New Article From Old School About Buying Or Leasing A Truck

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Older Newbie's Comment
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Old School and Brett I know that this is "old hat" for you; standing in the truck stop getting beer cans tossed your way...as you said...but the problem many of us face out here is in fact company based. I'll try to explain.

I did the company route and have stuck out almost a year or frankly near starvation. The only place most of us could start with is the big companies and if anyone has the system rigged in their favor it's the big companies.

The promise of making 40 to 50 grand a year...even 35 to 40 is common and yet, it's really tough. How many jobs pay little to nothing when you're stuck waiting to get a load for 34 to 50 hrs? Oh... and why were you stuck sitting there you ask? Because your dispatcher/fleet manager didn't tell you that the load your qualcomm said was going to be ready on say Friday morning between 6am and that afternoon at 6pm, actually wasn't going to happen for another day. The shipper never intended the load to be ready Friday! They intended for the load to be ready Saturday.

So there you sit, waiting, eating...or not...but the wheels aren't rolling and so you make no money! This happens all the time. Or get to a receiver and have to spend 3 hours getting the correct load receiving number from your dispatch/fm and you wind up at the back of a first come first serve line until 6pm again...having started your day at 4am there isn't any time left to do anything. Once again, another wasted day.

As a new driver I knew there were going to be lots of things to learn and I also wasn't kidding myself that big companies didn't get big by giving money away. But what became all too obvious was that they don't care if you sit for hours or days...you aren't costing them enough to be a concern. I have often wondered how they became so successful with the level of incompetence that would have gotten me fired!

What does all this have to do with owner operator discussions you ask? A couple of things.

I do work for one of the major carriers and I barely make enough to feed my family. I have insurance I can't afford to use...the deductible I can't cover. I have vacation I can't afford to take. And I have bills I can barely afford to pay. All while I try to scrape through the first year or two of driving.

Company driver is not a dirty word it just depends on which company. The majors will sell you a great story, show their new trucks and make promises they have no intention of keeping so I can understand why being and o/o is enticing. I have o/o friends who make more in a day than I make in 2 weeks sometimes. And no...that's not a line of bull either. I know how they live and have seen their expenses...and their real bottom line.

I too have owned my own business and was very successful at it. When the business changed I went the company route. There are o/o's who make good money, I know some. And there are others that have failed. I know them too. I suspect the trick is to either find the right company, willing to pay a decent living wage or the right company to lease on to as an o/o.

There seems to be a huge amount of emotion wrapped up in this discussion so far and a lot of challenges and counter challenges. It's certainly been an interesting read. But what I've seen here is the same as everywhere lately...people have dug into their positions and are right no matter what...end of conversation.

I suspect there is money to be made in this business, otherwise it wouldn't be as big as it is. The trick like life, is to find the right niche, learn it and go for it, whether as an o/o or company driver. Me...I would like to find the right company someday soon. My guess is it will be smaller than the big guns who's goal is to extract every drop of energy you have and pay as little as they can get away with...because I have looked at being an owner operator too...and as scary as it may be it still looks better than what I have now.

Which is probably why so many drivers think about it in the first place. Making less than 40 cents a mile for a couple of years is tough because there is no guarantee to get 3000 miles a week. No matter how good you are, someone else's incompetence dictates your paycheck or lack thereof. When you consider what a brokers or leasing dispatcher's motivation is; to keep you moving because that's how they get paid, as opposed to a company dispatcher or fm who's getting a salary whether you move or not, it's not difficult to connect the dots and want to go where the dollars are. And yes...I do understand all that's been said about risks here. Just saying that when the word company gets used perhaps a distinction should be made so that those on the fence can get a better understanding of where you're coming from. As I said, my best friend is making in 6 months...take home after taxes...than I am making at a major carrier.

For me, that's hard to turn my back on.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

When I said my best friend is making more in 6 months...I meant he is taking home....profit...after taxes...more than I'm making in a year...actually it's probably more than I can make here in a year and a half. Maybe he's unique and blessed but whatever the case may be, it's real.

That's why going the o/o route is aluring and it's hard to not consider it as an option at least.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Older Newbie, I very much appreciate the well thought out comments. Very well done.

