You can be a flatbed trucker who earns a great living over the course of a long career. You can also strive to be the best flatbed trucker ever. Obviously, there is no concrete way to measure what constitutes the best trucker. Still, if you strive to be the best you can be it will benefit your career, your employer, and the trucking industry as a whole.
Being the best you can be requires an entirely different mindset than most people have. It requires not settling for second best or doing just enough to get by so the supervisor stays off your back. Being the best is about doing whatever it takes to get the job done right. It is about always going above and beyond and always putting your best foot forward.
Mytee Products, an Ohio-based supplier of cargo control equipment for flatbed truckers, knows a thing or two about being the best in the business. Through many years of service to America’s truckers, they have had the pleasure of working with the cream of the crop. They say that being the best flatbed trucker ever is contingent upon the four things listed below.
1. Always Tarping Loads
The flatbed driver does not always immediately know whether tarps will be required by a new customer. There are some who demand tarps regardless of the cargo; there are others that only require tarps on certain kinds of loads. Still others leave the decision of tarping entirely to drivers. The best flatbed trucker ever will not even consider the issue. All loads are tarped unless the shipper or receiver explicitly forbids it.
2. Taking Ownership of Cargo
An extension of always tarping loads is taking ownership of cargo. From a legal standpoint, flatbed truck drivers are responsible for cargo from the moment it is loaded to the moment it is unloaded. But the best drivers go above and beyond the legal responsibility. They take full ownership of the cargo to the extent that they will not let anything happen to it. They are diligent about using corner and edge protectors; they choose their tie-downs carefully; they personally supervise loading and unloading.
3. Working Well with Dispatchers
Not everything that comes with being the best flatbed trucker has to do with cargo control. There is also the human element. The best flatbed truckers know how to work well with their dispatchers even if the two parties do not always see eye to eye. They do their best to be reliable and trustworthy, knowing that dispatchers will reward them for doing so.
4. Adopting a Customer Service Mentality
Finally, the best flatbed truckers do not see themselves as mere operators of large motor vehicles. They see themselves as business owners or customer service reps whose primary job is to keep shippers and receivers happy. When truckers treat both as customers rather than mere shippers and receivers, they go the extra mile to keep them satisfied.
A trucker who adopts customer service mentality works as hard as possible to meet pickup and delivery schedules. He or she cooperates with yard workers tasked with loading and unloading. He/she diligently checks paperwork, reports any issues he/she finds right away, and is quick to answer customer questions truthfully and thoroughly.
All this may seem like a lot of work just to drive a truck, but being the best at anything never comes easy. Being the best requires working hard in every aspect of your job – even if certain parts of it seem menial. As the best in the business will tell you, it’s worth every bit of effort.