver when a route is delayed either at pick up or delivery (typically longer than 2 hours at the time of pick up or delivery).

Dossier: a software company that provides fleet maintenance management solutions for the transportation industry. (We use Dossier here at Freight X.)

DOT (Department of Transportation): The Department of Transportation was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966. DOT’s mission is to ensure our nation has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world.

Drop and Hook: when a driver delivers a load at the final delivery location for a customer and he/she drops the trailer and picks up a new one.

Dry van: shipping container used to haul pallets or boxes of cargo; the most common type of freight transportation today.

Dry van example

E

E-Log: An online system used to track hours of services and milage.

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): the concept of businesses electronically communicating information that was traditionally communicated on paper, such as purchase orders and invoices; most customers in the trucking industry require EDI.

ELD (Electronic Logging Device): electronic hardware that is attached to a commercial motor vehicle engine to record driving hours.

ELD example

F

Factoring: when a carrier receives payment from a third-party financial company after delivering a load and waiting for payment. The purpose of factoring is to improve cashflow.

Forced dispatch: when a dispatcher forces a driver to take a load that violates regulations or personal boundaries set at the time of hire; for example, telling a driver they must run a load that infringes on their hours of service or they will be fired; typically only applies to company drivers.

Flatbed: a type of trailer that is flat, which allows it to be loaded from all angles if needed; allows for larger freight to be loaded as there are no walls; typically unloaded by a crane or outdoor equipment; typically pays better than dry van freight as it requires more waiting – deliveries are often to job sites with tighter delivery windows and limited unloading equipment.

Flatbed trailer example; photo credit: Great Western Leasing

FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration): part of the Department of Transportation whose primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

FSC (Fuel surcharge): an extra fee that trucking companies charge to cover the fluctuating cost of fuel; the fuel surcharge is not meant to cover all fuel used on the load – it only covers a portion. A typical fuel surcharge may range between 20-35 cents per mile.

Fuel discount: trucking companies can partner with gas stations to receive a discount based on volume; discounts are often defined on a “cost plus” basis or a “retail minus” basis. For example, you may pay cost plus 4 or retail minus 4.

Fuel island: another term for a gas station, but in trucking, we don’t get gas – we get diesel fuel, thus we call these filling stations “fuel islands” (or truck stops). 

Fueling Location Optimization: the cheapest price at the pump doesn’t actually mean it’s going to be the cheapest due to individual state taxes, so dispatchers will optimize a driver’s route to ensure they get the lowest-cost fuel, despite the price at the pump.

G, H, I

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer.

Hazmat: Hazardous materials, as classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Must have a Hazmat Certification as a driver to run these loads; the carrier must also be Hazmat Certified and have appropriate insurance in place. 

Headhaul: the load you take leaving the terminal (such as your home or your home state). 

HOS (Hours of Service): U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations which govern the hours of service of commercial vehicle drivers engaged in interstate trucking operations. These rules are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes. (Read the full regulation here.)

IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement): an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the Canadian provinces to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction. An operating carrier with IFTA receives an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle it operates. The carrier files a quarterly fuel tax report. This report is used to determine the net tax or refund due and to redistribute taxes from collecting states to states that it is due.

L

Layover: similar to detention, layover is paid by the trucking company to the driver when they spend a certain amount of time not driving. 

Lease Purchase Driver: A driver who is in a lease agreement with a trucking company to eventually own their truck and become an owner operator; many trucking companies have given lease purchase agreements a bad name due to unfair contracts and bad business practices – read more here.

Load board: also known as freight boards; an online system that allows shippers and brokers to post loads.

Logbook: A records book where drivers record their hours of service and duty status for each 24-hour period.

Logbook example

Long-haul: driving long distances.

LTL (Less-Than-Truckload): A load that is typically less than 10,000 pounds; the quantity of freight is less than what is required to fill a full truckload.

M

Maintenance account: An account that holds a small percentage of your earnings over time to cover potential truck repair costs; typically required during lease purchase contracts, and the average amount held back is between 12-20 cents per loaded mile.

McLeod: a trucking software provider that provides solutions for trucking dispatch operations management, freight brokerage management, fleet management, document imaging, workflow, and EDI. (We use McLeod here at Freight X.)

MT: driver slang for “empty.”

O-P

Owner Operator: A driver who owns his/her own truck and runs as a 1099 contractor for a trucking company.

