I was leased with them for about 7 years and I left for another company. If you want specifics I can spell them out. I can tell you both the good and the bad so you can make an informed decision. Do you wanna chat on the phone?
Well, ill ask my questions here in the hopes that another o&o will chime in.
Fecc pays 5cpm less than Tri-state were i've been since september. But fecc claims they pay tolls, which can be $200/mo.
Im very happy with tristate, zero complaints....except 1. Sitting. I have to be home on weekends for the kids, so with only 5 days to run losing one takes a real bite. Fecc is a much larger fleet than tri-state, and so they should roll more. Confirm? How often do you get a day with no load?
Otherwise, the companies seem pretty much identical, as they seem to all the expedited carriers.
What was your experience when desling with dispatch? Tristate treats me like a customer, not a boss.
The good: I got paid on time and what they said I would be paid. Dispatch was almost always nice.
The bad: They pay tolls IF the customer pays it. If the customer doesn't pay the tolls you won't get paid. But, the good part, you know if they pay any tolls up front.
The thing that bothered me the most was their 700 miles limit for solo drivers. If a load is more than 700 miles (dead head to pickup + loaded miles) they will try to find a team truck to do it. If no team is available, they will make you transfer the load, however, you will be told this in advance. So, it depends how lucky you are, but from a 700 miles run you might only get 200. I had a load that was 712 miles total and I had to transfer it at 300.
Sitting? Depending where you are and how lucky you are, you can sit for a long time. But this is not FedEx specific. It happens at all companies. But FedEx favors the straights, meaning that they will offer a load first to the straight trucks in the area, and if all of them refuse it, then they offer it to you. It happened one time that I was sitting in Cincinnati and was offered a load (2 small boxes, 50 lbs each) to pick up in Cincinnati for Virginia Beach, VA. When I showed up at the shipper, there was a FedEx straight truck broken down there with the freight that I was picking up. It ended up that FedEx gave the load that would fit in a van to the Straight, but my luck was that he broke down right there just after loading up. Otherwise I would have never seen it.
The final straw for me was when they introduced the so called "Load opportunity" system. How it works, instead of offering a load to the first van on the board, then to the 2nd and so on until one of them accepts it, they send a 'load opportunity' to all the vans in the area at the same time. Let's say that there are 4 vans in the area. All 4 get a load opportunity at the same time for this load and all vans have 10 minutes to respond that they accept it or not. Lets say that #1 on the board refuses, #2 accepts, #3 accepts, and #4 accepts also. The load gets awarded to #2 , since he has the most dwell time (the highest position on the board). #2 gets a call that he got the load, while #3 and #4 get a call "We are sorry, the load has been awarded to another vehicle". Notice, you don't have to be the first one to respond that you accept the load. In the example above even lets say that #4 was the first to respond, he didn't get the load because there was another van higher up that accepted. I know what they do it, but for me, it was better to never know a load was offered, then I accepted and then to hear that the load was given to another. You have no idea how many good loads I accepted and I didn't get.
Sounds like everything bad I get at Tri-State, with none of the good, and for less money! No wonder FECC drivers complain so much. That said, that 700 mile thing would be deal breaker for me. Perhaps once a month I get a load that's close to 1000 miles, and I LOVE those. Furthest in the 8 months I've been at Tri-State is 1300 miles, and they once offered me a 1600 mile load that I couldn't do because of the kids. On those super long runs, they call me if I exceed 800 miles in a day, just to make sure I'm not pushing it. I have only done 1 load transfer so far, and it was done because it was super hot.
That load opportunity thing is nuts, and it would drive me nuts. Tri-state seems like they favor the C vans (high capacity) over the B vans (ford and chevy vans), though I have no proof of this. I go online from my phone and see how many trucks of what type are on each board, but I can only guess from there.
I'll continue to ask around before I make any decisions, but so far it seems like FedEx is not really the answer. What seems to be the answer is just getting good at being in the right city. Tri-state has a big contract with Volvo/Mack, so maybe 1/3 of what I do is taking stuff from suppliers to Volvo's plants in Allentown PA or Dublin VA. Because so many trucks go there, but not much comes out, those boards always have 4 or 5 trucks sitting. I just turn around and deadhead home back to Akron, because I can sleep in my own bed, and I can almost always get a load out of Akron or Cleveland.
