Ride Along On The Road With Old School

Topic 9380 | Page 8

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Old School's Comment
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I honestly don't know, but it never hurts to rattle their chain a little. You just don't want to be a pain when you do that.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Mr. Old School, its unreal how similar our styles and methods are. You're like an older version of me and I'm a younger version of you just without the brains.

smile.gif

Crazy Kraken's Comment
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Thanks awesome. Thanks for sharing OS.

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Old School's Comment
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Okay, let's take a look at this load they have put me on now. I've got a two stop load from, Delhi, Louisiana that delivers in Riverdale, NJ and then finals out in Farmington, Connecticut. They got it ready to go on Monday at around 18:30. Recently a new member in here was complaining about the timing of their loads and how they might be up all day and then get a load that required them to drive for the next ten hours after they had been up for ten to fourteen hours already. Well, that is just how it falls sometimes, your company can't babysit you all the time and tell you when you should be resting or not - they have no idea when these loads are going to drop in their lap, and they don't determine when they should deliver either - the customer does that. I had been sitting for several days already and I knew this would be a possibility so I forced myself to rest and sleep some on Monday afternoon. This is something that you will learn to do as a veteran driver - that old motto that says "always be prepared" is very critical to your success in this career.

Here's the inside of the factory where most of my loads originate - I am a dedicated flat-bed driver for this SAPA aluminum plant in Delhi. This is the portion of the manufacturing facility where they pack the shipments, and organize them in a way so that the loaders can use the overhead cranes to load the approximately fifteen trucks at a time that are backed in to the loading bays.

Inside of the SAPA aluminum plant in Delhi Louisiana

Here is my trailer backed into Bay #4 as it is being loaded with the product that I will be delivering to the two stops I mentioned earlier. I got here about four o'clock to check and see the progress on my load. As you can see it is not ready yet. I am still on "off duty". I always sit and wait at a truck stop just down the street so that I do not have to start my fourteen hour clock prior to them getting me ready to go. That was a Time Management tip, just in case you didn't catch that. smile.gifflatbed trailer backed into the dock at the SAPA aluminum plant in Delhi Louisiana

After I get it all secured and the Conestoga cover all closed up, here is what it ends up looking like when it is ready to roll on down the road. This is a fairly typical load for me. I'm usually hauling loads that are in the 25,000 to 45,000 pound range. This one is around thirty thousand pounds of aluminum extrusions. It is supposed to deliver on Thursday.

Conestoga <span class= covered wagon flatbed loaded at the SAPA aluminum plant in Delhi Louisiana" title="Conestoga covered wagon flatbed loaded at the SAPA aluminum plant in Delhi Louisiana">

Okay, for me one of the pleasures of flat-bedding is that my customers are always glad to see me, and they are almost always willing to accommodate me if I can get their product delivered early. Of course, If I am not having to wait around for their delivery schedule, and have the liberty to set my own, I can obviously be more productive, and make a little more money while doing so. For me, that is the key to success in trucking. You want to position yourself so that you are as productive as you can be. You can do this no matter what type of trailer you are pulling, but you've got to be creative. I'm hoping with this little exercise to show you what I do to stay ahead of the game, but each of you can develop his own strategies and plans, I'm hoping just to spark your imagination so that you can be at the top of the food chain in your career.

I drove all night last night - started in Delhi, Louisiana at about eight P.M. and parked this morning at a TA in Greeneville, TN at approximately 6:45 A.M. That was 650 miles for that drive shift. I just woke up a few minutes ago, and before I get out of the truck to rustle up some grub I'm stopping to make this entry for you. Do any of you remember that whiner who called himself "run hard, get paid"? This is the kind of load he was griping about to his dispatcher - he had been awake all day and then they assign him a load that needed to be driven all night! Well, I was ready for the unexpected, I had forced myself to rest earlier, and that's how you have to do it sometimes.

I'm going to drive all night tonight again and guess what that does for me? It puts me in Riverdale, New Jersey for my first stop several hours before they even open up for receiving, and I am a full day early which will set me up to deliver my second stop that afternoon which sets me up to get on to the next load early! That puts me way ahead of the game, and a chance to make some really good money this week. I hope you are paying attention, because I'm showing you the way to get ahead at this game, and I'm going to do this all week until Tuesday rolls back around. At that time I will share with you how many miles I ran this week, and then you will get the big picture of "how I roll."

I've already spoken with both of my customers and informed them of my ETA, and they said they will be ready for me. Part of the problem with this plan is that when I deliver at Riverdale, New Jersey I will probably be out of hours to roll on over to Farmington, CT.

Continued...

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

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.

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

Old School's Comment
member avatar

So, the strategy that I will employ is that I will arrive in Riverdale several hours before they do. This allows me to sleep (in their parking lot) for several hours before they unload me. I will remain on "sleeper berth" while they unload me, then I will park out of the way of their other trucks coming in and out of the area and finish up my required rest period before I start moving toward my second stop. This will allow me to arrive at the second stop before they stop unloading for the day that afternoon. Voila! I'm emptying out my truck a full day early and I have already communicated this with my dispatcher so that he can get those planners working on getting us something else in the works.

Since I am a dedicated driver on this account I am familiar with these customers - this helps a lot with my planning. I am already aware that I can sleep at these facilities if I need to.

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.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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OS, you will be just down the road from where my wife grew up. Her home town is the next one over in Bloomingdale NJ, so cool. Where are you delivering in Riverdale? She may know where that is at.

Ernie

Old School's Comment
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Hey Ernie, good to hear from you!

