Multi-pulls

| October 01, 2006

Refueling can be easier for multiple-trailer rigs because they can make tighter turns into and out of the fuel island.

Do you consider yourself a top driver? Love to try new things? Enjoy a challenge?
Try this.

Pulling doubles or triples can dramatically change the way you work. For example, you’ll never have to back into a dock again. You could also find yourself working fewer hours, spending more time at home and even earning more money.

“Most of our guys make somewhere between $45,000 and $55,000 a year,” says Bill Bennett, safety director at Southeastern Freight Lines in Lexington, S.C.

It’s the same at other multiple-trailer freight carriers.

The runs are mostly dedicated and follow daily or weekly schedules. This means more clear, definite job descriptions with no monkey business, like sitting for hours at a dock instead of driving.

“We have more than enough time to do what we have to do, so we don’t have to kill ourselves,” says Saia company driver Louis McPherson of Wellington, Fla. “They work us about 10 hours. We don’t have 14- and 15-hour shifts.”

Also, the tractors are mostly day cabs, and multiple-trailer rigs can’t back into parking spaces, so no more sleeper bunks or 10-hour breaks in truckstops. McPherson stays in hotels when he’s out more than a day.

“We usually run somewhere in the 500-550-mile range a day,” Bennett says. “Our drivers pick up a set of doubles and run 500 miles down the road, and then go to sleep.” Bennett says Southeastern still has a few bunkrooms for drivers out overnight, “but most times they’ll stay in a hotel,” he says.

The mileage pay at multiple-trailer freight carriers is generally higher: in the 45-55 cents a mile range. That’s why fewer daily miles add up to the same pay that an experienced OTR driver makes by driving longer and farther.

What’s more, LTL carriers handle wide varieties of freight and customers with different needs. This means a greater variety of job assignments for drivers.

“We have our ‘fast turn’ drivers who run out about 250 miles and then turn around and come back,” Bennett says.

“Sometimes you’re away three or four days, and sometimes you’re home every day,” McPherson says. “It all depends on what you want to do: your particular style.”

Most multi-trailer carriers have team and even cross-country assignments.

If that’s not sweet enough, multi-trailer rigs – if the trailers are 28-foot “pups” – corner a lot easier than rigs with 53-foot vans.

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