My experience with Interstate Distributor

Discussion in 'Companies' started by Member 2400, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    First I will say this, most of the good trucking companies aren't what they used to be. Interstate isn't the only one that has changed with the economy going down the tubes.
    But they are still decent.

    My husband and I have been with them for over 4 years ... we left once to go work for Watkins (which is now FedEx Natl LTL). We didn't leave InterState because they were not good ... but Watkins paid more and had more benefits. After Watkins went down the tubes with FedEx getting their hands on the company we went back to InterState.

    Yes, Interstate will ask you to chain to get to a safe spot. But I don't mind chaining if it will keep me rolling. My husband and I know how to chain and we are fast and have it down. It isn't a big deal if you know what you are doing and keep your chains untangled.

    I don't make money by sitting. And my husband and I live in the high Sierras. Chaining isn't new to us.

    This is what I know about this company:

    The recruiters don't lie. Everything we were told, and the answers they gave us to our questions were all true. When we came back they admitted the miles weren't as good as they used to be, but that is an industry problem ... not just with them. They admitted they hadn't bought new equipment that year.

    They will fly you to orientation.
    They pay for orientation and one meal a day.
    Orientation is pretty thorough.
    They will teach you to chain.
    You will be given a driving test.
    The pay per mile is good.

    Their equipment is pretty nice.
    Solos will usually get a Volvo.
    Teams will get a Columbia.
    Though my husband and I can drive a ten speed and a super ten, InterState does have auto shift equipment.
    The trucks have built in inverters, a fridge, and AM/FM radios with weather band. Trucks have either cassette or CD players.
    Double bunks.
    Some trucks have APUs
    Trucks have transponders.

    Get paid weekly.
    We have never had problems being paid on time or a problem with mistakes on our paychecks.
    Get paid in practical miles. (We often are paid a few more miles than we actually drove)
    Can get POs in advance for tolls and lumpers.
    Reimbursed for tolls, scales, truck/trailer lights, anti-gel, etc
    Most of the freight is drop and hook.

    They take good care of the equipment.
    They have good company shops.
    They have great company terminals (I LOVE their gyms!)

    They get you home on time!!
    They will get you home for holidays and special occasions.
    They will get you home for emergencies.
    They will let you take extra days off for special reasons.

  2. Luap

    Luap Rookie Driver

    Thanks for the info. I will keep them in mind when I get out of Werner. Any terminals in Florida?
  3. dhop

    dhop Member


    Hey Gypsy JoElle, Thanks for this thread and post. I am wondering, besides the miles, what downsides have you encountered. Or are they too minor to mention?

    BTY I must have followed you from the other Forum,lol.
  4. SilverSurfer

    SilverSurfer Old School'd

    Thank you for sharing. I will add one little thing though, because I have buddies that ran for a couple of the Cali terminals. There are terminals, in Cali that I am aware of, with this company which have issues with equipment maintenance and dispatch/driver relationships.

    The input from Gypsy reinforces the understanding that companies can be a good company overall...and one must evaluate carefully the terminal in which they're signing onto the corporation with. For it is the terminal which you will be mainly dealing with. It's important to understand you can truly get a good idea what you're getting into by just visiting the terminal's junkyard and driver's lounge.

    Thanks again, Gypsy. It's good to know there's still some companies out there trying to do a decent job.

  5. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    They don't have a terminal in Florida. I think the closest thing we have is a drop yard in Georgia.

    We have a terminal in Lebanon, TN. Drivers who live east are dispatched from that terminal.

    You do not necessarily need to live near a terminal to be hired on.

    We live in Reno NV and we don't have a terminal there either. Just a drop yard. We are dispatched out of Tacoma WA.
  6. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest


    I think another thing that is important is that we, as company drivers, need to remember is that we are EMPLOYEES. We have been hired and are being paid to do a job.

    The truck belongs to the company ... we do not own it.
    The freight belongs to the company's customer ... they made an agreement with the customer (based on their trust in their drivers) to get to final safely and on time.
    The company is in business to make money.
    It is called free enterprise and it is the "American way of life".

    So, we need to have realistic expectations from the company.
    They have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of drivers and pieces of equipment out there they need to keep track of and keep moving.

    Good communication is SO VITAL. Not just communication .. but GOOD communication. And while we want them to understand what we are dealing with out here ... it is only fair to understand what they are dealing with back at the office.

