Building A Relationship With Your Dispatcher

Topic 13316 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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I talk a lot in here about how your performance as a driver will dictate how you are treated and how much money you will make. I've noticed that so many times when we hear about people failing at this they will often lay the blame on their dispatcher or the company. It is easy enough to find examples of this by going to just about any other trucking forum besides this one. I know most of you remember "Abe" (Run Hard - Get Paid) and his viral videos about how badly trucking treated him, and in particular it was dispatch that he blamed for his failures.

You've got to be able to build a relationship of trust with your dispatcher. By trust I mean that your dispatcher has got to know that you can, and will, take care of what ever they send your way. The only way for you to build that kind of trust is by consistently "gitting 'er done." I had a discussion with my dispatcher once where I used the phrase "a driver is only as good as his last load." He paused just a second and then asked me, "What do you mean by that statement?" I replied, "well, if I messed up on my last load, but had done just great on the previous ten or fifteen loads, you are only going to be thinking about how I did on that last one when you are assigning my next load." He was surprised that I understood the concept, and said, "Man, that is so true. I'll do that without even thinking about it, but you are right - if a driver screws something up, that is all I can think of when I'm determining what to give him on the next run, and furthermore that screw up will remain at the top of my mind for weeks to come."

Any time you start out in this business dispatch is going to usually give you some easy stuff at the beginning just so they can get a feel for how you operate. I started this dedicated flat-bed job I'm doing now days as an experienced driver who came to them with some really good recommendations, yet I was only given short hauls and easily managed loads for about the first two weeks. Then one day my dispatcher told me he was going to start trying me on some more difficult runs because I had been doing a good job. That is how it works - you perform well consistently and they begin to trust your abilities, and your judgement, on how to manage your time on a load.

I got a high compliment from my dispatcher yesterday. We had been texting back and forth about several different things when he let me know that my next load was ready to be picked up, and he complimented me on the previous weeks work, and in particular a fairly difficult multi-stop back-haul load that I managed to pull of without a glitch. Here's a screen shot of that portion of our conversation - my comments are highlighted in blue, his in yellow.

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That is exactly what you want to shoot for - you want your dispatcher thinking you are a bad***. When your dispatcher has confidence in you like that you will be treated in ways that most drivers never get to realize. Something that took place earlier in that same conversation was that he sent me the three longest loads he had available for this weekend and then he said tell me which one you want and it's yours! You have to pay a price for this kind of treatment, but the rewards are well worth the investment of your time and effort.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
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Hey buddy, use your seniority and demand a load going to CA!

smile.gif

Old School's Comment
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I'm not going to do that again - the last time I tried that a nice little Russian woman tried to fatten me up with a bunch of Russian food. I'm safe over here in the Northeast - for some reason the Russians don't like it over here. Now the Italians are here as thick as thieves, but at least I'm familiar with their foods!

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, pizza and pasta will never fatten you up.... LOL

I'll bet that nice Russian lady tried to send you with a doggie bag too. Despite what certain people think of you... LOL

As for your original post, that was well written and on the point. My boss does not give compliments or thanks at all but what I have noticed is that I get bigger and bigger loads to move. This was proven to me last year by being put on the "Beam Team". And then again yesterday where we had the two 9 axle drivers in the yard and available but I was given the 8 axle and told to go move the CAT 773 haul truck. I have never moved something like this before and they are difficult because the front tires will straddle the trailer. I did have a pilot car driver with me that had some experience with these loads but was not entirely helpful and I had to figure it out.

He did know enough to show me that the front tires need to be chained up because of the hydraulic suspension on the front end if you did not chain them up, when you picked up the trailer the tires would still be on the ground. I also discovered after my first attempt that you need to drive the front tires up on blocks before blocking up the the truck from underneath on the trailer.

Here is a photo of my first attempt before I figured out about driving the front axle up on blocks. CAT 773 heavy duty dump truck loaded on a flatbed trailer

Quinton's Comment
member avatar

Old School, I hope to be like you some day.........I know from this site that I am not just going to be handed the world..........But if I keep my nose to the grind stone, focus on my times, safety, and get through my first year without any major screw ups, or no screw ups at all(doubtful) Maybe then I can call myself a "real truck driver" but at this point I'm just a wanna be. Thanks man!

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School wrote:

Any time you start out in this business dispatch is going to usually give you some easy stuff at the beginning just so they can get a feel for how you operate. I started this dedicated flat-bed job I'm doing now days as an experienced driver who came to them with some really good recommendations, yet I was only given short hauls and easily managed loads for about the first two weeks. Then one day my dispatcher told me he was going to start trying me on some more difficult runs because I had been doing a good job. That is how it works - you perform well consistently and they begin to trust your abilities, and your judgement, on how to manage your time on a load.

This is exactly how my move to a dedicated regional account went. I'm new to the account. I get a new (to me) DM. About three months doing overnight runs - about 400-500 miles with an overnight before delivery. After Beth (DM) got used to me, I got the longer 800-900 mile runs (regional in the Southeast US).

After a bit, I felt my DM and I were a two person team. Teams are built on trust, but go farther than that - more like automatic thinking together. I feel Beth just hands me the assignment, and doesn't think about it again till I send in the Empty Call. Long runs mean fatter paychecks. I don't tell my checks they're fat ... just well endowed!

rofl-3.gif

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.
Sammy Clue's Comment
member avatar

As I grow closer to finishing out my contract with PAM I can not agree with this enough. Out of the 4 classmates that are still with PAM, I am the one that gets to "Pick his own loads" on quite a few loads. But when talking to others they are just assigned a load at random and if they refuse said load then they will be sitting for quite a while waiting on the next. Me and my Dispatcher have a excellent relationship to the point that he will call be almost every morning and ask how I'm doing, then we will end up talking for 10-20 minutes about non sense until I make him get off the phone with me and get to work.

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.
Kris F.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School

Jetguy's Comment
member avatar

A+ post Old School. Motivating and very good example. This would be a good forward for a book. Include your post where you showed paystub- around $1700 with another $150 for fuel bonus (or whatever it was).

You might write that this is false flattery- but I'm serious. People like to read/learn about successful people, and- the "how-tos" are the real meat.

Errol- your post was neat, too.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Well said Old School,

I enjoyed this piece tremendously. Thank you for sharing. As a former business owner with employees you really can give a different perspective to subject. Their are many issues and situations that come up over the course of a week and I always try to look at it through the eyes of my employer. If I were in his shoes how would I expect my employee to handle this or that.

So many times we all just get a little self absorbed in ourselves when we should be looking at it through a different camera. Thank you

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