Staying Relevant In A Competitive Environment

Topic 26909 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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Hey Bingo, I just want to add a little to what Brett said. In fact, let me just share my personal experience with this as a rookie.

I oftentimes realized I was being under utilized by having loads with too much time on them. It's a common problem for rookies. The first experience I ever had with attempting to change my appointment went like this...

I arrived at my customer at about 0700. My appointment was for 1400 that same day. I just thought maybe I could talk the security guard into letting me get in and unload early. Nope, he was adamant. He told me where there was a vacant lot around the corner that I could park in. Then he said come back after lunch and we will get you in.

Frustrated, I parked in the lot. After about five minutes of thinking about it I called the number for the customer in my dispatch notes. Guess who answers the phone? The same security guard who refused to let me in. I recognize his unique voice. I give him my name, tell him I'm with Western Express, and let him know, "We've got a driver parked right around the corner that we were hoping he could work in a little early. We've got another load for him to pick up, and it would really help us out."

The guard has a completely different attitude now and says he's glad to help me out. Just let your driver know he can come on in and we will do our best to get him unloaded! When I sent my dispatcher the macro indicating I was empty, he was ecstatic. He calls me and wants to know how I got unloaded, and tells me, "That's great! We can have you pick up some steel coils right down the street. I was planning on you resting tonight and seeing what we could find in the morning, but this is way better."

I never looked back from that moment. I make my own destiny now. Even if I do something that seems out of line, nobody ever complains. The company wants their drivers and their equipment to be utilized with maximum efficiency. That is the responsibility of the driver manager , but a driver who takes initiative and shares that responsibility becomes a huge asset by helping that driver manager put up much better numbers. So, it is also one of the driver's responsibilities. Everybody loves the driver who recognizes his responsibility in this matter. You'll know it when you're experiencing that kind of appreciation, but you've got to put in the effort to get that treatment.

If you read that screenshot I included above, you can see how impressed my dispatcher was. He used the word "inspirational" to describe the way I handled the load. They love productive drivers. They can't make them though. They try to teach and coax folks into being productive, but it really takes a lot of initiative from the driver. You'll figure it out, but it might be a little uncomfortable at first. Eventually you'll understand what rules can be bent or modified when it comes to Top Tier Drivers helping themselves be more productive.

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I want to throw something else in here.

So many people want to know how they can make the best money as a truck driver. Every rookie has his ideas, and most of those are formulated by reading information from the internet. We've got a conversation going on now where a relatively new driver wants to drive a fuel tanker because he thinks that's where the big bucks are. Others claim they don't want to be chasing the big miles, they just want to do oversize freight. Others think Haz-mat loads are the "Bee's Knees." Unfortunately the internet is mostly unreliable for all things trucking related.

The simple truth about making money at this job is that you've got to be extraordinary at it. Frankly, it doesn't matter what freight you're pulling. There are reefer drivers making a killing, just as there are dry-van guys raking it in. I'm an ordinary flatbed driver and I do very well out here. The difference between me and a lesser paid driver is simply how much we get done.

Think about it. A driver averaging 2,500 miles a week is going to earn less money than another who can manage 3,200 each week. They can be working for the same company. They might even have the same dispatcher and the same rate of pay. One of them is making better money though, and the sole reason is that he keeps himself relevant - he pushes all the time to be the best, or the most productive.

Have you ever paid much attention to LeBron James when he's on the court? He's gonna score, or die trying. Is it any wonder he can command such a salary? Not to me it's not. He has made himself valuable by his performance. Anybody can put on a basketball jersey, but that doesn't make them valuable. Likewise, there are many people who can get their CDL , but many of them are going broke out here. You've got to learn the game and play it to win. You've got to produce some good numbers to earn some scratch. It's very simple and straightforward.

I like to give you guys evidence of how this works. I don't want you to think I'm some big talking know it all who likes to hear himself brag. Actually I'm a really quiet guy who most of you would consider boring. I do know this business though, and I do get a lot of appreciation from my peers and coworkers.

Here's a screenshot showing my bonus pay for the month of October. That's the bonus money. It's extra money over my regular weekly paychecks. It's based on productivity and safety. The part I circled in green is my total miles for the month.

0222102001572615160.jpg

I earn a really good paycheck each week. But, I can increase my pay by five cents a mile by being productive and safe. Who wouldn't push themselves a little for that? It's like leaving 8,500 dollars on the table each year if you don't. I know very few people who would turn down that money if I offered to give it to them. Yet many drivers don't make the connection with how their lack of effort and initiative is separating them from the money they could be earning.

I love helping people get a grip on this career, but I find that many of them just can't grasp the concepts. Anytime you find drivers who constantly point their fingers at the situations or the people who are keeping them from being successful, you are finding underperformers who are placating themselves by laying the blame somewhere that they have no power over. It's a copout. I blame you, therefore I have no fault to correct. I'm just not treated properly. Nothing's fair. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Drivers can keep themselves relevant. But they have to be competitive. They have to produce good numbers. This is business - it's all about numbers and customer service.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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