New Dedicated Account "m-f" Need Advice

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Rachel G.'s Comment
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I started this account three weeks ago. It's my first time on a dedicated account. During the initial meeting with the account management they told myself and the other drivers it would be Monday thru friday. However now as of Thursday my fm sent out a message saying that some weekend work would be required. I worked last Sunday as a "favor" (250 mile run that cut my 34 short, picked up at 3 am and delivered at 0800). Anyway Friday came around and my fm asked if I could work this weekend, I said no. Saturday morning I was assigned a load anyway. Am I right in being mad about being assigned a load while I'm on hometime? The fleet manager is new and the account is new; can i chalk this up to inexperience? The account has been running for a month, I'm still getting less than 1000 miles a week. I've been told to be patient but I'm about ready to go back otr. I really need some advice I liked the idea of more hometime, but at least otr it's 2 weeks out for 2 days off without worrying about work during my time off.

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.

Fm:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Rachel, this really seems odd. There is no way you or the company can make any money turning less than a thousand miles a week. I'm not sure what to tell you. If it is something you think you really want then I'd say hang in there, but I don't know how long you can be "patient" when you aren't even getting a thousand miles a week.

It's understandable that it is a new account and they are just getting accustomed to handling it the way the customer needs them to, but it is unacceptable to get less than 1,000 miles and then be called up on to work on the weekend, when part of the purpose of getting on this dedicated account was so you could spend your weekends at home.

I would try to have a sit down meeting with those in charge and calmly and professionally inform them of what your expectations were, and then what the reality is turning out to be. Ask them for a timeline of when they think these kinks in the new job will be worked out. If they can't get you some helpful information then I would politely let them know that you want to go back to what you were doing before.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I started this account three weeks ago. It's my first time on a dedicated account. During the initial meeting with the account management they told myself and the other drivers it would be Monday thru friday. However now as of Thursday my fm sent out a message saying that some weekend work would be required. I worked last Sunday as a "favor" (250 mile run that cut my 34 short, picked up at 3 am and delivered at 0800). Anyway Friday came around and my fm asked if I could work this weekend, I said no. Saturday morning I was assigned a load anyway. Am I right in being mad about being assigned a load while I'm on hometime? The fleet manager is new and the account is new; can i chalk this up to inexperience? The account has been running for a month, I'm still getting less than 1000 miles a week. I've been told to be patient but I'm about ready to go back otr. I really need some advice I liked the idea of more hometime, but at least otr it's 2 weeks out for 2 days off without worrying about work during my time off.

Rachel, I hope you have been reading through these forums in the five weeks since you signed up.

So you are a new driver, going on a new dedicated account, with a new FM. All the newness means there will be adjustments to make, so, even though it cuts into your weekend, yo need to go with the flow. Also, there may be seasonal changes to the account, meaning you'll drive your butt off for a few months, then later 3 and 4 day weekends will happen.

Here's a rule to live by: Do not do "favors". Favors mean you expect something directly in return. But, you do your work to show your boss that you are flexible, and willing to work hard as needed. You have your own rules and priorities. With that short weekend, you may have been able to arrange the trip to keep your 34 hour reset time.

Rachel, you can be "mad" about anything. Many people do, and stay that way. They lose. You need to use communication to find an explanation, then you won't have a reason (or have a lesser reason) to be mad. if you get to the terminal often, or need to talk by phone, do this: call your DM or FM. Say something like this: I'd like to have some time to talk with you for about 5 minutes. I have some questions about this new account."

Then meet, and know the questions you need answered. You will be surprised how this technique can clear the air.

- = - = - = - = -= -

My three part appointment setting call: #1. Ask for a time in the (near) future to talk. Avoid being specific. #2. You give an estimated amount of time - maybe a bit longer than you figure, but never more than 15 minutes. #3. Explain what it is you want to talk about.

You will be surprised how often you will get the needed face time. and you will get a professional meeting out of it.

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.

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.

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.

Fm:

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.
Rachel G.'s Comment
member avatar

thank you guys for the advice

I've been driving for this company otr for a year now. I'm very good at managing time if it was possible to get my 34 I would've. My fm is on site at the DC until the end of the month. I'll definitely try asking for an appointment to talk to him. ***Friday I asked a few questions over the qualcomm; it started with him asking if I could work this weekend and me saying no.

ME : When did the work week change and why?
FM: the customer wants Saturday and Sunday deliveries, it changed last week
ME: I feel like it's important that you let the drivers know when changes like that take place. How will weekends work? Will there be any advanced notice or scheduling?

He quit answering

Weekend dispatch took over and i was assigned a load. When I called them asking why I had been assigned the load the said they knew fm talked to me about it friday. I left him a message asking him to call me but I haven't heard back.

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.

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.

Fm:

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.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar

ME: I feel like it's important that you let the drivers know when changes like that take place. How will weekends work? Will there be any advanced notice or scheduling?

He quit answering

I know you were trying to express your valid concerns professionally, but to me this is where you went wrong.

Granted, if he knew about all this "last week" he probably should have made it known sooner, but I'm sure the last thing he needs right now is to have to explain himself and placate disgruntled drivers (I say "drivers" with an "s" because I'm sure you're not the only one). He's got a stressful job to do right now, and he needs drivers who are ready and willing to step up and roll with the punches, because I'm sure he's trying his best to work this whole situation out to the maximum benefit of your company and you, while at the same time keeping the customer happy so they don't lose the account. He's walking a tightrope now, and you basically jumped up and grabbed one side of his balancing pole thingy.

