Running With The Big Dogs

Topic 4395 | Page 1

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:
Old School's Comment
member avatar

One of the enjoyable things about this job is meeting the ever changing challenges that come up with each new day. I am constantly competing against the regulations that hinder your ability to work the amount of hours you want to so that you can get the most accomplished. I'm not trying to break the rules, nor even bend the rules, but rather constantly trying to work within the parameters of the law and still be able to get the most done. To be able to get the most done you have got to have a good grasp of what is allowed and what is not. If you are one of those people who just takes a lax approach at understanding how the clock works for you or against you then you will never be at the top of your game in this business because you will find yourself being mastered by the clock. Of course, to some extent we are all mastered by it, but I find that if I can master it, instead of it mastering me, I can be a more productive driver.

Time wise, I get a great deal of satisfaction out of beating the odds that are against us as drivers. I hear so many drivers complaining about running out of hours, and I'm puzzled by it because it should be something that is at the forefront of our thoughts and trip planning. Any time I can beat the odds and get a difficult load in on time I get a great deal of satisfaction out of it, and it only encourages the load planners to depend on me that much more. Once you've got them trusting you, they will be much better about keeping you rolling. If they have doubts as to your willingness or ability to "get er done" you may be sitting at times, which can mess up your time management. They are not trying to punish you by making you sit, but rather they weren't confident enough in you to have the next load ready for you, because if you didn't get the current load in on time, then the next one is really going to be late. It's just the reality of the logistics business, time management is everything.

I've never really given much thought to how I measure up against other drivers, but I am constantly measuring myself against my own goals and accomplishments. I constantly find myself trying to improve my performance, if only because I know that it will help me get the best treatment from my load planners and my DM (driver manager). This job is completely performance based pay, so if you are at the top of your game you will do much better than the average guy who doesn't put forth a whole lot of effort in his planning and execution.

So, I was surprised by this message that I received on my qualcomm this week from my new DM.

trucker driver of the month message screenshot

I never even thought about being at the head of the pack, I mean that is a lot of drivers that I'm competing against. Well, I guess runner up isn't quite at the top, in fact some would call it losing, but it was still quite a surprise to me. So I responded with this message.

trucker driver of the month message screenshot

Which garnered this response from my new DM. Notice that he doesn't really respond in reference to my performance, but to my attitude. This is one of those things that I constantly refer to when trying to advise new drivers how to succeed in this career. Attitude is everything, if you can just keep yourself from falling prey to the current trend of thinking you've got to muscle your way into controlling the way your DM operates, and just keep consistently doing what ever it takes to "get er done" you will come out on top. Truck drivers as a whole are some of the worst whiners and complainers I've ever come across, and without knowing it they are working like crazy at killing their chances of success at their chosen career.

trucker driver of the month message screenshot

Well, I'm not going to break my arm at patting myself on the back, because I know there is still a lot to accomplish, and even though it is fun to realize that you are pushing the line at being the top dog, I also realize that I'm often times competing against guys that are really new to all this. Sure there is a core group of drivers here that have been here for years, but they are also bringing in around one hundred new drivers every week.

It's also proper to note here that there is a price to pay to be at the top. I didn't go home at all during the month of June. It's a simple matter of math to figure out who is going to be on top, and those are the ones who put out the most. At this company there is a comprehensive set of measurements that are used to determine who is the top driver, including things like on time deliveries, fuel mileage, number of clean inspections, out of route miles, log violations, etc.

Well, I'm in Eau Claire, Wisconsin tonight - it's funny because I was just here about ten days ago. Since then I've been down to Colorado, then down to Laredo TX where I realized I was parked under the Mexican flag at my pick up point.

20140707_160406_zpse62c3c85.jpg

From there, I went over into Florida, then they had me go to the main terminal in Nashville, so they could pat me on the back for being "runner up".

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.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

WA's Comment
member avatar

Well done driver

Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey OS, I'd rather be runner up with a C note in my pocket than back of the pack with nothing!

smile.gif

Way to go!!!!!dancing-dog.gif

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Old School. You are an example for us n00bs to follow. I am finding flatbedding to be VERY challenging. If I dwell too long on it, I start asking myself "what have I gotten myself into???"

shocked.png

Justin N.'s Comment
member avatar

For a second there I thought that was a hundred thousand dollar bonus and was about to say "BS!"

