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The new trend

Dec 03, 2022 at 12:26 PM CST
+ 17

I was at a shipper this week waiting on a feed load normally ment for belt or walking floor trailers when another driver pulled up behind me pulling a hopper. The driver walks up to my truck and asks a little bit about the load. He proceeds to tell me his prior load was blood meal (big no no even with the washout he claimed to have had) and that he was getting "x" amount to haul the load.... Well "x" amount was considerably less than what I would haul it for, but he seemed happy. He also told me he just bought the (used) hopper because reefer and van rates were soo bad.... When I told him the receiver did not have a pit or swing auger to dump his hoppers into he just ignored it..... A day later I show up to the receiver, Mr hopper was pulled off to the side not unloading. When I asked why he was not unloading he told me that word got around (No, I did not rat him out) that he hauled blood prior.... After I unloaded I noticed him getting ready to dump. He said they let it slide.... I will never know how long it took him to pound out and wind-row that commodity, but I doubt I see him again.

Why bother telling this story? Because their problems (van, reefer) will become our problem. Just look at some recent questions posted to this forum from guys who clearly dont know much about commodity hauling and you will see what I mean.

For those guys or gals looking to migrate into hoppers, here's a list of the easiest to unload commodities: 🙂

Hominy

Wet cake Distillers

Beet shreds

Cottonseed

Gluten pellets out of Clinton, Iowa

DDG in the summer months

Did I miss anything else that flows like water?

Replied on Sun, Dec 04, 2022 at 06:52 AM CST
+ 2
I always have a good time with bakery meal in the hot humid summer months too ;) But seriously hoppers are one of those things we're you need to know a little bit about what you're putting in there not only to know how to get it out but also what it's being used for, because I don't know about you but I don't want granular urea in my food.
Replied on Sun, Dec 04, 2022 at 06:53 AM CST
+ 1

Well, aren't you HELPFUL.

Replied on Sun, Dec 04, 2022 at 12:33 PM CST
Quote: "Well, aren't you HELPFUL."

Dean, I was being sarcastic when it comes to commodities to haul in a hopper. But on a serious note the average van and reefer rates have slipped into the $2.40-$2.50 a loaded mile range. With the current price of fuel (and everything else) I like to keep my all miles in the $2.40-$2.50 range running a belt trailer... I don't know if it's the advertisement from Bulk Loads of the guy who grossed $40,000 in 2 weeks or the shiny Pete's some of the hopper guys like to run, but the trend seems to be guys migrating to hoppers from van and reefers without any sort of ag background. This post isn't meant to offend anyone, it's just an observation.

Replied on Sun, Dec 04, 2022 at 12:34 PM CST

It doesn't matter which business you're in, someone will sell (haul) under you to make the sale. When selling produce the Amish would sell just under me. Biding on loads is similar, but if someone doesn't know what the going rate is they will take what the broker offers as long as they making money. Nobody wants to post the great rates they are getting (it's nobody's business) because they will be under bid. But if people don't know how high they can get, brokers will post as low as they can get. It's a evil cycle unless someone posts their good rates.

Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 07:37 AM CST

To Michael of MI: A knee jerk reaction on my part. Where would any of us be without helpful advice? I'm a bit of a hypocrite at this sometimes. I know guys give me good advice in the early days. But I've been asked my advice after years of experience and success, (depending on how one defines that). Given it and watched the person promptly due what I'd advised against. As far as rates go, I don't discuss them with anyone but my customer and my wife.

To Michael of PA: Is "good rate" defined the the same whether you're talking to a bunch of truckers or your customer?

Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 08:31 AM CST
+ 1
It’s that way in every aspect of the industry. Look what sand box did to the pneumatic Frac sand hauling. Any door slammer can pull a sand box with no skin in the game but a $10k freightliner FLD. The price of admission was higher back when you had a $10k blower and $65k Sandcan.
Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 08:44 AM CST
+ 1

Dean of IA, that's what I mean. Drivers talk a big game saying they won't haul for under $7. a mile, but in reality they are only doing $5. Encouraging everyone to not haul cheap is good, but what is the truth.

Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 10:33 AM CST
+ 1

It is the same in ALL lines of carrier services at the moment - Instead of the CArriers and the brokers meeting to determine the rates, we are allowing the Brokers and the shippers to determine our rates. WHY? As carriers, as Truck owners, as Owner-Operators, it is VITAL that we discuss what our actual CPM (Cost per mile) is and why we charge the rates we do. the brokers are Supposed to be working on OUR behalf, not the customer's; but, seemingly, over the years, we as carriers have allowed this role reversal and have allowed ourselves to become subject to the whim of the customer.

The cost for shipping is not an incidental, but a primary cost of operations and production, yet it is being treated as an incidental. That is why our rates are falling.

I am watching carriers allow themselves to be pushed to bankruptcy by taking the low rates because they are worried about last week's bills. This is a vicious cycle, and we all are seeing the dropped loads as a result. DO NOT allow yourself to be swindled into taking a load that is paying you less than 50% over your base CPM - because if you do the math - at less than that you will be out of business in less than 6 months:

Let's do the math on a Simple calculation: If you CPM is $3.00/mile you need to be getting no less than $4.50/mile before FSC to cover the following:

Corporate Income Tax

Social Security Tax

Health Insurance

Driver Payroll

Payroll Taxes

Fuel Card Fees

All of your operations Insurances: BOP, CGL, CAL, MTC, XS, Pollution, etc

Tires

Oil Changes

Lube

General Maintenance

Major Maintenace

10% Savings

10% Emergency Fund

ETC ....

While most of this is calculated in CPM, I believe we are all in business to make a profit and plan for retirement - and, hopefully - to be able to enjoy some of our life in the process.

It is encumbant upon the carriers and the owner-operators to determine their future. I do not know how we can come together, but if we don't we will watch the small carriers disappear in this country.

Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 10:33 AM CST

I understand. Perception vs reality. You don't know who's swimming naked 'til the tide goes out. And some will swim naked a long time.

Replied on Mon, Dec 05, 2022 at 10:33 AM CST
+ 2

Let's just be honest, 5-7 per mile on a consistant basis is an urban legend along with a unicorn, santa and the tooth fairy! If you are in this business for any length of time, you know what you need to break even on EVERY mile you turn. If you can acheive that level and have some profit to put in your pocket at the end of the week, you should be happy. Some weeks will be better and some worse BUT if you average your year, quarter or even month out and can consistently show a profit, you will be a viable business. With that said, having your own 52 week per year customers is key to this business! Let's be honest, if you are going to make a living off of the load boards, it won't be a good living! I have been behind the desk for 12 years and behind the wheel for 10 before that pulling a hopper and I still don't know everything there is to know about this business! What I do know is if you do a good job for your customers and are honest, you will have no problem staying busy!

That's just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

Have a great day!

Keith

ET Trucking

Replied on Thu, Dec 08, 2022 at 09:24 PM CST
You don't know what good is until you have hauled whey protein.
Replied on Sat, Dec 10, 2022 at 02:52 PM CST
Quote: "Let's just be honest, 5-7 per mile on a consistant basis is an urban legend along with a unicorn, santa and the tooth fairy! If you are in this business for any length of time, you know what you need to break even on EVERY mile you turn. If you can acheive that level and have some profit to put in your pocket at the end of the week, you should be happy. Some weeks will be better and some worse BUT if you average your year, quarter or even month out and can consistently show a profit, you will be a viable business. With that said, having your own 52 week per year customers is key to this business! Let's be honest, if you are going to make a living off of the load boards, it won't be a good living! I have been behind the desk for 12 years and behind the wheel for 10 before that pulling a hopper and I still don't know everything there is to know about this business! What I do know is if you do a good job for your customers and are honest, you will have no problem staying busy! That's just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. Have a great day! Keith ET Trucking"

I have walking floor rates 8 to 10 dollars a loaded mile. Based off 105 CY trailer. I'll be running trucks easily thru February.