I can assure you that most of the trouble you're having getting miles is simply attributed to the fact that you're new to all of this and you haven't yet figured out how to get problems solved or how to make things happen within your own company. That's one of the toughest aspects of this career for people to grasp, and quite honestly I've known way too many drivers to count who have had years of experience driving and never did figure it out. In fact, your timing is impeccable because I just wrote an article today about this very subject, of all things. You can find it here:

Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach

Your scenario has been covered many, many times in fact, especially by our friend Old School. In fact, he started a new topic just 36 hours ago related to your situation and you'll find it here:

How To Put Your Career Into Overdrive

You see, this job isn't like most you'll find. Most of the time you walk into work, the boss drops a pile of work in front of you and says "Do it!" and you do it. You could never get all of that work done in a day and so you always have a steady stream of work to do. And normally it doesn't take much thought or creativity to produce, you're not competing for more work to do amongst your peers, and it's all pretty straightforward.

But trucking isn't like that at all.

Trucking is a competition amongst drivers within the same company for the available freight. No one advertises it that way, but that's exactly what it is. It's more like a sport than a job, and you have to make sure your coach (dispatch) recognizes your talents and puts you in the game.

It's more like running your own business than it is a job, and you have to be your own salesperson. You have to make sure your clients (dispatch) recognize the quality and dependability of your service and they put their money on you, not your competitors (the other drivers on their board).

There's one simple rule that every truck driver can count on. It's your saving grace. It's the one rule you can always count on to solve any problems you may be having getting miles. The rule is simple:

The best performers deserve the best miles, the best equipment, and the best treatment.

Pretty simple, right? Makes perfect sense, and it should.

If you're able to operate your truck more efficiently and with more ambition than the other drivers then it only makes sense for your company to load the most miles on you because they're making money the same way you are - by keeping those wheels turning. Any company is going to do whatever makes them the most money, right? Well are you one of those Top Tier Drivers that are going to make them the most money?

Do you make every single one of your appointments on time?

Are you managing your hours in such a way that you can legally turn 3,000+ miles per week consistently?

Are you pushing to get your appointment times moved forward so you can get loaded and unloaded earlier?

Are you communicating effectively with dispatch so they know when you'll be available and can have another load queued up and ready to go?

You keep blaming your company that you're not getting the miles, and accusing them of taking advantage of you. And yet the only way that would make any sense is if they're somehow making money while you're sitting still. And we both know that's not the case. These companies make money keeping those wheels turning.

So the question is simple. If you're a Top Tier Driver but you're not getting Top Tier Miles then what's the problem here? That's the question you should be asking dispatch. And if dispatch doesn't have an answer you ask the fleet manager , then the operations manager, then the terminal manager, and by God if you have to go to the level of Vice President you go to that level and you demand an answer.

I am one of your hardest working, most efficient, and most reliable drivers and yet I am not getting as many miles as many of my peers. Why am I not getting the miles I have demonstrated I am capable of handling?

That's the question you ask every last person in the offices until you get your answer. And when you finally get heard by the right person you know what that answer is going to be? It's going to be, "Man, I'm sorry about that. You're right. We should be putting more miles on you. I'll have a talk with your dispatcher and fleet manager and make sure that happens."

And if it doesn't happen you call that manager back time and time again until it does.

That's how you get the big miles in this industry if they're not being handed to you. But it all hinges on you being a Top Tier Driver, and that means:

  • 100% on time for all appointments
  • Pushing your appointment times forward to get loaded and unloaded early
  • Managing your clock efficiently enough to turn 3,000+ miles every week
  • Getting along well with the office personnel
  • Lobbying hard to get all of the miles you deserve for your exemplary performance

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I'm going to throw one last thought at you and I hope you'll think hard about this. If you can't figure out how to get the miles you need to survive as a company driver, do you really think you know enough about this industry to throw your hat in the ring with the best of the best and compete as an owner operator in one of the most cut throat and ruthless businesses you'll find anywhere on the planet?

Trust me, it's 1000 times easier to succeed as an employee than it is to succeed as a business owner in any business, I don't care what business it is. So I would highly recommend you think hard about that and work at this until you master the company driving position before you even consider stepping up to the next level and competing as an owner operator.

You wouldn't try to ride a bull if you couldn't figure out how to ride a goat, would you?

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett, Actually it's frustration with the way a huge company with almost 10000 drivers works...or doesn't work. You see I have done what you've suggested and yes, I would be considered one of their top tier drivers, even though I'm new. I do make those calls to get my load eother loaded on unloaded early, but...and here's the part that is out of my control; the driver doesn't dictate what he or she is dealt . You have to react to what's going on around you and work within the playing field. My frustration is from a lack of follow through by those who control your fate. Getting delivery numbers isn't something new, but if what you're given isn't correct or non existent that's what makes life difficult. It shouldn't be a surprise to them when you ask for or need the information and yet it's a rampant problem that many of the drivers I've spoken with at the company complain about. That's my frustration. This isn't brain surgery and it's not some new aspect to the business!

