Paper Transport, Inc
I started driving for Paper Transport, Inc (PTI) back in June. Now that I’ve been there over 4 months, I figured it’s time to write a review. I’ve decided to break this review into 3 parts based on what I was looking for when I took the job. The money, the home time, and the BS factor are what it was all about for me.
Gone are the days of companies offering 28 cents a mile, but telling you they’ll give you 3600 miles a week or more. Been there, done that, and ended up an overweight diabetic. After 5 years away from OTR trucking, I’m back at it with dry vans. I’m also making 11 cents per mile more that last OTR job paid when I pulled a van, and 7 cents more than they paid for pulling flatbeds. Detention pay after one hour, extra pay for short runs and paid holidays are also a plus. And you don’t have to be on the road to get holiday pay.
One of the draws to this company was the focus on paper. Paper products, paper rolls, you name it. It’s considerably more recession proof than flat bed freight and most dry van freight. And refrigerated freight? If you know me, you know I don’t pull refers, but we’ll save that for another post.
I’m in a unique fleet at PTI, I leave town Tuesday morning, and return mid or late morning on Saturday. I went into this knowing I would not get as many miles as the regular OTR drivers. But I usually end up with 2,100 to 2,300 miles a week. Add in an affordable benefits package with great coverage and I’m a happy camper in the money department.
The Home Time
I’m absolutely convinced that home time is a matter of clear expectations from the beginning. A company has to be clear about home time. I’ve been trucking since 1998, and I’ve never been the 21 days out type. With few exceptions, I’ve always been home every week. What we talked about when I was hired is what I got.
It seems to be the general theme of all the PTI fleets. Let them know your home time expectations. If they can’t meet them they won’t try to hire you. I can tell you nearly every driver I’ve talked to is home every week.
Applying the BS Factor to Paper Transport, inc
This is the category that covers how much crap I have to put up with in doing my job. Having 2 other large fleets to compare it to, I’ll give you my thoughts.
- E-logs are here to stay. I don’t look at this as BS, but some do. The alternative is running your ass off and getting 3 hours of sleep every night. I chose e-logs. It isn’t perfect, but PTI’s system beats that old QualCom all day long.
- 63 mph truck. Again, pay me enough and I’ll drive it.
- Running the east coast. I’ve trucked the entire lower 48 states. I’m done with the east coast. Paper Transport Inc goes as far east as Ohio.
- Truck routing. I used forced routing before, and hated it. I know the miles that the load pays, and I choose my route. The tablet that handles my e-logs also has Pro-Miles truck routing. It’s a resource, but not a forced routing tool.
- Fuel stops. I’ve used those mandatory fuel stop programs. NOT a fan. Although I’m limited to 3 truck stop chains, I fuel when and where it fits into my day, and my life.
- The cell phone. PTI has a zero tolerance policy for using your hand held phone. Guess What? So does the D.O.T. I thought this would take some getting use to, but it really didn’t. I have my ear piece for phone calls, and maps in the tablet. Everything else can wait.
- Breakdowns and maintenance. So far, so good. Because of the fleet I’m in, I have one of the oldest trucks in the fleet. I’ve had one blow out and 2 break downs. All were handled within about 2 hours.
- Dash cams. I’ll save the details on this one, but the system they use is a 12 second event recorder. The only way to record is if the camera is set off by a hit of some kind. Mine has gone off 3 times. The first two were while making a wide turn that required a steer tire to leave the pavement. Something about the big bump during a turn sets of the mechanical trigger. The 3rd was a huge pot hole in a drop lot. Again, it tripped during a turn. Studying the industry the way I do, I get why companies are going with the cameras. I’ve also studied enough to know that the PTI system is one of the least intrusive I’ve seen.
- Dispatchers who answer the phone. PTI calls them driver managers, and they do handle more than just dispatching. When I call, I either get an answer or a timely call back. I’ve never waited longer than a few minutes. After hours is always a bit different, but I try to get my stuff taken care of while my regular manager is in.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention equipment. Since Paper Transport, Inc doesn’t have any cab-overs in their fleet, I don’t get what I want. I’ll take the 2011 Freightliner with a Detroit and a 10 speed manual. I’m not picky. The rest of the fleet is Kenworth, Volvo and Freightliner, all considerably newer than mine.
I do find it harder than I expected to get my exercise time in, but that’s a time management issue.