OTR (Over the Road) Driver: A driver who travels cross-country to deliver freight; typically sleeps in his/her sleeper and averages upwards of 100,000 miles annually.

Personal Conveyance: the movement of a commercial motor vehicle for personal use while off-duty.

Power only: pulling someone else’s trailer when running a load; the driver is supplying the “power only.”

Pups: containers that are just 26–29 feet long, instead of the standard 53 feet.

Pups example

R

Regen: when soot builds up inside the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), a driver may be forced to pull over and do a ‘forced regen,’ or a self-cleaning process that can take about 45 minutes. Without a regen, the tractor may not be operable. 

Reefer: a refrigerated trailer, commonly used for the transportation of food; these loads typically pay more because they require more attention from the driver and you have to put fuel in the tractor and the trailer. 

Relay: two drivers with loaded trucks who meet in a central destination to swap trailers and return to their points of origin.

Rolling regen: the same as a regular regen, but you do not have to stop to perform the regen. It’s important to never interrupt a rolling regen, or you risk future issues.

S

Sleeper: the sleeping compartment mounted behind the truck cab; where drivers sleep while on the road.; also called Berth.

Sleeper Berth Provision: part of the FMCSA Hours-of-Service Rules; drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two. (Read the regulation here.)

Spot market rates: shipping prices that exist right now; typically paid by the broker. 

Spread axel: tandem axels existing on flatbed trailers that can slide independent of each other – one is fixed, and the other, you can generally spread out. 

Step-deck: a trailer that has two deck levels – an upper deck and a lower deck which drops down after it clears the tractor tandems.

Step-deck example

Stop pay: loads with several delivery locations in which compensation is given for each stop made; generally, a load consists of one “pick,” or origin, and one “drop,” or destination. Intermediate stops are typically compensated by the company.

Super single: tires that are twice as wide as typical tires; each “super single” replaces two typical tires; can be used on tractors or trailers; these offer better fuel economy, but if one fails, you’re stuck and cannot continue driving under any circumstances.

Super single example; photo credit: Energy.gov: “Replacing traditional dual tires with one wide-base (also called super-single or single-wide) tire can save fuel by reducing vehicle weight and rolling resistance, which means the engine doesn’t need to work as hard. A wide-base tire is not quite as wide as the sum of the two tires, so there is a slight aerodynamic benefit as well, further improving vehicle efficiency. Using wide-base tires can improve fuel efficiency by approximately 5%.”

T

Tandems: the two axels beneath the trailer that must be set a certain distance from the kingpin (distance varies by state and sometimes requires special permitting). 

Team: two drivers working together allowing freight to move faster as one drives while the other sleeps; teams earn a higher rate per mile.

TMS (Transportation Management System): an online platform designed to streamline the shipping process; an example of a TMS is McLeod or TMW. 

Tractor Trailer: a tractor and semitrailer combined.

Transflo: a mobile, telematics, ELD, and business process automation company with technology for commercial drivers, fleets, and brokers. (We use Transflo here at Freight X.)

TONU (Truck Ordered Not Used): if you’re dispatched on a load and the shipper says there is no load ready for pickup upon arrival, the broker or customer must pay you for the TONU; typically only applies to owner operators as company drivers are paid by the mile.

Truckstop: alongside DAT, one of the most widely used load boards in America.

U

USDOT Number: serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections. 

What Trucking Lingo Did We Miss?

There you have it! This is our compiled list of trucking terminology that we’ve seen and used over the years. We’re sure we’re missing some, so be sure to leave your ideas and suggestions in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

Popular Articles

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms.

5 Key Reasons Truck Drivers Switch Trucking Companies

5 Key Reasons Truck Drivers Switch Trucking Companies

5 Key Reasons Truck Drivers Switch Trucking Companies

November 11, 2019

Written by Aaron Parr

Aaron Parr is the Director of Operations at Freight X. He oversees the entire fleet of trucks, the mechanics, the dispatch team, the safety team, and more. 

There’s no escaping the fact that the turnover rate in the trucking industry is shameful

Truck drivers are constantly leaving one trucking company for another, and it’s becoming a very rare occurrence to talk to a driver who has been loyal and dedicated to his or her company for years.

Before we get into the reasons why, it’s important to understand what exactly the driver turnover rate is, and how it compares to other industries.

What’s the Driver Turnover Rate?

