Think outside the box, and try to expand your capabilities.

Discussion in 'Expediter and Hot Shot Trucking Forum' started by flatbedcarrier, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. flatbedcarrier

    flatbedcarrier Medium Load Member

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    Especially in this crazy economy. I have some direct work, and move freight, and vehicles, I also do some power only work, and I even offer expedited service sometimes. In a economy like this, you need to be open minded and try to figure out different things you can do. That is, if you want to stay busy and make decent money.

    I bid on a power only move yesterday. Its a fifth wheel RV. I’m pretty sure I have the job. It’s going 888 miles, and I quoted the job at $4,600.00. When things are slow for me in the office I’m sending out emails, and messages to businesses all day long. And I throw ads out wherever I can. I’ve always been pretty aggressive when it comes to going after work.

    With power only, I offer to move trailers both local and long distance for businesses and the general public. And I’m not afraid to throw out a high rate. You probably wouldn’t believe what some of the jobs I’ve landed have paid. On power only when bidding the job you want to make sure you cover the likelihood of deadheading back. If they go for it great, if they don’t, no biggie I can find something else to do. I don’t typically do local hauling of freight, or vehicles these days unless it’s paying a lot. I live in a high traffic area and I’d rather load out and roll out going 400 to 1,500 miles. Instead of spending all day crawling around at a snails pace in the big city.

    If you haven’t yet, you should set your trucks up to pull more then they can now. I set my truck up with two different gooseneck ball mounts ( one in the normal spot, and another further back in the bed for older gooseneck trailers), a fifth wheel hitch, a receiver ball, and a Pintle hitch. I also carry some light cord adaptors, some different types of safety pins, and some cheap common trailer parts. I don’t like to tell a potential client I can’t help them, or get to the job and find out something is wrong with the trailer that if I had known about in advance I could’ve picked up the part and fixed it, especially when the client is paying a lot. I also carry a electrical bag, and common tools for working on trailers.

    I went to pick up a empty enclosed trailer for a high paying client and the wiring was all screwed up. The guy there said well I guess we will have to reschedule the move until after we can have our mechanics fix it. I said no need I’ll fix it. I broke out my electrical bag rewired the electrical plug. Somebody had stretched it and the wires pulled out of it. The guy there said ####, you must of really wanted this load. I said wasn’t that, I hate wasting a day for a simple repair. Another job for the same client, the trailer was missing some metal grease caps on the axles. I opened my rear driver side door and reached in the door pouch and pulled brand new ones out. . When it comes to doing power only work, It pays to be ready for the unexpected.

    Years ago I was having a problem finding return freight going back to my area that paid decent. My outbound loads were paying extremely well because of it. So I came up with the idea of buying old antique farm tractors and bringing them back home. One trip I bought three old running Farmall tractors in Arizona, one from Chandler and two from up off the 40 in Ash Fork. I paid $600.00 for the one in Chandler and $800.00 each for the ones in Ash Fork. I rolled back into California and slapped them all on Craigslist for $4,500 to $5,500 each. I sold all three within a couple days and the buyers never quibbled about the price. I created my own load and it paid me a kick ### rate. The next load out, I delivered to a military base in Fallon, NV. After I was empty I started searching for more old tractors. The nearest one I could find worth buying was up in Twin Falls, ID. I called the farmer that had it and asked if he would hold it for me because I was driving from Fallon, NV. He said no problem. This old tractor was kept in a shed it’s entire life, and well cared for. The guys said his grandfather bought it new. He was only asking $800.00 for it. I paid him, loaded it on and headed home. I sold it over the phone heading back for $5,500 to a guy that bought two of the other ones off me. He was a new collector with lots of money to burn. Buying that tractor and bringing it home, I’d of never found a load paying that well.

    Another time when freight was slow I decided I wanted to buy a storage container to put on my property. I got online and started looking for somebody that sold them at a reasonable price. I ended up talking to a guy in Tawain that wanted to sell me 50 to 100 at a time. I said buddy I just want to buy maybe a few at a time. I really only wanted to buy one for myself but I wasn’t going to tell him that. He gave me the phone number to his brother in Long Beach, CA and I bought a nice clean container for $800.00. I rolled down their in the morning and picked it up with my step deck. On the way home I stopped at a local cafe for lunch and some guy approaches me wanting to buy it. I said $2,750.00 delivered locally. He said while you’re eating I’ll run to the bank. I was thinking yeah right he’s never coming back. He was serious, he handed me the cash when I walked out of the cafe. This went on and on for well over a year. Everyday I ran down and bought containers and brought them home and they were already sold for $2,750.00 each., I had two trucks at the time so we were selling two a day. It was a 180 mile round trip from my town to Long Beach, CA. Do the math $1,900.00 profit on the container on a 180 mile run X two. I thought I would never haul anything else. I went out and bought a old 20’ roll back for delivering 20’rs and I ordered a brand new $80,000 Landoll trailer mostly for delivering the 40’rs but I knew I could use it for a lot of other things besides containers. I never took possession of the Landoll because things changed immediately when it came into the dealership. Container prices jumped through the roof the same day. They were wanting me to pay them the same price I had been selling them for. So I just went back to hauling freight.