I guess what I'm trying to say is cut the guy some slack, don't worry, don't complain, and just see what happens. If you show yourself to be adaptable and easy-going, it will go a long way towards putting you in a better situation once everything settles out.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah this is a tough situation because you signed up for what sounded like a good gig but thus far it hasn't been. So on the one hand you're thinking, "Should I just ride this out, be patient, and hope they get this right?" And of course on the other hand you're thinking, "They told me what to expect and didn't deliver on that so I should do something else."

Certainly it takes time to sort out new customers and new accounts but in my mind a month is quite a long time. The miles are terrible and now the promised weekends at home are gone too? I mean, that's like giving someone a cake where the cake portion is terrible and so is the frosting! Like, what am I supposed to do with this? The whole thing is junk!

confused.gif

I think I personally would request some face time with someone a little higher up that understands this account and what's going on. Corporations of all sorts famously give their employees as little information as possible. If the opportunity seems like what you're hoping for then it might be worth waiting it out for a short time. But everyone has bills to pay and your company knows that. If they can't give you solid answers about where all of this is going then I would go back to OTR until they can get it sorted out. And keep in mind that they may not have any solid answers because it's entirely possible the customer really doesn't know how to handle this yet.

But nobody would blame you for going back to OTR. Like Old School said, nobody is making money on 1000 miles a week. And in my opinion a company can't expect their employees to go home with little or no paycheck while they sort out their business. That's on them. Their job is to keep you busy and make sure you go home with a solid paycheck and they're not doing that so something has to change. In your case, going back to OTR until they get this sorted out might be your best option. But try to sit down with someone that truly knows what is going on with this account and look for some solid, definitive answers. It's been almost a month. If they still don't know what's going on with this customer then it could be several more months before things get sorted out, if they do at all.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Rachel, you do need to get to the bottom of this. Hopefully, like Brett started out with, they just need to get the wrinkles ironed out.

I've already posted this earlier, but here's my experience, and some support to looking for an explanation:

I helped open a new shuttle route for Swift. My leg was from Memphis, TN, to St. Louis, MO. After a week or so, my trips were cancelled three times in a row. A day or so later, another cancellation! The T-call manager looked closely at the account on the computer screen. She found that my trailer had been given to the other driver, and I was cancelled!

Being cancelled four days out of five is not good for the paycheck. The next day I called the DM to find out what the heck was going on, and should I just go back to OTR. Explanation was explained: The three cancellations were a misunderstanding somewhere along the line. (what about the pay?) The trailer swap was a way to even out any real cancellations, so one driver wouldn't always get the short end of the stick - the cancellation was rotated between the drivers. (what about the pay?)

As for getting my load cancelled, I automatically was paid a $100 cancellation fee. That's about 1/2 my regular load pay, but better than a goose egg $00.00!

Moral of the story: Do what you can to get an explanation for anything that's differnent from your original understanding. Then make your decision.

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.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Do what you can to get an explanation for anything that's different from your original understanding. Then make your decision.

I agree.

Rachel G.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the great advice This morning I sent my FM a message: I'm sorry for losing my cool. I need you to be clear with me. I was asked Friday if I could work this weekend and said no. You said weekend work would be required but I assumed that because you asked if I could work I had a choice. However if you had told me I had to work this weekend I would have. I know this is a new account and I'm sure you're busy enough without having to placate drivers but can you call me when you have time?

he replied right away: I will give you a call soon. I should have been more clear, there is a lot of confusion and changes being made right now that is making things crazy

So as of right now I'm waiting for him to call.

Fm:

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for the great advice This morning I sent my FM a message: I'm sorry for losing my cool. I need you to be clear with me. I was asked Friday if I could work this weekend and said no. You said weekend work would be required but I assumed that because you asked if I could work I had a choice. However if you had told me I had to work this weekend I would have. I know this is a new account and I'm sure you're busy enough without having to placate drivers but can you call me when you have time?

he replied right away: I will give you a call soon. I should have been more clear, there is a lot of confusion and changes being made right now that is making things crazy

So as of right now I'm waiting for him to call.

Excellent! Perfect. That's exactly the way to handle this kind of thing. Just keep an honest and professional dialogue going with them. They do understand that your current situation with 1,000 miles a week and now requests to work on weekends is completely unacceptable. They know that. And they're not happy about it either. So always keep in mind that you're on the same team with the office personnel and you're all hoping for a great solution to any problems that arise like this.

So often you'll find drivers that seem to think that the office personnel are magicians - that they can just snap their fingers and make anything happen. That certainly isn't the case. They're working with customers to find solutions that will benefit everyone. Sometimes there isn't a good solution and things don't work out well. Sometimes it takes a while to iron out the details. But you can be sure they're doing everything they can to get this situation fixed.

Rachel, I feel that as an employee of the company they owe you the ability to make a living. That's their job - to figure out how to get you enough miles to earn a solid living. But I also feel you owe it to them to give your best effort and be patient when there are bumps in the road and I feel you've done exactly that. So hang in there, keep the conversations professional, and in the end I'm confident they'll make sure you're able to make a good living. Will it be with on this particular account? Who knows, right? Maybe, maybe not. But one way or another you'll be turning great miles again soon.

smile.gif

Fm:

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.
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