Home > Forum > Weight Rules And Capacity Question.

Weight rules and capacity question.

May 15, 2020 at 07:41 AM CST
+ 6 - 2
I'm asking legitimately, not trying to be a smart alec. Owner operators universally agree that the FMCSA creates rules to benefit the fleets and we think that's wrong. What's the difference between that, and OOIDA advocating for rules that only benefit owner ops with 5 axles?

I've heard the "road wreckers" argument. In my opinion thats not true because of the required bridge laws. That weight is pretty spread out, either way, the overweight permits and extra fuel purchased means more highway money (if the money gets there).

Then there's the decreased rate argument. The people on this forum that advocate for 80k only have stated that the fuel economy is worse, maintenance is higher, and equipment cost is more when running more axles. I agree. With that being said, what makes you think we are taking the freight at a cheaper "per ton or per cwt" rate than you are? If we are the bottom feeders, we wouldn't pay for more axles imo.

Maybe I'm looking at it wrong? I'm an OOIDA member and I don't expect them to do my personal bidding to benefit me. In the spirit of the free market, I don't see the problem with me buying a big trailer to fit my specific niche market. The bigger trailer gets me home more and I don't see the problem with that.

I'm just thinking out loud, not trying to start a riot. Be safe!
Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 09:07 AM CST
+ 1 - 1

Dale,

I'll begin by saying that I run on 5 so I can only offer opinion and not experience with the subject you brought up. I'm also quite a bit older than you I think and have done various forms of this gig most of my life. My truck and high side weighs about 25800# full of fuel with me in the seat, so I can net almost 27T anywhere I go and I just run the Midwest/Plains states spot market because I want to come home every week. So that's the background for my frame of reference.

I think people are concerned more about the rate side of this than the road damage. Obviously more tires on the ground distributes the load on the road with the same effect as duals on a farm tractor, and the real problem is exactly what you hinted at-they rob the highway funds and spend the money on other stuff. We need legislation that prevents that in my personal opinion because it's OUR money (taxes) that is being misused. That would be a better thing for OOIDA to tackle, and yes I'm a member as well.

So I'll explain the rate part like this. I grew up in Ca. and even 30-40 years ago there, the intrastate freight moved on double sets. They're hard to park, can't back up and shippers/receivers have to be set up for them to make it all work. But Ca. has always been a VERY competative trucking market, so by axle weight and also when the 65' length law was in effect, doubles was the way to load 80000#. So the rates even back then assumed you had to net 50000# to make any real money and shippers (in the flatbed market anyway) wanted you to be able to load that. And they wanted the 57' of deck space to max out the light loads. I've been gone from there a long time, but I'll bet everyone still thinks along those lines and is very competative.

I think you have your own customers, and they are probably happy to pay your rate because you serve them well and with fewer overall trips with the big trailer. That makes perfect sense, but think about this. If I can net 27T and the rates should be based on 25T, I'm making good money for my investment in lighter (more expensive) equipment. But in reality, when things get ugly rate wise, I can haul at a "decent" rate while the 25T truck can't. If you and I are the two trucks in that same situation, you might look at it and say "the rate is too low, but I can still make the daily minimum I want so I'll do it JUST THIS ONE TIME" whereas I can't make it work at all. I'm not saying that you personally would look at it that way, but a lot of guys would and in fact do.

I spent most of my life in the flatbed business and used to haul a lot of roofing out of Phillipsburg, Ks. Roofing, like a lot of ag products, is cheap freight and always will be. You haul it because there's nothing else to haul where you live or because it gets you away from home into a better traffic lane. When I started hauling it, we actually used to have a weight based rate which was unusual but worked well for me. But over the years Prime showed up with their super light setups and now the rates are mileage based and they expect you to load 49-50000# for very average money. It didn't happen all at once, but over about 10 years. That's why I mentioned my age earier. In my 25 plus years in the business, the trajectory has produced more weight hauled for the same money on more expensive equipment. I think that's why a lot of guys don't want to see the multi-axle think grow, they're looking at it from a longer lifetime of experience and they feel like things will go the way they always have.

I hope I run into you one day on the road, I've enjoyed many of the things you propose and write about in these forums!

Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 09:46 AM CST
+ 1
Thanks for the kind words Tom, I'd look forward to that meeting! Hopefully there's a steakhouse nearby. I appreciate your perspective. I'm young and plenty ignorant, so its nice to ponder on what experienced people have to say. Can I ask what rig you are running at that weight? Thanks Tom
Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 10:15 AM CST
Originally Posted by: DALE HERMANS
Quote: "Thanks for the kind words Tom, I'd look forward to that meeting! Hopefully there's a steakhouse nearby. I appreciate your perspective. I'm young and plenty ignorant, so its nice to ponder on what experienced people have to say. Can I ask what rig you are running at that weight? Thanks Tom"

The truck and trailer are both 2017 models that I am second owner on. Freightliner Cascadia, 197 wb, small bunk, DD13, auto trans, super singles, every liteweight option right down to no passenger seat. Timpte 42x96x78, aluminum pin and sub, electric tarp, hydraulic doors, duals, 2 mounted vibrators. I have driven some good looking trucks in my lifetime, but at my age and with the hopper business being about weight/profit, I chose that over having a unique ride. I've had my fun over the years so I'm content now to haul what I haul and get 6.5-7mpg at 65-70mph.

Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 03:33 PM CST
Originally Posted by: TOM COLAROSSI
Quote: "Dale, I'll begin by saying that I run on 5 so I can only offer opinion and not experience with the subject you brought up. I'm also quite a bit older than you I think and have done various forms of this gig most of my life. My truck and high side weighs about 25800# full of fuel with me in the seat, so I can net almost 27T anywhere I go and I just run the Midwest/Plains states spot market because I want to come home every week. So that's the background for my frame of reference. I think people are concerned more about the rate side of this than the road damage. Obviously more tires on the ground distributes the load on the road with the same effect as duals on a farm tractor, and the real problem is exactly what you hinted at-they rob the highway funds and spend the money on other stuff. We need legislation that prevents that in my personal opinion because it's OUR money (taxes) that is being misused. That would be a better thing for OOIDA to tackle, and yes I'm a member as well. So I'll explain the rate part like this. I grew up in Ca. and even 30-40 years ago there, the intrastate freight moved on double sets. They're hard to park, can't back up and shippers/receivers have to be set up for them to make it all work. But Ca. has always been a VERY competative trucking market, so by axle weight and also when the 65' length law was in effect, doubles was the way to load 80000#. So the rates even back then assumed you had to net 50000# to make any real money and shippers (in the flatbed market anyway) wanted you to be able to load that. And they wanted the 57' of deck space to max out the light loads. I've been gone from there a long time, but I'll bet everyone still thinks along those lines and is very competative. I think you have your own customers, and they are probably happy to pay your rate because you serve them well and with fewer overall trips with the big trailer. That makes perfect sense, but think about this. If I can net 27T and the rates should be based on 25T, I'm making good money for my investment in lighter (more expensive) equipment. But in reality, when things get ugly rate wise, I can haul at a "decent" rate while the 25T truck can't. If you and I are the two trucks in that same situation, you might look at it and say "the rate is too low, but I can still make the daily minimum I want so I'll do it JUST THIS ONE TIME" whereas I can't make it work at all. I'm not saying that you personally would look at it that way, but a lot of guys would and in fact do. I spent most of my life in the flatbed business and used to haul a lot of roofing out of Phillipsburg, Ks. Roofing, like a lot of ag products, is cheap freight and always will be. You haul it because there's nothing else to haul where you live or because it gets you away from home into a better traffic lane. When I started hauling it, we actually used to have a weight based rate which was unusual but worked well for me. But over the years Prime showed up with their super light setups and now the rates are mileage based and they expect you to load 49-50000# for very average money. It didn't happen all at once, but over about 10 years. That's why I mentioned my age earier. In my 25 plus years in the business, the trajectory has produced more weight hauled for the same money on more expensive equipment. I think that's why a lot of guys don't want to see the multi-axle think grow, they're looking at it from a longer lifetime of experience and they feel like things will go the way they always have. I hope I run into you one day on the road, I've enjoyed many of the things you propose and write about in these forums! "

We ran triples and spreads for a quite a while. We went away from them because when we bought out first Timpte, all aluminum pin, plate and sub in 2012 we found that we could haul almost as much with these lighter trailers at we could with more axles and with far less expense. Fuel milege went from 4.5-5 to 6+ with tandems. Our rates did not vary for the guys we have that chose to have the big equipment. You need to set a rate that will work for what the smallest combination in your fleet can haul and be profitable. If you rate, figured for your smallest combination, is on a load that will work on your bigger combinations, then that combintion will make more per mile to offset the added expenses for having extra axels. In ND we have seen an influx of trucks adding axles to haul for less money. I truly think if we level the playing field and go 80,000 pounds across the board that we can all make a living! Right now, there are some trucks coming in from Idaho with tons of axels hauling 80,000+ of payload. The rates have tanked on these loads and the 5 axle and even 6 axle trucks can not compete. If the FMCSA was truly interested in safety they would put a stop to the higher weights. Stopping distances are increased with higher weights. Effects on equipment are increased with higher weights. Personally, I don't think increasing weight is the right answer! Just my 2 cents!
Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 04:17 PM CST
+ 1

I run on 7. I went to that set up because I could not keep up with demands of the feed mill I was hauling for at that time. Basiclly I now do 5 or 6 loads in 4 or 5 trips. I bid my freight at 26 ton, most can haul that. I do the frieght and the fuel for each bid. Keeps it fair with each of my customers. There are a few that wish it to be one number, and I accomidate them. I how find being able to haul more allows me to bounce a little futher to get better paying freight when nessary. I comfortably my big loads, 30 ton and more.

Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 04:18 PM CST
+ 1

Oh, and a side note. A 7 axle running 94,000 to 97,000 gross will have less pounds per square inch of tire. So it is not as hard on the road surface a 5 axle 80,000 is.

