Questions Most Frequently asked by Independent Truck Operators
1. How is Des Moines Co. (DMTC) different foam all the other truck lines claiming to be the best?
Only experienced and financially responsible operators who determine their own business plan and lanes are successful at DMTC. There is no forced dispatch and the Independent Contractors determine when and where they want to work. Our Independent Contractors make a service commitment and stick to their word. DMTC is not for everyone.
2. What do mean by "business plan"?
Our average Independent Contractors has over $100,00 of capital tied up in equipment and receivable. Considering the options available for his capital and the opportunity costs of his time, our Independent Contractor needs a clear plan to utilize these assets. Our Contractors determine their goals and establish a plan with their fleet manager to reach that goal.
3. How much money can I make?
Our Independent Contractors receive a large percentage of the freight rate (90%). Our freight rates are competitive though slightly higher that industry standards. Depending on the lanes one picks, the truck should receive $1.00/mile to $1.15/mile. We do not run locally with the typical run over 1000 miles.
4. What are the qualifications to become and Owner Operator at DMTC?
5. Do I need my own trailer?
If you are going to pull a dry van, you will pull one of the pool trailers. The majority of the fleet is refrigerated which give Independent Contractors many more options. Most Owner Operators own their refrigerated trailer. We do have some refrigerated trailer. We do have some refrigerated trailers that rent. These trailers are not brand new and we would encourage you to buy your own trailer. We also can help you lease/purchase a new trailer. DMTC requires at least a 48' x 102' refrigerated trailer capable of hauling 45,000 lbs.
6. How about insurance?
DMTC deducts $100 per week from your settlement for Cargo ($250,000 coverage with reefer breakdown, $1000 deductible except reefer breakdown deductible is $2,500), Liability($1,000,000) and Bobtail. You can get your own Cargo, Liability & Bobtail but it must be the same limits and DMTC must be a named insured. Collision Insurance (Physical Damage) is available for your tractor and trailer at a cost of $7 per $10,000 of value per week which can be deducted from your settlement. Two weeks insurance must be pre-paid but there is no requirement for annual coverage nor is there any loss of deposit with a 30 day notice.
7. Who owns the IRP plates?
You can buy your own base plate or run under DMTC's. The cost of DMTC's plate is approximately $1,700 per year and can be prorated for the remainder of the year. If DMTC purchases the plates, they can be deducted from the weekly settlements at $75 per week, but remain property of DMTC. Should you not finish the year with DMTC, the only part of the plate that is refundable is the Iowa portion. This portion is only $15 per month for the remaining whole months.
8. What about permits?
DMTC provides Single State Registration, IFTA, NY HUT, NM Cab Card, Oregon Plate, Ontario permits, Quebec permits, British Columbia permits and KY liquor permit. DMTC trucks do not handle hazardous materials.
9. Fuel Taxes?
DMTC prepares the fuel taxes. The Owner Operator taxes are based on his fuel consumption and not the fleet. Depending on how you run, the average additional fuel tax is usually $100 per month. All fuel purchases are credited so there is no need to by fuel in each state. Also, credit is given for NY toll tickets turned in with your trip reports. There is a $10 per quarter preparation charge for compiling the fuel taxes.
10. Why is satellite communication so important?
All DMTC Independent Contractors can install the American Mobile Satellite System. It enables the fleet managers and Independent Contractors to always maintain communication. Most perishable food customers require this tool. The satellite eliminates the costly down time required making check calls and increases inbound options. The is NO per weekly charge but there is a $500 deposit taken out $50/week. DMTC pays for the satellite and installation.
11. Is there a fuel card available?
We use T-check cards that are more likely accepted than even ComData cards. The cards can be used to purchase fuel, oil and additives. There is a $1 transactions charge at most fuel stops (Pilot, Speedway and ove 800 other truck stops do not charge DMTC a transaction charge). Pilot and Speedway have a discount fuel price. Also, $300 cash can be withdrawn per T-Chek there is a $10 charge!
12. How do I get my bills into the office?
Most major truck stops have TriPak boxes that provide 2nd day delivery to DMTC at no cost to the Independent Contractor. Also, you can certainly drop them off at the office. With our new office behind the Pilot Truck Stop, this will be even more convenient.
13. When do we get paid on a trip?
Any trip in by Thursday, gets paid the following Wednesday. We have direct deposit but will need your bank information.
14. What is the rider policy?
Yes! All passengers must receive written authorization from DMTC prior to any trip. This authorization can be faxed.
15. Can we take loads from brokers or shippers we have done business with in the past but are not DMTC customers?
Yes. We certainly are looking to expand our customer base particularly for inbound traffic. Your fleet manager will perform a credit check. With our available resources, this will take less than a half-hour. DMTC guarantees all payments regardless if the approved shipper or approved broker pay.
16. What about freight claims, shortages and deductibles?
Our insurance has a $1,000 deducible for cargo claims and $2,500 for refrigerated breakdown. There is no deducible for liability. The Independent Contractor is responsible for claims and shortages. We contest every claim and do not take this responsibility lightly. All deductions are discussed and worked out before deducting from your settlement.
17. Who are DMTC's major customers?
DMTC has many good customers. We have major contracts with ConAgra, Excel, John Morrell, Swift, Dixie Crystal, Holly Sugar, Pioneer Seed, Jim Beam, Barton Brands, RR Donnelley, Red Path Sugar and many more. Also, we are setup and approved with over 2,000 Brokers.
18. Is health insurance available?
We have individual Blue Cross/Blue Shield policies available. Your best bet is to get a policy from an agen in the state you live in.
19. Do you pay lumpers?
It depends on the customer, but your fleet manager lets you know the particulars of the load including lumpers, pallets, and drops before you accept the load.
20. Does DMTC pay the tolls?
DMTC will not dictate which route you must take. Most tolls are the responsibility of the Independent Contractor. All of our tariffs have New York surcharge if you elect to go into the city.
21. We have EZ Pass and PrePass!!!
22. Can we take advances from Brokers?
No advances should never be taken directly form a broker.
23. What up front money do we need to start at DMTC?
No up front money is required but you experience more deductions during the first two months. We do hold a $600 Fuel Deposit which we deduct $50 per week for 12 weeks. If you get a satellite, there is a satellite deposit $50/week for 10 weeks. Also, two extra weeks of insurance is deducted when you start out. These deductions obviously reduce your settlements during your start up.
24. Why do your Owner Operators stay at DMTC?
DMTC has 50 Owner Operators. They stay here because they can make a decent living and get treated with respect. They are not a number and they determine when and where they will work. They do an excellent job and are the best in the industry. We do not advertise and word of mouth fills any spots that open up. We do not have plans to expand. Everyone in the office knows every Owner Operator's name. This could be because their pictures adorn the office or it could be that the 50 guys and ladies are unforgettable.
Deciding which company is right for you is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. You have a lot riding on this decision and a company can make or break you. Hopefully, the past two pages have shed some light on our company and will help you decide whether DMTC is right for you. I know there are many more questions you still have, so please feel free to contact me or Norm Hussman, VP Operation at 800-777-3682.
Jack Sawyer, President
PS Generally, the most knowledgeable people of our operation are the Owner Operators. Pleas feel free to call in and we usually find a talkative Independent Contractor in the Drivers Lounge.
Phone number: 800-777-DMTC or 800-477-9682 Fax: 515-270-0735 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org