RV Transport questions...

Discussion in 'Expediter and Hot Shot Trucking Forum' started by Rick_C, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. Rick_C

    Rick_C Light Load Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Denver, CO
    (I copied this from The Welcome Wagon in the hopes of getting more topical responses - Rick)

    Like a couple of posters in this forum, I am looking at a career change. Been doing the corporate thing for the last 17 years as a sales analyst but things are always changing and layoffs are happening to people with more seniority.

    I'm 57 and exploring things to do either when I voluntarily retire or am pushed out the door. I am getting tired of staring at the 4 walls and desparately need the scent of fresh air (with a small dose of CO and diesel exhaust, lol) Saw an ad for Horizon RV Transport in a Texas job newspaper. Went to their website, saw the promotional video, etc., etc., and read many of the posts here about that segment of the industry, so I am "up" on the general cpm rate, busy/slow times in the industry, very limited availability of backhauls and such. I've also looked at some of the websites for other transporters as well.

    A few questions for anyone working in the RV Transport segment (but welcome to comments from all in the OTR industry).

    CDL vs non-CDL: Colorado doesn't require CDLs for RV drivers or non-commercial towables over 26000 lbs. but I am guessing that a CDL will make a difference to companies on whether I'm serious about doing this. Comments?

    Equipment: 1-ton PU with 8-foot bed 5th wheel, gooseneck and several ball sizes - I get that. DOT-approved sleepers appear to be a necessity unless I want to pay for a motel. Are sleepers that can be installed on this size of truck comfortable enough to sleep in or do I need to be less than 5'4" tall to make that work well?

    Double Loads: I've seen websites for companies that modify truck chassis with platforms, ramps and winches to enable a transporter to haul a trailer on the back of the truck and pull one behind, giving a higher (not double) cpm rate than a single load. Do many O/Os in this segment have that type of equipment and if so, what percentage of their loads are doubles?

    Larger equipment: I've seen a couple of websites for companies that modify tractors or straight trucks to do double loads (one company in Calgary that converts Volvos and can't remember any of the others). Does anyone use that size of rig for RV transport? Almost all of the transport companies I've looked at don't ask for (but don't disqualify) rigs bigger than the one-ton pickup.

    Honest feedback is always appreciated. Feel free to send a PM if you don't want to answer in the public forum.

    Rick in Denver
  2. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Owensboro , KY
    Some transport companies don't require a CDL. You could be better off without it because they won't give you the heavier trailers that put more wear on your truck and require more fuel to pull.
    Now with a haul and tow you probably need a CDL. One thing I see in Canaa I haven't seen here is hydraulic fifth wheels on the ends of flatbeds and trailers that allows a fifth wheel to be pulled behind the load .
    Sleepers are no longer necessary because since the end of last month you can now legally log Off Duty in a parked CMV.
    Rick_C Thanks this.
  3. Bigfoot_Trucking

    Bigfoot_Trucking Light Load Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    My understanding is if you haul 26,001 pounds or more commercially you are required to have a cdl. The company I'm planning to work for soon pays a few more cents per mile if you have a cdl. All the companies I have talked to require your truck to be licensed for 26,000 lbs. If you had your cdl with double/triples endorsement you may be able to haul horse trailers etc for back hauls.

    As far as the haul and tow vehicles you will get a better rate but your start up costs and expenses will be more. But you would be able to put a larger sleeper on your truck which would make life much easier out on the road. Also if you had a larger truck 4500/5500 or single axle semi pulling a flat bed trailer to haul 2 campers you would have an even better chance at hauling freight or other goods on your return trip.

    If you were planning to haul two trailers tho I would consider doing hotshot loads. You would have a much better chance staying loaded all the way around. But that would require you to be on the road more also.

    I've also been told that JET which is the transportation side of Jayco is the best paying transport company around. You would be cutting out the middle man and working for the manufacturer. I've been told that Horizon is a great company too and they take care of their people.

    Just to make it clear I have no first hand experience in towing rv's. I've been researching this for the last few weeks so I will know what to expect when I start out. There are some very knowledgable people on this forum and they will help you out.

