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Advice please

Skyline

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I am writing this to ask for input/advice - members, recruiters, anyone, please reply! I have a 15’ Ford E350 cube truck (almost brand new) and for the past two months I have been running expedite loads with it for a local company. (Up until recently, I was in the construction field delivering home improvement products, which I did for 8 years, but needless to say that market is almost non existent now so I have had to get out of that field.) The runs I have been making recently consist of local and interstate loads. I get $1.36 a mile but there are 2 problems: I have to deadhead back to Chicago every time and I get 10.5 miles per gallon. I tried to get loads on load boards, but with no success for my truck. I logbook because this truck is 12,500 GVW. I have a mattress in the back etc. and have been thinking of building a sleeper, but do not want to make changes until I am sure of my direction.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Should I sign my cube truck up with a company I found (in Michigan) and give it my best, even though they say loads can be few and far between?
Should I try that, then if it looks good upgrade to straight truck?
Should I trade and buy a straight truck or maybe a sprinter without any further delay?
Should a buy a straight truck and go to FedEx rather than trying the above options?

Thank you in advance for your input. I have been reading this forum often and realize that there is no set answer to most questions due to many variables, goals, etc. But I hope that as many members as possible can give me some much needed direction.
 

Dakota

Veteran Expediter
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Where are you located? Have you tried local courier company's or air freight companies? Alot of airfreight companies hire agents that have cube vans for residential deliveries that their semi's can't get to. Just some ideas:)
 

Skyline

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Thanks Dakota,
I am working on that and appreciate the help. Your company has a busy depot here and I left a voicemail yesterday, Will try again tomorrow. However the thought of being out on the road versus local home deliveries(which I have been doing for so many years) is very exciting. You do eventually get tired of Chicago traffic all day long.

Good luck with the new truck, I have been following your thread for some time. Nothing worse than driving a truck where you pray at every intersection that it does not die on you!
 

Dakota

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Not sure where the Towne location is in Chicagoland, but your best bet might be to drive there with your truck to show them what you have. Also, Towne has an expedite division, it used to be called Rocket and is still advertised here on EO as Rocket. I don't really know too much about the expedite side of Towne If your looking at getting in on the expedite side I'd check out Load One also.
Good Luck!!!
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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and stay away from Fedex..it is commonly known for those of us already in the field...that they are not, Solo straight friendly.;)
 

Skyline

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Thanks for the replies so far! Except for two members, none of the other regular and experienced operators have responded. Please, any input is always helpful. Negative/Positive does not matter. Thanks
 

Dakota

Veteran Expediter
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Thanks for the replies so far! Except for two members, none of the other regular and experienced operators have responded. Please, any input is always helpful. Negative/Positive does not matter. Thanks

You got replies from two of the best and still you want more? :p:rolleyes::D
 

roadeyes

Veteran Expediter
Charter Member
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Since you are already logging, it would be better to get a straight truck, under 26001 GVWR with hydraulic brakes so no CDL is needed, and maybe a liftgate (although there is much debate on here as to wether a liftgate is feasible or not).
You will have more load opportunities both going out and back.

You mentioned a sprinter as well, but that is going in the opposite direction from where you currently are. The only reason to go from a cube to a sprinter is if you didn't want to log anymore, but in doing so you will have no more opportunities for backhauls than you have right now.

Nothing personal, but I see no point in having an over 10000 GVWR cube van in this business. If you are going to go through the hassle of dealing with the DOT, then you might as well maximize your opportunities for that extra hassle.
 
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Dakota

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Since you are already logging, it would be better to get a straight truck, under 26001 GVWR with hydraulic brakes so no CDL is needed, and maybe a liftgate (although there is much debate on here as to wether a liftgate is feasible or not).
You will have more load opportunities both going out and back.

You mentioned a sprinter as well, but that is going in the opposite direction from where you currently are. The only reason to go from a cube to a sprinter is if you didn't want to log anymore, but in doing so you will have no more opportunities for backhauls than you have right now.

Nothing personal, but I see no point in having an over 10000 GVWR cube van in this business. If you are going to go through the hassle of dealing with the DOT, then you might as well maximize your opportunities for that extra hassle.

Unfortunately your truck is the worst of both worlds, you have to log, so you don't have the freedoms of a van and you might lose longer distance loads due to having to log, your not a dock high straight truck, so even though you might be able to hold the weight most expedite companies won't use your truck for the extra weight because most shippers will want a dock high truck, I've driven a truck like yours and know they are nearly dock high and depending on what type of docking plate is used can be loaded at the dock, but expedite companies aren't going to ask every shipper if their plate is compatible with your cube. Plus your gas mileage is in the straight truck range and if your getting a van rate or Sprinter rate, you'll be hard pressed to make money, not impossible just alot harder. If your serious about expedite then decide if a van or a straight is for you otherwise I would say look for local type work. If you want to try out expediting in your cube to see if you like it and can take three weeks out and downtime waiting for a load, then go for it, but have a plan and some money to get out of that truck within 6 months or so, I may be wrong and remember this is just my opinion:)
 

Skyline

Expert Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Yip, although the cube is a great truck around the city and open road, it is an odd ball to get work for.

I have stopped for 10 hours in Kentucky in the heat and it was miserable in the back of the box. No need in building a sleeper if I cannot get work for it.

I have always driven class 8 straight trucks so that is not a problem. Should probably talk to more freight companies and get a 33000# straight with liftgate and maybe an extended cab if I do go out and need to sleep on the odd occation.

It seems I have the best chance here?

Thanks alot again.
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
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I would have responded, but I'm in a Sprinter and can't really offer intelligent advice about a 12,500 GVW truck. There are some of those out here, so somebody is making it work, but I don't see much of those with any of the major carriers. From my perspective, like Dakota said, that truck is the worst of both worlds. You'd have to find a carrier that will cater to that type of truck. The SOP is a cargo van or Sprinter, or a class 8 straight truck or big truck. Once you go off the script with a tweener truck, load opportunities will plummet compared to a straight truck, and you'll end up hauling a lot of cargo van freight, mostly at cargo van rates, because a not-dock-high less-than 26,000 pound truck will be classified as a cargo van for the purposes of finding loads for it. Like you said, no point in putting a sleeper in a box van that you're not going to use. Well, you'll be able to sleep in it a lot. :)

Since you already know what you're doing (although "buy a straight truck and go to FedEx" calls that into question ;) ), I'd recommend getting a straight truck after talking to a few drivers and recruiters to get a better idea of not only which carrier works best for you, but to find out how other solo straights are doing with those carriers.
 
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