    I figured this might inspire some of the new guys that may be looking at the load boards thinking, what am I going to do? Trucking is like a roller coaster ride, your up, then all of the sudden your down, and you can be down for a long time. Sitting around wishing for a load doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to make things happen yourself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2022
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  3. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

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    Bravo bravo ! :hello1:

    You are a true businessman.

    This is a great thread that I hope you continue.
     
  4. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    You're asking a bunch of folks who literally move boxes all day long to think outside the box!! Not sure how that's gonna work with this crowd!!!!

    Anyway, from reading (most) of your post, I commend you on your resourcefulness, ingenuity and determination. I hope others who read it see clues they can use to help their situation.

    I really don't need or want such ambition in my specific situation. But, for most of my life, I've usually had my main job and then assorted side gigs and hustles ( Besides my main job as a cartographer,, I've worked retail, convenience stores, hosted karaoke, DJed, Soundman for bands, transported dead people, misc freelance computer and database development work and more). But, no longer need any of them. I'm semi-retired but still need some income until I fully retire. So, being a trucker, for me, has been more about the travel and general adventure of it all while providing enough funds to make it worth it.
     
  5. FormerDrivingInstructor

    FormerDrivingInstructor Bobtail Member

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    @ flatbedcarrier: I really enjoyed your post. Where are you in SoCal? I'm near Santa Barbara and live in a tract home community so there is nowhere to store trailers. Any suggestions? I'm into cars and have bought and sold many BMWs and Porsches over the years from private sellers and resold them later for a handsome profit. Not quite as handsome as your containers, but close.
     
  6. flatbedcarrier

    flatbedcarrier Medium Load Member

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    Southern California
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    Thanks.

    As far as finding parking in your area. Look on this new website that just came up called neighbor.com it s a website where local people are offering storage for vehicles and stuff on their properties. I just stumbled across it the other day. You can look on there to see if somebody in the area has fenced parking available.

    I live in a small town called Pinion Hills just off highway 138. North slope of the mountains San Bernardino County overlooking the high desert.

    As far as side hustles. I’ve also bought and resold a lot of vehicles, and trailers myself over the years. Use to go to the auctions a lot. At times I’ll buy a container out of the harbor and bring it modify it into a job site office in my spare time. That can be profitable as well. I even do mechanic work on trucks, and trailers. I do a lot of different stuff all while maintaining my independent owner operator status.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  7. flatbedcarrier

    flatbedcarrier Medium Load Member

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    Thanks, I’ve been in trucking for over 37 years, grew up in the trucking industry. I’ve done a lot of other things in that time as well. That’s what I love about being a Independent owner operator, it gives me the the freedom to make any move/adjustment I need to, at anytime.

    i use to post a lot of stuff on here but haven’t for awhile because I was just to busy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  8. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

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    That is so true. I have been trying to think outside the box as well. Just bought an rgn trailer and trying to find some different stuff tohaul with it outside of working with just the normal brokers. Ive often thought of doing what you did with those tractors. Thats cool to read that you had major success with it ! I live down in southern az. Maybe one day i can buy you a beer and a steak dinner
     
  9. flatbedcarrier

    flatbedcarrier Medium Load Member

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    Yesterday afternoon I offered a lady a bid to move a tractor locally. Out in the desert where I live. I bid the job at $500.00 . When you do a local run like this, the day is pretty much shot for getting another load on. She comes back and says all I have is $400.00, can you do it for that? At that point I asked her for actual addresses and ran the true miles. I was thinking if I could help her out, I would. That’s when I found out she had given the wrong city that it delivered to in the beginning. Maybe it was a simple mistake, maybe not? Maybe she use to be a freight broker. Lol. The new address added approximately 30 more miles to the run. Anyways I held firm on the $500.00 the total round trip miles back to he house was going to be 142 so that’s $3.52 a mile.Then she texts me back last night asking if I’d do it for the $400.00 and a new, in the box Bosch hammer drill. I just bought a new hammer drill a few months ago. I’m giving bids like this daily.

    I told her when she comes up with the $500.00 to let me know.

    If anybody on here is in the Hastings, MN area and can do power only rv moves let me know. I turn them down regularly because I don’t get over that way. A lot of them are only going a state or two away but some can be going further. They’re coming out of a auction and you’d be bidding the run directly to the buyers of them yourself. I don’t need to make anything on the run myself, just passing the work on to somebody that could do it. I’d just give them your name and phone number and tell them to call you. Would be nice to be able to recommend somebody instead of just saying sorry I can’t help you.
    Just turned a fifth wheel move down from that area. I think it was going to Omaha.
     
  10. flatbedcarrier

    flatbedcarrier Medium Load Member

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    A guy I use to load regularly just bought a RGN. He seems to be doing really well with it.

    Something you may want to think about doing is going to the equipment auctions and parking there during the auction. I use to do that with my step decks. I’d hang a For Hire sign on my trailer with my cell phone number on it and then go inside the auction myself. My phone would ring none stop while I was there. It’s a good way to connect with guys needing equipment moved. Sometimes I’d just pop up a easy up for shade and just sit there in my lawn chair and give quotes, and pass out business cards to whoever walked up. It works.
     
  11. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

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    I will definatly try that. I've been trying to get my foot in the door to people needing equipment moved , seems almost impossible to get in contact with anybody without using a broker . But that is a great idea . Seems like to me if I needed equipment moved I'd want to go straight to the trucking company rather than a broker ?
     
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