How To Get Yourself Dispatched 5,000 Miles In One Week

Topic 19616 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Well, that's what happened to me this week!

It happened simply because I practiced some time proven principles that make for success out here. Here's the story of how this fell into my lap:

I came off of four or five days of home time over Mother's Day weekend and went back to work early Wednesday morning. I had a 2,200 mile load dispatched to me from Delhi, Louisiana to Hermiston, Oregon - not too shabby! It had a problem with it though - I can't get it there Friday, and the notes from CSR say they are not available Saturday to unload me. This is a job site where we are delivering some aluminum stadium seating, and it looks like I will just have to take my time and get it there first thing Monday. Always one to try to make my own opportunities out here, I do a little research, find out the job superintendent's cell number, and give him a call - well actually three calls, until I can get hold of him and actually talk. I simply tell the man that I can be there Saturday morning if there is any way they can unload me. He is happy to do it, and tells me that they are not actually working that day because they don't have the materials they are needing, but they will just be sitting around at their hotel, and if I will call him when I'm getting close, he will meet me at the site and unload me.

Next thing I do is make a call to the folks in Phoenix, Arizona who help us find back haul loads for this dedicated account that I am serving. Usually I would just call my dispatcher in Louisiana and let him know that I had moved my appointment and he would handle the details, but he is out this week on vacation. I don't even want to bother the stand-in, who really doesn't have a clue about how things work on this account. I'm really not supposed to call the folks in Phoenix, but when I explained to them what was going on they thanked me for calling and said they would get right to work on finding me something for Saturday instead of Monday. It is critical on this account that we get back to Louisiana as quickly as possible so we can be dispatched onto another outgoing load from the manufacturing plant.

Somewhere during my last six hundred mile leg of the trip to Hermiston I got dispatched a pre-plan back haul load which has 2,800 miles on it!

Now I can't legally drive 5,000 miles in one week, but consider this: Had I just took my time and gotten this load there on Monday I would turn it in on Tuesday's cut-off for payroll - I would have a 2,200 mile pay check. Then if I got the same back haul (which is unlikely) I would have taken it by it's schedule and I would have my next week be a 2,800 mile paycheck. That's not bad, but neither is it impressive. I would have averaged 2,500 miles per week those two weeks. Many people are satisfied with that.

By doing what I did I have got a big jump start on the next weeks pay period. Being familiar with this account, and how it works, I can almost guarantee you what will happen when I finish this 2,800 mile run. I will be given a load to Connecticut with 1,400 miles on it that I can deliver just in time for the next payroll cut-off. So now let's do the math again... Three loads delivered in two weeks time with a total of 6,400 miles turned in. Now I have averaged 3,200 miles for those two weeks, just by taking some initiative of my own. When you do these types of things consistently you are really increasing your pay. You don't have to get a pay raise to make more money, you just have to understand how to play the game out here.

Here's the three important things I did...

  • I moved my appointment time forward by making a few calls and presenting myself in a professional way to the customer.
  • I knew who to call at my company that would do what they could to keep me moving and got them on the same page with me.
  • I followed through and did what I said I would do - no excuses, just "git er done."

I tell people all the time that this job is more like being self-employed than any other you can have. Here's what successful self-employed people who are their own boss do: They seize every opportunity that is given them, and then on top of that they are vigilant about making their own opportunities happen whenever possible. That is what I did this week, and to be honest with you I'm on the hunt for opportunities each day that I am out on the road. You need to be an opportunist to make stuff happen out here, and when the people that you work with understand your abilities, they will be right in there to support you. They recognize the kind of drivers who are consistently getting more accomplished, and they are more than willing to get behind that kind of driver with their support. You have got to be consistent at this, so don't over extend yourself and start messing things up. Learn your craft and build upon a good foundation. If you drop the ball too many times you will lose their trust, and that will cost you.

Knowing the log book rules, managing your time efficiently, and being willing to make a few sacrifices that other drivers may not are key factors in being a top tier driver. Taking your own initiative, and producing consistent results are key ingredients to success out here.

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

Eric G.'s Comment
member avatar

Can I ask, are you company, L/O, or O/O? I ask because I am being trained to do the exact opposite of what you did.

For example a couple weeks ago we picked up a load in twin falls to Tollesson. We arrived about 24 hours early maybe even 34. So my plan was stop at the Love's a block from the receiver. Get a shower etc. and then work with my trainer in the plan to deliver. Well the Loves was full so I just said let's take it all the way to the receiver and see if we can deliver early. I was told I should have told my FM first thing in the morning we were going to be early so we could have dropped it in the yard for someone else to finish.

