Motor Carrier Power Only, is it worth it?

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I posted about getting set up with Amazon, which got me thinking about Power Only loads.

Also, I try to keep up with future trends regarding the industry, and it is possible that there could be a pretty big market for power only in the future, much more than today. Some say that having a trailer may be of little value not too far down the road. I'm not making these claims, just like to keep my eyes and ears open for any changes to the landscape.

One of the kickers if you are doing power only loads is the need for additional insurance ( trailer interchange). A few companies require additional coverage to protect their trailers.

While I haven't bid on any of these loads, the offers I see are absolutely garbage. I know that some of these are new trailers that are listed with the "load out" opportunity, but I don't think I would ever risk my insurance premiums on those loads. You cannot haul a new trailer and expect to have zero claims if you put any freight in or on that trailer.

Anybody work in the power only market? How do you see the rates as opposed to simply dragging your own trailer around?
 

Sinister

Supermodel
Staff member
Supporter
I talked to an old guy in a bar one night and he said the rates are terrible but it kept him away from the house and busy so he wasn’t at home driving his wife crazy.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I talked to an old guy in a bar one night and he said the rates are terrible but it kept him away from the house and busy so he wasn’t at home driving his wife crazy.
the golf course would have the same effect, or a boat, and you can drink at both....
 

Fageol

Old acid hauler but not too caustic
I posted about getting set up with Amazon, which got me thinking about Power Only loads.

Also, I try to keep up with future trends regarding the industry, and it is possible that there could be a pretty big market for power only in the future, much more than today. Some say that having a trailer may be of little value not too far down the road. I'm not making these claims, just like to keep my eyes and ears open for any changes to the landscape.

One of the kickers if you are doing power only loads is the need for additional insurance ( trailer interchange). A few companies require additional coverage to protect their trailers.

While I haven't bid on any of these loads, the offers I see are absolutely garbage. I know that some of these are new trailers that are listed with the "load out" opportunity, but I don't think I would ever risk my insurance premiums on those loads. You cannot haul a new trailer and expect to have zero claims if you put any freight in or on that trailer.

Anybody work in the power only market? How do you see the rates as opposed to simply dragging your own trailer around?
From what I've seen (truckin' 05 to 13 but many miles before that with PIE, CF, Safeway, et al) here in Anchorage, power only works for the Anchorage/Fairbanks freight corridor (360 miles each way -- can be done in Alaska's 15 hours). I suspect that it works for the haul road (Dalton Highway, Fairbanks to Deadhorse) also. When I was with Sourdough there was a standing order for hauling a few American Fast Freight sets per week between Anchorage to Fairbanks. I think that Sourdough still pulls some AFF sets. Here's what an "outside" set looks like when you have a substitute tractor and the chains break on the greasiest day of the year -- the best I can say for me is that I didn't roll the set but came close when I dug into the soft shoulder on Honolulu Hill. Not my proudest moment.50258

That tanker set that extends across the road was light and the skinner was too slow so one end almost caught up to the other. That's the slickest that hill has ever been according to many old timers. Those T800s had ISX power that rivaled the 6NZs of the fleet. But they were rough-riding suckers. BTW that pic was taken after the Cantwell DOT crew cleared one lane so the wrecker could haul a Carlile driver and me out of our misery.
 

Hillbilly Canuck

Well-Known Member
I know a guy in KY that's been doing it exclusuvely for a few years now and he seems to be doing fairly well with it. He's not doing the Amazon thing but rather leased to a carrier I think. It could definitely make it hard to stick to your plan of staying within a state or two of the house though.
 
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tommyh

Well-Known Member
I`ve done Power only off and on for a long time.Sometimes it is bad,sometimes it is good.There are all kinds of Power only loads or trips.
The right ones will make you money
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
Cost of trailer interchange keeps me from doing it. Had plenty chances to do it and it's always been ugly. Basically they insure you for the highest value trailer of the type you want to pull.
 

tommyh

Well-Known Member
I never got trailer interchange
last year,those Food Lion power only runs I did , I increased my insurance some,costs about 500 but it was worth it
 

Airbourne

I love Israel!
Anybody work in the power only market? How do you see the rates as opposed to simply dragging your own trailer around?
I did power-only loads for six months, two years ago. ,,,, I tell you, they were the worst gigs ever. ,,,, First and foremost, the rates are garbage, because these loads are almost invariably found in the worst market zones in any given season. ,,,

Secondly, you loose your freedom of choice by perpetually placing yourself at the mercy of unscrupulous, opportunist brokers. They know that you are in a precarious predicament and they make glad tidings out of you to their bottom line.