According to the American Trucking Association’s Trucking Activity Report, the annual truck driver turnover rate is 94%.

Let that sink in for a second… that means that your average trucking company is going to lose nearly ALL of their drivers in a year. That’s insane! And in reality, many trucking companies experience over 100% turnover rate, which means they’re losing all of their drivers in less than a year. It’s a constant churn.

Other industries, like construction, have a 5% turnover rate. Education and health services are at under 3%. And off in the corner of the universe is the trucking industry at a staggering 94%!

We’re lucky enough here at Freight X to have a lower turnover rate than the industry average, but still, it’s clear that the majority of drivers either aren’t happy, or they are constantly looking for something better. 

Here are the top 5 reasons we’ve found truck drivers to leave their current trucking company for a new one:

  1. Drivers aren’t happy with their dispatchers.
  2. Drivers are looking for higher pay somewhere else.
  3. Drivers are looking to run more miles.
  4. Drivers aren’t getting enough home time.
  5. Operations isn’t following through with what was promised during recruitment.

While some of these reasons are 100% valid, there are some potential traps to look out for. For example, what sounds like higher pay in an advertisement doesn’t always mean higher pay. Let’s get into it.

1. Drivers aren’t happy with their dispatchers.

While pay is obviously a very important factor, it’s not everything. In a safety class I recently attended, the presenter mentioned that whenever surveys are done among truck drivers, the No. 1 reason drivers leave for another company isn’t the money – it’s that they’re not happy with their dispatchers.

When a driver doesn’t have support from the office staff, especially their dispatcher, it can feel like they’re all alone on the road.

Driving a truck can be lonely as it is, and when you’re missing the support you need from your dispatcher and office team, it can be enough to make you pack your bags for a new employer.

Loneliness can lead to serious health conditions like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even impaired immune system function. In fact, loneliness is as detrimental to your health as obesity or smoking (Journal of Aging Life Care). While many drivers find solitude in driving, and some even see it as therapeutic, others can really suffer from being disconnected from others.

That’s why having great support and communication from your team, especially your dispatcher, is so critical. And that’s why we take it very seriously here at Freight X.

While we’re not perfect, we feel like we’ve built an incredible team that’s supportive and is constantly in communication with drivers. And that’s the way it should be!

2. Drivers are looking for higher pay somewhere else.

The most publicized reason for driver turnover is pay. When a company advertisers higher pay, many drivers are quick to take them up on the offer without a second thought.

And when compensation is high and competitive, the trucking industry as a whole experiences less turnover. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers dropped to 78 percent in the last quarter of 2018, and JOC says higher truck driver pay is the reason behind it.

We get it – while pay isn’t everything, it is one of the most important factors when evaluating your job. However, it’s important to understand the two potential traps behind an offer for higher pay:

  1. Higher pay, but for fewer miles
  2. Higher percentage for owner operators, but with a catch

Higher pay for fewer miles

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard drivers talk about how yes, they’re making more per mile at their current company, but they don’t get even 1,000 miles in a week!

Higher pay only means something if you’re actually out there running freight. If you’re only making $400 paychecks, who cares that you’re making an extra cent or two per mile?!

We run our drivers as much as they want, with the average mileage per week being over 3,500 miles. The drivers who make the most money are the ones who are out for 2 weeks and come home for a few days to relax. 

The longer you’re on the road, the more dough you can bring home.

Higher percentage for owner ops, but there’s a catch

For our owner operators out there, the percentage of the load is key. However, there are two ways a company can do this:

  1. Pay you a percentage of the total load
  2. Pay you a percentage of the line haul and another percentage of the fuel

This distinction is really important because it can be deceiving.

For example, some companies advertise a whopping 75% for owner operators. However, a number that high is going to be 75% of the total load – including fuel. 

The way we structure our program is 70% of the line haul, and 100% of the fuel. We think this is a much more fair approach for the owner op, because you’re the one paying for the fuel!

As fuel goes up and down in price, fuel surcharges also fluctuate – drivers should get 100% of that no matter what.

The only time that a higher percentage of the total load will work in your favor is if you’re running a load that’s very few miles with a very high rate per mile. 

Our model, or 70% of the line haul and 100% of the fuel, works in your favor in every other circumstance – especially if you’re in a situation where you’re making a low amount per mile and have to travel a long distance.