Just got to ask though, how do you get the clock to work for you? Nothing good comes out of that thing. When you are sleepy go to sleep, when you are awake then do some driving. That is how it should be.

For some reason I love to bend the rules. My greatest satisfaction comes when I can proudly think to myself, "Up yours DOT!". They are an obstacle that you have to overcome. I will never forget how one of my classroom safety videos started out with "DOT is your best friend out there on the road..."

The closest thing I ever got to a commendation like yours was on my very last week driving for cr england. I had already given my two weeks notice. Each week we would receive our ranking of our fleet for number of miles driven. During that week our load was swapped out three times just a few short 100 miles or so before reaching the receiver with another driver. So we were constantly running and never had to get unloaded.

I forget the number of miles but my ranking was #1 out of 75 or so. My partner was #3. No reward or any congratulations, but I was leaving anyways so who cares.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Joanna 's Comment
member avatar

Great Job, OS! dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Troy V.'s Comment
member avatar

Well done Old School!!! You sure earned it!

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Just got to ask though, how do you get the clock to work for you? Nothing good comes out of that thing. When you are sleepy go to sleep, when you are awake then do some driving. That is how it should be.

Justin, it's the little things that you do that accumulate over time that can really help you conserve your seventy hour clock, which gives you more available working time. Things like sleeping at your receiver and getting unloaded before you start your clock. Always making sure that you are the first in line to be unloaded, I've parked in the way of the unloading docks and slept there just so no one can get ahead of me in the morning. I even one time pulled the tarps off of a load that could not get wet even though it was starting to rain - simply to get the fork-lift operator into high gear to get me unloaded. Also just understanding the rules - like how spending eight hours in the sleeper will extend your clock, and fully understanding how to utilize the split sleeper berth rule to your advantage.

My greatest satisfaction comes when I can proudly think to myself, "Up yours DOT!". They are an obstacle that you have to overcome. I will never forget how one of my classroom safety videos started out with "DOT is your best friend out there on the road..."

Justin, none of us likes being stopped or being inspected, but if you think about it they really are our friend. Try to think about it like this. Have you ever been down to Laredo TX to get a load, and seen all those lousy Mexican trucks that run in and out of there? That would be the trucks that you and I would be driving if it weren't for the D.O.T. Yes, most of us who are drivers today are running some very excellent equipment and the reason is that the D.O.T. enforcement of regulations has forced the trucking companies to having that really nice equipment. That alone makes our jobs so much safer and comfortable that you can see why I agree with the statement about them being our friends. With the threat of high C.S.A. scores putting some of these carriers out of business completely, we the drivers reap the benefits of their investment in nicer equipment so that they can comply with the rules. Of course the H.O.S. rules can seem a little restrictive at times, and I personally think they could be improved, but you can still make some decent money while operating within the legal parameters of the law. Of course there is a glamorous appeal to the old glory days of trucking when people could run just as hard as they wanted to, but overall it is a safer environment under the existing regulations, and the professional driver can still make a decent living if he's got the proper work ethic.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I am finding flatbedding to be VERY challenging. If I dwell too long on it, I start asking myself "what have I gotten myself into???"

Hey Steven, just don't dwell on it too long then!

No, seriously Steven, every new driver has those kind of thoughts, and the new flat-bed driver probably has them the most. You just hang in there - I know you've seen us say how the most important thing is that you don't hit anything, well the flat-bedder also has to make sure that nothing falls off the truck. So, you've got a lot more on your hands than the average newbie out there on the road. I'll tell you that it is going to take you around four months of running solo before you start to get the jitters out. I drove myself nuts during my first three months - I was constantly second guessing myself on whether I had secured my load properly or not. There were times that I would stop and re-do everything just so I could feel better about it.

Those first few months my paychecks really suffered sometimes, but it was all part of the steep learning curve. Once you get past that fourth month you will begin to settle in to the job and have some confidence working for you. Trust me on this - just hang in there and don't be afraid or bashful to ask someone for help at the places you are loading. For the most part the other flat-bed drivers will be more than willing to help you out.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Good work OS. Keep on challenging yourself!

Page 1 of 2 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More