First and foremost, you must never forget that you have not just obtained a truck, you have entered into a business; therefore, it is important to learn how to balance the business while enjoying life away from home in a commercial vehicle.  If you are entering this profession as a driver for a company or fleet owner much of  this will also pertain to you.
 
Review your notes from orientation.  Continue your education by asking questions of other drivers and

Take lots of notes and ask questions

gaining experience as time goes by.
 
Controlling uncompensated dead head

  • Keep a record of paid loaded miles and uncompensated miles.
  • Separate the personal use miles that are spent site seeing, going to the movies, or shopping
  • These miles add up for a fleet owner or a owner operator and you will need to know the true business  cost of operating your truck.

 
What is your fuel mileage?

  • miles  driven / gallons  purchased = MPG
  • Start a fuel mileage book to record MPG each time the truck is filled
  • How does speed affect the MPG - find the sweet spot for best fuel mileage
  • How does weight, mountains, start and stop traffic affect fuel mileage
  • Knowing MPG is one part of knowing your cost of operating your business; fuel will be your largest business expense.

 
Sleep

  • Get enough sleep
  • Learn freight patterns as a solo to get the most uninterrupted sleep
  • Team - get a schedule so that you are ready to drive at a moments notice
  • We switch between 3-4 morning and afternoon so each of us get some night sleep
  • Keep the sleeper dark and cool
  • Use lavender sheet spray to help relax
  • Put the phone down and clear your mind
  • While truck is moving and one driver is in the sleeper, ensure that the phone that your carrier may call is with the driver and is hands free capable.
  • If needed use ear plugs to help sleep

 
 
Truck Maintenance

  • Good pre and post trip inspections are essential to identifying many problems before they become
    Checking the oil
    an issue.
  • Preventive maintenance should never be put aside because corrective maintenance will eat into you profits.

 
Cooking

  • Cook in the truck if possible - there are a lot of Facebook pages devoted to ways of cooking inside of a sleeper
  • Make up vegetable bags to snack on when driving - healthy then junk food

 
When is the best time to put a load of clothes in the washer?

  • Getting an ASAP pickup when the clothes have just started washing is not fun.

 
Read the free periodicals that are found at the truck stops as they contain articles that can directly affect your income.  It is much better to be prepared for a new rule change then to be caught unaware. 
 
Remember that this is not a vacation but a business is the first rule and the second rule it so enjoy yourself when you can.  We are able to see and have many adventures as truck drivers and it would be a shame to miss these opportunities.  The key is to always be prepared to take another load and when possible to enjoy another adventure of seeing the sites outside of our office window.
 

Champagne brunch in the Grand Canyon


 
Our favorite saying in expediting:

 

Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle; 

Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;

Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;

Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.

 

Comments (4)

Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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January 28, 2015 19:19:02 PM

Thank You David that was great information.

January 28, 2015 15:50:34 PM

This is definitely an interesting article. The one thing that I've noticed as a company driver is once you finish orientation the days of learning how the company works on both logistical and mechanical is key to maximizing the fine line of having personal time and work time make sure to know the companies service schedule and maintain a maitnence log even as a company driver then you know when you can plan ahead and have PM's done while on home time to minimize down time when your back at it. Just my lil tidbit of help I can add here.

January 27, 2015 15:37:16 PM

How often do you get the opportunity to take a champagne brunch helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon or tour Evergreen Aviation or any of the other sites the two of you have seen if your job was sitting in an office cubicle? Those are some nice fringe benefits to your occupation even though they do come with a lot of responsibility and hard work in running your own business. I can't think of another business where you could do these things without burning a week or better of vacation time along with a lot of travel expenses.

January 27, 2015 8:47:19 AM