Is It Ever Going To Get Better?

Topic 19007 | Page 1

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ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Or am I just too eager too early on? I've been driving for Swift for four months, going on five. I can't seem to get more than an average of about 1,600 miles per week, leaving much to be desired in terms of pay. Here are the raw numbers as far as miles per week from my pay statements:

March: 1774, 1581, 1645, 1627

February: 1086, 1995, 2347, 2596

January: 792, 2587, 2454, 1150

This week I'll end up right at 1200 miles. I don't have any pay statements from December. I think I deleted them all. At any rate, I've spoken with my DM three times now, and the last time I emailed my DM (last week) I was told that this was the best that they could do for me. I'm currently ranked Gold, have zero service failures, 100% on time percentage rate, and zero accidents since I started with Swift. Normally I'll get to the shipper early and end up waiting forever to be loaded (the worst was 14 hours). I'll have a short 600 mile run that has three or more days to be delivered with no early delivery, then usually anywhere between three and 12 or more hours to be unloaded at the consignee. For what its worth, I stay out four weeks and take three days off every four weeks. I don't want anything extra or anything special from Swift, just miles. My DM also tells me that I'm one of the most dependable drivers they have (although I'm sure they tell this to everyone on their board) as well as one of the most independent (they don't need to hold my hand, as was explained to me). I've asked if there is something that I'm doing wrong or something that I need to do different, and I'm told that I'm doing great and I don't need to change anything.

So what gives? When can I expect more miles or is this truly the best that Swift can do for me? I actually made more money when I was with my mentor. I've spoken to a few seasoned drivers that have all said the same thing: Get a new DM. I just don't feel like I've waited long enough for this to be my only option.

Can anyone offer any advice or any help?

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Without a doubt those miles are completely unacceptable for anyone with a great attitude and service record. Never in my entire career do I recall having less than 2,000 miles in a week unless my truck was down for a few days, and even then it was rare. I tried to average 3,000 - 3,200 miles per week. If things were slow it might drop to 2,500, but almost never lower that I can recall.

Since you've already spoken with your DM about it and nothing is getting done it's time to speak with someone higher up. I don't know the management structure there but there should be a boss above your dispatcher and then an operations manager of some sort above that. The operations manager is the one you need to get in touch with. Someone with the authority to move you to another dispatcher. Your dispatcher's immediate boss may or may not have that authority, but I'd rather speak with the operations manager who is going to have a better idea of the bigger picture and should also have some ideas for other divisions you may qualify for.

But you should not be happy with those miles and I certainly wouldn't settle for that myself, especially considering the size of that company. They have the freight to keep people moving a whole lot better than that. Why you're not getting it I don't know. That's what you have to find out. There's a very good chance it is indeed your DM that's the problem. I don't know what else it could be. The freight at the company itself is not that slow overall. They'd be in bankruptcy if that's the type of miles the entire fleet was turning.

I know in the past there have been Swift drivers who have reported speaking with load planners at times to get more freight. It's pretty uncommon for drivers to have access to load planners like that. Most companies don't really allow it. But if things are setup differently there it might also be a viable option for getting more freight.

Keep us updated on who you talk to and what's said. The one thing you can say to them that no one can argue with is that you're simply not getting enough miles to make a living and pay your bills, and as much as you enjoy working for the company you're going to have to find a way to get more miles or you're going to lose your house. You'll have no choice but to move on if they can't get you 2,500 miles per week or more. That's a basic fact of life for you.

That's the approach to take. You're asking for more work or you'll have no choice but to find someone who has it available. But don't worry, they have the miles available. Like I said, you just have to figure out why you're not getting them and get that problem fixed.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Michael V.'s Comment
member avatar

This is the slow season. It usually picks up in the middle of April. You should be getting more miles soon. The first quarter is always slow.

ACO476's Comment
member avatar

This is the slow season. It usually picks up in the middle of April. You should be getting more miles soon. The first quarter is always slow.

I've heard quite a few different explanations about exactly when the slow times for freight are, so I'll keep that in mind with the others. I've heard the slow times are just January, just February, March is the worst, just January and February, and the first three months of the year. I've also heard June, July, and August are the worst months for freight, so you can hopefully see where I would be confused and frustrated about this whole situation. Even in a slow month, is it reasonable to expect more than 1500 miles per week?

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

I drove Solo for swift for just over 9 months. Just landed a local job last month. I could have written your post. I wish I had a solid answer for you. I had a 100% driver ranking, my DM told me the same things yours is telling you. In my 9 months I averaged about 1800 miles per week. Probably had 3 total weeks in the 3000 mile range, Many in the 18-22, and more than I liked in the 13-16 range. I am convinced that they are content giving many drivers 1800-2000 per week. They have so much freight spread out all over the Country, and spread very thin in many places, that it needs to be moved somehow. They can obviously make a profit with many Drivers in that mileage range. It seems that Dedicated is the way to go with Swift. OTR seems to be Feast or Famine for many Drivers. I came to believe that it is just the nature of the beast with them. There are many other Rookie Drivers on this forum with Prime (and others) that are getting much better miles.; Good luck to you. I know EXACTLY how you are feeling right now!

smile.gifgood-luck.gif

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.

