Truck drivers get paid by the mile – a unique aspect of truck driving. You get paid for the distance you go not the time you put in. But there’s actually a little more to it than that. Here are 6 specific tactics to consider – to gain more miles and in return earn a better pay cheque.
The bottom line is – if you’re not safe, you won’t be around long. Trucking requires an extremely high level of attentiveness when it comes to safety. Always complete a thorough pre-trip inspection, keep plenty of following distance in front of you, manage your time well, keep calm and don’t give stress a chance to cloud your judgment. Plan your routes ahead of time so there are few surprises. Try not to be lethargic, be diligent. It will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
Be On Time
Pay attention to the time and weather to stay ahead of schedule. Be creative with your systems for completing repairs and ensuring your truck is in the most ideal shape to keep you from being late due to breakdowns or inclement weather. If you plan ahead and take the role of a proactive problem solver, you’ll quite often overcome most obstacles to be on time.
Push Your Appointment Times Forward
Always do what it takes to keep your wheels turning and stay ahead of schedule. You can call ahead to customers to see if they’ll take you early. You can oftentimes get loaded or unloaded ahead of schedule. Most of the time they won’t guarantee anything but show up early anyways and be super friendly with the dock staff. If you sit around waiting for things to happen you are losing money. Always be proactive.
Do The Dirty Work
If you develop a reputation as being a driver who takes care of business each time without irritable behavior, your dispatcher will be far more ready and willing to do favors for you. They’d prefer to deal with pleasant people, rather than giving good freight to people who are difficult to deal with.
Be Friendly With Dispatch
Truckers have a say in ensuring they get great miles. You first earn extra miles with great performance, but it also makes a difference if you’re a civilized and pleasant human being. Dispatchers truly make a special effort to ensure their best drivers continue getting the best miles. They’ll campaign for you. They’ll watch you all the more intently. They’ll stop what they’re doing to manage you promptly when important. Develop an enjoyable and professional relationship with you dispatcher. If you are disrespectful, they are less likely going to do favors for you, which will in-turn affect your paycheck.
Lobby For More Miles
Regardless of how awesome you are as a driver, dispatchers and load planners can get swamped and overwhelmed with work. You might get a few short runs in a row or your mileage might be short for a week or two. Give your dispatcher a call to convey concerns regarding your circumstances. Try not to get irritated about it. Simply let them know that you need more miles. If you just sit back without saying a word, they’re presumably going to accept that you’re fine with what you are getting – and they’ll concentrate somewhere else. Be professional, kind and don’t be hesitant to talk about your concerns. If you’re a great driver – they’ll make sure it is dealt with.
Communicate Well With Dispatch
It’s essential that you keep dispatch informed of anything that may influence your calendar. For example, let them know about truck maintenance or if you’re running behind schedule. Dispatchers can assign freight ahead of time. If you are reliable making all your appointments, dispatchers will become comfortable pre-planning your runs. If dispatch can pre-plan your loads you’re going to get better miles, better quality runs and make more money.
The Bottom Line
Trucking is competitive – this isn’t an industry that treats everybody the same. The safest, most reliable and hardest working drivers get the most miles. To be at the highest point of profit you want to, first and foremost, have a favorable and professional relationship with your dispatch, always be on time, be safe, convey your circumstances well, campaign for more miles, do the dirty work without grumbling and be friendly and professional on a consistent basis.