I am delivering to a company called Camfil - it is on North Corporate Drive. They are a regular customer that I go to often.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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Hey Ernie, good to hear from you!

I am delivering to a company called Camfil - it is on North Corporate Drive. They are a regular customer that I go to often.

She has no idea as to who that is. They must have started in business after we got married & moved away from there (almost 34 years ago).

I have been watching here on the forum since I have been home. I don't answer lots of posts, but I do jump in once in awhile when I see a topic of interest or something I can positively comment on to help.

I have my last radiation treatment tomorrow. Followup appointments with Dr's next month and early Sept. Hope to be cleared to go back to work then.

Ernie

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Hey OS, Ill be passing through Hartford tomorrow afternoon on my way up to Boston! Maybe we'll get a chance to meet up and I can buy you a meal! :)

So if you don't mind me hijacking your thread for a minute, I'd like to tell you about my week so far. I do this because I've learned a lot from you and the other drivers on this forum, and I think this week has been chock full of examples of how all the tips and tricks I've learned are coming together in a way similar to your techniques.

So actually it all started about 10 days ago on a Friday afternoon when I got a load going from a town near Chicago to 2 stops near Seattle. I planned my trip and discovered that I would be getting low on hours after these deliveries and would be running on crappy recap hours. So I asked dispatch if, after I dropped this load off on Tuesday morning, I could get something headed back through my hometown of Coeur d'Alene (about half a day away) and take a restart there. So this is example #1: communication. I made this request several days in advance, and I was polite and not pushy about it either. I used the words "if possible," and I made it clear that I would understand if it couldn't happen. They said they would keep an eye out...

So anyway, on my way out there, I ran out of hours on my 70 about 200 miles from my first drop and so I had to stop for the night. I then got up around 3:00am to finish up the trip, since I had 11+ hours coming back to me the next day. I could have waited until a normal hour to get up, but this is where example #2 came into play: always try to be early. By getting there before 7:00, I was able to make both deliveries well before noon and leave myself enough time to reload that day too.

So when I called into dispatch after unloading at my 2nd stop, they had a PERFECT load waiting for me: Pickup 40 miles away in Tukwila, heading to Hayden ID which is literally like 20 minutes from my house! I didn't have enough time to make it all the way there that day, but I would be able to get near Spokane, finish up the trip in the morning, then take my restart.

But as I thought about it, I realized if I began my restart on Wednesday morning, it would end on Thursday night, and I wouldn't be able to load anything until Friday, which meant I would be wasting time. So I talked to dispatch again, and here's what happened:

I unloaded in Hayden first thing Wednesday morning, and they gave me a reload in Otis Orchards, WA (30 minutes away). This was a load of lumber going to Frisco, TX, and did not have to deliver until Monday. It was about 1900 miles, which I knew I could knock out in 3 days, so after spending the rest of that morning loading and tarping, I parked my fully loaded, ready-to-roll truck at the rest area between Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene and my wife picked me up that afternoon. I was still able to take my restart at home, and I wasted less time before leaving Friday morning with a fresh 70 and a preloaded trailer! It all worked out perfectly, thanks to my good attitude, early communication, work ethic, wise planning and a little luck!

So over the weekend I ran hard and made my way down to Frisco, to a small fencing supply company. Now here is example #3: communicate with customers. I called them on Friday, gave them my ETA and asked about receiving hours. I also asked if they knew of any parking areas nearby, and they said since I'd be coming in on Sunday night, I could go ahead and park in their driveway right in front of the gate. On the way down I had spent my 2 nights at a rest area and at a McDonald's parking lot, so I was desperate for a long, relaxing shower, but I sucked it up and spent the third night in the customer's driveway anyway. I chose to forego the shower and the convenience of a truck stop, which was far outside of the DFW area. Example #4: do whatever it takes!

So at 5:40am Monday morning I was awoken to a knock on my door. The first worker had arrived and he offered to open the gate for me so I could come in and start untarping. I happily (and groggily) obliged.

Thanks to parking in their driveway I was able to get in super early and I was completely unloaded and ready to roll by 7:15.

Now here's my favorite part of the week so far: for the first time, I got my choice of loads! When I called into dispatch, I think they were surprised I had gotten unloaded so early. They didn't have anything assigned to me yet, but there were 2 nearby loads available, and 2 other drivers in the area. Since I was the first to unload and call in, I got to pick. There was a 540 mile load, 40 miles away, going to St. Louis, or a 1700 mile load, 100 miles away, going to Boston. I considered the St. Louis load because I had already experienced the northeast and hated it, but I made the smart decision and chose the load that was guaranteed to keep me rolling for the next 3 days.

So long story short, I'm now sitting at Pilot on I-81 in northern Virginia, with about 550 miles or so left to go tomorrow. I'll unload on Thursday morning which will put me around 3700 miles in the last 7 days, not including whatever else I drive the rest of Thursday. I might even break 4000! Then hopefully I'll have loaded up before taking another restart on Friday and be able to roll all weekend.

And the reason I had such a killer week? Because you guys know what you're talking about and your advice really works. So thank you OS, Brett, Daniel, Errol and the rest of the TT gang!

Now back to you... :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Awesome post TPC, happy I read it, I'm supposed to be starting OTR this week, just waiting at home for a trainer. I will make sure I always have plenty of food and water in the truck for when I have to be away from truck stops to not burn my hours, it's a great tip. I want to be as productive as I possibly can, I've always been a hard worker, and now that I will be performance based, even more motivation!

I'm starting with Knight's Dry Van division, mostly going to be West coast, can't wait to get started!

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
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