Pre-planned loads are loads that your fleet manager or dispatcher has set up for you before you even drop your current load off. There are pluses and minuses for this kind of load planning.
It is nice to have the extra time to plan your next trip, and you don't want the wait time after you drop your load for the next mission, (that is what I call the loads, a mission, should you choose to accept!) but there are a number of reasons it is not always ideal.
Some companies will never pre-plan a load. They are the big grind em' through kind of companies. The do not pre-plan loads because they do not know for sure the drivers will be able to get the current load dropped and have enough time to safely get the next load.
A more personal company the fleet managers know each driver well enough to know that if they set it up, the driver will get it there. They will also know how the driver likes to be scheduled, maybe you like 3 days to do a 1200 mile trip, or perhaps you only need 2.5 days. The more personal companies also have the time to read the notes on the shipper or receiver to better gauge their promptness.
Sometimes it is better to wait and not be pre-planned, perhaps if you get done a little early your fleet manager can set you up with a more desired load rather than a conservative load to pre-plan it.
For instance, if you have a load that is pre-planned a little extra time is generally padded in to make sure if you get delayed at your current load you will have enough time to safely get the next load. Or perhaps you were able to drop your current load early and have 4 extra hours.
It takes some time, 6 or more months, to really build the kind of relationship and reputation with your fleet manager as to the style of your driving. Once you have that relationship built, you can work together as a team to maximize your time out there. Everyone wants the same thing, your wheels turning safely and consistently.
In an attempt to let people know what it is like for over the road drivers, I am heading out with Jim Palmer Trucking driver Allie Knight.