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New to expediting (old to 18 wheeling)

Spartan

Active Expediter
Offline
I am looking at expediting vs "regular" trucking and hope to get some good advise from the experienced hands here.
I've been a class-A for 12 years, about 6 as an o/o and am hoping that running a Sprinter or a CV would be a healthier and happier way to drive.

PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, but I am thinking that parking.. (sleeping) will be better out front with the cars and RVs, that I can get fuel and groceries in town instead of always being captive at the truck stop. Hopefully, between loads I could go to a movie or sight-see a little, which I could never do in the rig because of parking. Overhead clearances, turn-arounds, lower tolls...I can see many advantages....so what am I missing?

I realize a straight truck has it's advantages, but I really want to "enjoy" my next few years on the road, and the van looks like it would allow me to use my down-time better and cut stress from hunting for parking and trying to sleep beside noisy reefers...what do you think? Am I crazy?

I don't mind waiting a bit between loads, especially if I am not trapped at the trkstp...and I would really like to find out some realistic ideas of average loaded, deadhead miles, mpg and income targets I should aim at. I know it varies for everyone, but a general idea would be greatly appreciated.

I travel very light and don't need much home-time...so should I get a van and try this?

Any advice welcomed, Thanks
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
I am looking at expediting vs "regular" trucking and hope to get some good advise from the experienced hands here.
I've been a class-A for 12 years, about 6 as an o/o and am hoping that running a Sprinter or a CV would be a healthier and happier way to drive.

A cargo van would probably not be good for either your mental or financial health, as there are too many available everywhere, most of the time. a Sprinter is better, but if you go that route, read the advice from the guys who own them [esp on maintenance & repairs], because they are not just taller vans.

PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, but I am thinking that parking.. (sleeping) will be better out front with the cars and RVs, that I can get fuel and groceries in town instead of always being captive at the truck stop. Hopefully, between loads I could go to a movie or sight-see a little, which I could never do in the rig because of parking. Overhead clearances, turn-arounds, lower tolls...I can see many advantages....so what am I missing?

I drive a S/T, and am not 'captive in a truck stop': I'm parked at Costco right now, but am usually at WalMart, a grocery store, big box [Home Depot, Lowe's, etc] or even a movie theater lot. Keep out of the customers way, and you're generally left alone. [And be a good citizen, so no one has cause for complaint.]

I realize a straight truck has it's advantages, but I really want to "enjoy" my next few years on the road, and the van looks like it would allow me to use my down-time better and cut stress from hunting for parking and trying to sleep beside noisy reefers...what do you think? Am I crazy?

On the evidence of one post, I wouldn't presume to guess, lol, but if you are, so are lots of us - we don't like sleeping next to noisy reefers either.

I don't mind waiting a bit between loads, especially if I am not trapped at the trkstp...and I would really like to find out some realistic ideas of average loaded, deadhead miles, mpg and income targets I should aim at. I know it varies for everyone, but a general idea would be greatly appreciated.

Avg loaded and DH miles can be supplied by recruiters at whichever carriers you're considering, or by sending a private msg to individuals with those carriers [if they drive a van/Sprinter], or ask the ones you see parked out in the world.
MPG is variable, depending on many factors, some of which are solely up to you - but you can find some info by typing 'mpg' into the search function here.
Income targets? Depends on need, so that's entirely up to you. whether it's doable is what you want to learn, after you've chosen a vehicle, of course.

I travel very light and don't need much home-time...so should I get a van and try this?

Dang, but you ask questions no one [but yourself] can answer, lol. I'd say no to the van, but otherwise, start gathering info [if you can go to an EO seminar, it's worth the time] and narrowing down the choices to where you can answer it for yourself. Take your time - get as much info as you can, and filter it for what you need,
Good luck! :)

Any advice welcomed, Thanks
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
I would take another look at straight trucks, they usually get to park out front at the truck stops and I always see them at Walmart or malls, the parking opportunities go way up in a ST. I would look at an HCV or Sprinter and avoid buying a regular van if you can since the bigger load capacity is an advantage.

Posted with my Droid EO Forum App
 

Spartan

Active Expediter
Offline
Thank you for your help, it is sincerely appreciated.
It is disappointing to hear that a van isn't practical, but better to hear it now.
Would you ever consider (I think they are called) a cube van...like the Chevy independence 500?...better, worse or about the same as a Sprinter?
I really want to see if there is a type that stays below the 10,000# limit and get away from logs and "no trucks allowed" signs! Thanks again.
 

Monty

Expert Expediter
Offline
I can tell you this .... after years of driving a semi, the worst thing that will happen to you is the life style change.

Expediting is feast or famine. If that phone does not ring, there is no load.

Sort of like sitting at the firehouse, waiting, then going like hell to put out someone's fire.

If you thought a 34 hour reset was bothersome, try 96 hour one!

