Opinion of lumpers

Discussion in 'New Truck Driver Questions' started by robhart, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Ranger_375

    Ranger_375 Well-Known Member

    I have actually thought about just LLC'ing it up and undercutting the lumper fee at locations I can unload the truck, except that we don't have pallet jacks on the trucks, and I haven't researched if anyone makes one that I could collapse to strap onto the catwalk. You want 600 bucks to do it? Pfft. I'll take 550 and do it myself. Could use the PT anyway.
  2. mndriver

    mndriver curmudgeon extraordinare Staff Member Supporter

    Not worth the risk of injury. The broker is already going to pay for the lumper so it's not really costing you the driver.

    Go to sleep.

    The biggy for me is realize right up front...

    "Am I gonna get drug out and stuck there for 8-10 hours?". Yes? Fine. Take a full break and be ready. Some places are notorious for that. So pad the rate to ensure you're costs are covered.

    Being paid $650 for a load to go 150 miles sounds great.

    Until you realize it's going to be on your truck for 4 days.
  3. ironpony

    ironpony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Lumpers are part of the way shipping a product is legally done. If you look at your bills, you'll see the terms will be "FOB xyz."

    "Free On Board" is a legal construct that relieves you of being required to obtain ownership of the product on your truck in order to move it to the destination. It also specifies who is paying for the shipping charges.

    If the terms are "FOB xyz," and xyz is the destination, it means legally that the shipper is responsible for the shipping costs, and that the transaction is complete when the product is on the receiver's dock. This may also be specified in the sales contract, so you just might see "FOB" only on the bill of lading.

    Since the shipper is responsible for all transportation costs, contracting a third-party lumping service to unload the truck is one way to legally separate that labor from any costs borne by the receiver, and transfer it by billing to the shipper.

    Or sneaking it into the back of the trucker, if the broker contract for shipment didn't include that as a cost on the shippers side of things. Something to consider when negotiating for a load.

    Otherwise, either the receiver eats that cost, or the cost of unloading has to be specified in the sales contract. All of the loads I run involving a General Mills product are "prepaid" when I get to the receiver. Being a 400-pound gorilla in the world of shipping, the General can specify what they're willing to pay, and enforce that cost in contract.

    Using a lumping service also relieves the receiver of paying the cost of employment for the dock crew. No liability for workman's comp and injury settlements is a powerful inducement in keeping costs low in a business with skinny profit margins.

    We may not like it, but it's part of the business.

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero


    You can just get a good workout in without having to hit the gym...

    Just make sure there are no signs on the dock that say "no profanity allowed"

    In that case ( no pun intended)

    I'd go take a nap instead
  5. Hammer166

    Hammer166 Instigateur №166™

    When Walmart first started doing groceries, they didn't charge anything to unload their freight at the DC. Imagine my surprise when I went back after a decade yanking tankers to find they charged to unload now! And it's the same folks doing the same work.

    I'm pretty sure Sam has acquired the nickname Spinnin' Sam as much as he must be rolling in the grave over the changes since he's been gone.
    • Like Like x 4
  6. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    New management and dispatchers at one company I worked at. They clued in a found a light load paying well out of Montreal to farm country in Ontario ( they were working off of load boards by this point)
    A load of insulation.
    Dispatcher send me a message about, I am going to have to pallet jack the skid to the back of the the trailer.
    I send back a message saying you are going to have to pay me $50.00.
    Dispatch, I do?
    Me, Yes check the driver agreement
    Dispatch, Oh I did not know that. No problem. Adding it to your pay for the load right now.

    It only took me about an hour to unload. Kaching! Plus mileage.:D
    • Like Like x 1
  7. dchawk81

    dchawk81 Well-Known Member

    I hate them when they charge $350 to remove 3 pallets.

    Mostly because the company won't let me do it for the same $350.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Blood

    Blood Driveler Emeritus Supporter

    We used to deliver to a Kansas grocery chain called Dillon's.
    It took forever to get your load checked in so one of the guys that drove for me would unload another truck for the same price as the lumper service but with the added benefit of waiting to get the load checked while the driver slept or whatever.

    This guy would make $400 - $500 in an 8 hour day besides driver pay.
    The loads were out of Lipton in KC or Chicago...
    80 - 120 pallets or more per load!
    A lot of the instant soup, flavored tea, etc was 1 ti, 1 hi.
    I did some of my own loads but I never was ambitious enough to do two.
    This was 25+ years ago. No idea if you can still do that there.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    Guy at SMART wanted $150 to unload 20 pallets of water with his forklift.

    I carry my own pallet jack.

    It was a 48,000 lb. load of water from Arrowhead.

    Got a good workout in, but I was only 8 miles from home and it was a Friday night. There are times when you can tell a lumper to go pound salt. What I don't like is when the receiver demands that you go pay for your lumper fee before you even get a door. Mandatory lumping to me requires a mandatory thumping. :bigpaddle:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    If they are charging that much for 3 pallets there is probably a lot of breakdown.

