The first thing I always did was to simply ask my dispatcher if freight is slow right now. After proving myself to be a good driver who was reliable, safe, and anxious to get good miles it was rare to find myself getting lousy miles when most of the other drivers were doing well.
If I had a good dispatcher and the miles were available, I was getting my share. So usually if I wasn't rolling strong, either were most of the other trucks. However I wasn't one to sit back and lose money without investigating further. So the next step for me was to start talking to other drivers.
Look around in the truck stops and on the highways for other drivers at your company. Simply ask em straight out, “hey, have you been getting good miles lately? I've been slow the last couple weeks.” If they've been slow also, then maybe things are just slow right now. That used to happen quite a bit. If they've been busy then I used to wonder, “if he's getting the miles, why ain't I?”
Find out what division that driver is in and who their dispatcher is. Getting their truck number will help more than anything though.
Do this with at least 3 drivers in order to look for some kind of pattern. I'd say 90% of the time if I wasn't getting the miles most of the other drivers weren't either. However if several other drivers tell you things are going well for them then it's time to call dispatch again. The more information you can give your dispatcher the better. Don't just say, “hey, everyone is runnin, why ain't I?”
Remember, your dispatcher is usually on your side and sometimes doesn't have the authority to assign loads. So maybe your dispatcher is under the impression that things are slow but in reality there is something else going on in the office somewhere.
So if you can say, “hey I talked to truck numbers 22, 46, and 98 and they all said they are getting good miles” then now you know you have presented your dispatcher with solid facts that he or she can use to start their own investigation. This puts you as a driver in a great position.
You know other people are getting the miles but you aren't. If you have been lobbying for more miles and have been doing a good job then you know something is wrong somewhere. You've presented the facts to your dispatcher so now he or she knows that YOU know that something is wrong.
This will give you good insight into the quality of your dispatcher. He or she should now present this information to their boss and to the load planners and get the situation resolved.
In larger companies there will be times when by the luck of the draw a driver will accidentally get overlooked. You may have had a slow week or two but it's an honest mistake on their part. Nobody was out to get you and the company doesn't suck, it was just an oversight. In this case you should find that your dispatcher will come back to you and say, “hey, I've gotten it taken care of”.
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