An Anonymous Contractor posted yesterday in the "Sound Off" section on the side bar. I thought I'd answer his/her critique and analysis of my journal entries but since he/she didn't leave a reply e-mail please bear with me if I'm being a little redundant.....
Anon: A couple of things..There's just way to much complaining going on here.
I'm sorry that it bothers you that I primarily have negative things to say. Yes, there is a lot of complaining going on here in this personal BLOG but again this is my opinions and observations. Some nice customer service people from FedEx have commented that some of this info helps them understand what many go through so ( *hi! And thanks! To them* ) I'm glad that my negativity does have a potential for positive outcome for some.
I WISH I had more positive things to say and like I mention above, YOU are more than welcome to comment here. If you want to explain the good aspects of doing this rather than tell me that I'm wrong -- comment or send it as an e-mail and I'll gladly post it with a title - so you can share your experiences and contradict my complaints. I'd love to hear from anyone that is happy doing their route and are having good experiences because from what I can tell there MAY be some out there. Maybe you are one of them. Maybe you can share insight how you've made your route better or more productive. Sadly, though, I only hear from aggravated and ex-and-glad contractors through posts and e-mails.
As a matter of fact, I haven't posted much lately because ALL I would be doing right now is bitching -like a broken record- about the same things every day. It is peak season and it just plain SUCKS, more so than last year. I miss my boyfriend - the BEAR that shows up at my house each night whom I feed before he crawls into bed is a poor substitute.
And I've tried to point out the good things in posts, but like I've said - we've been finding much more bad than good in this venture. I feel he signed on to the deal without having a good opportunity to weigh the positive picture with the negative, because, well management would be fools to have a potential candidate talk to contractors that they KNOW would be less than encouraging. So if my voicing my opinion balances out that "super happy contractor people" glossy handout that he was given in the beginning - The one that touted "perfect for soccer moms and retires! " (Yeah, right!) helps anyone at all see that people DO have negative feelings, so be it. Many contractors won't openly talk about anything if they know management can get wind of it and I wish the stories of petty punishments for out of line contractors were fairytales - but local knowledge recently tells me otherwise. All I know is you need to watch what you say in jest
to people you know in the terminal -- if you don't want to be threatened with the famous "jeopardized contract" speech.
Anon: I'm a contractor, it's hard work. Maybe some people should just sit behind a desk.
Me: Its not the hard work, as you imply, that aggravates him every day. He's no slacker, trust me and usually takes pride in hard work. In all the time I've known him he's had "desk" jobs and physically demanding jobs. What appealed to him about this was not being behind a desk again and the thought that it would be a start to running a business. Today, after sitting around all day yesterday nursing what looks like the onset of the flu he is out doing his job. Even IF there WERE a way he could have called in sick he wouldn't have. In the over 10 years I've been with him he's called in sick to work maybe 2 times. He's taken two days off from FHD total in over 1 1/2 years being there, gets his service bonus every month, and has only had one valid claim ever. He tries very hard to be a professional - tries to be courteous and customer oriented, keeps his truck maintained and (I think overly) clean. I tell him how proud I am of him and he says, "Yeah? You girl, have issues. How can you be proud of me getting into something that sucks so bad?" He is frustrated and disillusioned and I'm saddened to see how his enthusiasm has gone down the drain.
His complaints AND the complaints of many other posters are over the utter lack of control over their own "business", and the downright underhanded way the company decides to bend and change rules, contract and modes of operations to fit their plan with total disregard of any the objectives or input of the "contractor businessmen". He and others thought it was a reasonable contract and a true business deal only find out the just how wrong they were. The only "proprietary interest" he has is on paper to make it look like it complies with the 1099/SS-8 formula. Come on, they flex around zones at will claiming its part of the contract - they can do it because their definition of core zone is as loose as the rest of the worthless contract. This is why the lawsuits like in California are beginning to roll. I don't know, perhaps they don't pull crap on you or you don't care.
So get out you might say? We are looking at options for using the truck he's now stuck with in a real business by the time the contract is up. He EXPECTES hard work but for something he can control, grow and treat as his own true business entity. Not the "job" - where you are responsible for buying and maintaining an expensive vehichle - that FHD is. People start businesses so that they can call at least some of the shots, not to be told how and what to do day in and out. The only shots it seems he gets to call is -should he do the route in a different order today -does he risk leaving that package there -should he stop in a bathroom to take a piss or will the snapple bottle do -will he get gas before going to the terminal or later -will he change the oil Sunday or Monday. And don't tell me its the nature of the model. My father ran a food delivery route which was a true Independent Contractor Delivery model with control over volume, hours, growth and potential expansion - it was a far cry different than what FedEx doing. They just look right on paper.
Anon: I do have a problem with two entries that are conflicting. If he has a tight route (178 stops - urban) how in the hell could an appointment stop take 50 miles and 1.5 hours? The total mileage for the route is probably more like 75-90 total miles daily. What gives?
Me: Here is how in the hell and what gives. First off the "tight route" you are referencing is peak season volume and pushing the DOT max for that area. Its been flexed and compressed with his and the adjacent areas normal urban areas only. His rural areas are being done by a neighboring supplemental, he thinks but, even though it is his "core zone/zipcode" managment isn't into discussing it with them. Funny, its his by contract, isn't it? His "normal" urban/rural route averages 100 low-120 high. That day, he had his entire normal area and about 1/2 of a contractor who just left's unfamiliar area.
So The truck was FULLY loaded, with some pretty big items as first stops. It was sprung it on him just as he was about to leave - a morning appointment to go to a place where he'd would be towards the end of the route. Do the route backwards I thought? Well all the end of route packages were blocked by beginning of route packages so he'd have to re arrange the truck, mainly by repacking. So he did the alternative, deliver his first ones, stop, go to the appointment 22 or so miles away, then come back and finish. Since it was his first time in the new area, he really wanted to follow the route plan to avoid running in circles all day too. The emergency road closing and subsequent traffic jam and detour was just the garnish. (PS: FHD charged $15, he got an extra $3 but the burden was basically his)