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Old 02-06-2020, 10:48 PM   #1
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Question What do RV delivery drivers usually do after dropping off @ the dealership?

Talking to a local dealer the other day, he said that on the short RVs they can stack 3 on a trailer.

I'm curious what the drivers do after drop off? Just find whatever load they can take that'll get them back on home?


Are there routine deliveries and drivers or is it just a hodge podge of whatever? How bout the motor home drivers? They just tow their personal vehicle behind?

Anyone in the biz have some insight?
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:23 AM   #2
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If they have done a single pull they or a flat deck load they usually go back empty. Backhauls are pretty rare. Some may haul cars back but not that often.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:13 AM   #3
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Saw a car hauler the other day, loaded with 9 popup trailers. Hadn't seen that before, but why not?

As for what they do when they deliver.....a fellow I know hauls 5ers, he heads down empty and hauls back a trailer. Rinse & repeat, every week. Leaves Thursdays returns Tuesdays.

Perhaps the MH drivers catch a ride back down with a fellow 5er/TT guy?
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:35 AM   #4
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From what I can determine RV trailer delivery is a niche segment of the Hotshot trucking industry composed of typically independent owner-operators and is also typically a one-way service running empty on the way back making it an expensive proposition. Flatbedding small trailers can allow for other deliveries and ad hoc loads.

As independent contractors they're liable for all their expenses -- and DOT compliance! -- they're paid by the job not the mile (although the mileage is part of how the job is priced and bid), it can be competitive.

I know that RVWholesalers had their own contracted drivers from the factory to their sales location (at least at one time) so it was easy for them to "stock" trailers at the factory parking lots and pick them up as needed. But this was only a matter of 150 miles, not across the country.

(Highly simplified! )

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Old 02-07-2020, 10:31 AM   #5
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Gentleman I knew, was a hotshot driver for RV's. He was retired navy man who did this just to keep busy.

He stated that it was very tight margin on the cost of towing the new RV to a dealer and the breakeven point. Considering the truck cost, fuel cost and fluid changes as required with new tires about every 50,000 miles or so and other maintenance as required. He did tow across country and dead head back empty to pick up another RV in IN.

In order to comply with DOT rules, you needed a log book, with the truck maintained brakes and lights were in working order, as the fines were pretty hefty. You can only drive for a maximum of so, many hours a day. You than need to park your vehicle and RV. So, he would sleep in the RV on the floor with a sleeping bag, to keep his cost low. His meals where prepacked and kept in a cooler, he ate on the road and it was usually cold cuts with fruit.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:29 PM   #6
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DOT requires "E-Logs" now because they don't trust driver record keeping.

Hotshot truck websites have appeared and I've followed Alex at Tow Piglet dot com after accidentally finding his videos on YouTube before Christmas.

A couple of highlights: after wearing out his first truck and experiencing high maintenance costs with it he now rents his trucks from Enterprise at 22Ę/mile which eliminates all the maintenance expenses (ain't his truck) and they provide a new truck every 50,000 miles which at their minimum charge of 5000 or 6000 miles/month happens fast -- and he burns miles faster. Interesting and fascinating lifestyle (hard to call it a job) that he seems to enjoy or at least present it this way in his videos. He's removed the back seat in his pickup and has a bed back there. He's interviewed a couple (I think) RV haulers.

Guys with big trailers who are wedded to buying Rams or Fords (or whatever) will find his long term experiences with these trucks interesting. He piles on the miles. His first truck was a Ram single wheel. Lastly he's been driving dual wheel.

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Old 02-07-2020, 02:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
He's removed the back seat in his pickup and has a bed back there.
-- Chuck

I'm not in the industry but know people who are. Based on what they have told me the DOT requires "sleeper" cabs to have beds of a minimum length that your standard Silverado/F-350/Ram does not qualify for.



I'm only bringing this up so that anybody that wants to copy this idea knows they should double check the legality of it with the DOT.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:13 PM   #8
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I've seen videos on YouTube (so it must be true) where kits for "350" rear seats will provide enough width for a proper length bed. Rear door trim is removed and large hollow sections there provide additional length on the width of the truck. Not sure if this is dependent on CDL or non-CDL (or both) "sleepers." I don't know if he has modified the rear doors but Alex (Tow Piglet) is a non-CDL and his truck goes thru DOT inspections regularly. From his videos he's sleeping on a bed/platform and not the rear seat. As noted this is an interesting lifestyle.

