Do I Ever Need the Christmas Spirit This Year!

***This post is originally from Internet Truckstop is the official load board for Team Run Smart. Check out all their great articles on their website!

Every driver’s day has its ordinary “driving down the road” challenges and having a good attitude can you stay positive and not overreact to difficult situations.  The right attitude will make a more professional, safety conscious driver. It can also help you earn more money and get more enjoyment from driving.  However, the challenges the industry faces has made a positive attitude difficult to maintain.

Here are a few of the challenges that have brought on some sleepless nights for many owner-operators and company drivers:

  • The changes in CSA regulations
  • Hours of service regulations
  • Clean air regulations
  • Increased cost of equipment
  • Increasing diesel fuel prices
  • Difficulties getting loans for new equipment purchases
  • Less parking spaces for trucks
  • Rates not keeping up with costs
  • Detention pay (the lack of and the need for)

So how do you keep up a positive attitude when you are faced with these challenges? Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, knowing carriers have been successful at improving truck efficiency and reducing costs by optimizing fuel, improving truck and trailer aerodynamics, improving power train efficiency, and inventing new tools or ways to get the job done. If carriers can come out ahead, owner-operators and company drivers can too.

Here are ways to overcome some of these challenges and keep up your Christmas cheer:

  • Creative Brainstorm. Around the holidays, since you might have some additional downtime, start brainstorming and thinking creatively on ways to solve your business challenges. Catch up on the latest Team Run Smart articles to get industry news and business tips, or read posts in the Team Run Smart Forums to see how other drivers are solving their issues. Call some of your friends in the industry who are successful and ask them for advice. A fun idea for the holidays that keeps me in a positive attitude, is to watch my favorite Christmas shows.  Seriously, it has helped me to relax and get the creative juices flowing.  Start thinking outside the box and find new ways get over those bumps in the road to start fresh for the New Year.
  • Choose your loads wisely. If the hours of driving each day get reduced, find a way to deliver the product on time.  After all, if Santa Clause can make all his delivers to every house on the globe, surely we can find a way to make one delivery on time.  The change might be to quit hauling loads for folks that make us sit at a loading dock for an unreasonable amount of time without any detention pay.  Of course, this time of year, we can be held up by bad weather and road closers.  You may consider a computer program or GPS system that provides weather updates and road conditions.  Make sure you get the phone number for road conditions of each state and call ahead to change your route if necessary prior to being detained.
  • Become a business minded entrepreneur. Changes in CSA will make us all better business minded entrepreneurs.   CSA regulations are changing the way owners evaluate and train their drivers. Using electronic logs to ensure drivers comply with hours-of-service laws and using smart phones and iPads to take care of daily paperwork are a just a few of these recent changes.
  • Remember regulations may save you money in the long run. Regulations like the new CARB Greenhouse Gas Regulation will actually save you money because it forces drivers to take advantage of some of the fuel-efficient technologies available. This is better for you and the environment. (Link to CARB article.)
  • Consider switching to natural gas from diesel.  Even though the cost of purchasing a new truck (which would most likely be necessary) is higher, the payback is fast because natural gas is less expensive than fuel.  There also exists the side benefit of burning a cleaner fuel with less bad emissions, making the clean air folks happy.  The engine manufactures are already developing the powerhouses for class 8 trucks.  Several companies are developing a network of refueling facilities, enabling cross-country trips.  (Link to natural gas article.)
  • Embrace technology. The new technological advances going into the cab of a truck at a record-setting pace should be looked at as assets to enable us to do a better and safer job.  This integration of networked electronics with trucks means, in theory, telematics could do everything from automatically slowing a truck down when it approaches a blind curve, to diagnosing vehicle issues remotely for preventative maintenance. With telematics, your truck will have the ability to report your driving style to your boss or insurance company.  It’ll keep track of any risky maneuvers you perform and tell the police if it thinks you’re to blame for an accident. If you are a safe driver, you have nothing to worry about and it should help decrease the number of truck accidents on the road, which will help boost the industry image.  Telematics will also cut down on highway traffic and decrease the amount of fuel burned by idling vehicles, which will again make the clean air folks happy. Some even envision it will decrease potential litigation costs by keeping having the facts on the truck’s every move.

Plan ahead, keep positive, and make this a holiday season full of love, happiness, and optimism.  Let’s put the fun back into trucking for 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


About the Author
Patrick Dickard -With over 25 years of experience in the transportation field, Pat Dickard brings a wealth of knowledge and application to the position of Corporate Trainer for Internet Truckstop. Transportation became a way of life as General Manager for a potato and onion packing and shipping facility in Oregon. He has experience shipping from Mexico to points throughout the US. Later years found Pat in the seat of a big rig traveling the highways of the country. By joining the staff at Internet Truckstop Pat is able to bring his experience as a business manager, business owner, truck driver, broker agent, and a shipper to the forefront to assist other folks in being more successful. Host of the ITS Business Development Webinar Series – Mr. Dickard covers subjects such as How to find new shipper clients, How to sell yourself and conduct a business meeting; Identity theft, theft of loads, fraud in the industry, How to qualify carriers faster with less risk, Insurance issues, tips and tricks of using the load board for best results, and negotiating rates.

A Look Back At GATS 2012

Internet Truckstop attended the Great American Trucking Show this past weekend in Dallas, TX. Our own Gerin Powell was one our representatives at GATS and here is what she had to say about her experience.

The Great American Truck show is the 2nd largest trucking show and this year seemed to be a huge success. People where lined up at the doors on opening day waiting to walk around and get information on the latest and greatest in the industry.  I had the opportunity to attend this year, and I was happy I did. Our booth was busy the whole show with present/new customers wanting information on our new services such as Carrier Registration Service and CACCI.  These shows are great for us because it gives us a chance to put a face with a name.  We were able to provide our customers with hands on training, talk with them about what’s happening in the industry, hear their suggestions/needs and even had several who were conducting business and needed to search for a load or check on a load status while in our booth.  I really enjoyed talking with all of our customers and I am very excited for the new customers and relationships I had the opportunity to meet and build.

We were also excited to be part of several new projects being launched at GATS.  One being, Team Run Smart Freightliner, the online community for all truckers.  Internet Truckstop was named the exclusive load board for this site.  We are very honored to be part of this community, we’re all facing increasing industry pressures such as keeping operating costs low to staying healthier on the road, being business smart and fuel smart. Internet Truckstop is excited to be able to share information and help in the success of the industry.

Overall, I was very pleased with the GATS show and look forward to next year.  Thank you to everyone who came by our booth, it was a pleasure meeting everyone! See you next year.

Internet Truckstop is Now The Official Load Board For Team Run Smart

Internet Truckstop is proud to announce that we are now the exclusive load board for Team Run Smart Freightliner. You can read the full article at our Online ITS Magazine on page 7. This is big news and we could not be more excited for our partnership!