Freight Has Been Slow My Friends

Topic 13081 | Page 1

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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According to an article on CCJ Digital it seems freight is slow and has been slowing for some time:

....January’s freight available was down 35 percent from last January, continuing another more short-term trend of year-over-year declines. Every month of the last 13 have seen a year-over-year drop in freight availability, DAT reports, blaming January’s drop on “tepid freight growth and abundant capacity.”

In other words, things are just pretty slow right now. So if you're not getting the miles you expect to be getting you might want to start lobbying dispatch a little harder. When freight slows the competition gets tighter. And I'm not just talking about competition between companies. I'm talking about the competition between drivers within the same company. There's only so much freight to go around. Who are the dispatchers and load planners going to give it to? It's your job to make sure you're on that list.

Learn how to get along well with dispatch and most importantly learn how to lobby for what you want without sounding like you're complaining. Don't tell dispatch you're "aggravated that freight is slow", instead tell them you "need to make all the money you can to support your family so you're anxious to keep those wheels turning".

Learning how to communicate with dispatch in a professional manner and focusing on working as a team is what the savvy drivers have done over the years to get the best miles and those special favors when they need em most. So if freight is slow you have to bump up your lobbying efforts to make sure you're getting your share, but you have to go about it in the right way or your results will be terrible.

Being a great driver isn't enough. A great driver that communicates well, lobbies professionally with dispatch continuously for miles, and is easy to get along with will put more money in their wallet than the overwhelming majority of drivers. You not only have to outperform most drivers but you have to act more professional and be more savvy than most if you want that top tier paycheck in this industry.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sam the Wrestler's Comment
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So is it a bad time to try to get into the business?

Shiva's Comment
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So is it a bad time to try to get into the business?

That all depends on you. I have been getting decent Miles and have only been solo for 60 days. I have good communication with my dm. I constantly text him when I'm empty and my eta. I then follow up with him every couple hours. Longest I sat was 25 hours, been then got a 1700 mile run. Finished the week with 2900 miles. Since, then I never sat ore than 12 hours and that was because I was out of hours

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.
Michael S.'s Comment
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So is it a bad time to try to get into the business?

Sam P; looking at the charts, this would be a good time to start, as freight volume typically rises after January. You'd also get a bit of winter weather to drive in, and hit the fat summer months with roughly a half year of driving. If I had to guess, I'd say getting on with a trainer just after New Year's would be the best. Then again, that's my reading of the aggregate information in the chart and is not formed by any experience or anecdote.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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So is it a bad time to try to get into the business?

It's always a good time to get into trucking from a driver's perspective. Every solid company has plenty of freight for its top drivers so they never have much of a problem getting good miles. Things may slow a bit for them also, but not like it might for drivers further down the totem pole. So the idea is to demonstrate to your company that you're an awesome driver who is hard working, safe, reliable, and has a great attitude. But that takes time. Usually at least 3-6 months when you're new to a company regardless of the experience you have.

Because this website focuses on drivers who are new to the industry or returning after a long absence I want people to understand that having a slow week or even a slow month or two doesn't mean your company sucks or that there's no freight available. It just means that things are a little slow right now and you have to do all you can to lobby for more miles. That of course starts with doing an awesome job out there on the road but it doesn't end there. It also means keeping a great attitude and communicating professionally with dispatch because in the end it's human fingers on the keyboard and they can do what they want with the freight. If you cross the wrong person and they decide they don't want to give it to you then you ain't gettin it. That happens a lot more often than many drivers realize. Drivers always think they're getting shortchanged because the company sucks when in fact it might be their own attitude that's keeping them from getting the miles they want.

It takes time to establish yourself with a new company. That often means your miles won't be what the top tier drivers are getting and that may be especially true when freight is slow. So just understand the economic environment we're in, prepare to prove yourself to your company, and learn how to communicate well with the people in the offices at your company and the workers on the docks.

No one is entitled to get as many miles as they would like. Miles are distributed to drivers based on a long list of factors, some objective and some subjective. But in the end it all boils down to the driver's performance and professionalism.

Sam the Wrestler's Comment
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So is it a bad time to try to get into the business?

double-quotes-end.png

It takes time to establish yourself with a new company.

I understand that it takes time to become good. If this career was easy, everyone would be doing it. Just got a little concerned that there has been a slow down for the last 13 months. I'm going all in this, and I don't plan on turning back. Got to be able to live until I pay my dues,and establish myself, that's all.

Mike Doyle's Comment
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The percentage may be lower, but good truckers are actually in high demand right now. Working compliance for Carriers in the U.S., we are told over and over that good drivers are hard to find and many are filtering through them very quickly. There are drivers that stay for years, and there are drivers that only last a month whether by quitting or being terminated. Believe it or not, many carriers are so desperate for good reliable drivers that they look past MVR reports in hopes to train a driver properly and find that golden driver with a rough past. Of course, a clean record is preferable, but this just shows you in demand drivers are.

Mike Doyle safetycp.com

MVR:

Motor Vehicle Record

An MVR is a report of your driving history, as reported from your state Department of Motor Vehicles. Information on this report may include Drivers License information, point history, violations, convictions, and license status on your driving record.

Dutch's Comment
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This is an excellent outlook to keep in mind!

The bottom line is, it doesn't matter what you make week to week, what matters is your W-2's at the end of the year.

Some drivers can't see the forest for the trees, so they get a bad attitude, and get testy with dispatch or their DM , and in effect shoot themselves in the foot.

If a driver comes into the industry barely scraping by, it can be tough that first year to keep their focus on the big picture. Once they get enough experience to start getting paychecks over a grand a week, it's a lot easier to see the forest, and not cut their nose off to spite their face.

It's very similar to someone who starts a new business. Most new companies do not make a profit their first 5 years. So what type mentality does the owner need to have, to make it through those first 5 years?

IMO, a driver cannot really size up a company, until they get those W-2's. It's best not to sweat the small stuff, because it can be really detrimental to a drivers attitude, and how they interact with others.

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.
Michael S.'s Comment
member avatar

I understand that it takes time to become good. If this career was easy, everyone would be doing it. Just got a little concerned that there has been a slow down for the last 13 months. I'm going all in this, and I don't plan on turning back. Got to be able to live until I pay my dues,and establish myself, that's all.

Sam; Freight volumes (from the graph) are cyclical. you can see that volume rises to March and stays strong through to June almost every year. Even during the overall decline in 2015, these months were strong. To paraphrase what Brett has said, there are millions of trucks and drivers on the road. Meaning there are millions of deliveries on the road at any one time, as long as you can grab one of those deliveries whenever you have hours you'll be making money. If you're starting out you won't be competing with more experienced drivers for a great job, you'll be competing with other newbies for an entry job. Many people here have been successful in their first year of driving, and made good money at their first job. There's no reason that you can't, too.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Sam the Wrestler's Comment
member avatar

Hope my post aren't coming off as bad. I just know I'm not coming in as a "good" driver. But my wife and I are ready to bust our butts to become great drivers.

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