By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
Drivers who have been driving for any length of time know all too well the challenges of getting everything done at home when you are on the road. It makes no difference if you are running team or if you are alone. There is always more to get done than there are hours in the day. Having someone at home all the time helps but it doesn’t mean there still won’t be plenty to do when you do get that precious home time.
Planning can help you make the most of the hours you do get at home. If the lawn needs mowing, hopefully the weather will be on your side. Being on the road means that sometimes we end up missing so much! It’s always nice if you can make it to the kids ball games or school programs. Scheduling doctor appointments can be a challenge, making an appointment a year from now is crazy, but that’s the way it is sometimes. Hopefully you will have a dispatcher that understands the importance of your appointment and a doctor that understands your crazy lifestyle.
If you are an owner/operator there is even more to do, like all of the paperwork that has to be done. Sometimes you just have to give it up and hire someone to do things like this. It’s a tax write off and it frees up some of your home time. It’s also nice to have a shop near home that can do your scheduled maintenance. Anytime you know you are going to be home, try to schedule it with the shop. If you can give a week or two notice, odds are you’ll be able to get in. Waiting might mean they are too busy to get to you, forcing you to get the work done on the road at a shop you don’t know. A good relationship with a shop at home is always wise, if there is a problem you are more likely to have them stand behind their work. Read more Trucker Tax Tips here.
Another approach is to have a shop on the other end of the country, one you visit regularly, which is what Roger and I did all the years we owned our own trucks. We would call ahead and schedule any repairs or maintenance we may need so that when we arrived they had a spot open for us and were able to get us in and out right away. A good relationship with a shop is invaluable and also frees up time at home for personal things so you can actually step away from the truck while you are there. From the time you set those air brakes until the time you have to push them in to leave again is time you should be able to enjoy as much as possible. After all home and the people you love is what you are out there working for! Read more about Maintenance Records here.
If you have down time before you get home, sometimes it is worth doing laundry on the road. For one thing, you won’t have to drag it out of the truck and drag it back in. If that doesn’t work, put in a load of laundry and go out and start mowing. When you take a break, put the wash in the dryer and start another load then finish up the mowing. Try to make the most of the miles you have running errands without having to back track a lot. Try to spend only one day of your home time taking care of the things you can’t take care of while away.
Even the best laid plans go awry sometimes and you always have to be ready with a Plan B, C, D… Sometimes dispatch will have an emergency forcing you to cut your time at home short. If possible be flexible and do them a favor, hopefully they will remember they owe you one.
Above all, TRY TO RELAX while you are home! Home time is precious and scarce so use it to reconnect with those in your life you love. Do your best to take care of those things that need tending to but don’t neglect the PEOPLE in your life! We try always, to take care of business and personal business while away in order to take the most advantage of our home time to nurture the relationships that make life worth living!
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.