My point here being, is as a company guy I have to ask what they want me to do instead of thinking for myself and just doing.

The result, the receiver took the load early. I thought I did well, clearly I was wrong.

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.
Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

He is a company driver for Knight. He's on a special dedicated account that contracts Knight for their deliveries. Old School preaches taking your life by the horns. Proving yourself to your DM is key. Learning and figuring out for yourself how to do these things. Letting your DM as soon as possible that you will be early gives them a chance to find you a load back. I hope that helps. I'm sure Old School will chime in with more info. Good luck.

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
My point here being, is as a company guy I have to ask what they want me to do instead of thinking for myself and just doing.

They tell every driver this because they don't want everyone just randomly making changes to plans and scheduling, especially considering a lot of drivers wouldn't push things forward, they would put in delays to give themselves extra time at home or extra time to have fun on the road.

"Oh sorry, boss. They said I couldn't deliver this load until Monday so I had to stay in Vegas the whole weekend."

That sort of thing. There are several reasons why this kind of thing works well for drivers like Old School.

For starters, as Big Scott mentioned, Old School is no ordinary run-of-the-mill driver. He's a very well established and proven Top Tier veteran who has been on a special account for quite some time. They know they can trust him, and he knows how operations work in the offices at his own company. That's one of the keys right there.

The second thing to note is that he jumped on this opportunity right away and started making phone calls. He didn't just show up on Saturday to see what would happen, he called ahead and set up a new schedule with the receiver, and the immediately notified his company of the new plans so they had plenty of time to account for the change and get him set up on the next load.

So he didn't just roll the dice to see how they fell and then spring it on his company at the last moment. He made specific plans ahead of time which greatly improved the situation for all parties involved, and he then notified his company immediately so they had time to make new plans.

And finally, Old School did exactly what he promised everyone he would do. If he hadn't shown up at the site on Saturday it would have been a complete mess. The construction crew would have been angry that he wasted their time and his company would have been angry for having another load assigned to him which now would have to be reassigned. If you say you're going to do something, do it. When your dispatcher assigns you a load they should be able to consider it finished before you even get started on it.

"Set it and forget it, because Eric's got it, so we know this one is in the bag." That's the guy you want to be.

Eric, you did do well. You did excellent in fact. You got a load delivered a full 24 hours early which is a big win for everyone. It's better customer service, it's better truck utilization, it improves your reputation with your company, and it gives you and your company the opportunity to put more money in your pockets by having an extra day to haul another load.

The biggest thing you would want to do in this situation the next time is to jump on the opportunity the moment you know you can deliver a day early. It was common for me to call the receiver while I was still sitting at the loading docks at the shipper waiting to be loaded. I would immediately call to see if I could move things forward a few hours or a day. The moment I got the ok from the receiver I'd shoot a message to dispatch giving them the updated schedule.

Often times the receiver would tell me, "We're not too busy that day so we should be able to work you in." They would almost never guarantee it, but I knew once I got there I could sweet talk them into getting the job done. So I would tell dispatch exactly that. I would say, "Look, they said I can bring it in early and they should be able to work me in. So I'm pretty sure I'll be available for the next run a day early. I'll keep you updated."

That way, again, there's no last minute surprises out of the blue. Dispatch knew that I'd probably need my next load assignment a day early, but they were prepared to stick with the old schedule in case things didn't work out.

Eric, I love the fact that you're still in training but you're already trying to understand how all of this works. Keep doing that. Keep asking us questions and keep communicating with everyone at your company. Over time you'll learn more and more of these 'tricks of the trade' and you'll be in the same boat as Old School where you're blasting out big miles every week and you're at the top of the list of favorite drivers at your company.

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.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Nice couple weeks there sir! I also try to be proactive when going into receivers as well but am also cautious stepping on my fleet managers toes when doing so. I've found in certain situations it certainly pays off.

Being a reefer driver there are times it just isn't in the cards, many of the larger receivers have firm appointment times which just can't be moved. The smaller ones can be a little easier to manage that fete. Also when my fleet manager is on his A game he may be preplanning a great load on the other end so I find it better to try to run it by him first. Since I work on percentage of load, letting him work the board with the pre planners can work out to my advantage.