    Good Luck.
    Rick_C Thanks this.
  4. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Owensboro , KY
    While Jet may have the best paid loaded miles I've heard backhaul loads are about nonexistent. They aren't that plentiful elsewhere either.
  5. Rick_C

    Rick_C Light Load Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Denver, CO
    The operative word is "commercial." My statement regarding no CDL required had to do with personal use of said vehicle; going commercial would definitely require the CDL for 26K+ lbs.
    Backhauls of non-RV's seem to be more realistic than the likelyhood of taking a unit from the RV dealer back to the manufacturer.

    From a daily expenses standpoint, I'd prefer to not stay in a motel. Depending on HOS issues, weather, need of a "better" shower, how long the trip is, etc., a motel stay might be more of a necessity during part of a trip.
    If you're under lease to an RV transporter, can you take a backhaul from someone else? Or is it simply a matter of removing one set of magnet signs from your truck and putting on someone else's signage?

    Another advantage of the larger truck is being able to sell it when I've had enough of the road and that they are generally designed to run for a longer distance than a big pickup.

    I'm considering that as well.

    Took me a while to figure out how to get to JET's site. Horizon sounds like a good company as well, from what I've read. Always a challenge to sort out the sales pitches by recruiters and comments from current/former contractors. Even though I'm in the early stages of jumping ship, I'm going to contact these two companies specifically and see how (or if) they can honestly answer my questions.

    Appreciate your feedback.
    Happy Trails,
  6. juzcruzzinusa

    juzcruzzinusa Bobtail Member

    Aug 4, 2011
    Don't forget about insurance, some of the RV companies, require you to put them down as 2nd insured incase of loss.
    Rick_C Thanks this.
  7. Bigfoot_Trucking

    Bigfoot_Trucking Light Load Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    "If you're under lease to an RV transporter, can you take a backhaul from someone else? Or is it simply a matter of removing one set of magnet signs from your truck and putting on someone else's signage?"

    I was told this was not possible. The company you lease to would have to sign off on this or they would be the ones actually finding your backhauls. So I've been told no actual experience. I asked the same question.
  8. STexan

    STexan Road Train Member

    Oct 3, 2011
    Longview, TX
    I think if a person has the vehicle, proper insurance, can get a DOT#, and has some time, and a little business sense, and can market himself in his region he can do well to simply move trailers for "long-termer's" looking to relocate.

    As fuel has risen, a lot have not been able to justify keeping their 3/4 or 1 ton vehicle and dealing with high diesel prices and the parking issues (hard to park a 1 ton crew cab at Walmart or the mall) all year, just so they can move their trailer 2 or 3 times a year. It's more cost effective for them to trade into a small vehicle, and hire their trailer moved when necessary.

    But they will want to work with somebody "local" to where they are or where they are moving to and would rather not deal with the likes of UShip. They will look for bulletin board postings in wash rooms, ads in Thrifty Nickle, and business cards at RV park office counters.
  9. 123456

    123456 Road Train Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    I was leased to 2 different rv transport companies at once,

    is that no longer possible ??

    and a couple years later

    I also worked for 2 different motor carriers (part time) at the same time.......
  10. BuilderBob

    BuilderBob Bobtail Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Millbury, Ohio
    I just started hauling RVs for Foremost Transport out of Goshen, Indiana. So far, it has been great! The people are like family and always there to help you. I have had great luck in backhauls. I'm going to Detroit tomorrow to get my passport. I will get it tomorrow with a letter from Foremost on needing me to travel to Canada asap. They have a lot of trailers that need to be hauled to Canada and they pay very well.

    They have orientation on Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Tuesdays in Goshen. Your truck has to be @ 3/4 ton. They accept short beds. You have to have a DOT inspection. Plated truck less than 26000lbs including trailer. You need to have a DOT physical and CDL is helpful. Also, you need to have an insurance on your truck with at least $500,000 liability. If you dont have insurance they have a company that will write you up right there.

    I'm not going to sugar coat it. It cost me roughly $1000 to get all my hitches, safety requirements, physical, insurance, DOT inspection and a few other expenses.

    After the 2 day orientation and your truck passes DOT you will be expected to pull your first load!!

    Good luck!!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2012
    volvo1026, rowekmr and Rick_C Thank this.
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