I have made reference to “Singles Drivers” on this blog over the years. I’ve mentioned that anyone that wants to get into Drive-Away can do it by being a “Singles” driver. Having no actual experience in the “Singles” part of the industry I could not give any details about taking this job on.
Over the past 12 years my husband, Joe, and I have been doing “Doubles”. We always took two to four trucks in this job. Once in a while I would be given a “Single” but I always had Joe and our equipment to rely on to get us somewhere else for the next job because we had our pickup to get us there.
Joe and our friend, Jim, are now actually doing the “Singles” work. They don’t have a ready vehicle to get them to the next pick up site. Logistics and transportation play a huge role in this new way of them doing this business.
As with any kind of job…the “Grass is always greener”. You see what you want to see.
- It takes only five minutes to do the inspection of a truck and be ready to hit the road in 20 minutes. Log books filled out, route planned, fuel stops planned.
- Fuel economy of a “Single” truck is about 10 miles per gallon as opposed to 4.5 or 5.8 with a “Double” set up.
- The cost of tolls on Toll Roads is nearly half the cost of a “Single” as it would be for a “Double”. For example, in Oklahoma, the toll on Interstate 44 for a “Single” is $5.50. The toll charge for a “Double” is $9.50.
- Parking in truck stops is easier because the bobtail parking is closer to the store doors while the parking for a tractor/trailer set up can be nearly a half mile away.
- Delivering the “Single” truck will take about 15 minutes from the time the driver arrives to the time they leave. For the “Double” drivers it takes up to two hours.
The reality of “Singles” drivers is this. A rental car agency. One of many.
Joe left home on Wednesday, February 19th, to get a truck in Joplin, Missouri that was being delivered in Bedford, Iowa. The cost of renting a car at home to be dropped off in Joplin, Missouri was $185. There would be a taxi ride from the car rental agency to the Peterbilt dealership in Joplin. The taxi would cost about $40. Transportation charges to the pick up site would be about $225. The company picks up most, if not all, of the transportation charges.
I opted to drive Joe to Joplin, directly to the Peterbilt dealership to save him some time and expense. Joe was told by the dispatcher he was getting a brand new truck and he was excited about that. The fact is, the truck was NOT NEW. It already had over 200,000 miles on it. Still looked pretty good though.
Upon arrival in Bedford, Iowa there was a truck waiting for Joe to be taken to Sharonsville, Ohio which had to be delivered the following day. Once Joe arrived in Sharonsville, Ohio he got a ride to the hotel he would be staying at by the hotel shuttle. There was no charge for this transportation.
Jim, on the other hand, was across the country and would be meeting up with Joe. Jim’s journey began in Oakland, California. He had a train ride from Oakland to Los Angeles, another train ride from Los Angeles to LAX airport where he would board a flight to Cincinnati, Ohio. In Cincinnati Jim would rent a car at the airport then meet Joe at the hotel.
The two guys would be driving the rental car from Cincinnati, Ohio to Buffalo, New York where they would pick up trucks going to Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. These trucks are NEW. Complete with “On board cameras” and GPS tracking of their movements. The company that has purchased these trucks has been able to track one of the two trucks along their route.
One of the amenities of the new truck is the rear mounted camera that aids in backing of the vehicle. The driver can see what is behind him/her via a screen in the cab of the truck.
The trucks Joe and Jim are taking are known in this industry as “Box Trucks”. The moving trucks by U-Haul or Penske are “Box Trucks”. These are trucks where the cargo area is mounted directly onto the truck chassis.
I am relying on the photography skills of my husband and his iPhone for this blog. The photos are a bit out of focus but you can get the idea of what the two guys are doing.
Once they deliver in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin they will need to get to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to catch the Amtrak train for the return trip to Buffalo, New York. The man who will be taking delivery of these trucks is so happy with the results thus far of Joe and Jim. He has volunteered to take them the 40 or so miles into Milwaukee, which I think is a nice thing for him to do.
Stay tuned. This very exciting and informative blog (ha ha) will introduce you to the life of a “Singles” driver.
Seriously, if anyone has thought about getting into Drive-Away there is a place for you. Most all Drive-Away transport companies are always on the look out for “Singles” drivers. You don’t need to have a vehicle or expensive equipment to do this job. You just have to have a willingness to be at the mercy of public transportation.
I have given Joe instructions to take photos of his train ride to Buffalo, New York. Both Joe and Jim are a little excited about the prospect of “Riding the Rails” for a day or two. I just hope his photography skills will be worth seeing