Are Drop And Hooks Really Any Better Than Live Loads? - Article By Rainy

Topic 25869 | Page 3

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G-Town's Comment
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Hicks wrote:

To be honest, I cannot agree with the article.

There are many elements of this article that are fact. There is no denying it, and disagreeing with something “experienced first hand” by a seasoned driver is a bold statement.

That said I do agree with your point about short trips. You presented a different perspective based on your 11 months of experience. Her experience was different, spanning a longer period of time. Rainy described multiple scenarios where things didn’t go as planned. It’s reality. Do all of your drop and hooks go as planned; requiring no more than an hour of time? I know mine don’t and my Dedicated environment is far more controlled than OTR or even regional OTR. Regardless things go wrong and mistakes are made requiring adjustments that eat clock.

So as a general rule; D&H is likely to use less time than a live load or unload scenario. But experience teaches us that anything and everything can and will go wrong. Rainy’s article is about a grounded expectation, teaching perspective when comparing D&H with “live” loads or unloads. It’s difficult to disagree with that.

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.

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.

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
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Assuming everything goes perfectly with the drop and hook it can be a time saver. But how often does it go perfectly? That's one of the points Rainy is making. Not only that, but many live loads or unloads won't take more than an hour. Most loads are only 22 pallets or so. If they load or unload them at a reasonable pace it can easily be done in 45 minutes.

Not only that, but getting stuck with a lousy trailer that needs repairs happens from time to time also.

We get quite a few people who want to land a dry van job because they hear it's a lot of drop and hook so they think they're going to make more money that way. We also get quite a few people who say they want to avoid reefer because they're afraid they'll sit at the docks all the time and lose money because of it. Neither of these points are valid concerns. They're no reason to choose one type of freight over another.

You can turn 3,200+ miles per week and make top wage regardless of the type of freight. That's the lesson Rainy is trying to teach and it's one our experienced drivers here have proven. We have Top Tier Drivers here hauling every type of freight imaginable for a long list of different carriers and they're all making fantastic money.

My company's policy is to schedule 2 hours for each DnH and 4 hours for each Live Un/Load.......All this policy also gets in the way of experience

Your experience should trump their policy. Great drivers find ways to get appointment times moved ahead sometimes or find ways to encourage the dock workers to get things done a little more quickly than they might have otherwise. I'm guessing you've figured this out by now yourself.

The most important lesson we try to teach new drivers is that you must be creative in finding ways to turn more miles and moving more freight. In this business you don't just sit back and wait for your company to make things happen for you. You have to take an active role out there and make things happen:

  • Find ways to maximize the use of your time
  • Schedule maintenance at strategic times
  • Get appointments moved ahead
  • Create a list of customers that have empty trailers in case you're stuck without one at some point
  • Develop a strong relationship with dispatch
  • Learn your company's operations so you can work the system in your favor

People that are new to trucking naturally have a lot of misconceptions or a lack of understanding about how things work in this industry. This article did an excellent job of dispelling one of those myths that people commonly believe.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Bird-one's Comment
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Well I guess one thing for Sure about live loads are you chances of getting smacked in the head from the landing gear handle going into a free spin are slim. smile.gif

PackRat's Comment
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Well I guess one thing for Sure about live loads are you chances of getting smacked in the head from the landing gear handle going into a free spin are slim. smile.gif

Don’t give up hope because you still have a chance to battle with the LG crank. Some places we visit require that we back into a dock, then disconnect from our trailer and pull up anywhere from a couple feet or go park in the bobtail waiting area while they load.

The silliest “safety overkill” place I’ve seen was this: back into a dock, disconnect and pull up, two sets of wheel chocks, dock had the claw lock on the ICC bumper, bring your key to the shipping office. Finally, a person comes out and installs a lock on the trailer air lines.

I still prefer live loads because I know what issues (if any) I can expect with the trailer I brought in. Most are under two hours.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Donna M.'s Comment
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As I sit here waiting on Tyson, this is another drop and hook gone bad!

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.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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I always liked the D&H assignments. But I got to like the live loads/unloads also. The variety was enjoyable. But from an old man's perspective, I did like the occasional rest break that I had with the live stuff. I never really tracked my pay based on D&H versus the live loads, but it didn't seem like there was much impact to my paycheck either way. My situation was very different from you young people who have the energy and drive to go-go-go. I had a more relaxed approach to driving so I rarely got stressed. And from what I read here, I wasn't a top earner but I was probably above the average. And above all, I learned that safe, steady driving will benefit everyone in the long run.

Rob D.'s Comment
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I always liked the D&H assignments. But I got to like the live loads/unloads also. The variety was enjoyable. But from an old man's perspective, I did like the occasional rest break that I had with the live stuff. I never really tracked my pay based on D&H versus the live loads, but it didn't seem like there was much impact to my paycheck either way. My situation was very different from you young people who have the energy and drive to go-go-go. I had a more relaxed approach to driving so I rarely got stressed. And from what I read here, I wasn't a top earner but I was probably above the average. And above all, I learned that safe, steady driving will benefit everyone in the long run.

Bruce

I've always appreciated your laid back perspective.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Rob D, Thanks for that comment. When I first started, I was so nervous that no one would have classified me as "laid back". It took me several months and several backing boo-boos to figure out that I needed to slow down, relax and be more careful. After I understood that mind set, I did much better. But I still understood that the company needed me to be productive with my HOS and make pickups and deliveries on time. Every driver needs to find their balance.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
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Bruce

I understand performance measures will need to be met and you need to be diligent but Brett has mentioned that a calm focus really helps new drivers make it through the steep learning curve.

Ginger Twist's Comment
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“or find ways to encourage the dock workers to get things done a little more quickly than they might have otherwise”

So what is the trick for this. We just did a live load with a 3pm appt time and we didn’t get unloaded until 4:30 am this morning and next load had a 10 am pick up this morning. Basically took 10hr break at the dock sleeping a few hours here and there.

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