    I have seen it where they would charge like $300. for 4 skids and then the same lumping company would only charge $150 for 6 skids.
  11. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    Brings back memories if Fleming foods....
    • Like Like x 2
  12. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    I delivered to Meijers in Lansing MI. I don't recall paying the lumpers i think it was handled in advance. I was some pissed off! Earl,Early morning delivery and these lumpers had it unloaded quick fast.
    Hey boys, Slow your roll! I was trying to catch some sleep here:D
    • Like Like x 1
  13. geppetto425

    geppetto425 Member

    Hate everywhere that uses them because EVERY warehouse with lumpers takes at least 2 hrs minimum to get you in and out. It's ridiculous. They need to find a way to streamline all the damn paperwork and pay the lumpers extra for unloading faster and more trucks.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. rigjockey

    rigjockey Token Canadian.

    Absolutely! They know what the pallets are like and they know what needs to be broken down and the cost. Maybe build that into the price and leave the drivers out of it.
  15. Hammer166

    Hammer166 Instigateur №166™

    Here's what bothers me the most about the way it works with lumpers nowadays: The guys doing the actual lumping aren't making much more than they did when they all worked for themselves. The lumping company is charging to 10x - 20x as much as we used to pay. I realize they are taking on the risk of workman's comp, but it's insane what it costs to unload a truck.

    I can only see 2 benefits to the lumping companies: They'll take a comchek, and you don't get woken up a dozen times while parked in line to get in the warehouse the next morning!
    • Like Like x 1
  16. PapaDough

    PapaDough Well-Known Member

    Lumpers, eh?
    Up here, some call 'em "SWAMPERS".......
    Either way you say it, ain't any complimentary, eh?:headscratch2:
  17. THBatMan8

    THBatMan8 Well-Known Member

    Often times the dude on the dock doesn't get the whole check. They would be lucky to get $15 an hour.
  18. Getfit Tommy

    Getfit Tommy Highway Hero

    The "lumpers" themselves can be pretty cool dudes. It's the companies they work for and what the job entails. They work nights just like we do, they stay up all night, even if we get naps, they have families at home, and they (for the most part) realize that we can't stand the process.

    I've sat up many a night, unable to sleep, not too far from home (on the delivery end) and just sat and B.S'd with these guys til someone finally gives them the green light. They order pizza from a local pizza joint, they share... we can sit and talk about anything. For example; how much the whole thing sucks ass. I've also had situations where I was dead-tired and in a "no parking" zone and a lumper would be super-cool... and say "hey man, just take a nap, I'll come and get you... you need anything?" I'd be like, "Yeah, can you get me a Redbull for when I wake up?" True story.

    The business of lumping and swamping is a necessary evil... sometimes. Other times, it's just a scam for receivers to make more money. The lumpers themselves don't get paid that well, everyone takes a cut... the lumper gets whats left, and he is physically active even if he's dead tired.

    I remember back in the day loading tall pallets on a high-cube trailer for food service warehouses that could only fit short/small pallets. I knew that there were going to be issues on the other end. Back then, lumper services were not as mandatory as they are today. You had a choice; you could either spend all day busting your ass to break down pallets or you could pay someone to do it for you while you napped. I remember the Thrifty warehouses in So Cal being notorious for this. They were open 24 hours so they didn't give a rat's ass how long it took you to offload and break **** down.

    A lot of times, what I would do, is make a deal with the "lumper" I'd split the work-load with him and paying him half the price. It worked. Often. We worked faster, worked together, and I'd be down the road sooner, but; this was back when lumpers just kind of hung out at the docks like street people and when the receiver told you that you needed to take two or three layers off of the top of each pallet... you would go outside and find these guys. They weren't working for anyone but themselves, but I'm sure there were kickbacks of some sort. Guys that needed work would take turns, kind of like homeless people taking turns at stop-lights and intersections for handouts.

    Today... well... lumpers seem to have become somehow incorporated, but the guys who do the work ain't usually all bad. It's the companies they work for. Those are the guys you wouldn't mind loading into your trailer and offloading somewhere down in South Central....open up the trailer doors and say "see you back up North, tough guy!"
  19. Hammer166

    Hammer166 Instigateur №166™

    The rise of the lumping companies came as our society became more litigious. The receivers forced it to protect themselves from the lawyers. And as you and I both pointed out, it sucks for the guys doing the work, as they haven't seen much benefit from the exorbitant rise in unloading costs.

    It's a good thing the fuel tanker business doesn't operate like the grocery business, or the poor drivers would be stuck pumping gas for two days until their load was properly broken down.:D
  20. katpimpwilliams

    katpimpwilliams New Member

    If you get hurt lumping your own truck, who will you get to drive it for you?

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