What makes this possible is really the PM. If I keep to 62 or under, it will return 21mpg, sometimes slightly more. So that's 11.6cpm, or $11.60 per 100 miles of deadhead. So $30 in fuel makes the difference between having a load every day, or burning money in a truck stop in Allentown. No brainer.
Fecc pays 80cpm. I get 85 at tristate. Fuel surcharge is the same. All the extras (hand load, detention, nyc, haz) ate all the same. Qual com at fedex is $4 cheaper at $32/wk. insurance is same. Escrows are similar.
As I understand it, in 2014 or 2013 FECC went to a flat rate system. That's when they adopted the lower flat rates. They used to be like the other expedited companies in that they paid 65% of the actual charge to the customer. The straight truck guys seem to have gotten hurt by this change the most. At Tri-state, they pay 65% but a minimum of 84.9 cpm. From my experience, it's 85cpm 95% of the time so it's flat rate anyway.
As I understand it, ALL the expedited companies came out of Roberts Express which started the whole industry. They were bought out by FedEx when FedEx was on a buying spree. FE also bought Roadway, which became FEGround. Anyway, when Roberts went out, all the carries sprung up, probably out of former Roberts employees. That's why Bolt Express, Tri-state, Try Hours, Panther, FECC, and a few others are so similar in how they operate.
I could blather on about this at length. In fact, I think I will! The whole idea of expedited comes from the Just-In-Time inventory that got so popular in the 80s. The idea is that it's more efficient to NOT have any inventory of parts on-hand on the assembly line, but only have it as you need it. Back in the 80s, Japan was kicking out butts in manufacturing, and JIT was one of the techniques Japan used that we didn't. Ironically, JIT comes from a guy named Ed Demming, who invented it in the 50s when he was working for the Army to rebuild Japan's industry after the war. In other words, we taught it to them, and then they used it against us. Whoops!
Well, FedEx Custom Critical used to pay 58% of the linehaul + 100% of the fuel surcharge, that is when I made a ton of money. $1.5 and more per mile was the norm back then. At that time they weren't paying for tolls, but who cared? Well, they found a way to trick us into signing a new contract, with tolls being paid, and other small perks, but instead of getting paid 100% of the fuel surcharge (which differed greatly from load to load - $.10 all the way to $.50 a mile) to a flat rate fuel surcharge that would go up or down with the price of fuel, based on the national average. After the fact we found out that the tolls were only paid if the customer paid them, and the fuel surcharge was a flat of $.12, with the highest I have seen $.22 when the fuel was way high. It didn't take long to realize that a load from ATL down to Miami that used to pay around $1000, after the switch it only paid $900. Big difference at the end of the month in the wrong direction for us. This happened back in 08 I believe. So, more money into FedEx's pocket. But that was not enough. A few years later they decided to pay all the vans a flat rate of .85 a mile plus the flat fuel surcharge. This time I did not want to sign the contract, wanting to remain on the old one, but I was told that if I don't sign it I won't work with them any more.
So, loads that originally would pay me $1.5 a mile now were only paying 1.05. Huge difference. Their BS was that in order to get more loads for us, and be more competitive with other companies, they needed to lower the rates. I did not see any uptick in load counts after the switch. The truth was that they did not lower the rates they were charging customers, but paying us less, while pocketing the difference. Now I hear that they lowered the flat rate for vans to $.80, another nickel per mile less to the contractors.
FedEx Custom Critical used to be the leader, and the majority of the contractors wanted to lease on with them. It was very difficult to get on with them. Unfortunately, the expedited business slowed down quite a bit and FedEx couldn't stand taking a pay cut like all of us did. Little by little they became just another run of the mill expedited company, and you could see it in the quality of their vehicles. Contractors that used to be able to buy new vehicles more often now were not able to do so any more. Many old experienced contractors left for greener pastures, and FedEx was left with inexperienced and older equipment. Right there in the middle they also changed their logo from FedEx Custom Critical to FedEx Custom Critical to be more like FedEx Freight, which Custom Critical became a part of. I always thought that the purple/blue combination looked better, setting Custom Critical apart.
BTW, FedEx Express is orange, FedEx Ground/Home Delivery is green, FedEx Freight is red and FedEx Custom Critical is red also.