At last, I now have the time to deliver the good news!
It's been our plan ever since we first started trucking with our current company, to move on to another better-paying company when the time is right, and the time is finally right!
About three weeks ago when we were "stranded" in the Seattle area for 3 days straight waiting on a load, waiting on our home time, and with no entertainment options, Deb and I began to get antsy. We decided it was best to start calling some different trucking companies that we were interested in to see what they had to offer. Of those which we called, many we had spoken to before, several months prior, but we decided it would be a good effort to call again and see if anything had changed since we last spoke.
Of those former contacts, one proved to be particularly desirable, which hadn't been when we previously spoke. As I spoke with the recruiter, I was informed that certified and experienced team hazmat drivers were being offered a $5000 sign-on bonus and a starting pay of 48 cents per mile (cpm), which is more than one-and-a-half times what we are currently making. This is surprisingly and fantastic good news; it is like earning overtime pay for all the work we are currently doing. To say the least, Deb and I were very excited!
However, this opportunity did provide itself with one small obstacle to overcome: for our hiring area, this company required that we live within 50 miles of the I-5 corridor. We presently live within 100+ miles. So, as I spoke with the recruiter and she informed me of this news, she said that they initially wouldn't be able to take us on, unless we moved closer to the I-5, something that neither Deb nor I had any desire to do. But, as she spoke with me further, she encouraged us to still fill out an application and see what would happen, that maybe they would allow for an exception.
We submitted our application and waited several days to hear back from her, which we eventually did. She informed us that they would not take us on with us living in our present location. She informed us of this via email, and to say the least, Deb and I were quite disappointed. Nonetheless, we did not want to lose this opportunity, and still not wanting to move, I decided to call the recruiter and ask her if we could work out some sort of deal. I offered to them to waive the $5000 sign-on bonus or to decrease our starting cpm by a few cents, or to have us leave the truck and trailer somewhere along the I-5 and have us commute, or we would be willing to cover the cost of fuel to cover the extra distance in that commute (because their preference is that we take the truck/trailer back home with us)...pretty much anything and everything. Apparently my eagerness to come up with some deal that would be mutually beneficial, the recruiter decided that she would talk with her supervisor again and see if she couldn't make it work.
So, we waited a couple more days.
Then on one early morning as I was driving west on I-80 in Nebraska, I decided to give the recruiter a call to see where things stand. She simply informed me that they were willing to make an exception for us, and that they would take us on as is. To say the least, I was sitting on cloud nine! I was not simply tickled pink, because they were accepting us and taking us on, but also because a few years ago I never would have attempted to negotiate a deal. I would have simply and quietly accepted what they had to say and looked elsewhere. Acquiring this job is in some sense a great achievement that I'm thankfully proud of!
We've already submitted our two-week notice to our current company and have decided that the best time to make this switchover is while Deb is taking her comps back in Steubenville, OH. Our new company, US Xpress, has a terminal and orientation site located in west-central Ohio, Springfield, OH, and so this just made good sense to have the switchover during this time. It also provides the opportunity to visit with Deb's family for a couple of days. We'll have three days of orientation beginning on April 21st, then hopefully by week's end we'll have ourselves a new job (we're not technically hired on until we complete the orientation, until the company is satisfied with our performance), a new truck, and a considerably new income.
We were always hoping to make money this good in the trucking industry, but in many ways this is a goal fully come true. This is top of the market money, and most companies that we spoke with topped out at only 42-44cpm. So, we're making almost $12,000 more a year with this company than with other places. As we've spoken with other friends in the trucking industry, they are known to be a reputable company, quite large, and well-maintained. We are looking forward to this new adventure!
This money is as good as we could have possibly hoped for, and it is sooner than expected, and so we should hopefully be able to pay down our debt, establish a financial base and nest egg, in less time than originally planned. As Deb likes to bring up, we should be debt-free by her 30th birthday, and on our way to a new life of both business and employment opportunities.
Please keep us in your prayers and may this note find you especially well during this Easter Triduum. May God be praised for His love and goodness to us!
Peace of the Risen Lord,
Ben & Deb
P.S. A 48cpm pay and near 240,000 miles a year equates to a salary of $115,000. That's pretty decent money for 4 weeks of school training, 9 months of experience, and $10,000 to cover the cost of schooling.