Building A Relationship With Your Dispatcher

Topic 13316 | Page 2

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toonces's Comment
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Hi OId School. I'm considering a trucking career and have been reading a lot on forums and watching YouTube videos. I'm just trying to get a good idea of what trucking life will be like before I decide to start CDL school.

I think I saw a video by the guy you mentioned, Run Hard Get Paid. In the one I saw, he had a problem falling asleep at the wheel because of the way his loads were dispatched. He had a 10-hour break, then drove just 20 miles, then another 10-hour break, then had to pick up a load. He said he couldn't sleep on the second 10-hour break since he had slept during the first one. This makes sense to me that he couldn't force himself to fall asleep during the second break, and probably just started to get tired right at the end of it. I'm just wondering, are your pickups/drop-offs scheduled like this a lot? Or was this just a rare thing and this guy is a big complainer?

I totally get what you're saying in your post. I've worked in restaurants my entire life and I know there are people who will always blame there lateness, laziness, etc., on other people. But I'm wondering about the sleep schedule in trucking. It seems like if your sleep schedule is always changing, you will often be driving while sleep-deprived.

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.

9412ff58-fb23-4e40-a284-6cf2d87e3780_zps

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.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
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Abe, the star of R.H.G.P. has been discussed here before. The consensus is he's a self important jerk.

Read this: RunHard GetPaid...NOT ANYMORE!!!

Stevo Reno's Comment
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Yeah saw his 1st video long ago wasn't impressed, and this last one he is so full of it !.....That Snap_on box ain't $10g's if he paid that he got bent over!.........Big deal he's proud of being ASE certified haha , I've worked with quite a few "Master" certified ASE tech's thru the years,that couldn't even change a radiator hose properly, and that caused an engine failure / replacement hahaha

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Belluavir's Comment
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Is the advice to not screw up?

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Belluavir wonders:

Is the advice to not screw up?

No, that's not the point. You will screw up. Some time it will be where you mess up your driving hours. Some time you will crunch into something while backing. Some time you will lose a bill of lading. These, and more, are screw ups.

But, if you are serious about your job, you will take ownership of the situation. You will figure out what happened, what you missed or did wrong.

If you can figure out the mistake and how not to do it again - to become an expert on that situation - you have learned something, and are closer to being a great truck driver.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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It seems like if your sleep schedule is always changing, you will often be driving while sleep-deprived.

Here are some great articles for ya:

Time management and risk management are two of the most critical skills a driver needs. To tell dispatch that you're too tired to work because you've been resting for too long is beyond ridiculous and it's going to earn you "the sorriest work ethic in the fleet" award. The prize you win for that award is a whole lot of time sitting around truck stops wishing they would give you a load to haul.

It's up to the driver to manage his life on the road in such a way that he's ready to roll when it's time to roll. I always tell people that I "sleep like a truck driver". What I mean by that is I can almost instantly fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and then jump up and be ready to go at a moment's notice whether I've had 20 minutes of sleep or 10 hours. When it's time to go to work you can be sure I'll be standing at the front of the line ready for orders.

But it takes some time on the road to develop these time management skills. Not only do you have to learn how the industry works and what you have to be prepared for, but you also have to give your mind and body time to adjust to a whole new lifestyle and an erratic sleep schedule.

Belluavir's Comment
member avatar

Belluavir wonders:

double-quotes-start.png

Is the advice to not screw up?

double-quotes-end.png

No, that's not the point. You will screw up. Some time it will be where you mess up your driving hours. Some time you will crunch into something while backing. Some time you will lose a bill of lading. These, and more, are screw ups.

But, if you are serious about your job, you will take ownership of the situation. You will figure out what happened, what you missed or did wrong.

If you can figure out the mistake and how not to do it again - to become an expert on that situation - you have learned something, and are closer to being a great truck driver.

Understood, thanks for clarifying Errol

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Toonces concludes

It seems like if your sleep schedule is always changing, you will often be driving while sleep-deprived

Brett gives you the big picture. Generally you could work close to "normal" hours like everybody else. If you need to change your sleep time (for more than one day), make sure the sleeper curtains block out light. (They do). Then go to sleep at 5pm, or 3pm.

"I can't do that!" you say? On the first day, go to bed as usual, but set your alarm and get up at 3am. Drive your 11 hours, and you'll be ready for bed at 4pm. Plus, truck stop parking is w-i-d-e open in the afternoon!

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Learning how to flip your schedule around will help you get miles too. For instance I've learned that if I run hard for 5 or 6 days and then flip my schedule so that I'm on nights and I can run hard for another 4 days before I run myself completely out.

toonces's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

It seems like if your sleep schedule is always changing, you will often be driving while sleep-deprived.

double-quotes-end.png

Here are some great articles for ya:

Time management and risk management are two of the most critical skills a driver needs. To tell dispatch that you're too tired to work because you've been resting for too long is beyond ridiculous and it's going to earn you "the sorriest work ethic in the fleet" award. The prize you win for that award is a whole lot of time sitting around truck stops wishing they would give you a load to haul.

It's up to the driver to manage his life on the road in such a way that he's ready to roll when it's time to roll. I always tell people that I "sleep like a truck driver". What I mean by that is I can almost instantly fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and then jump up and be ready to go at a moment's notice whether I've had 20 minutes of sleep or 10 hours. When it's time to go to work you can be sure I'll be standing at the front of the line ready for orders.

But it takes some time on the road to develop these time management skills. Not only do you have to learn how the industry works and what you have to be prepared for, but you also have to give your mind and body time to adjust to a whole new lifestyle and an erratic sleep schedule.

Thank you, I read through the articles you posted. I also read through the entire 8-page post about Abe that Errol posted. After reading those and watching a couple of Abe's other videos, I've come to the conclusion that he is a tool :) Just the fact that he called a female commenter a "broad" made me laugh. Who even still says that? He's like a misogynistic character from a 1950's cop movie. Then at the end of the video he said that the dispatchers had "waisted" public resources when they called the police...now I'm getting that he's an idiot.

So basically he could have scheduled his time better. Or he could have taken a nap during the second 10-hour break to prepare for his next run.

It makes sense that drivers will learn how to manage their time better once they have more experience. But after reading the Sleep Cycle post, it does make me wonder, how often do you get 8 hours of sleep? Is it rare? Or even like 50/50? I've been researching truck driving for about a month now, and I thought I could handle it. But this makes me wonder. If I have to mostly work off the log book like TruckerMike mentioned, I'm not sure if it's for me. I'm definitely not lazy -- I've been working 12-hour days for the past year. But I do need to sleep!

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.
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