Wasted Hours

Topic 11915 | Page 1

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BC & MJ's Comment
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My husband and I are new to the trucking industry (3 months), so we are trying to learn what is just part of the game (what we should just adjust to) and what is an issue with the particular carrier, terminal or personnel. The carrier in this instance is Swift Trucking. I am not interested in bashing the company, or personnel ... just want to know if what we are experiencing is consistent with the industry and, if not, maybe some guidance in how to overcome it.

Many times my husband is dispatched to a location to pick up an empty trailer, but when he arrives the location does not have any empty trailers. This has resulted in hours wasted waiting to be dispatched to another location, only to learn they too do not have any empty trailers. Case in point: 2 days ago, he delivered a load and was bobtail; then received a dispatch to pick up a load, but before he could pick that up he had to wait until they could find an empty trailer to take into the site. he waited ALL DAY which ran him out of hours. the next day, they still could not find him a trailer, late in the day, they finally told him to go pick up the load without an empty. The customer told my husband that they didn't care whether he brought in an empty ... so the load, which was supposed to be delivered 2 days ago was going to be late due to dispatch glitch. He pulled the load a little over 100 miles to the receiver, but time was running too short for them to unload before hours ran out again, so he found a truck stop to stay over night. This morning, they tell him to park the load (which was due at the receiver 2 days ago) at the local terminal, go pick up an empty and take it 350 miles south. He gets to the place to pick up the empty ... they don't have one. So there he sits ... clock ticking. He put himself off-duty, but the clock still will run him out of hours before the end of day.

For 3 days he has been going in circles because dispatch insists that he have an empty to take to any customer that has an outgoing load. It has burned up 3 days driving time, no pay. Now he is coming up against a 34 hour reset ... again, no pay.

Help! Is this generally how things work? If not, what would be the best guidance to overcome this frustrating issue?

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

G-Town's Comment
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Welcome to the site MJ J. Not cool, sorry to hear this. Tis the season, right?

I drive for Swift, was OTR for 3 months before moving to a dedicated account. Although it was a while ago, I can only recall two instances when I had to search through "fields and valleys" for an empty. But it didn't run my clock to zero or force me to sit for an additional day. With that said, Swift is not making any money by having you sit for prolonged periods of time. The planners and DMs are planners are evaluated and compensated on their ability to keep their drivers running. So I would have to suggest this is not "normally" part of the game. Unfortunately though, it does happen.

It is possible the dispatcher and/or planner is inexperienced or since you have only been at this for 3 months they are testing you. Freight has also slowed down which could explain running from "here to there" without the expected result. Those are guesses, I really don't know. If it continues (say another week)I think the best thing you can do is have a "professional" conversation with your assigned driver manager (DM). If you haven't already, make notes when this occurs and who said "what" and what the outcome was. If it gets to the point you need to meet with your DM , get all of your "ducks in a row" before hand, present the issues, how it's affecting your productivity (aka: earning potential) and discuss resolutions. Although I completely understand your frustration ("dedicated" has it's own set of unique issues), resist the temptation of getting angry and emotional with them, it may pass on its own.

Hopefully some others can offer additional help if there is something I overlooked or a offer a better idea. Hope is works out for you both.

Be safe!

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.

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.

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.

Driver 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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Serah D.'s Comment
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MJ J, go to the search box and type "looking for empty trailers". Click on Becoming a Truck Driver - The Raw Truth about Truck Driving. I read this when l joined TT and it's a part of my tips file that l have been building up. I don't know if it pertains to your current problem but it sure is something that can be of use in the future. Am not sure but l think it's part of Brett's Book.

C. S.'s Comment
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Check your email MJ, I pm'd you.

murderspolywog's Comment
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Mj,j I drive for swift as well in there reefer dedicated, are you guys dry van? For me the worst terminal is JVC in so cal. If I know I am going for a drop I am talking to my dm about find other locations to pull reefers from day one on that load, or seeing if I can do a live off load. I have had to sit for 19 hour in JVC waiting for a trailer to become available. The trailer traxs system swift uses is still being developed and just because it shows a trailer in a location dose not mean in will be there when you arrive. It only pings once a day and I think that's at 7 am Phoenix time. So if the data is 2 or 3 hours old by the time you get there some one else might have the trailer especially if trailers are hard to find. And remember this time of year all the dedicated accounts are doing a lot of shipping. Walmart, Kraft, Costco, Amazon, and swift is on contract for x number of trailers at there dc, so that ties up a lot of trailers this time of year. One last thing is talk to the dm and ask for detention pay, or pay for the miles driven depend on his relationship with his dm, the dm might pay him. As g town said it he is not driving swift is not making money, swift looses money every day that truck dose not pull a load. And brace your self things are going to slow down for a good month and a half to 2 months after new years. Hope that helps.

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.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

RebelliousVamp 's Comment
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When you say "no pay"....who's paying for the gas you used, driving those miles??

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
David's Comment
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As a former swift employee, I've had this issue my self. One thing that helped me and I think it's in Brett's book, is keep a note pad handy and when ever he drops a trailer loaded or MT, write down the name of the location and the trailer number. If said location has multiple MTs then put a star next to it. Anytime he's in the area and needs an Mat he can refer to that notepad and go check. Just make sure to give the DM a heads up that way he gets paid for those MT/Bobtail miles. Also if he's in a remote area and it happens to be a drop n hook, check with the shipping/receiving department and see if it can be live unloaded so as to keep the trailer. I would often use the excuse that the trailer needs to go to the shop. 8/10 times it worked and got me a MT trailer.

David

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BC & MJ's Comment
member avatar

When you say "no pay"....who's paying for the gas you used, driving those miles??

RV -- not sure what you are getting at ... but, obviously the carrier pays for the fuel.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BC & MJ's Comment
member avatar

Y'all -- I just love this forum!! Thank you so much for all the great guidance, and information. After reading and reviewing the material that has been mentioned, we hope to have some insight as to how to get through this in a positive way.

murderspolywog -- your comment about slowdown after New Years kinda scares me, we are already hurting for miles.

CS -- thank you for your message, I will email you directly.

murderspolywog's Comment
member avatar

Mj it just seems to be the natural eb and flow of the business. For me I know September for somereson I am dead. So if I want to go on vacation that's when I do it. Things slow down over all in Jan and Feb usally pick up in March. And a slow spot seems to pop up around 4th of July. Just stick with it, it will get better.

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