We make a lot of choices and decisions as professional drivers. One of those decisions, or choices that we see new drivers literally lose sleep over, is "Which company is a good place to start out my career?" It seems that most of us think the most critical ingredient to our success is whose name is on the doors of our truck. I tell people all the time that it is not important whose name is on your truck, and I get a lot of blank stares as if I just made some moronic statement that had no basis in reality.
After all, there are literally entire websites devoted to informing us which companies are good places to work and which ones will treat us like slaves. Where have I been all these years? Why haven't I noticed all the information on the web that is devoted to helping us make informed decisions when starting a career in trucking?
We've got some folks here in our forum that are very proud of the companies they work for, and rightfully so. Some of them are so proud that you would think they are on the payroll of the recruiting department! That is a good thing! It is great to take pride in your company, and in your work. I actually enjoy it immensely when I see a new driver being so thrilled with the company they have started out with.
It is much more gratifying to see that, than to see someone so ignorantly bad mouthing their employer when that same employer happens to be a good solid source of contentment and consistently nice paychecks to a host of other drivers who simply cannot relate to the problems that the soured driver is enumerating.
Why is it that one driver passionately hates the trucking company that another driver is unequivocally devoted to? The answer to that question is so simple that most of us can't even recognize it when it is staring back at us in the mirror.
I very successfully started this career at a trucking company that has been the subject of much online vilification. I had a great relationship with my dispatcher , and that one component is the subject of this discussion - the missing link to success as a professional truck driver. Your relationship with your dispatcher is key to your success. Now, let me explain this a little further...
Please note that I did not say I had a great dispatcher. What I said was that I had a great relationship with my dispatcher. So, what does a great relationship with your dispatcher look like? Remember this one all important thing about this business: all trucking companies are trying to do the same thing - they are all trying to move freight efficiently and profitably.
There is precious little that differentiates one trucking company from the next one.
They are all using basically the same trucks, running the same interstates, competing under the same regulations, and often times serving the same customers, while trying to make a profit. This all important relationship with your dispatcher is the one thing that can set you apart from the other drivers, it is the one thing that puts you at the head of the pack.
Here are some key ingredients to having a good relationship with your dispatcher:
- You, the driver, are easy to get along with.
- You, the driver, are willing to do whatever the dispatcher needs done.
- You, the driver, understand that you don't always have "the big picture" of what your dispatcher is working on.
- You, the driver, take responsibility for your own mistakes and shortcomings.
- You, the driver, do whatever it takes to be efficient with your HOS (hours of service).
- You, the driver, communicate effectively with your dispatcher.
I always put the onus on the driver, and not the dispatcher. Have you ever noticed how most of your disgruntled drivers are constantly complaining about their dispatchers? It usually takes them only a few short statements to make you realize that they could change the whole dynamics of their relationship with their dispatcher if they would simply put away their attitude, and be willing to cooperate with their dispatcher so that they could work as a team toward the company's goals.
Instead they usually think they have got to badger their dispatcher into submission so that he gives in and does things the way the driver thinks it should be done.
Whether we like it or not, drivers are at the bottom of the chain of command in this business, and once you recognize that you can make a lot more money by being cooperative. It is humbling being at the bottom, but recognizing that and embracing it will enable you to be much more productive. How so?
Because a driver who is cooperative and easy to get along with, all while being super productive and efficient is the kind of driver that a dispatcher loves to have on his board, and he will do everything in his power to keep that driver busy.
Everybody wants to be turning a lot of miles, and they mistakenly think that is the responsibility of the company or the dispatcher. Top producing drivers have found the secret, the "holy grail" of trucking, and it is all in how you approach this all important relationship with your dispatcher.
Make that relationship your priority, and you will find success.
By: Old School