The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

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Old School's Comment
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The beauty of running these dedicated accounts is that I am familiar with these customers, and often times they are familiar with me. That is where Brett's advice about being friendly and helpful, all while putting the icing on the cake with a perfect service record, comes into play. Remember, your record of performance is critical to your success out here. You can be the friendliest nicest person in the world, but if you don't couple that with a competitive performance record you still don't have any advantages. I have often had customers do things for me that would be very much out of the ordinary, just because they not only know me, but because they appreciate they way that I sometimes go out of my way to serve their needs. I have that track record established not only with my dispatcher , but also with my customers. I know that sometimes this customer will receive you at 0700 if you are there at the gate and ready to go. They start setting their appointments at 0800, but if you are the type who is a "go getter" and you are set up and ready when they show up, they will get you in the gate and get started on you. That is my plan as I start this day, but wait... if I spend ten hours in the sleeper that means that I can't even get started until 0800! This is why you want to...

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

I have got to get unloaded early at that first stop for the day if I even have a prayer of making it to the second stop in time to get unloaded on the same day. I have been three years on this account without one service failure, and I am not about to get one now just because one of my stops was late in having my pre-loaded trailer ready to go.

Here is where my knowledge of the Log Book Rules saved my bacon on this load. I can finesse a split sleeper berth maneuver into this scenario and make everything look like it was a piece of cake! Here's how it worked. I logged myself on duty after eight hours in the sleeper and I had almost two hours on my eleven hour clock and just a little more on my 14 hour clock. Bingo, I can roll over to my customer after logging my fifteen minute pre-trip inspection and I get there at 0645. Hey, wait just a minute! There are two other flat-bed trucks ahead of me. There's a Montgomery driver sitting at the gate, and a Melton driver right behind him. I am third in line - Oh Boy, not what I was planning on.

Continued again...

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Seven o'clock gets here and they open the gate. The Montgomery driver rolls in, and I go ahead and get out of my truck to walk in and check in with them. The fellow inside tells me I will have to wait for the other two guys ahead of me, and I say, "I understand that, but is it okay for me to go ahead and pull in the gate and start getting my straps loose and my Conestoga ready?" "Yes sir, by all means," is his reply. As I'm walking back to my truck I can see that the Melton driver hasn't budged yet, so I go over to his door to let him know that he can go ahead and roll on in. The truth is that I am trying to move every thing along so that I can get myself unloaded quicker. What I find upon getting to his door is that he has his curtains drawn shut and he is oblivious to what is going on out here. Now you may think I am not a nice person, and while I happen to know that I am, allow me to teach you something about being competitive out here. You don't have to wake up your competition, fix them a nice breakfast and tell them it's time to pull on your boots and get to work. No sir, out here if you snooze you lose! I rolled right on around that guy and got myself inside the gate, and parked behind the Montgomery driver.

I had my Conestoga cover loosened up and ready to open, and all my straps loose before the Montgomery driver had even finished getting the bungees off his tarps. So, in order to keep things moving I went right over and started helping him get his tarps off and folded. Once we had his tarps folded, I headed back to my truck as he profusely thanked me for my help and I sat down to wait my turn. About ten minutes later the Montgomery driver comes over to my door and asks me, "Sir are you waiting on me to get inside the building?" "Yes sir, I am," I reply. To which he says, "Well you go on ahead of me, I surely do appreciate your helping me, and I still have forty five minutes worth of work to do before I will be ready to go inside, and it looks like you and that fancy roller system of yours are ready to go." All the points that Brett makes in the article are used in this single scenario, including utilizing the log book rules. After I got inside the building and they were almost finished unloading me, the Melton driver came to consciousness and looked bewildered that I, the third driver in line, was the first one out of that place!

When they got done with me and I had everything put away and ready to roll, I had been on the sleeper berth (Waiting to be unloaded) for one hour and fifty nine minutes! One more minute and my two hours was up, and Bingo - I now have 10.5 hours on my clock. I made it to my next appointment ten minutes ahead of schedule, and then had plenty of drive time to keep running after they finished me up.

I share these stories with you guys in the hopes that for some of you a light bulb will go off as you read them. I was recently both humbled and happy to see were one of our Moderators, Rainy D, gave me the credit for much of her success, and attributed her ability to manage her time efficiently by reading the things that I shared in here. I hope that helps put in perspective the truths that are in Brett's article above, and I hope many of you end up consistently being able to run big weeks like the one I just pulled off.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Now you may think I am not a nice person, and while I happen to know that I am, allow me to teach you something about being competitive out here. You don't have to wake up your competition, fix them a nice breakfast and tell them it's time to pull on your boots and get to work. No sir, out here if you snooze you lose! I rolled right on around that guy and got myself inside the gate, and parked behind the Montgomery driver.