I am new yes...but I've managed to figure out enough to keep rolling weeks at a time without doing a 34hr reset and yes...I get there on time or ahead of time whenever possible. The only thing that has ever stopped that is the occasional load that has to be reworked because it couldn't be legally pulled. Once again, a curve ball you have to deal with and keep moving.

I've owned a high value business before and made it work in a similar cut throat world...television production... where my investment was nearly 350 grand in gear alone. Fixing an 85grand camera and keeping your production on budget and on time all over the world wasn't a piece of cake or cheap eirher. But you do what is needed and keep moving. Top that off with being your own booking agent. Yes... I get what you're saying.

I'm doing what I can to learn this industry and this forum helps but there are times when being good or smart or friendly or aggressive isn't the whole picture. When you work for people who's livelihoods don't directly get affected by yours, their motivation is different. An hourly paid employee is not motivated the same as the commission employees. Yeah, the company wants to make money and should but we can't kid ourselves into forgetting that the amount of waste, miss management and general lack of motivation at many if not most established big companies is pretty real. When I spoke about the incident where I wound up sitting for hours that had nothing to do with me or my skills...that, was simply dispatch not getting their information right and I got left standing there waiting. Now it's not all been bad. I'm in the midst of back to back runs that are going to net me over 3300 miles this week! And by the time I get through I'll be close to 4000 miles in about 8 days so I can't complain. You yourself have said the first year is the most difficult and I agree. I just think that it's not always about how well we new drivers do our job, it's also about how huge companies with huge driver pools manage to take advantage of and manipulate new drivers. If the livelihood of those in the office really depended on them getting it right as much as our job as drivers does, I suspect there would be a lot less turn over at big carriers and generally happier people all around. Trucks make money when they roll. Drivers make money when they roll. Staff employees at the big companies make money regardless. Add to that the number of drivers they have to manage, which is often hundreds, and it's easy to see how someone would want to be where they are dealing with a fleet manager who only oversees 30 or 40 drivers and I seriously motivated, by a commission or percentage for instance, to keep those drivers rolling.

I'm going to stick this out. I knew going in that this is a tough business and that frankly, only the strong survive. I think I've managed to do pretty well so far and I have hopes that my success will turn into a viable, workable and decent living for me and my family. I guess having been a freelancer for 25 plus years out of 42 in the same industry gives me a perspective that's a little out of the normal company/owner operator debate. Sometimes it's not how good you are, it's who you know, who you smooze, or even how lucky you are... or seeing the break and going for it...being adaptable and smart enough to think on your feet and adjust in the right direction. In the end though, it's also about simply being tenacious. Having the strength of will to get up when you're knocked down, whether by traffic that's holding you up, or information not relayed correctly or frustrations. Being able to keep going and keep learning is key for me. Trying to not repeat mistakes, learning from each day and forging ahead. I will be here tomorrow, and the day after that and the one after that too. I hope to be smarter and I will always keep my options open...whether as a company driver or as an owner operator. Either way, I'm not going to make that decision lightly...or quickly. I know there are good companies out there that would want me. I just have to pay my dues, learn everything I can, do the time and be safe and smart. No big deal right?

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

Oh...sorry...one last thought before I crawl into the sleeper...

My first year of driving is ending in a few short months. And I also know that a year isn't a panacea it's just a time marker. But It means you've stuck it out through one of the hardest most dangerous professions around. In a sense it's a different kind of graduation. One that allows you to walk through doors unavailable before. I look forward to that opportunity and plan to make the best of it. Take care Brett... and Old School. I look forward to meeting you both sometime. Tony

Older Newbie's Comment
member avatar

Brett, Just read your new article. Great job. If I seemed like one of those terminal rats please forgive me...I'm not and avoid them like the plague for all the reasons you stated. The last thing I want to do is leave the impression with you or Old School, or anyone else for that matter that I'm that kind of driver. I do the grunt work without complaining and have in fact been getting good miles, especially for a new guy, despite my frustrating experiences. Your advice is sound and smart and I will look harder in the mirror to make sure the guy I see is the one I want others to see and know. And for the record, the only time I have been late was out of my control...the trailer wasn't ready and I had to wait for it. I'm trying Brett, and I'm trying to learn every day. Thanks for your advice. Tony

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar
It sounds like you're using old equipment and doing the work yourself? I'm assuming that means engines with older emissions standards? Would a change in the emissions laws like they've done in California throw a gigantic wrench into the plans? What does that situation look like for you?

