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A BETTER RATE
Posted Mon, Nov 16 2009 04:59 AM CST
SEAN N
Posts: 20

To start with, I am not a "bull hauler".  I joined this site because it is something that I am interested in doing, and I like the knowledge and insight that others have to share.  I have never directly hauled cattle, but, I do have some experience around it.  I have ridden pens at feedlots, worked at the sale barns both for the vets and the barns themselves, helped load and unload countless roping steers, processed cows, and I even cleaned out trailers while I was in school for some extra money.  That last experience alone would keep most people away from this, but I did not mind it.  That is just a little info on what I have been around as far as the industry goes.  It is not much, but I have seen a little.

I see a lot of people complain about rates, and making money.  Now, I am only trying to offer up a possible solution, since we know that the most common ones will never happen.  Why doesn't everyone just try to run legal.  How many miles are driven to avoid a weigh station?  How much more wear and tear do those extra miles, and weight put on the equipment?  How much less could you fudge a log book by just going the fastest route, which most times will take you past a coop?  Do you get paid for the actual miles you drive, even if you have to go way out of the way to avoid a coop?  I would think most shippers are going to use some kind of computer program to calculate miles(the shortest), be it as simple as google maps, or something like pcmiler.  Is a $3/mi load really that after you have added extra miles?  What about getting an overweight fine?  Those are not cheap.  All of this contributes to less money in the bank, which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

Another big thing to consider is, what if you have an accident?  Whether it is your fault, or not, the consiquences are huge.  If someone hires the right lawyer, and they find in the police report that your logbook was not current, or you were overweight, that could pretty much ruin you.  They can say, well if that truck didn't weigh 85k he may have been able to stop, in which case my client would still be alive.   Or, if that driver had been off the road when he should have been, this accident would have never happened.  You might as well sell your things, because there will be no business left.  How much is that $3/mi load worth now?  This does happen, and I am sure most of you have heard of something like this.

Some people say we should just all park, or get together and establish a bottom rate.  I am one of those who does not believe in that.  However, I will not haul something that does not make me money.  Someone else may be able to make money though at a lower rate, and that is their business.  And, for something like that to work you would need almost 100% participation.  I would think that it would take a much smaller percent to just run legal, and cause the rates to be better.  There are not that many cattle trucks on the road, especially compared to other facets of trucking.  I would think of this as a niche industry that can controll their rates a little better.

Now, there are those who are set up to haul heavier loads legally.  They most often do, and should get paid more for their investment.  I am sure some will say that if you leave cows behind you will never get asked back again.  Well, if the next guy does the same thing, they have no choice.  You own the equipment, not the shipper.  I would think that a standard would quickly get set that if what you have to move exceeds 45 or 46k, you will either have to cut back, or be ready to hire another truck.  If someone shipping a general commodity has 55k of product to ship, they are not going to just heap it on to one truck.  Why should cattle be any different?  I know some states allow for a higher gross weight, so in those instances great, load 'em up.  But if you have to cross into a state where you would be grossly overweight, than no go.

I am sorry for the long post.  These are just thoughts that I have when considering how I could make money doing this, while operating legal.  I do not like all of the current laws in place, but I try to follow them as best I can.  I have no desire to do this if I am constanly worrying about a fine, or on my 3rd day of 2hrs sleep.  I currently have my own authority, and my own truck.  I try to be very aware of my costs to run the truck.  I am not now, nor have I ever been out to cut anyone's throat.  I would like to be a positive influence wherever I can be, with whatever I am doing.  I have way more on my brain than I can write here, but let me know what you think about the subject.  Sesn

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Posted Tue, Nov 17 2009 05:20 AM CST
GARY BETHARD
Posts: 23

I agree with most everything you wrote, especially what seems to be your positive "can do" attitude.  The whole trucking industry needs more of that.  However, there were a few things I think you forgot.  1)  If you demand to run legall (weight & hours) you will never haul livestock again.  There is always a half dozen "Huckleberries" in line behind you to haul the loads.  Which leads to my second point. 2) There are too many livestock wagons out there for the demand.  The bull hauling industry always seems to have enough capacity to fill 90-95% of demand during the fall of the year.  That is only 3-4 months out of the year.  Investents in trucks & trailers cannot be paid by working 3-4 months a year.  Therefore the remaining 8-9 months of the year become a rate cutting game and everyone in the industry(buyers, jockeys, farmers, feedlots, packers, truckers) know this and play it to the hilt.  3)  Many truckers seem like they want to be a bull hauler.  They see the nice trucks, chicken lights, higher rates than general freight and think its the place to be.  They get into it with very litlle understanding of the additional cost involved in equipment and higher operational costs.  They take on debt that has to be serviced.  This is the beginning of the rate cutting cyle which turns into trucks running to make payments without any thought of maintenence or depreciation.  They will disappear in a year or two and another will fill the shoes. It boils down to poor business management but it seems to go on year after year in good and bad times.  There is always a new tribe every year!!

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Posted Tue, Nov 17 2009 06:15 AM CST
SEAN N
Posts: 20

I agree with what you are saying.  I mostly just wrote this as conversation.  As you read I posted my points as questions.  I am by no means saying that I have answers to any of this, I just wanted to throw something out there.  Mainly I just don't understand the willingness to run "not legal" if you want to call it that.  The risk doesn't seem worth the reward, I guess.  I would say some do it just because they think that is what cow hauling is all about. 

Hopefully everyone that adds to this will respond in the way you did.  I have noticed that some around here, and not many, like to come in and call names, rant, and try to make others look stupid.  I guess no one else will stroke their ego for them, so they have to do it themselves.

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Posted Wed, Nov 18 2009 08:58 AM CST
BOBBY CRAWFORD
Posts: 9

I have been doing this 15 years and i have not once been able to tell a buyer what iwas going to haul and been able to go back and haul for him again now if he NEEDS to over load MY TRUCK he can pay the miles to go around or pay the fine. My advice to you is if you dont know get out their and get you some. Every other freight hauler is. Thats whats wrong people really dont understand the business they just think they do.

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Posted Mon, May 17 2010 04:10 AM CST
CINDY NELSON
Posts: 9

That is a good idea, however there will always be someone else to haul it. Even if everyone said yes we will never haul another illegal load someone would renigg on their word just to try to get more work. I think the DOT should make the shippers responsible for managing how much a truck can haul. Make the shipper pay a big fine for overloading a truck and then they wouldn't do it anymore. This was done in Iowa a while back and was proven to work.  Shippers want to haul as much as possible at as little cost as possible, they're tight wads they will not risk loosing money on overload tickets.

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