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How far will you go?

Discussion in 'Equipment Moving Questions' started by Electra_Glide, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    How far are you guys willing to drag your equipment to do work? I'm particularly interested in hearing about the smaller 1-2 day jobs. It's much easier to justify a long move if you're going to be on-site for a while, but most of the stuff I do is on a small scale.

    As much as I'd like to stay within my immediate area, it seems that a lot of times, I'm spending 45 minuntes to an hour of drive time one-way. Add in the time to unload and reload, and it makes for a long day.

    Is there some point at which you guys say it's just not worth it, or do you just factor the time into your quote (and theoretically end up with a higher quote) and let the customer decide?

    Joe
     
  2. cat320

    cat320 Charter Member

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    Stoneham,MA
    My thinking on this is for a small job it's just not worth it especially by the hour . now a small job that you set a good price at that is a different story. A bigger job justifys going farther. basicly what you have to do is get one of those big wall maps and circle out a radius from your base of operations then you can figure your price acordingly.
     
  3. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    Location:
    LaGrangeville, N.Y.
    I very rarely turn a job down. I had one that was further away than I'm used to traveling and added travel time to it. The customer accepted my quote and I did the job. Everyone was happy. I'll travel nearly any distance if the customer is willing to compensate me for it. Think about it, what's easier than traveling to the job?
     
  4. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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    Occupation:
    Rolling around in the dirt
    Location:
    B.C. Canada
    Your only traveling 45 to a hour away thats not very much. Smaller trades like plumbers and carpenters travel up to a hour away from home 5 days a week. Some of the excavation contractors here go couple hundred miles up the inlets the only way to get there is by barge and boat. The guys that work in the forest industry spend 3 hours a day getting to work and back.

    The guys with mini excavators and smaller excavators around here will travel if they got a job for the whole day they will travel the 80 miles for the work.

    One word of advise thou if a person from another area is phoning you for work they might be doing so because nobody in their area will work for them. For the reasons they don't pay their bills or they are a horrible homeowner to work for etc. If they are willing to pay any price for you to come and do their job you go do the job and then end up with a no payer or slow payer.

    Just becareful if you don't feel good about this person ask around.
     
  5. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    Location:
    Arizona
    If you can turn a good profit, go for it.

    If you have a good customer and may just break even but stay in his good graces and on his bid list, go for it.

    If you need the experience or perhaps want to do one or two jobs just to see what it will actually cost, go for it.

    If doing so will all but guarantee additional work in the near future from a new customer, go for it.

    Ford LT9000 has some good thoughts too. But you already know that you have to check out new customers carefully.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Self Employed
    Location:
    Juneau, Alaska
    My clock starts when I start the truck. I love to drive. so it makes no differance how far I have to drive. That said there are only 40 miles of road here otherwise it is a full day each way on the ferry just to get to the next town.

    I have also been known to take the motorhome just so I didn't have to come back home for the night.
     
  7. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Once you get a good reputation in the area you will get more work. The area your looking at may not have the services you can provide.

    If you are planning on doing jobs out of your area you should have a shop truck or shop trailer that you can carry tools and spare parts. Especially if your in a area you don't know so well to get stuff when your machine breaks down.

    You look at places like Vancouver (Lowermainland) of B.C. where some members are here have to deal with undersized road infrastructure where it can take 2-3 hours just to get accross town if the traffic snarled up. The distances I can travel in 30 mins because of rural area roads takes 1 hour in Vancouver sitting in traffic crawling along at 12mph. My licensed area I can haul with my truck is 160km radius (100 miles) which is as far I want to go.

    Good Luck
     
  8. atgreene

    atgreene Senior Member

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    Location:
    Sebago, Maine
    I have cut back to almost exclusively in my hometown (1500 people) and just over the line in adjacent towns. I turned down a septic 25 miles away and a few other jobs as I can make more money and use my subs and suppliers that are right here. The few jobs I have done that I traveled for ( 60 miles or more) I always seem to run into trouble getting material, or the right material.

    Everything is regional, 3/4 gravel here is not the same 30 miles away. I love to travel, but hauling equipment and all my tools while working alone is a pita.
     
  9. nedly05

    nedly05 Senior Member

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    Adk. Mtns, NY
    The furthest I have traveled is 20 miles, and the jobs we did we demolition and land clearing so it wasnt like we had to bring a ton of stuff with us, other than those 2 jobs, I havent left town in the 9 years I have been on the job.
     
  10. Orchard Ex

    Orchard Ex Super Moderator

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    Location:
    Southern MD
    I went for a long time last year when it seemed like I couldn't even buy a job close to home. This year it's been mixed. My area is more rural than some, so driving at least 30 min. is expected. Anything more than that and extra travel time is computed in the estimate at the trucks hourly rate. If the distance is significant and depending on the job requested, I'll warn the customer that they may get a better price from someone in the area, e.g. re-graveling a driveway v. building a decent sized patio.

    So to answer the original question, I factor it in the quote and let the customer decide. Unless it's like stupid far, then I'll just pass.

    Now not to hijack Joe's thread, but do you all give free estimates and if so how far will you drive to give a free estimate? I got swamped with long distance tire kickers this spring and I'm still stinging a little.
     
