When I first started I’d given a review of the company. Someone said “you’re still in the honeymoon phase, come back after a year and tell us what you think.”
Ok well here I am.
Since Ozark is the only OTR company I ever worked for (I drove straight tankers for over a decade for another company that is now out of business) I cannot compare them to any other company, and since I’ve only driven a Cascadia, I can’t compare the truck to any other truck. This is just my 100% neutral observation.
This is fly on the wall stuff. I’ll rate things 1-10, 1 being bad 10 being really good, as I go along.
1. Pay (8) The reason I say that is because they are willing to hire a newbie straight out of CDL school, put them in an almost new truck for training, and pay them .43cpm. I’ve called around and I can’t find any other company that hauls dry vans and has a pet and rider policy that will come close to this. One company required a tanker endorsement, a year of experience and started a nickel cheaper per mile. Go figure. I have had some issues with lack of miles, but a call into the fleet manager usually fixed the problem. I haven’t had an issue with miles for a while now.
2. Dispatch (4) I gave it a 4 because I have had quite a few issues with dispatch. Giving me loads I couldn’t take due to hours, NOT giving me any load at all, not answering qualcomm messages in a timely manner (not a big problem but seemed to occur at the worst times when it did) and one time they actually sent me a fake load (or cancelled load) that was 60 miles empty and behind a VERY tight building. So tight, I had to back out onto the highway to get out. All for a load that didn’t really exist. Needless to say I got compensated well for that screw up. Oh yea, did I tell you it was all at night?
3. Equipment (8) All of their trucks for OTR are 2014 or newer with very few 2014’s left. All Cascadias, with everything working. 1500 watt inverters and APU’s in all trucks. They also do not mind customizing your truck for you (at your expense) to what you want. I actually got the shop to take the entire dash apart to install my CB. They didn’t have to do that. Heck they went and got a bracket out of a wrecked truck so I could modify it to install my own CB. Trucks are 65 on the foot, 68 on the cruise. Decent, you won’t blow anyones doors off but you won’t be the one everyone #####es at for holding up traffic either. They put new drives on my truck which helps the speed, it does 69.5 on the GPS. They are slowly upgrading the fleet to all new trucks. The more senior drivers are getting the new trucks, us newbies get their sloppy seconds.
4. Maintenance (9) They don’t get a 10 here because I’ve had issues with the mechanic shop in a couple of our facilities and one guy almost lost his job over it, but other than that, they do NOT play with issues. Write your truck up and they will get on it. You might have to wait a bit, but they will get to you.
5. Home time (8) They are very generous with home time, IMHO. You do 14 days out you get 3 FULL days off. Meaning if they get you home on your day you put in to be home at 1am, that day does not count. You can do 21 days out, 5 FULL days off or 28 days out and 7 FULL days off. You also get a week of paid leave after a year. Then two after two years and I don’t know where it goes from there. I didn’t give them a 10 because twice they missed getting me home on the day I requested. One time it almost cost me a lot of money because I had some equipment rented and brought to my house for me to use one day and I wasn’t home for that day. I managed to let them let me keep it an extra day free of charge.
6. Safety. (7) Well at least we don’t make the news often, but we have our share of issues. The problems arise many times from driver fatigue. They’ll have you run days real hard, then deliver one morning, tell you drive to Fed Ex, take a 10 and drive all night. Well you slept all that night, so you’re wide awake for your 10 and then ready to sleep when it’s time to pull for Fed Ex. This is a common complaint with Ozark. They cater to FedEx. The other issue I’ve had is with bad tires on trailers being left for me to pick up. One trailer had 4 bad tires. I told Ozark I was not pulling it like this and they told the TA to only replace one. I had to threaten them with leaving the truck at the truck stop and getting a rental car home before they agreed to change two. I drove straight to one of our terminals and they had to change another one immediately. They then noticed a small bit of damage at the very top ridge of that trailer. Since I hadn’t noticed it (sorry I was distracted by the flat tire and 3 other tires coming apart) they tried to blame it on me. I told them if they did I was going to quit. I couldn’t work for an outfit that blamed damage on a driver like that. They agreed to let it go as “unknown damage” and let it go at that. They said “Well nobody else reported that damage so it must be you.” I replied immediately “Nobody reported 4 tires being flat or coming apart either, and I did. So that means the people who pulled it before me didn’t report ANYTHING. They didn’t even do a pretrip!” He agreed.
7. Benefits (8) They start day of hire, unlike most companies which make you wait 60 or 90 days. Their benefits are good, not exceptional. Rates are decent.
8. Terminals (7) We only have a handful of terminals around the country, but they are decent. The one in Memphis is real nice, the one in Lebanon is ok and the one in Springfield MO is really nice, just small. The shower is amazing there. It’s like an executive suite. We have smaller outlier terminals around, but they’re really almost just drop lots with bathrooms.
9. Technology (9) The entire fleet uses Omnitracks. We have free use of copilot GPS inside Omni if we want to use it. All trucks also have bluetooth radios with microphones for cell phone use.
I did forget to mention the put you up in a NICE hotel for orientation. You get a huge room by yourself. No sharing rooms with anyone. The hotel has a nice free hot breakfast. They come get you in the morning, you’re at training for the day, with lunch provided, and then they take you back. Orientation is only 4 days then you’re outta there.
Overall, I’d rate them about a 7.5 or 8 out of 10. They’re not perfect, but no company is. Would I recommend someone work for them? Yes. I would. I don’t think they’re a bad outfit to work for. Just cover your ###. Do a good pretrip each time and report all damage found. I started reporting every #### scratch on every trailer after that. They got tired of reading my paragraphs in the vehicle inspection reports LOL