Actually, this does not concern me. California is actually changing their tune due to issues caused by the DEF fluid.

Emission standards have been changing for decades but they do not affect vehicles already on the road.

Smog pumps in cars started in California but every one else removed them, then the feds made those standards nationwide. You can still see vehicles from the early 1900's on the road.

Loads do not pay more because you have new trucks. Only carriers discriminate based on the are of the vehicle.

My truck is 24 years old and makes the same money as the guy driving the 2016 Volvo. I get to take home more money than him because my fixed costs are lower. A buddy of mine is still running a 1975 359 peterbilt and emission standards have changed a lot since then.

I wouldn't say that. Part of the reality when assessing the situation means that you'd be making $60,000 per year of pure profit as an experienced company driver, correct? So anything you make in profits below that number would be considered a loss overall. Making $30,000 in profit your first year would amount to a $30,000 loss for you personally. That has to be considered in the final tally

Just because I am not putting the money in my pocket does not mean that I have lost that money. That money is still there but earmarked for rainy days. If I were to shut down the money does not go away.

The main reason that so many fail is because they do not save for those rainy days. When I bought this truck I literally had $10 in my pocket. Now I have 14k in the bank, 18k in receivables, 20k in trailers and a truck that is just about paid for at 20k.

It is a capital intensive business. And takes some investment. I had 5k in startup costs before filling the first tank. All of that and all fuel has been paid back. I have also activated my own authority which is yet another startup expense.

Do I expect to become a millionaire? Hell no. I do expect to be comfortable.

One truck operations can make a comfortable living. 2-9 truck operations struggle more than one truck. Once you hit that magical 10+ trucks things get easier. Most throw in the towel before they get to that point though. This is just from observing others. Ears open and mouth shut.

I do agree that leasing is a bad idea. Equipment is a necessity not an investment except as a tool.

Another friend has 6 trucks. 3 of them do not run because he bought the wrong truck for the work he is doing and his lack of preventive maintenance. He is struggling because he probably could not change a glad hand seal.

Once I have 50k in the bank I will relax some. That will be my rainy day fund that could even replace the truck if I had to. Each truck will get the same money stashed away. It does not mean that money is lost. It would be just like you putting part of your pay in a savings account.

Oh, that $30,000 is after all expenses. Just like I said in the previous post, that includes driver pay.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Pat, I actually love being around guys like you. They are good "salt of the earth type guys." You exercise ingenuity, take personal responsibility very seriously, and can be trusted with probably anything. All my years in business I only ever bought one truck that was new - all the others had a good share of years and miles on them. You can make these things run forever it seems. Many of them are built that well. I understand much of what you are saying and the angle you take when telling us about what you are doing.

I think at issue here is the complicated word or concept of making a "profit."

One can grow a business and never really be making a profit. One can put money away in the bank and yet never really be making much profit. That elusive measurement we call profit is what we are saying is so tough to come up with in this business. Having cash reserves is important, but they are not considered profit - there is a crucial meaning in that word reserves. It is certainly okay with us for people to work at something and enjoy what they are doing while "making a living" at it, and it can be done in the trucking business, just as it can be done in most any type of business, although I wouldn't recommend it. You see the fact that you have almost got your truck paid for, and even the very nice approach you are taking in having some more options available to you because you are adding some trailers to your fleet are really good and smart things that you are doing. I understand your thinking and it is both responsible and smart.

I was pretty good at growing my business, I even bought another business much larger than my current one and incorporated it into my existing one, but it didn't ever produce more profit for me. I started with a pick-up truck and some skills, and ended up with real estate, a fleet of trucks, and some really great employees and customers. I was the picture of success! To anyone looking from the outside that is. I knew the real picture, and the success, or apparent growth of my business was not equaling the kind of profits that it needed to for long term stability. Which ultimately is the reason that I got out of it. I couldn't see myself banging my head against the same wall and not making money at it. I could definitely make a decent living, but that is only one part of the formula for success in business.

I just did not think it was prudent or even practical to just be providing myself with a decent job, knowing all the while that it could tank on me with some unannounced major problem - the things we sometimes call "Risks." In business, the purpose is to make a profit. In the climate of today's trucking business it is tough. Growth is much easier to accomplish than profit, but it isn't a measurement for sustainability.

I applaud you for your efforts, and it sounds like you are really enjoying what you are doing - I enjoyed my years at the helm of my business. I just don't see that there is the potential for much profit at what you are pursuing, but I do know well that there are some major risks involved. You have to question yourself when you make a statement like this...

