My favorite solution to the truck parking problem is to park at the customer. This requires cooperation and communication. Trucking company, customer and professional driver should all be cooperating. The customer may want the driver to park in a specific part of their lot. Overnight, employees and vendors may come and go. It is essential to stay out of the way - or be rudely awakened at 3AM.

It is to the customer's advantage to have the truck there on site. With the onset of the ELD mandate professional drivers will try to be efficient with our time. When I first started driving I planned on arriving at a customer an hour before my appointment, if I had not been there before. Once I knew how to find a customer, I would cut that in half. Remember, we didn't have GPS back then, let alone satellite maps.The 14 hour clock makes that impractical. Arriving at your customer that early will cut into your productivity. Naturally, professional drivers will start cutting these times closer. Eventually this will casue some late arrivals. That can throw off a customer's schedule. That can back things up and end up detaining drivers. I wouldn't expect 24 access to a rest room, but having one available during business hours shows a sense of decency.

Trucking companies can offer a discount if the customer's allow overnight parking. Giving a discount to customers can make sense. It allows maximum productivity when a driver can start that clock as late as possible. That can go 2 ways. Charging a cutomer a little extra may incentivise them as well. 

Professional drivers should be appreciative and responsible. Don't be a pig. Being allowed to park at a customer is a privilege not a right. Leave that place at least as clean as you found it. Whenever I park overnight at a customer I plan on walking to a comfort station first thing in the morning. Do some research. Know if there is a gas station within walking distance. I enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning. Get one at the gas station. The morning walk will do you good.

Appreciate the privilege. Say thanks to the customer. They'll remember that. They will also remember that piece of trash that the unprofessional driver left behind. Don't be that driver. The professional driver acts that way and leaves the customer with a good impression.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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