Going Great With Crete So Far

Topic 26849 | Page 5

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Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

It's honestly a fun game finding what rules you can bend, when you can break them, and all the other things that let you respond with flexibility to customers. I can't even count how many appointments I've gotten moved or little things forgiven by just being on the ball with communicating, either with my DM or the customer -- Knight's policies are very relaxed in that regard. I always tell my DM "I'll check in with the customer (if the phone number is good) when I'm running late (or ahead)."

But the ELD mandate does awful things to a 70, not being able to do drop and hooks off duty (I got many of my 30's at customers that way). Has actually caught me off guard for one of my runs.

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.

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

..... and places like Walmart give you service failures for delivering early!!! They have contracts where if you deliver early... they will say "sure come in" and yet they then pay LOWER freight rates for breaking the contract. A few lease op friends found that out.

with us it isn't so much moving up appointments, but if i can get to a close terminal and drop it 24 hours early, i can grab another load out. Or i ask my FM if someone can deliver it who is waiting for hours and i take a better load.

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.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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if i can get to a close terminal and drop it 24 hours early, i can grab another load out. Or i ask my FM if someone can deliver it who is waiting for hours and i take a better load.

That's exactly the type of ideas I'm talking about. Drivers have to find creative ways of turning more miles. Maybe you have to bend the rules a little, work out plans with your dispatcher , or come up with your own solutions.

I worked for a company where empty trailers were hard to find sometimes. Drivers would sit for hours, sometimes an entire day, waiting for dispatch to find them one in the area. I made a list of customers that had extra trailers. When I needed one I went to find one myself. Sometimes there would be several bobtails sitting at the same customer waiting for dispatch to find them a trailer. I'd tell them on the CB, "I have to run some errands. Be back in a few." I'd head to some customers in the area, find an empty, let dispatch know the number, and they'd assign me a load. I'd be down the road making money while the rest of the trucks are waiting for dispatch to figure out their problem for them.

This is one of the reasons that former business owners do so well in trucking; creative problem-solving. Businesses constantly face seemingly impossible challenges they must overcome. You don't have the luxury of settling for less production or taking the easy way out. You'll go broke. Employees often see a challenging situation and decide there's nothing they can do. They settle for the status quo. Business owners know that you're growing or you're dying and dying isn't an option. You must keep moving forward. You must overcome challenges and accomplish more. It's a way of life. Efficiency and productivity are the keys to survival in business.

Top Tier Truck Drivers Operate Like Great Business Owners

The best drivers learn to identify the bottlenecks that may keep them from being one of the top earners in the fleet and they find ways around them.

This is also one of the big reasons that staying with your company for a number of years is very helpful:

  • You learn how their system works so you can make things happen for yourself
  • You develop strong relationships with the right people and leverage those relationships to solve problems
  • You develop a strong reputation as a trustworthy go-getter so they'll give you more leniency than they would other drivers
  • You qualify for opportunities in different fleets or with certain customers that may increase your chances of turning more miles

I took the approach that I must turn 3,200 miles per week. I did everything in my power to make that happen. At times I broke rules, I overstepped my bounds, I went against company policy, and I lied. But most of the time I knew our system better than the other drivers, I worked well with my dispatcher and others in the offices, I solved problems that other drivers weren't solving, and I managed my time better. Whatever I could do to turn more miles safely.

I'm not saying that each of you has to do things this way, but if you want to be in the top 10% of the fleet that's what it will take. If you're not turning top miles it's your own fault. You haven't figured out how to make it happen. No one is going to hand you top miles and special treatment. You'll have to earn it.

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

Bobtail:

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

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar
I worked for a company where empty trailers were hard to find sometimes. Drivers would sit for hours, sometimes an entire day, waiting for dispatch to find them one in the area. I made a list of customers that had extra trailers. When I needed one I went to find one myself. Sometimes there would be several bobtails sitting at the same customer waiting for dispatch to find them a trailer. I'd tell them on the CB, "I have to run some errands. Be back in a few." I'd head to some customers in the area, find an empty, let dispatch know the number, and they'd assign me a load. I'd be down the road making money while the rest of the trucks are waiting for dispatch to figure out their problem for them.