Owner Operator Percentages Examples

We’re getting in the weeds here, but stick with us.

Example 1: 100-mile run at $5 per mile

Let’s say we have a 100-mile run paying $5 per mile. At current fuel rates, that would be about $37 Fuel Surcharge (FSC), and $463 line haul.

Using our model, the driver would be paid $324.10 of the line haul and $37 in fuel, making his total pay $361.10, or 72.22% of the total load. 

In this example where you’re making a lot per mile and are going a short distance, the 75% of the total load would actually work out better for you, because you would have made $13.90 more. But, $13 isn’t really a big difference.

Example 2: 500-mile run at $1 per mile

Now, let’s say you have a 500-mile run, and this time, it’s out of a bad area. It’s only paying $1 per mile. At current fuel rates, this would be $185 in FSC, and $315 in line haul. Using our model, a driver would make $220.50 in line haul and $185 in FSC, making his total pay $405.50, or 81.1% of the total load.

The lower rate and longer miles made the FSC account for a larger portion of the overall rate.

If you were at a straight 75% of the total load, the pay would still be $375, or $30.50 less. That’s a bigger difference in the amount of money the driver will bring home.

Our model helps the driver when the rate is low and the miles are long – which is exactly when he needs help to cover fuel! And when the rate per mile is high and the miles are short, the rate helps make up for the fuel you burn.

3. Drivers are looking to run more miles.

Like we were just saying, making more per mile means nothing if you’re not being given any miles.

We actually have seen this happen to drivers in a lease purchase contract – when they get close to finally paying off the truck, the company stops giving them loads, and they get burned! 

Read more: 7 Ways to Avoid Getting Screwed Over on a Lease Purchase Agreement

If you’re not making any money at your current company due to lack of milage, you need to look for a different trucking company that will keep your schedule as full as you can handle!

Look for a company that rewards dispatchers for having higher mileage on its trucks – that’s a sure way to know that everyone is working towards the same goal. Which is to make money, of course!

4. Drivers aren’t getting enough home time.

While more mileage equals higher pay, there’s a balance. Not having consistent home time, or any home time at all, is the quickest way to get burnt out.

It’s no wonder drivers start looking for a new trucking company when they’re never able to see their children.

Striking a work-life balance is difficult in trucking, but setting expectations with your employer from the beginning is important.

We’ve had drivers request to be home every weekend, and we accommodate that. We have other drivers who prefer to knock out two weeks of driving, then come home and rest with their families for 4 or 5 days. That’s a great way to maximize your earnings while maintaining a work-life balance.

No matter what your preference is for having home time, make sure you discuss this with your employer before coming on board.

Speaking of which….

5. Operations isn’t following through with what was promised during recruitment.

When you’re told that you’ll be given 3,000 miles per week and will be home every other week and it doesn’t happen… we wouldn’t blame you for jumping ship.

Logistics is extremely complicated and fragile, and anyone in trucking knows that nothing ever goes as planned. Having a bad week is basically guaranteed. 

Your truck breaks down, the weather sucks, the shipper had a delay, you ran into major traffic and missed your delivery window… it all happens. But it’s important to understand the difference between typical trucking and lack of follow-through from operations.

If a pattern emerges and a length of time goes by that none of the promises made upon hire are being fulfilled, it’s time to have a talk with operations. At that point, you can consider looking for a new trucking company, or perhaps it was all a misunderstanding.

Opening up the lines of communication is extremely important, especially in an industry with such a high turnover rate.

Look for a Reputable, Family-Oriented Trucking Company

There are other reasons drivers jump ship, such as looking for better equipment, but at the end of the day, you want to work for a reputable, honest, and family-oriented trucking company.

There are so many “big dogs” out there that could care less about each individual driver. To them, you’re just a number, and that can cause many of the issues we outlined.

By asking important questions upon hire and making sure everyone is on the same page, you can save yourself a lot of heartache. 

Working for the same trucking company not only makes your life less complicated, but you’ll finally be settled enough to develop relationships with your team. And that’s part of what makes trucking such a wonderful community.

While our industry has a high turnover rate, I’m hopeful that with more education and time spent looking at why, we can start to lower it.

Popular Articles

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

The Ultimate List of Trucking Industry Terms

If you have no clue what pups are (not the canine kind!), or you’re lost when someone mentions IFTA or FMCSA, this is your ultimate list of trucking industry terms.