Glossary of Terms – Specialized Carrier Hauling

Any company who needs a heavy haul trucking company has a lot on the line.

Transporting oversized materials and large equipment is expensive, dangerous, and complicated.  If you plan to hire a heavy haul trucking company, make sure you select the right one.

If you don’t inform yourself, you are setting your operations up for disaster.  When you have big plans, there are big risks involved.  To help you reduce those risks, we’ve created this list of 7 Things You Must Know BEFORE You Hire a Heavy Haul Trucking Company.

 

First things first:

Be Sure You Need One

If your load is oversized, you probably already know.

However, if you’re just making assumptions: don’t.

On roads in the United States, an oversized load is any load that exceeds the standard legal size and/or weight limit for a specific thoroughfare.  Every road or highway has weight limits for  a transport vehicle’s total weight and on a per-axle basis.

Knowing for sure whether your load is oversized or not is absolutely critical.  If shipped incorrectly, the potential damages caused as a result could be devastating.  Save yourself the time, money, and headache by doing the research on your load and the necessary route up front.

In order to do so yourself, you’ll need to check with each individual state’s Department of Transportation that your planned route will go through.  You can also talk to well reputed heavy haul companies that specialize in shipping along your route for their insights.

Route Regulatory Requirements

The hauling of major freight is heavily regulated—as it should be.

You should familiarize yourself with all regulatory requirements that affect your route, on a state and federal basis.  That way, when you talk to specific transportation companies, you can get a sense of whether they are truly a good fit or not.

Route familiarity is a big key.  As your cargo crosses state lines, it’s important that the service you choose knows how the rules shift.  This becomes in even more critical when shipping across internationally.

Heavy haul regulations include everything from size and weight limits to insurance and safety.

There are also required permits for oversized load shipment and this aspect in particular can get pretty complicated.  There are also a number of situations where escorts are required by law.  

Some of the best trucking companies also help their clients obtain the proper licensing.  As long as the transportation company is a reliable one, this can be extremely helpful.

Trustworthy partnerships are always crucial when it comes to your business’s largest expenses. Still, you want to have a decent understanding of the majority of these things yourself.  

Insurance & Safety

Load safety is obviously a major concern.  And it’s not just about the money either.  

How far would your operations be set back if your load were completely lost?

While it is in the best interest of any decent hauling company to transport your load safely, accidents do happen.  So check into the safety record of all the heavy haul companies that make your final list.  It’s important that accidents are few and far between.

Take into account a company’s volume when looking at their accident record, but you want to steer clear of any who consistently have accidents.  This can act as a clear sign that corners are being cut somewhere along the way.  

Choosing a brand with a strong safety record has the potential to save you more headache than probably anything else on this list.  Still, things don’t always go smoothly in heavy haul trucking.  You have to know how to prepare for the worst.

Specialized insurance is crucial in protecting your cargo in the event of an accident.  Different companies have different insurance policies containing a wide variety of coverage.  The vast majority of the time, you are best off selecting a company that insures the full value of your shipment.

Capability

You need to know whether the heavy haul company has the ability to ship your cargo.

That really comes down to two things, capacity and distance.

While you don’t need to worry yourself so much with specifics like what kind of trucks and trailers your load requires, you do need to know whether companies can handle a load of your specific weight and dimensions.  

It may be that two companies can handle a load, but one may have to take an alternate route because they cannot make it through a particular incline or other obstacle along the way.

This is yet another reason why it can be so beneficial to go with a company familiar with your route.  Furthermore, you may need to look for a specialist if your load-route combination is a particularly difficult one.  

When it comes to the capability of a heavy haul company to get the job done, you absolutely do not want to take any risks.  Any respectable company should be able to give you a clear yes or no quickly once they have the details.

Service

An all-too-often-overlooked aspect of the heavy haul decision making process is customer service.

How a company treats you can help foreshadow how they will treat your shipment.  When you speak with them, the main things you want to look for are signs that they are trustworthy and value your business.

Transparency is a big issue here.  

If you feel like they are avoiding questions or seem desperate for a sale, be wary.  You might even want to try and bypass the sales team altogether and talk to someone that actually works with the shipments.  And you should find out early who your contact person will be if you hire a company.

The Better Business Bureau and transportation authorities in your particular state can give you additional clues as to what kind of business a particular company runs.  Lookout not only for complaints, but how a company responds to their complaints.

While not directly related to whether they will get the job done, customer service has real value in such a complicated industry.  When you have so much riding on a shipment, it really gives you peace of mind when you feel like someone has your back.

Rates/Value

Unfortunately, too many companies start their search for a heavy haul company here.

By the time they’ve realized their mistake, it’s too late.  Or worse yet, they don’t realize that prioritizing price first was the mistake and go with a different bargain carrier the next time around.

Don’t take this the wrong way; you want to compare various quotes and negotiate the price as low as you can.  But think about what is at stake.  You simply have to put quality first.

It doesn’t matter whether you are moving heavy parts, equipment, vehicles, buildings, or any other oversized load.  Putting too much emphasis on initial quotes is a recipe for disaster.  In the end, you’re likely to end up costing yourself more than you saved.  You’re also likely to reach companies with less experience, equipment, and overall resources.

While rates should definitely be towards the back of your list, value should be at the front.  In this case, you need to take into account for things like risk, service, and peace of mind.  These things are hard to quantify, but in the end make all the difference.

One of the best ways to get the best value is to look for a heavy haul company that specializes in the type of shipment you need to make and/or the route it needs to take.  These companies are usually able to do a better job, more affordably with their given specialty.

Once you get to negotiation, you can hunt for more value with add-on services that you need anyway.  But nothing is more powerful than educating yourself and coming to companies with the offers of their competitors.

Company Reputation

Last—but certainly not least on this list—the reputation of the company you end up choosing needs to be a positive one.

You want experts who have devoted the time to master the skills and equipment necessary to get your shipment from point A to point B.  Experience means a lot in this industry, which is one of the reasons local solutions are such a good place to start.

Again, the Better Business Bureau and your local Department of Transportation can give you great insights into who does good work.  You can also utilize the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to conduct background checks on any companies you are considering.

The main thing is that you do your due diligence.  Make sure you analyze thoroughly all 7 of these important aspects before you hire any heavy haul trucking company to ship your load.

 


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