And yes, I would indeed suggest a high cube van, like a Sprinter, or an UltraMaxx. Keep it under 10,000 and enjoy some of the best trucking you have ever done ...... no logs, no scales, and as you mentioned above, the portability of having a four wheeler to tool around town in.
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
Thank you for your help, it is sincerely appreciated.
It is disappointing to hear that a van isn't practical, but better to hear it now.
Would you ever consider (I think they are called) a cube van...like the Chevy independence 500?...better, worse or about the same as a Sprinter?
I really want to see if there is a type that stays below the 10,000# limit and get away from logs and "no trucks allowed" signs! Thanks again.
Would I consider it? And give up my 'everything including the kitchen sink' truck? Not a chance, lol - I spent a couple years driving a van, and it's too small for my comfort level. Besides, I'm pretty short [I prefer 'petite', but it doesn't fool anyone, sigh], so I really love being up high & looking down at things - it's cool! ;)
But there are other viewpoints, and beside the Sprinter, the larger-than-a-van vehicles are beginning to appear in the mix now. Best to get answers from the people who own them [ChefDennis comes to mind] and the recruiters for whatever carriers interest you - because you want a vehicle that a carrier can keep busy.
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Thank you for your help, it is sincerely appreciated.
It is disappointing to hear that a van isn't practical, but better to hear it now.
Would you ever consider (I think they are called) a cube van...like the Chevy independence 500?...better, worse or about the same as a Sprinter?
I really want to see if there is a type that stays below the 10,000# limit and get away from logs and "no trucks allowed" signs! Thanks again.
I never heard of that Chevy before so I couldn't say but there is the Nissan NV and other HCV's to consider. Nissan is supposedly coming out with an extended length van this coming year so it could be worth waiting. The issue I have found with the van is that there are so many loads that you need 5 feet of clearance or they are 12 feet long that having a regular van stops you from getting those. The industry is gearing itself toward using Sprinters and HCV's but you can still make money in a regular van. It just makes better business sense to buy a vehicle that increases the likelihood of you getting a load since you will be paying the cost of moving to where the freight is. I would not buy a regular cargo van again because of load capacity and comfort.

Posted with my Droid EO Forum App
 

Spartan

Active Expediter
Offline
Thanks for all the advice- this is helping a lot,

The van is out, fine...and I can see that a straight truck would get the most work...
but I really want to stay under 10,000#s
and that looks like a Sprinter.

Is it realistic to think I can get enough work with a Sprinter to net $ 40,000/yr...if I get the right one and stay out?

That is what I was clearing as a company driver, I was making over $60,000 as an owner/op...but the logs, scales and size-related hassles are sooooo stressful.

I'd be willing to work for less just to lose some of the hassle.
And the down-time is OK...as long as I can sight see a bit-

I see that 5' freight height and 12' freight length are the important minimums...so a short-roof 170" would be enough.
(Or would it?)


Even the short roof has 5' clearance...is mpg worth going short?
Even the 170" (not ext) can hold 4 pallets...easier to maneuver?
Or just get the biggest one..170" ext and tall roof?

Maybe there are other more important questions I'm missing - any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thanks
 
Last edited:

The Enemy

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Spartan, welcome to our little comunity.

If you have your mind set on staying under 10k, I would look into either the 170" wb long and tall Sprinter, the CargoMaxx or UltraMaxx or a box van with at least 12' of interior space. One thing to look at when specking out your new vehicle is its empty wight with a full tank of fuel with you and your belongings in it, ten subtract that from the Gvw. That will tell you how much weight you can carry, the lighter the vehicle the better as it will allow you to possibly carry more weight. Another thing is maintenance costs. A Sprinter will have higher maintenence costs than a Ford or Chevy but will get better fuel milage.

While a built-in sleeper with partition is nice to have it adds weight and takes away from your floor space taking you away from the bigger 3 or 4 skid loads. Not only that but a professionaly built sleeper is in the $5-9k range. As you can see there are a lot of options to weigh when considering a "Van". Its not as easy as picking up a ST or a tractor. You have to have a little imagination when building your living quarters.

My wife and I operate a '06 long and tall Sprinter and have been in it for the last 4.5 years. Previously I was in a Chevy cargo van. I will not trade the room we have in the Sprinter for a regular van. We have ours set up for 3 skids, but when there is 2 skids or less we have a full size bed that quickly folds up into the drivers side wall.

Lastly not all carriers utilize your 3 skid capability.

If you have any other questions don't be afraid to ask.
 

paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Your net pay can be influenced by many things like vehicle payments, your company, and your vehicle so it can be hard to give a figure but I think you can make $40k if you stay out. As others have stated there is a life style change you need to get used to which is sitting more. Once I got rid of the truck driver mentality of more miles I realized sitting is normal and nothing to be concerned with if you are there for a day or two. I drove truck for a little under 3 years but the idea I needed to be going constantly was ingrained so I was always fighting it and wasting money. When you are dead heading instead of staying put you are spending your cash so you will want to make sure you are moving for a reason. I would go with the 170" tall since it opens your freight capabilities up as much as possible. The less restrictions you have as far as your vehicle, home time, and list of "I don't" the better your chance of success.

