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Anyone else making this scenario work?

Feb 21, 2015 at 05:43 PM CST
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Hello all,
I am new to this forum / website, and appreciate the level of helpfullness and professionalism I've read in some of the disscussions posted here. I would like to hear from any of you guys who might be doing something like what I think I'm fixing to jump into. First, a little background. I have just one truck and my own authority, have been in the business about 20 years now pulling a flatbed most of that time. I have found my own freight for a long time so dealing with shippers, brokers, and customers is nothing new. My problem centers around the ongoing struggle to make hometime match the slim amount of good flatbed freight where I live in north central Kansas. For a years I would get out and run 10 days or 2 weeks at a time, but I just don't have it in me to be away from my wife and kids that long anymore. Lately I have concentrated on hitting just the surrounding states, and hometime is great. Problem is, sometimes I'm home instead of working because there isn't enough of that kind of work to do! I haul a good bit of $3+/mile freight because many of the trips are to bad places and lots of deadhead. Over all miles last year I stayed above $2, but not much above and not on enough miles to look good against all the fixed expenses of being in this business. My interest for a while now has been in adding a used high side to haul ingredients/commodities/byproducts as it seems there is plenty of that kind of freight passing back and forth through here. I 'm not too interested in grain as it seems there are plenty of multi-axle setups around already and I think the rates are probably lower than what I'll be happy with. I know some grain will figure into it, but I didn't want it to be my mainstay. It seems like most agree that it's best to set up for a 26 ton net on a 43x96x78 closed tandem. Anyone want to comment on 102s with 84 high sides? Is that too much trailer for my area? I doubt I'll get down in the delta for rice hulls but what about soybean hulls or any other low density products in this part of the world? Is it realistic to think that I could sleep a couple of nights a week and the weekends in my own bed and still do at least 4 grand a week? Kansas has the highest number of in and outbound loads of any state on this board, so I'm thinking it shouldn't be that hard. But I do see that many of those loads are grain and very short miles where it is probably hard to get a daily minimum for a rate .
What do you all think? Fire away, but please keep it constructive. I have explained the flatbed business to many an inquiring driver over the years and tried to be as helpful as I could.
Replied on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 06:40 PM CST
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A couple long term consistent dedicated customer lanes is always the best no matter what you are hauling and usually a little easier to control cost than the go anywhere with anything that pays good enough approach, but easier said than done i suppose. As for hopper trailer you may want to go 102 and maybe a little longer than go higher if your just going to be out running the big roads. the higher you go the more wind drag.
Replied on Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 06:46 PM CST
Originally Posted by: CHRISTOPHER STIER
Quote: "A couple long term consistent dedicated customer lanes is always the best no matter what you are hauling and usually a little easier to control cost than the go anywhere with anything that pays good enough approach, but easier said than done i suppose. As for hopper trailer you may want to go 102 and maybe a little longer than go higher if your just going to be out running the big roads. the higher you go the more wind drag."

