Ok, so you have the directions and you're almost ready to roll. Let's assume you still have the shipper on the phone and you've just finished getting the directions. While you have them on the phone be sure to confirm the appointment time and find out a couple of other things. First of all, if you have an opportunity to arrive early for your appointment, ask them if it's ok to come in early. Some places don't want you too early because they don't have much room for trucks to park.
Also find out if they have trailers from your company already on site that they will be loading or will they be loading the trailer you're bringing with you? If they already have a trailer that they will be loading it will give you a lot more flexibility with your arrival time. Next ask them if there is any chance you can be loaded early. Most of the time there is at least a chance. That's all you can hope for...a chance. At this point even if they say you won't be loaded early but it's ok to arrive early if you would like...DO IT! A lot of times you can talk them into loading you early anyways. It sure can't hurt your chances of getting out of there on time anyways.
Finally ask them if there is anything special you will be required to have for this load. Is this load a hazmat load? Do you need load bars or straps? Does the trailer have to be a certain size? Are there any load numbers your company was supposed to give you? This one is quite common. Companies will often attach a number to each load.
That number will be used for their internal paperwork, your company's paperwork, and their customer's paperwork. It also acts like a security pass so that they know you really are the driver that is supposed to be picking up that load. NOW you are finally ready to roll.
It's a really good idea to make sure you have something to eat and drink with you. Sitting and waiting for hours and hours at a customer is unfortunately all too common. Something to read would really be nice too.
Use your best judgment to find the safest, surest route to get there. Do NOT worry about finding little shortcuts that will save you ten or fifteen minutes. Stick to the truck routes and the directions you were given. Often times you will see these possible shortcuts. It's tempting, at least until you've learned the hard way five hundred times and come upon low bridges, restricted routes, or simply made a wrong guess.
You will waste tons of time, be totally aggravated, and could possibly get a ticket or get into an accident. Forget it, I'm telling ya. Take the sure route. Remember, this is your career now.
You will hopefully be doing this for many, many years to come. If you are the type to take chances, sooner or later the numbers are going to catch up to you and you're going to pay the price. At this point I've driven around 1.5 million safe miles over a period of 13 1⁄2 years. My excellent record isn't luck. It's because I made smart decisions. Always taking the safest, surest route has been a very big part of my success.
Ok so you've arrived at the customer safe and sound. Let's discuss some of the things you can do at this point to try to speed things up so you can get rolling.
The faster you can get loaded and get rolling the better off life will be for you. Often times once you get loaded you have a given amount of time to make it to your delivery. The quicker you're loaded the more time you will have to spare. If you're the type of driver that's looking to make all the money you can make a lot of times they will give you a load that you could run in one day but they're giving you two days to do it. Maybe you're scheduled to load at 11:00 a.m. on Monday and the load goes 750 miles for an 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning delivery.