Moving heavy equipment can be complicated, dangerous, and unnecessarily expensive if it is not done properly. Bulldozers, backhoes, rollers, pavers, and planers all require a certain amount of TLC to move from one work site to another and back to your headquarters again safely and efficiently. At Associated Pacific Movers, we have developed ten commandments for moving heavy equipment efficiently, safely, and at minimum expense.
1. Always plan ahead
You can’t move heavy equipment if the trucks to haul it are unavailable. That’s the problem when you, for example, invest a few thousand dollars in a 40-year-old flatbed trailer and an ancient cab to do your own hauling. When your truck is in the shop, and your equipment is anywhere other than at your job site, you are going to have a lot of downtime. Even when you finally get your heavy equipment where it needs to be, you are still at risk of other kinds of delays.
Using a reliable local hauler is a better option than do-it-yourself heavy equipment hauling. But any kind of asset-based trucking service is subject to the same kinds of delays as doing your hauling yourself. Third-party logistics (3PL) companies like Associated Pacific Movers can always find multiple haulers to move your equipment, and they may also find your moving company a backhaul, so they are more likely to give you a good rate.
2. Think creatively when you are setting your budget
If you include transportation expenses in the amount you bid to do a job, you are covered in case you have to use an alternate carrier who doesn’t give you the same sweet deal your usual hauler does. But it’s easy to overlook this line item when you are costing out your next job.
A better approach is to leave the driving to a 3PL provider. We will always find the lowest-cost hauler with the best track record, and have you covered in case of extraordinary fuel costs, weather delays, and labor issues.
3. Schedule ahead
The National Weather Service is your friend when you are scheduling your move. It is always easier to move heavy equipment in sunny, dry weather than it is in a hurricane or a blizzard. Careful scheduling also gives you the chance to make sure you have the right people ready to go at the work site, and helps you arrange needed security against theft and vandalism.
4. Keep up with regulations
State departments of transportation, the Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and various local authorities can throw you a curveball with new rules and regulations that aren’t well publicized. When you use a 3PL like Associated Pacific Movers, we do your homework for you.
5. Never overlook risk assessment
The way to keep your operators, your equipment, your customers, and yourself safe is to make a careful risk assessment before each move. Consider road conditions. Check with your local highway safety department if you are going under low underpasses or along winding, mountain roads. Check with local authorities about how much of a load rural bridges can handle. Make sure your truck is in working condition, and secure your load securely, meeting all government regulations.
If you choose a 3PL, of course, we will make sure all your bases are covered. We will use our decades of experience moving heavy equipment all over North America to make sure your move is safe, timely, and fairly priced.
6. Keep the lines of communication open
We recommend GPS for all trucks and for all heavy equipment. It’s just a matter of basic asset security. But we also urge all of our clients to keep lines of communication open before and during every haul, using radio when cell coverage isn’t available.
We also have some suggestions about who should do your hauling.
7. Let a third-party logistics company plan your next haul
Don’t limit yourself to one company that owns the trucks and hauling equipment you need. Expand your possibilities to all of the companies that have the trucks, drivers, and equipment you need when you need it, at a competitive price. Don’t deal with the hauling company directly. Deal with a 3PL to get the best deal, and, sometimes when timing is critical, the only deal that keeps your project moving forward.
8. Make decisions in your office, not in the field
If you have enough employees and equipment that you work multiple jobs at once, it is important to make your decisions about who will haul your equipment from HQ, not from the job site.
Site managers always want to minimize THEIR downtime. The home office manages moves for the good of the company as a whole. And 3PLs coordinate multiple moves so you can get lower rates with hauling companies that are always in your service area. When the trucking company is assured it will stay busy when it drops your heavy equipment off, you get better service at a lower cost.
9. Shop around for the best price
Or let your 3PL shop around for the best price. Just $20 a haul on 100 hauls a year adds up to $2000. You want the lowest price among reliable moving companies, and you want to lock in your price whenever possible, in our era of constantly rising fuel prices.
10. Integrate transportation with your company accounting systems
Hauling is a significant overhead expense. Anything that helps you control hauling expenses boosts your bottom line. You don’t need to spend thousands of additional dollars on accounting software. Associated Pacific Movers keeps records that help you calculate accurate bids and keep track of your hauling expenses for each job. And we will always know how you can get the best service and the lowest price in your market.