(Hopefully this is in the proper topic area, and if its not, I apologize, and please move it to the right one)
I have grown my small business nationwide to the point that I will soon be requiring the use of tractor trailers (in random places across the country) on a regular basis. I have never before required such abilities for transport, and as a result, I have no idea at all as to what the costs are going to be.
My hope is that some experienced people here on this forum can help me out, and maybe save a small business owner from getting robbed .
I dont know if weight is a consideration (I would guess it would be, since it affects fuel economy), so I will just list my needs:
I will be requiring transport of roughly 10,000-20,000lbs, usually no more than a few hundred miles. It may (probably more than likely) require loading/unloading, which means a flatbed, preferrably with a forklift attached.
This brings many questions to mind, all of which I need to answer before I can take my business to the next level.
Are owner operators more cost effective than large scale tranportation corporations?
If so, is there an established network (like a yellow pages by city and state) for owner operators that a small business owner could use to find what they need (please give me a link)?
What is the average cost per mile I can expect to pay? Given the insane fluctuation of fuel costs, is there a formula I can use to answer this question myself so I do not have to re-ask it in a weeks time? (I/E: $4.60 for diesel= $2 per mile... just an example, again, no idea about costs).
How much weight can a truck legally haul?
How many cubic feet in a trailer? (some of this crap can be very bulky)
These are just a few of the questions that I am running into, with no knowledge. Any response would be greatly appreciated.
Average per mile
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You'll be hard pressed to find an O/O with an attached fork lift. Although they're out there. Even the "mega" companies won't have many of these babies.
You are most likely going to look at a specialty company (brick or sod), that might do it as a back haul from your area.
Your rates will vary, depending on many of the variables you have listed.
I'd try contacting a broker if there is a pressing need for all of your requirements, although an O/O within this forum might offer you some additional insight. And I suspect it's not going to be cheap.
An easy way to get a local company is to use Google and type in "trucking companies" then the city and state... Another way is to use brokers, They are more of a way to get a special request such as yours done.. They have a network of drivers and companies they can utilise for your request, unlike calling a company and they simply tell you what they themselves can only do..
Forklift could be an issue but it can be done...
Now, a van can carry about 43,000 to 46,000 typically all depend on tractor and trailer combination because they all weight different
Flatbed trailers weigh less so they can carry more general 50 to 55,000 lbs
again depends on tractor and trailer combination..
53´ trailer x 102 wide
Total cube: 3936 to 4005'
Generally 52 pallets (depend on pallets being used)
48´ trailer x 102 wide
Total cube: 3456' to 3566'
44 pallets generally (depends on pallets being used)
It's late, so my brain might be .. not functioning optimally.. but I make the deck space in a 53' trailer to be about 450 square feet (53 * 8.5). Average pallet is 4 feet on a side, so that's 16 square feet... 450/16 is about 28.
Double stack, that comes up 56 pallets.
No quibble with the cubage. My numbers are a LITTLE different, but not enough to worry about. It's gonna vary, anyway, given the height of the trailer.
Did I get it right, or has my brain melted to grits?
This sounds like a contract a hotshot carrier would like to negotiate . Hotshotters run 1 ton to medium duty trucks with 28'-48' flatbeds . The weights you give are well within their capabilities . You can google hotshothauling and Uship . There are some good , legitimate haulers on Uship but also many illegal , uninsured haulers . Always get the carrier's DOT number and go to safersys.org and check it out under company snapshot .
Here is the formula carriers use to calculate their fuel surcharge to compensate for fuel price increase . http://www.abfs.com/resource/fuelsurcharge.asp?bhcp=1 . I know several hotshot carriers that charge less than the formula . The formula is calculated for a class 8 truck averaging 6 mpg . The hotshot rigs average 12 m.p.g. or better and reputable carriers adjust the formula accordingly .
Just divide 4' into the trailer length to get how many rows you'll have, and just double that for a total.
I work with these numbers everyday now and know it very well...
Visit Sites like FedX, major broker firms and you will see the exact same thing as I posted..
Shorter runs typically equate to higher per mile charges. For example, a run of 200 miles paying $2/mile would not pay a truck well enough to generate enough interest unless that truck is looking to get back to the area. You might check your state's DOT website and see if you can find carriers registered (based) in your state. If you are going to be an infrequent user of freight services, then a broker might be your best bet. But I disagree with some here who say brokers are less expensive than working direct with a carrier. As the intermediary to the transaction, they are adding a fee to the rate. And if they offer the rate too cheaply to the carrier, then beware of what you are getting. Anyone moving freight for below market rates should be given a close examiniation of credentials and safety record at minimum.
The forklift is going to be difficult. You might want to check out an auction to buy one or check with some rental companies. We rent them for about $400 if the customer doesn't have one. And of course, that is built into our rate.
Best of luck to you. Let us know how it turns out.
I agree with one of the previous responses.. This seems more like a hotshotter's type of haul. I run a hotshot business w/the one ton dually and 28' flatbed. For the fuel surcharge I have found that using 10 mpg. is more accurate (having performed many performance enhancements to my truck, 10 mpg. is about the best mileage I can get when loaded). btw. on a bad day, winds, high humidity, hills, max. weights-- mileage can drop to 7-8 mpg. (yuck!) In my opinion, the forklift would be a problem; all of my other shippers arrange loading and unloading w/their own equipment.
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