How On Earth Can I Get The Miles?

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Jukebox (Trent)'s Comment
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New flatbed driver here. Company won't give me any miles. Always early for deliveries, no incidents, good with paperwork, run a minimum of 5 to 6 loads. Run the loads others cant run & trying to be a go to guy. Company won't give me any good runs though. A bunch of short east coast runs into big cities or multiple drops. how can i start geting miles? Or will I ever? Havent even seen 2000 a week yet. I asked for more because i have a family to feed and bills to pay but got me nowhere. Any advice other than "quit yer' *****'n"? If I wanted to hear that I would pick up a CB or call dispatch or a broker.

C T.'s Comment
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I'm also a new flatbed driver with Maverick. I've only been here a month but I've broken the 2000 mile mark. I don't know what company you work for but I can tell you what I think. Flatbedding seems to require some efficiency to get more miles. For me, I never wait for loads or anything like that. Mostly it's on me to get the job done in a timely manner in order to get on the road sooner. Currently it takes me a while to get everything done so I have less time to drive. My trainer once secured and tarped a coil in about 20 min to get home that friday. Also I believe we have to prove ourselves in order to get better runs. Just my opinion.

Jukebox (Trent)'s Comment
member avatar

Idk if you can get your own loads but i can't. That may help you. I have to wait to be given a load, wait on the crane operator loading me, wait to be given clearance through the city etc. Tarping/untarping isn't an issue though I never get small loads to tarp lol. I guess being new I'm going to get the brown end of the stick and I have to prove myself. I've only been going three weeks so far...maybe this week will be different.

Bill P.'s Comment
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I am thinking about going with a flat bed company out of tulsa,oklahoma. Is that by chance the same company you are working for. I start my last week of school Monday

JakeBreak's Comment
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Only 3 weeks in that pretty normal. They are watching you to see you prove yourself. Just keep doing what your doing and soon you'll get better miles.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Ok Trent, it is way too early to give up. You are a total newb, and unfortunately they don't entrust total newbs with the good stuff.

There is so much involved in trying to answer a question like this, and I only have what you have stated to go by so I'm going to take the "shotgun approach" and hopefully one of the little "BB's" that I toss out here will hit the target and help you understand how to "position yourself" so that you can advance quicker into "the money." If I am totally wrong in any assumption I may make, don't take offense, I'm honestly trying my best to help you, but with little or no knowledge of you.

The first thing that stood out to me was this statement:

Any advice other than "quit yer' *****'n"? If I wanted to hear that I would pick up a CB or call dispatch or a broker.

I'm hoping I'm wrong, but it sounds like you kind of have a little bit of an attitude problem - if that's true, can it real quick - it will crush your career.

Company won't give me any miles.

A common misconception among rookies is that the company is not performing well enough to suit them, so they move on to greener grasses only to discover that they still haven't discovered the secret to success at this mostly misunderstood career. Miles, like respect in this business, are earned. That simply does not happen in a matter of weeks. I tell people to hang in there and do a bang up job with everything they give you, but it is still going to take a good six months for them to know whether you are someone that is good and solid that they can lean on. Look, I know you've got a family to feed, and what I said doesn't mean they are going to starve you for six months. What's going to happen is that it will gradually start getting better and better - hang in there. Occasionally you'll have a really great week, and then it may be followed by an irregular week, those first three or four months the pay can be very volatile or variable. You did the right thing by asking for more miles, but be careful how you do it...

I asked for more because i have a family to feed and bills to pay but got me nowhere.

Don't ask them by complaining that you have bills to pay and children at home that are going hungry. Approach them with a message on the Qualcomm that goes something like this: "Hey, Mr. Driver Manager , I'd like to start pushing my limits and see if I can improve my performance a little. I'm gonna start doing everything I can to manage my time properly so that I can be unloaded early and ready for another load. Could you please help me out with this effort?" Don't tell them you are starving to death - that is not their concern. Let them know you want to get better at this - that gets their attention in a way that benefits them. I don't know if you can understand this concept just yet, but a big part of your job is to make your Driver manager look good - rookies have a hard time doing that - but if you are a go getter you'll start getting the hang of it. Always, always communicate on the Qualcomm. This is their preferred way to hear from you, and the communications can be seen by others also. If you communicate in a way like I just showed you then it is quite possible that others in the chain of command in that dispatch office will help your driver manager get you some better loads. You have got to focus on your performance, and not theirs - when you take the approach that they are not giving you enough you are focused on what they are or are not accomplishing - that is the wrong focal point.

I have been a very successful flat-bed driver. I'm going to give you a few tips that might help you start getting some better loads. I don't know how your appointments are set up, but many times flat-bed loads have a window of time for their delivery. If it says Tuesday morning 0700 - 1400 then you have until two o'clock to deliver. A lot of guys will deliver around noon and pat themselves on the back and say they delivered on time. Don't be that guy! I had an 1800 mile load this week that was scheduled to deliver on Friday night at 2200 - that was when the crane would be there. I made a few calls to the construction site until I could get hold of a superintendent and got it reset for Thursday at three p.m. which totally gave me time to get another 1500 mile load to run over the weekend - that would not have happened had I not taken some pro-active steps to move the appointment. There was no reason for a crane, they just needed a lift with some forks on it - they just didn't know that until I helped them understand it.

