The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, we have a new article posted today called:

The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

There is a long list of things you have to do if you want to be one of the top earners turning big miles. Trucking isn't an industry that treats everyone equally. You're going to have to earn those top miles. Most of the time they're not just going to hand you big miles consistently even if you are one of the safest, most reliable drivers.

This article covers all sorts of different tips and tricks for getting the most miles from dispatch consistently.

Enjoy!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Hey, we have a new article posted today called:

The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

There is a long list of things you have to do if you want to be one of the top earners turning big miles. Trucking isn't an industry that treats everyone equally. You're going to have to earn those top miles. Most of the time they're not just going to hand you big miles consistently even if you are one of the safest, most reliable drivers.

This article covers all sorts of different tips and tricks for getting the most miles from dispatch consistently.

Enjoy!

Great article with solid advice on how to get better miles and better pay. I still have to point out that sometimes, no matter what you do, it's just not going to work out. If that happens, don't be afraid to move on. I tried all of those things with my previous company and still couldn't top 1,100 miles per week. I ended up moving on and did so in a professional manner (talked to my DM , gave official notice, sent a letter of resignation, set up a time and location to return my truck and trailer, CLEANED my truck inside and out, etc.). Now, I continue to do all of the things on this list at my current company and I can't hardly get a break longer than only 10 hours.

Here's my point: Do everything you can (especially what is on this list) to make things work. If you still can't turn your situation around, don't be afraid to leave, but make sure you do so in a respectful and professional manner. Burning bridges almost never benefits you in the long run.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I tried all of those things with my previous company and still couldn't top 1,100 miles per week.

That's bizarre! There's no way a trucking company can even pay their light bill with that being their driver's top miles. I don't understand how that happens...confused.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

That's some good stuff Brett!

I've got a story about my day today that I'm gonna post later tonight. It supports everything you mentioned and one you didn't - knowing the log book rules. Of course that just goes along with the concept of being on time all the time. I'll just add it to this thread as some supporting evidence of the principles you laid out in the article.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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everything you mentioned and one you didn't - knowing the log book rules

I was going to add that! I published the article and had to head out for a little while and as I was driving it dawned on me that I forgot to mention that. I'm going to add it to the article.

I tried all of those things with my previous company and still couldn't top 1,100 miles per week.

In 15 years of driving I never found a company or a dispatcher that couldn't get me an average of 2,500+ miles per week, and normally I averaged around 3,000 - 3,200. I've never heard of a company or a business model that could make money on 1,100 miles per week. That just doesn't make sense to me at all I have to say. I have to agree with Old School. I can't imagine how that could happen. If you reported your situation to management, what did they say?

That's like a taxi driver who couldn't get more than one customer a day, or a FedEx driver who only got to deliver one package per day. It's simply unheard of. They had to be trying to run you out of the place. That was being done on purpose. That's the only scenario I can imagine where that could happen.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

I think I just happened to be one of the few that slipped through the cracks. I talked repeatedly to my DM , multiple times to my fleet manager , a few times to my terminal manager, different departments, different fleets, and everyone in between. I was always told that they would work on getting me more miles, but it never happened. I don't think there was anything nefarious because I always felt that I had a great relationship with my DM. I think it was just a product of a really large company with tons of drivers always coming and going and possibly a very overworked driver manager. I don't hold any grudges and left on very good terms.

As a sidenote, once I pulled the trigger and decided to switch companies, I got really great miles for about a week and a half (I think this was because my potential new employer called for a reference and they knew I was getting ready to leave). By then it was just too late. By that point, I had almost completely depleted my savings account because that was what I was living on (bills and such).

At any rate Brett, this was a fantastic article that all new drivers should read and take to heart. If nothing else, do everything you can to keep a positive attitude.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Matthew K.'s Comment
member avatar

Basically, Wheaton's Law. Do your best not to make yourself look like a total a** and be a decent human being, and good things -should- follow.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Basically, Wheaton's Law. Do your best not to make yourself look like a total a** and be a decent human being, and good things -should- follow.

