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Flatbed Variety

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Old School's Comment
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Bud, how do you come up with less than a penny a mile for your fuel cost?

Bud A.'s Comment
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Bud, how do you come up with less than a penny a mile for your fuel cost?

Lease pay is by the load, and broken out by line (pay for the load), fuel surcharge, and tarping. On this load, fuel surcharge was a little over $400. Calculated actual cost of fuel using mpg, miles, and actual fuel price, then the difference between that and the surcharge divided by the actual miles. I always plan fuel stops for lowest fuel price possible (Prime has a handy app for that), and if I stay in network (always do) the savings is usually somewhere between 20-40 cents below retail. I've been told a driver is doing really good if they're below 10 cents a mile net. Last few weeks haven't been great, but I've had weeks before where I was below 10 cpm and one week below 5. Not sure what the average is, but I'll figure that out at the end of the year.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Old School's Comment
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Thanks Bud!

I didn't mean to put you on the spot, it's just that when some folks read something like that it can be misleading. I pretty much knew what the explanation would be, I just wanted to see a little more information in there.

That is why I almost always bring up the subject of means and averages when talking about being a lease/op or an owner/op. I know you don't think you are actually getting by with less than a penny a mile in fuel costs, but I just wanted others to see the details of how you came up with that really nice number for that particular load.

I'm down at the SAPA plant in Cressona, PA tonight picking up some 51 foot material for a Wabash trailer manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

Earlier today I delivered this load of extrusions in North Collins, NY to a company that builds stadium seating. That's right, when some of you folks go to a ball game you are parking yourself right down onto some of the material I have hauled across this great country.

SAPA truck being unloaded with parts for stadium seats on the flatbed in North Collins NY

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Old School's Comment
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Here I am at Marmon/Keystone in Mount Juliet, TN. I'm getting my load untarped and ready to be off-loaded. This is a truck load of aluminum pipe from the SAPA plant in Cressona, Pennsylvania. Even though this is a full truck load of pipe, my gross weight was only around 46,000 pounds. That sure made it easier pulling some of those twisting mountainous Pennsylvania roads coming out of Cressona.

SAPA truck driver un-tarping a flatbed loaded with aluminum pipe

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pat M.'s Comment
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Looking good Old School and Bud A.

Got done running the belly dumps for today and came home with this.

flatbed trailer loaded and strapped with large long steel water pipe

Tomorrow is the last day for belly dumps for a while so we had to get these trailers home today.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Pat, I've never seen a flatbed without split axles. What's that about?

OS, again my hat's off to you for willingly going to the plant in Cressona so many times. Just seeing the plastic under the tarps gave me hives.

Delivered guard rail today near Salt Lake City from Ohio. Tomorrow I'm getting another load of plastic pipe from Utah to northern California, which means another fun trip down the Loneliest Road in America!

flatbed trailer loaded with guard rail parts in Salt Lake City

Bud A.'s Comment
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Pat, I take it back, didn't notice the stretch in the trailer the first time I looked. How long is that stuff?

Old School's Comment
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OS, again my hat's off to you for willingly going to the plant in Cressona so many times. Just seeing the plastic under the tarps gave me hives.

Oh man, that place is terrible! I actually sat there for twenty four hours until my load was ready. They told my dispatcher that it was loaded and ready before he even contacted me to head over there, and I was still six hours away at that point. I got a message from him the next afternoon saying "I just got an email from them saying that you were still not loaded yet - please tell me that is not true" I hadn't sent him any communications so I just assumed he knew I was on hold - I mean this happens all the time when I go there. When I was finally loaded, I told him that I was just going to sit tight and get in a 34 hour reset. I tried to make a positive out of the experience - other wise I was going to be sort of hamstrung by my re-cap hours. So, I got a fresh clock out of the deal, but that was about the only good thing about it. No, I almost forgot, my dispatcher put 130.00 x-pay on my check for being willing to wait - he actually told me to go ahead and leave after he discovered I wasn't loaded. But my argument that I might as well get the reset out of the deal convinced him to let me do as I pleased under the situation.

I'm supposed to be picking up pre-loaded trailers when I go there, that is part of out arrangement with them on this dedicated account. I tell you who I really feel for at that plant is the owner operators who come in there for a live load. If it is their first time in there, they are in for a very rude awakening. Most of them, when they see the SAPA logo on my truck, will come over and talk to me wanting to know if I can tell them how long they will be waiting. Most of them are first timers, because usually one time in is enough of a cure to keep them from coming back.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Pat M.'s Comment
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Pat, I've never seen a flatbed without split axles. What's that about?

I saw your other response but there is more to it. Before they came up with the spread axle, all the trailers were closed tandem or better (more axles). This is a very old trailer that we have 5 of and they are all closed tandems. The other issue is that because it is a stretch trailer, it takes more side force to turn a spread than it does a closed tandem. Thus with the closed tandem you have less stress on the frame when it is stretched out.

As for the length, that is only about 55-60 feet long. I can't remember if the trailer is 40 or 45 feet closed and it is stretched 15 feet.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Bud A.'s Comment
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Pat, thanks for the info. I love spread axles because I rarely have to worry whether I'm ok with weight on the rear axles if my drives are ok.

Here's another load of pipe, this one a three-stopper to Napa Valley.

Prime flatbed trailer out west strapped with a load of pipe going to Napa Valley

And here's US 50 in eastern Nevada. I love the West.

truckers picture of the open road and beautiful sky on US 50 in Nevada

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