Replied on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 04:44 PM CST

Jeff.....Are you running super singles or duals.

Replied on Sat, May 16, 2020 at 07:28 AM CST
+ 1
Originally Posted by: JEFF TOMLINSON
Quote: "I run on 7. I went to that set up because I could not keep up with demands of the feed mill I was hauling for at that time. Basiclly I now do 5 or 6 loads in 4 or 5 trips. I bid my freight at 26 ton, most can haul that. I do the frieght and the fuel for each bid. Keeps it fair with each of my customers. There are a few that wish it to be one number, and I accomidate them. I how find being able to haul more allows me to bounce a little futher to get better paying freight when nessary. I comfortably my big loads, 30 ton and more. "

Jeff,

It sounds like you have the right idea and hopefully it will continue to work out well for you as things in this industry change. I run NW Iowa alot and there are plenty of 6 and 7 axle setups there doing the feedmill/milk plant/slaughterhouse work. I think the 5 axle guys like me are only still in the equation because there is simply so much freight in IA and alot goes to and from states that only honor 5. That, and a lot of guys want to be able to stay on the big road. I run state highways a lot and it doesn't bother me, but some people don't care too much for it I guess.

I bought the equipment I have because more payload equals more money when expenses (axles) stay the same. I figure that before I leave this business, the rates will be based on 26T instead of 25T. You said yourself that most guys can haul it so it will become the norm, and rates will probably increase little if any over what folks got to haul 25T. If we were all on 6 or 7, I feel like the same thing would probably happen. The rates would initially be higher to cover the extra expense of more axles and fuel, but once everyone has that equipment the rate incentive will likely be gone unless you're working for some unselfish people who really value service. I'd like to be wrong about that, but effieciency is the American way. We are the kings of doing things smarter, better and cheaper than other people can. Just look at our grain and livestock operations-they are the envy of the whole planet when it comes to efficiency. But the trend for years has been toward corporate operations, not sole proprietors. And if the goverment check isn't there to help out it often doesn't look too good on paper. I have 40 acres of farm ground too, so I'm not saying that to be disrespectful to anyone as I'm in the same boat.

I'm not mad about it, the world changes and all you can do is stay in the game if you have to truck to earn a living. If I lived where you live, I'd probably have a setup similar to yours. It just seems to me that in this business the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's a good thing I just still love to drive!

Replied on Sun, May 17, 2020 at 06:30 PM CST
- 1

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Replied on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 03:21 PM CST
Originally Posted by: JEFF TOMLINSON
Quote: "I run on 7. I went to that set up because I could not keep up with demands of the feed mill I was hauling for at that time. Basiclly I now do 5 or 6 loads in 4 or 5 trips. I bid my freight at 26 ton, most can haul that. I do the frieght and the fuel for each bid. Keeps it fair with each of my customers. There are a few that wish it to be one number, and I accomidate them. I how find being able to haul more allows me to bounce a little futher to get better paying freight when nessary. I comfortably my big loads, 30 ton and more. "

Running 6-7 axles is fine if it works for you. We found that it was not working for us so we went away from it. Now the latest craze up here is more axles for LESS money. We are not going to increase axles to make the customer or broker more money. We are not in this for our health, we need to make a profit to stay in business.
Replied on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 05:20 PM CST
Originally Posted by: TOM COLAROSSI
Quote: "Jeff, It sounds like you have the right idea and hopefully it will continue to work out well for you as things in this industry change. I run NW Iowa alot and there are plenty of 6 and 7 axle setups there doing the feedmill/milk plant/slaughterhouse work. I think the 5 axle guys like me are only still in the equation because there is simply so much freight in IA and alot goes to and from states that only honor 5. That, and a lot of guys want to be able to stay on the big road. I run state highways a lot and it doesn't bother me, but some people don't care too much for it I guess. I bought the equipment I have because more payload equals more money when expenses (axles) stay the same. I figure that before I leave this business, the rates will be based on 26T instead of 25T. You said yourself that most guys can haul it so it will become the norm, and rates will probably increase little if any over what folks got to haul 25T. If we were all on 6 or 7, I feel like the same thing would probably happen. The rates would initially be higher to cover the extra expense of more axles and fuel, but once everyone has that equipment the rate incentive will likely be gone unless you're working for some unselfish people who really value service. I'd like to be wrong about that, but effieciency is the American way. We are the kings of doing things smarter, better and cheaper than other people can. Just look at our grain and livestock operations-they are the envy of the whole planet when it comes to efficiency. But the trend for years has been toward corporate operations, not sole proprietors. And if the goverment check isn't there to help out it often doesn't look too good on paper. I have 40 acres of farm ground too, so I'm not saying that to be disrespectful to anyone as I'm in the same boat. I'm not mad about it, the world changes and all you can do is stay in the game if you have to truck to earn a living. If I lived where you live, I'd probably have a setup similar to yours. It just seems to me that in this business the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's a good thing I just still love to drive! "

My how things change. 26 ton was the norm thirty years ago. If you had a flashy large car, you were highly successful.