Continued...

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Always try to get yourself unloaded first thing in the morning whenever possible. Why? Because the best loads go out to the guys who do that - it is that simple. You have got to be putting yourself into the position that the top tier drivers are doing - you have got to play the game on their terms - that is how you win this game.

Do you see this long line of trucks in this photo? I think there is close to twenty trucks in this line, all of them waiting to be unloaded at a construction site by a crane that is scheduled to pull in to the site at about eight a.m.

20140818_073651_zps4280f9e8.jpg

Have you got any idea who is first in the line? Well it is little old me! How did I beat all these other "experienced" drivers to that coveted position first in line? I got there the day before and parked there as the construction site was closing down around three p.m. A couple of the "smart players" lined up behind me that night, but the rest of them slept at a truck stop that was just about fifteen miles down the road. Unfortunately the crane was late, and most of those guys had started their electronic logs by moving from the truck stop to the job site. Their fourteen hour clock is ticking away, I'm not burning my valuable time up, I'm on the sleeper berth line. Remember this: first in, and first out. That is a mantra among successful drivers. I have places that I deliver to that I purposely block other drivers from getting in to the docks by the way I park my flat-bed truck and trailer. I got their first, and they will unload me first. I'm on my way and what is important here is that my driver manager knows that I will be ready when I told him. Did I **** some other drivers off? Well, maybe, but sometimes I've had them come up and shake my hand and tell me they learned something from me this morning. I am a natural teacher, and often times I do it by example.

Now if you start trying to get in first and out first you have got to communicate that with your driver manager ahead of time. Let's say you have worked out a plan to deliver at seven in the morning on Wednesday, even though your load says it can be delivered as late as four o'clock. On Tuesday send a message on the Qualcomm telling him that you will be MT at approximately eight in the morning, and you'll be ready for another load. Don't call him and pester him, just leave it at that. He may not have a load for you, but I can promise you he is going to be watching to see if you really do what you stated on the Qualcomm. Do that enough times and he will start having you covered and keeping you moving.

He wants you moving. he just doesn't have any thing to go by with you yet. it is your responsibility to build that trust factor into your relationship, and I can promise you that it will never be accomplished with whining and complaining. He needs to see a consistent performance record, and that my friend is all on you.

Go for it, prove yourself by some of those techniques, and I think you'll soon be in here asking us how to keep up with all the miles they are giving you.

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

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.
Jukebox (Trent)'s Comment
member avatar

That was by far the best reply I could have gotten.Thank you Old School.

Scott M's Comment
member avatar

Always try to get yourself unloaded first thing in the morning whenever possible. Why? Because the best loads go out to the guys who do that - it is that simple. You have got to be putting yourself into the position that the top tier drivers are doing - you have got to play the game on their terms - that is how you win this game.

Do you see this long line of trucks in this photo? I think there is close to twenty trucks in this line, all of them waiting to be unloaded at a construction site by a crane that is scheduled to pull in to the site at about eight a.m.

20140818_073651_zps4280f9e8.jpg

Have you got any idea who is first in the line? Well it is little old me! How did I beat all these other "experienced" drivers to that coveted position first in line? I got there the day before and parked there as the construction site was closing down around three p.m. A couple of the "smart players" lined up behind me that night, but the rest of them slept at a truck stop that was just about fifteen miles down the road. Unfortunately the crane was late, and most of those guys had started their electronic logs by moving from the truck stop to the job site. Their fourteen hour clock is ticking away, I'm not burning my valuable time up, I'm on the sleeper berth line. Remember this: first in, and first out. That is a mantra among successful drivers. I have places that I deliver to that I purposely block other drivers from getting in to the docks by the way I park my flat-bed truck and trailer. I got their first, and they will unload me first. I'm on my way and what is important here is that my driver manager knows that I will be ready when I told him. Did I **** some other drivers off? Well, maybe, but sometimes I've had them come up and shake my hand and tell me they learned something from me this morning. I am a natural teacher, and often times I do it by example.

Now if you start trying to get in first and out first you have got to communicate that with your driver manager ahead of time. Let's say you have worked out a plan to deliver at seven in the morning on Wednesday, even though your load says it can be delivered as late as four o'clock. On Tuesday send a message on the Qualcomm telling him that you will be MT at approximately eight in the morning, and you'll be ready for another load. Don't call him and pester him, just leave it at that. He may not have a load for you, but I can promise you he is going to be watching to see if you really do what you stated on the Qualcomm. Do that enough times and he will start having you covered and keeping you moving.

He wants you moving. he just doesn't have any thing to go by with you yet. it is your responsibility to build that trust factor into your relationship, and I can promise you that it will never be accomplished with whining and complaining. He needs to see a consistent performance record, and that my friend is all on you.

Go for it, prove yourself by some of those techniques, and I think you'll soon be in here asking us how to keep up with all the miles they are giving you.

Thanks Oldschool- That picture is a treasure!

Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

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.
C T.'s Comment
member avatar

By the way, no I can't choose my loads. I'm force dispatched and have to wait just like you. Not sure what you mean by waiting for clearance however.

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.

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