Is it possible to make good money hauling containers (intermodal)?

Discussion in 'Intermodal Trucking Forum' started by Byrds Eye View, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. '07 KW w/53' Conestoga

    '07 KW w/53' Conestoga Light Load Member

    Sep 28, 2015
    Doesn't matter if they are drop, hook and get a sexual favor loads, cant make money at those rates...especially all the time spent sitting in rail yards.
  2. Ruckie

    Ruckie Road Train Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    Bloom field,nj
    The funny part is that theres people with brand new trucks, I dropped by the customer to stalk them.. CCC aka comcar, jim bender and Evan's delivery services are there, but sunteck owns the freight so broker sells the freight to the other companies at a cheaper rate than what they pay their drivers specially with the after xmas slow down. Sunteck offered my truck 300 dollars per move and the driver is probably going to take it, it comes out to be about just under 2 dollars a mile round trip.
  3. Andre_K

    Andre_K Bobtail Member

    May 3, 2016
    Intermodal rates depend heavily on the company you sign on with. I’ve been hauling containers for almost 4 years, with 3 different companies. As you get into the container side of the business, I think the best way is to get a feel for it, and companies in your area.

    I’ve worked for a company that did only 53’...but, unbeknownst to me at the time, they were one of the “bottom-of-the-barrel” companies: simply for the fact that the owner only cared for a quick buck in his pocket, and not taking care of his customers. Dude was dispatching from his couch, while watching tv, for crying out loud. Needless to say, he was taking loads that no one else would, therefore rates were crap.

    The company I’m with now (Cincinnati area), cares about their customers and punctuality. This puts them in higher demand, therefore they quote, and receive higher rates. I work hard to be home early; that means I usually set up for the next days run before I go home, so that I don’t have to worry about going into the rail at rush hour, but can get going early. I wake up/get started at around 4:30/5:30 in the morning, and am home by 3/4pm. Home on weekends. Sounds like crazy hours, but I clear $2,000 - 3,600 every week, so it’s worth it to me. If my kids don’t have games on Saturday and I work, I’ve cleared $4,600 before. Detention is different with different steam ship lines: anywhere from $56-80-105/hr, after first 2.

    Work ethic has a lot to do with your earnings, too. We’ve got guys in our company that want to stroll in at 9/10am, sit in traffic most of the day, then not be able to do more than 1 run. Then they’re mad because they can’t clear $1,200.

    As far as wear-n-tear on a truck: it’s like what was said towards the beginning of this thread. The truck reflects the driver. I see old 80’s cabovers that look like they just rolled off of the assembly line, pulling containers like champs. And I also see late model trucks that look like they belong in the scrap yard. My truck is my bread-winner, so I take pretty good care of it. I make sure everything is good and replaced before it breaks. Never needed a tow. Never was stranded. Never had anything break as a result of going into a rail yard or container depot.

    Granted, some of these container loads are unpredictable: people overseas don’t really give a crap how they load them, as long as it all fits. I’ve had some that are super top-heavy, or overloaded in the nose. Not much you could do about it, except take it easy. Or refuse the load.

    So, to answer the original question: yes, there is money to be made in this business. But you need to do your homework, and a little trial-n-error, sometimes. And discipline enough to get you going early, so that you can be done early. I like it. I like to think I’m making good $, for a ‘local’ job.
    Cheezy_smile and Bean Jr. Thank this.
  4. RERM

    RERM Road Train Member

    Dec 13, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Never have truer words been said!!!!!!!

    A lot, if not most of these companies are skimming off the top.....Ask to see the work orders from the shipping lines or brokers confirmations......most companies won’t do it for the same reason......
    Andre_K and ChicagoJohn Thank this.
  5. Cheezy_smile

    Cheezy_smile Light Load Member

    May 23, 2017
    @Andre_K who are you leased to if don’t mind you asking?
  6. Andre_K

    Andre_K Bobtail Member

    May 3, 2016

    Ain’t that the truth!

    I did OTR before containers, so have plenty of experience dealing with brokers. I’ve questioned my previous container dispatchers on rates: how tf loads to the same area/even customer, or within 10miles, with several different brokers, all pay the same crappy rate? Impossible! Even if the were a few dollars or cents difference, it would be more believable. But all brokers pay different rates. Always.
    When confronted the boss about it, could never get a straight answer. Asked for a rate confirmation sheet, and dude looked at me like I was crazy! Straight told me to my face he will never show me one. Goodbye! lol

    Another thing you must watch for, is a local company that grows too quickly, or has too many drivers. Some of these companies grow so fast, they run out of work for everybody. Even if they are a good company, Word of mouth travels, and soon everyone is clamoring to sign on. If the company doesn’t control how many trucks they can handle/keep busy, there won’t be enough work to go around. Then no one is making good $.
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