Staying Busy In Good Times Or Bad

Topic 28179 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

Trucking is a unique career. Some love it, while others act like they hate it. I learned early on in my trucking career some little secrets that the haters never seem to catch on to. One of those is making sure that I empty out as early on Friday as I possibly can, and making sure my dispatcher knows when I'll be available. That way they have plenty of time to book you a nice long load for the weekend. That practice allows you to maximize the utilization of your available hours, and provides you with good lengthy hauls over the weekend. This past week it was even more critical due to Monday being a holiday.

I had made sure my dispatcher knew I'd finish the 1,580 mile run I was on by Friday at 0730, and that after a 10 hour break I'd be ready and available sitting right there in Delhi, LA where my dedicated customer is. Well, they didn't come through immediately, but they assured me they were working on a plan.

Late Friday afternoon they said they had a load that was loading Saturday by 1400. I accepted the load and decided to just wait until 1730 Saturday to start. I've been running re-caps steadily for three weeks. This way I could start this next load with a nice fresh 70 on my clock.

Check out this load...

0229537001590266737.jpg

It originates in Delhi, LA, then has 4 stops in Connecticut, one stop in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and finals at North Collins, New York. That's 2,831 miles. It's a gravy run that gives me plenty of miles for the holiday weekend. Communication with dispatch is key to this. Always keep them informed of your progress. Always take care of your business, making sure each little detail is accomplished just the way you tell them it will be. That's how you build a foundation of trust. That's what they go by to entrust you with the best loads.

I know this is a trying time for some of you. Some of you have even been furloughed. I have been blessed to be extremely busy during this time. I have been taking advantage of it and racking up the miles. I made a plan with my dispatcher to go home and take a break at the end of June. Here's what he said, "Dale, you take as much time as you need. I don't care if you want to take a week to ten days. You just let me know when you're ready to get back on the road." He knows I'm "all in" when I'm out here, and he understands I'm "all out" when I'm home.

Apply yourselves diligently to this career and it will reward you well. Don't waste your time and effort complaining about how your dispatcher treats you. Focus on feeding them with the valuable information they need to keep you moving. That effort will always come back to reward you. In good times or bad, a good flow of accurate information will help to keep you busy.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It took me at least a good year to figure this out. Even after reading almost every one of your posts and others on this site it didn’t click until after I’ve done it over and over again. You need experience doing this job before you can learn thing things like this. Some pick it up right away some take a while and some get mad that they don’t ever get good miles. I explain this to my new students all the time and just hope they listen a little. Good post.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m as busy as can be. 3,192 miles this week. Left Sunday, home today. I’m averaging 2,600 miles per week this year.

Thanks Old School!

Joseph I.'s Comment
member avatar

Got a question for Old School or anyone else I guess. Do you normally not know what your next load is until you are either unloaded or at least at the receiver. I mostly know where I am headed next long before that. Like I already know that Tuesday morning at live unload to Minneapolis at 8:00 then pick up next load in St. Paul which drops in Iowa, then pick up a preloaded trailer headed to San Antonio late in the day to deliver either late Thursday or Friday AM. Just curious how different places work. Stay safe and watch out for the drivers coming back out after being locked down for 2 months.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Joseph, I'm guessing, but I'd say about 75% of the time I know where I'm going before I get to my receiver. I'm on a dedicated account so my backhaul loads bring me back in the direction of the Hydro plant in Delhi, Louisiana. The last leg of my backhaul loads are to return my MT trailer to the plant. Sometimes I don't know where those loads from the plant will take me before I get there because they make a new list of loads each day. That list isn't ready until about 10:30 a.m. So, when I arrive at the plant early on Friday (like I did in this example) there is a window of a few hours until I get to hear about what's available for us.

The beauty of being pre-planned so much of the time is that you can mitigate the effects of burning your hours inefficiently. As you know, that helps you make better money. Executing your responsibilities efficiently makes a big difference in your bottom line in the trucking business.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I am knight dry van , staying busy, they keep pulling loads out their bag of tricks, burning the 70 out

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.
Pete E Pothole's Comment
member avatar

When freight is good I will be preplanned, when freight is slow I find out when I hit ready, or shortly thereafter. My last few checks have been 3400, 2600, 2500, 2700, 2700, 2900, and 3100 miles each. I've been running as hard as appointments and freight allows.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Those are some really solid miles Pete! Nice going!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pete E Pothole's Comment
member avatar

Those are some really solid miles Pete! Nice going!

Thanks Mr OS, learned slot from many of yours and others posts here. I have a great dispatcher , and I do everything in my power to keep rolling. Still much to learn, but loving this career. Most days I still grin when I think they pay me to do it, and pay well.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Keep up the awesome work Pete (and Old School)! Isnt it crazy how well we get paid for a job we love? Today I put in a 14 hour day and due to overtime pay for the holiday I made more in 1 day than I have an entire week at some previous jobs I've had. I kick myself in the butt for not getting started in this career earlier.

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