New OTR Driver With Low Mileage Loads

Topic 22937 | Page 1

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Michael G.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been solo for 7 months in my new career. I thought I picked the right company to work for but I'm not getting the miles to make a living.When I first srarted I had some very good runs. Then the loads dwindled down to 27-300m per load. I met with my Asst. Terminal manager and my miles went up 1200m average. Now I'm back at the bottom again. Now they expect me to do a couple of low mileage runs just to get an average run. Again, I can't make a living this way. I've never been late on any load. I need to know, "Is this typical for the industry or am I working for the wrong company? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanksstrong>

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

C T.'s Comment
member avatar

It would help if we knew the name of this company. There may be drivers here that know the ins and outs of what works there. If not, contact your fleet manager and have a RESPECTFUL word with them. You don't want bad blood between you and your fm. It's important to communicate or they will assume you are happy with how things are going.

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.

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.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

A couple questions:

What is your service like? How often are you late? Do you turn loads down? How are you managing your clock? What is your performance like?

Start there.

This line of thought is prevalent in trucking but makes no sense if you really think about it. If you're not making money then the company isn't making money either.

It is normal to do a couple short runs if that's what they need. Then they balance it with a longer run. However, if your performance is subpar then they usually cut the mileage.

If your performance is good then you need to speak with your dispatcher first. If that doesn't work go to your fleet manager and so on. Remember to stay respectful and professional. Ask how you can improve your miles etc.

Also understand that sometimes things fall through the cracks. There is nothing wrong with saying you need a good week. Just remember though you need to deliver on your request.

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.

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I drive for West Side Transport out of Cedar Rapids Iowa and honestly I have to laugh at this. Why? Because West Side primarily focuses on short haul Midwest Regional. My company's average length of haul is only 300 miles.

Do I get longer runs? Absolutely, but I get my share of short runs too. At my company, loads shorter than 200 miles pay a heck of a lot more cpm. I've done up to 3 deliveries and pickups in a single drive shift. Those short hops will work your @$$ off and you sure can't waste time, but excellent money so I'll gladly take those loads any time.

Driving for a short haul regional company, I logged over 158,000 miles my ROOKIE year. It's only gone up.

If your company keeps you pre-planned well and keeps you moving I promise you'll make good money doing short haul. Don't dawdle aroun and waste time, get in grab your load, get out as quickly as possible, deliver early, run off to ggrabyour next load, rinse and repeat. Do I like the longer runs, sure.. it's less work lol, but iin reality, I can make more doing 2-3 shorter loads a day totalling anywhere from 500-650 miles a day.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

If i am still hitting 2500+ a week, i dont care if it is long or short. As long as im hitting that number I am good. If you run dry van freight there is not much long distance runs. I have ran one cross country trip which was 2757 miles, but rarely do I see something that long.

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.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Amen Gladhand! A load is a load is a load and is miles that you get paid forr, so I can't understand how the OP says he can't make money with shorter runs.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I need to know, "Is this typical for the industry or am I working for the wrong company?

Hey Michael G, welcome to our forum!

You pose a great question. Actually mixing in short haul loads with longer ones is a very typical practice in the trucking business, and it has nothing to do with "working for the wrong company." Short haul loads are more profitable for the company, and in some cases (depending on your pay structure) the driver also.

Your driver manager has goals that have been placed on him by his managers. One of those goals is to make sure he has certain amounts of revenue per truck that he is managing. One way of increasing those revenues is to mix in short hauls with long hauls.

You mentioned meeting with your assistant terminal manager, but you said nothing about having a professional conversation with your driver manager. Most driver managers will take offense if you just go right over them and report your problems to their manager without at least working on it with them first.

How's that relationship with your driver manager? I've got a hunch you've been making it a little difficult. That's the best way I know to have your miles go down to an unacceptable level. Drivers who typically don't work hard at developing that most important relationship with their driver manager often have this adversarial attitude that makes them think they need to beat their manager into submission. They are also typically consistently convinced they are with the "wrong company." Many of them spend their entire career searching for the "right company," never realizing the problem is staring at them in the mirror every day.

We all get a mixed bag of loads, but a professional puts in just as much effort on all of them. You said...

I can't make a living this way.

Length of load really has nothing to do with making a living. Total miles you turn per week is where the money comes from. There are a lot of professional drivers making a killing off of 250 - 300 mile loads. You do two of those in a day and you are killing it! The rub comes in when you have to prove your capable of pulling that off.

I have a feeling your driver manager is trying to help you get to that point, but you aren't digging deep enough to make that happen. In a situation like yours, I always wish we could hear the driver manager's side of the story.

What time of the day are you starting work? A smart driver running these types of loads will usually start around two or three in the morning. That way he can get unloaded first thing in the morning, and be ready for the next load which he will deliver the same day, and typically be able to pick up another one around four o'clock that afternoon. You can make some killer money running like that, but you have got to show your driver manager that you can do it consistently.

Here's an article that might help you lay hold of the proper mindset a professional driver needs to embrace if he's going to Make Some Money In Trucking.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

A load is a load. I pull dry van and have few loads 300 miles or less. I'm pre-planned for about 800 miles coming off home time. We get paid extra for loads under 200 miles. I take all loads and usually have at least 2500 miles per week. The key to making money is to keep your doors closed. Talk with your fleet manager ask what you need to do to get more miles. Then do what he says.

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.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar
The key to making money is to keep your doors closed. Talk with your fleet manager ask what you need to do to get more miles. Then do what he says.

Indeed, keeping the doors closed (implies you are driving) is definitely important, but only one of several “keys” to making money at this...

I totally agree with everything Old School and Susan have said thus far. The relationship with your driver manager , and/or the person you report directly to is vitally important to your success. It’s a “process” that you must constantly work on and build upon. Do not underestimate this dynamic.

Good luck.

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.

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.
Brian's Comment
member avatar

Relationship is very important with your driver manager. You have to be on the same page with him or her. And like Old School said follow that chain of command if you will. The assistant terminal manager should really only be there if the problem you have cannot be solved by the driver manager. Meaning you go to that individual first.

Not that this necessarily relates to you but I definitely saw a correlation while I was at Schneider Dollar Tree between the drivers that were getting good miles and the ones that were not. Communication can be a beautiful thing.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.
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