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Driver Schedule

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Topic Originally Created on Tow411 in January of 2017:


I'm assuming that your numbers tell you that another FT is feasible. So, maybe an on-call person? 2 regular shifts, backup for busier or less-covered shifts, fill-in/cover for vacations and long hauls and such.

If you don't want to pay for too much sitting-on-their-rear time, maybe this person wears multiple hats. If mechanical, put in charge of maintenance. If not mechanical, put in charge of cleaning the trucks, filing, fill-in dispatcher... (Multiple rates of pay depending on the job can be a pita, but it's not too hard to track. Of course, watch out for overtime.)

This person would be the first one promoted when/if you lose an operator. Keeps everyone interested in keeping their jobs; takes the load off during snow events and vacation months; and ensures that you're ready to grow whenever the business is ready. By the time you have had a complete turn-over, then everyone in your trucks has been cross-trained for your shop/office - and cross-training is never a bad thing.

....just my 2 cents....


Brian Riker said:

I have found it is very hard to cover all the shifts and variances in work load (weather, holidays, special events in town, etc) while keeping your drivers on a fixed schedule. The best received schedules I have used involved rotating days of the week where each driver would be guaranteed one full weekend off, one weekend they worked both days, and the other weekends they worked either Saturday or Sunday. I also had good luck rotating on call night shifts among all the drivers.

In our light duty division we had 5 drivers and in the heavy we had 4 drivers plus myself as a manager and backup driver. Our typical schedule would have 4 light duty and 3 heavy duty drivers on each weekday and two of each on the weekends. We would then have two of the light duty drivers and 2 heavy drivers on call for the night shifts, with the on call drivers being the last ones dispatched the next morning shift, or if possible they were on call the night before a scheduled day off. We would then have two of each on call for the entire weekend, starting from 5 pm Friday thru 7am Monday, with the on call weekend drivers being off on the Monday after the weekend usually. Of course all bets were off if there was a weather event or other special emergency then all time off was cancelled and all drivers were expected to report for duty. Usually the drivers were scheduled in pairs so the same two drivers worked opposite of each other to make truck sharing easier and the drivers learned how to work with their on call partner. Our odd light duty driver (the 5th driver) was also cross trained as a heavy and as a mechanic so he usually didn't pull an on call tow shift but was on call 4 nights a week for heavy road service, accident support, and general backup with one of our shop mechanics that wanted extra money covering the other 3 on call nights.

Another schedule I worked with when I was a driver was 4 days on/3 days off then swap to 4 nights on/3 nights off. It worked for me when I was young, don't know if I would still want to work that way, but it did allow me to get to know all our customers and all the officers and helped keep any one shift or driver from becoming the "favorite child" of a customer or of dispatch. This rotated each driver through the full schedule of weekend time, days, and nights as fairly as possible, but this scheduling method requires a pretty stead volume of calls around the clock otherwise your drivers are going to starve (if commission or performance based) or you the owner are going to starve (if the drivers are paid hourly/salary).


RLC4523 said:

Try also looking at staggering start times so you aren't switching out drivers at the same time. 2 drivers start at 7 am, 2 drivers start at 8am and then the night driver(s) do the same respectively if you rotate night coverage or have the night guy come in at either 7 or 8 pm depending on how your call volume works so that they have a little extra help during the first hour or so of his shift. since you run 12 hour shifts look at something similar to Fire dept shifts...3 on 2 off or something like that so that the days rotate and all days end up being covered and should also have your days covered evenly. this also lets you make sure that you don't end up with extra overtime. it may mean you need to hire 2 extra drivers instead of 1. There are different scheduling apps that may help you figure out what works best for you.


silverhawk tubeyellow.gif said:

We have three heavies, two rollback mediums, and a landoll.  We only have drivers for the towtrucks.  Our HD drivers fill in rollbacks if not doing HD calls, and also split the landoll work.  We have one non-CDL driver who handles light duty calls during day, first out if available. Backup light duty is used when primary is on call, or emergency work that can't be scheduled.

Our work schedule for everyone is 8-5 M-F.  On call from dispatcher.  All of our drivers live within 10 minutes of the shop.  They respond to unit when called by dispatcher.  We have two "teams".  One is on call at night M & T, off W & T, then on call from home F, S & S.  The teams then swap work nights the following week.  Everyone works on commission. 

Every now and then, we run out of drivers, and the dispatcher/manager dials phone into his cell and he will make call so customer doesn't have to wait.  This is also done when regular drivers are out of hours.  

This gives us two people on call each night, while having all drivers during daytime hours M-F.   


Falcon1 said:

It depends how busy you are. Looks like you could use someone else on Saturday and Tuesday Days as well, but that might not be the case. Maybe you just need a PT person?

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were just starting, weve tried hourly, salary, and have recently moved to a daily minimum or a percentage of the truck, which ever is greater.  This seems the way to go.  they know were just getting started, and they know its only gonna grow from here.  We have one roll back, and 1 service truck, and a lowboy single car carrier as well as an enclosed trailer.  We turn down virtually nothing, and are on board with several insurance companies and looking to add on more.  as the trucks get recognized and seen, the phone is starting to ring without an insurance agent on the other side.  We pay very little attention to the eta, because most base call creation on acceptence(which is dumb) and then they lie to the customer.  Our fix for that has been contacting the customer, explaining the situation and the actual wait time, and let them decide if they want to cancel or wait for the service.  Obviously i  push for waiting for us because we are top shelf, but im not leaving an older person sit on the interstate for hours because theyre call came in after an unattended to a closed facility.  i communicate with the customers and it seems to being doing us well.  as we continue to grow, (were building a truck, and putting another back together) so will our reputation.  Thats the point where we start cutting off the fat.   I have a 5 star BBB rating, and am associated with many other warranty companies in my auto repair shop.  We specialize in the warranty work, quality, and turn around.  we balance our books several times a week, monthly when were filing sales tax,and have P/L information on every month folder.   theres 2 numbers that we monitor, what came in, and from whom, and how much did it cost and why.  we are constantly changing the way we do things as we learn.  If the customer calls and cancels, it does not count against call exceptance....almost everything else does.    our trucks are averaging roughly a 40% profit, weekly.  if we miss our target, we find out why and adjust accordingly.  like i said, ran a wrecker for years, first time owning one, but once you understand the system, make it work for you.  if it isnt, the only person that can change it is the owner.  my truck hooking for 40$ and enroute loaded miles absolutely pays the bills, and as long as my partners and I are diligent about calling and getting addons, we do well for ourselves, well enough we know we need more trucks.


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