For all those out there who have read the ad's placed by the Schwans Food Company (the big yellow refrigerated trucks) and have been drawn to their advertisement of beginning at $40+ thousand a year, please take my word for it and do not even inquire about the legitimacy of making that type of money. In this page I will let you know the truth about what a hard working, dedicated driver will actually make for providing their 17-18 hour days to the Schwans company.
The company generally starts you at what they like to refer to as a "guaranteed pay / step down program". Basically, you will be started at roughtly $32,500 per year they claim. What they mean is, we will place you at $600 per week for a 2 months, at which time, that will disappear. You will then be placed on the step down program when they assign you a route.
Now, let's say the route brings in an average of $500 per day in sales. You will be paid 11% of that $500 for a total of $55 plus a step down pay. Step down is a guaranteed amount they pay you each and every week, added onto your sales total. So, you make $300.00 for stepdown pay each week, plus 11% of your weekly sales. Lets say, you pulled in an average of $500.00 each day in sales Monday through Friday. Your sales pay would be $250.00 + your step down pay of $300.00 for a total of $550.00 in pay BEFORE taxes.
Are you with me thus far? I hope so, because they explain it so fast in the interview / hiring process, that you think "what did they just say", when in reality, whatever your thinking, is clouded by the quote "You will make BIG money".
So, not a bad weekly paycheck? I thought so too, until the step down pay amount begins to dwindle each month. Before long, your paycheck is solely based on what you sell, and there is no guarantee, no assistance, no step down pay anymore. So, what happens when your routes are at $2500.00 in sales per week? Your paycheck BEFORE taxes is $250.00 How can you live on it? Believe me, many Schwans employees make that statement each and every day. If you state, that it is not so bad, divide that $250.00 by 80-90 hours per week, and your making less than a 16 y.o working part-time at a McDonalds.
Now they claim that those who have not made it succesfully with Schwans did not try. Well, the management will try to put you at ease promising you to have people go out there and obtain new customers for you to increase your daily sales, assist you in boosting your buying customer level and so much more. I was promised during a "build blitz" (employees from other depots come out and assist you increasing your customer base / sales) that I would have someone riding with me to make my route better. Well, months of promises went unfulfilled and believe me, the end product is a angry, fed up, and burnt out employee.
Schwans has a higher turnover than McDonalds. For every 10 that apply, Schwans may consider hiring 1 or 2. But, because they consider hiring them, does not mean they have the job. They myust pass background checks, drug screenings, an interview, a ride along and NEO (New Employee Orientation).
The ride along which from the beginning until the end is usually 18 hours (sometimes an hour less depending on the driver). So, lets say those two candidates Schwans was considering hiring made it through everything but the ride along, and they both went out on that ride along, the truth is, there is a slim chance that one will actually return to the depot at the end of the night in the truck. What happened you ask? Well, most ask to be let out at the nearest gas station because they have had enough, only to have their wife, girlfriend or friend come and pick them up.
Schwans used to be a great company and the earning potential WAS there at one time, but not anymore. You may have 120 stops, but your paycheck depends on that customer actually being home, and if they are home, actually needing something. Even if they need something, is their purchase going to be so substantial that it will make a dent in that paycheck some are embarassed to cash each week? NO!
People used to always be home, but with the "on the go" world we live in, people are hard to catch! Managers at Schwans will do and say whatever it takes to get you out there and give your time, your sanity and the time which others use with their family to Schwans. Is the potential out there to make it at Schwans and bring in the paycheck? Yes, if you are willing to work 90 hours per week, and work like a slave for 10 years to get your customer base where it needs to be. Only 2 drivers in our depot of about 14 actually make enough money to say thy live somewhat comfortably. Those 2 have worked for Schwans since the tire was invented.
Schwans also cares little for their customers, regardless of the good PR and other smoke and mirrors they show you. They only care about money! When I began with Schwans, they stated that 1 new customer per day was the key to a sucessful route with them. That number was the magic number since Schwans began, but in the last 6 months, that number is now 6 new customers per day. Do you know how hard it is to service 100+ customers in a day, plus knock on doors to find 6 new customers? You will have to knock on a conservative average of 30 doors to get 6 people interested at best. Yes, you may get lucky and sign a few new ones along the way, but many will not sign on immediately.
If you do not come in with 6 new customers, you are considered the black sheep and feel the eyes of management looking down at you. They need those new customers to look good to their bosses and corporate, because they are on the chopping block. Yes they are doing their job because they want to stay employed, but it means pushing, taking advantage and explouiting you to their advantage at the cost of you, your health, your time with family and at the cost of your paycheck.
So, if you're intimidated, and must try for 6 new customers, you spend time trying to locate and sign those new customers. In the meantime, your existing customers who are already expecting you at a certain time are growing impatient, think they missed you or your not coming. The result, a smaller paycheck because you missed those who you were supposed to service at a given time, but did not because you were trying to find new customers. The companies explanation to this theory is that new customers will build your business and justify a larger paycheck. But the reality is a smaller paycheck this week, no guarantee those customers will buy next time or again if you already signed them. My theory is SERVICE THE EXISTING CUSTOMER because they are the ones that have kept you employed, and kept the company going all this time.
So, if you want to work ungodly hours for minimum wage or less, get burned out, have the wife or girlfriend leave you because your never there, alienate your children because they forgot what daddy or mommy look like because there always gone and want a job that leads nowhere, call Scwans now, because they are ALWAYS hiring.