I was able to do this until this year. I am guessing you weren't on elogs at the time. They see the exact minute you move and a lot of companies won't let you PC at all, so if you start your clock dispatch will message asking why cause it ruins their plans. for loads. Also, you burn up fuel that is not authorized so we get a code on our pay stub that says "unauthorized miles".... they don't like too many of those. and it reduces our fuel bonus.

I used to PC to a couple local customers to grab trailers coming off home time and have it fueled and washed before my FM came in for the day, but this year some contracts changed and they no longer have trailers. But that goes back to the thread about HOS , if I am PCing to not start the clock i am doing work not "on duty" which horrified and shocked some people and criticized me for falsification of logs.

Our Sales department tracks the trailers to the point that they often tell us to pick up a specific trailer to make sure it is in working order if it sat at a customer too long. they assume the reefer is dead or a flat tire or something. So Road Assist tells what trailers to assign for maintenance inspections. I am finding from drivers at other companies that our trailers are often in better shape and guessing this system is why.

Because they "latch" the trailer to your truck, you aren't able to pick up one that isn't assigned to you. Dispatch won't change it and you can't fuel etc with that trailer number. However, Greedy One Kenobi, my FM.would never have me sitting for hours or days without a trailer or load.

Bottom line.. you have to learn how the company works and work the system and adapt. there are times when i get less miles i then schedule a PM or repairs at the terminal , get my 34 and choose a load out to WA or Phoenix, knowing i will be turned around to back east. Definitely a 3000-3400 mile week if i plan right.

The rules and technology out here are constantly changing.. in the words or Ferris Bueller.. "Life moves pretty fast.." so yeah as brett says, evaluate and learn how the system works... then use it to your advantage.

With all that said... i am sure i said this before, but this weekend was horrible for freight. I was flying from ID to TX now to FL.... but the truck stops were mostly full even at noon and drivers told me people have been sitting for days with no loads or loads with a ton of time.

Jamie, give it time. Earn your stripes and gain respect and money. Sometimes a lot of us forget how hard it was our first year or two, cause I am sure GTown, Old School and I can walk into a terminal and be treated like gold. Heck, Prime even gave me a gold ring with several diamonds hahaha. It is easy for us to forget the struggle it took to get here.

Unfortunately when you change companies, you have to start proving yourself all over again, which will take time. you will get there.

Bobtail:

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

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
It is easy for us to forget the struggle it took to get here.

I know I haven't forgotten. I can tell you guys all kinds of stories from my first year. Tons of them. I can remember meeting my trainer for the first time and climbing into his truck. I remember the first conversation we had, the first truck stop we ate at, and the first night I spent in the truck.

I can also remember a huge accident that happened on my 4th day on the road. We came to it before the emergency services had arrived and there were literally body parts on the road, big chunks of unidentifiable bloody flesh. How's that for a "welcome to trucking" moment?

In my third month, I was sent on a 3 stopper to Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn and then had to pick up at JFK. We didn't have GPS or cell phones or any of that. It was a nightmare, but I managed it. I have stories about that trip in my book.

I remember my first time to going into downtown Chicago and Los Angeles too. Chicago was terrifying at the time because they hadn't fixed most of the low bridges. The atlas had 3 full columns of low bridges listed in Chicago. Nowadays trucks can fit under most of them. There are relatively few that remain.

I am guessing you weren't on elogs at the time.
The rules and technology out here are constantly changing

You mention quite frequently that things change a lot out here in response to things I say and it's clear you think I'm no longer in touch with how things work or that things are more difficult now. Let me clue you in on something - it's a hell of a lot easier driving today with all of this technology than it was when I started driving. You can't begin to imagine what it used to be like.

I didn't have a cell phone, Qualcomm , GPS, the Internet, brakes that adjust automatically, traction control, real-time engine statistics, sensors surrounding the truck, or a thousand safety devices to help me drive the truck. I used to get out at every mountain top, crawl under the tractor and trailer, and adjust my own brakes with a huge wrench. I used to navigate the country with a pen, a notepad, an atlas, and public payphones. That was my network. I used sticky notes on the dash for my directions into customers, which were wrong half the time so I'd have to find a place to park in a city and go to a public payphone to call them again and get the right directions.

