Prime Flatbed Dedicated Account 2022

Topic 31682 | Page 1

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Chief Brody's Comment
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I’ve started a dedicated account hauling aluminum coils out of Kentucky and so far it’s great, but I’m only on my second load. I'm sharing because many discussions on this forum involve prospective drivers, rookie drivers, and experienced drivers looking for those easy runs with lots of miles.

First, the basics. I’m hauling aluminum coils for a customer with several different locations all around Russellville, Kentucky. Generally, each load has two coils weighing about 23,000 lbs each, 7’ feet tall and about 5 feet in diameter. The coils are banded to pallets and loaded “eye to the sky.” You need two coil mats under each coil and at least 3 straps per coils (2 “x” straps and 1 strap directly across each coil). Although, I’ve decided to use two straps across the center of the coil. 8 straps at 5,400 WLL per strap, gives me 43,200 aggregate WLL. One lumber tarp covers the two coils. In fact, the office door of the shipper for my current load had a sign “It’s always the lumber tarp.” It takes me about one hour thirty minutes to strap and tarp the coils.

So far, my loads have taken me to Windsor, Colorado and my current load will deliver Thursday in Waddell, Arizona (near Phoenix); 1,200 miles and 1,700 respectively. The receivers are generally open 24/7 so I can deliver any time, but I like to keep my sleep schedule normal so I try to get there during the day. It takes about an hour to pull off my tarps and pack my stuff. It takes about 10 minutes to unload the coils.

Once unloaded, I deadhead back to Kentucky and get my next load assignment on the way. No waiting for my next load. Thus, for each load, I have less than 4 hours “ground time” and the rest is driving. And while I’m not a fan of tarping generally, these coils are pretty easy to secure and tarp.

I like the consistency of this dedicated account, including the procedures of this customer, which are relatively the same among all the different locations. While hauling a variety of flatbed loads makes the job interesting, it’s difficult to really develop a good system for each different load. When you encounter some difficulty in securing a particular load and come up with a solution, by the time you get that load again, you forgot your solution to the particular securement problem. And this particular customer has good procedures for securement. The coils have carboard banded to the top, so you don’t need edge protection for your tarps. This customer provides disposable cardboard edge protectors that you slide underneath the flat cardboard banded to the top. The customer provides fitted plastic bags that cover the coils. The forklift operators put your tarp on top of the coils. The location of my first load had built a shed for you to back into to tarp you load, which was great for my first load because it was really windy that day. Altogether, a good experience with this customer.

This dedicated account also will facilitate getting me home more often. The load that I delivered to Windsor, Colorado took me right through St. Louis. The timing was not good for me to spend the night at the house, but the more I run these loads, the more chance I’ll have nights or even 34-hour resets at home. And although the route for my current load does not take me through St. Louis, it’s close enough that my wife can meet me along my route for us to spend some time together. She was going to meet me in Poplar Bluff yesterday so we could go to the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, but the forecast for Poplar Bluff called for rain, so she decided not to come. And while the shipper location will get me home more often, I’m not running the same route, at least so far. I’ll post updates as far as the variety of routes once I run more loads.

So how and why did I get on this dedicated account? The how is that my FM asked me to run this dedicated account. The why, I’m not really sure, but it may have to do with my performance since driving for Prime. In addition, to managing my clock well and running good miles, I have not had any claims, complaints from shippers or receivers (at least that I know), and have generally worked through many difficult loads. In fact, I have had several loads where the shippers were very particular about securement and tarping. Often the load notes states “you must have ZERO holes in your tarps. You will be sent away if you have holes in your tarps.” I’ve never been sent away because I keep my tarps in very good shape. This particular shipper is very meticulous about the tarp requirements for the coils. For my current load, the shipping clerk had to inspect my tarp job before she would give me my BOLs. The first load I delivered, the forklift operator removed the plastics bags, bands, and cardboard to do a thorough inspection of the coils. Thus, when an opening came up for this dedicated account, I assume that drivers who have had claims or had been sent away because of tarps in poor condition were not considered.

Deadhead:

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

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.
Travis's Comment
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Sounds like a good fit for you. Congratulations on your work ethic paying off!

Dennis L's Comment
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Thanks for sharing this Chief Brody. I’ll be following

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Hey Chief, that sounds great. You know I have been doing dedicated flatbed work for some time now. I love it for a lot of reasons. Just getting to know your customers and their procedures will help you tremendously when it comes to being efficient. Being known and recognized by the shipper is a tremendous dynamic too. I can't tell you how many times the people at Hydro have gone out of their way to be helpful to me. Everybody who has hauled loads for them knows that is not a common experience when at their plants. I find there are people at many of the Hydro plants who know me and are willing to help when I need something.

I wish the best for you and hope you find this to be a satisfying stint for as long as you want to keep at it.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Good luck Chief!

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Awesome!

Best from usn's here in Ohio, too!

Dang, does that mean you won't be passing through the Buckeye? I'm so bummed I missed that opportunity; (missed ANOTHER again today, Tom had to run Don's route.)

Always following, Chief. I'm still amazed at how far you've come!

Keep on keeping on,

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Congrats on the gig! I agree that dedicated is where it’s at. I think your post also shows why it’s not wise to jump ship after 6 months. Lots of times companies (especially the larger ones) have opportunities that we don’t even know about yet and some of them can be pretty gravy. I’m not dedicated, just on a regional fleet, but might as well be dedicated because almost everything I haul is either Home Depot, Lowes, or Gypsum (drywall). It’s definitely nice for the reason you mentioned that you develop your own process for those particular types of loads

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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