The concept of drop and hook is fairly straightforward. It means that a load is delivered and the driver drops the trailer off and picks up a new one. It’s an alternative to live loads, which require drivers to wait as loads are delivered and unloaded. You would think that drop and hook would automatically be the preferred choice when this option is available, but are drops and hooks really better than live loads?
Drop and Hooks Aren’t Always Simple
Drivers new to the drop and hook concept may assume it’s more convenient than dealing with traditional live loads. In some instances, this is true, but this isn’t always the case. For one thing, you might pick up a trailer that’s all set on one end and have to do a standard unload on the other end. Plus, you may also experience other issues due to:
You Do Sometimes Get Help
Truckers generally make an effort to help one another when possible. So, if you are struggling with a particularly heavy trailer, you may get help from a nearby driver. Some places also have yard assistants (“yard dogs”) that provide assistance. However, not all customers have loading/unloading areas set up this way.
Drop and Hooks Can Be Time-Consuming
Live loads typically take about 2 hours, on average. Yes, drop and hooks may be completed sooner, but this doesn’t always happen. Some drivers have issues with receiving an incorrect trailer number, which could result in delays. Other times, a trailer may be located in the wrong spot or it might be difficult to find. This could result in several hours of waiting and other time-consuming hassles that could throw off your schedule.
Drop and Hooks Sometimes Become Live Loads
You may also run into instances where a customer simply doesn’t have an available trailer ready. If this happens, what was supposed to be a drop and hook could turn into a live load. This can cause issues if you don’t have an appointment time for a live load and have to wait.
Ready to Pick Up Trailers Could Have Weight Issues
With a live load, you usually have more control over how much weight you carry, which can help you avoid weight issues. But trailers already loaded can sometimes be a bit too heavy. Unfortunately, you might not be aware of this until you get to a certified scale. You may then find yourself having to contact the shipper and remove items to get down to the right weight, which could leave you with an unhappy customer because of an incomplete delivery.
Realistically, you’ll likely end up doing a combination of drop and hooks and live loads. There are pros and cons associated with each option, so there is no clear answer when trying to decide which one method is “better.” It’s ultimately a matter of how your customers prefer to set things up and what’s appropriate based on the kind of hauling you normally do and how much time you have to work with.
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