By Clayton Fisk and Dusty LaValley
Finding a company to transport equipment.
By Clayton Fisk and Dusty LaValley
Equipment rental companies need to ship equipment when they first purchase it. If a company doesn’t have its own trucks and floats, it has to contact someone to haul the equipment. Shipping heavy equipment is expensive. You want to find a hauler that offers a reasonable rate.
But you also want the hauler to get your load to its destination safely and on time, while operating in a professional and legal manner.
“Whether you’re a small company who has purchased a used piece of equipment at an auction and need to get it home or you’re a manufacturer of heavy equipment that ships many machines every day, most of the factors regarding carrier selection apply in either case,” says Clayton Fisk, president and CEO of The Machinery Haulers Association.
The first step is to get informed. Find out what trailer type is needed. This knowledge will help you eliminate some haulers as they might not have the trailer type you need. If you don’t know, by the time you speak to a hauler, it will be the first question they ask you.
Find out if your machine qualifies as oversized. Oversized loads require special permits and extra costs. Significantly less haulers serve the oversized market, which reduces the number of potential haulers for your load.
When finding a hauling company or an owner-operator trucking company, it’s important to vet the company and driver. It is necessary to find out how long they have been hauling, their safety record, if they’ve hauled equipment like yours before, and if they’ve hauled in the jurisdictions in which your load will travel and be delivered. If possible, use your networks to ask about the carriers they use. Find out who they use and how satisfied they are with their hauler’s service.
“Go to a truck stop or rest area and take stock of the trucks that are there. Which companies are transporting equipment similar to yours? Which ones appear to be tied down properly? Which trucks and trailers appear clean and damage-free? Which drivers behave professionally? You can even approach drivers and ask them about the carriers for whom they work,” says Fisk.
Another way to find a carrier is to go to the various motor carrier trade associations and search their members. “Carriers that belong to a reputable motor carrier association are usually more concerned about operating in a professional and legal manner,” says Fisk.
The methods mentioned above are the traditional ways of finding a hauler. However, technology is completely changing how people find haulers. Numerous truck load boards are popping up on the web. Truck load boards function like jobs boards. It allows shippers to post their load on a site and for haulers to peruse them and accept them or bid on them.
Truck load boards can work differently from one another. Some cater to certain markets (by geography or trailer type), some have fees for shippers, and some allow for shippers to rate the drivers.
“Shippers are starting to understand the value in this technology and how it can help them efficiently connect with the right reputable hauler,” says Dusty LaValley, founder and CEO of Trusted Dispatch.
Trusted Dispatch is a truck load board that specializes in heavy hauling. It provides an automated shipping platform that connects shippers with qualified and reputable drivers already travelling the direction the shipment needs to go, empty with no load on their trailer. Proprietary algorithms provide the shipper with an instant cost-competitive shipping quote, which the shipper can post to the load board with the click of a few buttons. At which point, Trusted Dispatch haulers are made aware of the load and can accept it. Then it is up to the shipper to accept the driver.
The online platform and app have a truck driver rating system. Similar to using Uber, shippers can rate their drivers. Drivers with bad ratings don’t get accepted for more jobs and are eventually weeded out. And your price is the same, no matter which carrier you choose.
“We’ve all heard scary stories of haulers who have taken a deposit and a load and then held the load hostage to negotiate for payment that is higher than what was originally quoted, or of haulers who have ‘disappeared’ after taking someone’s load and deposit,” says LaValley. “Although those types of incidents aren’t common, there are a lot of drivers who will take a number of short cuts so they can offer a lower price while boosting their margins, and that hurts the shipper. For peace of mind and to help guarantee your load arrives safely and on time, use haulers who are already vetted and that you can trust.”