Starting as RCA and have some questions

Hansonzoo

New member
New to the site, tried searching topic but didn't really find an answer so here goes.

I'm not new to working for USPS, I've been a CCA for almost 2 years and am making the switch to RCA. I plan on using my F150 until I can find/figure out what type of vehicle is going to work best for me. It has a v8 and I'm wondering if mileage pay is going to cover my fuel costs. I'm guessing on 13ish mpg on route based off what my truck has averaged in the past.

Anyone using/used a full size truck/van with v8 on their route and is ema enough to outpace fuel costs? Thanks.
 

Worve

Member
Have v6 myself mpg is lower then what you would expect. Depending on route I average 10-12 mpg. The stop go and turning off and on vehicle is a killer. The ema unless you do all mechanical yourself most likely will not cover gas and wear on the vehicle.
 

C$$

Well-known member
Welcome to the dark side :)

Will EMA cover your fuel costs? Almost certainly, I think EMA is $0.64 per mile currently. But:

1) How long are the routes you will be delivering?
2) How much does gas cost in your area?
3) What are your roads like (pavement or gravel or mud)
4) How nice is your truck? Vehicles take a beating on a rural route both mechanically and in appearance.

When I first started as an RCA, I delivered out of a 96 Chevy full size pickup with a 350 v8. If memory serves, I was getting something like 8 MPG. The stop and go driving kills fuel economy.
 

Gotrope

Well-known member
Most vehicles average 10mpg on the route. It's constant stops and acceleration. There are several threads on this site referring to best vehicle types on route. Cheap, available parts chain and front wheel drive are good places to start.
 

Rural Deviation

Well-known member
New to the site, tried searching topic but didn't really find an answer so here goes.

I'm not new to working for USPS, I've been a CCA for almost 2 years and am making the switch to RCA. I plan on using my F150 until I can find/figure out what type of vehicle is going to work best for me. It has a v8 and I'm wondering if mileage pay is going to cover my fuel costs. I'm guessing on 13ish mpg on route based off what my truck has averaged in the past.

Anyone using/used a full size truck/van with v8 on their route and is ema enough to outpace fuel costs? Thanks.

As far as full sized trucks, a few years ago a carrier retired and he used a older model Toyota Tundra that had a bench seat. He was pretty tall, and unless you have a bit of reach in your arms or legs it is going to be difficult to sit in the middle and reach the boxes. Not saying it isn’t possible, but it’s definitely going to be a learning curve.

Back 5 years ago I’d recommend 1999-2004 Jeep grand Cherokees. Easy to convert and had enough space then. Now I’d say mini van or 2002-2005 Ford explorers(converted to rhd).

If you think this is something you’d like to do long term having a natural rhd or convert rhd will pay for itself in avoiding back issues later in life.

But if sitting in the middle is the only choice at the moment the a lot of carriers have success with the Honda CRV or something as a Dodge Grand Caravan.
 
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PastOThirty

Well-known member
New to the site, tried searching topic but didn't really find an answer so here goes.

I'm not new to working for USPS, I've been a CCA for almost 2 years and am making the switch to RCA.
This is my concern. Why? You will likely become career much, much sooner by staying where you are. God knows we need the help, but I fear you have been misled down a dark path of no return.
 

csparks

Well-known member
I did it in a V-8 single cab F150 for awhile. Not much difference between that and the V-6 Wrangler I now use, as far as mileage. EMA will plenty cover the gas.
The issue, as I see it, is will you be able to survive in that truck? The way things are now, if I did not have RHD, I'd likely be unable to cope.

I had to run half the route in my old truck recently due to a spark plug issue. It was effing hell going back to that.

Guess alot depends on the route. Ours are long, rough, and filled with worse driveways. Getting out for packages while "in the middle" gets pretty old.
 

flash

Well-known member
I used my 06 Toyota Tundra as an RCA. V8 4.7 l
It averaged around 9 miles to gallon delivering
Here’s how I looked at the EMA as a sub. Whole different ball game as a regular so keep that in mind.
I had a job, it paid better than the one I had before it. I farmed myself out so even though my station was small, I always had work.
Money is all about the movement of it,, like a river not a stagnant cesspool.... it has to move to become useful.... I never fully kept track of ema vs spent dollars as an RCA cause you just do what you have to to get by that week or that month, and repairs are weird... one week you’ll have to fix 5 things, then go for months without a problem...
If it gets you started and you don’t mind the “racing stripes” down the right side, by all means use what you have, who cares if it’s a few dollars more right now in fuel. A new(er) vehicle would take too much time to pay off if you’re just starting... maybe plan for that later?? And take some time researching what really works for you both at work and home...
 

Surf

Well-known member
I drive an extended cab Silverado 1500. 10 mpg is about what I get. I'm 5'9" and have zero issues driving from the right. I wouldn't drive any other vehicle! NEVER have made a 2nd trip, and I've had 300+ pkgs in the past. See my recent post "EMA" in the "off topic" section. I outline my EMA for 2020.
 

