Canada Former hourly driver going O/O

Sierra Invenio

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Evening folks, hope all are well,

Been creeping the forums a few days, but apparently Ive got a fleet/carrier O/O contract coming tomorrow so figured it might be a good idea to reach out now.

Preface: Im a canadian citizen and the fleet is based in canada so I know a whole bunch of stuff is gonna be different. Already got a guy for taxes and what not. Already up on the regulations for vehicles in nearby states. Was an ambulance auxiliary driver for 3 years volunteer, and been doing driving jobs ranging from cargo van to roll off bins and hazmat straight truck, all for $/hr. Kinda over that at this point.

Questions for the experts:

I know a lot of people sleep in their vehicles, specifically for cargo van folks how do you stay cool? Where Im from above 80f is warm.

Showers on the road? Ive read about the planet fitness black card, no objections to that plan, are there other options I should consider.

Health insurance in US: Just grab travel insurance? Other option? None is not an option for me.

Anything specific I should watch for in the contract in your experiences?

The fleet/carrier (unsure of the difference actually) specifically requires a modern (within 2 years) diesel van. To my knowledge that is pretty much only a sprinter. A previous organization had very bad opinions of the sprinters as of late, but to be honest I drove one as an amb chassis and for delivering flowers for 3 years, never had any complaints. Also are fleets/carriers usually this specific in their vehicles?

What is the thing you wish someone had told you when you started?

Cargo van: what options are must haves in your vehicles?

Any advice/tips for a rookie in the field are very welcome

Stay safe out there.
 

danthewolf00

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Ask the carrier if they like sprinterish Van's like the ford transit....they do have a diesel engine but the gas engines are way cheaper to fix even the one with a turbo.
 

Sierra Invenio

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I did, the requirement is diesel (odd). To my knowledge however ford stopped offering the diesel transit early 2020 and, from what I can find stock of them is gone.
 

danthewolf00

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Why diesel when the gas mileage on the ford gas engine is almost as good as the diesel engine and you will find it easier to get worked on.
 

Sierra Invenio

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Because that's their requirements I don't know why The belief I think is based in the idea that they will last longer. If I had to guess it's a "done things A certain way for a long time" situation and I am not about to try and fight the ship I have done that at all my hourly jobs and it has never gone well.

Not to mention carrying capacity smacks the hell out of the transit on the Mercedes to my knowledge. (3500/XD)
 
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danthewolf00

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Explain to them that a gas engine means more free weight to carry freight.....a gas engine is lighter because it doesn't have all the extra epa crap on it.
 

danthewolf00

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3500 means double rear wheels and narrower between the wheel wells.....even though you can carry more you would have to build a sub floor and loose height to get the pallets over the wheel wells.
 

Turtle

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I thought the latter model 3500s were 6 inches wider between the wheel wells.

I haven't confirmed that myself, but I did read it on the Internet.
 
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Sierra Invenio

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Explain to them that a gas engine means more free weight to carry freight.....a gas engine is lighter because it doesn't have all the extra epa crap on it.
I am not getting into this to change how a company does things. They wanna do it their way and pay me approximately 3 times what Ive ever been paid, fine by me.
3500 means double rear wheels and narrower between the wheel wells.....even though you can carry more you would have to build a sub floor and loose height to get the pallets over the wheel wells.
you can get single rear wheel setups for 3500 and 3500XDs. Option is called "super single" at Mbenz. (I'd link but Im not allowed to post links yet I dont think)
I thought the latter model 3500s were 6 inches wider between the wheel wells.

I haven't confirmed that myself, but I did read it on the Internet.
I believe this is true but also see above :)
 

Grumpy Grandpa

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3500 does not mean double wheels, there is a Super Single option which does allow a pallet to fit. If diesel motors have a tendency to be more durable under a heavier load than gas motors They also Average Life is 400000 miles. They are more expensive to repair, However, if you take care of it It should take care of you. This of course is my opinion just like yours is gas motor instead.

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Grumpy Grandpa

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I believe the extra width comes from having the super single wheels . That is what I have ordered For that very reason

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Uedex

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I think the reason for diesel requirement is because the fuel surcharge.
After penlty time research I choose to buy a diesel MBsprinter, for long term cost and fuel discount.
I will start in Oct. Lets stay in touch, Canadian here.:cdn-flag3:
 
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danthewolf00

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I think the reason for diesel requirement is because the fuel surcharge.
After penlty time research I choose to buy a diesel MBsprinter, for long term cost and fuel discount.
I will start in Oct. Lets stay in touch, Canadian here.:cdn-flag3:
Good luck and your going to need a lot of money for repairs on that Mercedes.
 

Grumpy Grandpa

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Thanks for the wish.. I have confidence in my choice.... and I have a good ext warranty, mechanical abilities., experience and know how to take care of equipment.

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Grumpy Grandpa

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By then I'll be done and riding my Harley... again not worried

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danthewolf00

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Well you might want to buy parts for the van if you find a good dealership willing to work on the van......and the sprinter page can help.....beats paying extremely high prices on parts.... like the rotors and pads....and oil changes....my 2007 sprinter took 14 liters of oil and cost over $300 to have done.
 
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Grumpy Grandpa

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Thanks for the advice. I took most/all those expenses into consideration before I ordered my van. Actual went to service & parts departments at dealerships to get current pricing for Is routine maintenance items such as brakes, oil changes, tires And a few non routine items.
My experience is that you don't wait until something happens before you Have a planIn place to overcome it. Yes I understand that not all plans work but they don't work at all if you don't have one to begin with.
Again thank you for your advice but I am not concerned about the What if Scenarios.


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FlyingVan

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Grumpy, Sprinters are a special breed of vehicles. Some love them and some hate them. I personally love them. I have a 2004 that I expedited with for 800k miles without any major issues. Still runs today but it only does trash runs once a month or so. I liked this van a lot that when I needed a family hauler passenger van I bought a 2014 Sprinter.

My experience with these things is that they are fine vehicles, just keep them as far away from dealers as possible. They lie and cheat worse than you can imagine. And on top of that they overcharge. $300 for an oil change? I do it myself for less then half of that. There is nothing to it. Just use oil approved by MB. Don't have to buy it at the dealer, do your research and you can find alternatives.

Do as much maintenance as you can yourself and what you can't, find someone who knows what they are doing and you will be fine.

Oh, forgot. When you need parts, don't buy aftermarket parts. They don't last. Buy original parts even if they are a bit more. I learned my lesson the hard way. The only time my van let me stranded on the side of the road was because of an aftermarket belt tensioner. I didn't have a spare with me since I didn't think the one I put on would fail in 10k miles.



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