First Week...are All Companies Schedules This Tight?

Topic 25309 | Page 3

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Old School's Comment
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Tight schedules are the norm in this industry. There's good reason to be glad about that too. One of the ways you earn the most income in this career is to maximize the utilization of your available hours. This is a company wide goal, and the responsibility for it falls collectively on the load planners, dispatchers, and drivers.

Rookies often think they will make the most money by having the highest CPM rate. That is a completely wrong approach. To get paid well in trucking you have to perform well. Being able to get the most done always equates to having the best pay. People wring their hands and stress out over which company they should work for, and honestly it's a completely futile exercise. Every trucker's career will be advanced by his ability to be hyper productive. That's the secret formula.

I do a lot of really tightly scheduled loads. My support team in the office has a lot of faith in my ability to get them done. Their faith in me was established by my consistent record of accomplishing what was asked of me, and communicating well in advance if I foresee a problem. When a driver has a team behind them that is confident in them, they will preplan their loads back to back so his/her hours are optimized. This week's loads are a great example. Here's the hand I was dealt...

First load: Goes from Delhi, LA with one stop in Sidney, OH, then finals in North Collins, NY. Total miles: 1,145.

Second load: Goes from North Collins, NY with first stop in Cressona, PA, second stop in Hammobd, LA, third stop in La Porte, TX, then final in Delhi, LA. Total miles: 2,206

This is a typical week for me. The total miles for the week are 3,351. That's hard to beat! It's also hard for some drivers to keep consistent under those demands. My dispatcher has plenty of drivers who don't get those kind of miles because they've never developed themselves to be a driver who can perform at that level.

This isn't put out there as a brag. This is to encourage you guys to embrace a tight schedule - learn to compete at the highest levels. When you can live comfortably in that arena you will find you are making some really great money.

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

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.

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.
Dave S (formerly known as's Comment
member avatar

Fleet Managers will test new drivers. My first FM had me on an impossibly tight schedule on my first trip. Don't recall all the details but I made the appointment with about 30 minutes to spare. One of those places you can't be more the 30 minutes early.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

It became apparent to me today, that I was going to need to take a 10 hour break, So I couldn’t make it back home tonight, so I sent a quick Qualcomm message to my Dispatcher that I would not be able to make my 10 o’clock appointment tomorrow see if he could change it to 4 o’clock.

Five minutes later, he sent a new appointment, and I finished my day today with 15 minutes on my clock.

It turns out that I probably could’ve made it, but no big deal

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.

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.
Robsteeler's Comment
member avatar

You will hate your company at first. Then, as time goes by, you will start to see the reasons behind all the stuff you thought was petty and senseless. You'll also start to relax a bit, and lose your hurry, hurry attitude. Hurrying in this business WILL get you in trouble. Move along purposefully, but don't rush. You, or someone else could get hurt, and none of these loads ate worth that. Now, about the two fuel stops, sometimes my company will give me two fuel stops, but I only need to use one of them. I pick the one that meets my schedule the best.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
You will hate your company at first. Then, as time goes by, you will start to see the reasons behind all the stuff you thought was petty and senseless

This is the main reason why the Web is flooded with "I hate my starter company" messages. The overwhelming majority of the problems that new drivers run into are either problems they've caused for themselves, a lack of understanding about how their company operates, or failing to realize that the problems they face are "just trucking" and it's stuff that every driver at every company deals with.

Solo's Comment
member avatar

I'm avg 3300mi/week w/ TMC Transportation thus far and we're planned off a 58mph avg with trucks governed at 62mph, which means you had better get efficient at your securement/tear down really quick and hope you're not stuck at sucksville, Silver Grove, or Wire Mesh (or the like) for 8 hours+.

That being said, TMC's policy is not assigned time-sensitive loads to rookie drivers for at least their first 6 months.

There have been loads where the miles and truck avg of 62mph + Atlanta Traffic simply equaled not making an appointment. I've macro'd my FM and has not been a problem changing the appt time.

Where it DOES become a problem is when you running off and doing you're own thing (take 12 hour reset instead of 10, or whatever the case may be) and show-up late and not involving your FM and creating a chargeable ETA change.

Point being, involve your FM sooner, rather than later.

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.

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.
JuiceBox's Comment
member avatar

When I was with Melton, i never thought I would make my appointment time. Every appointment was a tight one. I was always worried until I got to within 100 miles or so and realized I had plenty of time still to make my appointments.

After a couple months I thought my appointments had too much time inbetween and i was always asking if i could deliver early. Often times I could deliver early and I did.

Not sure what company you're with but if it's anything like my experience, then you'll be fine once you get used to how things go on the road. We were given routing and fuel stops also at Melton. I followed that stuff every run at first. Then I realized the routing wasn't always the most efficient or the fuel stops were wasting my time. I would change the fuel stops and go the way I wanted which would either be less miles or more maybe by about 40 miles but always the faster route. I was never late though and always had good communication with my DM so I never heard anything negative about the way I was running.

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.
Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Wondering why two fuel stops for an 800 mile trip?

Companies will buy 50 gallons of fuel to satisfy highway tax laws for certain states. Roehl used to do it all the time. Probably still do.

Also, one of the things the 50 MPH rule allows for us all the breaks...fuel, bathroom, safety checks. If you do the math after your trip...I think it’ll work out about the same.

As another poster said, it will become easier and less concerning as you learn going forward.

Good luck!!

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