would also look for spread axle trailer with air lift axle if going over the road. much easier to load and get axle weights legal.
Replied on Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:07 PM CST
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you are in a good state to be based out of as far as loads. its pretty easy to get back into kansas with DDG loads also. Its also possible to get some rounds set up going to KC and back. Most of our freight goes to and from kansas. In my opinion a 96x78x42 will work just fine for you. Dave with Integrity Freight out of Harlan IA can hook you up with some rounds to IA back to Kansas if thats what you are looking for. As far as staying above $2 a mile it will be tough at the moment unless the container market loosens up or we get some snow in order to haul some road salt
Replied on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:46 AM CST
If you are looking at Timptes, I would consider a 43' long trailer because the hopper bottom doors are much bigger than a 42' trailer. Please check Timpte's website for the spec sheets or your local trailer rep. I prefer the 102" for extra capacity and wider doors. We also use 84" just to make sure we have enough capacity for wheat miids and cottonseed products. If you're not hauling those 2 products, then you should be fine with 78" sides. I never noticed any extra wind resistance on the 102" vs the 96" wide trailer. My ideal trailer is 43x84x102, you can haul it all.
Replied on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 01:35 PM CST
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yes you can make it work and make four to five thousand per week home every night and never work a weekend it took me about a year to be able to do that but if you have integrity you should have no problem doing that at all
Replied on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM CST
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Thank you Jason for your reply. I had hoped to hear from several people for as many views as the post had, but I do appreciate your encouragement. I won't ask who you do business with to arrive at that income level, but is yours mostly shipper direct or some brokered loads too? I have run flatbed freight long enough to know what the brokered rates need to be in the areas I travel, and know how much I can push to get the money right. I don't know that about bulk freight though, and don't know if the rates are basically the same going east and west or north and south through here because there are so many loads available. For example, there are very few good flatbed loads out of here moving east or northeast into better freight lanes, so the brokers want you to leave here for $1.60-1.70/mi. But because nobody wants to come back this way, you can often get $2.50-3.00/mi on the return when you decide to come home. If someone offers me $2.00 a mile back into central or western KS, I just politely say no thanks and hang up because they either really don't know the market or are trying to make a paycheck on one load. I think the shipper direct opportunities are probably greater in the bulk business and I think there are probably some commodity companies that have freight is several parts of the midwest so that a person could load for some of the same people quite a bit. Do you have any other advice along those lines or any input on trailer size or particular loads/shippers to stay away from? Thanks again for your initial answer to my post.
Replied on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 01:28 PM CST
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get ahold of cargill or adm or poet and deal with them directly then find farmers at the other end and get ahold of commodity company the whole grain products to and make a loop by today I do a lot of deadheading but I average pretty well. sometimes the big feed mills will hire your truck round trip if they know that you will dedicated just be honest and get up every day and go to work and you'll do just fine. give me a call if you would like and I can give you the correct phone numbers and direct people to talk to everybody is nice as can be and are happy to help there's no secrets
Replied on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 09:56 PM CST
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If it's commodities rather than grain you want to haul I would seriously consider 78" tall and 102" wide. Sure it might be more trailer than you need, but I'd rather have too much trailer and not need it than have not enough trailer and potentially not be able to fit enough product to make it pay anything.
Replied on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 08:08 PM CST
well i dont know to much about hopper freight we mainly have belttrailers but we do have a 43, 102, 78 and that seems to do pritty good on all commodities but soy hulls can be kinda funny some times i'll be over loaded and the next time im a ton and a half light but i can get 25 tons of cotton seed on it and wheat midds aren't a problem either and good luck
Replied on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 08:43 AM CST
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Hello,

My name is Christina Ford with M.A.T Transport. I have a several loads that I need help moving. If you are available to help me move these loads or need more info. please contact me back by email or call me at the office 662-274-3261. Thanks

- hopper load available coming from Ripley, MS to Cordele, GA(410mi). If you are interested in this load or need more info. please contact me back by email or call me at the office 662-274-3261. Thanks

Other Loads Available

Hopper Bottom Loads

-Coffeyville, KS to Springdale, AR 142 mi.(Corn) Rate:$284 per load… Over 50 loads

-Goodland, KS to Hereford, TX 381 mi. (corn) Rate: $762 per load about 20 loads

-dry van loads available for the this week and next week coming from Jonestown, MS to Wooster, OH (752 mi) at $1775 per load

If these are not the routes that you are looking please let me I also have some in other states. I also have end dump loads and flat bed loads available!!

Replied on Sat, Mar 24, 2018 at 09:47 AM CST
That is exactly what we do here in northeast Kansas. 4k+ a week gross, home every night, home on weekends. Best decision ever was to sell the step deck and buy a hopper
Replied on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 09:07 PM CST
Sorry those rates posted for corn is low. I haul local loads about 70 mile for more then that.