The type of freight box you have, size of truck, and what you are capable of hauling can determine how long to wait for a load. We are a 40' straight truck.
As a dry box with government clearances our areas of the country that are good for freight are not always that good for a refrigerated truck without government clearances. When talking to other drivers to decide what areas are good for them make sure your type of truck matches theirs and you are with the same company. Different companies have different customers and while some parts of the country are hot for one company they are slow for others.
Learning when your company typically offers loads is the first item on the agenda. In our experience loads are usually dispatched later in the day and not often on weekends. If a holiday weekend is coming up loads are often offered that do not pickup for several days. With some companies you can book a load for a later date and still be available to run loads while waiting for the one booked later.
The worst though is when no loads are being offered, how long do you wait, and in which direction do you deadhead? In the beginning we would call our company and ask for suggestions on what direction to deadhead or to get relocate pay. We also learned to watch relocate pay as it was often to an area with a discounted customer and we would have to take a load that once again got us to the middle of no where and no freight. We found it was usually better to take a cheaper load to a better area and be in control of the next load.
Some areas of the country can be profitable to give it a little time before moving. One area of the country for us is in the northwest and sometimes this gamble pays off well and other times we should have immediately moved. Ask questions and compile your own list of where you have picked up and delivered freight and also what type of freight. We also keep track of what agent gave us the load and as time goes on this will be a very valuable asset to us.
We often pickup and deliver to the same place and I will still mark them on the map as its is not always the same agent that gave us the load. Keeping statistics and talking to other drivers will help to keep you in the freight lanes and moving. Other drivers are the best assets to learning; take advantage of talking to other drivers as often as possible. Over the years other drivers have helped us to find better loads, learn easier ways of securing freight, tips on good area to eat, good short cuts, and a myriad of other information.
The next question is what to do while waiting for the ping of the Omnitracs or the ring of the phone?