Yeah, but performance is actually the key to it. It certainly helps if you're friendly and professional, but it won't overcome the fact that you're unreliable or unsafe. So perform at a high level, but also make sure you're friendly and professional.

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

It's easy to read this article and think that Brett's advice is all common sense. I think it mostly is all common sense. However, it's more complicated than that. Firstly, common sense has become uncommon sense in the last decade or so. That means that pointing out common sense is now a big service because it has become uncommon knowledge.

Secondly, Brett's advice is industry specific. That makes it invaluable common/uncommon sense (depending on your vantage point).

It seems to me that the best strategy for any driver to get good miles is to first stay in the good graces of their dispatcher. That means being safe, reliable, on time, hard working, and getting the job done regardless of obstacles so as to make the dispatchers job easier. I start with Roehl on 9/11, and I plan to be a top tier driver.

Thanks Brett! Thanks for the medium (this forum) and for your advice. I am taking note...literally!

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Okay, it took me just a little while to find the time to get back to this, but I wanted to add a little story that gives support to the very true principles that Brett put forth in this article. His advice is right on the money, and you will find that most drivers out here do not understand the principles that he is laying out. I am amazed most of the time when I am interacting with other drivers at how little understanding there is among them about the secrets to success at this. That is partially why I participate so heavily here in this forum. There is a real need for drivers who "get it," and can produce measurable and successful results out here. I find that it is much less of a struggle to try and teach the new guys coming in, than it is attempting to re-educate the brain dead experienced drivers who are stuck in a mindset that has it's foundation in falsehoods and misconceptions that have been perpetrated for years among the very drivers themselves.

Let me preface this by telling you that I ran two loads this week (That is fairly typical for me). One of them was 1,821 miles, and the other was 1,648. Total pay this week was based on 3,469 miles. These are typically multi-stop loads on this dedicated account, and time management is crucial to getting everything done so that you are turning big miles each week.

My first load ran from Delhi, Louisiana to Farmington, CT and had five stops on it, two in New Jersey, three in Connecticut. The second load ran from Farmington, Connecticut back to Delhi, Louisiana with four stops on it, one in Pennsylvania, one in North Carolina, one in South Carolina, one in Mississippi, and then Delhi, Louisiana.

On the second load, my back haul load, I was doing a sort of drop and hook in the flat-bed world, where we pick up a loaded trailer, but we still have to secure it and tarp it. That is where I hit a snag that had to be overcome. The trailer wasn't ready yet!

On the back haul loads for this dedicated account they are not set up by my regular dispatcher. There is a group of folks (planners) in the corporate office in Phoenix that are dedicated to finding us back haul loads. These planners don't really take into consideration some of the many things that can go wrong out here, and they have typically already set my appointments long before I even have gotten the load info. That can be a good thing, because they don't really allow you much wiggle room, and that way you are constantly turning the big miles. You really don't want to let them down, or else you start sitting longer and waiting for loads. That is not their fault, they only have your track record to go by when assigning loads to drivers.

So here's how this one played out. I got a ten hour break in while waiting here at this stop, and by the time they did get my load ready to go I needed to run the five hundred and twenty five miles to my fuel stop location and then take my next ten hour break there before proceeding to the customer for unloading. This fuel stop location is 30 to 40 minutes away from my stop, which is a customer that I have visited before, so I know that they don't allow over night parking on the premises. It is 2200 (10:00 p.m.) when I am able to put my logs onto sleeper berth at my fuel stop. My appointment in the morning is at 0900. After running the 525 miles and stopping at my fuel stop for my break I am 45 minutes away from the customer, so I am going to sleep here and then roll out in the morning. There are several real problems with all this. My second stop for the day is 115 miles away and my appointment there is at 1100 and they stop receiving at noon. As you can see, there are several real problems with this. I can just barely make the 0900 appointment if I spend ten hours in the sleeper, and even though I can do that, there will be a minimum of an hour before they are done unloading me with those slow overhead cranes they use at this particular location. It is going to be impossible to make the second appointment! So... what are you to do?

To find out what I did you'll have to continue on to the next segment...

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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