Every time I wanted to communicate with a customer or dispatch I had to find a payphone and usually sit on hold for 30 minutes. I couldn't use Google Maps satellite view and street view to see what the layout was at my customer or find nearby parking. I couldn't pull up Trucker Path for real-time parking information, shoot a quick question to dispatch for an update, or check Google Maps for real-time traffic information in the cities.

I drove through the entire technology revolution. Technology, when I started driving, was a big wrench and a payphone. By the end of my career, I had everything you have now. I drove an automatic, had a cell phone, GPS, traction control, Internet, and everything else. Trust me, if you think it's harder to turn big miles now with all of this technology and automation then you obviously have never driven without it.

So I don't want to hear any more of this, "It's harder to do that nowadays. It was easier back then when you drove" garbage. If you think elogs makes it more difficult to turn big miles then you should try driving without everything else you have to help you navigate and communicate in real-time. If someone flipped a switch and made people today drive under the conditions I drove under in the beginning they would be lying in their bunks in the fetal position crying themselves to sleep every night, or at least for a few nights before they quit altogether.

Trust me, if I were out there today it would be nearly impossible to keep up with me, just like it was when I was driving. I'm 48 years old now and I train 6 days a week under a professional fitness coach, run a business, and climb huge mountains just for the fun of it. Don't think for a moment you could keep up with me. Not a chance.

Turning big miles has little to do with technology or laws and everything to do with motivation, creative problem-solving, and boldness.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.
Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Well I'm still.about 290 miles from my delivery tomorrow morning then I'll be deadheading to Joplin MO to get live loaded shortly after my delivery then I'll be heading to Goodyear, AZ. Pretty nice load but it's going to be heavy as well.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Although getting in between Brett and Kearsey probably has me slated for the "watch list," I'm going to stick my neck out any way.

I think you are both saying the same thing:

The rules and technology out here are constantly changing.. in the words or Ferris Bueller.. "Life moves pretty fast.." so yeah as brett says, evaluate and learn how the system works... then use it to your advantage.
Drivers have to find creative ways of turning more miles. Maybe you have to bend the rules a little, work out plans with your dispatcher , or come up with your own solutions.

Brett's examples may be dated, but the principle is the same: you need to know how the system works and be creative to work within the system.

Kearsey's critique of Brett's specific examples is valid. The same creative solutions that worked without paper logs won't work with e-logs. And many of the other differences in the trucking companies policies won't allow yesterday's creative solutions. But Brett's broader point is the same as Kearsey's: you need to understand the system and use it to your advantage.

Well, its been nice getting to know you here on TT. You can find me either in Kearsey's dungeon or on the other side of the "monitored" wall.

Drive safe and take care.

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.
Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

Well, its been nice getting to know you here on TT. You can find me either in Kearsey's dungeon or on the other side of the "monitored" wall.

Drive safe and take care.

Been nice getting to know you too here, Rob D.!

smile.gif

(Actually, I (personally) have found Brett to have a pretty high tolerance for such things here). Guessing you will be OK!

Can't actually speak to Kearsey's dungeon - haven't had the pleasure!

good-luck.gif with that!

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob D from my experience here (5 years I believe) you have no reason to be monitored. Those being monitored are new here so theres no way of knowing if they're legitimate or not (this came after someone came in during middle of the night and revived 5 year old threads asking for updates) and those who make baseless accusations or intentionally post wrong information. I've had posts deleted and looking back it was for the right reasons. As long as discussions continue without name calling, or making baseless accusations about another member, or their company theres no reason to worry. That's what this is all about. We all have different opinions regarding different issues, but our goal is the same. To help new, and potential drivers sift through all the BS to help them become a safe, productive driver and help change the negative stereotype the public views us as.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Thanks to the preplan they assigned me a little bit ago, I should hit 3k miles this week or be very close.

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