As I opened the doors to our commercial delivery business I’m flooded with a mountain of expenses. And at that point I had not secured a single paying load. However as I knocked on doors, made phone calls, solicited any business who would listen to me, I was able to make a few deliveries of RV units, ranging in mileage from 780 to 2100 truck miles. The pay as I found was better than having to scrape the bottom of a mud pit and alley fight three guys to win a bid. However as you can imagine those good paying loads don’t come often or consistently enough.
Some time in 2013 I got hooked watching a show called “Shipping Wars” and at that time I was contemplating buying a newer vehicle to pull our RV camper. And in my infinite wisdom of stupidest ideas, I decide to buy a vehicle that could double as my work truck and our family tow truck for the RV. Well being of a hard headed person and maybe not often enough thinking things through, within 3 months I was knee-deep in debt and the not so proud owner of a truck I didn’t really want.
I asked questions of anybody I could think of and tried researching all the ins and outs of being a so called “hot-shot transporter. I figured how hard could it be. I mean in my career as both an owner and co-owner of various trucking companies, having driven nearly a million miles professionally and hauling everything under the sun you could think of…what could go wrong? After all, I didn’t really want to be in the “trucking” business I just wanted to put my little pickup to good use while it wasn’t pulling our family camper and it could pay for itself. Sounds like a good plan…right up to point when you add up all the cost and no revenue.
My next move was to sign-up as carrier on the site known as “uShip” the broker company made recognizable by its cast of transporters, clever bidding wars, and cut throat antics to win the opportunity to haul someone else’s crap! and be paid.
Always the optimist I am, I filed all my FMCSA paper work, (see my post where I was defrauded out of $587.00) found an insurance agent who could cover my type of transporting business, purchase a cargo trailer, make modifications to my new truck so it could haul various cargo legally.
So my thought was now, “OK I’m a legit transporting company ready to serve the general public” not so fast there bucker-roo! You gotta now compete against all the people who cut in line, dodge the system, thort authority, thumb their noses to all, as they pass by and in general cheat the system. Hmmm why didn’t I think of that. Well it’s not that it didn’t cross my mind but I figured the way to stay the course for the “long-haul” I’m gonna play by the rules and do my part.
Now you can’t blame the thousand of would be transporters who don’t follow the rules or give two rats tails about anyone else…including their own customers, because companies like uShip actually encourage this wild west survival of the fittest. On the surface who wins? the customer who saved a TON of money, right? hiring someone who may or may not make it the destination or G_d forbid be involved in a crash that damages their items, lets just over look that for a minute. And since we are talking about the wild west, its gotta be like hauling moonshine…just go until you get caught, dodge the scales, dodge the law and all the driver safety regulations, don’t stop for repairs just wire it together and keep going cause your gonna make $200.00 hauling a load that you took from a legitimate transporter that should have been paid 5 times that rate. You know who else wins? …uShip yep they win BIG TIME cause they run the web site that encourages all those folks to bid and bid again and bid again until the only one who will get paid and has no risk whatever and could care less whether you make the trip or not…yup uShip, isn’t beautiful.
I think of a recent story where a so-called company bids against me, of course much lower and promising all sorts of grandiose favors to the shipper. The company won the bid…yayyyy they managed to fake a profile that demonstrated they passed a “back-ground-checked and verified” ohh that sounds official doesn’t it. I’m sure they are a real company operating as a Motor Carrier…like me.. you know playing by the rules. Hmmm check a little deeper and whoa… they are not even a Motor Carrier.. they have a USDOT number as reported on their profile but are in fact for-hire of “passengers only” and it’s for their home state…wait a second how are they gonna haul all that freight through 6 states with no authority to do so? Well hayyy the shipper saved a TON of money by using the lowest bidder who lied about who they are. Hey buddy do you even have insurance? really? enough to cover you, the general public, your customer… the law? I have to drive by a 60/7 driving regulations that are heavily mandated and policed. I wonder if this guy will be able to stay awake the duration and make it there safely? I guess so since he doesn’t have to follow the same rules I do.
This long story is a tale of wooo to discourage anyone who would be a transporter. It’s a tough dog-eat dog business, that makes no promises, pays nothing and just when you think you have won that bid…lookout there will be someone there cutting you deeper yet.