So you want to get something transported....

  • 08 Oct 2018
  • Thinking of getting something transported by truck ? There are many things to consider that will impact the costs that you will get quoted. Below is a list of things to consider. Basically, the more info you can provide the transport company, the sharper the quote will be & will avoid items not being picked up due to size constraints or conversations over price. Transport operators try to fill all available space on a truck to give you the best value for money - especially in a very competitive environment.

    Accurate description

    It's important for us to know what it is that we are transporting - especially if some measurements are unavailable. A lot of gaps can be filled in based on personal knowledge if we know model numbers of equipment for example. Pictures are great too !

    Give accurate measurements 

    Give sizes, weights etc. Especially with rubber tyred equipment - the bulge on a tractor tyre can be the difference between in-gauge or oversize. 
    Include things like front-end loaders on tractors rather than just the tractor length. Generally we like to know the width of the wheel track - outside to outside of tyres/tracks including budging tyres.

    Remember as a general rule, ANYTHING over 2500mm wide or 4.3m high is OVERSIZE. Depending on the state or territory, it can affect the route we may need to take.

    How many items?

    Truck & trailer sizes vary - inches can make all the difference. If you're planning to have multiple items on a load, split out the measurements so transporters can plan the load properly. In some cases, it may mean splitting the load into multiple loads - especially with the larger companies where they can mix & match on multiple trucks to fit available space. We still need to make allowances for how we tie items down & that can mean that a 6.5m item takes up 8m of deck space when we add chains or steps for example.

    Give accurate place names

    A lot of people will say 'ah they won't know where that place is' so they use the nearest large town. In our experience, some of these jobs can be over an hour away form the pickup or destination listed. Put the name of the proper location & if the transport company can't work out where it is, they can call you to clarify it. Even if it is x km from the nearest town.

    The majority of the larger jobs are costed based on a per km rate so we need a fairly accurate picture. It also avoids us disappointing the next customer when we've gone 2 hrs out of our way to get to the pick-up or drop-off location.

    Can you get a truck on site & loading facilities

    One of the key things transporters will ask you - can I get a truck in to load & unload & what facilities do you have ? Workplace safety affects everyone & no one wants to get injured on the job. If access is limited by things like narrow gates, narrow roads, low overhanging trees & the likes, alternative arrangements may need to be made. Likewise if the load is forked or craned on, it's likely that it will the need the same unloading.

    What about other things to consider

    Some other things to consider as well:
    • If you know you need a specific type of trailer, then state the requirements. A drop-deck with no ramps is no good if there is no loading ramp to load a tractor
    • Are there restrictions on the pick-up & delivery times ?
    • Are items coming from an auction site ? They have additional requirements before items will be released
    • What PPE is required ? As a rule, all drivers & companies carry the items but it avoids confusion before getting onsite.

    Quote Cost

    If you live off the beaten track or if your load is oversize, really heavy, weird shaped or needs extra care or planning, expect to pay more. Your load may need specialist skills, pilot or escorts or even specialist machinery.

    Be realistic about what it will cost

    Transport operators need to pay rego, insurance, transit insurance, wages etc. It's a high cost base industry the bigger the machinery. Some people splash around the term backload rates & while you may be able to get discounted rates on some routes, it's a business decision by the transporter. A lot of the so called backload rates come with discount operator with no transit insurance, inappropriate gear or lack of experience. 

    You get what you pay for & cheapest is not always best. Make sure you have all the information before you make a decision.

    Payment terms

    Everyone likes to get paid ! Discuss the payment terms & options with prospective transporters - understand what your obligations will be. My experience is that there are a lot of variations. If the transport company isn't volunteering the payment terms to you, then ask.

    Most will want payment on delivery unless you already have an arrangement with them. Some will want part payments up front - especially on the bigger jobs where there may be addition equipment required or third parties involved.

    Booked the load ?

    If you're using a load board like LoadShift, TruckIT, uShip etc, remove the listing when you have reached a deal. It will save you answering a lot of necessary calls !


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