    If you are a team and get a lousy 300 mile run and react by cussing out your dispatcher and refusing it ... where is that going to get you? You think they'll be inclined to turn around and give you a nice 2,000 mile run? MOST OF THE TIME, we have found that our company is using that little 300 mile run to keep us rolling and then follow that up with a much better run.

    My husband and I ran 6,000 miles last week on mostly 900 mile dispatches. Those lower mile runs can add up to a decent week.

    That's what planners do. They need to maximize the company's resources. That's called smart business.

    I know there are drivers who refuse to chain (and I know some of my new friends here have said as much ... I am not criticizing ... but I do feel differently about it ...).
    Now if you are a planner or dispatcher and you have a 2,500 mile run that goes across Eisenhower or Snoqualmie in the middle of winter. And a 600 mile run going across South Texas at the same time of the year ... is the team that is willing to chain to keep rolling going to get the better miles or the team that will sit for two days until the passes clear going to get it?

    I do not agree to drive when conditions are unsafe. I will not drive a light or empty trailer across Wyoming when the wind gusts are at 60 mph. That is insane.
    I will NOT drive on ice.
    But I have no objection to chaining to cross Vail to get to the other side and keep rolling ... just as I don't mind chaining my Jeep to go over Donner Pass to go pick up my grandson in the winter. That to me is just dealing with winter driving. Now, it is one thing to chain for several miles to get over a pass and keep going ... and another to chain for hundreds of miles. That is crazy and bad for the tires and chains both.

    I know this is a pretty long post. But I think the more we educate ourselves about the company we work for ... and developing a good working relationship with our driver manager (dispatcher) ... and having realistic expectations does make a difference. In a good way.
  7. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    Actually, they do a very good job of maintaining their equipment. Some mechanics are better than others.

    Huge TV and recliners? Yeah, very nice driver lounges.
    Free WiFi.

    I do agree about having good dispatcher /driver relationships. We've had three main dispatchers since we've been here ... and there is one we would prefer to never get again. But the one we have now is great. I think it helps he was a driver for a long time before moving into the office.
  8. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    LOL. Hey there!

    Hmmm. The bad and the ugly of it?

    We have a very good driver manager. Can't say that about all of them.
    But that is pretty normal everywhere. You just need to find one that fits you. And you can request someone else if you are not getting along. (Though they may try to get you to meet with them and the supervisor to try to work it out ... but you don't have to give into it. You can stick to your guns and they will reassign you.)

    They used to have better benefits. They still have good insurance, 401K, life insurance and such ... but they used to offer a lot more.

    They used to get new equipment every year ... they haven't bought any new Freightliners since 2007 and the newest Volvos are 2008. But they are nice trucks. I was told by an unofficial, though pretty reliable source that they plan to start buying again in 2010 ....

    Sometimes they make decisions that are frustrating. For example, when I hit those elk ... they sent us to Freightliner in Spokane and we had to wait all weekend (FL was closed on Sunday) for them to decide how much work they wanted done on the truck before sending us on to the company shop in Troutdale OR. They paid for the motel of course ... but it would have been nice to been able to get rolling on Saturday and not waste that extra day. But it wasn't too big of a deal ... and Troutdale fixed the truck much more quickly than we expected.
  9. doton12

    doton12 New Member

    Not bad, where I live, nearest one is in Tacoma, WA
  10. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    Right now I LOVE my company ... we just finished a 6004 mile run (and we were paid for 6154).

    And now we are off again on a 2200 mile run.

  11. Tn. Truckers Wife

    Tn. Truckers Wife Well-Known Member Supporter

    I need a loan, PLEASE....hahahahaha J/K
  12. Member 2400

    Member 2400 Guest

    Sorry. Already loaning money to my dad. :nono:

    But the good thing is when this load ends tomorrow morning we will have 4500 miles ... and our week doesn't end until Monday night. May get another 6000 mile week! :cool:

    Three weeks of good miles in a row??? Wow! Almost like the good ol' days.:thud:
  13. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is the kind of running that I remember really liking!
  14. young33

    young33 Member

    Do they allow passengers?
  15. young33

    young33 Member

    Anybody know if they allow girlfriends go, I see they have a family rider program but can a girlfriend go?
  16. LOL... just talked to a recruiter and asked that question. Their rider policy is legal spouses can ride anytime, and legal children over the age of ten can ride once per year. So, no on the girlfriend, sorry.

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