Dispatching and Load Planning

As a company driver dispatching and load planning is not something that you will have much control over directly. However, how well it is done will have a direct affect on your paychecks. If you don't run miles, basically you don't get paid. The only way you can positively affect your load planning and dispatching is to have a reputation for making appointment on time and early. 

As an owner operator, dispatching and load planning is done for a certain percentage amount of what the load pays if you are leased on to a company. Some companies provides all of the loads available on a load board and the O/O chooses which loads he/she wants.
O/O with their own authority sometimes cut out the middle man and do dispatching and load planning themselves by direct contact, using brokers, or using load boards.

Ideally you want your loads preplanned. This means that when you leave out on a run, the dispatcher will already have or be looking for a load to dispatch you to another destination. This way when you are empty, you don't sit around waiting for him/her to find a load.

You contact him/her with a planned ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) and/or empty call and dispatch will send you the information for the next pick up from near that location. That's what good dispatchers do. If they are not that bright, they might wait until you are empty.

Also if they are not sure about YOU, they might wait until you are empty. Some companies allow the dispatcher to coordinate loads like this for the week or at least a few days into the week at a time. Other companies will not. A good way for you to ruin your own ability to get preplanned loads is to not be reliable.

Think about it, if you won't show up on time to your deliveries. The dispatcher can't predict that when you will be empty. Why would he/she promise another company that you will be there by a certain time if he/she is not sure based on your past performance? He can't in good faith. So there is a catch 22 for some companies. Although they would like to dispatch early, they won't allow dispatching on loads early. They won't allow preplanning or limit the number of days out for fear of drivers causing them to look bad to the shippers that they would promise a pick up time.

Most smart companies though will just not pre-plan that unreliable driver early and but will pre-plan the reliable drivers that have proventhemselves.

I have had a problem of consistently waiting extended periods of time for a load.  At all companies that I drove for, I would come across drivers for the same company every now and then who delivered to the same locations and talk about having to wait for loads.

I would smile and just say, "Interesting, do you have a record of picking up and delivering on time." Often those drivers will say something like, "Why should I worry about that, you get there on time or early and they make you wait around. I get there when I get there. Sometimes I am there on time and if I can't make it, oh well."

I would say, "Well, if you think about it, how can they plan your loads early if they don't know whether or not you will be there when you are supposed to." "Like I said, I will get there when I get there. I don't make a difference, they are going to do what they want to do." Now that attitude will certainly not be one that helps out your trucking career.

So you have to look at the big picture and kind of handle the position as you would want a driver to handle the position if you were the guy in the office communicating with the customer, hoping the driver did this one with a certain amount of care for his/her job performance and customer service.

If you look at it that way, at a good company, you will not hurt too much for miles and look forward to your paycheck.

Dispatching and Load Planning
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Dispatcher Jobs

A job as a dispatcher could be a great opportunity for a truck driver who wants/needs to get off of the road.  It is also a good position for a drivers wife to learn about and possibly pursue.

As drivers we love a dispatcher who has actually been behind the wheel!