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.
ACO476's Comment
member avatar

Well, thanks for the encouraging words tractor man. This is all I've ever wanted to do my entire life and I feel like I've made a huge mistake. I guess I'll stick it out for a year and move on. I called the flatbed division with Swift and even they won't talk to me until I have 6 months experience. Anything to keep moving and stop the constant sitting around. I only want to do OTR. Local doesn't interest me and dedicated is a maybe, but I don't even know who to talk to about that. And I know that requires 6 months as well.

Oh well. Thanks again for the reply.

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.

Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
member avatar

Where are you located? The flatbed division in Phoenix is actively recruiting. I'm doing a bit better than you guys mileage wise but I too am starting to regret hiring on with Swift and I didn't hire on thinking I was only going to stay the year and bail. I'm trying desperately to give the company as a whole the benefit of the doubt but sadly I don't see it happening. I'm planning to give the refrigerated fleet a call in the next few weeks. Even the newbies I've talked to have been saying good things. LOL

JJ

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Without a doubt those miles are completely unacceptable for anyone with a great attitude and service record. Never in my entire career do I recall having less than 2,000 miles in a week unless my truck was down for a few days, and even then it was rare. I tried to average 3,000 - 3,200 miles per week. If things were slow it might drop to 2,500, but almost never lower that I can recall.

Since you've already spoken with your DM about it and nothing is getting done it's time to speak with someone higher up. I don't know the management structure there but there should be a boss above your dispatcher and then an operations manager of some sort above that. The operations manager is the one you need to get in touch with. Someone with the authority to move you to another dispatcher. Your dispatcher's immediate boss may or may not have that authority, but I'd rather speak with the operations manager who is going to have a better idea of the bigger picture and should also have some ideas for other divisions you may qualify for.

But you should not be happy with those miles and I certainly wouldn't settle for that myself, especially considering the size of that company. They have the freight to keep people moving a whole lot better than that. Why you're not getting it I don't know. That's what you have to find out. There's a very good chance it is indeed your DM that's the problem. I don't know what else it could be. The freight at the company itself is not that slow overall. They'd be in bankruptcy if that's the type of miles the entire fleet was turning.

I know in the past there have been Swift drivers who have reported speaking with load planners at times to get more freight. It's pretty uncommon for drivers to have access to load planners like that. Most companies don't really allow it. But if things are setup differently there it might also be a viable option for getting more freight.

Keep us updated on who you talk to and what's said. The one thing you can say to them that no one can argue with is that you're simply not getting enough miles to make a living and pay your bills, and as much as you enjoy working for the company you're going to have to find a way to get more miles or you're going to lose your house. You'll have no choice but to move on if they can't get you 2,500 miles per week or more. That's a basic fact of life for you.

That's the approach to take. You're asking for more work or you'll have no choice but to find someone who has it available. But don't worry, they have the miles available. Like I said, you just have to figure out why you're not getting them and get that problem fixed.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I'll have a short 600 mile run that has three or more days to be delivered with no early delivery

This also shouldn't be happening often. You should be able to get a lot of loads delivered early, especially in dry van. In refrigerated it's a lot more difficult, but with dry van I would say at least half to 2/3 of the customers should be able to get you in anywhere from a few hours to even a day or two early. You might have to up your game a little in this arena.

I'll tell you what I used to do. It's one of those "gray area" tactics that used to work great. We really weren't supposed to be calling customers and changing appointment times and all that, but as you've seen there are times you either find a way to make things happen out there for yourself or you lose a lot of money. If you want to really get ahead in trucking you have to be willing to push the gray areas a bit sometimes.

I used to call the customer and say:

Hi, I'm with US Xpress and we have a driver scheduled to deliver Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. but we're trying to get in early because of another commitment we have after this delivery. Would it be possible to get this load delivered on Tuesday morning instead? That would allow us to fulfill another commitment in that area on Tuesday afternoon. Would there be anyway you could help us out? It would make a really big difference in our scheduling and we'd be able to get your product there early for you at the same time.

You'll notice I never said I was the driver, and in fact I worded it in such a way that I implied I'm actually with customer service. Talking to drivers is far less important than speaking with someone in customer service or sales in the eyes of many office personnel. If you call and say you're the driver your request will not carry nearly the weight that it will if you imply you're actually in the offices.

If they do happen to find out you're the driver, which never happened to me but it could, and they ask why you didn't say so, just tell them "Because I might not be the one delivering this load if we can't get it delivered early so I didn't know if I would be that driver or not."

But you shouldn't have a problem.

That's what I used to do. The office personnel can normally pull some strings and make things happen but most people aren't that concerned with how a driver feels about it. That's just how our society views drivers, unfortunately, so ya gotta do whatcha gotta do.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't believe the "freight is slow" crap ever. I heard drivers griping that they sit every holiday weekend. Doesn't happen with me...I even had a load Christmas day but couldn't roll cause of snow and road closures...but I had a load. Memorial day 4th of July labor day....had loads...delivered on new years day even. So all that is crap.

I will say this..it is getting more difficult to get loaded/unloaded early. And walmart just made a policy that if we do a drop and hook before the appt window it is a service failure!! A service failure for being early and they are gonna hit prime with a "late fee" on an early load. Smh.

On the other hand I have a friend at prime who has a lousy FM and is in the same boat as you. She doesn't have the guts to speak up though. I keep telling her she needs to. The companies WANT you loaded and rolling...that's how they make money. You won't look like a trouble maker you will look like a driver with ambition. Good luck.

Fm:

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
The companies WANT you loaded and rolling...that's how they make money. You won't look like a troublemaker you will look like a driver with ambition.

That's exactly right.

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