  11. cat320

    cat320 Charter Member

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    Location:
    Stoneham,MA
    I think what Alan said is true getting the right or same supplies your used to using or trying to just find them in an area that you're not familer with distributers. I find i always forget something when i go far away. 45 min may not be far but if you have to run back and forth then it becomes long.
     
  12. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Sep 9, 2005
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    3,388
    Occupation:
    Digger Driver
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Furtherest I went was 1,100 miles round trip. Took a 226 and KX 161 out to a new mine site North East of Kalgoorlie (middle of nowhere desert), 2 blokes, went like hell for 9 days straight, trenching, accomodation area clearing, small access roads, charged them 20K and they thought it was a bargain.

    I hauled 140 Gallons of Diesel with me but I could have got it at the mine site at cost. It was well worth it, but thats only if everything goes well. If you break down it can be real expensive. I have been asked to go a few times since but I really haven't the inkling for those jobs anymore. With the price of diesel I have found I have to watch those jobs which are just a bit outside my normally 20 mile radius. When the job runs for two weeks just the truck costs really start to chew into profits.
     
  13. Captain Morgan

    Captain Morgan New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
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    4
    Occupation:
    Pipeline Mechanic- Field Service repair of all pip
    Location:
    U.S.
    I got the shop and the house with me!

    I travel all over the lower 48 working exclusively for pipeline contractors. NEVER buy fuel or tires and make a really good living. I had two lowboys and was really busy but I clear about the same and find it a lot easier to work on someone elses equipment than my own.
     
  14. artherd

    artherd Active Member

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    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I recently told a contrator friend of mine, in a deadpan, "we would go to mars on an adequately funded contract".

    That said, I'd expect to be there more than 1 day ;)
     
  15. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    Orchard,

    Yes, I have always given "free" quotes, but I always throw a few extra hours into the job costing to cover the time I have invested in writing up the quote. Of couse, if you don't get the job, you're still doing it for free.


    Joe
     
  16. BrianHay

    BrianHay Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Messages:
    514
    Location:
    Nanaimo B.C
    Me too Captain Morgain. Wife and I travel all of Western Canada operating equipment. We usually clear at least an extra $1000 a month after all expences bringing our home with us. Most that I have worked for cover huge areas, some as many as four provinces.

    Here is our setup. Love the power stroke pullin it. Hardly know its there.
     

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  17. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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    Location:
    Juneau, Alaska

    Free quotes are good for 25 miles after that they pay millage. Also a free quote is just that a guess as to how much the job will cost. Total $ admount only with no brakedown. If they want it all broke down or want drawings then there is office time added.
    Here a quote is an estimate for the job not always the final price. But I have never gone over an estimate.
     
  18. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide Senior Member

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    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    Dwan,

    So how much time do you put into an estimate, not including the drive time to go look at it?

    Just curious...

    Joe
     
  19. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Juneau, Alaska
    Free estimates? For the most part because most of my jobs are less then 2 days I spend less then 1 hour. I will never give an est. on the spot but always take the information I need back to the office and write it down then send/fax/e-mail the total only to the customer. There has been to many times I have forgoten to add something when giving the total on the spot. (like eq delivery or dump fees).

    I figure if the customer wants me to figure out how much fill, D-1, pipe, rock, time it will need to do the job and give them that information then they are useing you to do their home work and you should get paid for that.
    If the customer says he wants a ditch 3' wide 9' long and 1' deep with a 9' piece of 4" drain tile covered with 1 yd 3/4" wash rock then covered with a strip of filterfaberic 3 ' wide and 9' long before adding 4" of topsoil. then I figure he has done his own homework and already knowes the brake down.

    I had a simple one yesterday for striping a parkinglot. They wanted a bid. I asked them for a drawing of what they wanted because the old lines were completly gone. They said they did not have any and did not know what they needed but just strip it the way I thought it should be. I then told them for me to figure out what they needed to meet code (ADA requirements and number of spaces for there building requirements) I would have to charge for my time. They did not want to pay for that just the striping and could I meet them at there lot to discuss it. Find I showed up and we walked around for 15 mininutes. They showed me what they wanted. I took all the information back to the office and typed it up with a disclamer saying "The customer has to accept all responcibility for the parkinglot striping not meeting code
    '
    . Now if they call back and ask why it does not meet code I can charge for any time I spend researching code requirements for them.

    Because there is getting to be so much more requirements for paperwork you need to figure out how to get paid for that time.

    Dwan
     
  20. LowBoy

    LowBoy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
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    1,149
    Occupation:
    Owner, Iron Mountain Iron & Equipment (Transport)
    Location:
    Southern Vt. on the Mass./NH borders





    I think you've got a pretty awesome setup there, BrianHay. No mortgage, (and if there is one, it's nowhere's near the size or length of term as a standstill dwelling,) no painting, grass to mow, none of the fixed expenses incurred by the American dreamer who owns a home.
    That seems to be a great way to live, just in that if the work scene changes and the job or company moves to another area, you can be part of the convoy, and remain gainfully employed.:thumbsup