Once I have 50k in the bank I will relax some. That will be my rainy day fund that could even replace the truck if I had to. Each truck will get the same money stashed away. It does not mean that money is lost. It would be just like you putting part of your pay in a savings account.

That is a sound practice, but it has no connection with making a profit. It shows that you are trying to cover your tail for the expected risks that will more than likely take place. I can assure you that every time you start getting close to having that fifty grand socked away, you are going to see some need for it that will grow and improve your business plans and strategies. If it were profits it would very seldom be looked upon in that way. It is cash reserves, put in reserve to protect you from the inevitable. Putting part of your pay into savings is very much different from profit.

We always love hearing from you, even if we disagree a little. I wish you the best in your endeavors!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tony, you make some very cogent remarks. We certainly understand the frustrations of working for large trucking companies, but...

Hold on a minute! Have you tried working for a small outfit? Most veteran drivers will tell you that it is much less complicated when with the big players. You have so much going for you when there is some real money behind you at the top levels. You get to be in some of the best equipment out there on the road. You have a huge support staff at your beck and call. You have national accounts that are behind you to keep you moving in the event of any sort of break down out in "God only knows where." There is sooo much to be thankful for when with a big trucking company!

You are still getting your feet wet at this, and I will be honest with you - part of the problem I sense that you are having is listening to other drivers out here who are helping form a mindset in you that will work against you. One thing that has helped me tremendously is sort of what I will call the "Maverick Mentality." I don't pay any attention to what 95% of the drivers out here have to say about how to get things done out here. The simple reason is that I keep finding them to be dead wrong! Yes, I understand your frustrations about getting bad information, but I think it is wrong to blame that on the way a large business is run. Large businesses are working just as hard at efficiency as smaller ones are, and they have advantages that they can incorporate to help you the driver.

A big piece of the puzzle to a driver's success is knowing how to navigate through the chain of command at his company for information or assistance. You have got to learn how things operate within your employer's operation. I work at what may be considered one of the largest trucking companies in the country now that they are trying to absorb Swift into the family. I make it a point to know how to get problems rectified without always just depending on my driver manager. Those guys are pretty much overworked, and while some of them are really great at juggling way too many balls in the air, sometimes they are just overwhelmed. I have contacts that I can go to in a pinch. I have a back up plan and approach to take when there are insurmountable issues causing me delays. There is magic in understanding the whole system and learning how to work it. Most drivers never make an effort at this type of stuff. They are willing to sit and suffer because they actually enjoy having something to complain about. Many drivers seem to think it elevates their stature in the eyes of their co-workers, somehow making them look intelligent or superior if they come across as the victim of this large chain of command of idiots in the office.

Most of those folks that I call support staff are there to support the drivers. It is their job to help you keep moving. Everybody from the top down makes more money when you are moving. You make a mistake when you think they are making just as much money no matter what is happening with you and your truck. This is a team sport, and it takes a lot of players to move the ball. My driver manager once told me that his wallet would take a huge hit if I moved on to another company. Performance pay is not just the drivers way of getting pay. Most folks in the chain of command are getting some type of bonus monies based on the volume of freight that is moved by you, the driver. Trust me, when they get a guy who makes it his practice to be moving heaven and earth to accomplish things, they will do what ever they can to keep him busy and on board with their operation. For the driver it has to be more than a desire to do these things, it has to be a well established pattern of doing these things. Desires are not recognizable by the chain of command in the offices. Track records are, but they take time to establish.

Delays are also just part of the problems in this business. They are almost inevitable at times. It is always better to deal with them as they come, but don't let them distract your focus in a way that makes you think they are what is killing you. Sometimes you may not have a very good week. Other times you will have a great week, just as you shared with us. It is best to take stock of how you are doing over a lengthy period of time. Once you start trying to measure your success by the bad week you had last month it puts blinders on you so that you can only focus on the negatives and you lose sight of the big picture that way. Take assessments of how you are doing maybe by looking at the whole month or even a quarter of the year. I tend to look at my miles per quarter. If I am not doing a little more than thirty thousand miles per quarter, I am disappointed in my performance. If I think it is a company problem, then I will take it up with my driver manager first.

Fortunately, this job gets easier as you make a reputation for yourself at a company. Unfortunately most drivers are not willing to put in the time that it takes to establish that record at one company. They spend their careers chasing an elusive pot of gold, while there are a few of their peers sitting right on top of it because they have settled in and worked diligently at establishing themselves and knowing how to work within the system at their chosen employer.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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