After I got inside the building and they were almost finished unloading me, the Melton driver came to consciousness and looked bewildered that I, the third driver in line, was the first one out of that place!

Hahaha! It cracks me up every time I hear a story like this. I have done that more than once, and the look on Mr. Sleepyhead's face is always worth the price of getting up earlier than you really wanted to.

I had my Conestoga cover loosened up and ready to open, and all my straps loose before the Montgomery driver had even finished getting the bungees off his tarps. So, in order to keep things moving I went right over and started helping him get his tarps off and folded. Once we had his tarps folded, I headed back to my truck as he profusely thanked me for my help and I sat down to wait my turn. About ten minutes later the Montgomery driver comes over to my door and asks me, "Sir are you waiting on me to get inside the building?" "Yes sir, I am," I reply. To which he says, "Well you go on ahead of me, I surely do appreciate your helping me, and I still have forty five minutes worth of work to do before I will be ready to go inside, and it looks like you and that fancy roller system of yours are ready to go."

If you have time to get your work done first, it's worth helping another driver even if it doesn't get you unloaded first. It's one of the things that makes flatbedding enjoyable. Generally speaking, we help each other.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
If you have time to get your work done first, it's worth helping another driver even if it doesn't get you unloaded first. It's one of the things that makes flatbedding enjoyable. Generally speaking, we help each other.

I completely agree with that.

Here's another strory - I promise to keep it brief.

I once pulled into a steel distribution operation to pick up a load. There's at least 18 - 20 trucks in line waiting. I see a driver with Boyd Brothers fighting with his tarps in the wind. I immediately jump out and help him "git er done." While we are working he doesn't hardly say a word. When we finish he pulls a small spiral note pad from his pocket, and while looking over at my truck he starts writing notes in his paper pad. After I inquire what it is that he's writing down, he pauses and looks out at all those other trucks sitting in line and says, "I'm writing down your truck number. If I ever come across you again I'm gonna get out and help you. I am not gonna even think about helping none of those other s.o.b.'s"

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I share these stories with you guys in the hopes that for some of you a light bulb will go off as you read them. I was recently both humbled and happy to see were one of our Moderators, Rainy D, gave me the credit for much of her success, and attributed her ability to manage her time efficiently by reading the things that I shared in here. I hope that helps put in perspective the truths that are in Brett's article above, and I hope many of you end up consistently being able to run big weeks like the one I just pulled off.

Just one little addendum to this whole discussion...

After running over 3,400 miles this past week, I had to take a reset once I was back in Delhi. I just had a couple of hours left on my 70, and I was only getting about three re-cap hours at midnight on the following day. So what does my dispatcher do? He sent me 150 bucks in layover pay! I send him a message, "Man are you serious? It's not like I can go anywhere anyways." He responds with, "Hey, I really appreciate how you handled everything on that load. Trust me you are worth it, and no one at corporate will question me when I send you extra money like that. Check out your next dispatch - you'll have it in just a few minutes." Once my Zonar (our version of the Qualcomm) went off, I looked at my dispatch. It is a load with 2,950 miles on it!

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I share these stories with you guys in the hopes that for some of you a light bulb will go off as you read them. I was recently both humbled and happy to see were one of our Moderators, Rainy D, gave me the credit for much of her success, and attributed her ability to manage her time efficiently by reading the things that I shared in here. I hope that helps put in perspective the truths that are in Brett's article above, and I hope many of you end up consistently being able to run big weeks like the one I just pulled off.

double-quotes-end.png

Just one little addendum to this whole discussion...

After running over 3,400 miles this past week, I had to take a reset once I was back in Delhi. I just had a couple of hours left on my 70, and I was only getting about three re-cap hours at midnight on the following day. So what does my dispatcher do? He sent me 150 bucks in layover pay! I send him a message, "Man are you serious? It's not like I can go anywhere anyways." He responds with, "Hey, I really appreciate how you handled everything on that load. Trust me you are worth it, and no one at corporate will question me when I send you extra money like that. Check out your next dispatch - you'll have it in just a few minutes." Once my Zonar (our version of the Qualcomm) went off, I looked at my dispatch. It is a load with 2,950 miles on it!

Man, that's all awesome Old school! Thanks for the anecdote!

I feel like this site is giving me the ability to double my pay and I'm not even in CDL school yet.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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