One of the fastest ways to improve your income in trucking is with good time management techniques. As an entrepreneur I begin every week loading up my calendar with meetings and other projects and slotting them in where they fit to be completed in a timely manner. As a professional driver your goal should be to maximize your time by scheduling it for maximum profit. Most new drivers have heard that the first day of the week is the most important and starting late can wreck your whole week and that is true, however I still come across drivers that don’t understand the importance of trip planning. Especially since the GPS has come along, some don’t even look at their map books. If you have worked for your carrier for longer than a few months you should have a sense to the timeframe for back hauls, the distance from deliveries to pickup locations, and dispatch style of the operation. If you don’t then you haven’t been paying attention.
If you have your load for the first part of the week you already have half the week planned. You may be saying I don’t plan because dispatch will mess it up. That’s true you don’t have total control over your time but the things that improve your income are very small in trucking. Delivering on time, calling in early, and knowing your customers will be the big income producers. The carrier I used to run for had a habit of having their pickups a good couple hours away from their deliveries, unless you were in New Jersey this was the norm. So a driver that delivered before 9:00am were able to pick up a load around lunch time and start back for home. A driver that delivered around lunch time didn’t reload until 4:00pm if they got loaded at all. The driver delivering later may have had to wait for a back haul if all the loads were dispatched already. Multiply that scenario by three and you will see why some drivers are returning home on Sunday, they keep delaying themselves each day and it adds up. You should roughly know your flow for the week, this is easy with a dedicated run, but very different on the open board. So how do you plan your week for maximum efficiency? First plan your days for twelve hour days across the board. Leave the extra allowable hours for emergency or when things don’t go quite right. Leave early on your first day planning your deliveries before 9am each day unless your delivery time is appointed for another time. Always be early and plan for traffic flow and weather. Work on being consistent with your deliveries. Once dispatch gets used to your call each morning at 9am they will start having loads ready for you helping you make more income. Work on becoming the most reliable driver in the fleet. You’ll know when you achieve that because you will never be waiting for a load. Trucking companies always fill their reliable drivers first. Work on these small little items to improve your time management and you will find trucking will be a profitable experience. They may be simple tips, but they work.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a transportation consultant and author of the book Running By The Mile and Driven to Drive. Find more information on his website at http://www.outridgeenterprises.ca