From Somewhere, California — 03/19/2009
I have been a Route Manager (CSM) for a few months now. The hours are very, very long. If you are considering a job as a CSM there are some things you should know, some good, some bad.
Schwan's offers a good salary for their CSMs. You start out at $32,000 as a trainee, but when you are assigned to a route (usually a month or two after being hired) you move up to $38,000 per year. There is potential to make more if you really put work into the job and get your route running solid sales. The ultimate sales goal is $5,850 per week. They start you on a sales plan about 2 months after you get your route, you have to hit certain checkpoints every week. If you do not hit your check point on Friday then you have to run your route on Saturday to get enough sales to hit the check point. After a few months your check point will eventually be $5,850. You have to hit that number every week or you get written up, eventually terminated. You have to grow your route by soliciting new customers, which can be difficult in this economy. Schwan's food is high priced (but very high quality), so its not simple signing up new customers.
The hours are long. I work 65 hours every week, Monday thru Friday. If I do not make my check point I work another 10 hours on Saturday. Most of the time I hit it, but sometimes I don't. My check points are still low, so I'm really nervous about when they increase (every 8 weeks). The best driver at my depot makes over $60,000 a year. But if you average the hours we work it really only averages out to about $17.75 per hour and he's ranked high in the company. 65 hours per week x 52 weeks = 3,380 hours. $60,000 / 3380 = $17.75 per hour.
I won't say that I HATE my job, but I do not enjoy it. The hours I spend working really take away from my family time. I see my wife on the weekends, and that is pretty much it. Again, if you really, really work at it you can make good money. It takes the right kind of personality and a very dedicated person to hit the numbers they want you to hit. It takes the average driver a little over a year before they can get their route to $5850, unless you have a route that is already running good numbers, but usually those aren't available because the driver who has that route isn't about to leave the company.
The benefits are ok. They are expensive, but the coverage is good. If you are looking for nothing but job security, then Schwans is it. They boast that they have never "laid off" a driver. So if you are running good numbers you pretty much don't have to worry about losing your job.
I left a good job to come to Schwans and I really regret the change. I do not feel the hours that I work are commensurate with the salary. Even if I was making $60,000 a year, I still wouldn't be happy. I think about it like this.... If I get a job making $15/hr and work 65 hours a week. I'd get my base pay of $900 per week. Then at time and a half overtime for the other 25 hours I'd get an additional $562 a week. That is a total of $1462 per week. Which equates to a yearly salary of $76,024. See what I mean?
The job is not easy. By no means. The turnover at Schwans is as high as any I've ever seen. I think the average driver sticks around for 2 months. That tells you something right there. But, again, there are a few guys that have this job that LOVE it. Most don't. I am lucky, I have a very good LGM (Location General Manager). He helps us out any way he can. I know that many depots have managers that rule with an iron fist, which can make the job much, much more difficult. Having the right manager will help to make or break your career. I am lucky and my boss is a great manager.
It is a decision that requires a lot of thought. Make sure you and your family know what you are sacrificing before you take a job as a "Schwan's Man".
I just want you all to know the facts so that you can make an educated decision.
If you have any questions or would like any more info please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.