By dragging your own trailer,, however,, you always have a choice, be it as it may, load type, zone or weight. ,,, The key to earning top dollar is to establish a limited and solid broker network. ,,, They require and demand a reliable, complete rig. ,,, You could then specialize, dedicate and maintain full independence.
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I continue to keep an eye on the potential near my home. About the only power only I would entertain is loads from home that I could quote at round trip rates.

At least that is my current philosophy.

Things are changing though, and it may come to the point where it no longer makes sense to have a trailer. It’s not to that point yet, but folks like Convoy are building trailer pools that may make it interesting.
 

Airbourne

I love Israel!
I continue to keep an eye on the potential near my home. About the only power only I would entertain is loads from home that I could quote at round trip rates.

At least that is my current philosophy.

Things are changing though, and it may come to the point where it no longer makes sense to have a trailer. It’s not to that point yet, but folks like Convoy are building trailer pools that may make it interesting.
Round trip quote makes all the difference. ,,,, In fact, it nullifies all the points that I have advanced in my comments.

Also, it's obvious that you have up-to-date information, while my experience is both limited and outdated.

Judging by your comments, the absence of a trailer will no longer be negative or a an exploitative predicament. ,,,, When it becomes one of the industry standard practices,, natural market forces impose new rules, under which conditions, shippers, brokers and drivers become the network I was referring to. Everyone can then have a piece of the pie.
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Trailers are pretty cost effective, requiring little maintenance compared to a tractor. Owning your trailer allows you to maintain it the way you like. I went from averaging in the 6 mpg range to the 8 mpg range by buying my own trailer, instead of renting on from the carrier - using superior equipment: my equipment. The change in the revenue split basically covers my monthly payment.
 

Airbourne

I love Israel!
Trailers are pretty cost effective, requiring little maintenance compared to a tractor. Owning your trailer allows you to maintain it the way you like. I went from averaging in the 6 mpg range to the 8 mpg range by buying my own trailer, instead of renting on from the carrier - using superior equipment: my equipment. The change in the revenue split basically covers my monthly payment.

That's an excellent point with which, I whole heartedly concur. ,,,, Michael, however, was talking about a future in which a gigantic trailer pool might render owning one a liability. ,,,, We'll wait and see what the future will bring our way....
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Trailers are pretty cost effective, requiring little maintenance compared to a tractor. Owning your trailer allows you to maintain it the way you like. I went from averaging in the 6 mpg range to the 8 mpg range by buying my own trailer, instead of renting on from the carrier - using superior equipment: my equipment. The change in the revenue split basically covers my monthly payment.
Very true.

Power only is something to pay attention to, though, at least as another revenue avenue with your own authority. I'm slowly seeing more and more loads available in my home area that are power only. If I can get a good round trip rate to run a load to OKC, Tulsa, Dallas, or whatever, fuel economy won't be an issue as I am gonna kill it on the return trip (unless I kill it in another way by finding another trailer to drag back).

Always good to keep the options open and stay on top of where the trends are headed.
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Very true.

Power only is something to pay attention to, though, at least as another revenue avenue with your own authority. I'm slowly seeing more and more loads available in my home area that are power only. If I can get a good round trip rate to run a load to OKC, Tulsa, Dallas, or whatever, fuel economy won't be an issue as I am gonna kill it on the return trip (unless I kill it in another way by finding another trailer to drag back).

Always good to keep the options open and stay on top of where the trends are headed.
IF you can find good rates. I haven't seen any yet. Another thing is exactly what kind of crap trailer are you going to end up pulling? Some years ago I used to get really good loads into the WallyWorld DC in Lewiston ME. The catch was your next load was a round robin store load (4 or 5 stops) on one of their trailers. My fuel economy tanked every time I hooked to one of those POSs.

How much will it cost you to run that power only load?
 

Mike

Well-Known Member
Staff member
How much will it cost you to run that power only load?
For me, it won't cost me anything. I won't do it unless it is profitable both out and back. Only looking at local pickups if I do them, and if the trailer is junk, I go back home.
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
For me, it won't cost me anything. I won't do it unless it is profitable both out and back. Only looking at local pickups if I do them, and if the trailer is junk, I go back home.
Brand new trailers can be junk... depends on who spec'd them.
 
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