Load Equality Not Equal

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Truck Operations Ideahey mike. your a local truck driver right? your company has other drivers right? your all paid miles and drops right? are all the drivers at your company supposed to get about the same miles and drops each week? what if miles and drops aren’t equal between drivers?

Response from Vicki:

Hi. I hope that you don’t mind if I respond to your questions for Mike. Together, we work our site “Because truckers know that no trucker deserves to be stung financially.”

Yes, Mike has a local truck driving job.

Yes, his trucking company has other drivers working out of the same local terminal.

Yes, all of the truckers working out of his terminal are currently paid on a combination of miles and drops (although they used to be paid hourly).

Yes, all of the drivers at his location are supposed to be assigned approximately the same number of miles and drops each week.

What happens if miles and drops aren’t equal between drivers?

Let’s move this from talking about Mike to talking about you. I’m assuming from your list of questions that you’re in a similar situation that Mike is in and that the drivers at your terminal are not getting approximately the same number of miles and drops each week — that load equalization is not happening.

I don’t know your exact situation, but there could be a few things going on. See if any of these apply to you.

First of all, is your supervisor paying attention to what the planner or dispatcher is doing to make sure that miles and drops are pretty equal between drivers? If your company makes the same kinds of deliveries over and over again, it shouldn’t be too hard to shift things around so that no one gets too many and no one gets too few miles or drops each week. Hopefully, your company has the software to be able to track the numbers and make the assignments.

It may not hurt to call your supervisor to ask if he/she is aware of what you perceive to be a lack of equality of miles and drops between drivers. I encourage you to have some kind of evidence to point to that lack before you call. For example, if Trip A has 50 miles and 2 drops more than Trip B, but you’re consistently getting Trip B instead of Trip A, then let that be known.

Secondly, at any time since you started working for your trucking company, have you ever stated that you hated traveling in a certain direction or never wanted to go to a certain city ever again? In other words, have you inadvertently undercut your chances of getting certain types of runs by what you’ve said in the past?

I encourage you to get to the root of any potential problem. For example, consider asking why you don’t seem to get loads going to X destination as often as other drivers do. Then, wait for the answer. Don’t argue; just accept what you are told. If something slipped out of your mouth in an unguarded moment, you would be wise to apologize and state that you’re willing to go there.

Thirdly, some trucking companies who are not satisfied with a particular driver — or his/her performance on the job — may be trying to “hint” that he/she should look for a truck driving job somewhere else. It’s a form of financial punishment. Their rationale is that if a driver is making, say, 20% less than he/she should be making per week, then he/she will leave.

If that is the case, then again, it would be wise to ask questions. You may frame and then ask a question like this: “I noticed that my pay was down last week. I know that _fill in the blank 1_ is true and _fill in the blank 2_ is true. So I’m just wondering: Am I being punished for something?”

Avoid dropping names of other truckers working for your company. Refer to the trips, the miles and the drops in as objective a manner as possible. Stay professional.

The fastest way for trucking companies to lose drivers is to not be honest with them. If you have had a good working relationship with your trucking company for a while, then get to the bottom of the problem. If you’ve created the problem somehow, correct what you can. If the problem is internal — such as if someone inside is giving one driver preferential treatment — then gently bring that to your supervisor’s attention.

If you don’t get satisfactory answers from your supervisor, perhaps it is time to take your concern to your supervisor’s supervisor. Go up the chain of command as far as you feel you need to.

There should be no animosity between drivers. There shouldn’t be any “favorite” driver when load equalization should be taking place. It is far easier — and far less expensive — for trucking companies to keep all internal customers happy than to lose one and have to start from scratch on training a brand new employee. Local truck drivers who have built relationships with customers who are seen over and over again may be especially hard to replace.

When you ask questions, be sure to ask in a manner that is non-threatening, that genuinely wants to get the information asked for and that wants to do right to all involved. If you determine that an inequality exists, you will have to determine if that kind of inequality is going to continue. If it is likely to continue for the long term, they you may want to take your talents elsewhere.

I wish you well in your decision. Please let us know what happens.

As always, Mike and I wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons