As I read the different comments I must say there is truth to most of everything I read. What everyone is not taking into consideration is your depot location and DGM(District General Manager). You see, policies are set by the DGM for each district, maybe even each depot. The way a depot operates in the west is somewhat different then in the mid-west or another part of the country. The DGM can ruin your experience with Schwan's. That's why when you read comments from a CSM(Route Manager) who runs a route in MN, will have a much different outlook then lets say, a CSM in FL or SC. I personally have worked in a few different depots and I am amazed at how different daily operations are. Please read on as I give you my honest experience working for Schwan's.
I began working for them as a Route Manager assigned to a failing route. Keep in mind, people don't leave a high-producing route so when a route is available it's generally because the person that had it could not make any money as it was and was not willing to put in the time and effort to build the route and follow the program. This I did and in a few months my sales were 3 to 4 times what they were when I started. All I heard to begin with from customers were, "another new guy, how long 'you gonna stay around?" Makes you feel real good, especially when your new. Now see, Schwan's has realized the importance of training and now has an 8 week training course(When I started I was given 2 days then sent out on a truck, it was sink or swim.) But like I said before things vary amongst depots. If you are joining a depot where they have several open routes then guess what? Your manager will send you out on a truck as he is instructed to by the DGM. So once again, there is very little training. You must be thick skinned and if so you can get through this and on to brighter skies. However, you can expect to come into the depot for a meeting at 8am and be out of the depot by 9am. Every district has a different schedule. Once you have been there(a veteran) on your route and are producing your sales plan then it will be different for you. But in starting it is much like "Boot Camp". So you arrive at 8am, leave the depot for your route by 9am and return to the depot after 9pm. In most cases the manager will not let you log in until you leave the depot. In accordance with DOT laws and Schwan's Corp. policy you are to log in when you arrive at the depot. I find this to be true in every depot I have been in. Schwan's managers turn there heads because they are under so much pressure from upper management to obtain their sales plan. I have seen many, not just one or two but many CSM's resort to not logging in until they either leave the depot or reach their first stop. This is illegal and if you have an accident or get caught it will cost you your job yet it is being done all over the country every day. And management is aware of it! Back to my route, the bottom line, I loved it! I had a blast out on my route. However, like I said before, you arrive at 8, return after 9, usually it's around 10pm when you include drive time then you have to reconcile your daily sales reports and log out which normally takes an hour. If you do this legally then you have a 15-16 hour work day. Keep in mind DOT only allows you to work 14 hours in a day. This is where you start cutting corners. Schwan's will screw you if you violate any DOT rules yet they demand the time. It's definitely a catch 22 situation. Again, I have talked with other CSM's around the country and this can be different depending on your route. Some routes may have an hour to an hour and a half drive time each way just to get to the start of your route. Then don't forget when you finish the route and it's 9:30 or 10pm it's an hour to an hour and a half back to the depot. Yet you hear some of the CSM's say this is crap because their route starts close to the depot and may have 5-8 homes everytimne you stop the truck. This isn't always the case and usually not until you build your route up. If you have a family then by all means this is not the job for you. When I started I basically left my home on Monday morning and returned Friday evening about midnight. Yes, I came home every night about midnight then went right back the next morning. The money for this wasn't bad at all and the opportunity is great!
Upon moving into management you begin to see just exactly what is going on. The company preaches how they love their employees and they take great care of you. This is so far from the truth it's not even funny. First of all as a manager you are on a truck everyday. And since the turn-over rate hovers around 86% a manager is just a glorified CSM. It is a revolving door as far as turn-over is concerned. Schwan's has a recruiting department and if you go to work for Schwan's you most likely have interviewed with one of them. A great idea, however, they are not always truthful with you as are the other managers you interview with. They were not truthful with me when I went to work for them but then again I was single. I did not really care and I saw the opportunity. We use to joke about sleeping in the depot because we had to be back in a few hours. You are worked on average about 80 hours per week when you start and you can expect to work weekends also. Of course they won't tell you this up front! This position is so great, the ads say "Flexible 5 day work weeks." Not in the SE. It doesn't happen. The worst one I had was after working 6 days a week for 5 months I was asked to work on a sunday. Once you do something a manager asks you to do they will expect it all the time. I agreed to that Sunday the finnaly I was not asked to work for the next week so I planned to take my family away for the weekend. It was going to be like a reunion because I had not seen them much. I had been missing kid's school activities and special functions not to mention neglecting my wife. This will ruin a marriage. Keep in mind when I began with Schwan's I was single. Anyway, I was not asked to work so I made plans and then on Friday night my manager says, "I'll see you in the morning" and when I said "you didn't ask me to work so I made plans" he immediately began yelling and cursing at me and threatened my job if I didnt show up. This is very common. When there are open routes within a depot you are expected to run your route then on weekends or days you don't have a route you are expected to run an open route. The pressure is unbelievable. It makes the working enviroment undesirable. Inorder to keep depot expenses to a minimum, route trucks are not maintained properly even though most of the time they will meet DOT guidelines. Don't expect items such as A/C in your truck for this is a luxury. Schwan's doesn't care that when you go to a customer's door you are covered in sweat. It is a very unprofessional feeling when you are handing a customer their products while at the same time sweat is dripping from your forehead. It makes the working enviroment very difficult. Trucks are constantly breaking down and when your truck quits, you're sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck not making a dime. Once you're towed in chances are you won't be able to get into another truck to finish your route therefore you must call your customers, explain what happed and give them the make up day which most likely is Saturday or Sunday. This puts a huge dent in your profits! Oh, by the way, you don't get paid for this. Majority of the time, manaement is mad at you because the truck quit. There have been several occasions where I have reported issues with my truck only to be told they were O.K. then several days or a month later I'm sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck or worse. Of course, you guessed it, management blames the CSM. Sitting on the side of the road does not put food on the table! I find the micro-management is so strong that the managers actually run people off. They treat employees like dogs. They degrade them regardless of what they do that is good. I've always tried to find the good in what someone did not belittle them and make them feel like crap.
I invite any challenges of comments made. You have to remember not all depots and districts operate like this. So there will be many different rebuttals. If you want to know exactly how things are then speak to a CSM in the actuall depot you are going to woprk in. I have contacts around the country if course in other depots who do not have any of these problems.
Watch for more of my experience as an employee of Schwan's Home Service.
Experienced Five year Professional