Hansonzoo

New member
Hansonzoo -- "I'm not new to working for USPS, I've been a CCA for almost 2 years and am making the switch to RCA."

-- why?
So I don't want to type out a huge diatribe so I'll keep is short and sweet. I'm tired of having to do other peoples work for them. I.E. I carry a full route and part of an aux route. Once I get done I have to go take off 30-45 min off other carriers that can't finish their own route. They won't request a route eval either, just want to hose the post office for as much OT as they can. Amazing how when the T6 or a CCA runs their route they find undertime on most days..... that's the main reason.
 

Hansonzoo

New member
thanks everyone for the responses, I'm 6'1 so I don't think the reach will be a problem. I know I could go career next year on city side but it's very toxic in my office on city side. I have a 97 f150 extended cab so it's not pretty so I don't mind if it gets banged up a bit. I'm going to look for a rhd vehicle but time is short. I start my 5 day break in service on the 10th and start working as a RCA on the 16th of this month. The truck is what I have available ready to go. I'm used to Rhd a LLV so this is a short term solution.

I'll be sure to keep track of fuel cost, repairs etc to make sure I'm not paying out more than I'm making in ema without knowing it. My truck is old but I've done a lot of work on it in the past few years to keep it in good running shape, that's why I'm not afraid to use it vs. an unkown car I buy off FB marketplace or craigslist for a few thousand bucks.

I'll make sure to search for more posts concerning veh recommendations. Again thanks everyone.
 

littlesew&sew

Active member
So I don't want to type out a huge diatribe so I'll keep is short and sweet. I'm tired of having to do other peoples work for them. I.E. I carry a full route and part of an aux route. Once I get done I have to go take off 30-45 min off other carriers that can't finish their own route. They won't request a route eval either, just want to hose the post office for as much OT as they can. Amazing how when the T6 or a CCA runs their route they find undertime on most days..... that's the main reason.
I hope you weren't misled into thinking this type of situation doesn't happen on the rural side.

But back to your vehicle question, my 02 Durango (V8) got 8 to 10 mpg in winter and 10 to 12 in summer on 80 to 130 mile routes. EMA covered gas and minor repairs. I started out in an 04 Chevy Venture, 25 mpg on the route in it.

My office had an RCA driving a quad cab Ram for a while. She was a short gal, under 5'5. I have no idea how she managed it. She never did come in at or under evaluation, usually at least an hour or 2 over.

Does your truck have a topper or tonneau cover of any sort? Depending on management in your office, you might get away with an open bed, but the mail and parcels are supposed to be secured and able to be locked in your vehicle.

Single cab, extended, or crew cab will also make a difference in whether or not your truck will work. It will also depend on the routes in your office. Higher volume more suburban type routes with lots of cul de sacs and tight turns might be a challenge.

PLEASE practice driving from the middle beforehand!!!! Find an empty mall or movie theater parking lot or go down a back country road and try it out. Pretend light poles are boxes, stop put your arm out, pretend to deliver. Park, scoot across get out, turn, back up, do all the things you will encounter on a route.

Since you were a CCA, you know how to handle mail so you have that as an advantage. If your office will let you, grab a tray or two, a flat tub or half tray, whatever the rurals you will be training with use and see how you might want to set up your truck. If one of the rurals at your office drives from the middle, watch how they load and ask for tips.

Rural is a whole different beast than city. Good luck!
 

Hansonzoo

New member
Ok I've received a lot of feedback from folk and I'm kind of stuck between two trains of thought. Some people say buy a 2k minivan from FB marketplace or craigslist and others say spend a bit more and get a decent vehicle that isn't going to crap out in the first month or two. What are your experience? There are minivans a plenty for cheap but is it better to get a cheap minivan or spend maybe 4-5k on something like a Honda CRV, Toyota Highlander etc that are a bit better made?
 

btdtret

Well-known member
Hansonzoo -- "I've received a lot of feedback from folk and I'm kind of stuck between two trains of thought. ... There are minivans a plenty for cheap but is it better to get a cheap minivan or spend maybe 4-5k on something like a Honda CRV, Toyota Highlander etc that are a bit better made?"

-- Are you mechanically inclined or know someone willing to work on your vehicle?

-- If not, spend the money up front for a decent vehicle.

-- Don't forget, the USPS expects you to have a back-up vehicle, the ability to borrow one, or in a worst case scenario -- rent a vehicle.
 

Hansonzoo

New member
looking at a 2007 saturn vue, has rhd kit in it. I know this one has the honda drive train so it should be solid engine wise. It has 200,000 miles and owner is asking 3500 obo. I'm thinking if it last a few years at least I have a rhd kid I can use on my next veh.

I can wrench on cars, swapped a few transmissions, alternators, clutches, brakes etc.
 
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