Posted with my Droid EO Forum App
 

Spartan

Active Expediter
Offline
Pallud and The Enemy,
Now we are getting down to nuts and bolts, Thanks

The best Sprinter, then would be: (please correct if wrong)

2500 - to get the distance between the rear wheels
170" EXT for the longest avail cargo floor
and the tallest roof.

I assume that the whole reason for this is because shippers have 3 and 4 pallet loads often...but just looking at 30" length per pallet, you could get 4 into a 144' (with no room left for personal space)(?)

My question is, if I used a cot or fold-away bed, couldn't I still capture 4 pallet loads in a 144" ?

And I am very happy to get a 170" if that's better, just trying to learn the ins/outs.

More is better, but what is the minimum cargo weight you would call "enough" to capture the majority of loads?
(I will be keeping my "sleeper" weight very low)

What is the life expectancy of a Sprinter?, about how many miles till they are used up?...I might find a good deal on a used one.

And if I can ask 1 more, I see that the new sprinters are different and some drivers don't like them as well.
Is there a "sweet spot" age and engine/transmission/ratio that expediters prefer?

I want to thank everyone for you patience answering all these entry-level questions.
 

b2boggs

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
I have a 144 sprinter. Most pallett size is 48. Can handle 4 auto bins if double stacked. I have 125 in usable floor space for loads. Then no room to lay down.

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paullud

Veteran Expediter
Offline
I would be looking at the 2500 170" EXT as the best choice for a Sprinter. As for the rest of the questions I will have to let the Sprinter experts answer those.

Posted with my Droid EO Forum App
 

JimF51

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
That is what I was clearing as a company driver, I was making over $60,000 as an owner/op...but the logs, scales and size-related hassles are sooooo stressful.
After years in diff T/T with space to move around in, I, myself, prefer the living space a ST gives me. Especially in expediting, with the occasional longer down time between loads. If your used to decent sleeper space in a company truck, the change to a lot less space will be as big a difference as getting used to the waiting times. But each to their own.

I am curious about your statement that I quoted above. What is/was so stressful? Not a big fan of them, but electronic logs made that chore pretty simple. And scales shouldn't be a hassle, most of the time, if you are running legal, regarding your logs and weight.

And finally, the size thing. Your thinking T/T, but there is a huge change with a ST. Took me a while to get used to it, but you can get into so many places with a ST that you can't in a TT.

Like Cheri, I mostly park at other than truck stops, but when i do, I back in far enough, that even a reefer running full tilt isn't a bother.

Good luck with which ever way you go, and welcome :)
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
After years in diff T/T with space to move around in, I, myself, prefer the living space a ST gives me. Especially in expediting, with the occasional longer down time between loads. If your used to decent sleeper space in a company truck, the change to a lot less space will be as big a difference as getting used to the waiting times. But each to their own.

Setting up a Sprinter with both cargo and living space is quite doable - check out the photos of Turtle's, for example.

I am curious about your statement that I quoted above. What is/was so stressful?

For me, it was finding nowhere to park when out of hours to drive - not every WalMart [or other stores] will let you stay, in a T/T. And they're a lot harder to 'hide' than a S/T.

Not a big fan of them, but electronic logs made that chore pretty simple. And scales shouldn't be a hassle, most of the time, if you are running legal, regarding your logs and weight.

And finally, the size thing. Your thinking T/T, but there is a huge change with a ST. Took me a while to get used to it, but you can get into so many places with a ST that you can't in a TT.

Drive thrus are out - unless you draw a car on a big sheet of cardboard, and then walk thru holding it alongside. :D

Like Cheri, I mostly park at other than truck stops, but when i do, I back in far enough, that even a reefer running full tilt isn't a bother.

If you are bothered by a reefer running, try playing a radio on low volume - works for me.

Good luck with which ever way you go, and welcome :)

What he said.
 

JimF51

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Drive thrus are out - unless you draw a car on a big sheet of cardboard, and then walk thru holding it alongside. :D
Nah, I just walk up to the order board, and make hot rod sounds, then walk around to pay and get my order :D

Seriously, though, I never use a drive up, when I'm in a car. Always park and walk in. Less chance of order mix up, and get a bit of exercise.
 

mcavoy33

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Why would the poster want a 3\4 ton instead of a one ton?.
In a sprinter, the 1 tonne have dual wheels, which take up cargo space, which mean you have to build a sub floor if you want to carry pallets.

This is true of the older ones, I'm not 100% sure of the new ones.
 

BillChaffey

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Navy
Offline
Mr. Turtle's set up is a well thought out very clean, precise job. He seems to feel comfort is more important then an occasional third pallet.
 
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