Do pilots ever start flying without knowing where they will land? No, and drivers should not drive without a detailed, mapped-out plan of where they are going and knowing if they have the time to get there.
You can negotiate with brokers with city names and zip codes, but never start driving without the full address on a rate contract. Sometimes the broker will encourage the driver to start driving in the direction of the city for pick-up because the load is ready NOW.
That might be true, but I would still recommend waiting for the address on the contract. It could be a load that multiple agents are working, and the first one to secure a truck gets the load. You don’t want to start driving toward the city just to find out that the rate contract wasn’t submitted in time.
Just think of how much this mistake could cost, and now that most of us will soon be hooked to an ELD, you can't just forget that this ever happened. Once the truck has been put in motion, the clock is counting down the time you have left for the day. Most brokers will not pay TONU (truck ordered, not used) without a rate contract ever submitted. I have even seen load itineraries that look like rate sheets but missing just one thing: the address.
Before you start driving, consider these questions:
1. What is the address of shipper and pick-up time?
2. What is the address of receiver(s) and drop-off time?
3. Will you have to do a 10-hour break, and if so, can you still make the appointment times?
1. For clear communication, don’t ask if the load is ready now. Ask what time the driver can pick up the load.
2. If you are dispatching yourself, it should be treated like another job, not something that you do at the same time as your driving job.
3. If you don't want to take a bunch of phone calls, you can always post your truck with your email address in the comment section instead of your phone number, and let it be known what time you will be available. I have scored many good loads this way.