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A different kind of local job

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Bud A.'s Comment
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Recently I took a job that is local. (By "local," I mean home (almost) every night and every weekend.) I pull open decks, mostly stepdecks, but occasionally flatbeds and an RGN. Others here have described their local jobs, including LTL , Walmart, beverage distribution, gasoline tanker, and other jobs. Pat M. has posted pictures of his local open deck job, which was mostly heavy haul and OS/OD loads up in Montana.

What is different about this job is that it is not for a trucking company. I am one of two drivers for a local manufacturer. They make utility poles and communications towers. Most of their loads are hauled by third-party trucking companies, including two flatbed outfits whose names anyone here would immediately recognize. But it is cost effective for my company to have two trucks to haul some of their loads.

Most of my loads are to and from a plant about 100 miles away. A lot of days I will haul four loads in a day, one down, one back, then repeat. Some days I will take a load to a different plant that is a little further away. (Usually the other driver takes those loads, but not always.) Some days my backhaul load will be from a different plant about 50 miles further on from my usual plant. And then some days I deliver finished product to job sites or laydown yards, which can be just about anywhere in a 300-mile radius.

This job also has quite a different feel from working for a trucking company. Like any great trucking company, the equipment is top notch. The benefits are stellar. Pay is hourly, and I only get paid for the hours I log, so I never go off duty unless I'm on my 30-minute break. I'm on a 7-day, 60-hour clock instead of the OTR clock (8-day, 70-hour clock). I'm working about 20 hours a week less than I did when I was OTR for roughly the same pay. And I'm home every night. (It's still feels a little weird, actually.)

My boss is in charge of making sure all of the companies loads get delivered on time. One of the functions we two drivers fulfill is to ensure that any really hot load gets done on time. Sometimes that might involve being out overnight, but that has only happened once in the first month that I've been there. It also means that very often I know what I'll be doing a day in advance, and sometimes almost a week in advance.

Another aspect of the job that I really like is I know all of the forklift operators who load my trailers. They're very experienced and know exactly how to load the truck. And they're fast. I never have to wait on either end of my daily journeys.

There are definite benefits to being a regular. I have been working hard to build up good relationships with everyone that I work with, which is something I learned before I became a truck driver. It is often preached here, and for good reason.

For example, little things like remembering something personal someone mentioned in a conversation go a long ways toward building good relations. That might just make your day go a whole lot better if you ever make a mistake. I don't know about you, but I make mistakes more often than I'd like to admit. With this job, since I deal with the same people over and over again, I can use some of those things to really help make my life (and hopefully theirs) a lot more pleasant.

That was one thing about OTR that was a little more difficult. It can be hard to build an instant rapport with the folks whose help you need to make your job easier. With a local job, you can work at it, so that even if you're a bit socially awkward like myself, you can really have a positive impact on how your day goes just by being friendly and reliable.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that my company doesn't even own any tarps?

smile.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifsmile.gif

Flatbedders! Not every local job involves unloading a truck into a dollar store or hauling dirt to construction projects! Think outside the box and look for local manufacturers who have flatbed freight. Maybe there's a job there for you. Remember, Old School was once the guy who hired drivers to haul his stuff around. You might find someone like him to give you a job and be your boss. How great would that be?

I found this job by searching craigslist and the local paper and a few other job sites. It took a while, and the job description didn't paint the full picture of how awesome this job is. The process I used was to write down the phone numbers of every job that sounded like a possibility, then calling every single one of them and asking them questions. It helped that I knew what I wanted, and it helped even more that I had over two years of OTR flatbed experience to offer them. Most every company I talked to seemed to be interested in me as a candidate.

This may not be advice for newcomers to trucking, but there are plenty of folks who started here and are wondering what to do after getting through that initial time of getting established in the industry. There may be others who are wondering how it might go in the long run. Hopefully this will help someone.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

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.

Stepdeck:

A stepdeck , also referred to as "dropdeck", is a type of flatbed trailer that has one built in step to the deck to provide the capabilities of loading higher dimensional freight on the lower deck.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
6 string rhythm's Comment
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You should add this post to our Local Thread.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Oh, by the way, did I mention that my company doesn't even own any tarps?

That is too funny! Hey, could you send me an application? I might even move to Iowa for that gig! smile.gif

Congratulations Bud! You probably won't even end up having any beard-cicles in the winter time with that job - another benefit!

Just kidding about that application. I experience a lot of the same benefits you are referring to when it comes to establishing relationships with fork lift operators, and others that you work with. I am still basically an Over The Road driver, but I often go to the same customers. It is just part of the way this dedicated account works. There is a world of difference in getting things done that are maybe a little out of the ordinary when you have a rapport already established with these folks.

I'm really glad to see you found something that is working well for you!

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

You should add this post to our Local Thread.

I have done that. Maybe Brett can consolidate the two threads.

double-quotes-start.png

Oh, by the way, did I mention that my company doesn't even own any tarps?

double-quotes-end.png

That is too funny! Hey, could you send me an application? I might even move to Iowa for that gig! smile.gif

Congratulations Bud! You probably won't even end up having any beard-cicles in the winter time with that job - another benefit!

Just kidding about that application. I experience a lot of the same benefits you are referring to when it comes to establishing relationships with fork lift operators, and others that you work with. I am still basically an Over The Road driver, but I often go to the same customers. It is just part of the way this dedicated account works. There is a world of difference in getting things done that are maybe a little out of the ordinary when you have a rapport already established with these folks.

I'm really glad to see you found something that is working well for you!

Oh, I'll get beard-cicles sure enough, even just strapping and unstrapping. It's hard not to when it's below zero, and that happens quite a bit around here.

And yes, you don't have to be local to get to know people. Dedicated works well for that. My job is like a dedicated account, without the trucking company in between.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Matt H.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like a great job. 👍

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