What Strategies Are You Using To Stay Busy And Get Work?

Topic 33130 | Page 1

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Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

With the freight market being slow, in fact slow enough that it's being called a freight recession, many are complaining of not having enough miles, having too much time on their trips, meaning too few miles and too many days between pickup and delivery, and or having many days off.

If you have established yourself as a top tier driver that is safe, reliable and easy to work with, your chances of having more work are clearly greater.

Things that I have been doing that are netting me more work at a time when other drivers are not working, much less having loads taken from other other drivers and given to me are:

Volunteering for unsavory jobs such as spotting empties, hauling loaded trailers off the yard to local spots, taking short loads to difficult customer positions, taking off time slots like loads delivered at nights and weekends.

Being ontime or early to every load. Communicating early and often, even on things that we take for granted as obvious such as traffic delays HOS issues, weather.

Extensive trip planning so that I can identify and communicate potential issues long before they happen to my DM.

Being flexible. Every conversation regarding loads, I say " I'll run anything, anywhere for you, anytime." Got a 250 mile load in LA on Friday afternoon you're stuck on? I'll make it work. Keeping this strategy in mind, I had a 3500 plus mile week consisting of a 700 and 900 mile load paired with 7 more 250 to 400 mile loads through socal on afternoon and morning appointments.

Asking for work in the right manner. Rather that sitting around a terminal complaining, I ask my DM what I can do to help insure her day is easier and how I can accomplish more.

I just had my truck in for a B service. It took 2 days, they finished at 4:30 pm local, so my office had gone for the day. I went in to the local terminal, asked the local DMs if they had loads they needed moved today. I said I'll run anything, anywhere, anytime. Sure enough, I ended up with an incoming T Call going from Vegas to SLC that needs to be up there. It's hard for them to get drivers to do it on a weekend at 5 pm.

Some of its luck, but there's always that off chance that they can use some help getting a load moved or taking one.

The previous week in Vegas, I went into the terminal, talked with the manager and DMs and offered to clean up the yard of T calls, empties and or trailers outgoing for repairs. I ended up with a 1.5 mile local drop for them, live unload an empty and my load. The guys said they really appreciate it and that most drivers won't do that.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I’ve definitely noticed that things have slowed down for me, but I’m not sure there is anything I can do to change it. I just have to take my assignments as they come and do my best to get them done as soon as possible so I can start another assignment. Davy, 3500 miles in a week is a great week. Last week I only got 2750. I’ve been getting over 3000 consistently, but it’s just the nature of the assignments lately that limit my miles. And I think the company is trying to spread the work around as much as possible, but things are slower now for sure.

For example, I asked for two days home time. Instead, the company scheduled me for five days off. If things were busy as normal, they wouldn’t have done that.

Next week I’m going to talk to my FM about this issue. “Hey, my miles are down, what can I do to boost my miles?”

It’s interesting to me that when I drove for Schneider, I never got over 2500 miles. Usually less than 2000. Now I’m griping about not getting 3000. So just trying to keep things in perspective.

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.

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.

Deleted account's Comment
member avatar

To keep running, I’ll take and volunteer for every bit of load training the company will give me. So instead of being able to haul one product out of one location, I can haul a dozen products out of fifty location. Dispatch loves me, and I’m always running.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Important things to point out and reinforce from previous replies:

●Hustle to complete loads quickly and get new ones

●be willing to lend a hand when needed

●Communicate your availability and willingness

Real world examples from my experience just this past week. I did get a load in response to my first msg. Unfortunately, as you'll see in second msg, it was canceled last minute. (my msgs are on the bottom. Response is on top)

0671996001682826572.jpg *yay! I got a load*

0656974001682826730.jpg

*Boo! It was canceled*

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

The main thing for me is that I don't turn down any loads. I will periodically be given a choice of loads, but frequently it's "this is what we have." I did turn down my first load on Friday because my DM told me that waiting until the next morning for a load assignment would most likely result in getting a better load. Sure enough I got a load going from Streetsboro, OH with 3 stops (The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island). The load I refused was going from Oberlin, OH to West Jefferson, OH with a delivery time on Saturday afternoon, making it iffy as to whether I would have gotten a reload before Sunday.

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.
Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

These are great examples of how to stay busy, stay engaged, and keep moving.

I have only felt a slowdown for a couple of weeks and my mileage has been below where I'd prefer it to be. In the last two weeks, it's been up again.

I Run everything they give me. Last week, I was near certain the load I was assigned would have me stuck in NJ because the unload was expected to take 6 hours, putting me outside of the pickup time at the next live load. To your point, the day before, I mentioned to my FL that I would probably spend the weekend in NJ because of that long unload time and being unable to get to the next live load b4 they close. She asked if that was a problem, I laughed and told her "I run the loads I'm given," everything else is adaptation and comes with the job. As luck would have it, the live unload only took 4 hours, and the dock workers at the next pickup location said they would keep the door open an extra hour for "pops" to get there. LOL. I made it there with 10 minutes to spare, which got me home before my 70 was out.

Also, I've volunteered to move empty's out of customers' yards where there are too many empties sitting around.

Oddly, with all of this talk about a slowdown in shipping. I am seeing more trucks on my routes than a couple of months ago. Especially route 80 across Pennsylvania.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Simply put: making yourself more marketable across the board will have the greatest impact on your ability to stay busy.

-Do you whine or complain all the time? You won't get any special favors.

-Do you have a hazmat endorsement? You'll get that HM load that needs to be delivered.

-Do you have a passport? You'll get that load that needs to cross the border.

-Do you speak, act, and dress professionally or do you walk into the terminal or customer's property wearing flip flops, gym shorts, and in the same shirt you've been wearing for a week? Appearance matters, people notice.

-Do you take the task given and execute it in a timely manner, or do you stop every 75 miles for a taco and a nap? Efficiency is key in this business.

-Do you have to ask questions or have your hand held every step of the way, or do you problem solve on the fly and get things done on your own? Clearly there will always be times when you need answers to your questions, but those drivers who are able to correctly figure things out on their own will be less of a burden to their managers.

Companies want winners. Be a winner, and you will win. It's simple.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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