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Old 02-07-2020, 03:25 PM   #9
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There have to be better jobs than this. Personally, I would rather work at a fast food joint than do this.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:48 PM   #10
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I used to drive a city pedal run for a common carrier, so I have the experience for trucking. When we bought our first Travel Trailer a few years ago I got curious about the delivery guys. Even thought about giving it a try. Good thing the second thought was no thanks! Driving can be grueling, and a real headache. When I retire, I work as a grocery picker for the local Wal-Mart and find more relaxation during and after work...
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Old 02-07-2020, 04:22 PM   #11
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agreed, as I transported many Class A gas and diesels from the factories in N Indiana to dealers all over.
While it's a differing 'job' than the drivers using their own trucks and trailers to move trailerable RVs, motorized RVs come with a unique set of needs, such as 'how' to get back home.

and No, it's not for the faint of heart, and while they taught it as a choice for those wanting a 'seasonal' job, or one to 'see the country', or for seniors who just would like 'something to do' with their time, it's still a JOB. It has pressures, is has DOT oversight, it has YOU paying all the fuel, and meals, and finding places to 'stay' along the way - with DOT hours of service restrictions, you'll never make your dealership in one day's drive, even though you don't have to stop at DOT weigh stations, and your eLogs takes care of your 'paper' trail.
Generally, the pricing to deliver to a dealer is based on the 'google maps' most direct and shortest route from the transport lot to the dealership location, yet that's not always the 'best' route, the safest route, or even the 'fastest' route. You can certainly go your own route, as long as you get there, but you'll rarely get paid for the additional mileage.
The fuel mileage of each unit also is rarely part of the payment consideration - you'd want to certainly drive one which gets the best mileage, such as 12-14, but you may get assigned one which only gets 6-8... that is a BIG difference in the cost of fuel.

A few things I found that are rarely known until you're 'into' the system:

- while some companies allow some to 'pick' their own units, going to places they want to travel to, some only allow you to take the next one going to wherever it is going, with little room to negotiate. Sure, you can 'pass' on a trip, but then the dispatcher is going to start calling you less and less often - they really have the 'control' over who goes where in what. When you arrive to 'pick up' your unit, and although you are planned and 'ready to go', you may find that your 'unit' is not ready - I've had one without a working rear camera, one that wouldn't start, one that the rear camera went out early in the trip, and one 45' top-of-the-line coach that not only would not start, but had NO 12v power for the coach batteries or the house batteries. Any of this can either severely DELAY your trip, can cause you to wind up in a metro area during hours that you were trying to miss, or even cause you to have to stop, due to DOT hours of service, in a less than desirable area - where there are little options of where to park, where to eat, where to sleep, etc.
Sometimes you are simply assigned another coach because the one you came to get is not working - sending you to a totally different state, timeframe for arrival, or to the north during the winter months...crazy.

A little know 'secret' is that these units, some of which are HUGE, only start with 1/4 tank of fuel. So, the very first problem you have is finding a fuel station, whether for gas or diesel. The one or two small fuel stations close to some of these transport lots are not priced competitively, and may not even be easy to maneuver in. If you try to make it out to the interstate, you may find that you are running close to fumes. It's ridiculous that the manufacturers don't provide a full tank of fuel, or that the transport companies don't provide at least a fuel pump option, at the lot. Crazy.

for places to 'sleep' along the way, can you imagine how many hotels really have enough room to park a 45' motorcoach in their parking lots? Rare. Not only that, but if they don't, 'where' are you then going to park it? Are you concerned about it's security? Yes, you are responsible for that unit while it's in your possession, so staying close to it, and having it in sight, is paramount. What to do?
Well, I would dare say that most drivers actually overnight in the unit itself, though it's a 'taboo', as per most any transport company, but the reality is that it is commonplace. After all, do you really expect drivers to park a hotel room 'on wheels', and pay to stay at another? Or, in reality, it's about the only way you'd actually ever come out on top with your finances - there's no 'room' to afford hotel rooms.
It's true that most folks buying RVs probably don't want to know that someone already 'slept' in their bed, but the truth is that most any driver is simply going to sleep 'on' the bed, not IN it. We bring our own sheets and covers and pillows. You're not 'supposed' to use the bathroom, the generator, or the fridge or microwave, but most will make use of the last two in order to keep their own food cold, while on the road, and to heat up a easy hot item. The generator is probably rarely used, but a few hours on the gen is not going to change much.

when you finally 'arrive' at the dealer, you may find that while you 'thought' they'd be ready and welcome you with open arms, the rarely do - they are 'busy' and it'll be a while before they can 'check you in'. They may take their time, and when they do finally get to you, they may decide to do the '120 point inspection', taking 15 to 30 to 45 minutes, even before they can sign your papers and allow you to leave. I've seen a few who are quick and efficient and seem to value a driver's time, but most have little to care. They just see you as a driver, nothing more - their time is 'way' more valuable than yours - whether you are now going to hit rush hour on the way out of town is not of their concern. You're ready to turn around a head home once you reach their lot, they are not necessarily so obliging. You could even be sitting behind several others ahead of you. Not fun.