It's funny we are on week 12 since hometime and a few weeks back we had couple days extra on a load ( arrived in Cali on Friday for a Monday morning appointment). Receiver would be closed so I could have asked to drop it at the yard and hooked another load heading outta there.

I looked at the 10 week combat zone in the sleeper and decided to disinfect the truck instead of jumping on another load. Ten weeks two guys it was worse than a high school gymnasium locker room. So I told my co driver we clean Saturday play Sunday and drive Monday. He was all for it.

Saturday morning rolls around and my fleet manager calls wanting to why I'm not bugging him to get the heck outta there! I told him it was cleaning demo day on the truck and we'd hold tight till Monday. He seemed a little disappointed.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Fleet 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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Victor C. II's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School I think I am going to take your advice! I have been driving solo for a week and today was the first time that I actually got to the reciever a whole day early! Happy happy happy. I did 1934 miles then a couple 200-300 mile runs and now my 3rd 300 mile run. It pays off to also let the dm know if you are having trouble getting to where you are supposed to be.

Now though, I do say I have a question, what if a pay person told me that I could get a "service failure" if I call or if the special comments say the same? What should I do in that scenario? Should I still call or should I just free form my dm and let them know I am going to be early?

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.
Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Always take those messages seriously. Your best bet is to contact your fleet manager and see if sales can get you in early.

Fleet 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.
ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

Hello all, Iam on a dedicated account, and have found that's the benefit of having a good relationship with your DM/FM/Load planner and customers. If you deal with the same shippers/receivers pretty regularly, you get to know what they like, want, and expect.

On my account, I deal with the same receivers very regularly. I learned which ones I can be early to, who will only take me at my appointment time, and who wont take me on days other than their regular appointment days. Most of the time, if I'm going to be early, I will call and say "hey, I'm can be at your place at this time with this much product, can you take me early?" This way they can have a heads up and make room if needed, and most will tell me "sure, the earlier the better"... On the same token, if I'm going to be more than 30 minutes late, or they have a larger than normal order, I call to give them a heads up. My boss actually likes it when the veterans take the initiative and call, because then if there's a hiccup, we can let him know. But also, if we are running late, and risking missing the receivers hours, my boss likes to know as early as possible so he can adjust our preassigns....

I've realized that good communication all around with everyone is key...

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Now though, I do say I have a question, what if a pay person told me that I could get a "service failure" if I call or if the special comments say the same? What should I do in that scenario? Should I still call or should I just free form my dm and let them know I am going to be early?

Victor, as a rookie I took those notes pretty seriously, and I would recommend that you do the same. It took me about six months before I felt confident enough to start moving my appointments when there were notes advising me not to. What you want to do right now is work on communicating effectively with your dispatcher. That is a critical part of learning to be successful at this. Now, all dispatchers are not equal, and you may eventually find that you can be more effective with your own efforts, but as a rookie start out learning to let your dispatcher know ahead of time that you will be early and see if they get the hang of helping you keep moving. Remember that you are an unproven driver to them, and they have had a lot of bad experiences with unproven drivers before you. Just keep practicing your methods of getting there early and notifying dispatch of what you will do - just be sure that you can always follow through with what you are telling them. That is how you establish yourself as dependable, reliable, and trust worthy. Eventually your dispatcher should start helping you keep moving in a good way. If after six months or so and you discover that your dispatcher may not be on the ball as much as you would like them to be, then you can start trying some tricks of your own to keep yourself moving.

This is a learning process, especially for you at the beginning of your career. Also you need to realize that I am in a special position to work these kind of things out. For one thing I am pulling flat-bed loads, and I do believe it is easier to move things forward with these types of loads and customers. The other thing is that as a dedicated driver a lot of my customers get to know me, and that in itself helps a lot out here when trying to get more done. Take your time as you develop your strategies for success. You don't want to step on any toes just yet in your eagerness to achieve success. The key relationship you need to work on right now is that one with your dispatcher. They have the power to really help you or hinder you. One of the most important things you want to establish right now is a relationship that causes that dispatcher to fully trust you and rely on you.

Go get em! If you can get somewhere early, then let your dispatcher know well in advance, and do it. I had plenty of times as a beginner where I would actually get in a 34 hour reset while waiting to deliver. Sounds crazy, but I would gain more available hours, and eventually my dispatcher figured out I knew what I was doing and then started getting me set up better so that we could utilize my time better, and optimize the efficiency of my truck. Once that starts happening the sky is the limit. Take those baby steps faithfully and carefully, and soon you will be running with the "Big Dogs."

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.
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