Information to all Owner/Operators looking for information on perspective employers. I can only describe chain of events that took place with myself and several other drivers. This company initiated a new hiring area, being the Western Region.
On it's advertisements, the area's or lanes of operation are from Cedar City, Utah area to Los Angeles, CA. All looks OK on the surface, when conferring with their recruiters, you are led to believe certain events will take place. This same story has been provided to the same several drivers, some still there others trying desperately to vacate as soon as possible. You are told, cleary they (Roehl) has a contract with WalMart Distribution to deliver freight from Los Angeles, CA to their distribution center in Hurricane, UT. You are then set up for a return load back to Los Angeles from another company in Cedar City, UT. You will be provided an opportunity to haul 3 round trips per week which equates to approx. 2400 miles per week at a certain price per mile with 100% fuel surcharge for that week based on National Average.
To you owner/operators this will all sound excellent, especially if you live in or near this new running lane, however, Now for the horror story.
1st. The "Walmart Contract" to my knowledge is still not obtained and of course I would have no actual way of knowing if this actual occured. If it did, I guess I would have been hauling trailers of product into the Walmart Distribution center in Hurricane, but after two months, never once entered the Walmart Distribution Center. All the Drivers were told, well, we are getting the contract and it has been signed but "we" Roehl Transport are still waiting.
In the meantime, you are going to the shipper in Cedar City, Utah, getting a pre loaded trailer to take to Los Angeles, CA. I may state, this Owner/Operators is a FLOOR LOAD. If you have any experience at all, then you already know what's coming next, yes, lumpers to off load and the normal time to off load was from 4 to 6 hours. Did you get paid, well, the company stated they were trying to bill it, but your contract states, you will only be reimbursed if it can be billed. My first detention time was denied, "someone changed the schedule" What schedule? I arrived per the delivery time set and sat there until unloaded. Now I just wonder as you do, we can see where that is going to lead.
Next Horror story: Now, once unloaded, you have to travel someplace in Los Angeles, CA to get re-loaded, then take that load out of Los Angeles, back to Cedar City, UT. drop that loaded trailer and wellllla you pick up another floor load out of Cedar City, UT.
Now, if you have any smarts, lets look at this from your wallet standpoint. You were just scheduled by the planners of Roehl Transport to deliver this load to Los Angeles, CA. Time of travel approx. 7 to 8 hours, then you sit for another 4 to 6 hours getting unloaded, what is happening to your 14 hour rule as you now are scheduled to get a reload out of Los Angeles.
If any of you ever drove Los Angeles, you can quite certainly understand your now stuck on one of the interstates at your 14 hour rule so where ya gonna go. The load planners are scheduling you on a load that cannot be done legally, oh sure, they are going to say we must follow FMSCA guidelines. You will be sitting approx. 52 per cent of your time getting unloaded in your 70 hour time frame. Your dispatcher is going to monitor your truck movement, well some of the drivers, those that identify via qual com the scheduling will put driver into conflict with FMSCA guidelines then you refuse it stating those reasons and wellla your singled out for contract termination, violating their own contract . If you move your truck, you are told to shut down for another 10 hours after sitting for 4 to 6 hours being unloaded.
You going to make any money, no, your going to go broke and real fast. You are paying high fuel costs, much higher then the national average but are you being paid fuel surcharge on that high fuel, no, your paid fuel surcharge based on National Average cost, so guess you have to travel to Missouri to buy your fuel huh.
Now, lets add another element, there is a drop yard in Fontana, California that would eleminate problems with running over the FMSCA guidelines that you just were scheduled to do, however, the company appears not to want to spend the money for local drivers to have loads waiting in Fontana, CA. Therefore, you are now the local driver because, the loads your taking back to Cedar City, CA are for Roehl company drivers that bring in an empty for that location from Salt Lake City, Ut, drop it and pick-up your loaded trailer. Therefore, Roehl is saving quite a bit of money on fuel as their company drivers and some owner/operators in their National fleet do not have to drive into Los Angels, CA area, they don't have to buy the high cost of West Coast Fuel, these trucks do not have to waste all their time sitting for unloads and reloads.
I guess by pure speculation, you can see the thousands of dollars being saved by the big company and who is paying for it, the owner/operator as believe me, if the wheels don't turn, your not going to earn !!!
By the way, if you have time to look up the California Statue Subsection (a) of Section 34501.3 it is quite specific, it is prohibited for carrier to schedule in this fasion that would then cause you to violate FMSCA guidelines. Further-more, you are hired out of the Marshfield, Wisconsin main office as that now becomes your home base for hours. Well, Fontana, California is a long way from Wisconsin and the drop yard is fine as no driver records are kept there period.
Now, lets visit the California laws on that one, if you are a California Driver then you already know, it is a violation to dispatch a driver from the drop yard that is based out of Wisconsin. Hmmmmm, getting to see the picture. Owner/Operators, beware, I had enough and terminated my contract after being set up to deliver a load that my dispatcher knew would violate the CA Statue 34501.3 so he could get freight delivered at my expense and then if need be to cover his &**( put me on another 10 shut down, which he did,) but, I had enough making them money while literally going broke and tried to contact the owner/operator division mgr. but somehow, he just wasn't taking calls.
Anyway, drivers, read your contract, beware of what your being told as several of us took the bait and got fooled. If you have thousands of dollars to throw away so someone else can make a good profit, save on high fuel cost and keep their company trucks running while you sit, go ahead.
I am quite sure there are some very excellent employee's at Roehl Transport and even by some standards, some drivers may be making it by just barely, I guess in Roehl advertisments, this is what they refer to as good business partnership, so long as they save and make money off the high cost of fuel, setting their trucks up for drop/hooks to keep moving, there all happy, but if your going broke, their business partnership with owner/operators seems to become quickly a thing no one at Roehl understands, at least from our perspective.
Yes, I may add we are searching for a good attorney out of the Wisconsin area as quite possible, there may be some class action legal issues here as well as some questionable issues that DOT would be very interested in, but we all know, it is an uphill battle for us.
Good Luck Drivers, it is time, we have our own DAC system to report on antics of trucking companys wether they be good or what someone of us deem pretty bad. Make your own deceision here, I just hope you got a big fat bank account.