How to get home?
Probably one of the biggest concerns of a motorized Transport driver... you must decide if you want to walk, catch a lift, rent a car, fly(really?), or TOW YOUR OWN CAR to return with. I towed my own, as I already have a toad and tow bar system, easy. Is it fun driving back home, another 6, 12, 18 hours? No, and it's one of the boring and less exciting parts of the 'job' of transporting motorhomes. You could conceivable 'fly' quicker, or so it seems, but that is another logistics operation unto itself. How would you get TO the airport? Is there even an airport anywhere locally? Did you plan your return flight beforehand? What if the dealership takes too long to 'check you in' - and you miss your flight? Crazy. I've seen it though. I wouldn't try it myself. I think by the time you look at all the 'time' involved, you may could have driven it yourself.


I think i'd rather work at a fast food joint, close to home!
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:00 PM   #12
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:09 PM   #13
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A slight correction to something said above . You may sleep in the back seat of your truck " but " the DOT will not count that as down time . I do a few deliveries as a private " hot Shot ", working with companies that I have been with for years . Cargo trailer factories out of Fitzgerald Ga., Travel trailers for RV dealers mostly to shows and back . Nothing formal just handshake deals with dealer plates . Buck and a half a mile one way .
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Old 02-07-2020, 07:30 PM   #14
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I looked at a companies recruitment page a while back. Based on the numbers its not paying much after fuel both directions and only getting paid one way. Cant believe they are towing a brand new unit and cant crash in a sleeping bag.
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:00 PM   #15
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My Dad did this for a couple of years. He just delivered travel trailers. He would take the ones for an area he was interested in visiting, then deliver the trailer. Afterward he would turn into a tourist of the area he delivered the trailer to. He did get pretty tired of it after those couple of years though. He had fun, but when it quit being fun, he quit doing it. Dad had a pretty good life.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:53 AM   #16
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In a former life I delivered in the water boats for living. Both offshore and coastal. I suspect mh delivery isn't much different.
I would, location depentant, arrive and return via flying or what ever public transportation available and rental transportation needed.
Costs were included in the fees to the vessels owner for my services.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:08 PM   #17
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Wow...sounds like after expenses there's not much left for bad habits.

Way back when I knew someone who bought a nice 4WD truck and a snowplow. He had many, many customers handing him cash to keep their driveways clear. He was as happy as a pig eating...well, he was really happy!

Until a couple short years later and the nice truck was beat and in need of expensive repairs.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:26 PM   #18
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Wow...sounds like after expenses there's not much left for bad habits.

Way back when I knew someone who bought a nice 4WD truck and a snowplow. He had many, many customers handing him cash to keep their driveways clear. He was as happy as a pig eating...well, he was really happy!

Until a couple short years later and the nice truck was beat and in need of expensive repairs.
When you finally throw in the towel, you own a newer truck with a ton of miles on it, probably owe more on it than it's worth, have little money left over and had a crappy life while you did this. Home Depot is usually hiring, pays better and has benefits...At some point they have to figure this out and start paying enough to keep the wheels turning.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:06 PM   #19
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When you finally throw in the towel, you own a newer truck with a ton of miles on it, probably owe more on it than it's worth, have little money left over and had a crappy life while you did this. Home Depot is usually hiring, pays better and has benefits...At some point they have to figure this out and start paying enough to keep the wheels turning.
HA! "They" figured out a long time ago that there is a never ending supply of suckers waiting to try and make some "easy" money in the RV delivery field. They've been operating this way for years and haven't run out of suckers yet! Remember, this is the same business model that Uber and Lyft have copied because it's so successful. Sucker people into making "easy"money by driving their own vehicle around. It's all easy until the people find out how much it costs to abuse their personal vehicle that way. There's a reason taxi companies are much more expensive than Uber and Lyft - they know how much it costs to properly maintain their fleet of vehicles.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:47 PM   #20
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HA! "They" figured out a long time ago that there is a never ending supply of suckers waiting to try and make some "easy" money in the RV delivery field. They've been operating this way for years and haven't run out of suckers yet! Remember, this is the same business model that Uber and Lyft have copied because it's so successful. Sucker people into making "easy"money by driving their own vehicle around. It's all easy until the people find out how much it costs to abuse their personal vehicle that way. There's a reason taxi companies are much more expensive than Uber and Lyft - they know how much it costs to properly maintain their fleet of vehicles.
When was the last time you were in a properly maintained taxi???? I bet it wasn't in *this* century. Not likely in the latter 25% of last century either.
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